Monday, March 19, 2007

Britain: And these little piggies might offend Muslims....

A school production of Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs has turned the heroes into three little puppies for fear of offending Muslims. Dahl's play, in which he reworks Little Red Riding Hood to include the pigs, is being put on by Honley Church of England School, in Huddersfield, with 250 primary pupils from other schools singing along.

Gill Goodswen, who is one of the organisers of the Kirklees Primary Music festival behind the changes, said: "We have to be sensitive if we want to be multi-cultural. It was felt it would be more responsible not to use the three little pigs."

She said the committee had to consider the feelings of children who would be singing along, not just the performers. "We feared that some Muslim children wouldn't sing along to the words about pigs," she added. "We didn't want to take that risk. If changing a few words avoids offence then we will do so."

One parent, a mother-of-three, said: "Surely there are much worse things to worry about in the world than a story about three little pigs? It is really ridiculous."

Local councillor Terry Lyons said: "I can't believe that Muslims would be offended. This is pandering to a few extremists. People will take umbrage at this decision, making it easier for the BNP to recruit."

Mohammed Imran, of the nearby Hanfia Mosque and Educational Institute, said he welcomed the thinking behind the decision but did not think it was necessary. He pointed out that Islam does not ban the mentioning of pigs but added: "They are obviously trying to involve children rather than exclude them."

But Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, said: "My view is that the people responsible for this are completely bonkers. It is the type of political correctness which makes people's blood boil. "As usual it is done in the name of ethnic minorities but it is perpetrated by white, middle class, do-gooders with a guilt complex and far too much time on their hands."


Australia: Code of silence makes rise in Lebanese Muslim crime hard to solve

The report below is coy about details of the crime concerned but it is not too hard to make an educated guess. In these days of official coverups in the name of political correctness, one has to have a good memory of how individual incidents played out to get to the truth -- and NSW police complaints about non-co-operation from the Lebanese Muslim community have often been made. If there were NO ethnic dimension to the problem you can be sure that would have been stressed. It's getting to be like the USA or Britain -- where failure to mention the race of a criminal tells you that he was black

NSW police are solving fewer sexual assaults, abductions, armed robberies and other serious crimes than they were able to a decade ago. Research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics shows the likelihood of detectives catching a rapist within 90 days of an attack has fallen since 1995 from one in two to less than one in four.

Acts of indecency are also half as likely and other sexual offences almost 20 per cent less likely to be successfully investigated within three months, the 10-year analysis shows. Arson cases have become 30 per cent harder to crack, while the chance of nabbing a thief who specialises in breaking into cars has plunged by more than a third to a paltry 2.6 per cent.

Despite an overall crime decline over the past two years, recent bureau data also shows some offences being committed more often than in 1995. Fraud is up 72 per cent - perhaps explaining why police are 66 per cent less effective at solving it. On the other hand, fewer people are being murdered, which coincides with a 10 per cent improvement in homicide investigations. However, a 35 per cent decrease in robberies involving a firearm, when matched by a 27 per cent decline in clear-up rates, was both puzzling and concerning, bureau director Don Weatherburn said.

"Certainly there's been a decline in clear-up rates for sexual assault which, as an offence category, has increased," he said. "But why has there been a similar decline for armed robbery even though there's been a fall in the total number of offences that detectives have to investigate? "I don't know, is the short answer to the question. It's one you'd have to address to police."

Bond University criminologist Professor Paul Wilson said it "could be that there are a whole lot more amateurs randomly engaged in armed robberies who are managing to get away quickly and are then proving hard to catch". "Or, it could be that police are not concentrating on the crime as effectively as they used to," he said. Opposition police spokesman Mike Gallacher said the figures indicated long-term neglect of police resources by the Government.


Australia: Death threats over Muslim comments

Muslims do their best to prove the Rev. Nile correct

NSW Christian Democratic Party leader Reverend Fred Nile says he has received death threats over his call for a moratorium on Islamic immigration to Australia. Mr Nile, who is recontesting his upper house seat at the March 24 state election, on Saturday called for a 10-year ban on Islamic immigration. He wants the immigration department to give preference to persecuted Christians while studies on the impact of Islamic immigration are carried out during the moratorium. Mr Nile has previously called for a ban on the wearing of full-face scarves in NSW.

Today, he said he and another Christian Democratic Party (CDP) candidate had received death threats in recent days. On Friday, a man had telephoned Allan Lotfizadeh, the CDP candidate for the western Sydney electorate of Auburn, and said: "You Christian pig. You are dead", Mr Nile said. Yesterday, Mr Nile said, a man approached a CDP election worker at Granville and asked her where Mr Nile lived, and what he had against Muslims. He had then said: "Tell Fred Nile I am going to act out my faith on him".

Mr Nile said he believed the threats were linked to his statements on Islamic immigration and full-face scarves. "I think, if they're talking about the Muslim issue it's related to the Muslim issue," he said. Mr Nile said the threats, which have been reported to police, highlighted the need for the immigration moratorium. "The reason why I called for the moratorium is because of what's happening in France and Holland where the Muslim minority are becoming militant," he said.

Prominent Muslim community leader Keysar Trad condemned the threats against Mr Nile. "Anybody who thinks of making death threats should cease and desist and anybody who knows anybody who's making threats should call the police," he said. Mr Trad said many members of the Islamic community had been the victims of threats and verbal or physical abuse. "Now he (Mr Nile) has an idea what it's like for us," Mr Trad said.

A split appeared to emerge in the CDP over the immigration issue today, with Mr Nile's fellow upper house MP Gordon Moyes indicating he had reservations about the policy. "In the Christian Democratic Party we are instructed to vote on issues according to our conscience and therefore we can have different points of view on some issues," Dr Moyes said. "I have some differences with Fred on this matter but Fred is the one standing for election so I'm not getting into that debate."


Launch of Gender equality in Australia's aid program

Speech by The Hon Alexander Downer MP Minister for Foreign Affairs at the launch of Gender equality in Australia's aid program. Nobody official is mentioning it but it IS a poke in the eye for Muslim countries

I am delighted to be here today to launch the new gender policy for Australia's overseas aid program for two reasons. Firstly it reflects the government's conviction that everyone should have the chance to succeed in life - women, men, girls and boys. Secondly it strikes a personal chord for me. I have three wonderful daughters and I am eternally grateful that they have grown up in a society which guarantees them equal access to education and to health services. They are free to make decisions relating to the sort of life they wish to create for themselves and the children they may one day have. Our society gives them opportunities to earn their own incomes and become leaders if they choose.

When I look at my daughters I find it difficult to accept that hundreds of millions of women around the world still do not have access to even the most basic services - clean water, education, health centres. They and their families are living on less than $1 a day. This gender policy reflects the yawning gap in opportunities by focusing on areas we consider to be fundamental to achieving gender equality-

- improved economic status

- equal access to health and education by women and men

- equal participation in decision making and leadership

- and greater gender equality through regional cooperation efforts

All too frequently there is a temptation to treat gender as an add-on issue, rather than as a central challenge of development. The White Paper on the overseas aid program, which I released last year (26 April), places gender equality at the centre of efforts to reduce poverty and increase the effectiveness of aid.

Inadequate or under-investment in social and economic opportunities for women limits economic growth and slows poverty reduction. Disparities in education and employment, in access to land, credit and public services are not just morally unfair, they make for bad economics.

We know through analysis and observation that societies are healthier where women are more educated and there is a high social and economic return from investing in women's health and education. Mortality rates fall, household income rises and children almost certainly have a better quality of life if their mothers are healthy, educated, economically active and are respected members of society .

If South Asia, Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East had had the same gender equality in schooling as East Asia did between 1960 and 1992, per capita growth in those regions would have been higher by a half to nearly one percentage point per year. Stimulating economic activity is a vital part of the fight against poverty -no country has ever succeeded in reducing poverty without first achieving economic growth.

I find it interesting that recent articles in the Economist magazine have noted that the employment of women has done more to encourage global growth than have either new technology or the new giants China and India during the past couple of decades. In South-East Asia, products made or grown by women dominate two-thirds of the region's export industry - the most dynamic sector. We want to see women continue to make economic advances. Through the aid program we will help provide women with access to financial services, training and technology and will support business enterprises led by women.

One of the most valuable contributions the aid program can make is to improve the health and education of women and children in the Asia Pacific region. In partnership with governments, the broader community and other donors we have made good strides in both areas.

But we are confronted by the fact that in several countries in the region - PNG, East Timor , Laos, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India - a woman is 50 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than she would in Australia. Women in poor countries are also far more susceptible to HIV than women who are educated, have access to health services and are in a position to negotiate safe sex. In many places, women's low social status also makes them vulnerable to domestic abuse. Domestic abuse not only hurts women and their families but economies too. A few years ago the Reserve Bank in Fiji estimated the direct and indirect cost of violence against women in that country to be over 200 million Australian dollars, which at the time was equivalent to seven per cent of their Gross Domestic Product.

I am pleased to say that Australia will help countries evaluate programs aimed at reducing domestic abuse to make work in this area more effective. We are also firmly committed to building on the good work that has been achieved in education. In Indonesia for example we are in the process of building two-thousand schools that support universal education and encourage both boys and girls to remain at school. This is a tremendous step forward and will give Indonesian children - and in turn their children - opportunities that eluded their parents and kept them in poverty. I will be visiting Indonesia next week and look forward to inspecting the progress of construction of the schools program.

It is logical that since women represent half the world's population, they should have an equal say in decision-making and represent half of our leaders. However globally, women are still heavily under-represented in parliaments. In the Pacific for example, representation is particularly low. In 2005, the number of women in Parliaments was on average just three per cent. Having women in positions of leadership means they can develop policies and frame laws that influence behaviour and determine the equitable allocation of economic and social resources.

Women's role in building the right environment for stability is often overlooked. Bougainville is a very powerful example of the role played by women in resolving conflict and setting in place the building blocks for stability. After 10 years of fighting the women had had enough. Through their formal and informal networks they were able to influence and shape a better, peaceful future for all Bougainvilleans. It's a stark reminder of the positive power of involving both men and women. To ignore 50 per cent of the population is simply bad policy.

And we all know, particularly in this House, what happens when you implement bad policy. You get bad outcomes. We often discuss gender equality as though it only concerns and benefits women. This is not the case. Societies advance more successfully when everyone has the chance to realize their potential. We will not achieve gender equality without the involvement of men, on equal terms with women. Gender equality is a responsibility that is borne by us all. There is increasing awareness of the benefits to men themselves of promoting equality, beyond just the knowledge that they have done the right thing. The general health and well-being of families and communities has a positive flow-on effect to everyone. And amongst all this there is growing awareness that men are often disadvantaged by the constraints of masculinity. Hopefully discussions about these issues will become louder and more mainstream.

So it's clear - an essential ingredient needed to reduce poverty is equality for both men and women. Challenging and changing long held beliefs and values takes time as we know from our own experience in Australia. But we also know from that experience that achieving equality elevates society in general. It advances human development. I commend to you the Australian Government's policy on gender equality in our aid program.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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