Monday, March 16, 2009

British clergyman beaten after clashing with Muslims on his TV show

A Christian minister who has had heated arguments with Muslims on his TV Gospel show has been brutally attacked by three men who ripped off his cross and warned: `If you go back to the studio, we'll break your legs.' The Reverend Noble Samuel was driving to the studio when a car pulled over in front of him. A man got out and came over to ask him directions in Urdu.

Mr Samuel, based at Heston United Reformed Church, West London, said: `He put his hand into my window, which was half open, and grabbed my hair and opened the door. He started slapping my face and punching my neck. He was trying to smash my head on the steering wheel. Then he grabbed my cross and pulled it off and it fell on the floor. He was swearing. The other two men came from the car and took my laptop and Bible.' The Metropolitan Police are treating it as a `faith hate' assault and are hunting three Asian men.

In spite of the attack, Mr Samuel went ahead with his hour-long live Asian Gospel Show on the Venus satellite channel from studios in Wembley, North London. During the show the Muslim station owner Tahir Ali came on air to condemn the attack.

Pakistan-born Mr Samuel, 48, who was educated by Christian missionaries and moved to Britain 15 years ago, said that over the past few weeks he has received phone-in calls from people identifying themselves as Muslims who challenged his views. `They were having an argument with me,' he said. `They were very aggressive in saying they did not agree with me. I said those are your views and these are my views.' He said that he, his wife Louisa, 48, and his son Naveed, 19, now fear for their safety, and police have given them panic alarms. `I am frightened and depressed,' he said. `My show is not confrontational.'


Britain: We demonise all boys as feral .... then wonder why they turn into hoodies

We demonise all boys as feral .... then wonder why they turn into hoodies. When did head covering become such an issue? Hoods and hijabs both cause enormous anxiety. Hoods more so - but no one is forced to wear them. Hoodies really want to be hoodies. I saw that when talking to a group of teenagers about the representation of teenage boys in the media last week. The fact that another generation finds hoods scary is remarkable. The kids themselves, hooded or unhooded, were just bemused that their clothing could cause such a fuss.

We were there to discuss new research that measures how boys are seen by the rest of us. A photograph of a boy in a hood is now the symbol of urban decay or the end of the world. Teenage boys - when not knifing each other or fathering children - are hanging around drinking and drugging. Or they are in their bedrooms playing violent games, which is anti-social.

What the research commissioned by Women in Journalism highlighted was that there are very few good stories about teenage boys. Reality TV and shows such as Pop Idol are about the only place where we might see them in a positive light.

Does it matter if we label what we have reproduced ourselves as feral scum? I think it might. If every teenage boy is a potential mugger or knife-wielder then every teenage boy must carry a knife to protect himself. There is a horrible logic to it. I have had enough boys in and out of my house, thanks to teenage daughters, to see that the mumbling, gangly ones virtually wearing balaclavas are doing so partly to intimidate, partly out of fashion and partly because they are shy.

Yes, I know when one encounters a group of hooded youths on the street who won't step aside, one doesn't immediately think `poor shy little boys' - but sometimes these hoods are their security blankets. Eve Pollard, not a woman easily scared, was also in the discussion and asked some of the boys to remove their hoods. `But I can't see your faces,' she said. You could see the boys cowering as she spoke. When challenged as to why they wouldn't by the ultra-reasonable Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider series, one even came up with `My ears are cold'. There are an awful lot of cold ears about, then.

This fashion is also, surely, a deliberate, if unconscious, response to the surveillance culture of CCTV. It is, of course, in some boys' interest to keep their faces covered, but not the majority. So why have we criminalised an entire generation? It is as if we fear for our children too much and then we begin to fear them.

This divvying up of kids into angels or devils is not new. Think back to James Bulger's murder. Children killing children. I will never forget the mothers with toddlers in buggies outside the courtroom screaming that the ten-year-old murderers should now be killed as `killing children was wrong'. Ever since then, relentless images of underclass feral youth have been pumped into our consciousness. Most kids go to school, go through a bit of a dodgy stage and turn out OK in the end.

The madness of the Myerson saga reveals parents who could not accept their golden boy was growing up, no longer the sweet baby. He turned into a great, hulking manchild who didn't know what to do with himself for a while. It's really not the Jake Myersons of this world we need to worry most about but the white, disaffected working-class kids.

In demonising boys we make them afraid of each other. It is scary out there. But if we are afraid of our youths and their silly hoods, then we make them frightened of each other. That is a dangerous thing to be doing right now.



The Obama administration is increasingly fixed on resolving the "Arab-Is raeli dispute," seeing it as the key to peace and stability in the Middle East. This is bad news for Israel - and for America. In its purest form, this theory holds that, once Israel and its neighbors come to terms, all other regional conflicts can be duly resolved: Iran's nuclear-weapons program, fanatical anti-Western terrorism, Islam's Sunni-Shiite schism, Arab-Persian ethnic tensions. Some advocates believe substantively that the overwhelming bulk of other Middle Eastern grievances, wholly or partly, stem from Israel's founding and continued existence. Others see it in process terms - how to "sequence" dispute resolutions, so that Arab-Israeli progress facilitates progress elsewhere.

Pursuing this talisman has long characterized many European leaders and their soulmates on the American left. The Mideast "peace process" is thus the ultimate self-licking ice cream cone - its mere existence being its basic justification. And now the Obama administration has made it US policy. This is evidenced by two key developments: the appointment of former Sen. George Mitchell as special envoy for the region, and Secretary of State Hillary's Clinton's recent insistence on a "two-state solution" sooner rather than later.

Naming Mitchell as a high-level, single-issue envoy - rather than keeping the portfolio under Secretary Clinton's personal control - separates Israel from the broader conduct of US diplomacy. Mitchell's role underlines both the issue's priority in the president's eyes and the implicit idea it can be solved in the foreseeable future. Obama and Mitchell have every incentive to strike a Middle East deal - both to vindicate themselves and, in their minds, to create a basis for further "progress." But there are few visible incentives for any particular substantive outcome - which is very troubling for Israel, since Mitchell's mission essentially replicates in high-profile form exactly the approach the State Department has followed for decades.

When appointed, Mitchell said confidently: "Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings." This is true, however, only if the conflict's substantive resolution is less important than the process point of "ending" it one way or another. Surrender, for example, is a guaranteed way to end conflict.

Here, Clinton's strident insistence on a "two-state solution" during her recent Mideast trip becomes important. She essentially argued predestination: the "inevitability" of moving toward two states is "inescapable," and "there is no time to waste." The political consequence is clear: Since the outcome is inevitable and time is short, there is no excuse for not making "progress." Delay is evidence of obstructionism and failure - something President Obama can't tolerate, for the sake of his policies and his political reputation.

In this very European view, failure on the Arab-Israeli front presages failure elsewhere. Accordingly, the Obama adminstration has created a negotiating dynamic that puts increasing pressure on Israel, Palestinians, Syria and others.

Almost invariably, Israel is the loser - because Israel is the party most dependent on the United States, most subject to US pressure and most susceptible to the inevitable chorus of received wisdom from Western diplomats, media and the intelligentsia demanding concessions. When pressure must be applied to make compromises, it's always easier to pressure the more reasonable side.

How will diplomatic pressure work to change Hamas or Hezbollah, where even military force has so far failed? If anything, one can predict coming pressure on Israel to acknowledge the legitimacy of these two terrorist groups, and to negotiate with them as equals (albeit perhaps under some artful camouflage). The pattern is so common that its reappearance in the Mitchell-led negotiations is what is really "inevitable" and "inescapable."

Why would America subject a close ally to this dynamic, playing with the security of an unvarying supporter in world affairs? For America, Israel's intelligence-sharing, military cooperation and significant bilateral economic ties, among many others, are important national-security assets that should not lightly be put at risk. The only understandable answer is that the Obama administration believes that Israel is as much or more of a problem as it is an ally, at least until Israel's disagreements with its neighbors are resolved. Instead of seeing Israel as a national-security asset, the administration likely sees a relationship complicating its broader policy of diplomatic "outreach." No one will say so publicly, but this is the root cause of Obama's "Arab-Israeli issues first" approach to the region.

This approach is exactly backward. All the other regional problems would still exist even if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got his fondest wish and Israel disappeared from the map: Iran's nuclear-weapons program, its role as the world's central banker for terrorism, the Sunni-Shiite conflict within Islam, Sunni terrorist groups like al Qaeda and other regional ethnic, national and political animosities would continue as threats and risks for decades to come.

Instead, the US focus should be on Iran and the manifold threats it poses to Israel, to Arab states friendly to Washington and to the United States itself - but that is not to be. President Obama argues that he will deal comprehensively with the entire region. Rhetoric is certainly his specialty, but in the Middle East rhetoric only lasts so long. Performance is the real measure - and the administration's performance to date points in only one direction: pressuring Israel while wooing Iran. Others in the world - friend and foe alike - will draw their own conclusions.


Opulence for All!

Tibor R. Machan

As I drive to work in the morning I pass a community college on my right and for years now I have been struck by its opulence. This facility looks like some palace built for pharaohs, not a supplementary educational institution helping people with a few under-division college courses each term. No, by now at least California has several of such fabulous schools--I recall Foothill College up in the Bay Area, which matches some of the best endowed private universities in its architecture, as well as Santiago Canyon or Santa Barbara City College. These and others stick to my mind but there are hundreds of them, as well as similar so called public facilities that show enormous investment at taxpayers' expense or on government credit.

When I hear about California's enormous budget deficit--were they not constitutionally required to balance it each year?--my mind quickly focuses on these and other indulgences throughout the state. They certainly make it appear that whoever plans the state's educational programs has no concern about frugality or thrift. Instead the mentality that appears to go into these projects is that if anyone anywhere is studying at a marvelous college, well then everyone must, including those who spend but a few hours three times a week on campus.

This egalitarian mentality seems to me to have contributed big time to the country's financial wows. Although I am convinced of the superiority of privatizing all education, I figure that if the government is going to get into the education industry, it could certainly practice some restraint. Subsidized education ought at least to be modest and the opulence witnessed around California and some other regions of the country--Long Island, New York comes to mind, as does Florida and Texas--is simply way over the top.

Certainly if I am going to ask my friends to help me out with some of my personal needs, such as purchasing a car or dish washer, I would be abusing the privilege if I spent their good money on the most expensive of these items. But the egalitarian entitlement mentality is such as to insist that if some people in society are studying at institutions with outstanding and beautiful facilities, well then everyone is entitled to the same. Never mind that the money is obtained through the extortion method called taxation, a relic of feudal times when monarchs had to be compensated for allowing their realm to be used by their subjects.

Which brings to mind a related matter--Nevada Senator Harry Reid's recent contention in an interview widely circulated on the Web that taxation is voluntary and that when taxes are collected, it's like collecting dues from us which we all owe because we choose to pay them. Bunk. Dues are the result of signing up for a benefit with the provision oft paying an agreed upon weekly, monthly, or yearly fee. But taxes are nothing like this. Just being born and trying to make a living qualifies one as the subject of it, to being extorted arbitrary portions of one's livelihood.

But back to the egalitarian opulence that has contributed to the current fiscal meltdown in so many regions of not only America but the rest of the world. It may be driven by envy or by a phony political ideology, namely that everyone is naturally entitled to equal "shares" of the country's wealth but in either case it is nonsense. And it's costing big time. Of course there is an ancient habit afoot that supports this sentiment. It is one that sees society as a club or team to which everyone belongs as an ant to a colony and from which everyone may draw maximum benefits, so long as the leadership allows it.

In the time of kings and other mythical leaders of state it was an ideal to aspire to because it was one way to wrest of the wealth from the rulers--persuade them it isn't theirs in the first place (which it wasn't though they firmly believed it was). But once it was widely enough realized that societies were supposed to be realms wherein we all were to be free to work and aspire to some level of success but not entitled to end up like everyone else, this was supposed to change and we are all more or less competing with the understanding that in a competition people end up in different places at different points of the race. But by refusing to see it this way, the society is seen as obligated to maintain everyone in a state of economic opulence and that is simply unsustainable and leads to George Orwell's very apt depiction of an egalitarian society in his novella, Animal Farm, wherein everyone is equal only some are far more "equal" than others.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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