Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Let's teach about Islam in our schools...

... or maybe not.
Eric Yoffie says:
This means recognizing that normative Islam, which has a billion adherents, is a religion that promotes kindness and compassion, opposes violence, and promotes a middle way between extremes. This means speaking up when American bigots demonize Muslims and bash Islam. And this means, above all, educating Americans in a serious way about the teachings of Islam.
I submit that if one studies the Koran, the Hadith (reports of Muhammad's doings and deeds) and the Sirah (the life of Muhammad), that it's impossible to come to the conclusion that Yoffie does. In the vast bulk of this Trinity of Islam, exactly the opposite is enjoined on Muslims: not kindness (other than to fellow Muslims), but the doctrine of "loyalty and enmity"(**); not compassion (save for fellow Muslims), but subjugation of infidels; not a "middle way", but a supremacist ideology.
What's going on here with Yoffie?  Is he a fool or a knave?
Any teaching that aims to show Yoffie's Islam will only be whitewashing, Islamopologist nonsense.

(I was myself of the Yoffie's view, for some years after 9/11, buying into W. Bush's "Islam is Peace" rhetoric, until I read the Koran, the Hadith and the Sirah.  Only then did I realise what Islam was about; in short, none of the Islamopologist nonsense, but to become supreme in the world, through violence, or through the softer approach of subverting useful idiots like Yoffie).
************
**Later, re the doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity from my post here:
A few quick sources for the doctrine from the Yusuf Ali translation of the Koran:
Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah… [3:028]
O ye who believe! Take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers if they love infidelity above Faith: if any of you do so, they do wrong. [9:023]
Plus, in a similar vein: 5:051, 5:080, 58:014, 60:013.  

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Turkey Promotes Religious Schools, Often Defying Parents

And David Cameron wants this Islamising Turkey to join the EU...

Is Hong Kong heading for irrelevance within the country?

Headed for irrelevance within country?        Courtesy SCMP
From the South China Morning Post yesterday.  Alex Lo is usually pretty astute. I hope he's wrong about this assessment... that Hong Kong will become just like any other Chinese city.
The article is behind a paywall, so copy it below:

Alex Lo 
Beijing has announced that the people of Hong Kong need to be re-educated, oops sorry, I meant "re-enlightened". At the same time, our naughty students are calling on us to mess up basic government functions by delaying payment of public housing rents and taxes.

The way things are going, Hong Kong will either become an orphan or a ward of the state. Neither outcome bodes well for our future.
A senior member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Zhang Rongshun , said over the weekend Hong Kong and Macau need "re-enlightenment" on "one country, two systems", national identity and national security after the disaster of the Occupy movement.
Visions of re-education camps pass before my eyes. Maybe we should have taken national education in our classrooms.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Federation of Students have started their Occupy follow-up: citizen non-cooperation with the government.
Call it passive-aggressive resistance. The post-handover government has already proved inadequate in formulating long-term policies that Hong Kong desperately needs in education, health care, welfare and economic competition.
If our young activists succeed, even basic government functions like tax collection will be challenged.
Where does this all lead? In fighting an imposed "fake" democracy, we will end up with no democracy at all.
We face the prospect of being permanently stuck in the 2012 regressive election system, with a government, no matter who heads it, being considered illegitimate, dysfunctional and unpopular by many people. That is if Beijing allows existing civil liberties to continue. Hong Kong may keep its freedom but become a basket case. Having concluded we are hopeless, it will just let major mainland cities eclipse and replace us.
Alternatively, Beijing will just say, "Enough is enough. Screw one country two systems." A cadre will become the new governor while the chief executive, democratically nominated or not, will become a ceremonial post.
But what about Western-style democracy? The idealists among us can dream on.

Betting on the Need, Scientists Work on Lighter, Cleaner Nuclear Energy - NYTimes.com

Interesting article in the International New York Times (née , International Herald Tribune), on new developments in the nuclear industry.

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More women in Chinese tech companies than in any other country.

 Eg, Alibaba.
Others in Financial Times, 12 December (paywall)

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Sydney Hostage Taker: “Islam is the Religion of Peace”

I wondered a few posts ago, how long it would take for people to say that "this has nothing to do with Islam".
It wasn't long.
And now the narrative, by BBC, Australia TV, and the rest, is set: it was a nutter.  A lone wolf. Nothing to do with Islam.
Oh really?
Look at this.
"Sheik" Man Haron Monis makes his agenda abundantly clear.  We are infidels, Australia is a land of infidels and we shall fall to the might of Islam.
He made the hostages hold up a banner with the Arabic of "There is no god but Allah; and Muhammad is his messenger".
Now that's written off -- by the likes of our PM, Tony Abbot -- as simply being his attempt to "cloak" his madness in Islam.
Well, he had his moment in the sun (as it were).  And he decided on one, and only one, sign. That was  a sign of Islamic supremacism.
I wonder, if the hostage-taker had been Aboriginal and held up a sign calling for "Aboriginal land rights", if we would say that that person was simply using that as a "cloak".

American Foreign Policy Council: Is the Islamic State Islamic?

The conclusion, with which I agree...
I think that so long as the main theology of Islam, which is Ash'arism, posits a God of pure will and power, it will not be able to get out of the grip of violence and the religious justification for it. So long as it can't, one has to say that Islamism is a true interpretation of Islam insofar as Islam is not able to resist it. And I don't mean resist by force of arms, but theologically. Islam currently does not have sufficient antibodies, and Western medicine has nothing to offer—because the problem is fundamentally religious.
The State Department's new Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, Rick Stengel, said in a recent speech that
There is no battle of ideas with ISIL. ISIL is bereft of ideas, they're bankrupt of ideas. It's not an organization that is animated by ideas. It's a criminal, savage, barbaric organization.
This is hugely mistaken. It's giving up while sounding tough. Once again, Islam gets a free pass. It is not enough for the West to call these people barbarians. Recall that Adolph Hitler exclaimed, "We are barbarians. We want to be barbarians. It is an honorable title." Calling him a barbarian was useless. In the Nazi case, it was the ideology that made barbarism honorable that had to be attacked in a war of ideas.
With ISIS, we must object not only to their barbaric acts but to the Quranic principles that inspire and justify them.It is time to stop the whitewashing and call them out on it. Doing so would be the single most effective thing we could do to help reformers in the Muslim world—and to help ourselves, as well. Otherwise, our exculpatory reflex will keep us in denial and enable the very forces in Islam that are against reform.
Read the rest of this thoughtful and well informed article here

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Monday, 15 December 2014

Sydney Siege: Islam will have nothing to do with it....

.... not if we, the mainstream media, politicians and pundits have anything to do with it.
PM Tony Abbott said it was "politically motivated". Then the police and various academic pundits have said we have "no idea" of his motivations.
The banner held up, in Arabic, was translated this morning: it says "there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger". But none's touching that! Career- wrecking stuff, that would be.
By this evening, the BBC is saying simply that there was a banner "with Arabic writing" on it. Nothing about what it said.
Let me go out on a limb here: the guy is motivated by the Koran. The Koran repeatedly urges Muslims to attack we infidels.
I'm guessing, supported by that banner, that that's pretty strong motivation for a pious muslim.
But no one dare say that.

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Two Muslims lock down Sydney

I'm watching a hostage situation in Sydney, live on Bloomberg and BBC.
The two muslims have taken over the Cafe Lindt in Martin Place with up to 40 people held hostage inside.
The Sydney Harbour bridge has been closed down and the Opera House evacuated. George at closed and a couple of subway stations as well.
The jihadis have put up an Islamic banner with the shahada: " there is no God but Allah".
I'm waiting for the first one to say "this has nothing to do with Islam".
Maybe it'll be out PM, Tony Abbott who's due to speak shortly.

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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Saudi Arabia calls atheists "terrorists"

Ricky has rather the opposite take...
Yes, that's right, atheists are "terrorists" according to this joke of a country.

Of course! I remember all those atheists, rampaging across the countryside, beheading believers, kidnapping schoolgirls, making them remove their veils and renounce God.  I recall atheist terrorists killing over 5,000 people a month.... Atheists hounding and killing Christians, Jews and Muslims; atheists hanging gay people, and subjugating women.  All to the shouts of "God is Not Great!"

Who could forget this?

This would be funny, if it weren't so obscene. Saudi Arabia, surely one of the most horrible countries in the world, and consistently connected with the financing of extremist Wahhabi ideology in schools and mosques throughout the world, now says that the problem is "Atheist Terrorists".

How very dare they!

(I just heard this on BBC World Service Radio.  There's a story here, in the The Independent).

See also Pat Condell on Saudi Arabia, here.

Jihadism: Tracking a month of deadly attacks

Goodness me, this is surprising:
The BBC co-sponsoring a study, with King's College London, into the number of murderous Jihad attacks in the month of November.  My, soon they'll be promoting JihadWatch, which has been doing this for years, and usually excoriated and demonised for its troubles....
Jihadist attacks killed more than 5,000 people in just one month, an investigation by the BBC and King's College London has found. 
Civilians bore the brunt of the violence, with more than 2,000 killed in reported jihadist incidents during November. Islamic State carried out the most attacks, adding to the spiralling death toll in Iraq and Syria....
The data gathered by the BBC found that 5,042 people were killed in 664 jihadist attacks across 14 countries - a daily average of 168 deaths, or seven every hour.
About 80% of the deaths came in just four countries - Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and Afghanistan, according to the study of media and civil society reports.
Iraq was the most dangerous place to be, with 1,770 deaths in 233 attacks, ranging from shootings to suicide bombings.
In Nigeria, 786 people, almost all of them civilians, were killed in 27 Boko Haram incidents. These tended to be large and indiscriminate bombings and shootings such as the attack on the central mosque in the northern city of Kano, which left 120 dead.
Leader of the study, Prof Peter Neumann, was just on BBC World Service Radio.  He said something along the lines that "we were all naive to believe that after the death of Osama bin Laden, and the Arab Spring that these problems would go away".
But "we" weren't all naive about that.  We didn't all believe that the "Arab Spring" would bring the blush of democracy. There were plenty sceptical at the outset, including the aforementioned JihadWatch, but all they got for their far more insightful analysis was labelling as hateful "Islamophobes".  Of course JihadWatch and others were right.  
So, if you want to know more about what's happening in the Islamic world, specifically from the jihadist angle, you should be reading Robert Spencer's JihadWatch. (with links to other sites rather more insightful than the good Prof Neumann has shown himself to be).
Interestingly the BBC/King's College study has even more people killed in November than recorded in The Religion of Peace which recorded "only" 2,515 people killed in that month (screenshot left). Like JihadWatch, the TROP blog has been following Jihadi attacks since 2004.  For its efforts, it's been routinely labelled "far-right", and "Islamophobic".  Now that the BBC and King's College have noticed, perhaps there will be a bit more common sense on the issue: the connection of Jihad, Jihad murders, and Islam. (Though don't hold your breath...).

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Karen, Bill and Sam show: Islam in the frame

One of the (many) things I don't get: why Karen Armstrong should be revered as a non-Muslim commentator on Islam.  She has been showered with honours for her work in the field, which is more, to my mind, Islamopology than genuine analysis.
I have read her books.  She clearly misrepresents Islam (in the positive), and is often outright duplicitous (I can't imagine that she doesn't know whereof she speaks; but rather that she lies about its uncomfortable tenets: that is, rather knave than fool).
I have written about her before: 28 July 2013, 22 May 2012, 24 Feb 2012, 30 Jan 2012 and 25 Jan 2012.
Lately, she has a bee in her bonnet about two of the too-few lefties who speak out about the supremacist tenets of Islam: Sam Harris and Bill Maher.
Criticism of Islam is, she says, the sort of talk that led to the concentration camps.
Bill Maher says this is "beyond stupid":
“It doesn’t sting because it’s beyond stupid. Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay. It’s idiotic.”
The late, great Christopher Hitchens (one of those too-few lefties who face squarely this issues of Islam), skewered the Armstrongian view that criticism of Islam is the same as the holocaust:
Reactions from even "moderate" Muslims to criticism are not uniformly reassuring. "Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s," Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like. What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness.
Robert Spencer has a spirited and reasoned take-down of Armstrong's "beyond stupid" statement here.

There is no fun in Islam....

... I didn't say that.  Goodness me, I'm not an "islamophobe"....

No, not me.  It was the still-revered Ayatollah Khomeini who said it:
Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humour in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious. Islam does not allow swimming in the sea and is opposed to radio and television serials. Islam, however, allows marksmanship, horseback riding and competition ...[94] 
  1.  [94]: Meeting in Qom "Broadcast by radio Iran from Qom on 20 August 1979." quoted in Taheri, The Spirit of Allah (1985) p.259).  [ref]
Just to drive the point home that 35 years later this still holds, we have the following, from Malaysia, often cited as an example of a "moderate" Islamic country:
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 ― Islam allegedly forbids Muslims from playing musical instruments like guitar, piano or trumpets as they go against the hadiths, a religious scholar said today.
In his paper on Islam and entertainment presented at a national forum here, Abdul Raof Nurin said the Shafie stream of Islam only allows Muslims to listen to music that touches on love for the religion, and urged those who want to play musical instruments to preferably stick to the gong or kompang. [ref]
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Monday, 8 December 2014

Thomas Friedman: Islamic State is driving Muslims from Islam - Times Union

Two interesting points here, in Thomas Friedman's article (linked below).
One, that there's an increasing number of Arab Muslims calling for an end to Sharia, for an effective separation of mosque and state. In short, for secular government. That, I did not know.
Second, the amazing YouTube clip from a former Muslim addressed to president Obama, making clear that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and their viciously brutal brethren, are indeed inspired by the Koran and their prophet Muhammad...
/snip:
Another voice getting attention is Brother Rachid, a Moroccan who created his own YouTube network to deliver his message of tolerance and to expose examples of intolerance within his former Muslim faith community. (He told me he's converted to Christianity, preferring its "God of love.")
In this recent segment, youtube.com/watch?v=QxzOVSMUrGM, which has been viewed 500,000 times, Brother Rachid addressed President Barack Obama:
"I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, al-Shabab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam. Unless the Muslim world deals with Islam and separates religion from state, we will never end this cycle. ... If Islam is not the problem, then why is it there are millions of Christians in the Middle East and yet none of them has ever blown up himself to become a martyr, even though they live under the same economic and political circumstances and even worse? Mr. President, if you really want to fight terrorism, then fight it at the roots. How many Saudi sheiks are preaching hatred? How many Islamic channels are indoctrinating people and teaching them violence from the Quran and the hadith? ... How many Islamic schools are producing generations of teachers and students who believe in jihad and martyrdom and fighting the infidels?"
http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Thomas-Friedman-Islamic-State-is-driving-Muslims-5940116.php

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Sunday, 7 December 2014

India court: Sharia trumps ban on child marriage

Islamic apologists in the West routinely deny that Muhammad married a child or that Islamic law sanctions child marriage. Stories like these show that they're lying. In reality, few things are more abundantly attested in Islamic law than the permissibility of child marriage. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad's favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Low profit and weak standards hamper Islamic banks, say experts - Your Middle East

The reason for that low profit would be the inefficiency inevitably a result of having to structure deals to comply with Sharia. That makes them more cumbersome, convoluted and crappy.
That's the nature of islamic finance. It's hypocritical because it has to try to be profitable (as all businesses do), but it can't do by the simple method of putting a cost on money (aka interest), because that would be "usury". So islamic finance structures deals that involve a sale and buy-back of assets generating the same return as the current rate of interest, but with much more paperwork and cost. In short, costly hypocrisy.
Actually, Muhammad didn't quite say that all interest was usury. But that's how it's chosen to be seen in today's resurgence of Islam. The promoters of islamic finance want to distance themselves from anything western, as they do with all other spheres of western life.
Hence this conundrum.
Go Sharia.
Go inefficiency and cost.
But, they made their bed...
http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/business/low-profit-and-weak-standards-hamper-islamic-banks-say-experts_28355
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Brand Unawareness | National Review Online

"Russell Brand is — let's get this out of the way up front — a dope, a witless Hollywood poseur who having made himself a splendid fortune and having been cured of his various addictions now seeks new avenues of satisfaction."
Quite....
(I've also seen Brand described as a "priapic berk". That'll do too. Since I saw his tussle with Jeremy Paxman, I've thought him a total dope. But dangerous, for the wide, dim-witted following he has).
[via David Thompson's blog]
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/393525/brand-unawareness-kevin-d-williamson

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Monday, 1 December 2014

Feminists ignore the real root of misogyny

Rita Panahi, on the wonderful, the brave, the true, the truth-teller, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
We can’t have a fiercely intelligent woman talking about worthy issues when there’s trivial nonsense to be bleating about; why worry about female genital mutilation when Tony Abbott is brazenly winking and looking at his watch?
Hirsi Ali’s principled and uncompromising approach to equality and human rights is at odds with the vacuous attention seeking ways of the shrill feminists who dominate the agenda in Australia, UK and the US, though it could be argued that our local frightbats have set a new standard in faux fury.
It’s not just Hirsi Ali’s preoccupation with justice that infuriates the sisterhood but it’s her determination to highlight what she sees as the root cause of much of the world’s entrenched misogyny — Islam.
Many on the left simply cannot abide by the only religion they don’t find abhorrent being scrutinised; time and again leftist feminist have sided with radical Islam instead of standing with the subjugated women from communities who adhere to backward cultural practices.
Who can forget the idiocy of Australian women donning hijabs in solidarity with their Muslim sisters at a time when women in Iran were being blinded in acid attacks for breaking the strict hijab code?
Then there’s Germaine Greer who has likened FGM or female circumcision, carried out on millions of women every year, to getting a boob job or piercing. It takes a truly twisted mind to compare a young girl being held down while her clitoris and labia are excised without anaesthesia to a woman choosing to change her appearance through cosmetic surgery, piercings or tattoos.
For educated, Western women to liken the agonising pain and lifelong devastating effects of FGM to plastic surgery is not only offensive, it is depraved. But this cultural relativism is popular among some feminists, who see condemnation of FGM as an attack on cultural identity.
The rest... 

Peace With Islam in Our Time

The Western idea of peace is a wholly alien one to Islam. In Islam, peace does not come from men transcending their differences, but from destroying men who think and live differently. That is the function of the religious police of our allied “moderate Muslim” countries who seek out the practice of other religions and other ways of living in places like Saudi Arabia and suppress their practitioners.
Tough, but true.  Read the Koran, or the Trinity of Islam, to see that what Greenfield alleges is the true face of Islam.

Islam, Christianity share some beliefs, traditions...

Yes, but...
  • Both traditions believe in Jesus, but what they believe about Jesus divides them sharply....
  • On the issue of who Jesus actually was, Christians and Muslim are polar opposites....
  • “The concept of the Trinity is blasphemous to Muslims and Jews,” said Imam John Ederer of the Islamic Society of Tulsa....
  • “If you take an honest look at the Quran vs. the God that Jesus Christ revealed, you have two very different pictures of God...”
Just to take some points of difference.  

Pope says it is wrong to equate Islam with violence

A good analysis of the Pope's call for Muslims to denounce terrorism and violence.

The Great White Shark's Image Problem - NYTimes.com

"Sharks, who glide in the quiet, still depths of the ocean, like airplanes, loop all of us together: To truly understand them invokes respect as well as fear."
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/01/opinion/the-great-white-sharks-image-problem.html?referrer=

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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Mario Philip Azzopardi apologises for Islam rant after Justice Minister says comment 'unwarranted'

Azzorardi gets pounded by telling the truth about Islam (his "rant" below).
Note his first two sentences:
Islam itself does say that it is a theocracy (1).
Islam itself does say that its aim is to bring Sharia to the world (2).
Sharia is indeed a "collection of anti-human rights laws" (see "Reliance of the Traveller" link at left, the authorised version of Islamic jurisprudence, and "Sharia: what does it say about..." in the tab above).
"Islam is a theocracy. Islam is Sharia law. Sharia law is the biggest collection of anti-human rights laws under one religious cap: islam. It goes round and round. How long are we ready to blind ourselves because of some kind of convoluted self-destructive political correctness? We in the west, our poets and writers, our philosophers and thinkers have waged war against the catholic and Christian theocracies AND WON, and our theologies CHANGED and reformed. These idiots (insults intended to the full sense of the word) are tied to a set of rules written 1500 years ago and have stuck to them. Ask any muslim if he believes in Sharia law. If he says no then he is not a muslim and can join our club, with full perks, rights and liberties. If one says he believes in Sharia law then there is where our conversation ends with me making sure that the idiot does not attain any political power whatsoever, at the risk of using violence against him. The same thing I would do to a Nazi, klux klux klan member and slave trader. These individuals have reneged on the values we cherish because their intent is to use our system to destroy it. What' so difficult to get about this. When are we going to wake up. This is a call to cultural arms".
*****************
(1) "Islam is a complete package – a complete message and way of life." [ref]
(2) "The demand for and the spread of Shariah is obligatory for Muslims." [ref]

Moderate Muslim Malaysia...

KUALA LUMPUR: The 2014 Umno General Assembly ended Saturday with a firm and clear message from the party president that the special rights and privileges of the Malays, rulers and Islam, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, should no longer be questioned.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysians should stop fighting over the matter and to focus on efforts to further develop the country.

"There is a limit to freedom. Freedom is not absolute. (One) cannot insult Islam, cannot challenge the special rights and privileges of the Malays, cannot question the monarchy system, the Royal Malay Regiment and we safeguard the interests of other races."

["insulting" Islam, would not doubt include noting the 109 verses in the Koran that encourage terrorism]

Read more at: http://english.astroawani.com/news/show/do-not-dispute-anymore-rights-malays-rulers-and-islam-najib-49426?cp

Saturday, 29 November 2014

strandbeest evolution - YouTube

Self-propelled! Made by Theo Jansen. Curiously attractive...
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MYGJ9jrbpvg


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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ferguson farrago: are Black Americans more in danger from other blacks than white police?

I wrote about this before.
Now read this and make your own judgement.
Figures on black on black homicide, white on white homicide and the obverse of each.

Women’s rights campaigners welcome withdrawal of the Law Society’s sharia wills practice note

One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, the Centre for Secular Space, Nari Diganta and the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation have welcomed the Law Society’s withdrawal of their sharia wills practice note.
The practice note advised solicitors on how to draw up ‘Sharia-compliant’ wills, stating that
“… illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs … The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir … Non-Muslims may not inherit at all … a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir…” 
A small step in the right direction, to ensure One Law for All, and maintaining the rights that women have fought so hard for.

Spare us a Bob? » The Spectator

I remember reading some years ago -- though I don't have the link before me -- an article that claimed most of the money raised in Bob Geldorf's first Band Aid act in '84, had been wasted or looted by crooked politicians.
A bit later I read a number of articles from African thought leaders who said "enough already" to aid. What they wanted was investment and decent trade deals.
I saw with my own eyes, in 2011, when I did a car trip from Cape Town to Cairo, the enormous waste of international aid. Especially the reps from the UN, each of which costs $US500,000 to keep in Africa for one year. Imagine if you just gave that money to African women. They would do so more with it than the aid officials driving around in their white, black-windowed Land Cruisers.
That's why I'm inclined to agree with the editorial below.
We could do much more for Africa by opening up western markets for their goods, and going there to invest, as the Chinese are doing.
All else aside, it's what Africans want... And it's what Bob and his acolytes would better off doing.
Just not so much PR in that, I guess.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-week/leading-article/9375992/spare-us-a-bob/

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The Islamic State and the left’s secret love affair with misogyny » The Spectator

"... there are still a considerable number of people on the left making excuses for them [Isis] — mostly at the Guardian, the house magazine of 'the silly led by the sinister', as the sainted Christopher Hitchens called the Not In My Name marchers. And with Isis so frank about its own foulness, I've come to the conclusion that certain strange types are so sympathetic to Islamism not despite the way it treats women — but, at least partly, because of it."
The rest.
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’ » The Spectator

Committed to Carbon Goals - NYTimes.com

/snip
So, instead, [of a carbon tax] the carbon will need to be captured and then put to some good use. At one of its Texas power plants, NRG is teaming up with JX Nippon of Japan in a $1 billion joint venture to build a carbon-capturing capacity, which it expects will capture 1.6 million tons of carbon each year — some 90 percent of the plant's emissions. He is also convinced that that carbon will eventually be used to create liquid fuel or get embedded in cement. "We could rebuild America's roadways with embedded carbon from coal."
/ end quote
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/opinion/joe-nocera-committed-to-carbon-goals.html?referrer=

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Is Harvard Unfair to Asian-Americans? - NYTimes.com

Interesting article in today's International New York Times.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/opinion/is-harvard-unfair-to-asian-americans.html?referrer=&_r=0

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"Obama decides to chuck Hagel"

That was surely the best of the headlines, in our very own South China Morning Post, reporting the "resignation" of US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Islamist in video 'grew up in a French village' | South China Morning Post

/snip:
The bearded, blue-eyed man seen in the footage urging Muslims to stage attacks in France was reported to have gone to school in the village and have converted to Islam, studying the Koran in a Muslim centre in a private home.
/end quote.
Those --like Obama, Kerry, Cameron and others -- who claim ISIS (IS) has nothing to do with Islam cannot explain why it is that a young man would study the Koran, in a Muslim centre, and then be inspired to join a brutal outfit like ISIS.
What could it be, in that book, I wonder?
http://m.scmp.com/news/world/article/1647462/islamist-video-grew-french-village

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

China Climate Pledge Needs 1,000 Nuclear Plant Effort - Bloomberg

1000 new nuclear plants in China! 500,000 more wind turbines. 30 times more solar than today...
Big aims to cut down COand pollution.
All up $US 2 Trillion to be spent...
As the article says, China does nothing in small doses.
From Bloomberg in Beijing >>
http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-21/latest-china-revolution-seeks-great-leap-for-clean-energy.html
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Friday, 21 November 2014

An utterly shattering video about the moral depravity of students at UC Berkeley

Tough.... But true.
Shocking footage of the inanity of students Berkley, who prefer ISIS to Israel...
http://www.bookwormroom.com/2014/11/20/an-utterly-shattering-video-about-the-moral-depravity-of-students-at-uc-berkeley/
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A Dam Revival, Despite Risks - NYTimes.com

Having been brought up to admire Australia's Snowy Mountains Hydropower Scheme, historically and heroically commissioned in the 1950s -- and there is much to admire, to this day -- I always thought Hydro was clean and green. Seems that's not always so.
The article below notes the displacement of indigenous tribes along new hydropower projects. And think of the literally millions of poor displaced by China's Three Gorges Dam Project.
But more: their carbon footprint. The journal "Nature Climate Change" says that "emissions from tropical hydropower are often underestimated and can exceed those of fossil fuel for decades". (Quotes with link in the article below). It has to do with the methane released by rotting vegetation in areas flooded by the hydro projects.
That I did not know.
It's an Interesting article in the International New York Times >>
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/business/energy-environment/private-funding-brings-a-boom-in-hydropower-with-high-costs.html?referrer=
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Why do seals keep trying to have sex with penguins? - The Washington Post

Don't worry baby, I'll respect you in the morning.
The headline asks "why". Why do seals try to poke penguins? And my favourite bird, btw.
I think the clue is in the article: that after having it off with a penguin -- which, let's face it, is pretty sealish -- the seal kills and eats it. There you have it. A chance for a bit of a knees up (if seals have knees, which I suspect they don't...) followed by satisfying one's post coital peckishness...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2014/11/18/why-do-seals-keep-trying-to-have-sex-with-penguins/

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

There just aren't enough Brits getting killed in Syria

.... Then there’s the half-witted radical preacher and Islamist Anjem Choudary, who has just expressed a fervent wish to go and live in the Islamic State. I think that’s an excellent idea. He’s even offered to host a final press conference at Heathrow airport, where he would urge like-minded British Muslims to follow in his footsteps. This would be an enormous service to the British public, worthy of an MBE at the very least. Hell, we’ve knighted Muslim community leaders who supported the execution of Salman Rushdie and believe that Jews made up all that stuff about the Holocaust: here, at last, is one Muslim community leader attempting to make the country a better place for all of us to live in. But Anjem is unable to realise his dream because the Home Secretary will not give him back his passport.
Listen Theresa: you have got things the wrong way around. When these maniacs actually want to leave the country, do everything you possibly can to assist them in their endeavours.... 
Spot on, Rod!  Read Liddle's article here.

Islam or Islamophobia

I have to repost this year-old post by Sam Harris.
As Sam says, when you read the description of this Muslim "peace conference" you pass through the looking glass:
.... The organizers of this conference believe (with good reason) that “extremist” views are not rare among Muslims, even in the West. And they consider the media’s denial of this fact to be a symptom of… Islamophobia. The serpent of obscurantism has finally begun to devour its own tail. Apparently, it is a sign of racism to imagine that only a tiny minority of Muslims could actually condone the subjugation of women and the murder of apostates. How dare you call us “extremists” when we represent so many? We are not extreme. This is Islam. They have a point. And it is time for secular liberals and (truly) moderate Muslims to stop denying it.

The Roots of the Islamic State's Appeal

In a long, rambling statement in September, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani expounded on his group’s inherent advantage: “Being killed … is a victory,” he said. “You fight a people who can never be defeated. They either gain victory or are killed.” In this most basic sense, religion—rather than what one might call ideology—matters. ISIS fighters are not only willing to die in a blaze of religious ecstasy; they welcome it, believing that they will be granted direct entry into heaven. It doesn’t particularly matter if this sounds absurd to most people. It’s what they believe.
Too true. Confirmation bias plays its part.  And the unwillingness to believe something that's uncomfortable.  The great Sam Harris has written elsewhere of a discussion with a professor (Scott Atran) who simply refused to believe that jihadis could be motivated by what they said they were motivated by, simply because that's not the way he felt (here).
The above is from left-of-centre The Atlantic.

Deaths Linked to Terrorism Are Up 60 Percent, Study Finds

LONDON — As Western governments grapple with heightened apprehension about the spread of Islamic militancy, an independent study on Tuesday offered little solace, saying the number of fatalities related to terrorism soared 60 percent last year.
And 95% of them in Islamic-majority countries.  

What do you mean "we" White Man? Cameron nearly gets it on Islam...

PM David Cameron with Moderate Muslim
Last Friday, British PM, David Cameron made a speech to Australian Parliament, a speech that was gracious and at times witty.
But what took the world's attention was his take on ISIS, or the "threat of terrorism and extremism" (it's about half-way through the speech).
He gets it right for about half of his analysis.  It's not poverty, it's not exclusion and it's not foreign policy.  The root cause is the "extremist narrative".
So far so good.
Then he breaks bad.  He says that it's a "twisted narrative" that misrepresents "Islam as a great world religion of peace". And "we" must counter it.
Now, I understand that, as PM, Cameron cannot openly say that the "narrative" is core Islam (even if it is).  But does he have to completely exonerate Islam (the "religion of peace")?
Surely he could have found some formulation that would sheet home responsibility, not to "we" -- politicians and public at large -- but to those "overwhelming majority of Muslims who abhor [do they?] the twisted narrative". And to call on them to take on that "twisted narrative" at its core?  The tenets of Islam, the trinity of Islam, are indeed the problem and until they are taken on by moderate imams, there cannot be a defeat of the likes of ISIS. After all, the head of ISIS is a PhD in Islamic studies.  He knows whereof he speaks, and none of what he or his acolytes have said contradicts the Islamic Trinity.  So, it's a tough job for the moderate imams.
But just because it's tough does not mean it must be ignored.
Why, even the leftie Huffington post has recognised what we're up against!

Fundamentalist Islam and the Roots of Terrorism

I'm posting this article by Janet TAvakoli in full because I don't want to lose it.  It's worth preserving for one main reason: that it appears in the left-wing Huffington Post. It reads rather like something one would normally see on right-of-centre blogs like Jihadwatch.  Perhaps the fact that it's on Huffpo might be the beginning of a recognition on the left that there really is a problem with the core doctrines of Islam and that the terrorists are not a "tiny minority" who are "hijacking" or "warping" the "Religion of Peace".  One can only hope. For that recognition, the reality of the situation, is the first step in addressing and trying to solve it: an effort that must also have the buy-in of the majority (we are told) of moderate Muslims in the world.
Anyway, article in full below the fold.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Why we need to end the war on drugs

The evidence for the end to prohibition and to take a medical/regulatory approach seem, to me, inarguable.  Of course they are argued about, but as Ethan Nadelmann says, the evidence is in.
In places like Portugal, where they have taken the medical/regulatory approach, instead of jailing people for taking non-approved drugs (vs approved drugs like alcohol) there has been a decrease in drug abuse, a decrease in disease, a decrease in crime, a decrease in arrests, a decrease in addiction.  At the same time as an increase in health.
The video is here.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Why Does Malala Yusufzai’s Nobel Bother So Many On The Left? | Pervez Hoodbhoy

Striking in the article below is the quotation from the Talibanis who shot Malala.  They refer at every step to Islamic Scripture. And note in particular the warm references to the prophet Muhammad who had women stoned to death, used as justification for the killing of Malala. For of course, Muhammad is "the perfect man" according to Islam, and a role model to be emulated.
Quote:
In the following, I have translated and condensed a 9-page pamphlet entitled Aqeedon ka Tasadum explaining why Malala had to be killed. Written in Urdu and signed by the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, it was circulated shortly after the shooting:
Preamble: This is a war of two faiths, Islam versus kufr (unbelief). On the one side there is true education and modesty; on the other is nudity, music, dancing, and disgraceful gyrations. On the one side there is respect for the veil; on the other are those females who appear on TV and give interviews to men who are not relatives. In fact they dare to mock the Taliban and mujahideen who seek to prevent nudity, lewdness, and Westernization. So here is why this so-called Malala, a pawn of Western interests and secular forces, had to be brought to justice:
First, is Malala a child? No! She was born on 18 July 1998, which makes her 15 years and 4 months old. She had crossed puberty and shown the signs. Thus she had to be treated as an adult woman responsible for her deeds.
Second, is the killing of women allowed in Islam? Yes! After the conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had personally ordered several women to be killed, including by stoning to death. Hazrat Ali too had declared as correct and justified the strangling of a Jewish woman who had verbally abused the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Third, what does Pakhtun culture say? Although some media commentators claim that killing girls is against our culture, this is nonsense. If a boy and girl are even suspected of doing something together, it is common to kill both.
Fourth, was Malala guilty? Yes! This so-called innocent “child” actually wrote a diary under the false name of Gul Makai, and daily criticized us in it. She called Obama her ideal, and preferred the secular education of Lord Macaulay to Islamic education.
Fifth, was Malala unarmed? No! She was armed with the pen, a weapon sharper than the sword, with which she daily defamed Islam and Muslims. She portrayed the Taliban as beastly savages. This is why we rightly punished her.
Conclusion: By focusing on Malala this filthy (Pakistani) media shows it is prostituted to the Americans. It says no words of protest against the strip-searching and incarceration of the daughter of Islam (Dr Aafia Siddiqui). It makes a false hero out of one who deserved what she got.
http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Why-Does-Malala-Yusufzais-Nobel-Bother-So-Many-On-The-Left-/292542


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More cowardice about Islam in a UK university

This is deeply troubling.  The Academy in the UK has given in to Sharia law.
http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/more-cowardice-about-islam-in-a-uk-university/


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Brookings Institution’s Old New Ideas. Islam, Islamism and Jihad

/snip...
The real reason why the U.S. and the West in general haven't confronted the ideology of jihad groups is because they refuse to admit that it even exists. They insist that Islam is peaceful and that groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have nothing to do with Islam. They don't have any curiosity about how this supposed misunderstanding of Islam came to be so widespread and powerful, and they have never pressed Muslim groups that ostensibly reject it to do anything to blunt its appeal for young Muslims.
>>>
http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/11/robert-spencer-in-frontpage-brookings-institutions-old-new-ideas

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Mark Lynas » Time to call out the anti-GMO conspiracy theory

I came across Mark Lynas only today with an article of his in the South China Morning Post called "Seeds of Doubt".
It's behind a paywall so I found this link which is on his website. Lynas is an environmentalist who accepts the science of global warming and also the science of GM foods, which is that it's safe.
Eg, quoted by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science:
"The science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe… The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, and every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques." 

Freud and the Middle East: Muslims support the Islamic State

Snip/
As Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, put it in an Atlantic article entitled "The Roots of the Islamic State's Appeal": "ISIS draws on, and draws strength from, ideas that have broad resonance among Muslim-majority populations. They may not agree with ISIS's interpretation of the caliphate, but the notion of caliphate — the historical political entity governed by Islamic law and tradition — is a powerful one."
End snip/
In other words it's consistent with all the polls of Muslims both in the west and in Muslim-majority countries (see "Islam in figures" above):  they may not all agree with killing and mayhem, but they agree with the main aims which are at the core of Islam:  the universal imposition of Sharia law and an Islamic caliphate (a theocracy) for the whole world. Many (most?) Muslims  may prefer for this to be done peacefully by the "religion of peace", but if necessary violence will do. 

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A Tricky Transition From Fossil Fuel - NYTimes.com

Some interesting issues in going 100% renewable from the world leader, Denmark...
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/science/earth/denmark-aims-for-100-percent-renewable-energy.html

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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Saturday, 8 November 2014

For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution - NYTimes.com

Naftali Bennett is often derided for being a right-winger. Still, the article below makes a strong argument.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/06/opinion/naftali-bennett-for-israel-two-state-is-no-solution.html?_r=0

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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Pew poll: Muslims really do want to kill you for not believing Islam

.... A wide-ranging 2013 Pew Research Center poll, conducted between 2008 and 2012 in 39 countries, offered a deeply disturbing, unequivocal overview of the faith-based intolerance prevalent across much of the Muslim world.  Among other things, majorities of Muslims – varying somewhat according to region – favor putting to death apostates and adulterers, condemn homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia as immoral, and believe that "a wife must obey her husband."  Large minorities condone "honor killings."  It should be noted that for practical reasons, the Pew Center could not survey Muslims in the repressive, highly conservative Gulf States (including Saudi Arabia, the homeland of Wahhabism), so, if anything, these numbers provide an excessively moderate summary of Muslim positions on issues progressives hold dear.

(And this in the exquisitely "progressive" Salon.com)


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Sunday, 26 October 2014

BBC nearly tells the truth about Islam

Yikes!
On BBC radio a few nights ago, listening in Hong Kong, a program on why it was converts to Islam who went on the rampage in Canada. What is it about converts that bends them to kill random civilians?
Well, fair enough question. And the Beebs gathered several worthies to discuss it under the baton of a young Beebianista whose name I didn't get.
Everything was going swimmingly along accepted routes: the first fellow said that "every religion has its terrorists" (yes, we all recall the rampaging Jainiasts, don't we?), and concluded that "Islam was not immune". ("Not immune"?? Only that it's been responsible for over 24,000 terror attacks since 911. See how many Christian terror attacks you can count in that time. And, no, you can't count drone strikes...).
An Imam then weighed in on cue to say that these new converts "misunderstood" the Religion of Peace, which was one of tolerance, warmth, mercy and so on.
Then the Outlier. A fellow who had once belonged to Al Qaeda until he'd reverted to his senses said that these Muslims rampaging in the name on Islam were NOT misunderstanding the religion. They were acting in accord with its doctrine and on the explicit example of Muhammad. He then started to quote scripture to support his point.
At which point the young Beebianista shut him down with "we're not going to get into scriptural argument".
Imagine. They're trying to work out what it is that's radicalizes new converts to Islam. And they ignore the single most important reasons: the scripture of Islam and the example of its "prophet".
Shame on the BBC.

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Afghan opium: turn it to morphine

I just read that the US has spent $7.5 BILLION dollars trying to eradicate the Afghan poppy crop. And the result?..... Afghanistan has just produced the biggest opium crop in history.
Imagine if that $7.5 billion had been spent in buying the farmers' crops (steady income) setting up proper factories to manufacture morphine (jobs and careers) and then buying the morphine and shipping it to Africa where there is a drastic shortage of analgesics (morphine is still the best pain reliever there is).
I'll bet there would be enough money left over from that seven billion to set up facilities to deal with the opium addicts, who are now simply a collateral cost of the misguided "war on drugs".

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(in Doha airport)

Friday, 24 October 2014

Misrepresenting Islam? The strange case of CJ Werleman


There's been an interesting tussle between Sam Harris and C.J. Werleman (an Aussie, I'm sad to say).
Sam wins the tussle, but I wanted here to focus on one bit of it, namely Werleman's choice of a Gallup poll of Muslims to "prove" that only a small minority is radical.
At 7:30' he says that 99.9% of Muslims don't want an Islamic caliphate or don't want to impose Sharia law.  He's flat wrong on this.  A majority of Muslims, even in western countries, do indeed want to impose Sharia law.  See my page link above for extensive links to polls on Muslims in western and Islamic countries.
More egregiously, Werleman cricitices (08:00') Harris for "cherry picking" polls and quotes the Gallup poll which led to the book "What a Billion Muslims Really Think" by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed in 2008.*
This Gallup poll, though, was seriously flawed.  See Robert Satloff's takedown of it here.
/snip:
The full data from the 9/11 question show that, in addition to the 13.5 percent, there is another 23.1 percent of respondents--300 million Muslims--who told pollsters the attacks were in some way justified. Esposito and Mogahed don't utter a word about the vast sea of intolerance in which the radicals operate. [ref]
Whichever way you look at it, there are between 100 million and 400 million Muslims worldwide who think that it's in some way justified to fly commercial planes into buildings. That it's just fine to randomly kill innocent civilians in the name of the Islam.

*Esposito and Mogahad are apologists of Islam. Esposito is a professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, funded by Saudi Arabia and Mogahed was head of the Islamic Society of North America, which is a Muslim Brotherhood front.  Hardly neutral on the issues here, and surely a case of "cherry picking", if there ever was one.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Islam: The Black Flag of ISIS Signifies the Military Tactics of Muhammad

Canberra drops plan to segrete veiled women

Race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane told Fairfax Media the original ruling meant Muslim women were being treated differently to non-Muslim women.
“No-one should be treated like a second-class citizen, not least in the parliament,” he said.
“I have yet to see any expert opinion or analysis to date which indicates that the burqa or the niqab represents an additional or special security threat.” [my emphasis] [here]
A couple of points:

  • "Second-class citizens": the women veiling are denoting themselves as second-class citizens.  That they should not be seen.  And if it's "modesty" they claim, then that's a horrid reflection on men -- that they can't be trusted to view unveiled women. If that were true, rapes in the middle east would be less than in the west, but they're not.
  • ".... special security threat": Race discrimination commissioner Soutphommasane shows himself ignorant here.  There are numerous reports of niqabs and burqa being used to hide criminal activities. 

... examples include the following:
  • .... Armed robberies. For example:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Islamic State and Islam

What relationship does the Islamic State have to Islam?
“Absolutely nothing” is the answer almost every Western politician gives.   For example, U.S. President Obama adamantly stated in a televised speech that the Islamic State “is not Islamic.”
This begs the question: How does one determine what is—and is not—Islamic?
The traditional answer, the Islamic answer, has been as follows
Read on....