Monday, December 10, 2012
There may not always be an England
Q. When does the British government subsidize a TV channel that carries the rants of anti-gay religious fanatics?
A. When the TV channel is run by Islamist extremists.
OK, that one was a softball. But it’s worth pointing out a telling contrast in the British government’s stance on people’s right to think unapproved thoughts about homosexuality.
Here is what Mr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, a speaker who has been featured on Britain’s Ramadan TV, has to say about gays:
Abdullah Hakim Quick … has been condemned by New Zealand’s broadcasting authority for his anti-gay tirades, which state that homosexuals must be killed, that they are “sick” and “not natural”, and that “Muslims are going to have to take a stand [against homosexuals] and it’s not enough to call names.” He continues to hold this position: “They said ‘what is the Islamic position [on homosexuality]?’ And I told them. Put my name in the paper. The punishment is death. And I’m not going to change this religion.”
The National Health Service’s North East London & the City agency responded to this editorial posture by subsidizing Ramadan TV to the tune of £3,200. Sam Westrop at the Gatestone Institute (first link) gives other examples of bloodthirsty extremism from the talking heads on Ramadan TV. Homosexuality, however, is the topic that highlights the unequal treatment now being accorded to citizens of the UK.
Islamist anti-gay ranters may find their media outlets subsidized by British government agencies, but foster parents who merely can’t agree to endorse homosexuality to children under the age of 10 are denied any further opportunities to take in foster children. Such was the judgment of the Derby City Council against Owen and Eunice Johns in 2010. The council’s decision on the matter was upheld by the British High Court in February 2011.
The organization Christian Concern summarized the court’s findings at the time. The [High Court] judges stated:
* That if children are placed with parents who have traditional Christian views like the Johns “there may well be a conflict with the local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of looked-after children”,
* That there is a tension between the equality provisions concerning religious discrimination and those concerning sexual orientation. Yet, as regards fostering, “the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence”,
* That a local authority can require positive attitudes to be demonstrated towards homosexuality,
* That there is no religious discrimination against the Johns because they were being excluded from fostering due to their moral views on sexual ethics and not their Christian beliefs (This is incredible and very disingenuous as the Johns moral views cannot be separated from their religious beliefs), and
* That “Article 9 [of the European Human Rights Act] only provides a ‘qualified’ right to manifest religious belief and … this will be particularly so where a person in whose care a child is placed wishes to manifest a belief that is inimical to the interests of children”.
So, it is clear that if you are Christian and don’t endorse homosexuality, you will be denied participation in government-regulated activities – even if you state, as Eunice Johns did, that you have no animus against gays. But if you are an Islamist organization and your featured speakers advocate death for homosexuals, you can be subsidized by a government agency – that is, by the UK taxpayer.
Of course, when one thing goes wrong with a society, everything else does too. It’s worth noting the news that some Jewish students at the University of Edinburgh have had to decide to leave school, due to an alarmingly unpleasant campus atmosphere created by radical Islamists and anti-Israel groups. This is reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s, among other things.
Scotland, like England, once produced philosophers of freedom, tolerance, rationality, and equality before the law. But the noble British tradition from which America drew so much is close to extinction in its birthplace. It’s easy to blame radical Muslims for this, but the truth is that the Brits, like the rest of the West, have done it to themselves with a nihilistic radical-left philosophy. The same city councilmen who denied foster parenting to the Johns couple would quite probably dismiss Mr. Quick’s anti-gay rant with a hand-wave and a naively Orwellian phrase or two about “diversity.” The reign of irrational, hysterical sentiment is complete – and every word in its charter document was written by the Western left.
John Bull was once a canny and tough old fellow. But he set aside principle for sentiment, and today, he is on life-support.
Weren't the Tories supposed to call off the watchdogs?
Another day, another watchdog gets on its hind legs and barks disapproval about a Coalition measure. Today it's Ofqual's turn. The outfit, which oversees exams, has warned Michael Gove that his English baccalaureate exam is "unworkable".
At least Ofqual is not parti-pris: look at their website and you'll find the Chair of the board is Amanda Spielman, associated with ARK, the education charity that has sponsored a number of academies. In other words, as watchdogs go, Ofqual is a well-behaved puppy (though no poodle).
While Ofqual can't be branded a Lefty cabal, the same isn't true of other quangos. Ofcom, the media regulator, came under scrutiny during the Leveson inquiry. Its membership is so uniformly liberal-Left that Tory papers fear for their future. Ditto, the Media Standards Trust. And what of the Electoral Commission which bungles – sorry I mean oversees – elections? Even Save the Children is not the innocuous feelgood little charity you'd think: its chief executive Justin Forsyth served as a Labour strategy chief under Gordon Brown.
Yes, quangos outlive governments – but what is peculiar about Britain's quangos is that the great majority were appointed under Labour. Begotten under Blair, they multiplied under Brown. There was a reason for this: Gordon Brown, as Fraser Nelson outlined earlier this year in the Telegraph, understood that building a network of placement would ensure a client state that votes Labour forever more.
The worrying thing is that quangos don't just play party politics. They spend lots of money. Look at Ofcom's spending and you'd think that, despite the Autumn Budget forecast, there was money to throw around.
The Coalition boasted they would dismantle the quango state. Sadly, they have failed in their mission. It's a failure that will make things difficult while they're in power – and long after.
Google “Islamist” and you’ll get more than 24 million hits. Google “jihadist” and you’ll get millions more. Yet I bet the average American could not tell you what it is that Islamists and jihadists believe. And those at the highest levels of the U.S. government refuse to do so.
Why? John Brennan, the top counterterrorism adviser in the White House, argues that it is “counterproductive” to describe America’s “enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.” To describe terrorists using “religious terms,” he adds, would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” waging unconventional war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”
I get it. I understand why it would be useful to convince as many of the world’s more than a billion Muslims as possible that Americans are only attempting to defend themselves against “violent extremists.” By now, however, it should be obvious that this spin — one can hardly call it analysis — has spun out. The unpleasant fact is that there is an ideology called Islamism and, as Yale professor Charles Hill recently noted, it “has been on the rise for generations.”
So we need to understand it. We need to understand how Islamism has unfolded from Islam, and how it differs from traditional Islam as practiced in places as far-flung and diverse as Kuala Lumpur, Erbil, and Timbuktu. This is what Bassam Tibi attempts in his most recent book, published this year, Islamism and Islam. It has received nowhere near the attention it deserves.
A Koret Foundation Senior Fellow at Stanford University, Tibi describes himself as an “Arab-Muslim pro-democracy theorist and practitioner.” Raised in Damascus, he has “studied Islam and its civilization for four decades, working in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa.” His research has led him to this simple and stark conclusion: “Islamism is a totalitarian ideology.” And just as there cannot be “democratic totalitarianism,” so there cannot be “democratic Islamism.”
Brennan and other American and European officials are wrong, Tibi says, to fear that “fighting Islamism is tantamount to declaring all of Islam a violent enemy.” As for the Obama administration’s insistence that “the enemy is specifically, and only, al-Qaeda,” that, Tibi writes, “is far too reductive.”
Tibi also faults Noah Feldman, the young scholar who advised the Bush administration, and who insisted, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, that sharia, Islamic law, can be viewed as “Islamic constitutionalism.” Feldman failed to grasp the significance of the “Islamist claim to supremacy (siyadat al-Islam),” the conviction that Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists are inferior and that their inferiority should be reflected under the law and by government institutions.
Tibi makes this important distinction: All jihadists are Islamists, but not all Islamists are jihadists. In other words, not all Islamists are committed to violence, including terrorism, as the preferred means to achieve their goals. He asks: “Can we trust Islamists who forgo violence to participate in good faith within a pluralistic, democratic system?” He answers: “I believe we cannot.”
Chief among Islamist goals, Tibi writes, is al-hall al Islami, “the Islamic solution, a kind of magic answer for all of the problems — global and local, socio-economic or value-related — in the crisis-ridden world of Islam.” Islamists ignore the fact that such governance has been implemented, for example, in Iran for over more than 30 years, in Afghanistan under the Taliban, in Gaza under Hamas, and in Sudan. It has never delivered development, freedom, human rights, or democracy. As for Turkey, Tibi sees it as “not yet an Islamist state” but heading in that direction.
Tibi makes some arguments with which I’d quarrel. For example, he views Saudi religious/political doctrines as a “variety of Salafism (orthodox, traditional Islam) not Islamism.” I would counter that Salafism is a variant of Islamism, albeit one based not on the writings of Hassan al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, but on nostalgia for the glory days of the seventh century.
Nevertheless, the debate Tibi is attempting to initiate is necessary — and long overdue. During the Cold War there was a field of study known as Sovietology. It was taught in our most elite universities with strong U.S. government support.
Why isn’t Islamology — not Islamic theology, or “Muslim-Christian understanding,” or “Islamic thought” — a discipline today? For one, Tibi observes, because to “protect themselves against criticism, Islamists have invented the formula of ‘Islamophobia’ to defame their critics.” (How did Stalin not come up with Sovietophobia or Russophobia?) And of course if such slander fails to intimidate, there are other ways to shut people up: Tibi has “survived attempts on my life by jihadists.”
A second reason for the absence of Islamology: The U.S. government cannot back the study of an ideology it stubbornly insists does not exist. Finally, those who do fund anything to do with Islam on campus — for example, the Gulf petro-princes who have given tens of millions of dollars to Georgetown and Harvard — have a different agenda, one that does not include free and serious inquiry. We ignore what they are doing — and what Tibi is telling us — at great peril.
American woman 'lied about being raped because she "didn't enjoy" the bad date and consensual sex she had with a man she met online'
The small bond suggests that this is not being taken very seriously -- unlike the situation in Britain
A Tennessee woman was charged with filing a false rape claim after she admitted to police that she only did so because she 'didn't enjoy' their date.
Twenty-seven-year-old Lynette Lee told detectives in Clarksville, Tennessee that the unidentified man never actually raped her, and that she made the whole story up to get back at him for what she thought was a bad date.
Lee was charged with filing a false police report and held on a $2,000 bond.
Lee initially told police officers from a hospital that she was raped by a man she met on the online dating site Meetme.com.
Per her story, the two had agreed to meet up.
She then told authorities that the two of them went to an unknown location, where the man then removed his clothes and forced her to have sex with him, despite her desire not to.
Investigating the story, police interviewed the man, who promptly told them that the allegations against him were not true.
He said that he did indeed meet with Lee and on the second date they had consensual sex. The man also said that they had a good time and made further arrangements to meet again.
Police then called in Lee who again told officers the same story as before. But shortly after, she asked them to drop the case and admitted that the incident had been completely fabricated.
Police said Lee told them she made up the story 'because she did not enjoy it and it was bad.'
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, 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. Email me (John Ray) here.