Thursday, July 20, 2017

Is Islamic feminism possible?

The woman below, SARAH KHAN, is a lapsed Muslim from Canada and a radical  feminist.  I regard radical feminists as mentally ill so advise taking her words below with a grain of salt.  But she does have an interesting point. I have been told before that Arabic writing is highly ambiguous and difficult to translate so the idea that a valid feminist translation of the Koran is possible and that it could vary greatly from orthodox translations seems entirely possible.

When I finally read the Qur’an for myself for the first time, I was surprised to learn that what I had been told wasn’t at all how I interpreted what I read. Sure there were problematic parts—mainly the fact that daughters were to receive a lesser inheritance than sons—but it wasn’t as suffocating as I had been raised to believe.

I decided to try it out, but by my early twenties, I decided that it was disrespectful of me to only be Muslim when convenient. One of the main tenets of religion is dedication to it and paying lip service seemed so offensive to me. So I lapsed. But, I continued my research.

A few months ago, on a whim, I decided to read the Qur’an again, but this time the version I read was translated by a woman. Laleh Bakhtiar is a Muslim translator, author and clinical psychologist, and her translation, The Sublime Quran, had been sitting on my shelf for years. Bakhtiar’s translation is notable not only because she’s a woman but also because she does a straight word-for-word translation without any footnotes and without any commentary.

She explains in her preface that the Qur’an is not a historic text; therefore, it needn’t any commentary (read: bias). It should be presented to the individual as is. She says that the Quran is meant to be long-lasting and transcend time, so it should be presented word for word and left to the readers’ interpretation. For years I’ve believed that all holy books ought to be left to individual interpretation, but most translations take liberties with the language and allow the translator’s bias to seep through.

In the translation of the Qur’an I read as a teenager, there were references to a man having permission to beat his wife with a strap no thicker than a thumb. This always troubled me and I was at a loss at how a religion that encouraged divorce if it were necessary (regardless of which gender initiated it) could encourage spousal violence as well. In Bakhtiar’s translation, there is not a single mention of anything relating to a man being allowed to beat his wife.

Most versions translate section 4:34 of the chapter titled “The Women” as some variation of the following:

“… and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them …”

The same section in Bakhtiar’s translation reads,

“And those (f) whose resistance you fear, then admonish them (f) and abandon them (f) in their sleeping places and go away from them (f). Then if they (f) obey you, then look not for any way against them (f).”

The “f” in parentheses appear periodically throughout the translation to differentiate between the masculine and feminine “they” and the italicized words are those that are not present in Arabic, but are needed in English for the sentence to be complete and comprehensible. It’s wildly telling to note that the famed passage that all anti-Islamists pull out to prove the religion is a misogynistic one actually means something completely different when translated verbatim from the Arabic. It supports the theory that many practicing Muslims have, which is that Islam itself is one of the furthest things from being misogynistic; Islamic culture, on the other hand, is rife with misogyny and excuses it by claiming to be God’s word.

Most holy books also are happy to report that God made man first and woman was birthed from man via God. Turns out, at least in the Qur’an, this isn’t stated anywhere. Sure Adam is mentioned by name and the first human is referred to as a “he,” but the only part that specifically talks about the creation of man says, “… your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its spouse and from them both disseminated many men and women.” There’s no specification of who came first nor any indication that woman was made from man. It’s almost as if men were so jealous of cisgender women’s ability to give birth that they decided that they’d make it so that it was Adam who “birthed” the sex that would go on to birth the rest of humankind.

While there are still problematic parts in the Qur’an—as there are in any holy book—the idea that the holy book or the religion itself is to be blamed is rife with ignorance. Putting blame on an inanimate object for encouraging people to be assholes to each other is a childish cop-out; it’s the people who interpreted these words to mean awful things and lived their lives oppressing an entire gender and justifying it by saying that they’re just following orders.

Being a feminist and a Muslim is something that is totally possible—you just have to use common sense and empathy.


Border Patrol union boss: Drop in apprehensions 'nothing short of miraculous'

The large drop in apprehensions of people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is "nothing short of miraculous," National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on Monday.

"If you look at the rhetoric that President Trump has given, it has caused a number of illegal border crossings to go down," Judd told C-SPAN. "We have never seen such a drop that we currently have."

Border apprehensions — long seen as the best measure of illegal border crossing attempts — have fallen more than 50 percent this year, compared to 2016.

The Department of Homeland Security has consistently reported plummeting figures of southwest border apprehensions since Trump assumed office in January.
Reported apprehensions remained on a downward trend until June, when border officials registered a slight uptick from May, contrary to seasonal trends that usually show a descent in June.

Yearly overall numbers were so low already that even with the slight rise, there were 53 percent fewer border apprehensions in June 2017 than in the same period last year.

Judd, whose nonpartisan organization endorsed Trump for president in 2016, also said on Monday that he supports the $1.6 billion in funding the administration requested for a wall along the southern border.

He said Trump's signature campaign issue is necessary in many parts of the border, but not all.

Trump had earlier said the wall would have to be uninterrupted and cover all 2,000 miles of border with Mexico, but in an apparent reversal, said last week that only 700 to 900 miles of border wall are needed.


Refugees Are Engaged in the 'Rape Jihad' of Europe 

It’s no secret that Europe has been struggling with the self-inflicted wound of an open-borders policy on mass migration. Conservatives have long warned of the dangers these mass migrant populations pose to the West, specifically the threats of radical Islamic terrorism, which sadly has been borne out. However, another problem that tends to receive less press is the growing crime these European nations are witnessing. Specifically, sexual assault.

In an interesting and eye-opening article from The National Interest, Cheryl Bernard, who has a long history of working with refugees, highlights a specific group of refugees who have proven to be the greatest problem group: Young Afghan men. This group has been responsible for the majority of crimes committed by refugees. The natural question to ask is, why Afghans, when many of the other refugee groups also come from Muslim-majority nations? An Afghan friend of Bernard suggested the following reason:

On the basis of his hundreds of interactions with these young men in his professional capacity over the past several years, he believes to have discovered that they are motivated by a deep and abiding contempt for Western civilization. To them, Europeans are the enemy, and their women are legitimate spoils, as are all the other things one can take from them: housing, money, passports. Their laws don’t matter, their culture is uninteresting and, ultimately, their civilization is going to fall anyway to the horde of which one is the spearhead. No need to assimilate, or work hard, or try to build a decent life here for yourself — these Europeans are too soft to seriously punish you for a transgression, and their days are numbered.

And it’s not just the sex crimes, my friend notes. Those may agitate public sentiment the most, but the deliberate, insidious abuse of the welfare system is just as consequential. Afghan refugees, he says, have a particular proclivity to play the system: to lie about their age, to lie about their circumstances, to pretend to be younger, to be handicapped, to belong to an ethnic minority when even the tired eye of an Austrian judge can distinguish the delicate features of a Hazara from those of a Pashtun.

Essentially, these young Afghan men have launched what Andrew McCarthy of National Review termed in 2015 a “Rape Jihad.” With their wanton and brazen criminal acts they are systematically and actively attacking Western culture and values. This is their jihad. They have no desire to integrate and assimilate into European culture. Rather they are wolves eagerly preying on sheep, and Europe’s justice system lacks the deterrence of real teeth.

And it is the citizens of Europe who are forced to pay for the “compassion” of their leftist leaders.


A debate we’re not allowed to have in Australia

IT’S the debate we were never allowed to have.

Until relatively recently, Australia’s population grew at a stately pace. There was an influx of European immigration in the mid-1940s, and pause from the mid-1970s, but in the 100 years after Federation in 1901, net overseas migration averaged 70,000 people a year.

Then in the early 2000s, Prime Minister John Howard opened the floodgates. Over the last 12 years, Australia’s annual net overseas migration has tripled from its long-term average to 210,000 people per year.

Our cities are bursting at the seams, roads and services are congested, and house prices are skyrocketing — particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, which attract the lion’s share of new Australians.

Over the last 12 years, Sydney has added 20 per cent to its population, or 800,000 people. Melbourne has added one million people over the same period, or 27 per cent.

According to state government projections, Sydney will add another 1.7 million people over the next 20 years, which works out to 87,000 people a year, or 1650 people per week. Melbourne is forecast to add 97,000 people per year, or around 1870 people per week, for the next 35 years.

“It’s clearly unsustainable,” said Leith van Onselen, chief economist with MacroBusiness. “The problem isn’t that immigration is good or bad, it’s just that the level is far too high for Australia to digest.”

According to Mr van Onselen, dubbed the “Unconventional Economist”, Howard “effectively ran a bait-and-switch policy”.

“He scapegoated the very tiny number of people coming by boat, and at the same time opened the floodgates on people coming by plane,” he said.

“Howard never articulated why he was doing that, he just did it, and unfortunately the following governments, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and now Turnbull, just followed.”

Mr van Onselen, who is one of the few public commentators calling for a national debate about Australia’s annual migration intake, says there is now “tri-partisan support” between the Liberals, Labor and even the Greens to not discuss the issue.

Behind the scenes, the “growth lobby” of retailers, the banking sector, the property industry and “erroneously named think tanks” all push the “growth-ist agenda”. “Unfortunately there’s not really anybody on the other side,” he said.

Late last year, high-profile entrepreneur Dick Smith came out in support of Pauline Hanson, warning that Australia would be “destroyed” if One Nation’s immigration policies weren’t taken seriously.

Mr Smith had previously spoken out about the need for a “small Australia”, with a population of 26 million rather than 50 million. At current migration levels, Australia’s population will hit 40 million by the year 2060, compared with 33 million if the intake returned to its historical average of 70,000.

“Unfortunately you can’t have a sensible debate,” said Mr van Onselen. “The main problem is the perception of racism. The easiest way to shut down debate is to call someone racist. Our politicians and media won’t mention it because they’re afraid they’ll get associated with Pauline.

“It’s nothing to do with race — it’s an economic and living standards debate. It’s purely a numbers game, that’s all that matters. A body is a body. If you’ve got an extra car on the road, an extra person on the train, it doesn’t matter where they’re from.”

The common public argument used to promote mass immigration, particularly by the likes of the United Nations, is the need to replace an “ageing” population. The behind-the-scenes rationale is to artificially boost economic growth numbers.

Both justifications fail to stand up to scrutiny. According to the Productivity Commission, which has debunked the ageing population myth numerous times over the past 15 years, “changes in migration levels ... make little difference to the age structure of the population in the future, with any effect being temporary”.

“The reason is very simple — immigrants grow old,” said Mr van Onselen. “You can bring in a whole bunch of young people now, it will lower the age temporarily, but in 30 years time those young people are old and you have to repeat the same trick all over again. Really it’s just a Ponzi scheme.”

Which ties into the second justification. Japan, with its sluggish headline economic growth and simultaneously ageing and shrinking population, is commonly cited as an example of why mass immigration for population replacement is necessary.

At the same time, Australia’s record run of economic growth, coinciding with record immigration levels, is held up as a positive example. “All other things being equal, if you increase the population by 1.5 per cent a year, you’re going to get 1.5 per cent economic growth,” said Mr van Onselen.

“More inputs in people means more outputs in economic activity. But the problem is, although it makes the overall growth figures look good, it doesn’t actually help you on a per capita basis, which is what drives living standards.”

In fact, despite Australia’s population surging 21.5 per cent since 2003, compared with the OECD average of 8.5 per cent, Australia’s GDP per capita change has just barely outpaced the OECD — 16 per cent versus 15 per cent, despite going through the biggest mining boom in our history.

“We’re effectively spinning our tyres importing all these people, wearing out our infrastructure, making housing more expensive and degrading the environment for absolutely zero gain, in the material sense,” he said.

“The immigration program used to be a supplement to the economy, now it’s seen as a driver. Governments are using it as a lever to stop Australia going into recession. The tail is wagging the dog.”

Japan, meanwhile, has grown its GDP per capita by 11 per cent since 2003. “Japan’s unemployment rate is nearly half of ours,” said Mr van Onselen. “It’s hardly a terrible situation they’re in. They’ve got good growth at a per capita level and basically anyone who wants a job can get a job.”

According to the UN’s Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “replacement migration” is the “solution to declining and ageing populations”.

“Population decline is inevitable in the absence of replacement migration,” the UN said in a recent press release. “Fertility may rebound in the coming decades, but few believe that it will recover sufficiently in most countries to reach replacement level in the foreseeable future.”

Mr van Onselen described it as “ridiculous”. “The UN pushes a sort of open borders, globalist agenda,” he said. “It is a myth. We just need a national debate. There’s no strategy, it’s all just ad hoc. How big do we want Australia to become? How are we going to accommodate people? Is this what people want?”

Writing in The Australian, economist Judith Sloan pointed out that in 2011, Malcolm Turnbull made the “astonishing claim” that “anyone who thinks that it’s smart to cut immigration is sentencing Australia to poverty”.

“It is important that we have a measured and informed debate about our immigration policies, in terms of both numbers and the integrity of the visa categories,” she wrote.

“Are people really happy that Australia’s population will exceed 40 million in 2060? Are we really testing for skill when we set the visa categories? Has the migration program simply become a way of allowing universities to charge very high fees to international students on the understanding that the graduates can attain permanent residence?

“These are the questions we should not be afraid to pose and politicians should not be afraid to answer.”

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim told “The Greens believe in a broad and non-discriminatory immigration policy. In particular, we believe that Australia’s humanitarian intake should be increased to 50,000 people per year.

“Australians are a friendly and welcoming people and we have long and proud history of multiculturalism, which has added so much to the fabric of our country.

“There will always be debates about immigration, and it is disappointing to see so many commentators and politicians resorting to xenophobia and racism.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann did not respond to requests for comment.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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