Wednesday, December 23, 2015
The super-rich ruler who stones gays, now bans Christmas: Sultan of Brunei threatens Muslims who celebrate it with up to five years in prison
Muslim hate again
The super-rich ruler of Brunei has told residents of his country that if they plan on celebrating Christmas, they could face up to five years in jail.
In fear the the religious holiday will affect the faith of its country, the tiny oil-rich nation’s Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, has banned the public celebration of Christmas.
Any Muslims caught celebrating Christmas, and non-Muslims who are discovered organising celebrations, could face the lengthy prison sentence.
While non-Muslims are allowed to celebrate the holiday within their own communities, they must not disclose their plans to the nation's Muslims – which make up 65 per cent of the 420,000-strong population.
Around 20 per cent of Brunei's residents are non-Muslim, including substantial Buddhist and Christian communities.
'These enforcement measures are…intended to control the act of celebrating Christmas excessively and openly, which could damage the aqidah (beliefs) of the Muslim community,' said the Ministry of Religious Affairs in a statement.
The small Borneo nation prohibits propagating religion other than Islam to a Muslim, and breaking this is a violation of the penal code.
Other banned activities include putting up Christmas trees, singing religious songs and sending Christmas greetings, reported the Borneo Bulletin.
'Some may think that it is a frivolous matter and should not be brought up as an issue,' the imams are quoted as saying in the Bulletin. 'But as Muslims…we must keep it [following other religions' celebrations] away as it could affect our Islamic faith.'
Some Burnei residents, however, are risking jail time by still celebrating Christmas and uploading pictures to social media as part of a #MyTreedom campaign that celebrates religious freedom.
Imams have told followers to abide by a government edict banning celebrations that could lead Muslims astray and damage their faith
The tiny state on the island of Borneo is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and relies on oil and gas exports for its prosperity.
The nation embraced a harsh new penal code in April 2014, led by 68-year-old Bolkiah.
At the time, he said: 'Today I place my faith in and am grateful to Allah the almighty to announce that tomorrow,Thursday, May 1 2014, will see the enforcement of Sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases.'
The change means people can face conviction by Islamic courts and fines or jail terms for a range of offences such as pregnancy outside marriage, failure to perform Friday prayers and propagating other religions.
A second phase of the law comes into effect in May this year covering theft and alcohol consumption by Muslims, which would be punishable by whipping and amputation.
The death penalty, including death by stoning, will be introduced in the final phase a year later for offences such as adultery, sodomy and insulting the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad. Most of the laws will also apply to non-Muslims.
Even before that law was passed, there was a ten year prison sentence for gays.
The land of gold-plated mosques and wooden water villages is so rich from its oil and gas resources that no one pays tax.
Alcohol is also banned in the nation.
Despite the no alcohol, no smoking and strict sexual laws in place in Brunei, the Sultan has an infamous playboy brother.
Prince Jefri gained notoriety for his harems of beautiful women, his flotilla of luxury yachts including a boat named 'Tits' and his alleged misappropriation of billions of dollars while he was finance minister.
The Sultan lives in the Istana Nurul Imam, also the seat of Brunei government (which is effectively the sultan and his family).
The palace has a reported 1788 rooms, a 110-car garage, a stable for the sultan's 200 polo ponies, five swimming pools and 350 toilets.
Muslim cabbie fined for refusing to allow a woman to sit in the front seat
A MUSLIM taxi driver refused to let a woman take the front passenger seat as her family piled into his yellow cab in New York City — later claiming that his religion forbids him from being that close to a female stranger.
But a city judge didn’t buy the Islam argument and socked the driver with a $486 ($US350) fine for discrimination.
Fellow Muslims on Friday said Tamsir Drammeh’s excuse was a stretch.
“There’s no such rule in Islam,” said the manager at his garage, J and I Maintenance Corp. in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, who refused to give his name. “There’s no such thing.”
A driver at the garage added: “Maybe if she was drunk and wearing a skirt hiked up to here,” as he pointed to the tops of his thighs. “He wouldn’t have her in the front, but only if she is alone.”
Drammeh, 64, was at a taxi stand on Eighth Avenue near Penn Station when the family of four walked up. He popped the trunk from his seat so that the family could stow their luggage.
The husband and kids, 6 and 11, got into the back, and the mom went to the front passenger door, which Drammeh refused to unlock.
The woman asked whether there was a problem, and all Drammeh would say is that her husband could sit in the front, but that she was not welcome.
The family snapped a photo of Drammeh’s medallion number and hailed a different cab.
The wife filed a complaint alleging sex discrimination, and Drammeh lost the case twice — once in a regular city hearing and again on appeal.
At his hearing, the driver claimed that the woman was belligerent and cursed him out — and he said he still came around and reluctantly invited her to sit up front.
The hearing’s judge, Laura Fieber, told the cabbie he needs to keep his religion to himself when serving the public.
It’s been a slow year for the Christmas bashing that’s become rather routine at the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee, Florida. Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, the group that has provided a Nativity scene there for the last two years, is taking a pass. “After much prayer, I truly want the message of Christ, The Son of God, born in a manger so long ago in Bethlehem, to be heard very clearly at this difficult time, instead of the dissension in the Capitol rotunda — this is not the year for that kind of debate in our rotunda,” Olsen said in an open letter.
The “debate” to which Olsen refers has been the recent effort to turn the rotunda into a citadel of competing displays, that mostly illuminate the determination of those who can’t stand to see Christians enjoying themselves during the holidays. It is coupled with the timidity of public officials cowed by political correctness. Political correctness that demands equal respect for the sacred and the profane.
Thus in 2014, for the sake of “balance,” the rotunda sported a protest display from the Satanic Temple. It featured an angel falling into a pit of fire. “There’s no significance to it; it’s just a display that we put up to counteract the Nativity scene,” explained Satanic Temple member John Porgal at the time. “It’s all or none, and this represents the other side of the manger scene.”
All or none also included a six-foot pole comprised of beer cans celebrating “Festivus,” a fictitious holiday spawned by the sitcom “Seinfeld.” Other atheist banners, including a display from the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” whose followers are known as “Pastafarians,” were also part of the mix.
This year, because the FPN is taking a pass, the Satanic Temple is too. But they warn that could change if another group decides to put up a Christmas display. “As the assertion of plurality is always primary in our holiday displays, and many of our activities, we feel that our Satanic Holiday displays work best in a forum where a Nativity is present,” the Satanic Temple stated in an email.
Plurality? One suspects a willful dilution of the Christmas message is more accurate.
As of Dec. 7, the only applications for a display were submitted by the Chabad Lubavitch of the Panhandle-Tallahassee, a group that wished to display a menorah, and Chaz Stevens, a political blogger from Deerfield Beach, who wants his Festivus pole.
Make no mistake: All of this is perfectly legal. Any doubt of that was removed last year, when the state caved following the Satanic Temple’s enlistment of legal counsel from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which threatened to sue lawmakers to get its display into the rotunda. Comically, the same lawmakers that countenanced Festivus and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster had somehow determined that a display by the Satanist group was “grossly offensive.” “Free speech is for everyone and all groups,” said Americans United executive director Barry Lynn. “State officials simply can’t get into the business of deciding that some unpopular messages are ‘offensive’ and must be banned.”
That is certainly correct, but it provokes an essential question: When did Americans become so petty and self-righteous that every display of genuine religious conviction had to be offset with absurdities designed to offend? And not just in Florida. A Satanist in Oklahoma plans to pour fake blood, along with sulfur powder and ash, over a statue of the Virgin Mary outside of St. Joseph Old Cathedral on Christmas Eve. “The purpose of the blood is to add another layer of corruption to Mary, which is an emblem of the Catholic Church,” contends Adam Daniels, whose display is entitled “Virgin Birth is a Lie.”
Such insults are only possible in a country that has embraced a culturally suicidal proposition: All ideas have equal merit. Thus a religion with more than a billion followers over thousands of years is “no better or worse” than one created by TV sitcom writers in the 1990s, or one whose adherents call themselves Pastafarians.
This is the essence of “nonjudgmentalism,” a progressive-based theory that asserts any discrimination of thought constitutes some type of bigotry. This nonsense has been pounded into the heads of public school children over the better part of two decades, and the results are both predictable and tragic: for millions of Americans, freedom and license are now interchangeable terms.
Yet conferring equal amounts of legitimacy on solid and dubious concepts is hardly limited to religious displays. Bums, drug addicts, alcoholics and mentally disturbed people are now homeless, and illegal aliens are undocumented immigrants. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. There is no right and wrong, only shades of gray. Everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. And despite one’s genitalia and chromosomal makeup, one is a woman trapped in a man’s body — or black person trapped in a Caucasian one.
Blowback against such perniciousness was inevitable. Yet in perhaps the greatest irony of the ages, the most indoctrinated generations of Americans have not only rejected the notion that all ideas have equal merit, but that any idea with which they disagree has no merit whatsoever, and must be labeled with trigger warnings at best, or stricken altogether from the national conversation at worst.
Last week, Congress passed a massive “bipartisan” spending package that will add billions of additional dollars to the national debt. Donald Trump remains on top in the GOP presidential polls. The spending package testifies to the reality that any judgment regarding the mathematical certainty of national bankruptcy has no more value than the “spirit of compromise” used to sell this monstrosity. Trump’s continuing popularity testifies to the reality that millions of Americans have had quite enough of the notion all ideas have equal merit — especially those that could get us killed by religious extremists.
If not? Perhaps there will be an Islamic State flag hanging in the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee next Christmas.
Australia: Christmas carol ban is out of tune with society
Victoria’s public schools are the frontline in the war on Christmas. In an extraordinary decision of the Andrews government, Education Minister James Merlino issued a diktat to state government schools that has the effect of banning Christmas carols.
You may need to read that sentence one more time. In an attempt to secularise public schools, a directive was issued last month to the principal of every Victorian public school. These new rules restrict the way in which teachers, parents and volunteers talk about religious ideas in our state schools. The most shocking aspect of the rules is that the teaching and singing of traditional Christmas carols will now be banished from the classroom.
“Praise music”, defined as “any type of music that glorifies God or a particular religious figure or deity” will be banned from music classes beginning in January. This is the last year parents will be allowed to volunteer their lunchtimes to teach kids Christmas carols for the end-of-year concert.
Most children aren’t even aware there’s a religious dimension to Christmas carols. It’s Christmas, and singing carols is just what people do. Silent Night has taken on its own significance beyond anything that may be characterised by some government bureaucrat as “praise music”. Christmas carols now form a unique genre of music, and removing them from schools has the same effect banning any other genre of music would have; it ignores an important part of the complex tapestry of musical history.
In fact, the motivation behind a ban on Christmas carols today is remarkably similar to that which parents and teachers of children growing up in the 1950s and 60s shared in relation to rock ’n’ roll. Sixty years ago, older generations worried Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry would lead a generation to juvenile delinquency. Today, the concern is that Christmas carols may lead to alarming ideas about religion and the meaning of Christmas. Christmas carols are the new subversive influence on youth that parents and teachers should be concerned about — a nonsense idea ironically given life by the fact the elite are attempting to ban them.
Of course, the government hasn’t banned all Christmas carols, just those that refer to God. So while drab, contemporary Christmas songs such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will be spared, the traditional carols — those that drip with a rich Christmas spirit — such as Once in Royal David’s City, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and O Come, All Ye Faithful are verboten in Victorian public schools.
But it’s far bigger than all that. This is a cultural turning point. The Victorian government isn’t just banning Christmas carols; this is an attempt to strip away the meaning of Christmas. It’s an overt attack on one of the most significant events in the Christian calendar.
The decision goes to the heart of good education. Christmas, and all the ceremony and custom associated with it, has been a significant religious and cultural ritual for 1700 years. A ban on these traditions is a denial of our history. Suppressing aspects of the Christmas celebration denies a cultural heritage that has formed the basis of Western civilisation and that underpins our understanding of life and liberty.
A well-rounded education should include lessons on Christianity and its contribution to who we are today. We can’t expect the next generation to defend the values of Western civilisation if they don’t know what they are.
The inflammatory decision of the Andrews government to ban Christmas carols in Victoria’s public schools must be reversed immediately. Former Victorian attorney-general Robert Clark is to be congratulated for taking a stand on the issue. In parliament Clark called on the government to “withdraw this appalling edict and make clear that students at government schools are entitled to learn, sing and enjoy Christmas carols as they have for generations”. In the meantime, and while I’m still able to say it — merry Christmas!
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 and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.