Response to DBO regarding freedom and islam.
was commenting over at Tim Blair's. Tim's original post was about the beheading of 3 christian schoolgirls,
and while most commentators deccried the act as evil, dirtbike option appeared more concerned that there were other things that Tim could be reporting. To wit:
There were probably thousands of brutal killings around the globe in the past 24 hours: Karenni refugees shot by Burmese miltary, Sudanese families slaughtered while fleeing violence, forced sex workers in Thailand beaten to death by pimps, human rights activists imprisoned and tortured to death in China, striking workers shot by thugs in the Philippines.
DBO, I care about the other crimes, but those perpetrated in the name of Islam have a direct bearing upon my life when it means that I can no longer be complacent in the idea that my daughter will grow up in blissful ignorance like I did in the 70s and 80s.
Regarding sex workers being beaten to death by their pimps, that happens all over the world, and is also an outrage. However, a pimp is not likely to cut off the heads of either myself or my child.
She will bear the burden of increasing insecurity and loss of freedom. Freedom of dress, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the freedom to be who she wants to be.
The children are ultimately the ones who will pay for this.
I promised a breakdown on this tonight, and here it is.
Luckily for me, Hugh over at JihadWatch
has done most of the hard work for me already.
The extraordinary Total Regulation of Life, from what you eat and what you wear to exactly how you wash, makes people into zombies, following rules that often make no sense, that are ludicrous, but must be followed. Shall I give some of the embarrassing details, about the odd number of stones, and so on, or would you prefer that I spared all of us that sort of thing? Just go to any Muslim website where questions are asked as to whether I can do this or can't do that. Why follow these rules? Oh, because Allah Knows Best. Q.E.D. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
There is plenty more, but for me, this is it in a nutshell.
Before all the screams of islamophobia, racism, discrimination and the like ring out, try trawling through Ask Imam,
a South African based site Q & A website.
There is the lady whose husband is infertile and wants to know how she should pray in order to fall pregnant. The response is that: At the outset, you should understand that Duas, wazifas etc. although they are effective, you should seek medical advice. Nowadays with modern technology, there are methods of cure for your ailment.
(That is not the complete answer, but it is the most important in my opinion.)
This is one example. There are plenty of others regarding hair dyeing, communication via internet with spouses, menstruation.
The list is endless, but these are ones that are of immediate concern to me as a woman.
I am a human first and a woman second. Being a mother is the largest part of that.
My daughter's future is a priceless commodity never to be sacrificed. She has the right to choose her own pathway, as do we all, but in these days of political correctness and over-appeasement, her choice is being eroded before my eyes.
While muslim women in western societies can choose to wear the hijab, those in Iraq are beaten publicly for showing a bit of flesh. Not a lot, just whatever is deemed to be in violation
of the local religious laws. Where is the freedom of dress? There is no freedom when your options are the black burkha or the blue burkha.
Where sharia rules over secular precedent, then the rights of women go out of the window. All
Well, it looks like George Galloway's chooks will be coming home to roost. I'm keeping my fingers crossed here, because he is a bit of a slippery one, and there is always room for surprise.
Anyway, the upshot is that George, the so-called Member for Bethnal and Green over in the UK, has been fingered in the investigation into the UN's Oil for Food
scam. Sorry, I meant program. Christopher Hitchens
has at his site an explanation
of how this program worked.
George is now doing his damndest to cover his arse, and I'm looking forward to seeing it hanging over the edge of the precipice.
What happens when you aren't paying attention.
There are plenty of stories about what people do to their exes. Or their exe's property. A favourite has always been using their toothbrush to clean the loo.
I came close to that the other day. I've got a toothbrush I use for cleaning the tile grout, and one for the fangs.
Guess which one was left in the shower out of reach of little paws but perfectly positioned for a half awake death bogan?
I am not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed first thing in the morning, but after redoing my teeth with the correct brush and gargling with 400proof alcohol, I did get a good laugh out of it.
That'll learn me.
For all you damn fine women out there: IVGLDSWD
I'm not one for forwarding on chain mails. If they were to all come true, I'd have no doubt caught bubonic plague or the like years ago.
Sometimes, though, something comes along where I really appreciate the sentiments.
This is one, and I'm putting it out for all of us.
Today is International Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman's Day, so please send this message to someone you think fits this description. Please do not send it back to me as I have already received it from a Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman! And remember this motto to live by: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine, n in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" Have a wonderful day!
How not to pick up girls.
So here I was on the weekend at a 21st birthday party for two friends.
One of the girls is my best friend's daughter. The other is not, obviously.
The setting, a pub in the western suburbs - the nicer one in the suburb in question. Not that I notice things like that, of course.
So I'm yakking to the grandfather of the other girl. I've not met this fellow before, but he's got to be 70 if he's a day, and a great-grandfather to boot. It was an okay conversation, a bit of politics, social sciences, that sort of stuff. He does a bit of volunteer work in town, seems a bit harmless.
He comes up to me a bit later on, I'm holding a glass of wine in each hand (only one was mine), and he mentions to me that he's got a bit of a vitamin deficiency.
Apparently, said deficiency isn't your standard. I'm starting to feel caged, and suggest alcohol or chocolate deficiency.
/alarm bells louder.
I'm getting really uncomfortable; we are in a well-lit hotel, surrounded by people aged from 90 down to about 3, so it's a g-rated environment, family and friends and plenty of decorum.
Not this fellow.
His vitamin deficiency can only be supplemented by the orgasmic juices of a young woman.
It takes a lot to leave me well and truly gobsmacked, but 2 days later I'm still reeling.
He did realise that I found his words highly offensive, and got very apologetic, but he wouldn't leave it alone. I'm a captive audience, because I'm not going to make a scene at an occasion like that. I wanted to, though.
I got the hell out of there as fast as I could. Having to work on sunday was a handy excuse, especially since it was true.
He kept coming over to me, grabbing me by the hand and giving me smarmy apologies.
/fingers down throat.
As soon as the cakes were cut, I was on the freeway heading for home and a shower.
I've definitely been living a sheltered life lately. I had forgotten there were sleazebags like that out there, but I have never
had a come-on like that.
With luck I never will again. Bleh.
The TMI Files. Coming up to Christmas. What to do, what to do...
I used to love Christmas. The time spent with family, the lazing around and catching up with rellos from all over the country. I have a large extended family, stretching from Townsville in the north, down the east coast and around to Adelaide, with plenty of spots in between.
The last few years, though, it's been somewhat... strained. Last year due to family disagreements, I felt it better to keep away from my immediate family. I did have a good day with Magilla and other family members, but it wasn't my ideal.
This year, with the rugrat being 3 and of an age to have a clue about trees, and pressies and fat men in red suits (not to mention mass!), there is the usual build up of nerves. With me, at least.
Family issues being what they are, I've decided to forego Christmas day with my dad or siblings. It's not that I don't love them, but things have come to pass where communication is awkward at times. It's hard when you are the square peg they keep trying to pound into a square hole pretty much sums it up.
I'm going to buy a tree for the second time since I moved out of home at 21, and I'm going to decorate it. I'll have to take photos, because I am the world's worst tree decorator. I am completely unco in that department, so it will be fun to see.
I am going to have lots of fun watching Magilla open her presents, then we'll mosey on to mass. I'm looking forward to that part, at least.
As for what to give her, well, when we had a chat about it today, she told me she wants a Christmas baby. :) She was staying with family while I was working last week (it was a demanding schedule, so this time it was easier for her not to be around me), and there is a new addition expected in December, so my little one is fascinated with that.
I had to explain to her that it takes at least 9 months to make a baby, and somehow I don't see me being able to supply one in the lead up to December 24th. It would be nice, but while a baby is a miracle, you still need certain things to pull it off.
Like the 9 months, for starters, and ideally there should be two parents. I'm just not living in an ideal situation.
Would I like another child? Absolutely. Will I ever have another? Probably not. It comes back to finding time for yourself, time to actually meet someone of the opposite sex whom you want to be with enough to commit for the rest of your life.
Asking someone to take on the raising of another person's child is a big imposition, and if you take childrearing seriously, it's not something you do lightly. On either side of the equation. It is too easy to stuff it up.
I am a big believer in siblings. While there is distance between myself and my nearest and dearest, that doesn't mean I don't love them. It just means that for the moment it's better for all of us if I keep a bit of that distance for a while. Fixing things is possible, it just takes time.
Sort of like making a Christmas baby for Magilla. :)
Forget an Islamic History, how about an Extremly Ironic Islamic History.
I came in halfway through this program, and it's still on, but I can't get past the straight-faced delivery by the narrator regarding Palermo in Italy:
It took 75 years to subdue Palermo, but once the slaughter was over, the same conditions as Spain applied: Christians and Jews had to pay a special tax and were henceforth allowed to practice their religions.
It all sounds warm and fuzzy, but it took 75 years
to subdue? That doesn't sound very peaceful to me. We've only been in Iraq for 2 years or so, and people are upset with that.
I didn't hear any justification for attacking Palermo and taking nearly a century to turn it into a muslim territory, but that doesn't appear to bother the producers of this overly biased drivel. Add to that, Palermo was only occupied by muslims for 200 years.
It sounds like Rageh Omaar, the presentor is much enamoured of Islamic culture. That's all well and good, but that still doesn't make it okay to waste 75 years to conquer another land.
If we want to look at the Iraq situation (which will of course get thrown about), I believ that Saddam Hussein should have been overthrown. He is now on trial, although I have misgivings about how it will all play out. If the US and allies were to pull out now and leave the Iraqi people to their own devices, part of me would be fine with that.
There is, however a part of me that is full of apprehension. How long will it take for human rights to be thrown out of the window?
How long will it take for those Iraqi people who actually want
secular rule to be terrorised into submission and silence?
How quickly will sharia rule reduce the women back to slave status and when will we start seeing reports of women committing suicide under said rule?
(regarding women's rights under Islam: as a mother, I ask any muslim women to justify to me the marriage of a 6 year-old daughter to a 50 year-old man, with the consummation taking place three years later. My daughter is three. Whenever I consider that the prophet of Islam married a child when he was an old man, it does my head in. I can't understand it, and I can't condone it. For that alone, I could never be other than infidel. There is no justification. That is not the role model I would choose for myself or my family.)
Regarding the tax that is imposed upon non-muslim religions in muslim countries, that is still in effect today. As is the discrimination practised against minorities, such as businesses being closed down because of christian-sounding names.
For the record, I have not been to Egypt, for example, but I have friends who fled to Australia because of this. They wanted a life free to be who they are. Christians.
For a bit of light reading, how about what viewers of the BBC
had to say about this show after it aired?
I never said that there was an inordinate number of Muslim convicts. I was asked to speculate who might take offence. I have no information on this at all. I have no idea on the composition of the prison at Wakefield.
Of course we should not pander to everything any Muslim group wants. The issue is to ensure fairness and sensible policies in an increasingly connected society. Muslims have many many anxieties over our policies, often with some justification, that are not pandered to at all. It is a two way streak. An English Christian is not responsible for Christian crimes any more than an Egyptian Muslim is responsible for the bombings carried out by Muslims in London.
I would also not describe the Muslim reaction as one of deafening silence. Any analysis would show that Muslims and Muslim countries have probably been the biggest victims of Al Qa'ida and Al-Qaida' like attacks, Iraq perhaps being the best example.
Many Muslims feel their faith is being highjacked, attacked on the one side by these Jihadis, and on the other side by largely western governments who have perpetrated reckless policies in the Islamic world over the last 50 or more years. Many also say that the west and particularly the US, bears a responsibility in encouraging these groups above all in Afghanistan.
CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding)
1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE
Tel: 020 7832 1310
Fax: 020 7832 1329
I think I might have touched a nerve with Chris in my latest correspondence.
I'll leave this out there in the ether while I over the next few days. It will take that long to sort out my reply anywya. In the meantime, if anyone has the time to dig up some stats on prison populations (in Britain or anywhere else), I'd be eternally grateful if you can link me to them.
Thanks in advance.
FTP Scots' style!
This is what I did in Glasgow one slow day a few years back.
The TMI Files. I am an Evil Mum.
Well, I'm not, but it feels like it sometimes, and it also cracks me up when I think about it.
So I'm trying to teach Karl and Rove to screech out 'BLACK HELICOPTERS!' Magilla helps out, but her contribution sounds more like "blah hacarpah" Gotta love toddlerspeak.
Somehow, though, I think the birds are more likely to be shouting out something along the lines of:
a)Don't you say 'no' to me
b)What do you take me for? (already got Magilla using that one back at me in the car lol)
c)If I get to 3 you go straight to the corner.
d)Do you want to go to the corner?
e)Don't you move from that corner!
f)One...... two...... if I get to three.......
There are times when it's difficult to do, obviously, and even more times when it's hard keeping a straight face, but you get that.
But it has to be done. There is only room for one tyrant in the household, and that's the Fat Cat. It's bad enough that I live according to the whims of an over-indulged feline, I will not be dictated to by a 3 year old.
I know it's working with her, though, because the other day she had her baby (doll) in the corner for saying 'no' to her. It really was cute and funny, (and somewhat cringe-inducing) and it shows that she's understanding a bit of restraint.
Now to keep practising it.
Knees-up in suburbia.
Bitter row over suburban mosque
By Chris Tinkler
A RELIGIOUS dispute has flared in Melbourne's east over a moderate Muslim group's plans to build a mosque.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association wants to build a worship centre in Clyde, in Melbourne's outer east, for its 200 Victorian followers. But the plan has prompted furious resistance and 40 residents on neighbouring land have objected to Casey Council.
The group says it is peace-loving, but many residents say they do not want Muslims, and certainly not a mosque, near their homes.
Javed Choudhary, Victorian president of the association, which has been worshipping in rented halls for eight years, said he was dismayed by what he saw as religious intolerance.
"Everyone has a right to say what they think, but this is a shock for us," Mr Choudhary, a pharmacist, said.
Council delays mosque vote
By Alison Noonan
13th October 2005 08:31:15 AM
CASEY councillors have stunned residents by entertaining a proposal to build a mosque in Clyde.
At Tuesday night’s Planning Committee meeting councillors resolved to defer their decision to grant an application by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Australia to develop a place of assembly on Manks Road.
They agreed to first hold an onsite inspection before making a final decision on the controversial proposal.
The move shocked Balla Balla Ward councillor Colin Butler and local residents, who have strongly opposed the plans.
Cr Butler said he was surprised councillors opted to vote against council officers’ recommendations to reject the application, claiming a mosque was totally inappropriate for the rural area and Green Wedge Zone.
“The decision has been put off for a fortnight because some councillors think we should look and see where the mosque will actually be constructed,” he said.
“I thought we were pretty right. I didn’t think the councillors would support the application, considering it is in breach of many of council’s planning controls.
“I bet none of the councillors go down there anyway,” he said.
Manks Road resident Helen LaFontaine said council should not be supporting a development that was “very much against local residents’ needs.”
“It doesn’t meet with policy guidelines.
“A development in a rural area should accommodate at least some of the locals but this doesn’t,” she said.
However, Strathard Ward councillor Lorraine Wreford said it was only fair to the applicants that council investigate the issue further, stating there was too much at stake for both parties to rush a decision through.
“It doesn’t matter where someone puts an application in for a church. There are always huge objections.
“This particular group is trying to be considerate of the community by locating to a rural property and would probably be less disruptive than the chicken farm next door.
“They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” she said.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Melbourne Branch President Javed Choudhary said in a report presented to council that 60 per cent of its members resided in Casey.
Therefore it was logical for the community to look for a place of worship in the municipality, he said.
Mr Choudhary claimed the worship activities would create minimal noise and disruption to traffic and said the appearance of the building would be designed to blend in with the surrounding environment.
“A welldesigned house of worship with beautifully landscaped gardens would enhance the value of the surrounding area,” he said.
Interestingly enough, I was recently accused of being 'hateful' and a 'racist' on another blog. (Even more interesting, when I mentioned this to a group of old friends, one of them agreed with the 'racist' tag. Well there you go. I wasn't overly surprised, though.)
I try to be reasonable and non-judgemental, but there are areas where I fall down.
But I digress. Reading in the local paper about the submission to build a mosque in my new local zone, my first reaction was a kneejerk response. Nope, no way, not interested. Good old NIMBY.
Further cogitation led me to google, to check out the Amidayyah Muslims.
Which lead me to The Persecution Org.
Talk about eating your young! This particular branch of the Islamic tree is considered heretical, which would have to be worse than being an infidel in Shia or Sunni Muslim eyes. There is a long list of ongoing persecution from their brothers-in-arms. Please note that I use that term figuratively and not literally.
Comments from Hugh Fitzgerald over at JihadWatch
as usual provide a nice balance to the website of the Ahmadi Muslims, coming as they do from a non-Muslim who is well-versed in the world of Islam:
The members of the Ahmadiyya group are, by and large, and here and there only slightly, better educated, less closed to the big world, the real world, than other Muslims. After all, they, like have managed, despite mental straitjacket that Islam provides, to reject important parts of Islam, including a reduced role for Muhammad who is no longer seen as the Last, the Seal, of the Prophets (cf. in the United States, the Prophet Elijah Muhammad, whose followers are not regarded by Al Azhar as real Muslims, though they would no doubt be surprised to hear of their lowly status in the eyes of "real" Muslims).
The only "Muslim" to win a Nobel Prize in the sciences was Abdus Salam, a physicist, a member of the Ahmadiyya sect. One wonders if, had he been the other kind, the full-fledged kind, of Muslim, that he would have possessed a sufficient ability to maneuver in the world of uncertainty, and free inquiry, that the undertaking of science requires.
Imagine, with some sympathy, how difficult it must be to live in a Muslim society. At what stage do the handful of people who fight their way out mentally from that society declare themselves, and to whom? Isn't it far easier, and safer, to say nothing, but occasionally to indicate, by a word here or there, one's own distance from the True Believers, and should one encounter non-Muslims, to both wish to daringly show a little of that leg (intellectually speaking), by speaking not quite respectfully of Islam, but at the same time, out of filial piety and inherited distaste, born of all sorts of things (envy, anger, even that essential hostility to all things non-Muslim that comes with a Muslim mother's milk), if that Infidel himself offers any criticism of Islam, there is a counter-desire to immediately rally round the Green Flag of Islam, and engage in whatever taqiyya-and-tu-quoque nonsense comes to hand to fend off the disrespectful Infidel. An amazing mental show -- one you can experience for yourself, any day of the week, by merely engaging in conversation about Islam any outwardly advanced and Westernized and seemingly rational and affable Muslim. Just record (perhaps even surreptitiously tape) the results. It is fascinating -- could be the subject of a book or two: "How Muslims Think." Or you could simply visit the websites of ex-Muslims such as www.faithfreedom.org, where such matters are frequently discussed.
The Ahmadiyya are regarded by "real" Muslims as Infidels, though they themselves are horrified at that designation. After all, they, or their ancestors who became members of the sect, did not leave Islam altogether -- did not become, for example, Christians. That would involve real willingness to suffer for the faith.
Ahmadiyya Muslims are not limited to Pakistan. They have been successful missionaries missionaries in Africa, where the more easygoing version of Islam, until the Saudis started making their own calculated and sinister investments, was well received.
It is too much to ask of people within the totalitarianism of Islam to be brave, to openly leave the faith. But it is not too much to ask them not to participate, either in Internet discussions with the outside, or in the secret meeting-room of their own conscience, not to tell themselves the truth about Islam.
Ahmadiyya Islam is akin to Cro-Magnon man: a step up on the phylogenetic scale from the Pithecanthropus erectus of primitive unreformed Islam, but not quite there yet.
The next obvious move is out of Islam altogether. After all, if one is going to be persecuted as an Infidel even if one thinks of oneself as an (Ahmadiyya) "Muslim," why bother to remain connected to Islam at all? Why not to fresh fields, and pastures new?
I am still against the enforcement of purdah on women - we are not chattels, and a woman should be able to choose
any form of dress or interaction with the community at large. That is the beauty of our society here.
But... I am wondering if it might not be a bad idea to allow a mosque in the area. These people seem to be genuinely moderate, and not just playing taqiyya like plenty of others we could name.
Let's face it, if they're getting blown up in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, then surely they are entitled to some peaceful practise of their beliefs.
The TMI Files. MoveOn.Organised.
So I finally did it. After talking about moving house for the last year, I've at last got a place that doesn't need to be renovated via Caterpillar.
So what was wrong with the old place? Apart from not having a yard for the rugrat to run amok in?
Hmmm. Let's see...
old weatherboard, about 60 years old:
doors that close
windows that close
aircon that broke down in the first 2 months of us moving in still not fixed. Luckily the place has high ceilings as well as the stumpings, so it wasn't too bad in summer.
Mind you, the place has plenty of character. The landlord was great (although a bit on the slow side - ref aircon) and the real estate agent was good to deal with, too. I've lived in worse hovels lol.
Just not with a little tacker. Not good.
Now, we have a house that is nice and solid. The doors close, the water coming out of the taps is clear (thank God for immune systems!), I'm not afraid to use the sockets and best of all we have a nice. big. yard to play in.
It'll take me a while to finish unpacking, of course. I've at least got all my cds back in alphabetical order, and some very nice person gave me a record player for my birthday, so I can play my vinyl again. Got to put that in alphabetical, too. I can't handle it when my records and cds are out of order. It's just not right.
But it's a huge relief. I can relax somewhat, and regain some of my equilibrium. In the mornings, I just open the back door and after brekky, Magilla is out attempting to use the rocks in the garden for landfill. The poor fishpond may not see fish again. Luckily about the only things in it at the time Magilla got to it were mosquito wrigglers and snails. No fish that I could see through the murk.
We're a bit further out of town, but I like that. It's given me a little bit of much needed breathing space, and I can feel myself unwinding hour by hour, day by day.
It's much nicer than the previous few months of anxiety attacks over whether the rugrat would leap under a passing car.
On we go.
Apologies for the tardy reply – I’ve been moving house.
And thank you so much for your replies, I appreciate that you can take the time out for me.
Regarding comments about prisoners, wardens and neutrality: if there are an inordinate number of muslim convicts, surely there should be questions asked as to why they do make up such a large group? Why are there so many representatives of such a small slice of the population at large? Is this a racist issue? Is it a case of muslims being discriminated against by Britain’s judiciary, or could it be that there is that lack of respect for the laws of the United Kingdom in particular and western society in general that seems to crop up regularly around the world?
I’ve been glancing over the CAABU website, and while there appears to be a lot of information about what is going on in the Middle East, for example, there is a dearth of information about what is happening closer to home for you.
Charity begins at home, and if there are so many disaffected Arabic Muslims in Great Britain and British jails, then why isn’t this being addressed?
I’m probably starting to sound like a cracked record; if so, please forgive me. I’m just trying to get my head around the situations around the world and their probable effects on our way of life.
When you talk about extremist jihadis being in the minority, you are implying that the terrorists are an aberration. That might be so, but that still does not excuse the other atrocities. Please note that I do not believe that this is the case. If it were, there would be a universal denunciation of their activities by Muslims of all races. The deafening silence from Muslims themselves tells me that they might not be as unacceptable as non-Muslims wish to think.
No, we can’t hold the majority of the 1 billion Muslims accountable for the actions of the few, but there is a parallel here with Nazi Germany and those who held their tongues as the trains rolled by. When will the majority of peaceful Muslims stand up and be counted in deed as well as word?
I just don’t see that happening.
I do wonder if you have ever had a candid, confidential discussion with migrants from the Middle East who are not Muslim. The stories they have to share are not pretty. They migrated to enable a better, freer, lifestyle. A worthy goal, and one quite attainable in our mutual societies of Australia and the United Kingdom.
However, when we spend our time rewriting our statutes so that we don’t offend minorities who don’t like our way of life then we are cutting off our nose to spite our face. We are making that goal harder to reach, as the freedom we so value is eroded in the name of appeasement.
I’m all for change and tolerance, but it has to go both ways, and all I’m seeing these days is that we have to be careful not to upset Muslims. Whether they be in prison, or objecting to the freedom of the press to publish satire, as in Denmark recently, or in Norway, objecting to a kindergarten teacher wearing a Star of David around his neck. That is not tolerance. That is not respect. That is not advancement.
While we are leading by example, with respect and tolerance, I’m sure that high moral ground is comforting to the families of those affected by the London bombings. I’m also sure the victims of the Muslim criminals who are so upset by the St George Cross that the idea of changing the English flag can be mooted would agree that cultural sensitivities (particularly with regards to centuries’ old history) should be pandered to.
I doubt that this will be solved overnight, or even in my lifetime. I just hope it can be resolved.
More from Chris
Your point about the prisoners is valid. I was not that interested in commenting on it. From an operation point of view, it may be more in the interests of the prison wardens etc to appear neutral. If you are going to get into a fight with prisoners it should be over something else not this. That is why I would not advocate a ban, but a sensible approach based on the given situation. If there are a high number of Muslim prisoners then it would probably be better not to appear deliberately provocative.
As for the past, memory is of course selective. But the Crusades are a powerful symbol even today, invoked indeed by George Bush. For many Arabs and Muslims, the Crusades have started up again. It is seen as a living symbol of western colonialism and interference.
None of this is an apology for what may happen in the Middle east for example what is happening to gays in Iran. But who is pretending that Iran is some perfect country, it is largely in the international dog house for all sorts of reasons.
As for all the other atrocities, in Bali and the like, these people are extremist Jihadis, One cannot hold the entirety of over 1 billion Muslims responsible for all their actions. Just because these things happen does not mean that we should not be maintaining our values. One of the main aims of these groups is to drag us into the gutter with them, to abandon legal and human rights standards, to abandon our democratic systems. Our greatest strength must be to remain countries where justice and fairness prevails.
Many changes are desirable in the Arab/Islamic world and other areas and indeed here. But we should not hold off changes on the basis that they are not happening elsewhere. We should lead by example, showing respect and understanding. Then we can take the moral high ground...
Of course there are far more serious examples of this than this story which is relatively insignificant in the scheme of things.
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Expect my reply in a couple of days - am still unpacking in the new house, so not had the time to go through this properly. Off the top of my head, there is a question about why a large proportion of prisoners seem, to be over-represented to the extent that they need to be appeased.
Maybe if they had a bit more respect for the laws of their nation, they wouldn't be in a position to be upset by a representation of the St George Cross.
More later. :)
continuing correspondence with chris.
Dear Mr. Doyle,
Thank you for your prompt response.
While I can appreciate that our mutual anglo history has its bloody and brutal moments, surely that is in the past. Correct me if I am in error, but what you are suggesting is that it is incumbent upon authorities to take into consideration the ethnicity of criminals when putting policies in place. Also, that since people of other nationalities do not approve of our past, we should therefore be ashamed for some reason.
If that is the case, then where is the shame from these other parties, Arabs and Muslims in the example, for the atrocities being carried out in the present day?
Where was the outcry against the misunderstanding that led to the hanging of two apparently homosexual teenagers in Iran, a Muslim country. (http://www.ncr-iran.org/content/view/222/69/ ).
Where is the shame for the Pakistani Muslim man who shot his sister in Denmark for some alleged slight to the family honour? (http://denmark.dk/portal/page?_pageid=374,610572&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&ic_itemid=869979) Admittedly, it is only alleged that it was for the family honour, but there have been photographs of this occurrence available. Unless, of course, it was all in the name of performance art and designed to upset the minorities. Since there has been no outcry from Muslim minorities in the mainstream media, I can only presume that it is all just another day in the world of Islam.
I won’t even bother with 9/11 or Bali, but what about Beslan? Or July 7th, 2005?
Where is the willingness of English Muslims to take action against the extremists in their midst? Apart from getting cartoon representations of pigs banned in council offices, they seem to be unwilling to take any sort of action. We white folks must take the steps to avoid their upset.
Over something that was supposedly finished over 500 years ago.
Your personal connection to Saint George is ultimately irrelevant in this instance (as is mine), as the flag does not just stand for a man who died for and within his faith.
After all these years, it stands for the country of England in all its strengths and weaknesses.
Surely English Muslims whether, immigrants from Arab backgrounds or otherwise (Jamaican, English-born, Somali ad infinitum), can hold some honour for a man who died as many of their people around the world wish to do. As a martyr.
Would you consider the possibility that people might be offended by your obvious disrespect for their history?
Yes, CNN have stirred the pot with this issue, and no doubt gotten plenty more attention than usual, but maybe there should be a meeting of minds on this. If England is to think about amending their cross to something less offensive to our global neighbours, then perhaps our Arab-Muslim friends can give some thought to being a bit flexible on things like….
Equality of religion, gender and sexuality.
Rehabilitation for criminals rather than amputation of limbs.
Counselling for those with sexual control issues, rather than stonings and other punishments for the victims.
Respect for the houses of worship for Jews and those of Christian traditions.
Respect for the laws and customs of the countries they migrate to, or grow up in, rather than a blatant contempt for them.
Thank you again for your time,
Reply from Chris Doyle
Dear Ms Nilknarf,
I think it is only fare that I expand the views that I gave in my interview with CNN that have made far more out of them than was stated.
Firstly I made it very clear that I felt that the whole story of the wardens was a mountain out of a molehill, and an overreaction.
I was then asked to explain why some people might take offence. In that context I explained that Arabs and Muslims do view the Crusades as a bloody and brutal aspect of our past and that this was not something that we, as English people, had any reason to be proud of. Far right parties are also heavily associated with this flag and this also may cause issues within a prison among non-white prisoners.
Here I made it clear I did not see the flag of St George as racist as the prison report had allegedly stated.
However I did say that there was little connection with St George as the Patron Saint of England. We do not celebrate the day in April much at all, in comparison to say, St Patrick in Ireland. I continued that I felt that there was perhaps a case for reviewing who out patron saint should be especially as St George had no connection to England, and that in so doing, we should chose a patron saint and symbols that would appeal to all sections of English society.
My prime reason for advocating change therefore is because of the lack of connection with the Saint.
CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding)
1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE
Tel: 020 7832 1310
Fax: 020 7832 1329
I've not had the chance to put together a reply yet, but it's coming.
Dear Mr Doyle, and CAABU,
I am writing to you as an Australian of English, Irish and Cornish heritage.
I am writing to express my dumbfoundedness at the idea that the English flag should be changed because it may offend people of other nations or religiosity.
This is an appalling state of affairs, when the Lion of Britain is reduced to a mewling kitten, and bows down to people of another land.
As a subject of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and a member of the Commonwealth, I find myself disgusted that our ancient heritage is even considered to be politically incorrect.
With regards to Arabs who have chosen to migrate to Great Britain and participate in its continuing history, surely they have sworn allegiance to the flag and the Crown. If they haven't, then why are they there?
If they are so offended by what should be considered ancient history, then what space is there for them in a modern world where we are all supposed to be tolerant?
And where is the outrage at the suggestion that Islamic Arabs take Britons hostage as reported last sunday at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1807091,00.html ? Is that a misunderstanding?
As somebody who is supposed to be an example in the community, I find your lack of pride in your country disgraceful.
I don't expect a reply from either yourself or your organisation, as I am merely one voice among many, but please be aware that my letter will be posted online, as will your response or lack thereof.
Yours in sincerity and disgust,
Thanks to Nick and Nora for digging up the email address. I've been reading the outrage over this sad state of affairs today, and I've added my two cents' worth.
The TMI Files. Feeding Time at the Zoo.
Well, at my house, which is almost the same.
One thing about toddlers: They are notoriously picky.
Take Magilla, for example. She would live on pasta if I allowed her to. I will confess to there being times when it's been easier to just cook that up for a couple of days and thus avoid World War XII or whatever we are up to.
After handballing her over to the Jetson's for the night last friday, I've finally gotten a bit more backbone to stand up to her. Jane Jetson is a lot tougher than I am, but she has a 4yo(Judy) and a 2yo (Elroy), so she's had to be. She has also given me a few more clues than I had previously.
It's taken a couple of days to gird my loins, as they say in the classics, and proceed as I mean to go on.
So I'm very pleased with myself tonight. We ate corn flakes for brekkie, pasta for lunch, and chops and veg for dinner. YAY! Okay, it was only a small amount of lamb, but it was eaten willingly, which is a first. More YAYS! for me. We also had fruit, so it's been a good day.
I've not tackled tomorrow's menu yet, but we'll take it one meal at a time, I think.
The classic thing, of course, is when you offer Magilla food that she's never had before. LOL! If she doesn't like the look of it, she screws her nose up and tells me it's "gross". Two guesses who she gets that from (hint: me). After asking a couple of times, I tell her that I'm asking one more time, then I'll count to 3. If I get to 3, she goes into the corner.
Of course, the corner is pretty much wherever I deem it to be. This is handy for when she throws a wobbly if we're out, but she's also been known to carry on and tell me I've put her in the wrong corner. That would be if I've put her where she can't see the tv or reach her toys.
It's very... challenging, at times. But good. And a lot of fun.
I'm also getting lots of kisses and cuddles lately, which are just the best. Especially when she tells me she likes me. She's just not got the hang of the 'love' idea yet. :) I know this because when I tell her I love her, she gets annoyed and tells me in reply that I don't - I like her.
That's ok. I do like her.
THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION: THE CONQUEST OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Dr Robert Fisk will deliver a lecture at ANU on the subject matter of
his latest book, The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest Of The
Robert Fisk has been the Middle East correspondent for The Independent
since 1988 and a resident of the Middle East for 28 years. He is in
Australia to deliver the inaugural Edward Said Memorial Lecture at
This is likely to be a VERY popular Lecture and it is recommended that
you call the enquiries number below on Tuesday, and/or arrive early to
secure a seat.
WHEN: Tuesday 4 October at 6pm
WHERE: Coombs Lecture Theatre, Fellows Road, ANU
SUPPORTED BY: Centre For Arab & Islamic Studies
ENQUIRIES: 6125 4982
AJPP has been formed to support the achievement of justice and peace in
We call for:
• The evacuation of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and
• Withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank, Gaza and East
• Demolition of the Apartheid Wall
• Respect for human rights in the region.
• The right of return for Palestinian refugees. Hahaha. I wonder what effect the weekend's bombing will have on his little talk? It's probably all Bush's fault.
More here at Aunty.
Unlike the last time bombs went off, I don't have anyone there at the moment. I was lucky that my friends weren't in the blast at the Sari Club - they were too hungover from the night before. It still made for some horrible days until we knew they were safe.
I hope that there are no deaths. Not holding my breath, though.
I bought The Aged this morning for something different to read, and I quickly reminded myself why I don't read it. It's a bloody waste of resources. Time, brain cells, money and paper.
I continued ploughing through, and came to the book reviews. There was one there on a book by Robert Pape about Suicide Terrorism. Now, I've not read the book as it's only just being released, and I still have Robert Spencer, Stuart Robinson
and Serge Trifkovic
to get through first.
That's okay, but I thought the title looked intriguing, so I've had a bit of a squiz into his book.
According to the review of his book at Amazon.com:
FACT: Suicide terrorism is not primarily a product of Islamic fundamentalism.
FACT: The world’s leading practitioners of suicide terrorism are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka–a secular, Marxist-Leninist group drawn from Hindu families.
FACT: Ninety-five percent of suicide terrorist attacks occur as part of coherent campaigns organized by large militant organizations with significant public support.
FACT: Every suicide terrorist campaign has had a clear goal that is secular and political: to compel a modern democracy to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.
FACT: Al-Qaeda fits the above pattern. Although Saudi Arabia is not under American military occupation per se, one major objective of al-Qaeda is the expulsion of U.S. troops from the Persian Gulf region, and as a result there have been repeated attacks by terrorists loyal to Osama bin Laden against American troops in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole.
FACT: Despite their rhetoric, democracies–including the United States–have routinely made concessions to suicide terrorists. Suicide terrorism is on the rise because terrorists have learned that it’s effective.
These are pretty definitive factoids. I am the last person to stand up and be counted as an expert or scholar, and there looks to be something in what he says.But......
(You saw that coming, didn't you?)
What about the London bombers? None of those were members of the bourgoisie, and they were not from countries with a US military presence.
Regarding the Tamils, I don't see any of those flying planes into buildings, ramming dinghies into battleships, blowing up commuters or shooting children in the backs as they flee. Okay, Beslan wasn't strictly a suicide operation, but from where I'm sitting in my comfy suburban home, those actions that are most visible and taking the greatest toll in terms of civilians, both living and dead, are being carried out by muslims.
He is right when he talks about its effectiveness, though.
"American military occupation" is just another excuse to hide the real reasons for the jihad. Even as I am writing this, there was a newsflash on the teev: A bomb went off at Kuta Beach in Bali,
and apparently 3 people were injured. Odds on it wasn't the local buddhists or christians setting it off. I don't see any military occupation in Thailand, either, or in China, which is getting concerned about muslim activism in one of its remote provinces.
The common thread through most suicide and other terrorist activism seems to be islam.
I've got this book on my wishlist, and I have one hope for it.
That it doesn't turn out to be yet another straw for the moonbats to clutch at in their denial of the dangers of Islamism.