Monday, April 18, 2011
'Wear a headscarf or we will kill you': How the 'London Taliban' is targeting women and gays in bid to impose sharia law
Women who do not wear headscarves are being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists intent on imposing sharia law on parts of Britain, it was claimed today.
Other targets of the 'Talibanesque thugs', being investigated by police in the Tower Hamlets area of London, include homosexuals. Stickers have been plastered on public walls stating: 'Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment'.
Posters for H&M which feature women in bikinis and a racy poster for a Bollywood film have been defaced.
It is believed Muslim extremists are behind a spate of attacks being investigated by police, according to the Sunday Times.
An Asian woman who works in a pharmacy in east London was told to dress more modestly and wear a veil or the shop would be boycotted. When she went to the media to talk about the abuse she suffered, a man later entered the pharmacy and told her: 'If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you'.
The 31-year-old, who is not a practising Muslim, said she has since been told to take holiday by the pharmacy owners and now fears she may lose her job. She said: 'Why should I wear a hijab (headscarf) or burqa? I haven't done anything wrong.'
Other incidents reported include the placing of stickers across the white-minority borough which state it is a 'gay-free zone' and the daubing of paint on posters for clothing shop H&M featuring women in bikinis.
Ghaffar Hussain, of the anti-extremism thin tank the Quilliam Foundation, told The Sunday Times that the intimidation was the work of 'Talibanesque thugs'. He added: 'This minority think they have the right to impose their fringe interpretation of Islam on others.'
Three men have been charged with religiously-aggravated criminal damage in connection with some of the incidents, which have mirrored crude attempt at censorship in Birmingham.
Borough Commander of Tower Hamlets, Paul Rickett said: 'I am saddened that there are a small minority of people who do not wish to respect the lifestyle choices of others. 'I would like to reassure the people of Tower Hamlets that we are investigating these incidents.
'At this stage there is no information to suggest any of the incidents are linked. Anyone found committing such criminal acts will face criminal proceedings. 'We work closely with faith leaders in the community, the Tower Hamlets interfaith forum, our partner agencies and the local community to ensure that people feel safe in the borough.'
Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said he had seen posters vandalised in Birmingham but was not aware of threats being made. He said: 'I have seen posters defaced in Birmingham and it's just complete nonsense. 'If people choose to follow the religion they should be free to do so and we don't want to go down the route that the French have done, but these people have to accept other people. 'If it's about the freedom to do what you want, others should have the freedom to do what they want to do.
'It's the actions of a very small minority, and in Birmingham we have not seen people threaten women who are not wearing the burqa - it someone were to do that the police should be informed.'
Firebrand Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary said that he was aware of individuals who would speak up if they saw a Muslim woman without a headscarf, but insisted they were only giving advice about their views of Islam. He said no threats would be made and described the allegations of threats of death as 'completely ridiculous'. He said: 'There are groups who propagate Islam, and if they see a Muslim woman without a hijab they may say "sister, it's obligatory that you cover your hair".
'It's an individual intervention to propagate Islam. For non-Muslims, they may point out to them that women are being exploited in the West. 'It's about telling people about the preference of covering up, but nobody's going to say "you are going to be killed".'
Tower Hamlets has a reputation for being a centre of Islamic extremism in London. Recently it was revealed Rich Dart, a middle class former BBC worker had converted to Islam and was living in Bow, east London in a £300,000 flat paid for by benefits.
Despite being unemployed, Mr Dart regularly attends Muslim rallies in which he was recently heard to say: 'When the Taliban defeat the allies we will establish Sharia law and take the fight to the enemy.'
Before Christmas posters appeared in the borough claiming the religious festival was 'evil'. The campaign's organiser was 27-year-old Abu Rumaysah, who once called for Sharia Law in Britain at a press conference held by hate preacher leader Anjem Choudary, the leader of banned militant group Islam4UK.
Mr Rumaysah said: 'Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it. 'But our main attack is on the fruits of Christmas, things like alcohol abuse and promiscuity that increase during Christmas and all the other evils these lead to such as abortion, domestic violence and crime. 'We hope that out campaign will make people realise that Islam is the only way to avoid this and convert.'
Niall Ferguson: 'The left love being provoked by me ... they think I'm a reactionary imperialist scumbag'
The historian has been living back in the UK for almost a year, the first time since leaving for the US in 2002, where he now teaches at Harvard. From the outside, it's looked like quite a successful stay; his Channel 4 series, Civilization, was broadly well-received, and the accompanying book is another dollop of vintage Ferguson history, devoted to the superiority of western civilisation. While here he's also been advising Michael Gove on the history curriculum in secondary schools, and now that the Tories, of whom he approves, are back in charge of the country, he must have found the political climate more to his tastes. But when I ask him for the single biggest change he's observed since leaving Britain, he replies with a kind of theatrical despair,
"I think the situation in British universities has gone from being parlous to being catastrophic. When you look at where British universities are going, and where Harvard's going, you'd have to really love other things about England to take the hit."
The Glaswegian-born academic and presenter, 46, has been sending the left into fits of rage ever since he published Empire in 2003 – an elaborate cost-benefit analysis of the British empire, which concluded that it had, on the whole, been a good thing. The character of Irwin in Alan Bennett's play, The History Boys – a pushy, contrarian teacher who becomes a TV historian – is modelled on Ferguson, and ideological sparring matches with his leftwing critics, one of whom branded his work "startlingly obscene", have become something of a national sport. Rather than get into yet another one with him, I'm more interested to find out what he thinks about the things that are often said about him, so I ask if it's true that he loves provoking the left.
"No, they love being provoked by me! Honestly, it makes them feel so much better about their lives to think that I'm a reactionary; it's a substitute for thought. 'Imperialist scumbag' and all that. Oh dear, we're back in a 1980s student union debate." But didn't Ferguson himself admit that his conversion to Thatcherism while a student at Oxford in the 80s was motivated chiefly by delight in taunting student union lefties?
"Well, of course, yes, it was partly that," he concedes. "But that was the 80s, and I was young. I'm not a punk Tory any more, we have come a long way since then, it's now 2011. I don't really care about those people any more. The debate that I'm interested in having is with seriously smart people about how we design institutions in the 21st century that will genuinely address problems of poverty and educational underachievement. Now that's an interesting debate to have, but very few people in this country are interested in having it."
Warming to his theme, he cites one reviewer of Civilization who clearly hadn't even read the book before attacking it. "You know what?" he says crossly. "There's a lot of intellectual shoddiness in this country. My interest in my work now is not to wind up British lefties; I couldn't care less about them, not really. I couldn't care less about how they feel. So the problem is not that I like to wind them up. It's that they like to be wound up by an imaginary rightwing historian who satisfies all their emotional needs."
Let's say then, I suggest, that he's absolutely right; that the left has got itself into a tizz and accused him of all sorts of views he does not actually hold. He is forever insisting he is not rightwing – so could he offer some examples of his thinking which would demonstrate that he isn't?
"Ask me not are you rightwing, but ask me are you a committed believer in individual freedom, the values of the enlightenment? Then, yeah, if being rightwing means believing Adam Smith was right, both in the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments, then I'm rightwing. If being rightwing is thinking that Karl Marx's doctrine was a catastrophe for humanity, then I'm rightwing. If you think that it's rightwing to say that the welfare state has trapped 10-20% of the population of western Europe in a dependency culture, an abyss of social failure, then I'm rightwing."
He sounds as if he could quite easily be a member of David Cameron's cabinet. "I'm very sympathetic to both David Cameron and George Osborne," he agrees. "But we have to redefine this debate, this argument. I'm just constantly amazed by how far people remain trapped in the labelling of the 80s. In the 80s I was a Thatcherite, and we won on both issues, the economy and the cold war, and for a lot of people that must have hurt a lot because those arguments were very bitter, but the outcome was just clear. So when people call me rightwing I get a little pissed off, because it's so anachronistic; it assumes there is some kind of choice."
Ferguson's politics don't appear to rest on semantic definitions of rightwing, so much as a refusal to recognise the validity – or even possibility – of any alternative way of looking at the world. Such certainty presumably explains the other thing everyone always says about him – that he has an almost superhuman absence of self-doubt. But when I ask if this is true, he says: "Of course not!
One of the things that really amazes me is how many people would rather discuss style than substance – that I'm too arrogant, too self-assured. But what the media want from a public intellectual is someone who is absolutely certain in his views. When you are on Newsnight or Question Time, they want combative polarisation; they want a strong case, strongly put. And I do that – I can do that – because a certain intellectual discipline is involved. But as a teacher, my strategy is to encourage questioning. I'm the least authoritarian professor you'll ever meet."
Ferguson has produced 16 books and five TV series in the last 16 years, and sounds unmistakably proud of his workaholism, so I guess that he thinks work-life balance is basically for losers. "I think work-life balance is a phrase invented at business schools to make workaholics feel they're doing something about their problem," he agrees scornfully. "The truth is, there is no balance. You can't strike a balance. You can't write a book like Civilization on three hours a day.
Coverage of Pew Prison Study Stinks
In language designed to alarm viewers, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric reported on Wednesday night that the U.S. has the world’s largest prison population—more than two million people behind bars—and that a Pew study says it is costing states more than $50 billion a year. But what Couric and national correspondent Jim Axelrod failed to point out is that more prisons have equaled less crime.
In other words, the policy is working. This is something that state governments are doing right.
Axelrod’s story on the CBS News website is linked to an Associated Press account which is headlined, “Despite large increases in spending on corrections, many commit crimes within three years of prison release.” This would seem to suggest that these criminals ought to be serving longer prison terms because they cannot be rehabilitated. Instead, Axelrod proposed more spending—not on prisons—but on “drug treatment and general education degree programs—plus help transitioning back into society…”
So we are supposed to let the criminals back out on the streets and coddle them even more, in the hope that they will not commit more crimes. This means, of course, that the money saved on prisons will not be truly saved. Instead, it will be spent on the George Soros approach of “alternatives to incarceration” recently reflected in an NAACP report that was extremely flawed and completely ignored the cost of handling illegal alien criminals.
A Federation of American Immigration Reform study, “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers,” estimates state and local costs associated with handling illegal alien criminals at $8.7 billion a year (with an additional $7.8 billion worth of costs being borne by the federal government).
The Pew study does not suggest saving money on prisons by cutting back on illegal immigration. It proposes cutting back on prisons, period. However, its rationale is questionable. It says, “This high price [spending on prisons and corrections] would be more than defensible had it yielded proportionate improvements in public safety.” This seems to suggest that the money has somehow been wasted. But it then goes on to say, “In fact, the crime rate has been falling since the early 1990s, and is now at its lowest level since 1968. Prison expansion certainly contributed to this trend.”
So building more prisons and putting criminals in them has worked. But Pew seems determined to avoid this conclusion by then commenting, “The most sophisticated research gives prison growth credit for one-quarter to one-third of the crime drop during the 1990s.” (emphasis added).
It is a matter of opinion whether such research is sophisticated or not. Some might call it dangerously misleading.
However, liberal California Governor Jerry Brown is one of those “sophisticated” thinkers. He has proposed a budget that reduces the number of criminals going to prison. Rina Palta, who covers criminal justice issues, explains, “The current budget calls for less restrictive supervision for a whole host of lower level crimes. That means that fewer crimes carry the penalty of state prison, fewer people getting out go under the strict supervision of state parole, and those that violate parole would likely not go back to prison for the violation.”
But Todd Gillam of the Parole Agent Association of California has written in response, “There is no other plausible outcome to this bill, but increased crime.” This is the viewpoint being ignored by the major media as various news organizations hype the new Pew study that apparently lies behind the Jerry Brown approach.
The Pew Center has been on a campaign against prisons. Back in 2008 it released a report, “One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008,” which attempted to shock the public with the claim that, “for the first time in history, more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety.”
No clear return on public safety?
Professor Paul Cassell commented at the time, “The Pew Center claims that we are not really getting anything in return for the moneys spent on prisons. But curiously, despite the claim that this expenditure is ‘failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime,’ the study never attempts to assess the impact on overall crime.”
He cited a graph showing that “significant increases in spending on prisons has coincided with significant reductions in crime. Of course, proving causality would require a more sophisticated analysis. But it would be remarkable to think that the prison growth has had nothing to do with the fact that violent crime rates have reached their lowest point in recent years, according to the Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics.”
In a June 22, 2008, column that carried the title, “More Prisons, Less Crime,” columnist George Will drew the obvious conclusion: “For many reasons, including better policing and more incarceration, Americans feel, and are, safer.” But The New York Times, he noted, has had a history of failing to recognize the relationship between more prisons and less crime. He cited the following “amusing” Times headlines:
· “Crime Keeps on Falling, But Prisons Keep on Filling.” (1997)
· “Prison Population Growing Although Crime Rate Drops.” (1998)
· “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction.” (2000)
· “More Inmates, Despite Slight Drop in Crime.” (2003)
This New York Times mentality of not recognizing reality seems to be at work in the coverage of the Pew study.
Australia: Leftist State Premier slams judges as 'out of touch'
Mandatory sentencing is always a second-best solution but the actions of some judges would seem to make it a better system than what we have at the moment
PREMIER Anna Bligh has accused the judiciary of losing touch with the community after two controversial decisions involving serious child sex offenders in as many days.
Attorney-General Cameron Dick has been ordered to review a decision that allowed an Ipswich man, 45, to walk free on bail after being charged with 24 offences, including four of rape and 20 of indecently dealing with a minor.
Mr Dick will also review the case last week of a child sex offender in Cairns who was jailed for seven years for raping and abusing six girls.
Ms Bligh yesterday said the State Government would do whatever it could to appeal the decisions. "People want to see these types of offenders treated very harshly and that isn't what they have seen in the past two days," she said.
Bravehearts executive director Hetty Johnston said an inquiry was needed on sex offenders. "The system does not protect children. We want an opportunity to sit down and try to find some logical solutions to a very difficult problem," she said.
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.