Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Propaganda fail: The youth of England are rather conservative
And that good ol' drift from Left to Right is already showing up during their teenage years. The blizzard of Leftist propaganda they get in school and from the BBC doesn't seem to have had much influence. One reason could be that Britain has a large range of very conservative and widely circulated newspapers: Daily Telegraph (highbrow), Daily Mail and Daily Express (middlebrow), Sun (lowbrow) -- so everybody has access to the full range of political thought. The Sun in particular (a Murdoch publication) is the biggest-selling daily paper and probably ensures that conservative attitudes percolate throughout British society.
School pupils in England have less tolerant attitudes to immigration, and are less interested in news than their international peers, a study finds. The research showed a hardening of attitudes on immigrants, jail sentences and benefit payments as students in England got older.
The National Foundation for Educational Research also found that English pupils' knowledge of the EU was poor. But it found that regular citizenship classes could raise civic involvement.
The final report from The Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study, showed a mixed picture of the civic engagement, attachment, understanding and attitudes of young people in England.
The research tracked the attitudes of some 24,000 pupils over nine years, as they aged from 11 to 18. It showed that over time, the cohort experienced a hardening of attitudes towards refugees and immigrants, jail sentences and benefit payments. It also showed their trust in politicians declined. [Excellent! That's the very foundation of conservative thought]
The researchers also compared the attitudes of English teenagers with those of their international counterparts. This revealed that English pupils had attitudes which were "broadly democratic and tolerant", the study said. But "their tolerance of immigration is well below the international average and their view of European migration is particularly critical," the researchers said.
English pupils had a "low" level of interest in social and political issues, the study found.
The report's authors noted that this is an international trend, but that English young people had a level of news media interest significantly below the international average.
Pupils in England scored significantly above average in the international test of civic knowledge and understanding when compared to all participating countries. But when compared only to their European counterparts, their performance was average.
Their knowledge of the European Union was significantly below that of other pupils in Europe, with English pupils scoring the worst on many questions of all 24 member states that took part in the study. Pupils in England had a strong sense of national identity, which outweighed their sense of European identity.
The research also showed a weakening of English pupils' attachment to their communities at local, national and European level, although their attachment to their school communities remained strong. Trust in social, civil and political institutions also remained high, although 33% reported in the latest survey that they do not trust politicians "at all" - up from 20% at age 11.
The findings indicated that when citizenship education learning is delivered in slots of more than 45 minutes per week on a regular basis, it can improve young people's chances of positive involvement in civic activities. It also suggested that this can lead to young people feeling more able to make a difference to their communities.
Citizenship became compulsory for pupils aged 11 to 16 in September 2002 and a GCSE is available in the subject. In the citizenship classes, young people learn about democracy and justice, the structure of political systems and how to function in that structure.
Pupils in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland were not included in the study.
Briton to challenge judgement of Twitter airport bomb threat 'joke'
A man who was convicted and fined for tweeting that he planned to blow up an airport will take his case to Britain's High Court in a test of the limits of free speech on the internet, his lawyers said Monday.
Attorneys for Paul Chambers said prominent human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson has been instructed to lead the legal challenge to Chambers' conviction.
Chambers, a 27-year-old trainee accountant, was arrested in January after he posted a message on Twitter saying he would blow Robin Hood Airport in northern England "sky high" if his flight, due to leave a week later, was delayed.
Chambers insisted it was a joke. But a judge found him guilty of sending a menacing message over a public telecommunications network and ordered him to pay a 385 pound ($621) fine plus legal costs. Earlier this month another judge rejected Chambers' appeal.
The verdict caused a wave of outrage on Twitter, with thousands of supporters retweeting Chambers' message with the tag "I Am Spartacus" — a reference to the 1960 movie epic in which the titular hero's fellow rebels all assume his identity in a gesture of solidarity.
Why does Britain turn a blind eye to these medieval zealots peddling lessons in hate?
By Dr Taj Hargey
Tolerance is one of the abiding characteristics of British society. It is the reason that this country has been able to cope so successfully with unprecedented immigration and social change in recent decades. But sadly, this tradition of openness is being ruthlessly exploited by the followers of a radical strain of Islam that has emerged from the deserts of Arabia.
Tribalist and dogmatic, these Saudi zealots stir up division and threaten our social harmony with their attachment to a crass interpretation of the creed that is a throwback to the barbarities of a medieval age. Known as Wahhabism, this toxic brand of fundamentalism is being propagated throughout Muslim communities across Britain.
The young are particular targets for indoctrination by the hardliners, as was revealed last night in a BBC Panorama documentary which highlighted the insidious influence of a large network of Saudi weekend schools. There are more than 40 such schools in Britain, inculcating more than 5,000 pupils with the warped values of Wahhabism.
Misogyny, separatism and bigotry are all key features of the teaching in these institutions, whereas the Western tradition of free thought and open debate is completely ignored. That is why I, as a Muslim scholar and community leader, regard these schools as so dangerous. They are anathema to everything that our pluralistic society stands for, and should have no role in the education of impressionable minds.
It is also unfortunate for mainstream Muslims that Wahhabism has maligned Islam and has come to define the public perception of my faith — even though it has no real basis in the teaching of the Koran and is little more than primitive tribal code.
Precisely because Wahhabism originated in the brutal backyard of Saudi Arabia, it should have no place in modern democratic Britain. Our culture has gone to considerable lengths to promote equality for women, gay people, ethnic minorities and diverse faiths.
In contrast, the authoritarian Wahhabi tradition in Saudi Arabia is infused with intolerance. The oppression of women there, for instance, is notorious. They are not permitted to drive, nor are they allowed to travel unaccompanied by a male relative.
Now, thanks to these schools, this sort of misogynistic nonsense is being taught to young Muslims in Britain. Similarly, the grotesque Saudi dress code ranging from the headscarf, the hijab to the full all-enveloping tent-like burka, is now all too familiar on the streets of England — when there is no Koranic justification for this.
In the same vein, anti-Semitism is rampant in Saudi Arabia from the top down, reflected in everything from the institutionalised hatred of Israel to the portrayal of Jews as monkeys and pigs in newspaper cartoons. Vicious prejudice against gays is also rife, sanctioned by the Wahhabi clerics. The death penalty is the price paid by gays for any expression of their sexual identity. All in all, life for a woman, gay man or Jew in Saudi Arabia is pretty intolerable, devoid of freedom and rights. And this is the world that the Islamic weekend school preachers want to recreate in Britain!
The same spirit of savagery is found in the way Sharia law is implemented in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabis run a regime where women are executed for suspected adultery and the most cruel punishments are meted out against petty criminals. But this pitiless approach owes nothing to the Koran. For example, in Saudi Arabia, first-time offenders such as thieves often have a limb cut off — yet the Koran states that such amputations should be used as an extreme last resort, only against the incorrigible.
Equally repellent is the utter domination by Islam of all public life. There is not a shred of pluralism allowed by this corrupt authoritarian regime and Islam is upheld without compassion. So-called ‘morality police’ walk the streets, enforcing their jaundiced interpretation of Sharia law.
The sentence of death hangs over anyone who dares to challenge the Wahhabi theocracy. Apostasy — the act of converting to another faith — is treated as a capital offence. Even those Muslims who fail to conform to the strict tenets of Wahhabism are treated as heretics, liable to imprisonment or execution.
There is a huge element of hypocrisy about the propagation of Wahhabism in Britain, as hardline Muslim regimes are utterly intolerant of any other faith. It is impossible to build a Christian church in Saudi Arabia, yet the same ideologues constantly demand the right to build mosques in Britain. They want the privileges here that they refuse to accord other faiths when they are in control.
Why do we have to put up with the soundtrack of grievance from these Saudi extremists, endlessly demanding mosques, halal meat, calls to prayer, special schools, gender segregation, removal of Christian symbols and imposition of a tribal dress code?
But perhaps the most disturbing feature of the weekend schools is how they serve as a gateway to extremist theology and political radicalism. This ultimately paves the way to domestic terrorism.
The dogma they promote is permanently hostile to the state in which we live — leading to a dangerous ‘them and us’ mentality, making a mockery of all attempts at real integration and tolerance. It is no coincidence that since Wahhabism gained a hold on British Muslims, especially on university campuses and in mosques, the threat of terror has intensified.
So why is Britain turning a blind eye to these schools and the wider sinister influence of Wahhabism? It’s all the more extraordinary given the tough stance we have taken against Islamic extremism in Afghanistan.
There is something obscene about having British soldiers die in the fight against the Taliban while allowing fundamentalist propaganda to flourish in our midst. Of course, the reason for this disparity can be summed up in one word of three letters: oil.
Britain is reliant on Saudi Arabian energy supplies and that is why we kowtow to them. Oil is also one of the key reasons why Saudi Arabia has gained such an unhealthy influence in the Islamic world, powering the growth of this kind of poisonous fundamentalism, in Britain as much as anywhere else.
Although the Saudi embassy yesterday tried to distance itself from the row about the weekend schools, we should have little doubt that the Saudi regime has assisted with funding them.
Furthermore, it is telling that Britain’s most famous and prestigious mosque, at Regent’s Park, in London, is inextricably linked to the Saudi government and the Wahhabi clergy. The head of the mosque, Ahmad Dubyan, is in the Saudi diplomatic service and reports back to the country’s monarch in Riyadh.
The other prime reason for Saudi’s growing domination of global Islam is that the nation contains the two most holy places in the faith: the mosques at Medina and Mecca.
At the festival of Hajj, now held in late autumn, three million pilgrims descend on Mecca, providing a huge captive audience for Wahhabism. Armed with Saudi propaganda and contentious Wahhabi Korans — in which all the verses about tolerance and pluralism have been struck out — these devotees return to their homeland to spread the word.
The row over these weekend schools should make us remember that the rise of extremism has been a disaster for British society and moderate Muslims. Social cohesion has been undermined. Integration has been thwarted. Distrust has grown among neighbours.
These problems can be addressed only by Muslims embracing the true pluralist ethos of the Koran: chapter 2, verse 22, which declares that all believers of any faith will achieve salvation if they lead good lives in anticipation of the day of reckoning.
That is the predominant sentiment we should be teaching our children — not the twisted theology of the Saudis and the Wahhabis.
Australia: Punters cancel bookings, abuse jockey club staff over homosexual race day
Why the favoritism? Why not just have a PEOPLE'S day, as was always done in the past?
AN Australian Jockey Club has faced a backlash over its decision to run a gay and lesbian raceday. The South Australian club is catering for a crowd of 5000 at Adelaide's Morphettville this Saturday, for its inaugural Pink Diamond Day.
But several regular racegoers will boycott the event, run in conjunction with the gay and lesbian Feast Festival.
SAJC chief executive Brenton Wilkinson told The Advertiser yesterday trackside diners had rung to cancel bookings, specifically stating they did not approve of the event. SAJC staff have also received abusive phone calls and "outraged" emails from members.
"We're disappointed some people have taken offence that we have got involved with a large festival that has been here successfully for 13 years, " Mr Wilkinson said. "One guy rang up and abused the girls in sales and said we shouldn't be supporting 'poofters' and things like this - that it's not proper. "It's hard to know what to say to people, but attendance is not compulsory and people can make their own choices."
An email to the club, seen by The Advertiser, suggests former champion sprinter Apache Cat should be promoted as the main attraction for the day and not "a bunch of ***pushers and others dressed in pink". The writer adds "you've lost this homophobic for the day" and argues "Adelaide is not like Sydney in the gay stakes".
Feast Festival general manager David Waylen said: "We don't go out of our way to make defamatory comments when they hold straight racedays, so I don't understand this attitude. "The SAJC is arguably the most conservative sporting group in SA and we thought it was a huge coup for us to establish a partnership," he said.
Mr Waylen said that despite the reaction of some, Adelaide was becoming more "gay-friendly" than 10 years ago and sees the arrangement with the SAJC as "win-win". "We're looking to be more mainstream and engage with the wider community, and the Jockey Club gets to diversify its target audience," he said.
"Queer people's money is as good as everybody else's and we, as a community, are no different to others. "These kinds of events allow us to get out of the closets, the back alleys and the basements of Adelaide." [Rubbish. South Australia had a popular homosexual Premier -- Dunstan -- for many years. His homsexuality was not publically acknowledged but it was widely known and obvious in a variety of ways. The Premier's residence is a long way from back alleys]
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.