Thursday, February 14, 2008

Britain: "Whites need not apply"

Rarely a day goes by without a whopping piece of hypocrisy on the part of the British Labour Party, for much of their political life is one big act of hypocrisy. Thus this weekend we have them facing both ways at once on matters of race.

On the one hand they have joined in the general chorus of denunciation of Archbishop Booby's suggestion that Sharia Law be afforded status and recognition, and thereby approbation, within the law of England and Wales. On this the Labour Party have got it right.

At almost the same moment, however, Labour's deputy leader Harriett Harman is found to be supportive of the notion that the law be changed to enable `all-black' shortlists to be drawn up for the selection of candidates for election to Parliament by individual constituencies. As the report says:

White candidates should be barred from standing for Parliament in up to eight constituencies in order to get more black and Asian MPs elected, says a controversial report commissioned by Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman.

Just savour those words: `white candidates should be barred.' It has taken us a thousand years or so to arrive at a state of constitutional affairs whereby any man or woman might seek to stand for Parliament regardless of sex, race, colour, religious creed, political philosophy or sexual orientation and for the party of one's personal taste. Now, if Labour's obnoxious plan were to succeed, our people would be legally excluded from standing for Parliament in the constituency of their choice for the party of their choice simply because of the white colour of their skin.

Such is Labour extremism that it is prepared to contemplate the introduction of a measure that is flagrantly in breach of the right not to be discriminated against "on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status", which phraseology I have lifted intact from Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


Sharia in Britain already

Sharia law is operating in secret in many British towns and cities, the Daily Express can reveal. Muslim communities are being ruled with a rod of iron in clear defiance of the British legal system. Panels of Islamic scholars sit in mosques, converted living rooms and even a former pub to issue fatwas, or rulings. The revelation that they have decided thousands of cases over the last 25 years comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury provoked condemnation by calling for an "accommodation" with the Islamic legal code.

Dr Rowan Williams said parts of civil law could be dealt with under the sharia system - but some communities have already gone much further. The Daily Express has uncovered a catalogue of evidence that sharia courts are acting independently of British law. Aydarus Yusuf revealed last year that a stabbing case had been decided by an unofficial "court" sitting in Woolwich, south-east London.

The 29-year-old youth worker, who was involved in setting up the hearing, said a group of Somali youths had been arrested on suspicion of stabbing another Somali teenager. The victim's family told the police it would be better settled out of court and the suspects were released on bail. A hearing was allegedly held and elders ordered the suspects to compensate the victim. An Islamic sharia council at Leyton in east London also revealed that it had dealt with nearly 7,000 divorces since it had opened in 1982, while sharia courts in the capital have settled many hundreds of financial disputes.

Details of the spread of sharia law emerged as controversy continued to rage over Dr Williams's comments, with condemnation from Downing Street, the Conservatives and other leading Church of England clerics. Thousands of Daily Express readers posted comments on our website and 95 per cent of callers to our phone vote line said sharia law should be banned.

Along with the Islamic council in Leyton, there are at least two other sharia courts in London. There are also courts in many areas of the country with high Muslim populations. The Islamic sharia council lists members in Birmingham, Bradford, Halifax, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford, Cardiff, Peterborough and Rotherham. As revealed by the Daily Express last year, there is also a sharia court in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, less than a mile from the former home of suicide bomber Mohammad Siddique Khan. One Muslim man who has faced that court's wrath because of his homosexuality said: "Campaigners claim sharia courts in Britain just sit on civil matters, but the reality is very different and Muslims are ordered to live by these laws, not British law."

Most sharia courts concentrate on divorce cases - although such judgments are not recognised in British law - as well as financial and neighbourhood disputes. Other areas where sharia courts have been consulted voluntarily are inheritance disputes, boundary wrangles and religious guidance. Suhaib Hasan, a spokesman for the Islamic sharia council in Leyton, said he and his colleagues dealt with more than 200 cases a year. "From the beginning, people have wanted our services. More and more come back to us. Each month we deal with 20 cases," said the sheikh, who has presided over sharia courts in Britain for more than 25 years.

Although their rulings have no basis in law, participants agree to abide by them voluntarily and may settle their disputes without referral to the British legal authorities. On its website, the Islamic sharia council warns that the divorces it grants can not invalidate a union under British civil law and advises that a separate civil divorce should be obtained. Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, said there is an "alternative parallel unofficial legal system" now operating. "Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their traditions," he said.

A room containing a long table and 16 chairs inside Birmingham's central mosque acts as a sharia court presided over by five elders. They regularly pass judgment on a host of disputes. All are fully versed in sharia law but the hundreds of books on Islamic science and theology on the shelves around them serve as back-up. The sharia council is the formal body of Islamic legal opinion and jurisdiction for local Muslims. It is also a point of advice for Muslims in the city seeking a religious or theological perspective on general issues.


What Muslim leaders say

A BOOK REVIEW of "Schmoozing with Terrorists" by Aaron Klein. Reviewed by Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The people who kill Jews and other westerners for a living would seem to be a bit hard for nice Jewish boy to sit down and chat with about why they do what they do. But in Schmoozing with Terrorists, Aaron Klein -- Jerusalem bureau chief for World Net Daily -- shares the wide-ranging conversations he has had with many of the top Arab Palestinian terrorist leaders in Israel about exactly that topic.

Klein's conversations covered the gamut from why Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades endorse the use of homicide bombing in light of the Koranic ban on suicide; to the way in which the terrorist leaders nakedly reject documented archeological and historical connections between Jews and Israel; to the ongoing persecution of Christians by Muslims in Bethlehem, Gaza and other cities.

Klein's style is conversational and personal: he never hides his own perspective or the fact that he is an Orthodox Jew (albeit the brawny, deeply-tanned twenty-something year old pictured on the book jacket inside cover does not fit the typical stereotype in this country). And yet those whom he interviews, although occasionally bridling at some of Klein's questions, are perfectly comfortable meeting with him and articulating their views and goals.

The Arab Palestinian leaders with whom Klein spoke are very candid about their dreams not only to wipe out Israel, but to establish a worldwide caliphate. Their plans for American society should awaken anyone who thinks the Arab terrorists are only Israel's problem. And it should also smack awake all the moral relativists who equate Israel's security measures with hegemonic brutality.

A deputy commander of Fatah's al Aqsa Martyrs Bridade, Nasser Abu Azziz, explained to Klein that when sharia law is imposed in Western countries, "these sick people [homosexuals] will be treated in a very tough way," explaining that the Islamic leadership will "prevent social and physical diseases like homosexuality." All the terrorists whom Klein interviewed agreed that homosexuality would not be tolerated in the US once Islam rules.

And homosexuality is not all they condemn. The failure of western women to conform to Islamic standards of dress will reap harsh responses including, if necessary, torture. Sheik Hamad, a Hamas cleric, said those women who refuse to cover themselves in conformity with Islamic values would be punished either by imprisonment, whipping or stoning. And we aren't just talking about Madonna's bustiers: under the standard described by Klein's interviewees, even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- who does in fact wear a robe -- would be a target for stoning. She's omitted the head covering.

Given the opportunity to explain the source of Arab Palestinian terrorism, Klein's subjects contradict standard lore. Klein was told by Abu Ayman, the commander of Islamic Jihad in Jenin, that Muslims are strictly forbidden from becoming suicide bombers if they are motivated by anything -- including desperate poverty or revenge for Israeli wrongdoing to this individual -- other than love of Allah. When Klein pointed out to a young man in training to become a "martyr" CNN's claim that suicide bombing was motivated by poverty and despair, Abu Ahmed was visibly affronted and called it "Israeli propaganda."

The most bizarre and brazen interview Klein describes is with Sheikh Taysir Tamimi, the chief Palestinian Justice and one of the most important clerics in the Middle East. Tamimi lectured Klein that "there is no Jewish historic connection whatsoever to the Temple Mount or Jerusalem," and that the "Jews came to the [Temple area] in 1967 and not before."

Tamimi responded to Klein's recitation of archeological findings and historical connections: "These archeological things you cite are lies." Tamimi simply erases Judaism's connection to the Holy Land by ignoring irrefutable and concrete evidence of inconvenient facts. Such distortions are particularly troubling because Tamimi is an enormously influential Imam whose view of history is eagerly imbibed by his followers. Echoing Tamimi is Nasser Abu Aziz whose rhetoric, while perhaps inelegant, was crystal clear: "We are fed up with this crap nonsense of the Temple Mount."

Klein's interviews show that Palestinian leaders have also, and repeatedly, perpetrated a vile hoax on their acolytes. The myth of the seventy-two virgins in paradise who await each martyr is a theme echoed and believed by those who extol and consider suicide bombing an option. Klein's subjects do not explain how the appetite for virgins fits with the love of Allah as an incentive for becoming a suicide bomber.

When asked about the source for the promise of the seventy-two virgins, Ala Senakhreh, West Bank chief of Fatah's Martyrs Brigade, insisted such a promise was made in the Koran. When pressed about where exactly that promise could be located, neither Senakhreh nor any of his dozen henchmen clerics present could find such a passage. After much anxious searching, the Sheik became increasing hostile and Klein quickly left. He had apparently discovered the point at which the terrorists' hospitality collided with their refusal to be questioned closely about their ideological weapons.

I worry that this enlightening and highly readable book may not reach as many readers as it should because its name and title undercut its serious subject. The word "schmoozing" is known by and appeals to a rather limited audience. The cover picture shows a large grenade seated on a leather armchair. Perhaps the picture is easy shorthand for what he did, but there is something lighthearted about it that undercuts the gravity of Klein's book. Nonetheless, and in addition to the glimpses Klein provides, at least two overarching questions are raised by this book.

First, Aaron Klein, a product of Philadelphia suburban Jewish religious schools, moved to Israel and within a few years was able to gain audiences -- as an identified Jew and a journalist -- with the most senior Arab Palestinian terrorists, who spoke to him frankly about their plans and their views. This forces us to ask: where is the rest of the press corps? If these murder merchants happily speak at length about their desire to murder and torture those who don't fit their religious profiles, why are the rest of the hundreds of journalists who call Israel their beat unable to obtain the same information? Do they prefer to stick with the standard mendacious narrative, either because they believe it or because they are too afraid to approach the terrorist leadership? Neither answer says anything favorable about the press corps.

Second, why are all those on the political left, those who identify themselves as advocates for minorities, so convinced that Israel is the villain and the Arab Palestinians are the victim? Anyone who claims to favor women's rights, gay rights, ideological tolerance, freedom of the press, of speech, of association, of religion, in fact, nearly all of the icons of the political left, should logically support the Israeli narrative. Instead, most of those in this country who fit the profile of the left support the Arab Palestinian narrative. Yet Klein's interviewees freely articulate their categorical rejection of the ideas these groups hold dear. And when these people categorically reject an idea, we're not talking polite disagreement over cocktails: we're talking beheading in the town square, as Klein's interviewees state in plain English. Yet these groups -- QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terror) is my own personal favorite -- continue to support terrorists who would happily slaughter their western advocates if they attained the power they seek.

While Klein's book doesn't answer these questions, it provides the necessary proof that willful ignorance and cowardice play a strong role in the current widespread distribution of sympathy for the Arab Palestinian narrative.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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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