Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The difference between UK and US Muslims

There are several million Muslims in the US, but they don't seem to have been affected by extremism in the way that their British co-religionists have, the number of terror threats uncovered there have been miniscule compared to the UK. Various explanations have been offered: the fact that the US is a lot more integrationist, and the fact that the US authorities take a more uncompromising stand against terrorism.

The following article by Stephen Schwartz argues that it has a lot to do with the kind of theology that has been imported into the UK. You can read the article here.

Americans need to get a life

I would love to spend some time living in the United States, but one thing I can never get my head around is how Americans put up with their measly two weeks vacation. Now it seems, they are reluctant to take even that!

I can understand why so few Americans travel abroad, their own country is so big, but don't they want to take some time off to explore their own backyard? Americans really need to get a life. Working harder doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting more done. As anyone who has taken a decent vacation can testify, you feel a lot more refereshed, and have a hell of a lot more energy. I'm glad to see that some US employers are finally waking up to this!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Shahid Malik, a voice of sanity among British Muslims

I may not agree with his politics, particularly those of the middle east, but Shahid Malik is one of the few British Muslim leaders who are prepared to call a spade a spade. Instead of blaming the Government or a multitude of other external causes, he accepts that there are no excuses for Islamic extremism, and that ultimately Britain's Muslims are the only ones who can defeat it, no one can do the job for them. If only there were more like him.

"Outrage" can now be used as justfication for anything

Four animal rights activists were spared jail after a judge heard that the animals they "liberated" from a breeding centre were kept in such appalling conditions that the RSPCA would have prosecuted if it had known.

Judge John Sessions said he did not condone their "vigilantism" but accepted that they had been "outraged" by the conditions they found. My question is, if they were so outraged, then why didn't they call the RSPCA rather than take the law into their own hands?

It has become fashionable in Britain to excuse any form of terrorism as being caused by "outrage". It is bad enough that Britain's journalists tend think like this, but the fact that the judiciary share this warped attitude demonstrates just how far Britain has gone off the rails!

The man in the street has more common sense than the people in parliament

A recent YouGov poll in the Spectator (subscription required) reveals that most Britains are more hawkish than their MPs when it comes to the war on terror.

It just goes to prove that you don't have to be well educated in order to possess common sense!

Gesture politics and the pardoning of first world war soldiers

The Government recently announced that it is to forgive 300 deserters who were shot during the First World War. This will no doubt be of great comfort to the families left behind. The shooting of deserters during this period was a grave injustice and should be recognised as such, but giving a group pardon like this is the thin end of the wedge.

If you want to go back far enough into history, pretty much all justice that was dispensed in both military and civilian life would be considered abusive by today's standards. During the 19th century for example, the Royal Navy employed boys as young as eight on its crews, and homosexual activity in the Navy could result in you being hanged from the yardarm. Even 25 years ago, civilian life would be regarded as harsh by today's children. When I was at school, infringement of the school rules could result in a caning. Maybe my school year seek an apology from our school. Where do you stop?

Giving pardons and saying sorry makes people feel better, but it also ends up distorting history. Our understanding of human nature has thankfully advanced over the last century. 90 years ago, people didn't understand shell shock or mental illness, so were the military commanders of the early 20th century criminals or just plain ignorant? It's a big mistake to judge history by 21st century standards. If you're going to do that, you'll end up writing off pretty much all of British history, something that some of Britain's educational establishment would like to do.

The Archbishop of York has lost the plot

As the head of the Church of England, the Queen is known as Defender of the Faith, but I'm not quite sure what faith there is left to defend. These days, the Archbishops seem more interested in defending the fanatics of other faiths. As part of an act of "pubic witness" to encourage peace in the Middle East, Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York has cancelled his holiday, shaved his head, pitched a tent in York Minster, and is fasting in protest at the current events in Lebanon. He said his actions mirrored those of countless numbers of people caught up in the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, who were having to sleep rough and without proper food. Dr Sentamu said: "This act is a rallying call to people of all faiths and none, to encourage them to feel that there is something that can be done". I'm not sure how living in a tent in Northern England can contribute to peace in the middle east, maybe Dr Sentamu can enlighten us.

The Archbishop of York has also had some other pearls of wisdom to share with the world.
When George Bush’s recently claimed that the West is at war with “Islamic fascists”, Dr John Sentamu said such comments were “not helpful”. “I actually want to see this society becoming a good neighbourly place and you are not going to do it by that kind of language on the ranch in Texas. It doesn’t really work because in the long run you are going to end up with people who may be absolutely innocent being branded as extremists and enemies.”

The Archbishop when on to say that he did not believe that Islam was the real cause of the terrorist attacks carried out by militants. “I do not think the people who are doing this are doing it because of Islam. Most of them are doing it because they have been given a vision which is so imaginatively wicked that they believe we can build a better world than actually exists.”

Yes, and I suppose that Christianity was not the real cause of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the countless blood libels that took place all over Europe? Clerical fascism isn't limited to Islam, and mindful of how Christianity operated over the last two millenia, you'd have thought the Archbishop would be the first person to be aware of that.