Three problems with David Cameron’s speech on multiculturalism


2:16 pm - February 6th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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I think the biggest problem with Cameron’s speech yesterday that it missed a vital opportunity to start a more mature and intelligent dialogue on integration and counter-terrorism, rather than continuing the hectoring tone reminiscent of Tony Blair’s government.

My objections can be divided into three areas.

First, it was striking how much it was simply about pandering to the Daily Mail crowd through strawmen, than saying anything new.

I vehemently attacked “state multiculturalism”, as Cameron did yesterday, back in 2006. At the time there was a problem with the government funding “community leaders” to deal with integration and counter-terrorism. There isn’t now. Organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain haven’t received state funding for years.

When Cameron says they’ll get no public money, it’s not clear who he refers to. And if the test is that organisations must encourage integration rather than separation – most faith schools would immediately fail it.

So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly – frankly, even fearful – to stand up to them.

Really? Any examples of this? This rather sounds like the Daily Mail claim that the right are stopped from talking about immigration – it simply isn’t true that “unacceptable” views from ethnic minorities go unchallenged. The question is, will the Cameroons also apply the same standard to homophobes like Melanie Phillips and racists like Rod Liddle?

Second, it has potentially worrying implications for free speech, even though Cameron says we must promote it as a British virtue.

He says:

We must ban preachers of hate from coming to our countries. We must also proscribe organisations that incite terrorism against people at home and abroad.

I’ve always been for having a consistent approach on this issue. Either you ban people who preach any form of hatred – from homophobia to religious segregation – or you only ban those that say things that would be illegal under our laws. I prefer the latter approach, because I believe that people should be allowed to make up their own minds on issues.

Will the dutch politician Geert Wilders be banned from coming to the UK then? He should be, going by the above criteria. So should the Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. But the British govt is likely to turn a blind eye to them, further fuelling the view that these criteria aren’t applied fairly.

He also says:

At the same time, we must stop these groups from reaching people in publicly-funded institutions like universities or even, in the British case, prisons. Now, some say, this is not compatible with free speech and intellectual inquiry. Well, I say, would you take the same view if these were right-wing extremists recruiting on our campuses?

Yes I would, actually. I’ve argued for the rights of far-right groups to hold marches and have the freedom of association and speech because I believe those rights should apply to all. To say we should uphold civil liberties and free speech as quintessentially important British values and then trample on them is just muddled and idiotic. It shows that Cameron still is unsure what this all means.

Thirdly, some of the aspirations are pointless unless backed by action.

I’m all for immigrants learning English in this country. I’m sorry but there are no proper excuses not to. But the last government and this government especially is cutting ESOL classes across the board. They’re making it harder for people to learn English.

He also says:

A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality.

Again, this makes no sense. A society that genuinely promotes democracy and freedom of speech & association allows its citizens to hold views that some will find abhorrent. In other words he is unlikely to promote genuine free speech unless Muslims say what he wants them to say.

Hectoring versus working together
When the Conservatives were out of power, it was common for them to create straw-men in order to appease the tabloids. It looks like Cameron still hasn’t grown up from those days.

I highly doubt that Muslims will read a speech that says ‘Its time for Muslims to deal with their own nutters’ – which is how it was billed to the tabloid press – and applaud it. Do we ask the “white community” to deal with the English Defence League?

How about something on what the government will do more to deal with white extremism? Which other community group faces marches on the streets by 1000s of angry men? How about acknowledging that a lot of the worries about sharia being imposed on our society is tabloid hysteria with little basis in fact? What about Muslim groups who are doing positive things in our society?

There was little of that. There was more of the Tony Blair arrogance that said he knows what’s best and he’s going to deal with terrorism simply by shifting around government funding. I highly doubt it will have much impact on the ground, while damaging our already fragile commitment to civil liberties and free speech.

Other responses
Sunder Katwala – This has all been said before
Mehdi Hasan – Why David Cameron is wrong about radicalisation and multiculturalism
A Burdz Eye View – David Cameron: who are you?

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Race relations ,Religion

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Reader comments


And that’s what this site is supposed to be about!

There are no problems with it. You have said exactly the same stuff over and over again yourself. You just don’t like a Tory saying it.

I was interested in other responses to the speech so I checked out Press TV. The 4th and most highly recommended comment is:

‘What people don’t know is that, the EDL is Derived from the JDL (Jewish Defence League), Muslims don’t want to take over England, what people don’t get is that the Jews have already taken over. Muslims were brought to the UK to bring Britian back from both World Wars, were the Zionists were plotted to take over, guess what that worked, David Cameron is a Zionist and he’s the Prime Minister’

This is what Cameron is talking about. Something what he called the ‘soft Left’ have completely ignored.

3. Chaise Guevara

Nurse!

I was interested in other responses to the speech so I checked out Press TV. The 4th and most highly recommended comment is

So in other words you’re going to use a highly recommended comment on website of the Iranian broadcaster to try and beat the left. Yeah, like we’re really going to take that seriously. Why don’t we play a different game. How about taking the highly recommended comments of a British site, say the Daily Mail, and see if those comments reflect mainstream Tory views?

Anyway, I don’t want to be sidetracked by typical Tory baiting. Would welcome intelligent views on the issue.

There’s a lot of hysteria about Cameron’s speech around too. I think it needed a more straightforward deconstruction so I wrote this.

5. Chaise Guevara

Back to the point at hand: good article. One thing that worried me – you’ve touched on it with that point about Muslims “dealing with their own nutters” is that Cameron said they would withdraw funding for Muslim groups that fail to combat Islamic extremism. Not groups that promote extremism, but those that are judged to have failed to fight it.

Two problems here. Firstly, it openly says that the only reason any Muslim group is worthy of funding is if it fights extremism. You could make a case for this argument, but it would have to affect Christian and Hindu groups too.

Secondly, it’s made on the basis of the old chestnut that the “Muslim community”, whoever they may be, have a duty to “do something” about Islamic extremism that goes beyond the duty we all arguably have to promote a safe and free society. It’s entirely based on guilt by association, and is inherently bigoted.

“And if the test is that organisations much encourage “integration or separation” – then faith schools should be culled immediately.”

Except that plenty of faith schools don’t encourage separation if the C of E schools I went to were anything to go by.

The speech was simply dishonest, as it set up the ‘straw man’ of loads of groups being “showered” with public cash but which doing nothing to “tackle extremism”.

As you suggest, it’s simply not true that groups with extremist aims are being funded, but more importantly (because he doesn’t actually claim there are) it suggests that the primary purpose of all groups which work within Muslim communities should be to “tackle extremism”.

This is prima facie case-making which runs totally counter to the CLG Select Committee on the last government’s Preventing Violent Extremism programme, which said amongst other things:

“Regarding the Government’s analysis of the factors which lead people to become involved in violent extremism, we conclude that there has been a pre-occupation with the theological basis of radicalisation, when the evidence seems to indicate that politics, policy and socio-economics may be more important factors in the process.

Consequently, we suggest that attempts to find solutions and engagement with preventative work should primarily address the political challenges. We therefore recommend that opportunities be provided for greater empowerment and civic engagement with democratic institutions, strengthen the interaction and engagement with society not only of Muslims, but of other excluded groups.
(http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmcomloc/65/65.pdf)”.

It’s as though the last government never happened that nothing was done – however misguidedly – to tackle violent extremism, and as if no lessons were learned.

Yet, even aside from the direct matter of tackling violent extremism, the last government went through a long consultation process on what groups should be funded, and which shouldn’t, when it came to community cohesion (http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/cohesionfundersconsultation). The consultation in 2008 received a great deal of civil society and voluntary sector input, and in the end the whole idea that groups should be funded only if they could provide evidence that they were ‘integrating’ and ‘bridging’ communities was dropped, in acceptance that it would be counterproductive.

Cameron doesn’t have to agree with this approach (though of course to direct funders from the centre runs counter to his professed localism agenda) but to use a trip to Berlin to fuel Islamophobia without any resource to either facts or recent history is pretty disgraceful. Even for Cameron.

I completely agree with Chaise Guevara. It’s this onus on Muslims to deal with what is seen as a “Muslim problem” that I find so objectionable. If multiculturalism has failed (a premise questionable in itself) that is surely down to policy, not Muslim intolerance. If society is fragmented, a glance across the country is enough to show this is not symptomatic of just one community.

Cameron has shown his complete ineptness at understanding the underlying debate surrounding integration by lumping multiculturalism with faith and that with terrorism. All of which have been highlighted as Muslim problems; left to Muslims to deal with; and failure to do so will result in penalties against Muslims. How very balanced.

Camerons speech was a woolly collection of comments designed to appeal to the Alf Garnet lurking in all of us. It was probabally intended to distract from the masacre of the welfare state/nhs ect, bankers bonus culture, about which he seems impotent. Think it generally failed in that, though cant blame him for trying I suppose.

Not sure if I’ve missed something in the last few years ? I have never heard a Muslim Leader in Britain openly use the word “condemn” when referring to atrocities committed by a minority of Muslim extremists. Tell me I’m wrong please – preferably with a reference link if possible.

@Ted:

2005-JUL-18: Fatwa signed by more than 500 British Muslim scholars, clerics, and imams:

“Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives. There is neither place nor justification in Islam for extremism, fanaticism or terrorism. Suicide bombings, which killed and injured innocent people in London, are HARAAM – vehemently prohibited in Islam, and those who committed these barbaric acts in London [on 2005-JUL-07] are criminals not martyrs. Such acts, as perpetrated in London, are crimes against all of humanity and contrary to the teachings of Islam. … The Holy Quran declares: ‘Whoever kills a human being… then it is as though he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a human life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.’ (Quran, Surah al-Maidah (5), verse 32) Islam’s position is clear and unequivocal: Murder of one soul is the murder of the whole of humanity; he who shows no respect for human life is an enemy of humanity.”
http://www.religioustolerance.org/islfatwa4.htm

If you type in Muslim Council of Britain and ‘condemn’ into Google. This is the first result:

http://www.mcb.org.uk/features/features.php?ann_id=1046

“British Muslims Utterly Condemn Acts of Terror ”

Not exactly hard.

“A society that genuinely promotes democracy and freedom of speech & association allows its citizens to hold views that some will find abhorrent. In other words he is unlikely to promote genuine free speech unless Muslims say what he wants them to say.”

Promoting of certain ideals and values is a valid political position that a state may take. I am very reluctant to give any faith group, any funding – for any purpose. But it seems sensible to me that state funding to faith groups should only be to the extent that it is in the states interest.

My udnerstanding of his speech is that the (limited) right to free speech in the UK will remain unchanged – rather the state will not be funding groups that aren’t seen to be helpful in realising the shared values that he identified. I don’t have a problem with that.

@ 11 and 12

Many thanks, it was not a wind up on my part, the two examples you’ve provided should be more widely promoted as some factions will attempt to promote different.

15. Bored in Kavanagasau

So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly – frankly, even fearful – to stand up to them.

Really? Any examples of this?

Yep.

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/07/27/an-attempt-to-smear-mehdi-hasan-from-new-statesman/

Sorry ‘Bored in Kavanagasau’ – but none of those supposed examples actually stand up. Try harder next time with something more persuasive.

Er, well, possibly Ken Livingstone and Al-Qaradawi?

It’s difficult to defend Ken’s idiocy on that issue, but lets be clear – Qaradawi is not feted as an attempt to teach British values on gay rights or free speech. He is liked by some conservative Muslims and Ken thinks he must be engaged with on that basis. Rather like, say, the Conservatives allying with anti-semitic and homophobic folks from Eastern Europe (as part of their EU grouping).

17. Bored in Kavanagasau

Nobody denies the extremism is a bad thing. But countering extremism cannot be done through the law or the state. Banning people with extremist views, whether it be Islamic extremists like Adjem Choudary or right-wing white extremists like Nick Griffin isn’t going to deal with the problem.
We need debate and we need to debate with and against those who have bigoted views, even dangerous ones.
We cannot blame multiculturalism for extremism or any race divisions we have in our society. In fact we cannot blame one thing because it’s a whole load of things which cause these problems. Lack of understanding, lack of tolerance, lack of communication.
I think it’s too simplistic to blame the tabloids for these problems either. People don’t believe everything they read in the papers.

The EDL latched onto the comments of Cameroon to boost their protest. No doubt some on the Left will start laying the blame for the latest rise in fascist activism on David Cameron’s comments on multiculturalism. But even though he is wrong on mulitculturalism to say that we should not allow comments which are not in favour of multiculturalism in case it gives comfort to fascists is misguided.
We need to allow those who arn’t in favour of multiculturalism to speek so we can argue against them and win the argument that it’s a good thing.

“Really? Any examples of this?”

Er, well, possibly Ken Livingstone and Al-Qaradawi?

In any event that’s a good example of (literally!) embracing the very bad in order, supposedly, to oppose the worse.

20. Bored in Kavanagasau

An act of non-violent extremism some were hesitant to criticise (incidentally, Sadiq Khan was a signatory to the letter):

http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/701

21. Bored in Kavanagasau

And another:

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/3882/pakistan-sex-gangs-who-dont-prey-on-british-girls/

Ultimately, it is a calculated effort by The Times to indict men of Pakistani and Muslim origin by manipulating statistics, thereby setting up yet another racial dialectic where whites are targeted and victimised by Muslims in Britain.

“Something what he called the ‘soft Left’ have completely ignored.”

Good. Nutters saying that should be ignored rather than engaged with.

23. Chaise Guevara

@ 14

“Many thanks, it was not a wind up on my part, the two examples you’ve provided should be more widely promoted as some factions will attempt to promote different.”

Agreed. The problem here is neither with the government nor with Muslim societies: it’s with the media. The tabloids would rather put a group of six Islamic nutters protesting at the rememberance ceremony on the front page than to publish quotes that show moderate Muslims codemn such behaviour.

If we have to categorise this, it’s not Westerners vs Islamofascists, it’s moderate people vs extremists. Always.

Demands that people frown upon the massacre of innocents is a fairly low bar of “moderation”, no?

Anyway, social liberalism can endure so long as people feel no desire to impose their whims on other citizens. There’s no single group that could threaten these societies but unless we’re to deny our history of bigotry, puritanism and subjugation its implausible to think all people will be wholly cool with that. The question, then, is how a liberal society can protect itself against people who’d demand acquiescence without just being illiberal itself. (Or, indeed, if it can.)

Bored

An act of non-violent extremism some were hesitant to criticise…

There’s nothing “extreme” about it. The notion that our foreign policy has increased the threat of terrorism has been propagated by such wild-eyed radicals as, er – the former head of the MI5. If these policies were (a) an ethical imperative or (b) in our people’s interests then such risks might be worth enduring but, er, they’re not.

@23 Chaise

Hear, hear!

We need to resist the false narrative that multi-culturalism has failed.

Same mindless speech as Merkel gave a while ago. Same reasons as well, presumably. Fall poll numbers.

@26 – Multiculturalism seems to be quite the failure to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a diversity of cultures or any other aspect of society – it’s just that I don’t think it is the job of the state to nurture it.

28. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 Bored

“An act of non-violent extremism some were hesitant to criticise”

Are you seriously saying that condemning the slaughter of innocents is extreme?

“it’s just that I don’t think it is the job of the state to nurture it.”

Why should it be the job of the state to nurture monoculturalism?

30. Chaise Guevara

@ 27 Geofff

“Multiculturalism seems to be quite the failure to me.”

Why, exactly? About half of the people in my workplace speak English as a second language. My neighbourhood has a large quantity of black, Chinese, Asian and Middle Eastern people living in it. There’s a Hindu temple within walking distance of my front door. None of these things seem to causing any problems.

“Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a diversity of cultures or any other aspect of society – it’s just that I don’t think it is the job of the state to nurture it.”

Depends what you mean. The state can go too far in these things, and when it does it’s likely to backfire. But the issue on the table is a speech in which our glorious leader actively ATTACKS multi-culturalism, presumably as part of the Tory preoccupation with turning the clocks back 50 years.

Cameron’s speech seemed to me a thoroughly partisan attempt to hang the blame for Islamic jihadist terrorism on the previous Labour government – but what of 9/11 in America in 2001, the Madrid bombing in 2004, and Mumbai in 2008? Multiculturalism in Britain was hardly responsible for those atrocities.

I’ve never been clear as to what precisely “multiculturalism” is supposed to mean apart from a broad implication that we should be socially tolerant towards religious faiths and creeds beyond the mainstream in the way we have come to tolerate the Catholic church after that abortive conspiracy which attempted to blow up Parliament at the state opening on 5 November 1605:

“Guy Fawkes could have changed the face of London if his 1605 plot had not been foiled, explosion experts have said. His 2,500 kg of gunpowder could have caused chaos and devastation over a 490-metre radius, they have calculated. Fawkes’ planned blast was powerful enough to destroy Westminster Hall and the Abbey, with streets as far as Whitehall suffering damage, they say.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3240135.stm

It took Parliament until 1829 to pass the Catholic Relief Act which extended the usual civic rights that Anglicans enjoyed to Catholics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Emancipation

Even so, according to this report, the Catholic church still protects aberrant behaviour among its priesthood:

“A Channel 4 News investigation reveals that more than half of the Catholic priests convicted for child abuse and sentenced to more than a year in prison, in England and Wales since 2001, remain in the priesthood – with some still receiving financial support from the Church and living in church houses.”
http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/uk/catholic+church+abuse+paedophile+priests+remain+in+catholic+church/3767477.htmlHere

To argue that multiculturalism works because there are places in which many culture co-exist doesn’t fully answer the issues. There are obviously tensions that shouldn’t be ignored and for me the one big problem is that the idea of multiculturalsim allows for all sorts of special pleading by groups who may not share cultural values that are central to western liberal values.

Multiculturalism is a weak spot for progressives which is why Cameron happily chose it to beat us with. It does play to the gallery but it raises issues we should not ignore as they challenge the very values we espouse. We should not be shy as it really isn’t racist to argue for, say, pluralism over multiculturalism as Anthony Grayling does.

But surely one of the problems with the ‘debate’ is that everyone means something completely different when they talk about it. I’d almost suggest that when commenting on it, it should be compulsory to actually define what you mean by it.

I brand it a failure since as a project of the state, it serves to actively protect and privilage cultures – a barrier to integration and since different cultures often have aspects which contradict one another this leads to conflict, either with other groups – or directly with the state in instances where their culture clashes with the law.

I don’t have a problem with any of the things you mention. Those, and a long list of other things are harmless in themselves – race and nationality isn’t an issue for me, speaking English as a second language in itself isn’t a problem, if this is continuing however with British born immigrants then this could act as an inhibitor to integration and be a possible a contributor towards conflict.

Other than in purely architectual terms, I’m no fan of any religious building. I don’t see any place for the funding of faiths by the state apart from as a pure matter of practicality e.g. reducing terrorism. Any religious building has the potential to be an epicentre for conflict within a multicultural society – the Hindu temple close to you may well be benign, but Sikh temples also have a fairly good reputation – and I’m sure that the disguting behaviour in relation to the Behtzi play a couple of years ago originated from them. I’m sure unsavoury things have come from Christian Churches, Mosques and any other insitution. I fail to see why the state should be supporting such instruments of division.

At @33 = Glad you mentioned Grayling. He don’t recall having ever read anything by him on this subject that I’ve disagreed with.

@35 Geofff

Time for a secular state?

^ You could probably twist my arm 😉

@37: “Time for a secular state?”

Unfortunately, disestablishing the Church of England, however desirable, is a constitutional nightmare because its established status is incorporated in so much legislation – notably, the Act of Settlement of 1701, which became part of the constitutional statutes of several Commonwealth countries that would need to be consulted and amend their own constitutions. Successive governments and the monarchy have become wary of stirring this pot.

“Cameron drops plans to reform Act of Settlement”
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/07/05/cameron-drops-plans-to-reform-act-of-settlement/

For the time being, the monarch mustn’t be a Catholic nor marry one.

40. Bored in Kavanagasau

The list of signatories (I’m not sure why the Muslim tiddlywinks association weren’t asked for their opinion on foreign policy):

Sadiq Khan MP, Shahid Malik MP, Mohammed Sarwar MP, Lord Patel of Blackburn, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, Baroness Uddin, Association of Muslim Schools, British Muslim Forum, Bolton Mosques Council for Community Care, Confederation of Sunni Mosques Midlands, Council of Nigerian Muslim Organisations, Council of Mosques, London & Southern Counties, Council of Mosques Tower Hamlets, Da’watul Islam UK & Eire, Federation of Muslim Organisations – Leicestershire, Federation of Students Islamic Societies (FOSIS), Indian Muslim Federation, Islamic Forum Europe, Islamic Society of Britain, Jama’at Ahle Sunnat UK, Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith UK, Jamiat-e-Ulema Britain, Lancashire Council of Mosques, Muslim Association of Britain, Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Council of Wales, Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association, Muslim Parliament, Muslim Solidarity Committee, Muslim Students Society UK & Eire, Muslim Welfare House (London), Muslim Women Society (MWS), Muslim Women’s Association, Northern Ireland Muslim Family Association (NIMFA), Sussex Muslim Society, The Council of European Jamaats, UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs, UK Islamic Mission, UK Turkish Islamic Association, World Federation of KSIMC, World Islamic Mission, Young Muslim Organisation UK, Young Muslim Sisters (UK), Young Muslims UK

BenSix, Chaise Guevera

If a group of “white” organisations had signed a letter urging a rethink in immigration policy after the series of bombings by David Copeland or after the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and hinted that, without a change, similar incidents would occur, would you consider that a similar act of non-violent extremism? Would such risks be worth enduring to continue immigration at levels which white terrorists and white organisations dislike?

Sadiq Khan saying Cameron is writing propoganda for the EDL is a bit silly.
Disagree with his comments by all means (which I and most here do) but just throwing accusations doesn’t help.

As an advocate of multiculturalism I believe those of us who want to defend it must move away from screaming “RACIST!” it anyone who attacks it.

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 35 Geoffff (the first bit relates to what Cherub said too):

“I brand it a failure since as a project of the state, it serves to actively protect and privilage cultures.”

We’re talking about different things. I’m talking about multiculturalism in the most obvious sense of the word: having a society made up of people from a number of different cultures. I’m not if favour of priviliging one group over another, and with respect I think it’s a bit of a straw man to use than line to attack the concept of liberal inclusiveness.

“Speaking English as a second language in itself isn’t a problem, if this is continuing however with British born immigrants then this could act as an inhibitor to integration and be a possible a contributor towards conflict.”

I agree, and if it’s happening on a large scale we probably need to do more to encourage people to raise their children as bilingual. I doubt it’s that widespread, however.

“I fail to see why the state should be supporting such instruments of division.”

I don’t see them as instruments of division: they can be, but I don’t think that’s a more evident part of their nature than the positive things they do as well. However, I fail to see why the state should be paying for someone’s religious trappings, so I’m essentially on the same side as you here.

Bored

Would such risks be worth enduring to continue immigration at levels which white terrorists and white organisations dislike?

Firstly the suggestion of the letter was that the invasion Iraq had inspired normal, mild people to violence so the Copeland/Lawrence examples aren’t valid. A better simile might be if immigration was inspiring normal, mild people to hardcore nationalism. If immigration was (a) the moral thing to do and (b) in the interests of the people then would be worth incurring, yes. (If (b) was achieved, in fact, the risks would be quite minor.) But if it was both immoral and in the interests of few besides the powerful it might be relevant to note that it was inspiring citizens to bigotry. At the least I wouldn’t think it evidence of “extremism” to make those sentiments.

Dan

Sadiq Khan saying Cameron is writing propoganda for the EDL is a bit silly.

True dat.

44. Chaise Guevara

@ 40

“If a group of “white” organisations had signed a letter urging a rethink in immigration policy after the series of bombings by David Copeland or after the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and hinted that, without a change, similar incidents would occur, would you consider that a similar act of non-violent extremism?”

No, I’d say they were looking in the wrong direction.

“Hinted” is a rather suspicious word; it seems to suggest that the implication is “do what we want or we’ll make you suffer”. Which would be so far away from the letter we’re talking about as to make the analogy useless.

“Hinted” is a rather suspicious word; it seems to suggest that the implication is “do what we want or we’ll make you suffer”. Which would be so far away from the letter we’re talking about as to make the analogy useless.

Yes, and this.

Hell, don’t people already cite the growing (well, not anymore!) number of BNP votes as evidence of trouble wi’ our immigration and cultural policies? I’m not saying they’re accurate but they needn’t be a load of frothing bigots either.

On the ideological roots of Islamic Jihadism, see links to Sayyid Qutb (or Kobt), such as this entry in Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayyid_Qutb

There’s an excellent BBC2 doc by Adam Curtis on: The Power of Nightmares, but this and other links to the documentary seem to have been hacked off:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XmPJhurB0k&NR=1

47. Bored in Kavanagasau

Chaise Guervera

It’s not controversial to describe that letter as blackmail as a writer, Ali Eteraz, did on the thread linked to:

i’m with the guy who called it blackmail. while im not wont to judge the intentions of the muslim mp’s and the org supporting this, my issue is that it *looks* like blackmail. media sophistication among muslims is clearly just as bad in england as in the u.s. what i dont understand is why they can’t issue two separate press releases on two separate days?

Another quote:

I think this letter is unfortunate to be honest. It’ll just make everyone think all Muslims are into blackmailing people otherwise they’ll blow themselves up.

Sunny Hundal

(By the way, I’m not claiming that the signatories didn’t have malign intentions – tragically I can’t read minds – merely that they needn’t have.)

Agree with much of this Sunny however I do believe some of the straw men you see have more substance than you are prepared to admit.

We had a Muslim on terrestrial TV this morning (Big Question) arguing that football should be banned because of the partial nudity of the participants and that the redundant stadia could be used to allow people to view public punishments.

A crank, a straw man, you will say yet his view directly mirrors the mainstream Muslim attitude to nudity in school games.

50. Just Visiting

Chaise / Farah

> I completely agree with Chaise Guevara. It’s this onus on Muslims to deal with what is seen as a “Muslim problem” that I find so objectionable.

I;m worried about the quotes you put round the word Muslim.

Do you deny that the main threat of terrorism in the West, and worldwide, right now is from Islam. It’s not the IRA, or theTamil Tigers or extreme Budhists or Catholics.

And that Islamic communities here in the UK are producing men of violence.
Some of these men of violence were not born Muslims, but converted to Islam here in the UK and become terrorists (Richard Reid the shoe bomber).

So _something__ in the Muslim community in ths country is causing this violence – that is NOT happening among catholic, Hindu, buddhism etc communities.

It is NOT ‘objectionable’ recognise this. It is plain fact and statistics.

IMHO until folk on LC can except that – the debate here about what to think + do about it will continue to miss the point…

This is just the usual verbal shit tory leaders always fall back on. Throw a few bones to the mad dogs on the right and howl at the moon. Johnny Major tried the same thing when he did his “back to basics, and family values” stuff in the 90’s. Letting the mad dogs out of the bag is the easy part.

But it now shows that Cameron is a right wing loon. The so called green wash has now peeled off completely. It places the Lie Dems in very dangerous waters to be cheering on the rabid right.

There’s no relief to continuing pressures to adopt and apply Sharia laws in Britain and limited jurisdiction in civil cases has already been extended to Sharia courts, according to this news report:

“ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

“The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

“Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4749183.ece

53. Just Visiting

Chaise

> Are you seriously saying that condemning the slaughter of innocents is extreme?

But you need to understand what the _writer_ meant by his words – not what _we interpret_ it as.

The words we use as western liberals, are not used the same way in Islam.

Take the phrase:
> Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence

It does not mean what we would think – because Islam explicitly DOES CONDONE the death penalty for a number of things such as apostasy and adultery.

Likewise : “slaughter of innocents ”

In Islamic thinking, you cannot be innocent if you are not a Muslim.

The credibility of the 500 strong Fatwa statement is in serious doubt, because they quote a verse from the Quran:

“The Holy Quran declares: ‘Whoever kills a human being… then it is as though he has killed all mankind”

Which they KNOW is mis-leading, because they know Sharia has the death penalty in it!

So why did they use such a mis-leading quotation from their book….. was it because Western Liberals who don’t know enough about islam to know they are being intentionally mis-leading…will be fooled?

Btw whatever happened to Gordon Brown’s declared aim – in 2006 – of turning Britain into a centre for Islamic investment?

“Chancellor Gordon Brown has pledged support for the growth of Islamic finance, saying the UK can act as ‘a gateway’ for the growing industry.

“He told the Islamic Finance and Trade Conference in London he wanted to make the UK a centre for Islamic investment.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5074068.stm

Multiculturalism only becomes a problem when it puts the perceived demands of a culture above and beyond the personal individual rights of those thought to belong to that culture, the main blisteringly obvious example being this one: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/world/europe/22cnd-germany.html

Other than that it’s just people talking out their arse.

56. Just Visiting

TuraSatana

You may be happy with the MCB, but Peter Tatchell for one is not – nor with the East London Mosque.

Despite his sectarian, racist incitements that Jews are “scum…rats…pigs and monkeys,” the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al Sudais, has been welcomed and invited to preach at the East London mosque in Whitechapel tonight, Tuesday evening, 4 August 2009.

Al-Sudais, who has close ties to the Saudi elite, has also insulted Christians and Hindus, referring disparagingly to Christians as “cross-worshippers” and Hindus as “idol worshippers”.

He has been banned from Canada for his anti-Semitism.

The chairman of the East London mosque is Muhammad Abdul Bari. He is also the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

Although the MCB has condemned anti-Semitism, it has previously declined to criticise the anti-Semitism of al-Sudais and has continued to support him despite his anti-Jewish tirade.

http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/Saudi-Rahman-al-Sudais.htm

Chaise Guevara, out of interest, where do you work?

I’ve been critical of a lot of the output of LC recently but this article is bang on the money and has restored my faith in Sunny. Good job dude. Like DC (no, not that one) says @1, this is what LC is all about.

Sunny, you seem surprised that the notion that Geert Wilders might be banned from coming to the UK. Well, the last Labour home secretary banned him from coming here, but the ban was overturned in the courts. The coalition government has banned pastor Terry Jones from coming here, though.

60. Just Visiting

Sunny

> Again, this makes no sense. A society that genuinely promotes democracy and freedom of speech & association allows its citizens to hold views that some will find abhorrent.

Of course.

> In other words he is unlikely to promote genuine free speech unless Muslims say what he wants them to say.

You sure?
Here’s an idea – that will help you to nail this free speech and Islam thing down.

Start a thread here on LC – inviting folks to post any public statements by Islamic figures, that we as western liberals would consider to cross the boundary of being racist, or an incitement to violence.

Do you own googling first – and post your findings there.

Then if not much turns up – you can be happy that the current approach to free speech is working.

Start your thread, with Peter Tatchells’ concerns I mentioned above.

It really is time Sunny, to get some evidence to inform the discussions here on LC about what is actually being said within the islamic community.

I;m worried about the quotes you put round the word Muslim.

Do you deny that the main threat of terrorism in the West, and worldwide, right now is from Islam. It’s not the IRA, or theTamil Tigers or extreme Budhists or Catholics.

Yeah well – the biggest group of people marching on the streets happen to be white males right now JV.

What are you doing to tackle them?

Bob B @54, see this.

63. Chaise Guevara

@ 57 Justin

“Chaise Guevara, out of interest, where do you work?”

Manchester.

“The biggest group of people marching on the streets happen to be white males right now JV.”

You seem to be confused as to the differences between terrorists and protesters.
However much people here may want the EDL banned (protests in Egypt = good, protests in UK = evil) the EDL have never blown themselves up on public transport nor threatened to do so.

Nor have they beheaded anyone or threatened to do so. Nor have they issued death threats after taking offence at a never ending list of offence giving activities.

In fact they haven’t been responsible for a single solitary death, nor do they plan to be.

What are you doing to tackle them?

Seeing as they have every democratic right to protest in their own country, how exactly do you think they should be ‘tackled’?

Who else do you disagree with should similarly be ‘tackled’?

65. Just Visiting

Hi Sunny

> Yeah well – the biggest group of people marching on the streets happen to be white males right now JV.

That is what-aboutery.

What is your view on what I actually said in 50 above?

Chaise Guevara, thanks! I was curious about specifically where you worked, but its OK if that’s private. I’m just nosey really.

67. Chaise Guevara

@ 53

“”But you need to understand what the _writer_ meant by his words – not what _we interpret_ it as.

The words we use as western liberals, are not used the same way in Islam.”

These guys are writing in the West, though. It’s not a case of “you’re Western or you’re a Muslim”. In fact, that’s the very false dichotomy that leads to the “we must crush the evil ones” attitude so beloved of George Bush. And it’s like a clarion call for bigotry.

“Take the phrase:
> Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence

It does not mean what we would think – because Islam explicitly DOES CONDONE the death penalty for a number of things such as apostasy and adultery.”

Yep, and ditto Christianity, or at least those parts of it that put stock in the OT. They’re guilty of trying to speak for Islam, although you’re doing something similar. The fact that their comments can be seen as hypocritical does not mean they’re blackmailing us. Which appears to be the belief of the person you’re defending.

“Likewise : “slaughter of innocents ”

In Islamic thinking, you cannot be innocent if you are not a Muslim.”

“Slaughter of innocents” is my phrase, not theirs. And again this seems to be you saying that because the Koran and Sharia are bigoted and violent in places, Muslims are blackmailers. There’s a rather big gap between those.

The above applies to the rest of your post.

You haven’t actually said a word about why seeking peace is extreme. I have an idea of where you’re going, but I’m not going to fill in the gaps for you.

68. Chaise Guevara

@ 66 Justin

“Chaise Guevara, thanks! I was curious about specifically where you worked, but its OK if that’s private. I’m just nosey really.”

I’d rather not say on an internet message board… too many warnings about identity theft and so on. I’m probably being overcautious, but so be it.

The Daily Mail crowd.

In the interest of accuracy, can Sunny provide further information on who constitutes “the Daily Mail crowd” in numerical and demographic terms, and what proportion of the population of Britain they count as?

pander to – to give gratification (to weaknesses or desires). Is it, theoretically, possible to “pander to the Guardian crowd” ?

Galen @ 25

“We need to resist the false narrative that multi-culturalism has failed”.

What exactly is a narrative? Does it have the same properties as a scientific proposition – that is, does it satisfy the criterion of falsifiability? What is entailed in resisting a narrative?

I’m just attempting to introduce a minimum of intellectual rigour onto this site. It is lamentably short of it.

70. Chaise Guevara

@ 47 Bored

“It’s not controversial to describe that letter as blackmail as a writer, Ali Eteraz, did on the thread linked to”

Controversial? Arguable. Inaccurate and unfair? Definitely. Bigoted? Hard to describe it as anything else.

What you seem to be missing – and it’s a fairly major thing – is that Muslims are not a single being operating as a hive mind. I know that shocks you and you’re probably checking Wikipedia right now to disprove my statement, but it’s true.

It’s a perfectly sensible point to say that violence against a group is likely to create a backlash. The fact that on this occasion some members of said group said it does not mean that they would be involved in or even in favour of the backlash. This is another concept that will blow your mind, but every Muslim in the world does not meet up every tuesday for a cup of tea and a chat about how to bring down the West. It’s just not one of those things that happens.

71. Chaise Guevara

@ 69 Trofim

Really? Because it looks as if you’ve just gone all elliptical and weird. I’m not sure how you expect the scientific method to apply to comparative media narrative.

And yes, of course the Guardian crowd can be pandered to.

72. john p_reid

@40 Bored in Kavanagasau, Brilliant, can’t see a single blog afterwards disagreeing with you,

Oh and Sunny ,Yes it was a mistake for Cameron to talk about the failure of Islamic muslims not to intergrate in aspeech about terrorism, but several Laobur M.P.s like Heidi Alexander and David Blunket ,mainly agreed with him.

73. Just Visiting

Chaise

>> Islam explicitly DOES CONDONE the death penalty for a number of things such as apostasy and adultery.”
> Yep, and ditto Christianity, or at least those parts of it that put stock in the OT.

I’m certain you’re wrong – but go ahead and see if That’s not the case.

Can you find some internet sources, where current Christian groups advocate the death penalty for apostasy and adultery ?

I’ve certainly googled at length and failed.

Cylux @ 55,

The link you gave – from 2007! – also has this to say:

Judge Datz-Winter declined to comment for this article. But a spokesman for the court, Bernhard Olp, said the judge did not intend to suggest that violence in a marriage is acceptable or that the Koran supersedes German law. “The ruling is not justifiable, but the judge herself cannot explain it at this moment,” he said.

Judge Datz-Winter narrowly avoided being killed 10 years ago in a case involving a man and woman whose relationship had come apart. The man emptied a gun in her courtroom — killing his former partner and wounding her lawyer. The judge survived by diving under her desk.

German newspapers have speculated that the ordeal may have affected her judgment in this case, a suggestion that the court spokesman denied.

A new judge will be assigned to the case, but Ms. Becker-Rojczyk said her client would probably nonetheless have to wait until May for her divorce, since the paperwork for a fast-track divorce would take several months in any event.

Hardly a high spot of german justice. But neither is it ‘Gates of Vienna – The Movie’.

I wonder what the final outcome was….

75. Chaise Guevara

@ 73

I see your blogs and raise you… THE BIBLE!

Because it’s only really fair to say that “Islam” explicitly condones violence if you’re talking about the source book. Otherwise, you’re talking about millions of individuals, who will all have their own opinions. Unless you subscribe to our friend Bored’s apparent Islamic hive-mind hypothesis, which I doubt, you can say “the Koran teaches this”, but not “Muslims think this”. Especially when you’re talking about the person who wrote the letter.

But the point about Christianity was a sideline… I want to know why you’re apparently defending the charge that the letter is an attempt at blackmail.

76. Just Visiting

Chaise

> Muslims are not a single being operating as a hive mind. … every Muslim in the world does not meet up every tuesday for a cup of tea and a chat about how to bring down the West.

You feel strongly here – stating it twice in one post.

I wonder if you are under the mis-apprehension: that all the violence and racism round the world everyday being committed by Muslims and in the name of Islam – is the result of them all, independently, mis-understanding Islam ?

That there is no connection between the main-stream precepts of Islam that Islamic figures themelves publicly advocate – and the violent actions of some Muslims ?

77. Just Visiting

Chaise

Hey come on – this is lower than your usual debating standard.

I wrote:
> Can you find some internet sources, where current Christian groups advocate the death penalty for apostasy and adultery ?

So your answer ‘the Bible’ is clearly not an answer!

Bored in Kavanagasau – just because I said it’ll make people think that doesn’t mean the signatories believed that.

But am I surprised that people like you think Muslims are always out to blackmail “mainstream Britons”? No I don’t.

pagar – about that Muslim on TV this morning:

http://twitter.com/#!/ns_mehdihasan/status/34191813891850240

http://twitter.com/#!/ns_mehdihasan/status/34193054592270336

It helps to know context sometimes.

just visiting – No it’s not whataboutery, I’m asking you what you’re doing to tackle the EDL.
If you want to know what Muslims are doing to tackle extremists, see this:

http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/11458

Now back to you – what are you doing to tackle the EDL? After all, they’re your responsibility too, right?

79. Just Visiting

Sunny

Both 64 and 65 explain the poor logic in your desire to ask me, unrelatedly, about the EDL .

Please, for the 2nd time, please let me know what _you_ think about what I actually wrote here – in 50.

80. Chaise Guevara

@ 77 Just Visiting

“So your answer ‘the Bible’ is clearly not an answer!”

I said that because I thought you were talking about the Koran. As I explained, your statement doesn’t really make sense otherwise (or it exposes you as a bigot, which would go against my prior experience).

While there must be Christians out there who support the death penalty for adultery (maybe not so much apostasy), it’s entirely possible that they’re rare enough not to have online groups. I’m not denying that this sort of attitude is far, far more prevalent among modern-day Muslims.

This and your other post (the answer is no, I do not think that Islamic teachings are squeaky-clean and everyone just wildly misinterprets them, because I am not stupid) are really just beating around the bush… can we get back to the blackmail thing, please?

81. Chaise Guevara

Oh, and Just Visiting, from the letter in question:

“Attacking civilians is never justified. This message is a global one. We urge the prime minister to redouble his efforts to tackle terror and extremism and change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion.”

Which rather undermines the idea that they only think it’s wrong to attack innocent Muslims, doesn’t it?

82. Just Visiting

Chaise

So you can’t point to a christian group today, advocating the death penalty in the name of their religion.

But a quick google finds many contemporary Islamic groups doing it.

Then can we agree, that there is a difference in the way christianity and islam are practised and understood by their devotees today?

JV

In general I’m not interested in discussing how you or I, or the average LCer interpret the Holy Books of groups we don’t belong to – as if we want to understood these groups today, then it is THEIR interpretations that count – not ours!

Just Visiting @ 76.

I wonder if you are under the mis-apprehension: that all the violence and racism round the world everyday being committed by Muslims and in the name of Islam – is the result of them all, independently, mis-understanding Islam ?

That there is no connection between the main-stream precepts of Islam that Islamic figures themelves publicly advocate – and the violent actions of some Muslims ?

Just asking, is it not the case that there is more muslim on muslim violence than any other sort? Somewhat corresponding to the test case of Catholic -v- Protestant violence in Ireland and, historically, elsewhere?

To what extent do you think the precepts of Christianity were subverted for the purposes of knocking shit out of each other? To what extent were some priests and ministers willing to provide theological cover for that barbarity?

Of course, nowadays, we are all perfect…..

The thing that irritates me about “Blargh! Islam!” commenters is their failure to expound an honest thesis. I’ll agree that (a) interpretations of religion can inspire baneful acts, (b) interpretations of Islam are generally the most authoritarian today and (c) people inspired by these interpretations can be dangerous. Right. But I don’t think that’s incompatible with the opinions that (a) interpretations of Islam needn’t be too authoritarian and (b) Muslims who follow these – or, for that matter, just some nominal impression of it – are no more threatening than, well – me. So, yeah, I think it’s rational to be concerned about much of the practice of Islam – in its vast and conflicted entirety – and to think about what should be done to cope with it.

But, Just Visiting, you seem to think this issue is preeminent (it is, as far as I know, about the only one you comment on). So what’s your actual opinion of this subject and how do you think that we/society/the state should act on it? As far as I can tell you’re not just beating around the bush, you’re thrashing the lawn.

85. Chaise Guevara

@ Just Visiting

“Then can we agree, that there is a difference in the way christianity and islam are practised and understood by their devotees today?”

We can. Can I assume that your constant refusal to address what I’ve been saying since your post at 53 is tacit admission that you were wrong?

86. Chaise Guevara

@ 84 BenSix

“Blargh! Islam!”

YOMANK!

The idea of promoting a muscular liberalism is obviously good. That means opposing conservatism whether it is Islamic conservatism or Christian conservatism. The common denominator problem is conservatism. Singling out one particular religious group is counterproductive and illiberal.

One gets the impression that for the right Muslims are the new Communists. There is a certain mindset in many countries that in every generation they need a bogeyman. Someone we should all be scared of who is coming to do us harm. The clapped out Soviet Union thankfully disintegrated and the ‘ threat ‘ was shown to be hilariously absurd. Although, as Communists and Marxists disappear from the world the threat is having a renaissance amongst the ever mental U.S. conservatives who see Communists and Marxists everywhere. Islam is the new communism.

I don’t feel the need to apoligise for every heinous crime committed by someone who is a white male from a Christian heritage. Yet, that is exactly what people are trying to do when they imply all Muslims are collectively responsible for acts committed by other Muslims.

@74

Hardly a high spot of german justice. But neither is it ‘Gates of Vienna – The Movie’.

To be fair I never said it was, my opinion following the link should tell you what I actually think about those that are worried that multiculturalism will lead to the destruction of the west.

This ‘who are muslims’ ‘who speaks for Islam’ blah blah is such a distraction. Of course no large group is homogenous to generalise about in absolute terms – the EDL included.

There is no reconciling and co-existing possible with islamist extremists. There is the real or war and the real of Islam (peace). Anything outside of the realm of Islam isn’t innocent and is fair game. Non-muslim existence and influence within the realm of Islam is effectivly seen as an act of war against Islam (I realise that we can now go on to debate what Islam ‘is’).

Unfortunatley, the current state of thinking within the Muslim community, taken as a whole is extreme enough to produce a fair few muslims which are so indoctrinated that they will commit acts of terrorism. There is a greater number of people that would like to, and even greater number that think such acts would be justified, a big group that are somewhat indifferent and there is likewise a big group that condemn it as being utterly wrong.

90. Just Visiting

Chaise

> Can I assume that your constant refusal to address what I’ve been saying since your post at 53 is tacit admission that you were wrong?

No.

But we have clarified that when I said that Islam supports the death penalty – I meant mainstream Islamic groups and figures today .

Perhaps you could respond to 53 again, as I think that clarification must change how you’d respond.

@87 – Communism was a serious threat however you look at it, read some History – have a look at what actually happened to the people that lived under it. Same for Islamism, the threat is real and it’s not difficult to see the sort of conditions and misery experienced by those that live under Islamic theocracy.

“don’t feel the need to apoligise for every heinous crime committed by someone who is a white male from a Christian heritage. Yet, that is exactly what people are trying to do when they imply all Muslims are collectively responsible for acts committed by other Muslims.”

But very few crimes are committed by white males BECAUSE of their Christian heritage (or I would say beliefs). There are many crimes from terrorism to domestic violence which are carried out by Muslims today because of their reading of Islam. That is an important difference.

92. Just Visiting

Douglas 83

> Just asking, is it not the case that there is more muslim on muslim violence than any other sort?

I don’t know if it is more or not – but there is certainly a huge amount of it.

But this is just more evidence, is it not, of the fact that violence runs close to current Islamic practise.

Else we’d see the same level of hindu-on-hindu violence: buddhist on budhist violence etc

> To what extent do you think the precepts of Christianity were subverted for the purposes of knocking shit out of each other? To what extent were some priests and ministers willing to provide theological cover for that barbarity?

Yes that has happened – but in each case the subvertion is in fact plain to see.
The only punch – up Jesus got within a mile of he healed the ear of someone injured by his own disciple.

Whereas as current and historic mainstream islamic scholars agree – Mohhammed was a military leader, took part himself in the beheading of prisoners, sentended a women caught in adultery to stoning.

So any anthropolgist will ask if those Islamic precepts have an impact on the behaviour of Muslims.

93. Just Visiting

Sunny 78

so the model of “Muslims speaking out against terrorism” you give on your blog….as someone there has pointed out…

…turns out to be a homophobe…

Any more examples Sunny ?

Richard W @ 87,

I particularily liked your ‘bogeyman’ point. Whereas, in times gone bye, we could reasonably see an external threat, whether genuine or imagined, as requiring a single response – boost military expenditure – now we have a ratchet effect on the whole of our society. Not only must we deal with the perceived external threat we must also pay to ‘protect’ ourselves from an internal threat.

The answer that the state provides is to spend more money on the secret state, massively more money.

So we are impoverished by a threat that we are not privy too. We are not told how effective these defences are – because that would give information to the enemy – and thus the ‘pig in a poke’ just gets bigger and bigger.

Frankly without accountability.

_______________________________________________

I’d place a bet on the Chinese being the next ‘threat to our democracy’ / bogeyman, as soon as the muslim peril goes past it’s sell by date. Which it must be fast approaching.

91. Geoffff

Yes, Communism was horrible to live under. However, we grew up in the West told we were under constant threat of Communism obtaining world dominance. The reality was a clapped out system with the Lada and exploding televisions as their apex achievements..

” But very few crimes are committed by white males BECAUSE of their Christian heritage (or I would say beliefs). There are many crimes from terrorism to domestic violence which are carried out by Muslims today because of their reading of Islam. That is an important difference. ”

The important difference is you say someones heritage is incidental to the act and when it suits you it is central.

96. Just Visiting

BenSix 84

> I don’t think that’s incompatible with the opinions that (a) interpretations of Islam needn’t be too authoritarian and (b) Muslims who follow these – or, for that matter, just some nominal impression of it – are no more threatening than, well – me.

I used to think that way Ben, yes.

But have you tried finding an actually preached, open, mainstream style of islam that fits the bill of being ‘compatible with western liberal values’.

The obvioius show-stopper – is that all strands if Islam have always had the death penalty for apostasy and adultery.
The reasons, if you google the theologians, go back to the Quran and the things Mohammed himself did and said.

But any – have a bash yourself, spend an evening googling, and find the most liberal islamic group you can – and share it here.

> As far as I can tell you’re not just beating around the bush, you’re thrashing the lawn.

Hee hee – Spot on!
It comes across that way, because LC folk have a nasty habit of silencing debate when questions are raised that take them out of their comfort zone.

If you look back 2 years to when I first chipped in – the accusations back then where that I was a right wing fundamental christian…or alternatively a racist – or an islamophobe.

In defence of the LC attackers – Three of my Afghani friends have been attacked as apostates – that was the trigger for me personally to make the effort to do some googling for myself – maybe they have not had the motivation yet to do their own research properly, so fall back on received ‘wisdom’.

Some here sadly don’t want to even have the debate at all – Sunny for example still thinks that the IRA and the islamic terrorists today are comparable…. which is wrong on so many levels.

97. Chaise Guevara

Just Visiting

“No.

But we have clarified that when I said that Islam supports the death penalty – I meant mainstream Islamic groups and figures today .

Perhaps you could respond to 53 again, as I think that clarification must change how you’d respond.”

Unbelievable. Not only will you not answer the question, you now want me to unask it. Have you turned into a troll overnight or something? They asked for peace. Bored called that extremism. You appeared to defend him, and answered by question to him by, um, failing to answer it.

Explain yourself or address the issue you’ve been dodging for about half the thread at this point, or the only conclusion I’ll be able to draw is that you’re deliberately being a dick, at which point the conversation is best ended.

98. Just Visiting

Douglas 87

> Singling out one particular religious group is counterproductive and illiberal.

But what if the facts are, that 1 group is responsible for 90% of the violence, homophobia, mal-treatment of women – all done in the name of their religion?

Or that mainstream islam imposes the death penalty for adultery and apostasy?

> There is a certain mindset in many countries that in every generation they need a bogeyman.

You may be correct.
But are you not pre-judging the facts?
If (and only if) you can show that there is no correlation between islam and illiberal and violent behaviour round the world – only then should you start to look for ‘under the cover’ reasons.

Use Occams razor first!
Google yourself the level of islamic violence worldwide today.

99. Just Visiting

Sorry, that was Richard W I was responding to – not Douglas..

Cameron – and Blair before him – have said that Islam is a peaceful religion but historically that’s not so.

Historically, Islam was spread by the sword and invasions – the Moors invaded Spain in 711 and installed Islam there, more than 300 years before Pope Urban II called for the first Crusade in 1095.

Buddhism was the prevailing faith in western China long before the invading Islamic Uyghurs took up residence in the region and – see this NHK (hour long) engaging documentary about the Buddhist shrines in the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang:

Silk Road 03 The Art Gallery in the Desert
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=8766403308994751293&q=Mogao+Grottoes&ei=KeOBSP_tCYf2iQK4jPmDCw&hl=en#

The last and failed attempt of an Islamic power, the Ottoman Empire with its fiefdoms, to invade and control a European country ended with the Battle of Vienna in 1683:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vienna

101. Just Visiting

Douglas 94

As I said just then – your quest to wonder why the west needs a bogeyman – is premature.

You must first prove that there is no factual basis in the claim that there is a huge amount of violence and illiberal action being done by Muslims who are explicitly quoting their religious reasons, and those same theological basis are being used by Islamic theologians.

The analogy, if you don’t to that, is to say to feminist groups who want to raise the problem of rape, before having checked any facts at all, ‘humm, what is it about feminists that they need to raise a bogeyman, and why do they want to accuse all men’….!

#95 – The world WAS under threat of Communist dominance. The fact that it fizzled out is something that we can all be grateful for and the efforts of the west, the propoganda, the arms race all contributed to its demise.

“The important difference is you say someones heritage is incidental to the act and when it suits you it is central.”
Why are you using the word heritage – I’m talking about beliefs that people hold that impact what they do. Salman Rushdie has Muslim heritage – but but not Muslim faith. You have no reason to suggest that I pick and choose when someone’s beliefs are central to their crimes. Much of the behavior and beliefs that I disapprove of amongst Islamists is not incidental to their faith – but because of it (or at least their reading of it).

103. Just Visiting

Chaise 97

Calm down -and leave out the accusations.

I’ll answer any question you like – so please pose it.

104. Just Visiting

Bob 100

Top marks Bob – for chipping in with sources that are this time in line with the thread!

(Thought we were going to go off to the British Board of Jews again or something…!)

Chaise – I think this issue might be that ‘peace’ has a different meaning to what you might expect. Look at the “realm of peace” “realm of war” here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divisions_of_the_world_in_Islam#Dar_al-Islam_.28House_of_Islam.29

If is this division employed by many Qutb derived Islamists – so a wish for “peace” is not quite as peaceful as it may sound.

106. Chaise Guevara

@ 103 JV

“Calm down -and leave out the accusations.”

If you wind people up enough, they get wound up. Funny that.

“I’ll answer any question you like – so please pose it.”

Sure. Why is it reasonable for the letter we’re talking about to be described as “extremism” that people were too slow to “condemn”?

Collary question: if you don’t in fact hold that view, why did you a) defend it and b) not deny that you held it during the course of the last umpteen posts?

A DIRECT answer would be nice, please. Not some smear of Islam that may or may not be fair but doesn’t actually answer the question.

107. Chaise Guevara

@ 105. Geoffff

Nope.

The letter condemns all violence against civilians, and clearly states that by “civilians” it refers to people of all religions and nationalities.

It’s here: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/701

Just Visiting @ 92,

I haven’t read the Bible in a long time, but I do believe Jesus was supposed to have personally chucked the money lenders out of the temple or some such? Bit of a theological memory test for me that one…

I don’t know if it is more or not – but there is certainly a huge amount of it.

But this is just more evidence, is it not, of the fact that violence runs close to current Islamic practise.

Well, no.

It isn’t.

It suggests that islam is as much a human construct as christianity is. It suggests that it supports local power. It is really no different from any other religion in supporting the status quo.

I am almost bored with making this incredibly obvious point that there are 1.4 billion or so muslims on this planet and they are not all out to get you. Because, it they were, you and I would be living through a holocaust the likes of which the world has never seen.

There are nutcase preachers who you or I – I assume you are sane – would deny represent us. For instance that Hurricane Katrina was ‘gods will’ against the sinners of New Orleans. Some ‘christian leaders’ said so, so it must be true. So, some idiotic imam says that jews should be slaughtered, so that is ‘true’ too?

I think the internet gives ridiculous credibility to people you would do your best to sidle away from if you met them in a pub, or, if you are against pubs, in the street.

And it gives overarching respect to nutters. If you are a nutter, there will be a rat pack of fools that think you are talking sense, when, perhaps, you aren’t even relating very well to reality.

I do not feel at all threatened by the muslims I have met.

I am not saying that there aren’t muslims that I would feel threatened by. But that applies to lots of people that try to mess with my head over sin and ‘god’s will’, whatever branch of the woo woo sector they come from.

What has been quite interesting about the egypt thing has been how incredibly sane some of the people in Liberation Square have been. You’d almost think they were genuine people, a bit like us, eh!

Bit braver, right enough.

94
Not all perceived bogey men have been considered as an external threat, In Russia, Austria and Germany and over various periods it was the Jews who were the internal enemy. This present attack on Muslims is little more than a variation of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’. Just Visiting is a good ambassador for this method of scapegoating, and, as another writer has mentioned, it detracts attention from other issues.

110. Just Visiting

What Geofff said is spot on:

> Much of the behavior and beliefs that I disapprove of amongst Islamists is not incidental to their faith – but because of it

I think Chaise and many others here on LC would struggle to agree with that.

They take the position that the violence is being committed by ‘mis-understanders of Islam’.

I disagree – and just one bit of evidence to that effect:
There are ~60-odd nations of the Islamic OIC that have signed their own version of a convention on human rights (the Cairo convention).

That differs to the ‘real’ International Convention – it has been changed to
* not give equality to those of other religions
* not give equality to women
* state that Sharia law in any case is the final arbiter of what is right.

Does anyone claim that all 60 nations are ‘mis-understanders of Islam’ ?

@107 Chaise: But your reading of it assumes that there are civillians in the Dar al-Harb and that the entire population a legitimate target. This is the view put forward by Zawahiri and in turn most that sympathise with him.

See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divisions_of_the_world_in_Islam#Dar_al-Islam_.28House_of_Islam.29

“The term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr. Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I’m familiar with religious law. There is no such term as ‘civilians’ in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not”

112. Just Visiting

Douglas

> I haven’t read the Bible in a long time, but I do believe Jesus was supposed to have …

Douglas -you’re doing exactly what I said was bad to do!
You’re trying to interpret someone else’s holy book through your own eyes!
Don’t do it!
It’s patronising.

Read instead what the adherents of a faith say – what they advocate and what hw they behave – and then how they ascribe that to their holy book.

> It suggests that islam is as much a human construct as christianity is.

Arghh. That’s as pointless as saying fascism and communism are also human constructs.

> It is really no different from any other religion in supporting the status quo.

Arghh. That is as wrong as saying fascism and communism are really ‘no diferrent’!

You have to do the ‘compare and contrast’ of what Muslims today actually do and say: and compare with christians, jews, hindus etc.

Only after that can you comment on whether they are different or not!

> I am almost bored with making this incredibly obvious point that there are 1.4 billion or so muslims on this planet and they are not all out to get you.

Then stop saying it! Simples

> I do not feel at all threatened by the muslims I have met.

Nor me.
But my 3 friends were where 3 times attacked by Muslims in my small UK market town – on the grounds that they are apostates…
Well, those guys show that there is something going on that neither you nor I personally have experience of.

> What has been quite interesting about the egypt thing has been how incredibly sane some of the people in Liberation Square have been. You’d almost think they were genuine people, a bit like us, eh!

No one here has said Muslims are not genuine people.!
Not me for sure.
No one has said they are not sane! Not me for sure.

Please – can you respond to the facts on the ground:

* do you agree that there is ahuge amount of violence round the world today being committed by muslims, who quote Islam as their source and motivation?
* that this can not be said for jews, hindus, christains, budhists
* That therefore a compare and contrast between religions is needed. Based on the reality of what they say and do.

113. Just Visiting

Steveb

> Just Visiting is a good ambassador for this method of scapegoating, and, as another writer has mentioned, it detracts attention from other issues.

Quite the contrary – it is you who is distracting from the reality on the ground.

Why is there so much violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam?

That is the reality you are trying to avoid.

Why is it so hard to extend the analogy from political groups (that they are not all the same in what they advocate and do): to religious groups?

Do some googling for yourself and come back post here wth yor answers:

How many local acts of violence in the last week can you find reported -cross references by religion of the perpretator.

How many of those acts, fall in line with the main-stream views of that religion?

Here’s one to start you off – from today:

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A machete-wielding mob of Muslims on Sunday attacked the home of a minority sect leader in central Indonesia, killing three and wounding six others, police and witnesses said.
Local police chief Lt. Col. Alex Fauzy Rasyad said about 1,500 people – many with machetes, sticks and rocks – attacked about 20 members of the Ahmadiyah Muslim sect who were visiting their leader in his house in Banten province on Indonesia’s main island of Java.

He said the crowd demanded that the sect members stop their activities, but the request was rejected. As a result, the crowd stabbed to death at least three men, destroyed the house and set fire to their cars and motorbikes.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/06/AR2011020600816.html

steveb @ 109,

My point was that external threats seemed to be more immediately able to alter policy than internal threats.

It seems to me that the balance between the external threat and the internal threat has changed a bit. External – feed the military with money. Internal – feed the secret state with money.

That is to say that the imagined or true development of internal threats as a means of increasing state power has evolved over the last hundred years or so…

Seems that bureaucracies always win through playing us for fools.

______________________________

Let us be clear about this. I do not approve of terrorists, but neither do I approve of you and I being told that it is the worst, worst thing that the government saves us from. When they are doing much worse with their budget.

It is diversionary tactics, and they can go to hell!

115. Chaise Guevara

@ 110 Just Visiting

“I think Chaise and many others here on LC would struggle to agree with that.

They take the position that the violence is being committed by ‘mis-understanders of Islam’.”

That’s funny, I just specifically said that I don’t take that position.

In a post addressed to you.

So now you’re very deliberately straw-manning me.

Troll.

Just Visiting @ 112,

Douglas -you’re doing exactly what I said was bad to do!
You’re trying to interpret someone else’s holy book through your own eyes!
Don’t do it!

I used to be one of them.

You cannot deny jesus turned over the carts or whatever?

So don’t some on here and tell me I can’t frigging well read!

117. Chaise Guevara

@ 111 Geofff

“But your reading of it assumes that there are civillians in the Dar al-Harb and that the entire population a legitimate target. This is the view put forward by Zawahiri and in turn most that sympathise with him.

See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divisions_of_the_world_in_Islam#Dar_al-Islam_.28House_of_Islam.29

“The term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr. Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I’m familiar with religious law. There is no such term as ‘civilians’ in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not””

OK. They specifically say that they mean everyone – ALL RELIGIONS – and that’s not good enough for you? Your view of Islam trumps their actual statements?

Please could you let me know how to reference any of your quotes for purely academic purposes. Thanks

Aisha

@104: “(Thought we were going to go off to the British Board of Jews again or something…!)”

I go along with the history whoever it offends – recall that I questioned in an earlier thread as to why Gove’s early proposals for a history curriculum for schools had somehow overlooked the Opium Wars with China?

From my posts in this thread, I’m bound to be dubbed anti-Catholic as well as anti-Islamic.

From long experience of online debates – going back 15 years, anything remotely critical of Israel or Judaism is instantly dubbed antisemitic even when I post links to supporting reports, including reports in the Israeli press, it seems. I try to be consistent and don’t go along with the approved formula:

Palestinian terrorism = unspeakably bad but Israeli massacres = justified and good.

Chaise Guevara,

I call troll too.

#114 – I’d agree with that. Internal threats are being given a porportionatly higher priority than they have in previous times. This really comes down to the nature of war, conflict and the nature of the state.

I can’t reccomend this article highly enough, it’s a little academic but well worth reading:
http://ndu.edu/press/irregular-warfare.html

It pretty accuratley sums up how the theory of 4th Generation War applies to the Islamist threat – briefly being that war and conflict is more dispersed than ever and takes place not just against the military (as WW1 and before) nor also the means of production (as WW2) but right across the spectrum of society including economics, society and politics.

122. Chaise Guevara

120 douglas clark

heh.

Aisha,

I’d have thought that this is a public forum and you can quote it as much as you like.

I do. 😉

______________________________

You are joking, right?

124. Just Visiting

Douglas 116

> You cannot deny jesus turned over the carts or whatever?

No of course I don’t.

But unless you can find a christian group that quotes that as reason for the violence they commit…then you are making a fool of yourself, in trying to be an amateur theologian.

It’s always stupid to pull verses out of context from a book that you are not an expert on.

If you edit on Wiki for example – they call it OR and forbid if – Original Research. You must quote a respected figure who makes the interpretation.

Hey Sunny -maybe you could make that a new rule on LC > it would save a stack of time for us all on such silly DIY theology.

Chaise, I’m afraid I don’t can’t take ‘civillians’ as broadly as you. I know that that term is a very slippery subject with a significant proportion of the Muslim world. How much credance can be given to that letter? In my more cynical moments I could consider at least some of the signatories as ‘speaking with a forked tongue’ a la http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Tariq-Doublespeak-Ramadan/dp/1594032157

Such a letter is easy to sign – it concedes very little to those reading it with an understand of Islamic law.

@109: “This present attack on Muslims is little more than a variation of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'”

C’mon. The 9/11 attacks in America in 2001, the Madrid bombing in 2004 and the slaughter at Mumbai in 2008 really happened, as did the London bombings on 7/7 in 2005.

Try this TV report about celebrations for the 9/11 attacks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-9JpRytCx0&feature=related

127. Chaise Guevara

@ 125 Geofff

“Chaise, I’m afraid I don’t can’t take ‘civillians’ as broadly as you. I know that that term is a very slippery subject with a significant proportion of the Muslim world. How much credance can be given to that letter? In my more cynical moments I could consider at least some of the signatories as ‘speaking with a forked tongue’ a la http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Tariq-Doublespeak-Ramadan/dp/1594032157

Such a letter is easy to sign – it concedes very little to those reading it with an understand of Islamic law.”

The subject under advisement is whether or not the letter, in and of itself, is an example of extremism, with the implication being that saying “the Iraq war fosters terrorism” counts as a threat if you’re a Muslim.

If you’re going to ignore half the letter, it’s kind of hard to defend any statement made about it.

But obviously all Muzlimz iz evilz, and so any nice thing they say is deception.

Jesus wept.

128. Just Visiting

Chaise

So if you said you don’t take
> the position that the violence is being committed by ‘mis-understanders of Islam’.”

Then am I right to interpret that you feel that the violence committed round the world by Muslims is in accord with Islamic theology ?

129. Bored in Kavanagasau

Chaise Guevara

Another example of diaspora pleading with a hint of malice may give a clearer idea of what I was getting at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/26/tamil-tigers-sri-lanka

The Tigers, despite their domestic human rights abuses, never posed much of a direct threat to the west. Unless Britain and others seize the opportunity to change what Ban Ki Moon calls “by far the most appalling scenes I have seen”, we risk creating a successor that does.

But am I surprised that people like you think Muslims are always out to blackmail “mainstream Britons”? No I don’t.

I don’t think that letter was representative of British Muslims but those parliamentarians and leaders of those bodies that signed it, proclaiming themselves as British Muslim representatives. It is particularly relevant as one of the signatories was Sadiq Khan. However, I thought the point of PP was to get away from the idiocy of unrepresentative community leaders, this letter being a great example.

So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly – frankly, even fearful – to stand up to them.

Really? Any examples of this?

UCL Isoc, and extremist Isocs generally, were defended vociferously after Mutilate-his-balls ended up with a flakey dick after attempting to blow up a planeload of passengers. There was clear evidence of extremist elements operating at UCL Isoc but some commentators perceived criticism of an Isoc as an attack on Muslims. Imagine if an ex-president of a White society, a virulently racist one which had invited numerous white supremacist speakers over, say, a five-year period, had targeted a plane with predominantly Black or Asian passengers? Would shutting down or criticising that White society be an attack on white people? David Cameron’s argument is that one would be shut down whilst in the other case people who would be fearful (not wanting to appear racist or Islamophobic) of criticising or taking action.

130. Chaise Guevara

@ 128 Just Trolling

You’ll evidently interpret anything any way you want, even if that means ignoring what people say and then accusing them of saying the opposite.

And I’m not answering questions for a time-wasting troll like you who repeatedly refuses to do me the same courtesy.

Just Visiting @ 124.

It’s always stupid to pull verses out of context from a book that you are not an expert on.

Well, yes. Except I have read the Bible. Cover to cover, apart from the begat shit.

Are / is you supposed to be one of them Christians? Have you read it from cover to cover?

Y’know, without hollowing out the bits you didn’t like?

It is a load of nonsense.

I don’t think either Christians nor Muslims are the future.

I think you are both wrong.

Well. there you go….

As for banning youthful political organisations, there are ample precedents:

In 1986, Norman Tebbit disbanded the Federation of Conservative Students for its deviationist tendencies. And William Hague officially disbanded the Young Conservatives in 1998 for their deviationist tendencies.

@131: “It is a load of nonsense.”

Quite so. I keep asking about when the next damsel stoning is scheduled for:

20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. Deuteronomy 22:20-21
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/kjv/deu022.htm

133. Just Visiting

Chaise 117

> OK. They specifically say that they mean everyone – ALL RELIGIONS – and that’s not good enough for you? Your view of Islam trumps their actual statements?

Let’s stand back and look at the context.

The thread here wanted statements by Muslims, condemning violence done in the name (rightly or wrongly) of Islam.

This letter seems to be the best produced in the thread.

BUT It is not written in the context of what we’re talking here – the issue of violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam.

It does not criticise any actions by Muslims anywhere!

Conclusion:

i) if this is best evidence we have of Islamic figures condeming violence done in the name of Islam……. then we have proven that the violence is indeed 100% allowed in Islam

ii) if we want to examine this letter for views that we think may be transferable to the case of violence by Muslims…. then we must tread very carefully. We cannot assume that the words mean at first glance what western liberals would mean if they are moved to apply now to the situation of violence by Muslims.

Whatever transferable meaning we pull out therefore we must recognise that any direct statements by Muslim figures about violence committed by Mulsims, must trump the interpretation we reached.

So Chaise, I wonder, have you googled for statements by islamic figures about when and how Muslims should fight and use violence?

How about you google, and for the first say 5 you find, summarise it here for us on LC ?

@127 – TBH I don’t think a lot of the letter either way. I do see is as a bit of a threat – it is a bit like when I’ve seen 24 hour news conducting interviews/shouting contests and someone says something along the lines of “you just offended 1.5 billion Muslims” – I can’t help but feel there is a bit of a threat that accompanies it.

In terms of terrorism, I like others find it useful to think of it in terms of supply and demand. Supply being the number of radicalised people, their ability to carry out attacks, their financing, their networks etc. Terrorism supply is reduced by wars, counterterrorims actions, policing, freezing bank accounts, new laws etc. Terrorism demand on the other hand can be thought of in terms of the root causes of terrorism – irrespective of whether these are just root causes.

Almost any action against terrorism supply will at least in the short term increase terrorism demand. If building in Afganstan is blown up by a US drone killing 5 terrorist plotters and 5 civillians – a single action has decreased terrorism supply, but increased terrorist demand. It is a careful balancing act.

The Iraq war certainly increased terrorim demand. But did it reduce demand? That is a pretty speculative question. Certainly there were very minimal links with Islamist terrorist groups and Saddam before the war, so looking at only the short to near term then the Iraq invasion was a mistake. It increased terrorist demand for only a minimal reduction in supply. My personal view, echoing the Bobbitt line which I remember writing about here before is that Saddam would eventually have become a terrorist threat. Naturally terrorist and criminal groups will network with regimes of terror – it’s just a matter of time before they are pressed enough that it is in both of their interests to co-operate.

Terrorism aside, I am an interventionist by heart. I’m afraid I see justice at the individual level, there were too many Kurds, secularists, Shias, Christians and women in that country – all of which were living a gruesome existance under Saddam. I was keen to see something done about it. Sanctions were killing 100,000 per year as it was. How many more years was that to go on for? Or maybe sanctions should have been stopped and Saddam could be left to his own devices.

Yes, while I’m happy to criticise the way the war was carried out, the public justification for it and so on – I’m not entirely of the opinion that it was a bad idea in principle.

135. Arthur Seaton

As always, everything is in the context, and most importantly, not so much in what is said as in what is not said.

Most of Cameron’s statements, taken on their own, I agree with. I have no time for the Muslim Council of Britain, and I do agree that trying to “accomodate” political Islamism is fundamentally misguided.

Like I say – it’s what’s not said. No mention of the unemployment and poverty caused by neoliberalist policies in Muslim – and white – communities which so fuel seperation. No mention of the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza which have so fuelled support for reactionary Islamism in these impoverished Muslim communities. No mention, or support, for progressive Muslims who take on the Islamists. And, most important of all, no mention of the increasing hostility, intimidation and violence Muslims face every day, not least from the ostensibly non-racist – but in actuality very very racist, and violent, and thuggish indeed EDL, who are having their biggest gathering ever on the same weekend of your speech. No condemnation there.

This is quite deliberate. The cuts are about to kick in, causing mass misery in working-class communities. The unions are about to strike back, in some way. This is the classic tactic of divide and rule. The leadership of EDL, for all their “oh-no-its-just-Muslims-we’re-against-honest” rhetoric, have recently come out expressing violent hostility to the “communist” (sic) Unite union, and the student protests. In other words, they are emerging as a classic fascist force, acting as strike-breaking, racist enforcers for the rich in times of crisis.

This speech was Cameron’s calculated attempt to grab the EDL vote, whip up more resentment, and drive a wedge amongst the white and Asian working class at the same time his economic blitzkrieg rains shit down on both. Judging from the comments on the EDL march – he’s got their vote sewn up. Job done Cam. The hardcore racist scrotes are definitely yours. But I’m still confident the great majority of working-class will see through this attempt to rifle their pockets.

136. Just Visiting

Chaise

I’m at a loss why you have over-reacted so.

> And I’m not answering questions for a time-wasting troll like you who repeatedly refuses to do me the same courtesy.

I’ve told you already, I’ll answer any quetsiuon you put to me.

So ask away.

137. Chaise Guevara

@ 129 Bored

You’re changing the subject here. The fact remains that you see a letter written by Muslims making the rather obvious statement that invading Muslim countries risks encouraging Islamist terrorism as a direct threat. And so you criticise people for not condemning this call for an end to violence.

This only works if you employ one of two assumptions. The first, which you seem to be going for, is that all Muslims work together towards a constant goal – the hive mind (obviously that’s not what you said, but it’s the only way I can apply logic to your argument). The second – Geofff goes with this one – is that Muslims are evil because Muslims are evil, and therefore any evidence of Muslims NOT being evil can be safely dismissed as disinformation.

I don’t want to pull a Just Visiting here, so if you or Geoff find these interpretations unfair my ears (or rather eyes) are open to counterarguments.

138. Chaise Guevara

@ 136 Just Visiting.

“I’m at a loss why you have over-reacted so.”

LOL. It’s probably related to you being a troll. Just a guess.

“I’ve told you already, I’ll answer any quetsiuon you put to me.

So ask away.”

Yes, I remember you telling that lie already.

I asked you two questions at 106. You ignored them. Instead you straw-manned me.

If your next response is just more trollish evasion or lying, I will not respond to it. I know people like you get a kick out of pissing off other people who just want a sensible discussion.

139. Just Visiting

Douglas 131

Why is it so hard to see, that if you read someone’s hoy book, starting with the view that
> It is a load of nonsense.

that your interpretation will mean nothing.

If you genuinely want to understand Muslims or christians TODAY, you have to read what THEY write about it TODAY.

It’s 101 Anthology, that’s all, not rocket, science.

> I don’t think either Christians nor Muslims are the future.

Fine, that’s your view.

But christianity and islam are extremely different in how their adherents behave today – and you’ve not challenged that.

So, it still leaves the question – (which you want to avoid it seems):

As practised today – Is christianity or Islam more in accord with western liberal values?

140. Chaise Guevara

134 Geoff

I’m not getting into the rights and wrongs of the war right now. It’s very possible that a case could be made for saying the effects of it were less negative that generally supposed. But plenty of people hold that it encouraged terrorism, and there’s evidence to support that. The problem is that when you say something like this:

“TBH I don’t think a lot of the letter either way. I do see is as a bit of a threat – it is a bit like when I’ve seen 24 hour news conducting interviews/shouting contests and someone says something along the lines of “you just offended 1.5 billion Muslims” – I can’t help but feel there is a bit of a threat that accompanies it.”

…you’re basically saying that any Muslim who voices this not-at-all-unreasonable position is threatening you. In your ears, a call for peace becomes a threat simply because a Muslim is saying it. That’s not good.

@137:

Check out the history of the expansion of Islam.

It was spread by the sword and invasions – see the history with links @100.

Historically, Islam has not been a peaceful religion.

The persisting pressures for introducing Sharia law in Britain or for Mulsim communities in Britain are hardly integrationist.

@ jv

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Robert_Rudolph

Careful not to cast too many stones…………….

143. Just Visiting

Arthur 135

So you don’t disagree with what Cameron said, only what he didn’t say.

Phew, taking that line with every political speech, must be exhausting for you each day!

> No mention of the unemployment and poverty caused by neoliberalist policies in Muslim – and white – communities which so fuel seperation.

You need to expand your logic. The poverty hits many communities – why is it only Muslim communities that respond with 7/7, that send their young men to fight against the UK/USA in Afganistan?

> No mention of the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza which have so fuelled support for reactionary Islamism in these impoverished Muslim communities.

So hiw do you explain the acts of Muslim violence against countries that took no part in those wars?
Do a google today, for Muslim violence round the world. 90% is not in the UK or USA.

> No mention, or support, for progressive Muslims who take on the Islamists.

Indeed – because they are proving to be a hard bunch to find, once you scratch the surface.

Eg, find me some web links, where islamic groups are arguing that apostasy should not be punished with the death penalty.

> And, most important of all, no mention of the increasing hostility, intimidation and violence Muslims face every day, not least from the ostensibly non-racist – but in actuality very very racist, and violent, and thuggish indeed EDL

Facts please.
Don’t pitch Muslims as victims without evidence.
For example, after the Fort Hood shootings in the USA, many newspapers speculated about the coming backlash by the white community. It never happened.
Show us some URLs for the violence against Muslims you refer to.

Just Visiting @ 139,

My point, such as it is, is that religion, such as it is, is about to die out.

It is not that muslims or christians will win. It is that all of you are irrelevant.

“The second – Geofff goes with this one – is that Muslims are evil because Muslims are evil, and therefore any evidence of Muslims NOT being evil can be safely dismissed as disinformation.”

This is a mischaracterisation of what I’ve been saying. I’ve been careful to draw distinctions between Islam as a faith and Muslims. This is going to sound a bit like some evangelical ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ type argument – but it is Islamic extremism that I detest. If all the extremists perpetrating the ills that I have attributed to their beliefs then I’d give them a hug. The trouble with Islam is that like most religions it has certain precepts that are (or can be read to be) quite abhorrant. This is what I consider evil, worth fighting and not worth privilaging.

Geoffff,

No it isn’t. Now piss offfffff.

147. Just Visiting

Chaise

Do cool it -you’ll get a Sally reputation if you use the word troll every poll !

> Why is it reasonable for the letter we’re talking about to be described as “extremism” that people were too slow to “condemn”?

I didn’t say that. Was someone else.

My 133 is what I think about that letter.
Would welcome your comments on it.

> Collary question: if you don’t in fact hold that view, why did you a) defend it and b) not deny that you held it during the course of the last umpteen posts?

Because I’d not spotted at that point that you were no longing repying to what I’d said.
I’d been talking in general terms how words like ‘innocent’ are used differently in Islam to what we as western liberals would expect.

If we don’t understand that difference, we are likely to reach the wrong conclusions about what an Islamic statment means.

Are we being intentionally conned by Muslims sometimes?

IMHO – yes, so far as any Islamic statement that appears to be condeming Islamic violence, if it then goes on to quote Quranic erses saying that life is sacred and should never be taken.

Because every knowledgeable Muslim knows that the taking of life is actually part of Sharia law – death for apostates and adulterers.
Therefore they are knowingly being misleading, to fool a Western (or non-Islam savvy) audience.

148. Chaise Guevara

@ 145

” I’ve been careful to draw distinctions between Islam as a faith and Muslims.”

No you haven’t. You really, really, haven’t. You are using the fact that the writers are Muslims to say that they must be lying when they say something that indicates that they think people of all religions should be protected from violence. You are using the fact that the writers are Muslims to assume that instead of simply making a valid point, they are making a veiled threat.

#146 – A true wit.

150. Just Visiting

Douglas 144

> It is not that muslims or christians will win. It is that all of you are irrelevant.

Fine, if that’s your view.

No one can predict the future, so only time will tell.

So you’re happy for the rest of us to discuss the violence committed in the name of Islam worldwide – and to do a compare and contrast on how compatible with western liberal values christianity vs islam are?

Thanks

151. Chaise Guevara

@ 147 Just Visiting.

“Do cool it -you’ll get a Sally reputation if you use the word troll every poll !”

Fortunately for me, I only call people trolls when they’re trolling. I’ll be reet.

“I didn’t say that. Was someone else.”

I’m fully aware of that. But you were responding to what I’d said in response to them, in a way that didn’t actually address my response but instead started smearing (accurately or otherwise) Islam. Which was irrelevant.

If you respond to something I say, I’m going to assume that what you write is supposed to be related to what I said.

“My 133 is what I think about that letter.”

A few salient bits:

“It does not criticise any actions by Muslims anywhere!”

True. And it should. But that falls a long way short of what Geofff is talking about.

“i) if this is best evidence we have of Islamic figures condeming violence done in the name of Islam……. then we have proven that the violence is indeed 100% allowed in Islam”

Fortunately it’s not. Some examples are collated here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/islfatwa.htm. So we have proven that hypothesis false.

“Because I’d not spotted at that point that you were no longing repying to what I’d said.”

That’s pretty good, coming from you. You started the conversation by not replying to what I said. It went downhill from there.

“I’d been talking in general terms how words like ‘innocent’ are used differently in Islam to what we as western liberals would expect.

If we don’t understand that difference, we are likely to reach the wrong conclusions about what an Islamic statment means.”

Unless we, y’know, actually read the statement, which directly states that it condemns violence against people of all faiths. Sorry that doesn’t fit your presuppositions.

As for Googling and listing the top 5 hits, and so forth… that’s got to be the least scientific experiment I’ve ever heard of. Think about how both journalism and Google work for a moment and you’ll realise why.

FYI, I’m clocking off for the night.

I found this related item on a blog I occasionally trawl through when I need to laugh at massive chozzlers:

http://hillbuzz.org/2011/02/06/ground-report-on-british-pm-camerons-multiculturalism-has-failed-remarks/#comments

It’s like walking through the Looking glass let me tell ya.

Just Visiting @ 147,

Because every knowledgeable Muslim knows that the taking of life is actually part of Sharia law – death for apostates and adulterers.

Perhaps, but you are and I are alive, and the last time I dealt with a muslim he sold me a curry?

Perhaps he did want to murder me.

Although these evil bastards don’t seem to know what a decent raita was. Or, what about my doctor?

What a lot of site you talk.

Declare war?

You are some sort of sick and daft iconoclast.

the word was shite.

155. Just Visiting

Chaise

You said to Geoff:
> You are using the fact that the writers are Muslims to say that they must be lying when they say something that indicates that they think people of all religions should be protected from violence.

Chaise. You’re over-stating here. (better than Douglas’s resort to abuse..)

For example, here on LC there is often discussion of how key phrases are dog-whisles poitically to one group.
Or just above, Arthur agreed 100% with what caeron said, but disagreed with what he didn’t say.

In politics, this is normal.
The letter in question was written to politicians, with a view to advocating a change of policy.

So what is wrong with realising that certain words are used differently in Islamic circles.

I raised the use of ‘innocent’ – do you agree or disagree that this usually can only mean Muslims, to an Islamic audience?

Likewise the word civilian. Did you know that some Islamic figures have argued that there are no civilians among the Jews in Israel. Not even the women or children?

So it appears that Islamic figures also do not have the same approach to their use of language, they are more comfortable ‘redefining’ words, than we western liberals would be.

JV
A silly example – because Mohammed forbade non-family adult men and women to be together: this causes problems when Muslims want to apply strict Sharia to a mixed office environment.

They cannot un-write what Mohammed commanded.
But they can follow the ‘work round’ that he used: the work round allows the ban to be in place, but mixed staff in an office.

The workround is that any man the women breastfeeds becomes family, and is thus allowed to mix with her !

Fatwas to this effect are raised from time to time the last one I heard was from Saudi last year.

With such an attitude, they can with clear heart say ‘women must never be in a room with non-family men’.
Whereas to a Western liberal mindset, we would throw a wobbly here on LC if a UK religious leader or political leader advocated a comparable ‘work round’ – we’d call it deceptive and so on.
The islamic approach does appear deceptive to a western liberal viewpoint in cases such as this.

156. Just Visiting

Chaise

You refer to: http://www.religioustolerance.org/islfatwa.htm.

Which are the 2 or 3 most persuasive condemnations of islamic terrorism there?
I’ve not seen that page before,

> As for Googling and listing the top 5 hits, and so forth… that’s got to be the least scientific experiment I’ve ever heard of.

Ok, fair enough : tell us the evidence you have gathered then, on the statements by islamic figures about when and how Muslims should fight and use violence?

Just visiting,

better than Douglas’s resort to abuse.

Y’what?

It is obvious as you like that I disagree with you. I have tried to avoid abuse about you. I have may not met my own high standards on you being a bit if a tit.

But, there you go….

158. Just Visiting

Cylux 152

You think that LC doesn’t sometimes read equally as whacky, to a first time visitor!

159. Just Visiting

Douglas 153

So you quote a line from my post, but nothing you wrote responded to it.

Do you want to try again?
Or did you mean that you couldn’t find any facts n which to disagree with my statement:

>Because every knowledgeable Muslim knows that the taking of life is actually part of Sharia law – death for apostates and adulterers.

160. Just Visiting

Chaise

I’ve had a 10 minute look at the list URL you gave:
> http://www.religioustolerance.org/islfatwa.htm.

Disappointing the quality level of them.

Must have taken you a while to filter out and find the valid statements forbidding islamic violence.
Which ones did you end up with I wonder?

This guy was a double howler:
> All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason.

What…. so you can terrorize the innocents, so long as you have a justifiable reason ?

> Islam has declared the spilling of blood and the destruction of property as absolute prohibitions until the Day of Judgment

Oh dear, that guy’s either lying, or knows so little of Islam that he shouldn’t be making public statements about it.

Spilling of blood is not forbidden – because the death penalty exists in Islam.

Try this about the Barbary Coast pirates:

” . . . In addition to seizing ships, they engaged in Razzias, raids on European coastal towns and villages, mainly in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, but also in Britain, the Netherlands, Ireland, and as far away as Iceland. The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Islamic market in North Africa and the Middle East. . . ”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_corsairs

162. Just Visiting

Bob

I know you’re trying to help….. but we’re talking about NOW, not about the past..

@162: “I know you’re trying to help….. but we’re talking about NOW, not about the past..”

I’m not trying to help only to show that Islam through centuries was historically not a peaceful religion. The atrocities of 9/11 in America in 2001, the bombings in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005 and the slaughter in Mumbai in 2008 speak eloquently for themselves. As for now, try recent news reports of death sentences passed under Sharia law:

Shocking footage emerges of Taliban stoning couple to death
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8287154/Shocking-footage-emerges-of-Taliban-stoning-couple-to-death.html

A YOUNG woman stoned to death in Afghanistan’s north had run away from home because her father had sold her into marriage with a wealthy relative
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/world/Stoning-victim-was-bought-bride.6711641.jp

Bangladeshi family tells of grief over girl whipped to death
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/04/bangladeshi-girl-whipping-fatwa

“You are using the fact that the writers are Muslims to say that they must be lying when they say something that indicates that they think people of all religions should be protected from violence. You are using the fact that the writers are Muslims to assume that instead of simply making a valid point, they are making a veiled threat.”

I have no way of knowing whether some of the signatories are signing wholely or partially as a veiled threat – but since I know that the words civillian and peace are not always given the same meaning as in the West, and since there is evidence of this double speak, and since it is not uncommon for Muslim leaders to frame actions that they don’t like in terms of offence and if the actions aren’t changed violence follows – I don’t think it is unreasonable of me to suspect that at least some of the signatories are carrying out a veiled threat in signing the letter. You can guarantee that in the large consituency that those leaders represent, at least a proportion of them would read it as a threat and would be happy to have it read as a threat. Groups can’t have it both ways, they can’t epect to be making pronouncements as homogenous groups and yet avoid criticism because they aren’t homogenous.

This is a reasonable, evidence based assumption and not a blanket ascertion that all Muslims (or even a majority) are evil.

Btw to avoid any misunderstandings about Sharia law, according to Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, a sacred text which is much older than the Koran, the punishment prescribed there for adultery is death for both the man and the woman:

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/kjv/deu022.htm

166. Just Visiting

Chaise

what Geoff says.

Seems like we do really need to see your list of the most compelling denouncements of islamic violence by Islamic figures – so we can weight them up in the same way.

Maybe try to avoid any MCB statements:
– as well as Peter Tatchells criticisms of htem I quoted above, there is also this from last year:

“Muslim Council of Britain condemns ban on Dr Zakir Naik entering UK”

And he is not a nice chap it seems:
————————————————
“Zakir Naik, an Indian televangelist described as a “hate-monger” by moderate Muslims and one Tory MP, says western women make themselves “more susceptible to rape” by wearing revealing clothing.

Naik, who proselytises on Peace TV, a satellite television channel, is reported to have called for the execution of Muslims who change their faith, described Americans as “pigs” and said that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”.

In a recent lecture, he said he was “with” Osama Bin Laden over the attacks on “terrorist America”, adding that the 9/11 hijackings were an inside job by President George W Bush.

167. Just Visiting

Bob

you’ve done it again… this time whataboutery….. it doesn’t matter how bad you think some verses form a holy book are…. if we talking, as you say, about Sharia law – and about what Muslims do in the name of Islam TODAY – versus christians etc.

Please Bob…. stop and think and double check before you post.
You have been mocked on other threads for your behaviour, so it;s in your interest to be sure you are staying on topic.

In particular, I’d say that it is 99.9% likely to be unhelpful, if you (or anyone) quotes from a holy book without quoting a contemporary religious adherent who is doing the quoting.

@167: Just Visiting – Frankly, I don’t give a monkey’s what you think about my posts here or in other threads. What matters is the reasoning and the supporting sources whether you personally approve or not.

My intent in quoting Deuteronomy, which is part of the Torah of judaism, was to show that ancient jewish laws were as terrible as Sharia law is and were very likely an inspiration for it.

The important lesson to be drawn, surely, is that such brutal law is not applied in Christian countries nor in Israel now whereas Sharia law is applied in some Islamic countries and there is pressure to introduce Sharia law to Britain.

But any – have a bash yourself, spend an evening googling, and find the most liberal islamic group you can – and share it here.

I’ve no interest in such an argument, Just Visiting, because – however unconsciously – you’re inclined to see the worst in any of these figures. For example, you quote this dude as saying…

All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason.

…and add…

What…. so you can terrorize the innocents, so long as you have a justifiable reason ?

Except “the killing of non-combatants” was clearly distinct from “terroriz[ing] innocents“, and if you really feel this man should be denounced for implying the former can be justified then, well, fine but you’d have to be a pacifist. (Even your interpretation would be tolerated by people who feel the bombings of, say, Hiroshima or Dresden were quite justifiable. Still, that’s by the by.)

Anyone who thinks there aren’t deep-rooted problems in Islamic theology is kidding themselves. (The Shari’a-shrouded Cairo declaration is a sobering example.) On the other hand, there’s obviously no accord on this or any issue and I see no use in picking through the statements of each conflicting cleric. If you’d offer a thesis that’d be more interesting.

For interest, I thought to compare the ways in which women were treated in the much defamed Anglo-Saxon laws with how they are legislated for in the Torah and Sharia law. This is what I came across:

Women in Anglo-Saxon England were near equal companions to the males in their lives, such as husbands and brothers, much more than in any other era before modern time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_women

Scrutiny of other texts online shows that adultery was not a capital crime in Anglo-Saxon laws, as in the Torah or in Sharia law. The most severe prescribed punishment for adultery I came upon was in the ordinances of Cnut (985 or 995 – 1035), which was for the guilty woman to have her ears and nose cut off.

The difference in the legal treatment of women is stark and fundamental. I can only wonder why Anglo-Saxon law was so much more humane.

JustVisiting:

1) Your suggestion that Muslims who say they don’t believe in killing civilians, because their religion imposes the death penalty, is *monumentally* fatuous. About 50% of people in the UK support the death penalty (the offence they support it for is irrelevant – the outcome is the killing of a person). Does that mean that they can’t condemn the murder of civilians either?

2) Even if your point wasn’t entirely stupid, the Christian Reconstructionism movement, which has been a significant influence on the Moral Majority and the wider US Christian Right revival, explicitly advocates the death penalty for adultery, blasphemy, idolatry and homosexuality, on the grounds that that’s what the Bible says. I found them after ten seconds on Google. Perhaps I could give you research classes?

Johnb,

Scrutiny of other texts online shows that adultery was not a capital crime in Anglo-Saxon laws, as in the Torah or in Sharia law. The most severe prescribed punishment for adultery I came upon was in the ordinances of Cnut (985 or 995 – 1035), which was for the guilty woman to have her ears and nose cut off.

The difference in the legal treatment of women is stark and fundamental. I can only wonder why Anglo-Saxon law was so much more humane.

Eh!

No it isn’t. It is completely barbaric.

Oh what! I missed Just Visiting…I love that guy…cause no matter how many times he ‘just visits’ he always seems to stay for the atmos…ah bless, I reckon he is quite a nice friendly bloke, under all that right wing bile.

Frankly, Cameron’s speech was laughable.

175. organic cheeseboard

we must stop these groups from reaching people in publicly-funded institutions like universities

most universities are losing almost all their public funding under Cameron.

Douglas – I’ve no opinion at all on the relative merits of Mosaic and Druidic law, knowing less than the square root of fuck all about the latter; I think you meant “Bob B”…

126
You are making the same mistake that many others are doing on this thread – you are using the actions of a few to represent the many.

If we take your argument to it’s logical conclusion we would have to consider the deaths caused by the IRA as evidence of the Catholic, And those caused by the Republican Army as evidence of the protestant.
But why leave it there, Hiroshima and the casualties of ww1 and ww2 indicate the character
of the west. And let’s not forget about the holy wars.

BTW The quote relating to the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is a reference to the prevailing ‘conspiracy’ that the Muslims’ are attempting to take over the world, which several of your posts infer if not exactly state.
Ditto 113

178. Chaise Guevara

@155 Just Visiting

“I raised the use of ‘innocent’ – do you agree or disagree that this usually can only mean Muslims, to an Islamic audience?”

I neither agree not disagree. Not enough data. Irrelevant in this case, of course, because despite you and Geoff continuing your “la la la I’m not listening” game, the letter we’re actually talking about is not guilty of this.

Likewise the word civilian. Did you know that some Islamic figures have argued that there are no civilians among the Jews in Israel. Not even the women or children?”

Ditto.

179. Chaise Guevara

@ 156

“Which are the 2 or 3 most persuasive condemnations of islamic terrorism there?
I’ve not seen that page before,”

Dunno, You asked for a source. You got it. I’m not going to provide analysis for you as well.

“Ok, fair enough : tell us the evidence you have gathered then, on the statements by islamic figures about when and how Muslims should fight and use violence?”

I haven’t. Stop banging in with stupid non-sequiters: again, that is troll behaviour.

180. Chaise Guevara

@

“Seems like we do really need to see your list of the most compelling denouncements of islamic violence by Islamic figures – so we can weight them up in the same way.”

What list? I don’t have one. I gave you evidence, though. You sneered at its “quality”, whatever that may mean. This list is a figment of your trollish imagination.

181. Chaise Guevara

Above is @ Just Visiting. If you have to ask…

182. Chaise Guevara

@ 164 Geofff

“This is a reasonable, evidence based assumption and not a blanket ascertion that all Muslims (or even a majority) are evil.”

Oh, no, not at all. Just an excuse to say that they must be lying when they speak of peace.

I’ve tried to keep my temper with you, but you really are a nasty little bigot. You’re making Just Visiting look like a reasonable human being.

Chaise,

I really wouldn’t bother – this is one of those topics that swiftly becomes pointless discussing online.

JohnB,

oops!

apolgies 🙁

185. Chaise Guevara

@ 183

What isn’t? Bah.

@182 Chaise “Oh, no, not at all. Just an excuse to say that they must be lying when they speak of peace.”

It being ‘just an excuse’ would be my lowest possible motivation for saying what I’ve said. If for some reason you are keen to assume the worst in me, then there is little I can do but reassure you that you are mistaken.

Let’s imagine that a group of EDL type groups signed a similar letter saying that they were against racism is semi-ambiguous terms. A similar list of suspicions could be provided and lead one to conclude that at least some of the signatories, and certainly many of those that they represent are not being entirely honest. Would that make me a bigot in regards to the EDL?

It strikes me that you have a problem with people questioning the pronouncements of group representatives. I’m afraid skepticism, and perhaps a degree of cynicism runs deep in me. If a joint letter from Zionist groups re Gaza was issued, claiming that any international action in Gaza would likely increase Zionist terrorism, I would be raising the exact same questions…. No matter how correct they might be, is there an element of a threat attached to it? Are some of the signatories being disengenuious?

Being skeptical of public pronouncements, especially of a highly political nature, doesn’t make me a bigot – it makes me sensible.

The far right ,panty wetting little babies always need their bogey men to keep them scared at night, and Islam is the latest version. Just Visiting is the epitome of your nappy wearing , little right wing moron, hiding under his bed cloths in case the nasty Muslim knock on his door. Before this it was Communism, and before that it was Jews, and before that it was Catholics, and before that it was probably Penguins marching as an army in their nightmares to kill their babies.

These poor deluded excuses for human beings always need an enemy. That is the only way they can feel superior. They are useless, talent less plebs who only get any attention convincing people the bogey man is going to get them if they don‘t surrender to Mr Pleby and his brown shirt views..

188. Planeshift

Ok, I know I shouldn’t do this…but:

“These poor deluded excuses for human beings always need an enemy”

Sally, you could say exactly the same thing about that broad group of people called ‘the left’ – for whom the ruling class, the USA, Israel, Toffs, various corporations, etc perform a similar function.

I agree with Cameron as far as the issue of immigration is concerned. The immigration rules of Britain as well as those of other European countries are very benevolent which results in the growing number of people who don’t know neither the language nor the culture of their new country. There definitely needs to be an improved system implemented in order to eliminate these trends.

190. Just Visiting

Hey guys

looks like I missed a load of posting today.

More heat than light it would seem.

For the record:

i) I am not bed-wetting myself scared of Muslims (thanks Sally)
ii) I do not think that all Muslims want to commit violence in it’s name.
(Chaise – that explicitly means I don’t believe ‘But obviously all Muzlimz iz evilz, and so any nice thing they say is deception’ – OK)
iii) all the Muslims I have met are nice and friendly towards me (apart from the ones who groped my wife when on holiday in Tunisia a couple of years back)
iv) I don’t think that all 100% of Muslims agree on everything.
v) I do think that Islam worldwide as a culture has common themes that any anthropologist would be happy to examine in a ‘compare and contrast’ basis
vi) these common themes make Islam today distinct from other religions today
vi) any issues and questions of Islam I raise here, are about Islam – they are explictly not attributing anything to “all Muslims”

So back to the thread – the facts are:
a) No one has linked to a robust and reliable statement by Islamic figures denouncing Islamic violence. If they exist, why is no-one here willing to take 5 minutes to google and find one?

Chaise mentioned : http://www.religioustolerance.org/islfatwa.htm.

But as I showed, some of the statements made there are not all robust.

b) no one has disagreed that certain words like ‘innocent’ are used differently in Islam to what we as western liberals would expect.

c) No one has raised evidence/URLS that the death penalty is not mainstream Islam.

d) No one can point to a well supported campaign by Islamic groups against that death penalty.

e) No one has denied that there are statements out there by Islamic figures that appear to denounce Islamic violence, but which must be intended to deceive because those statements refer to Quran verses saying that it is always wrong to take a life – which is not true because as above Islam has the death penalty right there in it.

f) no one denies that the Islamic ‘Cairo’ convention on Human rights – has explicitly removed the parts giving equal rights to women and non-Muslims, from the International convention. And that around 60 Muslim nations have signed up to Cairo.

g) no one denies that a quick google shows that EVERY DAY people are being killed worldwide by Muslims, who are justifying their acts in the name of Islam.

h) no one here denies that some reputable people, with no religious ax to grind, are very concerned about some of the illiberal attributes of Islam – eg Peter Tatchall and Richard Dawkins.

191. Just Visiting

Bensix 169

> Anyone who thinks there aren’t deep-rooted problems in Islamic theology is kidding themselves. (The Shari’a-shrouded Cairo declaration is a sobering example.)

I agree with you there.
I wonder what Chaise or Douglas would say?

> On the other hand, there’s obviously no accord on this or any issue and I see no use in picking through the statements of each conflicting cleric.

What is your evidence for saying there is no accord? – Can you quote some URLs of reputable sources.
You mention the Cairo convention there – -doesn’t 60-odd countries acting together to exclude the rights of women and non-Muslims represent enough of an accord?

To be really clear – it is not enough to show that one or two Islamic sources disagree on minor issues with each other, to prove ‘lack of accord’.
So there is no point to point out such disagreements.

192. Just Visiting

John B

Sorry, but you’re attacking things I did not say.

> Your suggestion that Muslims who say they don’t believe in killing civilians, because their religion imposes the death penalty, is *monumentally* fatuous.

I didn’t say that.
What I said was concerning statements by Islamic sources who say that
i) terrorism is unIslamic
ii) and support this by quoting Quran verses that say the taking of a life is always wrong

Because mainstream Islam supports the death penalty for various reasons, we know 100% that islamic theologians do NOT interpret those Quranic verses to bar such punishments.

Therefore we know that those verses are simply not a theological basis within Islam for condeming terrorism in the name of Islam.

QED – those making such statements are either
– being intentionally misleading
– are so ignorant of mainstream Islam, that one wonders how they can be reputable Islamic sources at all

> 2) … the Christian Reconstructionism movement, … explicitly advocates the death penalty for adultery, blasphemy, idolatry and homosexuality

My criticisms of Islam are of it’s core minstream views.
Not the views of some whacky, isolated, tiny minority, who are shunned by the rest of Islam.

So comparing like for like:
* mainstream Islam has the death penalty for adultery and apostasy.

* Can you find a mainstream christian group taking the same line?

(Hint – they are not mainstream if their views are not causing the death of people daily and weekly worldwide.
(They are not mainstream if no Big christian groups are willing to work with them, speak on public platforms with them.

193. Just Visiting

Steve B 177

> You are making the same mistake that many others are doing on this thread – you are using the actions of a few to represent the many.

So when 61 Muslim nations enshrine in the Cairo convention, that women and non-muslims do not have equal rights…

Surely you can’t argue that they are they still a minority ?

JV: “Because mainstream Islam supports the death penalty for various reasons, we know 100% that islamic theologians do NOT interpret those Quranic verses to bar such punishments. Therefore we know that those verses are simply not a theological basis within Islam for condeming terrorism in the name of Islam.”

Sorry, but that makes no sense.

Supporting the death penalty for people who are convicted of crimes *is not the same thing* as supporting the murder of people who aren’t convicted of crimes.

While I’m an opponent of the death penalty in all its forms, it would be deeply fatuous of me to suggest that anyone who supports the death penalty is happy to see terrorists killing people, which is what your argument boils down to.

I know a reasonable amount about Christian theology, and the general consensus on reconciling the laws in Leviticus with the Ten Commandments is to take “Thou shalt not kill” as meaning “Thou shalt not kill unlawfully” or “Thou shalt not murder”. It doesn’t preclude killing in a just war or as a decreed punishment for a crime.

There’s no reason not to apply the same logic here.

To be really clear – it is not enough to show that one or two Islamic sources disagree on minor issues with each other, to prove ‘lack of accord’.
So there is no point to point out such disagreements.

Let me put it this way, JV: that Mohammed Hegazy is a free man shows there’s no accord. That his freedom and indeed his life are under such a threat shows there’s enough absolutism for us to be concerned.

196. Just Visiting

John b

> Supporting the death penalty for people who are convicted of crimes *is not the same thing* as supporting the murder of people who aren’t convicted of crimes.

Let’s take someone who takes the opposite view to you – they support the death penalty for certain crimes, based on their understanding of religion X.

For them to use isolated religious verses that state that ALL killing is wrong – is clearly being misleading. Those verses are about killing in general.

They clearly do not interpret those isolated verses to mean that the death penalty is wrong.

And therefore those verses can have no bearing on any other kind of killing either.

197. Just Visiting

Bensix

> Let me put it this way, JV: that Mohammed Hegazy is a free man shows there’s no accord. That his freedom and indeed his life are under such a threat shows there’s enough absolutism for us to be concerned.

This is illogical.

It is like saying ‘I can find a couple of members of the far right who say they are not racist, therefore the the far right mainstream can’t be said to be racist’ !

By definition – when talking about the mainstream, it is irrelevant what an unrepresentatve fringe may say.

Back to your need for ‘accord’.
You yourself brought up the Cairo convention – but you have not answered my question – are 61 Muslim nations in agreement not enough to show an accord !

198. Just Visiting

A message to Chaise BenSix, Steve B etc

IMHO you seem to be coming to this problem with a desire NOT to believe that mainstream Islam can be incompatible with liberal values.

And that underlying desire is causing you to actively avoid the discussion, and make illogical points to do so.

This tendency has been discussed a few times before on LC.

The reason liberals are in denial in this regard is fairly clear – it is an uncomfortable position for a liberal mind to reach.

You guys have maybe made the made the connection that:
– cricicising mainstream islam = a racist attack on all Muslims.

That is of course not a genuine connection – in the same way that criticism of official catholic policy in issue X, is an attack on all catholics..

Of course not every Muslim acts or says the same.
But any anthropologist would be a ‘compare and contrast’ to see what the common ideology behind Islam is – just as they would to uderstand the mainstream culture of catholicism or the UK far right.

If I’ve mis-taken your position, I apologise.

If so – then to demonstrate that you are willing to explore some of the problem issues – can you respond point by point to 190 above.

198

Reading over the posts, I think you have (whether intentionally or not) mis-interpreted what people are saying.

1. “IMHO you seem to be coming to this problem with a desire NOT to believe that mainstream Islam can be incompatible with liberal values.”

You may indeed think that, but it doesn’t mean you are obviously right that people who disagree with you have some agenda that, whatever the evidence, they will never accept that aspects of Islam could be viewed as incompatible with liberal values. Of course there are tub thumping loonies of many stripes, but it certainly possible to believe that the vast majority of muslims in this country, and in many others, espousea value system which is quite compatible with liberal values.

Indeed, it is probably easier to argue that fundamentalist Christians pose more of a clear and present danger to liberal values in the West than fundamentalist muslims do. The vast majority of “mainsteam” muslims out there who are no more a threat to liberal values than mainstram Christians are.

2. “You guys have maybe made the made the connection that:
– cricicising mainstream islam = a racist attack on all Muslims.”

No, sorry, that’s not what is being said or done. The concern is that all to frequently the “mainstream” right fall into the lazy, broad-brush generalisation that there is in fact no such thing as a “mainstream” muslim, and consciously or otherwise feed the narrative that they are “other” and guilty by association, or by dint of the fact they don’t condemn fundamentalism often or loudly enough.

I would venture that this kind of false connection is both more common, and more dangerous, to our society and our liberties than the false connection you are complaining about.

193
I have never alluded to the subject of women’s rights, however, it is only recently that ‘women’s rights’ in the UK have placed them nearer to equality with men.
The problem of women’s inequality spreads much further than within Muslim communities, it appears that Roma culture within the UK remains totally patriarcha also. Mormans in the USA.
Many African tribes remain totally patriarchal and the recent revival of paganism,another patriarchal religion. is increasing throughout western countries.
Quoting violent episodes involving Muslims without balancing it against all violent episodes isn’t good debate, if we used all evidence in that way it could be argued that nearly all child-killers in the UK are men, therefore all men are child-killers, it’s a logical fallacy and you use it frequently in your posts.

JV: fine, just for clarity’s sake, you’re saying that no Christian can possibly support the death penalty for any offence whilst a) opposing murder and b) citing “thou shalt not kill” as reasons for their opposition to murder?

That’s an argument I made in my RS class when I was 12, and lost, rightly, to my teacher, who pointed out “well, *acts of evil committed by individuals* are considered different from *acts of punishment committed by the authorities*”. Which, scarily, you seem to be incapable of understanding.

202. Chaise Guevara

@ 186 Geofff

“It being ‘just an excuse’ would be my lowest possible motivation for saying what I’ve said. If for some reason you are keen to assume the worst in me, then there is little I can do but reassure you that you are mistaken.”

But I’m not. You seemed halfway reasonable so I gave you several opportunities to explain before I started shouting “bigot” at you. You just repeated the same bigoted opinion over and over again.

“Let’s imagine that a group of EDL type groups signed a similar letter saying that they were against racism is semi-ambiguous terms. A similar list of suspicions could be provided and lead one to conclude that at least some of the signatories, and certainly many of those that they represent are not being entirely honest. Would that make me a bigot in regards to the EDL?”

Depends on the ambiguity in question, doesn’t it? But what has this to do with the very unambiguous letter under discussion? Oh, I remember: being a Muslim means that any psotive statement you make is at least ambiguous and at worst a lie, doesn’t it.

But no, you’re not a bigot at all…

203. Chaise Guevara

@ 190 Just Visiting

“I don’t think that all 100% of Muslims agree on everything.”

“no one has disagreed that certain words like ‘innocent’ are used differently in Islam to what we as western liberals would expect.”

FAIL!

Just Visiting, you are trolling. I would say you are a troll, but that’s not true based on your contributions to other threads. You’re a reasonable contributer who turns into a troll the moment Islam is mentioned.

Some examples of trolling:

*Talking in non-sequiters that smear a group you dislike.

*Refusing to answer questions, repeatedly, then acting surprised when someone points this out. Then saying you’ll answer any questions, then, 50% of the time, ignoring the questions again.

*Demanding proof for something that the other poster has not said and that they do not need to prove to support their point (e.g. that some Muslims denounce extreme Muslim violence).
**When they finally do so just to shut you up, moving the goalposts (e.g. demanding proof that this attitude is normal among Muslims, or more common among Muslims than Christians)
**If that fails, demanding that the other poster deliver on a promise they never made (“lets see your list” or whatever).

*Straight-up ad homming (e.g. “Chaise thinks criminal Muslims just haven’t understood Islam properly).

ALL OF WHICH is a load of pathetic and childish whataboutery to avoid people taking a fair view of Muslims.

I know why you do this. You’re annoyed because you think some liberals have a double-standard when it comes to Muslims. And you’re right. But DON’T pin that attitude on all liberals, because that’s stupid, and don’t derail threads by converting into trollform every time the word “Islam” comes up.

Christ on a bike.

By definition – when talking about the mainstream, it is irrelevant what an unrepresentatve fringe may say.

It’s not an unrepresentative fringe, JV. The point is that the entire society is conflicted over how to treat the man, from its clerics to its judiciary. Does this mean there’s nowt to worry us? No. The fact that his conversion was even a matter for debate gives us cause to worry. But the fact that there’s debate shows that opinion on the matter isn’t monolithic.

You yourself brought up the Cairo convention – but you have not answered my question – are 61 Muslim nations in agreement not enough to show an accord !

No. The UN Declaration on Human Rights was signed by far more nations and it’s hard to think of a government that represents its ideals. At most it shows that Islam lends itself to authoritarian governance inasmuch as it’s clearly the view of many that Shari’ah is, in many ways, binding on all people. (I’ll admit I’ve not acknowledged this in the past.) That’s bloody problematic, yes, but its also open to a huge variance of opinion.

That variance is important because while I won’t deny that there are common threads running throughout different interpretations of Islam they’ve not got such a chokehold that it can be seen as a bloc.

This is a rather bland conclusion, though, so again I’ll ask you: what’s your thesis? What do you think’s the problem and what should be done about it?

@202 Chaise – You too seemed half sensible before you ceased debating and started shouting bigot instead. I’ll repeat what I’ve said…

It strikes me that you have a problem with people questioning the pronouncements of group representatives. I’m afraid skepticism, and perhaps a degree of cynicism runs deep in me. If a joint letter from Zionist groups re Gaza was issued, claiming that any international action in Gaza would likely increase Zionist terrorism, I would be raising the exact same questions…. No matter how correct they might be, is there an element of a threat attached to it? Are some of the signatories being disengenuious?

Being skeptical of public pronouncements, especially of a highly political nature, doesn’t make me a bigot – it makes me sensible.

206. Chaise Guevara

“No matter how correct they might be, is there an element of a threat attached to it? Are some of the signatories being disengenuious?”

Maybe if it was Zionist groups in Israel rather than Jewish groups in, say, the US (which would be a much closer analogy). And even then, no, I wouldn’t see that as a threat if they specifically talked about protecting all civilians.

“Being skeptical of public pronouncements, especially of a highly political nature, doesn’t make me a bigot – it makes me sensible.”

True. But to defend the idea that a letter of peace can be condemned as “extremism”, simply because it was a Muslim that wrote it, definitely does. And that’s the viewpoint you’re defending by saying that this letter can be interpreted as blackmail.

You took a letter that said all citizens of all religions should be defended and refused to interpret it under anything other than Islamic law – despite the fact that, by your own words, Islamic law would say that people of other religions were not citizens.

So to you, a call for peace becomes blackmail because a Muslim says it. Having checked a couple of times to make sure I haven’t misread you, that leaves me two options: call you a bigot, or keep quiet about you being a bigot out of courtesy.

@206 – Still no.

“True. But to defend the idea that a letter of peace can be condemned as “extremism”, simply because it was a Muslim that wrote it, definitely does. And that’s the viewpoint you’re defending by saying that this letter can be interpreted as blackmail.”

Firstly I have not condemned it as extremism. I said it reminded me of responses to comentators who are critical of Islam as having ‘just offended 1.5 billion muslims’ and how considering the history of offence leading to violence in quarters of the Muslim community that can be percieved as a threat. This combined with the slippery notions of civillian and innocent in the statements in English of some leading Muslim thinkers (I referenced Tariq Ramadan) does not seem at all unreasonable of me.

Secondly, my refusal to take the letter uncritically at face value is not because it was written by a Muslim. If it had been written by a single, identified Muslim then one could look in to that individuals history, previous statements etc and from that be able to interpret the letter with greater confidence one way or another. Instead, the letter was written/signed by a broad range of individuals and groups – the history of some can’t let me simply accept your interpretation of the letter on face value.

For example, the MCB was a signatory to the letter – I’m not prepared to take their statements at face value – not because they are Muslim but because of their past actions. For example, and this is just the first one that I googled – it is dissapointing to see their spokeman refusing to condemn suicide bombings. It was an easy question to answer straight – but repeatedly we see him revert to this notion of “innocent civillians”. His failure to condemn, and instead praise of Sheik Yassin – mass murderer and sabateur of the peace process in the Middle East is similarly disturbing.

See: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/831

208. Chaise Guevara

207 Geofff

When you said all that, you were criticising my criticism of someone who was claiming that the letter was extremist blackmail, and you’ve made several points trying to back up his views. If you weren’t defending his position, what was your actual point?

208 – I said “TBH I don’t think a lot of the letter either way.” I don’t see it it as a great extremist ploy, nor do I see it as a convincing call for peace. My point is that some of the signatories have mixed record on extremism and a willingness to condemn it and the slippery notions of ‘innocent’ ‘civillians’ and ‘peace’ don’t help in convincing me that some of the signatories and the conistuencies they represent aren’t being disingenuous in what is clearly a letter with intended political impact.

210. Chaise Guevara

Apologies then – from the way you entered the conversation it seemed as if you were making those points to support Bored, which puts them in a very different context.

However, I would still say that if you won’t accept the letter-writer saying, “all civilians of all religions”, there’s little point reading the letter in the first place.

211. Just Visiting

Galen 199

>> “IMHO you seem to be coming to this problem with a desire NOT to believe that mainstream Islam can be incompatible with liberal values.”
> You may indeed think that, but it doesn’t mean you are obviously right

True enough.
So what is _your_ view on this?
Are any aspects of mainstream Islam incompatible with liberal values ?

212. Just Visiting

Bensix 204

Thanks for responding civilly. (something to learn there, Chaise).

>> You yourself brought up the Cairo convention – but you have not answered my question – are 61 Muslim nations in agreement not enough to show an accord !
>
> No. The UN Declaration on Human Rights was signed by far more nations and it’s hard to think of a government that represents its ideals.

I don’t understand your point.

You had claimed there was no accord in Islam about illiberal views.

I pointed to 61 Islamic countries who all agreed with each, to enshrine non-equality for women and non-Muslims in the Cairo convention.
This means – that if 61 Muslim countries agree – that there must surely represent an accord of Muslims.

No one can say anymore ‘there is no consensus in Islam’ – when the majority of Muslim countries have agreed on it!

213. Chaise Guevara

@ 212

“Thanks for responding civilly. (something to learn there, Chaise).”

Sigh. Making passive-aggressive comments in posts aimed at someone else is another form of troll behaviour.

214. Just Visiting

Hi Sunny

Please, for the 3rd time of asking, please let me know what _you_ think about what I actually wrote here – in 50.

Your silence does reveal that there are very few of us liberals (on LC at least) willing to openly discuss the illiberal aspects of Islam.

Here it is again:

Do you deny that the main threat of terrorism in the West, and worldwide, right now is from Islam. It’s not the IRA, or theTamil Tigers or extreme Budhists or Catholics.

And that Islamic communities here in the UK are producing men of violence.
Some of these men of violence were not born Muslims, but converted to Islam here in the UK and become terrorists (Richard Reid the shoe bomber).

So _something__ in the Muslim community in this country is causing this violence – that is NOT happening among catholic, Hindu, buddhism etc communities.

It is NOT ‘objectionable’ to recognise this. It is plain fact and statistics.

Cameron’s Big Society & Munich speech nonsense. These are all totally vacuous soundbites which occasionally come back to expose him to ridicule. He wants an “integrated” society where everyone speaks English. Does he? Then why is it that English language & advice support for refugees has been slashed and the Refugee Council’s services cut by 62%. Some programmes have received a 100% cut (which is a bit difficult to absorb by cutting back office functions.)
No cuts to frontline services? Tell that to some of the most vulnerable seeking help from the Refugee Council. http://bit.ly/ecYn8A

@ 214 Just Visiting

“Your silence does reveal that there are very few of us liberals (on LC at least) willing to openly discuss the illiberal aspects of Islam. [……] Do you deny that the main threat of terrorism in the West, and worldwide, right now is from Islam. It’s not the IRA, or theTamil Tigers or extreme Budhists or Catholics.”

On the contrary, I’d say most liberals would be happy to accept that islam has illiberal aspects, as do many other belief systems. It is also obvious that at present the main terrorist threat directed agains “western” interests comes from islamic fundamentalist groups. The problem is when the political right and far-right in the west uses this situation as a stick to beat muslims as a whole.

Whilst not denying the threat, or in any way trying to minimise the need to combat it, it is important to realise that the source and nature of the threats is pretty diffuse. The intellectually lazy tendency on the political right is to inflate the seriousness of the threat to advance their own agenda. It doesn’t mean the progressive left should be afraid to point out the illiberal aspects of Islam, or the shortcomings of muslim societies, but neither does it mean we should accept the false narrative that liberal democracy is facing an imminent existential threat.

For what it is worth, I’d say the rise of the christian fundamentalist movement and its involvement in politics in the USA (and indeed elsewhere) is a much more serious threat to liberal democracy than islamic extremism ever was, or is likely to become.

@211 Just Visiting

“So what is _your_ view on this? Are any aspects of mainstream Islam incompatible with liberal values ?”

It’s a bit of a loaded question really isn’t it, as it depends on what is seen as “mainstream”? I don’t think most “ordinary” people in the UK, whether muslim or not, would accept that calling for the death of apostates was mainstream. The vast majority of muslims are no more extreme than your average Cof E church goer.

I don’t care which ridiculous bunch of fairy stories people believe in; where it becomes a problem is when they want to impose the tenets of their faith on others; that isn’t a uniquely islamic problem as we have seen.

218. Just Visiting

Galen

Thanks for that thougtful response.

> On the contrary, I’d say most liberals would be happy to accept that islam has illiberal aspects,

I accept you think that, but I wonder what is your evidence.
When I look at LC – I don’t see many threads that start off looking at such aspects.
I see quite a few that criticise at length action of the Pope, or whacky christian groups.

But there seems to have been little debate on Islam’s illiberal aspects.

> It is also obvious that at present the main terrorist threat directed agains “western” interests comes from islamic fundamentalist groups.

Ok, we are in agreement on that.
I’d make it wider, and say it’s not hard to argue that it is the biggest threat to liberal values / human freedom in many non-western countries too.

> The problem is when the political right and far-right in the west uses this situation as a stick to beat muslims as a whole.

I agree with you 100% here.
It does become tricky though – are you sure that LC doesn’t end up attacking all BNP members in it’s desire to call out the problem of BMP ideology ?

Likewise, if after debate we think that there are some aspects of mainstream Islam that are illiberal – some liberals will find that position uncomfortable, as they perceive it to be an attack on all Muslims – when in reality is only an attack on Islamic ideology.

> It is important to realise that the source and nature of the threats is pretty diffuse.

Can you quote some sources for that?
It seems more likely to me, that Islam has a mainstream, with illiberal values.

Just see the Guardian video linked to above in the thread – the Muslims there who are campaigning against ‘islamic extremists’ – state openly that they are not moderate, that homosexuals are wrong, that hands should be chopped off thieves, that the kafir are ‘not always the enemy’ !

> The intellectually lazy tendency on the political right is to inflate the seriousness of the threat to advance their own agenda.

I agree, this happens.

> It doesn’t mean the progressive left should be afraid to point out the illiberal aspects of Islam, or the shortcomings of muslim societies,

But that seems to be what happens, that liberalls DO hold back from even discussing such issues.

There’s an easy evidence of that on LC that I point out at regular intervals -not once have the feminists here started a thread to consider women under Islam.
They start ones concerning the content of a recent soap opera story…. but not on an issue which for sure has impact on the women who ae honor-killed each year in the UK and so.

That is a real blind spot among us liberals.

> but neither does it mean we should accept the false narrative that liberal democracy is facing an imminent existential threat.

I agree that we should not overstate the case.
But I personally think that there IS evidence that is very concerning about the loss of a liberal society.

Just read up on what is happening in netherlands with the court case against Gert Wilders – where the judges have admitted that what he has said is true – but nevertheless the case against what he has said goes on! Freedom of speech out of the window, if it hurts Islamic sensibilities – is how that looks.

> For what it is worth, I’d say the rise of the christian fundamentalist movement and its involvement in politics in the USA (and indeed elsewhere) is a much more serious threat to liberal democracy than islamic extremism ever was, or is likely to become.

Ah – then I guess lots of LC folk would agree with you.

But Richard Dawkins has disagreed with you on that :

“There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”

219. Just Visiting

Galen

> The vast majority of muslims are no more extreme than your average Cof E church goer.

Again I’m afraid the evidence is against you.

Some examples were already on a thread you also were on – but I guess because of your worldview that says christianity poses a bigger threat than islam, somehow evidence to the contrary doesn’t get noticed by you?

The thead was:
– “Are we seeing the Islamification of Britain? The opposite in fact ”

Which quoted:

The whistleblower website ‘Wikileaks’ has revealed the outcome of a 2009 poll in the secret US diplomatic cables, saying that 32 percent of Muslim students in 30 universities across the UK believe killing in the name of religion is justified, while 40 percent want Muslims in the country to be under the Sharia law.

http://www.sify.com/news/1-in-3-brit-muslims-students-back-killing-for-islam-40-percent-want-sharia-law-wikileaks-news-international-kmwmEhjhief.html

And then some BBC evidence – again, already seen on LC:

“…37% of 16 to 24-year-olds would prefer living under Sharia law than British law..


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