Tuesday, April 29, 2008

British Muslim 'bullied' for converting to Christianity

British police no help, of course. Muslims are a protected class

A British citizen who converted to Christianity from Islam and then complained to police when locals threatened to burn his house down was told by officers to "stop being a crusader", according to a new report.

Nissar Hussein, 43, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who was born and raised in Britain, converted from Islam to Christianity with his wife, Qubra, in 1996. The report says that he was subjected to a number of attacks and, after being told that his house would be burnt down if he did not repent and return to Islam, reported the threat to the police. It says he was told that such threats were rarely carried out and the police officer told him to "stop being a crusader and move to another place". A few days later the unoccupied house next door was set on fire.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British human rights organisation whose president is the former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, is calling on the UN and the international community to take action against nations and communities that punish apostasy.

Its report, No Place to Call Home, claims that apostates from Islam are subject to "gross and wideranging human rights abuses". It adds that in countries such as Britain, with large Muslim populations in a Westernised culture, the demand to maintain a Muslim identity is intense. "When identities are precarious, their enforcement will take an aggressive form."


British bureaucratic tyranny tightens

Post below recycled from Prof. Brignell. See the original for links

To get the following into context it is important to remember that it refers to a time when violent crime is worse than ever. Children are shooting and stabbing each other in the streets and burglaries, theft and shoplifting are carried out with impunity in the almost total absence of police on the streets. We are governed not by elected representatives, but by officials.

In the Democratic Socialist Republic of Hull a mother was fined o75 for dropping a piece of sausage roll when feeding her toddler. It was immediately gobble up by pigeons.

Draconian laws that were forced through Parliament as being absolutely necessary to track criminals and terrorists have been used for a variety of quite different purposes. A couple and their three children were put under surveillance without their knowledge by Poole Borough Council for more than two weeks. Their crime (of which they were innocent) was to be suspected of the grievous middle class sin of trying to do their best for the children in defiance of rules of socialist equality.

The common characteristic of these tawdry tales is the employment of enormous numbers of people at the taxpayers' expense, a non-productive army who are dragging down the already precarious economy. They have no connection with police or judiciary, yet are empowered to act as judge and jury in the imposition of fines on a scale that is out of all proportion to those imposed for what were once real crimes.

For this is Envirocrime, Orwellian Newspeak for a whole new raft of offences, mostly inspired by EU directives (but don't let the public know that, because our leaders like to maintain the pretence that they are still in charge) which have given rise to an era of surveillance and oppression that realises Orwell's nightmare. This leads us to:

A father of four in Cumbria now has a criminal record. His crime is to overfill his refuse bin so that the lid was ajar by all of four inches. The prosecution claim that this was in fact seven inches (clearly a hanging offence). Perhaps his offence would have been mitigated if it were for ten centimetres.

Here in West Wiltshire we received a full colour leaflet with the mind-numbing headline Exciting developments in recycling. One of the pleasures of moving here had been to find that the binmen were so helpful; nothing was too much trouble. Then recently, they were accompanied by a man with a clipboard, clearly teaching them how to be intractable. We are not only to have two different bins, but we are provided with plastic crates for recyclables. How is anyone who walks with a stick supposed to carry a crate? A separate large refuse vehicle, fully manned and spouting dreaded pollution, collects cardboard only. One poor old lady was seen this week struggling down to the community recycling bins with a large plastic bag in one hand, because she could not carry a crate through her house. In some areas people who leave for work before 7 am are faced with fines for putting out their rubbish too early.

Elderly people live in fear of breaking complicated rules that they do not understand and do not seem to make any sense. They do not realise that the whole purpose is to force them into ritualistic behaviour for reasons of religion. Madness, or what?

Women must be protected from Islamic brutality

A report that publicises the plight of Saudi women

THE first and second time her husband shot her, the distressed woman in her 30s rejected advice to file a complaint. To do so, she explained, would require the presence of her obligatory male guardian, who happened to be...her husband. Without him, her testimony would not be legally valid. Besides, the all-male police might accuse her of "mixing" with the opposite sex, a crime in the eyes of most Saudi judges. The third time her husband shot her, she died.

This tale, told by a Saudi social worker in a new report on women's rights in the kingdom, is particularly harrowing. Yet it dramatises the more mundane plight of millions of Saudi women who are unable by law to study, work, travel, marry, testify in court, legalise a contract or undergo medical treatment without the assent of a close male relative, be he a father, husband or, less commonly, a grandfather, brother or son.

That Saudi women are banned from driving is well-known. But it is the imposition of male guardianship over adult women, affirms the detailed report by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based monitoring group, that is the biggest obstacle to female advancement. As the report points out, half the kingdom's citizens are treated in effect like children or the mentally ill for the duration of their lives. Worse, the guardianship policy creates a paradox: women may be held legally responsible for a crime, even though they are not deemed to have full legal capacity.

Oddly enough, there appear to be no written statutes mandating male guardianship for women. In the religiously conservative kingdom, where Muslim sharia law is held to override all other rules, the practice stems instead from extremist Wahhabi interpretations of Muslim scripture, particularly from a Koranic passage that describes men as the "protectors and keepers of women". Sadly for Saudi women, the all-male Saudi judiciary is made up entirely of Wahhabi extremists.

Despite having signed various international charters for women's rights, the Saudi government has done little either to modify the system or to enforce the minor reforms it has sponsored. Theoretically, for instance, women above the age of 45 no longer need a male guardian's permission to travel, yet airport officials routinely demand it anyway. A judge may, in theory, release a woman from the guardianship of an abusive parent or spouse, but only 1-2% of such appeals succeed, says a lawyer in the report. More than half of university students are women, yet they make up a tiny fraction of the workforce. This year will see the first-ever crop of female law graduates, but the justice ministry is unlikely to license any to practise, and judges are even less likely to allow them in their courtrooms.

Liberal-minded Saudis have long criticised such foibles, comparing the kingdom unfavourably to Muslim and Arab neighbours where women are far less restricted. Even those Saudis who uphold their traditions as defending female "honour" may take note of another woman's testimony to Human Rights Watch. A mother tells her daughter why she remarried: "I sold my body so that my paperwork can get taken care of. It tarnished my reputation and dignity, but our affairs are getting resolved."

Optimists say the mere fact that the Saudi authorities let Human Rights Watch compile its report in situ is progress; four years ago the idea would have been damned as foreign interference. Last month, senior representatives from eight ministries met people from the rights group in Saudi Arabia and politely discussed the report ahead of publication, insisting that they could all "work together". The Saudis' officially sanctioned National Human Rights Commission, set up four years ago, privately agreed with many of the recommendations, predicting, among other things, that women would be allowed to drive cars "in the near future"-but such hopeful assurances have been given before. And, though one newspaper, the relatively liberal al-Watan, has aired parts of the report, the Saudi media have generally ignored it.



Given the often-appalling outcome of the recently enacted British bill of rights, one would hope not but many starry-eyed Leftists are pushing for it amid hope that our new Centre-Left government can be led down that path. Below are two counterblasts to the idea -- one from a conservative commenter and one from a centre-Left commenter. That they say largely the same thing is rather encouraging

Beware the galloping imperialist judiciary

By Janet Albrechtsen

Do not mistake the unseasonal rush of warmth over the weekend with global warming. Put it down to those advocating a charter of rights for Australia at the 2020 Summit in the nation's capital. Their aim is to bathe us in the warm language of human rights so that, ultimately, we will soporifically sign up to a new federal charter of rights.

The heat will be cranked up over the next few years. Having found a good friend in the Rudd Labor Government, and buoyed by success in Victoria and the ACT where charters already operate, charter enthusiasts have finessed one heck of a sneaky strategy to seduce us. What is at stake is Australia's traditional democratic deal where parliaments make laws on behalf of the people and judges interpret those laws. Charter enthusiasts have a different post-democratic model in mind. This class of lawyers, human rights activists and academics distrust the people as too unenlightened to embrace their preferred social agenda. Hence they want to vest power to decide major social issues in an unelected group of guardians of the greater good: the judiciary.

Armed with a charter, these social engineers can seek out a sympathetic judge to legislate their agenda from the bench, unfettered by the messy business of taking their agenda to the people. Here is their strategy. First, promise public consultation, as Kevin Rudd has done. If genuine debate follows, that will be a fine thing.

Unfortunately, as we know from Victoria and the ACT, the so-called independent committees entrusted to consult with the people were stacked with so many charter supporters, they operated like one-way steering committees. Neither Victoria nor the ACT trusted the people's view enough to put the charter to a referendum.

And keep your eye on academic and Labor aspirant George Williams. Having slogged away at a charter for years, he oversaw Victoria's charter of rights. Ditto Hilary Charlesworth, another charter lover who chaired the ACT committee. If they pop up on the federal committee, I'll bet my house on the outcome. Talk that Malcolm Fraser may join them only confirms the one-way debate in store for us.

That "debate" goes something like this. "How can a reasonable person be against a charter of human rights?" they ask rhetorically. Human rights are not controversial, right? Wrong. A moment's reflection reveals that rights are as diverse as people themselves. And this exposes one of the greatest con jobs practised on us by the modern human rights industry: the assertion that human rights are universal, clear and immutable. Even that most basic right - the right to life - is highly contestable. Defining what is a right and the ambit of those rights is where reasonable people can and do disagree.

The charter raises one simple question: when deciding these contestable issues, should we count the votes of the Australian people or those of a handful of judges? It's a no-brainer. These are political questions for the people to determine. Sending political questions to the judiciary does not transform them into legal questions.

Relax, say the charter advocates. A charter of rights is a tame little law, a modest one which will not transfer power from the people. Just look at Britain, they say. Britain has a special provision in its Human Rights Act to ensure parliament is not stripped of power: that there is simply a "dialogue" between the judiciary and parliament. Courts in Britain can only issue a declaration of incompatibility, telling government that a law offends their Human Rights Act. On paper, that's right. Governments can ignore the courts. However, the political reality is different.

Only a brave government will ignore a declaration of inconsistency from a court. And as NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said a few weeks back, the only meaningful dialogue for parliament should be with the people, not judges.

By all means take a close look at Britain. In Britain, after enacting the Human Rights Act to much fanfare, former PM Tony Blair changed his tune, promising a battle with the judiciary when British courts put out the welcome mat to radical Muslims, using charter rights to ignore British immigration laws. More recently, present PM Gordon Brown canvassed the need for amendments to the HRA to include responsibilities because the rights fetish was taking Britain in the wrong direction.

Not to worry, say the charter supporters. Look to Canada, they say, where a special provision in their Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows governments to specifically exclude charter rights from a specific law if that is their intention. In other words, the power of parliament is preserved. Look a little closer at Canada, I say. This clause has never been used, not once since the charter was introduced more than 20 years ago. Yet, this clause was the clincher when the charter was being proposed to Canadians. Charter advocates in Canada said it would protect parliamentary sovereignty.

Sound familiar? In fact, it has been politically untouchable for a government to draft legislation which apparently infringes the "rights" of Canadians in the charter. Williams knows that. He has written about it. And why do you suppose most Canadians now express a desire to elect their judges? The Canadian charter has siphoned power away from the people to unelected judges. Nothing modest about it.

These are not obtuse legal wrangles. They go to the heart of how Australia will be governed: by the people or by judges. The real stealth bomb in a charter of rights is the interpretation clause. Hang in there if it all sounds a bit dry. Charter advocates will hope you start tuning out right about now. Section 3 of the British Human Rights Act - more or less repeated in the Victorian Charter - says that "So far as it is possible to do so, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights." This is an open invitation to judges to ignore even the clearest of parliament's intent. The House of Lords has said so, describing this innocuous little "reading down" provision as "dangerously seductive", and "unusual and far-reaching in character".

Charter devotees are all in favour of a galloping imperial judiciary; it is integral to their postmodern democratic model where power is stripped from politicians they regard as too stupid and too slow to mould the perfect world. Done under the guise of protecting human rights, this power play where the lawyer class triumphs over the masses is just the most recent reminder of H.L. Mencken's warning that the "urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule". Remember that when the charter bandwagon comes to a town near you.


Lawyers are already drunk with power

By Bob Carr (A former Labor party Premier of NSW -- pic below)

Call it the first swallow of summer. Last week I met a lawyer who said while she opposed a charter of rights, all the barristers on her floor supported it, and for the obvious reason: the intoxicating whiff of litigation. A bill of rights, or a charter, will lay out abstractions like the right to life, or privacy, or property, and thus enable judges to determine - after deliciously drawn-out litigation - what these mean.

A shift in power from elected parliaments to unelected judges, by a process of "judicial creep", is part of the bill of rights package. Canada has had its Charter of Rights and Freedoms since 1982, planted in the constitution. Before that there was only a legislative version. Clearly this is something the zealots want to see happen here: the first step only a law, but followed by constitutional entrenchment.

Like Australia, Canada also has a shortage of doctors in rural areas. British Columbia came up with a scheme to encourage doctors to practise there, with a finely tuned system of incentives. The provincial Supreme Court struck it down, citing section 6 ("mobility rights") and section 7 (the "right to life, liberty and security") of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada's rural population is still under-served by doctors, thanks to judges who want to write society's rules.

That's the trouble. A menu of abstractions - that is, any attempt to list rights - wrenches from the cabinet table and the legislature and delivers to the courtroom things that ought to be determined by governments. Thus, in the most recent burst of judicial activism, judges in Britain have determined that the justice secretary can no longer block a parole board decision to release a dangerous prisoner. Judges also determined that failed asylum-seekers in Britain could have access to the National Health Scheme, again something that should be a matter for elected politicians.

In Scotland, because of a delay in placing toilets in prison cells, the Scottish Law Reporter estimates that prisoners may be entitled to awards totalling pound stg. 76 million ($158.7 million) because their cells violated the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Government had been caught up with another priority, expanding drug rehabilitation programs for inmates. Last year, pound stg. 750,000 was paid to 197 heroin-addicted prisoners who successfully argued that cutting short their treatment while in prison breached their human rights.

But there's another phenomenon that perverts proper process: police and bureaucrats in Britain anticipate getting overruled on human rights grounds and start to shape their responses. Pity the factory owner who, this month, had to pay pound stg. 20,000 to bailiffs to remove 40 Gypsies who had torn down a 2.4m fence and occupied his factory land. The police refused to act so as not to breach the travellers' human rights.

A friend of mine who sits in the House of Commons says when his constituents talk about loutish behaviour in the streets or around housing estates, they say: "I suppose the police can't do anything about it because of their human rights." Thus creeping judicial activism around a charter of abstractions renders negative a concept that should sit nobly and proudly in the lexicon.

When Kevin Rudd looks at the 2020 Summit's endorsement of a bill or charter, he'll be politically astute enough to know a move to enact a charter or bill in any form would meet the same commonsense opposition that doomed it in 1988, when Australians voted it down 69 per cent to 31per cent.

Consider the objectors. Business knows it just represents another layer of uncertainty; what judges will do with "a right to property" is anyone's guess. Churches are becoming aware their immunity from anti-discrimination laws - a justified immunity - will end with a charter or a bill of rights. Church leaders can democratically lobby parliaments and cabinets, but not non-elected, tenured judges. The most obvious effect of a charter is to add opportunities to defence lawyers in criminal matters.

I look forward to advising victims of crime groups of the consequences of a bill or charter. The power of police to stop and search people for a knife, and remove the knife, which we enacted in NSW in 1998, would not survive judicial activism based on freewheeling interpretations. And the decisive life sentences imposed on the state's worst killers (who were originally given indeterminate "never to be released" sentences) would also be found to contravene prisoners' rights, as in Britain.

Perhaps, as former justice minister Michael Tate seemed to foreshadow in The Australian last week, we will see a proposal for a list of rights to be overseen by a parliamentary committee, not by judges. A big retreat, but it will still be objectionable. I and others will take issue with any attempt by a group of zealots to arrogate to themselves the power to define, codify and nail down their definition at this time of what they think ought to be our rights. Talk about elitism.

Rights count. So much so they need the give and take of the common law, rowdy parliaments and the ebb and flow of public opinion. It's the commonsensical ethos of a people - temper democratic, bias offensively Australian - not a declaration of abstractions that will keep us free.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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