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It’s not liberals deluded about Islam – it’s conservatives


11:01 am - January 12th 2011

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contribution by Matt Hill

Are liberals deluded about the rise of British Islam? That’s what Ed West, a blogger at The Telegraph, alleges in response to an article I wrote arguing that a negligible growth in the numbers of British Muslims offers little to be worried about.

Several writers in recent years have also argued that European liberals are unwitting co-conspirators in the overthrow of everything they hold dear.

I don’t want Britain to become a Hizb ut-Tahrir wet dream any more than they do; I’m just not losing any sleep over it.

That’s because the ‘Eurabia’ thesis misunderstands demographics, it misunderstands Islam, and it misunderstands liberalism.

Demographics
West quotes a new study that puts the UK’s Muslim population at 4.6%, higher than previous estimates. With British Muslims reproducing at a faster rate than their non-Muslim counterparts, is Europe on its way to becoming part of the dar-al-Islam?

Hardly: serious scholars have dismissed such claims, showing, on the contrary, that Muslim fertility rates are plummeting. Eric Kaufmann, whom West cites, points out that in Britain the reproduction rate for Bangladeshis and Pakistanis has fallen from almost 10 children per couple to under three in 40 years. By 2030, birthrates of European Muslims are expected to match those of their non-Muslim counterparts

Islam
What’s more, alarmism over the growth of British Islam rests on the erroneous assumption that Muslims are a cohesive group with homogeneous aims. The notion that a Kurdish-speaking Turk and an Urdu-speaking Pakistani belong to a common cause is one Osama bin Laden would certainly embrace, but I see no reason for the Daily Telegraph to join him.

West claims sectarianism is ‘a concept English people find hard to understand’. Since he understands it so well, he’ll know that Islam is at present a particularly fissile religion, with secularists battling militants in Turkey and Gaza, Sunnis fighting Shias in Iraq and Pakistan, and a host of other internecine conflicts around the world.

Meanwhile the mundane truth is that the majority of British Muslims are here for the advertised reasons: to work, raise a family, and see their children get on in life.

Liberalism
Those leftists who see nothing to fear in militant Islam, confusing Islamists with post-imperial freedom fighters, are seriously mistaken. But only liberalism provides a serious answer to the threat posed by a minority of violent Muslims. It’s liberals who have campaigned against the disastrous policy of separating school children by faith.

And it’s liberals who have pointed out the dangers of privileging the rights of notional ‘communities’ over the rights of individuals within them.

Conservatives like Ed West, meanwhile, offer alarmism but no solutions. It’s revealing that most aren’t even prepared to say how they’d respond to the threat they consider so baleful.

West seems to hint that a less ‘cowardly’ government would ‘stop immigration tomorrow’. (So who’s being cowardly, Ed?) At least Mark Steyn ends his fantastic vision of Eurabia with a ten point programme for resisting Islamisation, with suggestions like the abolition of the UN and NATO, and ‘Strike militarily when the opportunity presents itself’.

By portraying Muslims in general as the problem, writers like Ed West contribute to the exact problem they affect to warn against. His article is headed with a helpful picture of some English Defence League thugs to show where his reasoning leads.

It’s not that liberals don’t understand sectarianism, Ed. It’s just that, unlike you, we don’t buy into its pernicious logic.

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Reader comments


1. the a&e charge nurse

Tensions are inevitable given that the tenets of Islam and the aspirations of pluralistic liberal democracies are fundamentally at odds with each other?

We have seen this recently with the burqa debate – liberals tying themselves in knots so as not to give offense over a flagrant symbol of chauvinism and oppression.

Surely there is no place for this sort of mumbo jumbo in a rational world?

What percentage of the Muslim population is comfortable with the stoning, immolation, beating or throwing from a cliff of homosexuals?

I hope it’s a minority but not so sure it’s insignificant.

“And it’s liberals who have pointed out the dangers of privileging the rights of notional ‘communities’ over the rights of individuals within them.”

hahahahaha

Other than that a good article!

4. Jennie Kermode

Here in Glasgow there was wry amusement over the airport attackers’ notion that they could bring a religious war to our city. We know Sectarianism very well – conflict between Protestants and Catholics, under the thin guise of football fanaticism, still causes suffering here on a frequent basis and leads to the occasional murder. But you know what? It doesn’t cause the downfall of civilisation. Most people, regardless of their religious affiliation, are uninterested in engaging with that sort of ugliness. Instead we focus on the concerns we have in common and we get along just fine.

Compared to the pressure between Protestants and Catholics, strife between Muslims and other parts of the population is a miniscule problem, and the same can be said of cities all across Europe. Inter-religious strife, inter-cultural strife, is not a new or overwhelming issue. There is nothing special about Islam that makes the new conflicts more serious. There’s just the same hype we can see throughout the historical record coming from public figures who want to exploit the tensions between different groups for their own ends.

Easy fisking this one – hardly even worth the effort:

Demographics: Current western non-muslims are averaging between 1.8-2.1 depending on country, and has on the whole been falling for years. Even if birth rates are declining in Muslims, a birth rate of 3 is still far higher than non-muslims.

Liberaism: Clearly liberals don’t have the answer, given tensions and problems with militant Islam are rising, as is the ghettoisaton of mulsims, as is unemployment, crime and poverty in the muslim community.

Faith schools do exist, but only a very small proportion of muslim childern in the UK attend them. Banning them would make no difference at all.

Whilst Ed West doesn’t have all the answers, allowing unfettered immigration, causing large numbers of ill-educated immigrants with poor prospects and unwillingness to integrate into the wider UK community is certainly one of the root causes for some of the problems festering in many of our cities.

i don’t see many solutions from the Left other than generally ignoring or whitewashing the problem, throwing money at community groups with notably poor results, or simply pandering to it.

Tyler,

The ‘trend’ you ought to be looking at is a falling birth rate in the UK muslim community. There is a lot of empirical evidence that supports the notion that immigrant birth rates fall to similar levels as the ‘host’ community over a couple of generations.

There are also issues like drop out from the immigrant communities cultural stranglehold through opportunities such as universal female education, birth control, religious apathy if not complete rejection, etc, etc….

I’d really be quite interested to know where you are getting your ‘facts’ from?

@6 Douglas

Indeed the trend is a falling birthrate – I don’t dispute that.

However, the article author is in essence says that the population of muslims in the UK is not going to significantly increase from 4.6%.

That is manifestly untrue given UK birthrates around 2, and muslim birthrates expected to *only* fall to 3 in 40 years time….that also excludes the fact that a large % of immigration is from muslim nations at the moment.

I don’t have hard facts to hand, but there are statistics regarding educational attainment and employment in banglasdeshi and pakistani immigrants. Both are very poor. Whilst I’m sure some people benefit from being here in comparison to their native country in different ways, they aren’t necessarily contributing to UK society, and may be a drain on it.

Is it really surprising that these communities, with poor educational records, poor prospects and significant “ghettoiasation” end up with higher crime rates, higher poverty, more health problems etc, as well as retreating from society and encouraging militant behaviour.

Not that this is solely a problem in these communities – there are similar looking problems in many white working class areas – but it is a problem compounded by the rate of increase of poor immigrants stretching the facilities and finances needed to care for them faster than those resources can grow.

Is that really so hard to beleive?

Excellent article.

For crying out loud, just because your parents are X or Y it does not mean that you are X or Y.

Islam, much like other religions, is stupid, and eventually even the children of religious people will secularise because it is a) more sensible, b) more fun and c) the dominant cultural trend in Europe.

What is the point of being a liberal or conservative if you assume people have no agency whatsoever, that they are merely destined by demography to turn into a part of a raging muslim horde?

Tyler has a point. If you’re going to argue against demographic claims the facts are all that matter, so let’s be a little more empirical. Ed West sez…

…that figure [of 4.6] will easily get closer to 10 per cent within two decades through natural increase…

So, if Muslim birth rates are going to shrink below three by 2030 that suggests their demographic will be growing while others will not. The claim to address is whether that’ll take it to or past 10%. Or, indeed, whether it matters one way or the other.

(Although, yeah, as LO says, it’s silly to believe one can predict religious demographics with much accuracy ‘cos the demographic might get tired of the religion.)

@ 4 JK

I don’t find your complacency at all reassuring.

At around 10% of the population of both the Protestant and Catholic populations of Glasgow, I don’t think your analysis of Muslim intolerance is much use when compared to other areas of the UK.

Troll “Whilst Ed West doesn’t have all the answers ”

He does not have any answers. None, Zilch, Zero.

“allowing unfettered immigration”

We don’t have unfettered immigration.

Spouting troll central talking points is not adding anything. And why, if you are so concerned about immigration are you living in South Africa? All right for you to move about but not others? You should get a job at the Telegraph property section , where they offer lots of nice destinations for British NIMBYS to go and live.

14. the a&e charge nurse

[9] “Islam, much like other religions, is stupid, and eventually even the children of religious people will secularise because it is a) more sensible, b) more fun and c) the dominant cultural trend in Europe” – true, but not without a few teething problems along the road to a more rational understanding of who we are and how as a society we might best organise ourselves.

@12 Gubbs

I don’t know if you could characterise JK’s views @4 as complacent exactly, since she goes out of her way to point out the baleful effects of sectarian politics in our homeland.

I do think she’s pretty spot on however in saying that the current overblown rhetoric about muslim fundamentalism is no more likely to cause the end of our culture than Irish Catholic immigration did in the 19th century.

Even where I live now in truest, bluest Sussex the biggest influx of immigrants in recent decades has been from Poland, the Baltic states and former Yugoslavia; few apart from some of the Kossovars, Albanians and Bosnians are even Muslim.

Large parts of the country have had negligible amounts of immigration from Muslim countries, but plenty from the EU, Australia, NZ, South Africa.

Nobody is denying that problem areas exist, but the idea that Muslims are somehow going to outbreed the current population and bring about a theocratic Islamic state is just beyond parody.

Tyler’s posts are a case in point, going on about the burden to the state of immigration, citing no evidence of course. It’s like the BNP tactic in Essex local council elections banging on about immigrants getting preferential treatment for council housing; makes a good headline, but proves to be totally without foundation.

16. the a&e charge nurse

[15] “I do think she’s pretty spot on however in saying that the current overblown rhetoric about muslim fundamentalism is no more likely to cause the end of our culture than Irish Catholic immigration did in the 19th century” – no, not the end of civilisation but rather a threat to the kind of social climate that liberals have strove for (female emancipation, same sex marriage, freedom of expression, etc).

These sorts of things are likely to be stifled should the tenets of Islam be extended to a wider community.

Couple of minor points:

According to the Fawcwett Society Report Pakistani Females are roughly equalling White Males in achieving 5 A Levels:

http://tinyurl.com/6factrt

Sorry its’ a PDF and the info is on page 9.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation seems to take an optimistic view here:

http://tinyurl.com/6y59dxu

I think these women are unlikely to completely reflect their cultural background, mainly because they have the opportunity to be independent and may indeed be forced to be so by the apparent mind set of importing brides from SE Asia.

18. Shatterface

Islam isn’t a threat to the British way of life but hysterical over-reactions in the name of security (in the case of the State) or preserving ‘Britishness’ (in the case of the hard-Right) are, and so is censorship in the name of community relations.

That’s not to say religious fundamentalists – and Islam has no shortage of mentalists – aren’t a threat to individuals, especially within their own communities, or that belief in space goblins is a license for misogyny, homophobia or just plain being a dick.

Islam, much like other religions, is stupid, and eventually even the children of religious people will secularise because it is a) more sensible, b) more fun and c) the dominant cultural trend in Europe.

Im sure Muslims will thank you for saying there be civilized by liberals in a few decades.Always remember Shirley Williams saying the same thing in the 70s.
Take about shooting yourself in the foot.

@16 a&e

“– no, not the end of civilisation but rather a threat to the kind of social climate that liberals have strove for (female emancipation, same sex marriage, freedom of expression, etc).

These sorts of things are likely to be stifled should the tenets of Islam be extended to a wider community.”

But there isn’t any credible evidence that it will! Of course it is to be deplored when ridiculous medieval superstitions are used as an excuse to deny others their rights… but the fact remains that it will mostly be a problem within their own community.

Granted that should also be fought against, but the very idea that a minority comprising a scant few per cent of the population are somehow going to overturn the status quo, and impose their values on us is simply risible.

Many Muslims in coming generations will assimilate, or adhere to forms of Islam no more threatening than mainstream Christianity or any other misguided collection of nonsense they chose to have faith in.

Just because “some” Muslims become more radical than their parents or grand-parents were, doesn’t mean they have the upper hand. Many more will end up abandoning their faith altogether, or seeing it as little more than a cultural identity.

Nice piece and well argued, though I disagree.

One thing I will point out – critics often try to contradict opponents of mass immigration by suggesting we’re forecasting “Eurabia”, sharia law and beheadings in the street etc. I certainly dont think we’re going to get Eurabia; we are though, along with most western European countries fairly soon going to have Muslim populations of over 10 per cent (compared to perhaps over 20 per cent in Sweden and Austria). Thats not going to cause Eurabia but it will present problems, perhaps quite serious in some areas.

And the idea that Muslims will somehow throw away their religious identity is based on wishful thinking. People were saying that in the 1960s, it wasnt true then and its not true now. in 2001 only 0.5 per cent of Pakistani-Britons put no religion on their census, for example. Even if religious belief declines identity still remains. Also the idea that Islam is not a hyper-identity to various people – Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Somalis etc – is not borne out by opinion polls.

21

“And the idea that Muslims will somehow throw away their religious identity is based on wishful thinking. People were saying that in the 1960s, it wasnt true then and its not true now.

What you are ignoring though is that many immigrants have indeed assimilated to greater or lesser extents, whether by abandoning their faith altogether, or paying lip service to it but not actually being to hung up about it, to sincere believer who adheres to the faith in much the same way many christians or people of other faith hold to theirs. Such people outweigh the handful of nutters who want to introduce Sharia law or extreme islam being imposed on anyone many times over.

I don’t see the issue with Muslims (from whatever part of the world) being proud of their roots and background in the same way the various nationalities in the USA can feel proud of their origins.

One of my best friends at school (admittedly in Scotland so hardly that diverse ethnically…but still…) was a Muslim from an Ugandan Asian family; he married a local non-Muslim, and had a large family some of whom were religious and some of whom were not. Some married outside the faith and some didn’t. They all see themselves as Scottish first… over time, that’s much more likely to be the outcome of a multi-cultural society than the fevered nightmares of those predicting problems, even if not Eurabia!

Ok, so you basically think the social problems associated with sectarianism will rise in direct proportion to the number of Muslims in Britain. So what solution are you proposing? Even if we stabilised the Muslim population of Britain at 4.6%, we’d still be faced with the problem – short of expelling them all – of assimilating them into the social mainstream. So we either bring about the circumstances that make that possible, or we divide the population into Muslim and non-Muslim, and watch the sparks fly. I’m arguing for the former – all you seem to offer is the latter.

Matt Hill,

I doubt that there is such a thing as a ‘social mainstream’ for them to adapt into. The most that can be said about our society is that it tolerates all sorts of diversity. If they manage to get over that hurdle then they’ll be no better or worse than the rest of us.

I have some sympathy with Jennie Kermode – I am a Glaswegian too – and the bulk of folk manage to rub along despite the occasional outbreaks of sectarian lunacy.

douglas clark,

Muslims assimilating to the social mainstream means living, studying and working alongside non-Muslims. It’s harder to hate a group of people when you chat to their representatives by the water cooler, or in the student bar, every day.

Matt Hill,

I agree, but that is the stretch of it. It is unrealistic to assume that assimilation must go any further than that. For some it may, but for some it won’t. It is the majority attitude that counts.

“And it’s liberals who have pointed out the dangers of privileging the rights of notional ‘communities’ over the rights of individuals within them.”

Pull the other one. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it, Shirley you cannot claim that it is the ‘liberals’, (liberal left in this context I assume we can agree), that do not argue for group rights, it’s their entire raison d’etre. Still, one sinner repenteth and all that so welcome to the supporting the rights of the individual side of things.

Very well written and argued, Matt. Thanks.

~~~

@21. Ed West

From your Telegraph blog:

> …despite only 5 per cent of English natives attending church, over 70 per cent of them identify as Christians.

Your claim is very wrong: “In the latest 2010 BSA report, published earlier this month, only 42% said they were Christians while 51% now say they have no religion.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/24/religion-respecting-the-minority

> …soon going to have Muslim populations of over 10 per cent … Thats not going to cause Eurabia but it will present problems, perhaps quite serious in some areas.

Assuming your claim is true – evidence would be nice – so what? What are these “quite serious” problems you allude to?

> And the idea that Muslims will somehow throw away their religious identity is based on wishful thinking.

Why? Everywhere on the planet where people receive good educations and live secure lives, religion is in decline. Science and rationality erodes religion – not the other way around.

My anecdotal experience is that being a Muslim is more of a cultural tie than a religious one for many British Muslims.

> …the idea that Islam is not a hyper-identity to various people – Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Somalis etc – is not borne out by opinion polls.

You’re missing the point. Just because different people self-identify as ‘Muslim’ does not necessarily make them a homogeneous group. This should be obvious to anyone who has spent the least amount of time reading about this issue – and you certainly seem to be expending plenty of energy on it! If it’s not clear, think of it in terms of Christianity – Protestants and Catholics being a prime example of members of the same major cult being literally at each others’ throats because of some bollocks variant in the fine print of their indoctrination.

If you think that having largely rejected one Bronze Age myth, the British are going to sign up to an arguably more toxic version of the same fairy tale, you really have not thought this through enough.

From the little I’ve read of your work, you have that frustrating habit of sprinkling unsubstantiated ‘facts’ throughout and building your argument on them. It’s not very persuasive – especially given that you were badly mistaken on the one claim that I had some previous knowledge of.

29. Just Visiting

Bluerock

> > And the idea that Muslims will somehow throw away their religious identity is based on wishful thinking.
> Why? Everywhere on the planet where people receive good educations and live secure lives, religion is in decline

Er. Saudi?

But anyway, if I’m not mistaken, you are expressing your ideal worldview: you’d l
like to think that education and security leads to secularisation.
And that worldview fits with your personal preference – you’re a secularist.

But I fear that you have not done research to see if there is any basis for your ideal worldview.

Especially, does it happen in the Islamic situation.

Saudi proves you wrong – the last 50 years have seen huge increases in education, standards of living, security. But no sign of a society anything like the liberal society you or I would like to live in.

You do need to think about the facts of the rather non-secular, non-liberal nature of countries where Islam is followed .

Of the fact that Islam is NOT the same as Christianity, or Hinduism etc – not in ideology, not in the violence it encourages world-wide – or even in my small, UK market town.

30. Just Visiting

Matt

too many strawmen, to be a good article IMHO

> alarmism over the growth of British Islam rests on the erroneous assumption that Muslims are a cohesive group with homogeneous aims

No one assumes some kind of 100% homogenity among Muslims.

But there is enough ‘common ground’ in Islam.

Are you saying that mainstream Islamic theology does NOT advocate the death penalty for apostates and adulters?

Have you googled for anti-semitism among Islamic figures this week? Did you know the islamic media are full of stories that the Coptic christians were killed by Jews, as part of the worldwide plot to ….. well you know the usual stuff.

@29. Just Visiting

> Er. Saudi?

Er. Excluding theocratic monarchies that threaten death for apostasy. Obviously. Try again.

Although, do you have credible evidence that shows exactly what the population of Saudi believe? I highly doubt it. Do you think there are no atheists there? Think harder.

> …you’d like to think that education and security leads to secularisation.

No, I don’t merely “like to think” it – I educate myself about it with facts. Even in (gawd bless) the USA, religious belief is declining. I haven’t made note of every study I have ever seen, but the pattern is *always* the same – except where people are poor and uneducated. Religion feeds and thrives on ignorance.

> Of the fact that Islam is NOT the same as Christianity…

I never said otherwise. Indeed, I described it as “an arguably more toxic version of the same fairy tale”. Debates tend to be more productive if you respond to what people write and not something that they didn’t.

Matt – your ‘serious scholars’ don’t include a single demographer.

Now what’s the story ?

Is it that the demographics are all cushti, and the Muslim population will be a small percentage in thirty years from now ?

Or is it that it really doesn’t matter about the demographics, because they’ll all be secular Brits, just as keen on footy, abortion and alcohol as the next man or woman, and little puritan episodes like Lumb Lane and Balsall Heath forgotten?

Or is it that it really doesn’t matter what either the demographics or the Muslim culture are like, because only racists could possibly object to either?

@30. Just Visiting

> Matt, too many strawmen…

Form a well-known saying from these words: ‘stones glass in throw houses people shouldn’t live who’. 😉

P.S. If you want to exercise your hysteria bone on something, I’d recommend the religious right in the USA. Insane, violent, paranoid, pathologically entitled and with enough ordinance at their disposal to wipe out all or most life on the planet.

Bleurgh. ordinance -> ordnance

@ 15 G10
JK provided an example of non Islamic hatred within these Islands. I don’t accept this as a justification that Islam is benign particularly when intolerance is so overt within that doctrine and as far as is apparent to me, rarely challenged from within that community or its notional leaders. Perhaps from a Glaswegian’s perspective Islamic fundamentalism is no cause for concern but it is for me and should be for anyone who opposes misogyny, homophobia and intolerance of diversity.

‘…eventually even the children of religious people will secularise because it is a) more sensible, b) more fun and c) the dominant cultural trend in Europe.’ That’s just crap. The perpetrators of some of the most hideous acts of recent terrorism are not from first generation immigrants, but from their mal-adjusted offspring. I’ll just sit on my hands and wait for people to get sensible – what a great strategy for integration and cultural cohesion.

36. Just Visiting

BlueRock

You first wrote:
> Everywhere on the planet where people receive good educations and live secure lives, religion is in decline

Now when challenged on Saudi, you admit that statement is not true…. adding the rider
>Excluding theocratic monarchies that threaten death for apostasy

OK. That’s 3 new factors:
theocrats
monarchies
death penalty for apostacy

Which of those do you suggest prevent secularisation?

And what is the reason Saudi has those properties? Is it not in fact due to the fact they take Islam seriously?

Here’s another country that contradicts your statement:
==========================================
Turkey – a secular (ish) govt of many decades, and now in the last one, their society is becoming less secular and less liberal.
Studies by Turkish universities show that men in prison convicted of honour killings, are not looked down on at all by society, but people feeling that the men ‘had to do what they did’.
Their Premier even today making anti-semitic remarks hinting at Jews behind a global plot to discredit Islam!

Not directly related to this but in the same ballpark. The European Union’s Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2010 states that in 2009 there were ” 294 failed, foiled, or successfully executed attacks” in six European countries. A grand total of one was by an Islamic group. If their name is Muhammad we put the terrorism down to Islam. Therefore, should we put these 293 incidents down to Christianity? The average terrorist in Europe is white and from a Christian background. Islamic terrorism in Europe is as prevalent as the terrorists of Comite d’Action Viticole, who want to ban foreign wine from France.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/great+Islamist+menace/4084610/story.html

@36. Just Visiting

> You first wrote:

I assumed intelligence and intellectual honesty. My mistake.

Your evidence-free ramblings are not interesting or persuasive. Maybe the Daily Mail comment threads will be more receptive?

39. Just Visiting

BlueRock

> Debates tend to be more productive if you respond to what people write and not something that they didn’t.

I agree with you 100%

>> …you’d like to think that education and security leads to secularisation.
> No, I don’t merely “like to think” it – I educate myself about it with facts. Even in (gawd bless) the USA, religious belief is declining.

That is one place where you are correct.
So that is only evidence than secularisation _can_ happen – not evidence that it always will.

But – in fact, it is not even evidence that an incoming minority will become more secular over time – the Fort Hood shootings and many bomb attempts there, prove that many Muslims in America are not the kind of liberals you or I would recognise.

Correct me if I’ve misunderstood, but your argument seems to be that –
a) in the UK, the incoming population of Muslims will quickly become secular + liberal
b) this is because it ‘always happens everwhere’
c) you’ve now narrowed (b) to say ‘not necessarily everywhere.

Seperately – Thinking forwards in time to the position of Muslim immigrants as they first arrive here
——————–
Would you say, as I do, that many muslims entering this country come from countries that have decidely un-liberal cultures – and that those individuals have undoubtedly been shaped and formed by those cultures. And that Islam in particular is a culture that has built-in mechanisms to enforce ongoing compliance to it (eg death for apostates) – which are much more controlling in nature than other religious cultures.

40. Just Visiting

BlueRock

> I assumed intelligence and intellectual honesty. My mistake.

Ok, now you’ve got a quick ad hominem out of the way, are you going to “respond to what people write” – in line with your own advice.

@40. Just Visiting

> …now you’ve got a quick ad hominem out of the way…

You don’t understand what ‘ad hominem’ means.

“One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is “ad hominem”. It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm. As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory. They may not have much up top, but by God, they don’t need it when they’ve got ad hominem on their side. It’s the secret weapon that delivers them from any argument unscathed.

In reality, ad hominem is unrelated to sarcasm or personal abuse.” – http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

> …are you going to “respond to what people write” – in line with your own advice.

You’ve not understood that either. I was pointing out that you had employed a strawman. You then hypocritically accused Matt of the same with an unpersuasive denial of the clearly very common and silly belief that Islam is some cohesive and coordinated entity.

Your continuing evidence-free ramblings are still not interesting or persuasive. Your Islamophobia is tedious. Not interested. Go back to the Daily Mail – they’ll love it over there.

42. Just Visiting

Richard W

That EU report does not paint the picture your selective quote suggests:

> in 2009 there were ” 294 failed, foiled, or successfully executed attacks” in six European countries. A grand total of one was by an Islamic group.

Yes but
a) that six countries includes France + Spain who have loads of seperatist attacks
b) it excludes the UK

Other quotes show
* The majority of court decisions in 2008 where related to Islamist terrorism.
* the overall number of terrorist attacks in all Member States in 2009,
excluding the United Kingdom (UK), decreased by 33 %
* In relation to Islamist terrorism, financing of terrorism and membership
of a terrorist organisation remain the most common reasons for arrests.
* The Member States of the EU continue to be exposed to a serious threat from Islamist, ethno-nationalist and separatist, as well as from left-wing and anarchist terrorism.

> Therefore, should we put these 293 incidents down to Christianity? The average terrorist in Europe is white and from a Christian background.

Don’t be silly.
Hey, you read the report didn’t you?
Did it mention Christian terrorists?
Or Terrorists who quote from the New Testament, and christian scholars?

Of course not – as it spelled out, the majority of terrorists in EU in those 6 countries where seperatists.
Pretty much like the IRA then , who were Marxist-influenced mostly, I understand.

Amazing.

After a 1400 + year war, the author of the OP still doesn’t get it.

Charles Martel. Jan Sobieski. Mean anything?

44. Just Visiting

BlueRock

sorry, but this debate won’t get anywhere if you won’t respond to what people specifically say.

Take my last two posts to you, and give your response to what I wrote.

JV, of course I think it is absurd to put every terrorist incident perpetrated by someone from a Christian background or a nominally Christian country down to Christianity itself. However, it is equally absurd to do it with terrorists from an Islamic background regardless of their motives. One can’t judge the whole by what people at the margin do. I say that as someone who has no interest in any religion. What is clear is no matter how remote one is more likely to be killed by a nationalist than a religious terrorist.

46. Just Visiting

Bluerock

After all, you made the bold claim that:
>Everywhere on the planet where people receive good educations and live secure lives, religion is in decline

You’ve now withdrawn that statement, and my questions above are giving you a chance to re-state in more detail what your view on this really is.

So it’s only to your benefit, to respond.

Could we do a re-boot or summat?

Islaam is not a monolithic religion. Just as Christianity is not a monolithic religion either.

Ctrl-End-Delete.

___________________________________

“There is much that is pish that has been talked about here, Obi Wan Kenobi.”

“indeed there has Luke babes. Who gives a fuck?”

“No one”, said C3P0 as he fucked off on a sensible mission.

48. Just Visiting

Richard W

Sounds like we pretty much agree then.

> However, it is equally absurd to do it with terrorists from an Islamic background regardless of their motives.

Can you expand on this – if terrorists quote from the Quran, claim to be doing the will of Allah, and etc – You’re happy that we call them Islamic terrorists?

> One can’t judge the whole by what people at the margin do.

I agree. Kind of.
But there is a sense that the actions of the few indicate the quality of the whole.
Witness the :LC thread, where many folks will not march with policeman against job cuts in the police – they do extrapolate from some violent police activity by a few to the whole police force.

Or if you met some JW’s tomorrow, who refused a blood-transfusion: you’d not be surprised, because you have read of a few others, who did the same, and quoted their religion as reasoning.

In the case of Islam, in my case, when I researched widely (motivated after some former-Muslim friends of mine were attacked by Muslims in my little UK market town, saying return to Islam or die), what I found was:
* Islamic scholars both Sunni + Shia have agreed for 1400 years that apostates deserve to die
* there is no campaign I can find by any significant Islamic scholar or figure, arguing that death for apostates is not correct theology
* googling shows that most weeks there are several attacks/killings of alleged apostates by Muslims around the world

On the basis of that – although it’s obvious that not all Muslims would agree with that theology or would dish out the punishment themslves on their neighbours – it is a fact that Islam has violence for ‘thought crime’ at it’s core.

49. Just Visiting

Douglas

The corollary of what you said is ?

Coz no one here seems to have been disagreeing.

This was an interesting article on CiF in the Guardian.
About the Afghan population of London. It sounds quite a lively and dynamic community.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/10/london-afghan-community-little-afghanistan

In general, the Afghan community in London is divided into three main groups, the Islamists, the communists and the royalists. These main groups are subdivided; the Islamists are divided into pro-Taliban and anti-Taliban, supporters of the mujahideen and, finally, those who are politically neutral.

I would imagine the fact that people who have grown up in Afghanistan are still arriving and joining it, means that it’s transition into this new more secular, more integrated and British community, is slowed by the newer people, who must surely be much more traditional.
Particularly if they arrived on the back of a lorry from Calais.

Just visiting,

My point is that I am right :-;

Don’t you hate the fact that you can’t fucking edit!

Sunny, get your head out and work out a reasonable editing system.

Pretty please?

You make a bad assumption when you say that Islamism will decline. You seem to think it will decline as Christianity did, believing that Christianity was destroyed entirely by reason. But it wasn’t.

Christianity’s decline was actually precipitated by an all-out attack from bien-pensants much like yourselves, both outside and within the Church (of England). Prayer books were rewritten, Bibles were retranslated, and Church doctrines were “modernised” to bring them in line with liberal society. There was no hellfire or brimstone any more – there was barely any sin. Christianity was heavily diluted with fashionable sociological theory – the ridiculous view of Jesus as a 1st century John Lennon became mainstream.

Where is the equivalent for Islam? Where is the rewritten, modernised Koran? Who are the liberal Imams? Which prominent and influential Muslim openly states that *not everything* in the Koran is literally the word of Allah as dictated to Muhammed? Are any Imams secretly atheists? To put it mildly, it seems unlikely.

The Muslims know we have no “social mainstream” any more (to borrow Douglas Clark’s term @24). There is no “British culture” any more. They know this has been a serious mistake. Not being liberals, Muslims have a very uncluttered view of Western decline and the problems with our society. They don’t want to repeat our mistakes. But they also know that their religion isn’t “fun” (quoting Left Outside @9). What Left Outside doesn’t mention is that they have a solution for this; one that allows them to enjoy the benefits of liberal society while retaining their Islamic culture. It is simple: men do whatever they please, while women are pulled out of school at an early age, forced into arranged marriages, and prevented from learning English. Thus traditional Islam survives through women and girls: men enjoy the power it gives them, a power they do not wish to give up.

If you are seriously interested in learning about this topic, I can recommend looking up the articles by Theodore Dalrymple on this subject, which are available online. On the other hand, you could just continue to be complacent about it.

Where is the equivalent for Islam? Where is the rewritten, modernised Koran? Who are the liberal Imams?

There are plenty, people just aren’t willing to listen to them, or accept they exist. There is an equally loud battle going on in the Middle East between the forces of liberalism and conservatism.

It just doesn’t help when we try and invade those countries and try and prop up dictators who make Islamists more attractive to the populations.

@ 54 SH

I don’t find your first point very compelling.

As to your second point, do you mean prior to the crusades? Intolerance in the Koran are not recent additions.

56. the a&e charge nurse

[54] “It just doesn’t help when we try and invade those countries and try and prop up dictators who make Islamists more attractive to the populations” – indeed, the moral high ground is lost, and points of view soon become deeply polarised.

To his credit Blair was instrumental in moving the communities forward in N Ireland but then he unleashed hell in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A & E Charge Nurse,

To be completely fair, Tony walked his way into a settlement that was about to happen anyway in NI, and took us to wars that most of us didn’t care about so he could pretend to be a statesman and not a politician. It is a re-writing of history to think otherwise.

58. Just Visiting

Hey guys – let’s move the debate to a foundation of facts.

Can anyone point put any research that has been done, specifically looking at the secularisation/liberaising over time of a Muslim population in a minority, in a western/liberal state.

Because it’s not relevant to be talking about the similar-ish but fundamentally different case of
* secularisation of christians in a western/liberal state. (Islam is not christianity)
* secularisation of the majority group, in a western/liberal state. (minorities are not majorities.

59. the a&e charge nurse

[57] “To be completely fair, Tony walked his way into a settlement that was about to happen anyway in NI” – it is certainly true that terms had been framed before TB took the reigns – perhaps we can say then, that at least he didn’t derail the process before the Good Friday agreement was finally sealed (in ’98)?

I agree entirely that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have seriously damaged the reputation of the UK and USA. Having said that the folly of Bush & Blair are not necessarily synonymous with those of a rational disposition who refuse to accept any inherent value in the kind of mysticism that Islam is based on.

Looking back over the comments here not a single poster has a good word to say about Islam – there are just varying degrees as to how silly, or dangerous they think it is.
It is instructive that nobody seems willing to say – Islam, oh what a fantastic philosophy, why can’t we have a lot more of it in the UK?

60. the a&e charge nurse

In “Enemies of reason” Dawkins says ‘the time has come for people of reason to say enough is enough’ – I think liberal democracies have to decide if he is right about this assertion?
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7218293233140975017#docid=9002284641446868316

@ 57 DC

That is somewhat harsh although I understand some want to demonise Tony Blair for his role in the wars.

The road to a ceasefire started long before TB was in office but as per previous attempts, it failed; in this case spectacularly with the Canary Wharf bombing in 1996. It was a very load explosion; most of the East End heard it. The process was restarted and the Good Friday agreement came to pass in 1998.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Gerry Adams was surprised at how much TB was prepared to give up when he took the lead after Mo Mowlem and the Unionists found they were unable to work together.
.

The a&e nurse @ 60.

Absolutely. He is right.

@A&e post 59.

The sad fact is that even people from Islamic communities rarely stick up intellectual for their own religion. Now this is more then likely because the media and govt like to choose the go to Muslim talking heads who are just crap but I have also experienced situations with Muslim people where I have questioned why they aren’t fighting to clear the misrepresentation of Islam and I’m either met with ‘they won’t listen, they are wrong Islam is the greatest’-admittedly these guys were hardcore-or a blank stare because they are dealing with their day to day lives, so don’t think it effects them.

Of course, not all of these people were from Pakistan, which could explain why some of the ones I spoke to who didn’t care, just didn’t associate themselves with the terrorist Islam that we see in the media.

Which goes back to the obvious factor about the fact that these people are all from different ethnic backgrounds as well as Islamic beliefs, so to group them in one huge pot is so ridiculous, short-sighted and dangerous, that it means no SMART study of this ‘issue’ can be discussed and delivered with solutions because already, we are not starting the situation with any fact based evidence theories. Just bits and pieces, that are delivered far too emotionally to be taken as an objective argument.

Just giving, if you are at all genuinely interested in this issue, then a good place to start about understand what religion means would be with Africans.

Africa is the only continent in the world that has had it’s inherent religion wiped out in the mainstream through colonisation, now left with both Islam and Christianity as the main religions.

So what you have there is people who have no cultural affiliations to these religions at all and you would be able to get objective material much more likely because you wouldn’t have this resolute emotional tribal need to dismiss talk you may not like about said religion.

Of course, be intelligent about where you get your primary or secondary resource from, though you can still learn a lot observationally from a extremist religious nut cases.

Islam was never all that bad and isn’t. We got given education form Islam not the Christians! Iran is a good place to research, especially before the British and Americans overthrew the Shah and did their neo-liberal ways.

Rantersparadise,

Africa is the only continent in the world that has had it’s inherent religion wiped out in the mainstream through colonisation

Ah yes, because so many European, American (North and South) and Australian religions survive.

All the world religions (and all the other large ones) come from Asia. Totally insignificant (there is a world of difference between African Islam and that of western China for example, or South American and Australian Christianity come to that), but a necessary thing to remember if you are going to go on about ‘inherent’ religion (which is incidentally pretty much the same world wide – nature gods, sun, ancestor spirits etc).

Sorry – rather off-topic, but I’ve seen you go on about this before, and thought it should probably be picked up.

Gibbs @ 61,

That is harsh? Concentrate on the NI aspect of your Tony’s legacy as much as you like. Do tell us what the fuck we were doing in Iraq? The former possibly informs the latter. In the sense that Tony Blair couldn’t differentiate between a good war and an evil one.

I’m not sure about the title of this thread: It’s not liberals deluded about Islam – it’s conservatives”

I think it is suggesting that living in the west will moderate the rough edges and most backward aspects of people’s religions. And I’m sure it does. And the reason that many people come here is they want to get away from the lack of personal freedom they have grown up with in their own countries.
But I wouldn’t be complacent about things either. There might be only so much the host society can absorb and integrate before it shows ”signs of stress” in its ability to always be the moderating factor.
Dawkins himself has talked of this, and how it was difficult to communicate ideas to some children in classrooms in Britain, who held fundamentalist beliefs on things like evolution.
They believed the world was 6,000 years old … and that was that.

If you have half the children at a school believing that, then there is only so far you can go in science lessons.

@66. damon

> …the reason that many people come here is they want to get away from the lack of personal freedom they have grown up with in their own countries.

Excellent point. If you think an Islamic theocracy is a good plan, emigrating to Britain or any other democratic country is not likely at the top of your to do list.

> But I wouldn’t be complacent about things either.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson

Right now, I’m a lot more concerned about the Tories than “teh evul Muslins”.

> Dawkins himself has talked of this, and how it was difficult to communicate ideas to some children in classrooms in Britain, who held fundamentalist beliefs on things like evolution.

Absolutely – but that’s religion, not Islam. Fundamental Xians are toxic to society in many similar ways as fundamental [insert any other religion].

@65 dic

I was merely putting forward an alternative to your point that TB inherited an inevitable IRA cease fire which I don’t believe is the case or supported by the evidence.

All war is bad isn’t it?

69. the a&e charge nurse

[67] “Fundamental Xians are toxic to society in many similar ways as fundamental [insert any other religion]” – true the rationalist argument goes beyond Islam – it’s just that some manifestations of Islam (homophobia, chauvenism, extremism, etc) are examples, par exellence, of why critics should be perfectly entitled to call a spade, a spade without tedious, and entirely predictable references to the EDL or Daily Mail.

Gibbs @ 68,

Well what evidence is there that TB made a difference in the NI peace process?

All war is, indeed, bad.

@69. the a&e charge nurse

> …critics should be perfectly entitled to call a spade, a spade without tedious, and entirely predictable references to the EDL or Daily Mail.

Who’s stopping anyone from calling anyone anything? Some of just aren’t impressed by the Daily Mail-esque paranoia and histrionics – especially when it’s backed up by nothing more than empty rhetoric, strawmen and quote mining (see above).

I don’t see anyone denying there are toxic components of Islam, just as there are toxic components of Xianity. And, as I’ve already stated, I’m more concerned by the lunatic Xians in the US than I am some ranting mullah in the Middle East.

72. the a&e charge nurse

[63] “I have questioned why they aren’t fighting to clear the misrepresentation of Islam” – I’m afraid the list of infamy is simply too long for anybody who has not been indoctrinated to accept that Islam is not the near antithesis to both liberalism and rational thinking (if we take rational thinking to mean ideas driven by evidence).

Look at those places were the most undiluted forms of Islam hold sway – why on earth would any sane person want to turn the clock back to a medieval world built around laughable fairy stories?

73. the a&e charge nurse

[71] “Some of just aren’t impressed by the Daily Mail-esque paranoia” – quod erat demonstrandum.

Damn – it’s taken me three viewings to realise Xians are Christians – why the random abbreviation?

why the random abbreviation?

Hardly random. Xmas : Christmas; Xian : Christian. From the Chi Rho symbol.

Dunc,

I know where it is from (although someone one day needs to explain who reincarnated the chi ro which went out of fashion even in Britain (which really liked it) in the tenth century), and I recognise Xmas (normally a commercial thing though, or the short of contraction beloved of tabloid headlines) – but Xians is new on me, and sounds like some sort of new age cult (obviously fundamentalist new age cultists are as bad anyway…).

The internet loves abbreviations.

78. Baying Lynch Mob

Tyler (7):

and muslim birthrates expected to *only* fall to 3 in 40 years time…

No, read the article again. It says the reproduction rate has fallen to under three in 40 years. That’s in the past, already done.

Xians: I thought the ‘X’ referred to the torture device that they love to hang around their necks. I use it because I can’t be arsed to right it out in full and because it neatly shows that I don’t have much respect for it all.

~~~

73. the a&e charge nurse

> …quod erat demonstrandum.

Nah. That’s just you hiding behind some ‘clever’ Latin.

~~~

Re. birthrates – some evidence – a rare commodity in this thread: Population growth rate, Islamic countries show declining population growth in common with most of the planet.

“They’re out-breeding us!!1!” doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.

I’m more concerned by the lunatic Xians in the US than I am some ranting mullah in the Middle East.

Wow like your so unique and like such a iconoclast

81. the a&e charge nurse

[79] “That’s just you hiding behind some ‘clever’ Latin” – eh?

I simply pointed out that whenever problems associated with Islam are mentioned, as sure as day follows night reference is invariably made to the Mail – and even though this very fact was pointed out to you it STILL only took but a nanosecond to dismiss the observations of other posters as “Daily Mail-esque paranoia” – as I say QED?

The soft left are trying the same trick on muslims now as they did with the working class in the 1970s, blacks in the 1980s and asians in the 1990s, that is:

Stage 1: Patronisingly and hypocritically pretend that they are on the side of the group in their alledged struggle against opression/racism/sexism/inequality. This involves a lot of hollow gesture micro politics and ostentatious posturing on the issues de jour

Stage 2: Appoint themselves as spokesmen for the group, this involves tapping up their mates in the meeja to get maximum public exposure

Stage 3: Attempt to neutralise those aspects of the group culture that don’t fit with middle class metropolitain “progressive” attitudes. At this point they gave up on white working class men whose percived sexism/racism was deemed incurable. They have hated them for that reason ever since

Stage 4: If stage 3 fails (and it usually does) move on to next group

Stage 5: Attempt to use the re-constructed group as a weapon against the white middle class christian patriachy on the basis that “mine enemy’s enemy is my friend”

It always fails becuse they (the soft left) consistently over-estimate the desire for change in the subject group itself (unbeleivably they don’t all aspire to be latte sipping, opinionated, self-obsessed, middle class ponces) , and/or in trying to recast the group in their own image, the group loses any popular sympathy it may have enjoyed when seen as victims.

“And it’s liberals who have pointed out the dangers of privileging the rights of notional ‘communities’ over the rights of individuals within them.”

Er I thought (neo) liberals argued precisely the opposite – hence the welter of group level “interventions” both social and legislative over the past 10-15 years. As far as neo liberals are concerned the invividual only exists to the extent that they represent the group.

@81. the a&e charge nurse

> …dismiss the observations of other posters as “Daily Mail-esque paranoia” – as I say QED?

Just because you don’t like the association does not make it invalid – and don’t try and pretend that is all that has been produced to dismiss your paranoia and hysteria re. Islam.

85. the a&e charge nurse

[84] “don’t try and pretend that is all that has been produced to dismiss your paranoia and hysteria re. Islam” – ‘paranoia’ ….. ‘hysteria’?

Examples, please.

Another possible sign for those with their eyes open: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/13/taliban-lift-ban-girls-schools

Matt Munro @ 82,

Interesting post. I suppose the opposite point of view would be what?

That we should all bow down to our betters?

Dunno.

88. Shatterface

‘Where is the equivalent for Islam? Where is the rewritten, modernised Koran? Who are the liberal Imams?’

This might surprise people because this is me, a Gnu Atheist, linking to Dawkins’ home of Gnu Atheism to show a rare, positive story about Muslims:

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/574844-egypt-s-muslims-attend-coptic-christmas-mass-serving-as-human-shields

Credit where it’s due.

@87 No – the point is the “liberal” middle classes (who nowadays are anything but) should stop telling other people how to live, stop trying to mould society in their own image and just generally get over themselves.

No one is asking for their advice or opinions and yet they seem convinced that they alone hold the keys to nirvanah and broadcast this assertion loudly and regularly, beleiving that if only everyone were more like them the world would be a better place. It wouldn’t.

90. the a&e charge nurse

Oh look – another Daily Mail reader!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nla1bo6ACU&feature=related

91. Just Visiting

OK.

So no-one has posted any research on whether Islamic minorities become secular/liberal over time in a western liberal democracy.

So it’s no longer possible on LC to claim that such liberalising will just happen – unless you preface it with

in my ideal worldview, where kittens never die, this would also happen.’ :<)

Just visiting,

I am unaware of any such research having been undertaken. It’s an interesting point though.

93. Just Visiting

Oh dear – news today – Dagenham mosque planning application turned down…..

…because of antisemitic videos found on their website

No signs of growing secularism/liberalism there then…

http://www.bdpost.co.uk/news/mosque_plans_criticised_after_anti_semitic_row_1_772418

94. Just Visiting

And this news from yesterday, suggests that Muslims in Denmark are not liberalising yet:

Odense: Iranian priest attacked for displaying cross:

The Iranian-born head of the Church of Love, Massoud Fouroozandeh, fled with his family from the Odense district of Vollsmose to a little a secret location in a small town, after the two of the family’s cars were smashed since they had a cross hanging inside.

“I was told by young people in Vollsmose that I shouldn’t drive around the area with the cross hanging in the car. Afterward our car was completely smashed up and burned and the seats slashed. Since then the side-windows of our new car were smashed three times,” he says.

After the vandalism, Massoud Fouroozandeh and his wife didn’t dare let their children play in the playground in Vollsmose.

“They don’t go with a headscarf, and 99% of the other children do that, so they attracted a lot of attention, and it wasn’t safe to send them out to play. Therefore we moved far away from Vollsmose,” he says.

Massoud Fouroozandeh is one of several non-Danish Christians who’ve been subjected to threats and attacks in Denmark. An Albanian member of the Church of Love was recently beaten by his countrymen, because he went around wearing a cross on his neck, and considered being baptized. And as Kristeligt Dagblad wrote in the past, a Christian Iraqi family got phone calls for two weeks telling them to convert to Islam. Massoud Fouroozandeh says that religious threats have long been known among converts.

http://www.allah.eu/about-islam/odense-iranian-priest-attacked-for-displaying-cross.html

95. Just Visiting

BlueRock

> I’m more concerned by the lunatic Xians in the US than I am some ranting mullah in the Middle East.

You’re so right. I just read this:

USA Christian leader Rejects Equality Between Men and Women

Hey LC feminists – any views ?

Oh, wait… it was actually said by: Saudi Sheikh, ‘Abd-al-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak …

http://translating-jihad.blogspot.com/2011/01/saudi-sheikh-rejects-equality-between.html

BenSix: “Tyler has a point. If you’re going to argue against demographic claims the facts are all that matter, so let’s be a little more empirical.”

Actually Tyler doesn’t have a point because he appears to have misunderstood the sentence he’s taking the figures from.

Article says: “the reproduction rate for Bangladeshis and Pakistanis has fallen from almost 10 children per couple to under three in 40 years.”

Tyler seems to be taking this to say that the reproduction rate won’t go below three for another 40 years. In fact it clearly says that the reproduction rate is below 3 *now*, and that “by 2030, birthrates of European Muslims are expected to match those of their non-Muslim counterparts”. So in 19 years the birth rates are expected to be the same.

This is always the case with immigrant birth rates. Initial migrants tend to be young people, of the age where you’re most likely to start a family. They always have a very high birth rate per head, and it’s always temporary (and right wingers always scaremonger about this birth rate going on forever.)

This is an article in Standpoint magazine about someone from London’s supposid experience of living in inner city Birmingham for four years.
I can’t help thinking that half of it is made up or exaggerated …. and I’m sure the BNP are happy to see something like this in a ‘respectable’ magazine on sale in WH Smith’s.

But if any of it was true, it would be a cause of concern. (I’ve been told by someone on LC that I’m just a ”concern troll” so maybe this is just more trolling by me).
http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/the-mole-janfeb-11-a-stranger-in-my-own-land-anonymous-inner-city-birmingham-muslim-gangs

I have just returned to London, where, I have lived since I was 11. I have been away for four years, living as an ethnic minority in a monocultural part of the world, amassing a host of stories to tell to disbelieving friends. On the whole, I am glad to return. I shan’t miss some locals’ assumptions that, being a white woman, if I was outside after dark, as I occasionally was, usually to walk the few metres between my house and the church, I must be a prostitute eager to give them a blow job. I shan’t miss the abuse my priest husband received: the daubing of “Dirty white dogs” in red paint on the church door, the barrage of stones thrown at him by children shouting “Satan”. He was called a “f***ing white bastard” more than once, though, notably, never when in a cassock. I will also not miss the way our garden acted as the local rubbish dump, with items ranging from duvets and TV sets, to rats (dead or twitching) glued to cardboard strips, a popular local method of vermin control to stem the large numbers of them which scuttled between the rubbish piled in gardens and on pavements. Yes, I am very glad to have left Britain’s second city.

I presume that is a lot of made up nonsense. Maybe with a particular racist/islamophobic agenda.

It’s regrettable that one needs to rebut the falsehoods about Muslim demographics, since it almost feels like a capitulation to the bullshit notion that a growing Muslim population is a bad thing. Muslims, in reality, are no more of a threat to democracy and freedom than any other section of society – indeed, since they’re less likely to vote BNP, they’re probably less of a threat than the average citizen.

The anti-Islam brigade are enemies of freedom, pluralism and, to be frank, of the modern world.

99. the a&e charge nurse

[98] “The anti-Islam brigade are enemies of freedom, pluralism and, to be frank, of the modern world” – that ranks as one of the stupidest comments I have read in a very long time.

It astonishes me that so many liberals are advocates of a religion associated with acts of terror and extremism – perhaps you would have been cheering loudly if the fatwa on Salman Rushdie had been properly exercised?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/12/salman-rushdie-fatwa-memoir

Fortunately not everybody is so obsequious in the face of this puerile nonsense
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD0B-X9LJjs

100. the a&e charge nurse

“We are apostates of Islam. We denounce Islam as a false doctrine of hate and terror. However we are not against Muslims who are our own kin and relatives. We do not advocate hate and violence. Muslims are the main victims of Islam. Our goal is to educate them and let them see the truth. We are against Islam and not the Muslims. We strive to bring the Muslims into the fold of humanity. Eradicate Islam so our people can be liberated, so they can prosper and break away from the pillory of Islam. We would like to see Islamic countries dedicate more time to science and less time to Quran and Sharia. We would like to see them prosper and contribute to human civilization. We would like to see the draconian laws of Islam eliminated and people are treated humanely. We strive for freedom of beliefs, for equality of gender and for oneness of humankind”.
http://www.apostatesofislam.com/

Chris – wake up and smell the coffee – you don’t need to be a liberal to work out that Islam is an affront to many people.

101. Just Visiting

What A&E says.

Chris – if you do some googling, you’ll find that the problems caused by the BNP are a sub-atomic spot, on a tiny pin-prick so tiny it can’t be seen without a microscope – in comparison to the problems caused by Islam worldwide.

Just take even one issue – say: women under Islam.
Take 30 minutes to google it, Chris – you’ll find lots to open your eyes.

I’ve asked the feminists on LC several times to post something on that issue.
They are strangely unwilling to share their views.

Last time was Jan 11th, when Ellie Mae said she’d chip in… but she hasn’t.

#9
“Chavez wins elections but is prevented from implementing his reforms by the level of corruption amongst the state elite. He tries to work inside the system but increasingly relies on executive power to get his way.”

Chavez has been in power since 99′, isn’t that time enough to change the ‘state elite’?
And what about Chavez family, don’t they eat the cake also ?

RESPONSE

Your contributor who thinks religion and magic are the same does not score highly in terms of anthropological knowledge if s/he does not distinguish between magic and religion. However,s/ he also is shutting his eyes to a number of remarkable aspects of the universe, including human experience of the spiritual, or a deeper dimension of inner experience with which religions deal.

Unfortunately, a materialist perspective fails to account for many things not least how life emerged from inorganic matter, or consciousness itself and many aspects of daily sensory experience for which we have no adequate explanation. Over the centuries many people have claimed an experience of a greater supernatural reality, which many have called God, from different cultural backgrounds.

Various contributors deny God, but on this kind of logic one must also deny the existence of dreams (there is no independent scientific evidence dreams occur – we only have reports of them from individuals).

Furthermore, claims that the known material universe is all that there is rather confounded by the mounting evidence from parapsychology of human faculties which stretch beyond the material senses (for example telepathy and most recently the research into precognition conducted by Daryl Bem and published in November 2010).
Indeed, looking at these phenomena and many other aspects of human experience one can understand that there is evidence upon which a religious perspective to the universe and the nature of reality can be justified.

Perhaps some deeper understanding of the breadth of the issues may lead to a greater understanding of the problems that faiths in the world – secular as well as religious -throw up as challenges for humanity.

@103. Alan:

I wondered if a religious type would arrive to try and defend the fairy tale.

> Your contributor who thinks religion and magic are the same does not score highly in terms of anthropological knowledge…

Ah, yes – the old “your thinking is not nuanced enough!” followed by a complete failure to offer a single example of how.

> …a deeper dimension of inner experience with which religions deal.

Word salad.

> …a materialist perspective fails to account for many things not least how life emerged from inorganic matter…

No, science is making good progress with abiogenesis. And you’re just making the tired, old ‘god of the gaps’ argument – ‘we don’t know, therefore god’ is not persuasive.

> Over the centuries many people have claimed an experience of a greater supernatural reality, which many have called God…

Yes, psychosis is common.

> Various contributors deny God, but on this kind of logic one must also deny the existence of dreams…

Bizarre!

> (there is no independent scientific evidence dreams occur – we only have reports of them from individuals).

Nonsense! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream#The_Neurobiology_of_dreaming

> …claims that the known material universe is all that there is…

Who claims that? You when constructing strawmen?!

> …the mounting evidence from parapsychology of human faculties which stretch beyond the material senses…

WTF?!

> …there is evidence upon which a religious perspective to the universe and the nature of reality can be justified.

Yes, it’s called ignorance and wish-fulfilment.

> Perhaps some deeper understanding of the breadth of the issues may…

Perhaps some evidence of any god might be a good starting place to believe in one? Meanwhile, the evidence for being fooled and deluded by Bronze Age fairy tales is mountainous.

105. Just Visiting

OK guys – fresh info – a well researched figure feels there IS evidence that justifies a view on how cultures do genuinely vary in the way they treat women.

2 days ago, Mahfooz Kanwar, (professor emeritus at Mount Royal University, Canada) reports that:

“Yes, Islam condones wife beatings”

http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/Islam+condones+wife+beatings/4118854/story.html#ixzz1BX60RoYG

Dear me, Blue Rock, I really feel one must do better. Goats and monkeys! If the rise of religious fundamentalism is to be stopped in this world,it really is going to need to address the issued I raise a lot more fully than this. I would at least expect some David Hume (see his classic text on ‘Miracles’) or some rehashed Dawkins even! Frankly, I am disappointed at the quality of response.

I am afraid the issues remain more complex than your response reflects.Regarding my point on subjective experience, on dreaming, neuroscience can tell us that there is activity in the brain in sleeping states, in the same way biochemistry can tell us that the chemicals in the brain are different at night. But it cannot tell us what the content of dreams are of how they are caused. The only person who can tell us what the dream consists of is the dreamer. Otherwise we would know what other mammals dream about assuming that our inference is correct).

The claim that people who have religious experiences are psychotic is wrong. There is an ample literature including from some of the founders of modern psychology (William James for example) showing people who have religious experiences would not be classed as psychotic under either the psychiatric or legal definitons of insanity. Winston Churchill is but one good example.

On the formation of life (which was not a point I am raised) abiogenesis, science is coming up with hypotheses. If that is progress, all the well to the good, long may it continue. But the fundamental problems remain, and my point is that the material universe may not be the limit of reality, and inner experience counts for something and indicates a wider reality beyond the material world.

Regarding claims that the known material universe is all that there is…your response was

“Who claims that? You when [sic] constructing strawmen?!”

Well the reference is to a philosophical doctrine called ‘monism’ . Eamples of monists would include David Hume, Spinoza, and Bertrand Russell (neutral monism) to give a few examples of the better known ones. Hardly men of straw . rather intellects commanding respect whether one agrees with them or not.

On the evidence of parapsychology and psychical research, plenty of material from both sides of the Atlantic one starting place might be Roots of Coincidence (1972) Arthur Koestler, alternatively any of the other serious works from 1882 to Filters and Reflections (2009): Perspectives on Reality edited by Robert Jahn et al (Princeton New Jersey and from the UK Abomnalous Experiences : Essays from Parapsyhcological and a Psychological Perspective (2010) edited by Matthew Smith.

Interestingly, both religious fundamentalists (Christian and Islamist)and avowed atheists have equal difficulty when confronted with the evidence from parapsychology, though the as New Scientist in November 2010 has conceded with Daryl Bem’s research, it has to be looked at and poses a challenge to science as conceived by contemporary models.

So these are examples of possible starting points where one might rationally begin to ask theological questions and consider whether grounds exist to believe in a deity or deities. Tackling Immanuel Kant and his Critique of Pure Reason might be a further step but I respect others with different starting points.


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  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. stuartsorensen

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  3. Paul Crowley

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  6. Iman Qureshi

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  12. Who is Deluding Themselves. « Cbcburke9's Blog

    […] It’s not liberals deluded about Islam – it’s conservatives (liberalconspiracy.org) […]

  13. Spir.Sotiropoulou

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  14. Daniel Pitt

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