Political parties: disintegration and realignment 5

Political parties in the Western world are undergoing dramatic and permanent change.

In America, Donald Trump has changed the Republican Party. It will not go back to being what it was before he became its most popular candidate for the presidency.

The Democratic Party was always a racist cabal, and now it’s a criminal racket under the dictatorship of the Clintons. They have been “nudged” towards the wilder shores of Leftism by the surprising popularity of the  “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders, who stood against Hillary Clinton for the presidential candidacy – but was not allowed to win, of course.

The Libertarian Party’s support is growing. There is even talk of it replacing the Republican Party. In any case, the Libertarians want the two-party system to fade away and new parties – chiefly their own – to enter the competition for power with a fair chance of winning.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for the presidential elections, says: “I think 30 million people here are up for grabs that are probably Libertarian; it’s that they just don’t know it.”

In Europe, new parties are emerging and old ones re-emerging in new forms and with new policies, in response to the governing elites’ disastrous immigration policies, by which millions of Muslims have poured into the continent from the Third World, bringing their customs of violence and misogyny with them.

In Britain, the established political parties are showing signs of disintegration and possible re-alignment.

Our British contributing associate, Chauncey Tinker*, writes:

Jeremy Corbyn, the present unpopular leader of the Labour Party, will cling on to power until he feels a suitable loony leftie has appeared who can replace him. Corbyn is not having a great time being the leader but he cares about the loony left’s future in politics and he is not going to hand power back to the centrist Blairite arm of the party in a hurry. He repeatedly says he has the mandate of the “party membership”, and he actually really seems to feel duty bound not to disappoint them. I do think winning general elections is not the biggest priority in his mind, its much more about representing the real loony left. 

The former leader, Ed Miliband, made a disastrous decision to open the membership to anyone with £3 to spare, so changing the party membership, allowing the proper lefties to take over (and there are suggestions that some mischievous Tories also pitched in) and I don’t think they can easily undo this, without splitting the party in two. They are still joining at an astonishing rate apparently, even though the membership fee has been increased to £25 to try and stop this. But it looks as if it will ensure a majority vote for Corbyn.  

Could the party split in two? There has been quite a lot of speculation about it. The Blairite / loony left ideological split has been going on since Tony Blair arrived on the scene.  However I can’t help feeling that the Blairites have just lost faith in their own cause. Corbyn’s chief rival for the leadership, Owen Smith, seems in many respects to be not really that far away from Corbyn; but – so far at least –  without the tendency to seem like a supporter of Islam. And I have yet to hear him suggest that the government should print money and give wads of it to poor people. As such he maybe doesn’t deserve to be thought of as a loony leftie, just a normal leftie. There’s a short clip of him talking in the Telegraph (see here). He would certainly win the votes of the “always voted Labour, always will” types, and might even stand a chance in a general election – although apparently he has hinted in favour of a second referendum on Brexit, which might well be a vote loser considering at least 52% voted to leave the European Union.   

If they did split Labour it would be a huge breath of fresh air for UK politics, and give the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) a chance to get a foot in the door with more MPs. I think UKIP’s chances right now would be good if it were not for the fact they are also in disarray. Nigel Farage has resigned the leadership, and I don’t find the frontrunner Steven Woolfe impressive. But maybe he will improve.  

Overall its just deeply uninspiring on all fronts, and the new Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May,  looks almost unshakeable with this rabble of an opposition.

It seems possible that she could even reunite the Conservative Party after the deep divisions within it over Brexit. But for how long?

* Chauncey Tinker was a computer programmer for many years.  He writes: “I had always had a keen interest in current affairs but around 2012 my interest turned to real alarm.  I began to read about the Islamic religion and became increasingly troubled by what I learned, especially in view of the ever increasing presence of Islam in the West.  By 2013 I was beginning to realize just how much the mainstream media is dominated by a certain warped and narrow way of thinking (far away from my own fairly libertarian views), how freedom of speech was being eroded and stifled by “political correctness”.  More alarmingly still I also began to notice how governments were beginning to pass laws that could actually criminalize views that dissented from theirs. Determined to challenge this trend, I left my computing career and began to study current affairs full time. I began my blog late in 2015.”

Islam takes over Europe 1

Douglas Murray describes the unsolvable problem of millions of young men from the Third World coming into Europe to stay, bring their extended families to join them, breed many children and …

… change Europe permanently, and greatly for the worse. Which he doesn’t say, but is the inescapable conclusion.

Greatly for the worse because – he also doesn’t say – almost all of them are Muslim.

It is necessary to ban Muslim immigration into the United States.

Only one candidate for the presidency has promised to impose the necessary ban.

Posted under Europe, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 20, 2016

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The tyrants of Europe let in the barbarians – and stifle protest 6

Between 1938 and 1945, most of the countries of Europe, under Germany’s lead, scattered or killed their assimilated, highly contributing, law-abiding Jewish citizens. Now these countries, finding themselves short of population and not breeding much themselves (Germany has the lowest fertility rate of them all), feel guilty about it. Not guilty enough to do their utmost to support Israel, the refuge of the remnant of European Jews perpetually under attack by the vast Arab world about them and the vaster Islamic world. No. But guilty enough to want to prove that they are not “racists”.  They do this – at the same time remedying their problem of under-population – by inviting millions of the denizens of Arab and other Islamic lands into their countries, to become an unassimilable, welfare-dependent, violent threat to their very existence as nations.

That is to say, their political leaders are doing it. Most citizens don’t want it. But are not allowed to say so.

To prove their virtue, European leaders are becoming ever more tyrannical. 

Douglas Murray, who has the gift of clear sight, writes at Gatestone:

It was only a few weeks ago that Facebook was forced to back down when caught permitting anti-Israel postings, but censoring equivalent anti-Palestinian postings.

Now one of the most sinister stories of the past year was hardly even reported. In September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook at a UN development summit in New York. As they sat down, Chancellor Merkel’s microphone, still on, recorded Merkel asking Zuckerberg what could be done to stop anti-immigration postings being written on Facebook. She asked if it was something he was working on, and he assured her it was.

At the time, perhaps the most revealing aspect of this exchange was that the German Chancellor – at the very moment that her country was going through one of the most significant events in its post-war history – should have been spending any time worrying about how to stop public dislike of her policies being vented on social media. But now it appears that the discussion yielded consequential results.

Last month, Facebook launched what it called an “Initiative for civil courage online,” the aim of which, it claims, is to remove “hate speech” from Facebook – specifically by removing comments that “promote xenophobia”.  Facebook is working with a unit of the publisher Bertelsmann, which aims to identify and then erase “racist” posts from the site. The work is intended particularly to focus on Facebook users in Germany. At the launch of the new initiative, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, explained that, “Hate speech has no place in our society — not even on the internet.” She went to say that, “Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence.” Of course, Facebook can do what it likes on its own website. What is troubling is what this organization of effort and muddled thinking reveals about what is going on in Europe.

The mass movement of millions of people – from across Africa, the Middle East and further afield – into Europe has happened in record time and is a huge event in its history. …

As well as being fearful of the security implications of allowing in millions of people whose identities, beliefs and intentions are unknown [and to the extent that their belief and intentions are known, are abominable – ed] and – in such large numbers – unknowable, many Europeans are deeply concerned that this movement heralds an irreversible alteration in the fabric of their society. Many Europeans do not want to become a melting pot for the Middle East and Africa, but want to retain something of their own identities and traditions. Apparently, it is not just a minority who feel concern about this. Poll after poll shows a significant majority of the public in each and every European country opposed to immigration at anything like the current rate.

And it just so happens to turn out that, lo and behold, this idea of “racist” speech appears to include anything critical of the EU’s current catastrophic immigration policy.

By deciding that “xenophobic” comment in reaction to the crisis is also “racist”, Facebook has made the view of the majority of the European people (who, it must be stressed, are opposed to Chancellor Merkel’s policies) into “racist” views, and so is condemning the majority of Europeans as “racist”.

This is a policy that will do its part in pushing Europe into a disastrous future.

Because even if some of the speech Facebook is so scared of is in some way “xenophobic”, there are deep questions as to why such speech should be banned. In lieu of violence, speech is one of the best ways for people to vent their feelings and frustrations. Remove the right to speak about your frustrations, and only violence is left.

Weimar Germany – to give just one example – was replete with hate-speech laws intended to limit speech the state did not like. These laws did nothing whatsoever to limit the rise of extremism; it only made martyrs out of those it pursued, and persuaded an even larger number of people that the time for talking was over.

The sinister reality of a society in which the expression of majority opinion is being turned into a crime has already been seen across Europe. Just last week, reports from the Netherlands told of Dutch citizens being visited by the police and warned about posting anti-mass-immigration sentiments on Twitter and other social media.

In this toxic mix, Facebook has now – knowingly or unknowingly – played its part. The lid is being put on the pressure cooker at precisely the moment that the heat is being turned up. A true “initiative for civil courage” would explain to both Merkel and Zuckerberg that their policy can have only one possible result.

1452501623_anti-refugee-protest-germany

Violent insurrection coming soon?

Posted under Europe, Germany, immigration, Islam, Israel, jihad, Muslims, Netherlands, Race by Jillian Becker on Friday, February 5, 2016

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Atheists who assist the jihad 20

We are often more provoked by atheists on the Left than by believers on the conservative Right.

Leftism is a religion. And it is promoting the worst religion of all – Islam.

Douglas Murray writes at Gatestone:

Who has the “right” to talk about Islam? The question arose thanks to the response of a Muslim student society at an American university.

Last week saw the latest in the apparently interminable efforts to make the Somali-born human-rights activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali into some kind of pariah. Readers will recall the atrocious treatment of Hirsi Ali by Brandeis University earlier this year, when the “liberal arts university” invited Hirsi Ali to speak and then withdrew the invitation at the behest of certain Muslim students and anti-free-speech activists among the university’s faculty staff. As said at the time, the university’s dropping of Hirsi Ali was a classic case of dropping a firefighter in order to appease arsonists.

The latest round has already kicked off. The William F Buckley Jr Program at Yale University actually asking Hirsi Ali to speak and did not rescind the invitation. On this occasion, an American university managed to hold firm and not bar Hirsi Ali, but the reactions of two types of students were especially intriguing.

First – and of most interest to the press covering this kind of dust-up – was that among the usual criticisms of Hirsi Ali, this time the attacks also came from members of the Yale Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics society. Ahead of the event, those students posted on Facebook that:

“We do not believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali represents the totality of the ex-Muslim experience … Although we acknowledge the value of her story, we do not endorse her blanket statements on all Muslims and Islam.”

What kind of atheists are these who can tolerate any aspect of Islam? Islam is doctrinally intolerant, and intolerance is not to be tolerated.

The very fact that the pro-Islam factions at Yale want to silence a critic proves Islamic intolerance – if proof were needed in a world assailed by jihad.

It is hard to know which of these witless statements to unpick first. The statement as a whole constitutes a motorway pileup of moral confusion. Just take the first point – the possibility that Hirsi Ali does not represent the “totality of the ex-Muslim experience.” That is true. It is also something that Hirsi Ali would probably be the first to admit to. But it is also true of absolutely everybody. Nobody represents the “totality” of any experience. Yale Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics might some day realize that not even they represent the “totality of the atheist, humanist and agnostic experience.” Not even among students. In the Yale area.

And then there is the other group who, rather more predictably, complained about Hirsi Ali speaking at all. The Yale Muslim Students Association wrote to the “Yale community” as well as the Buckley program heads and staff in particular to say that:

“Our concern is that Ms. Hirsi Ali is being invited to speak as an authority on Islam despite the fact that she does not hold the credentials to do so. In the past, under such authority, she has overlooked the complexity of sociopolitical issues in Muslim-majority countries and has purported that Islam promotes a number of violent and inhumane practices.”

It is important to recognize what is true here before getting on to what is false. It is true that Hirsi Ali has, in the past, pointed to teachings and practices that are violent and inhumane in many Muslim-majority countries. Rather than being part of some intolerable smear-campaign, there may of course be a reason for this: which is that there are a vast number of practices that are indeed violent and inhumane in Muslim-majority countries. …

Islam is violent and inhumane.

How about the laws in multiple Muslim-majority countries which punish homosexuals with death by hanging, among other means? What about the laws in many Muslim-majority countries which – if exercised at Yale – would see the execution or imprisonment of members of the university’s Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics society?

But, as with the other petition, the question is posed as one of authority. Hirsi Ali is not meant to speak about Islam because “she does not hold the credentials to do so.” It is an interesting, sly way in which to frame a censor’s argument.

It is also untrue. … Even were it not the case that Hirsi Ali has actually lived the Muslim life, with the personal story she has to tell as a result, any independent person would surely recognize that, if anything, she is somewhat over-credentialed. Hirsi Ali has authored multiple books and written hundreds of original and important articles on Islam. She has been published in every major newspaper in the Western world. She has a university degree from one of the oldest and most distinguished universities in the Netherlands. She has held positions at some of the most important universities and think-tanks in the world. As an extraordinary immigration success story, she was elected to Parliament in the Netherlands in her early thirties and one of the most important figures in the debate on integration in Europe as well as America.

If she is not qualified to speak about this subject, then who is?  … There is a reason why she continually draws – even in America – this type of pushback. It is because anti-reformist Muslims everywhere …

Are there Muslim reformists? Into what could Islam be “reformed”? What would be left of Islam if the violence, intolerance, cruelty and lies were taken out of it?

… realize that she presents to their literalist faith a type of poison for which they have absolutely no antidote. Her criticisms are often raw because they are true. Able to do nothing about the truth, they try to silence the truth-teller.

One grows to expect this from Muslim associations. But the atheists? If these students truly believe in education and enlightenment, I would suggest they organize a trip around North Africa and the Middle East. Their experiences may never represent the “totality” of anything. But, especially if they wear their society’s logo on T-shirts, it might give them a personal insight into one of the many points Hirsi Ali has brought to the world’s attention – a point they might one day see is worth their attention, too.

Douglas Murray is reminding atheists that in most of not all Islamic countries, known atheists are punished with imprisonment, or flogging, or execution – often all three.

But few Leftist intellectuals of the Western world ever subject themselves to the regimes they theoretically support or endorse. As everyone knows, some who have actually ventured to put themselves at the mercy of Islam have recently had their heads sawn off.

 

[Request to readers: if anyone finds a transcript of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s speech at Yale, please bring it to us.]

 

Posted under Atheism, Commentary, Islam, Jordan, Muslims, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 2, 2014

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Religion in the twenty-first century? 7

This video, published in February 2013, is a film of a debate held by the Cambridge Union on the proposition: “This House believes religion has no place in the twenty-first century”. (Organized religion only is meant.)

It is over an hour and a half long. Is it worth watching?

We think it’s worth hearing what Richard Dawkins has to say in support of the motion. And also for what another eloquent atheist says – Douglas Murray, who surprisingly opposes it, but for quite different reasons from those of the other two opponents. They are a pair of downright villains: the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who campaigned for sharia to be introduced into Britain; and his friend Tariq Ramadan of the Muslim Brotherhood. You’ll only get an earful of pious poppycock from each of them.

There is no argument over theology. No one mentions the wars of religion raging in the Middle East.

We came to one certain conclusion: religion may linger on a while yet, but Oh, it will be dull!

 

Posted under Religion general, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 17, 2014

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The Nazis of our time 0

The admirable Douglas Murray is interviewed intelligently on Canadian TV about the pro-Hamas anti-Israel protests erupting in the capitals of Europe.

Posted under Britain, Canada, Commentary, Europe, Islam, Israel, middle east, Muslims, nazism, News, United Kingdom, Videos by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 27, 2014

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Lament for Britain 1

Into its socialist democracies, slowly dying out of indigenous populations, Europe has admitted hordes of its worst enemy.

None is yet ruled by them – as we think the United States is at present. (Fortunately the United States is much more robust – we dare to say virile – than decadent Europe. Here it is the ruling that is feeble.)

When all of Europe is governed by sharia law (and all European women ambulant black bags), it will be very bad for America.

We sorrow most for Britain which has long been the sanest, the soberest, the most reasonable of nations. Now the blood of native Britons, citizens of London, members of Her Majesty’s armed forces, stain its streets from time to time and ever more frequently, shed by the barbarian colonists of Islam. And every time distant Israel wages war on its perpetual barbarian attackers, the colonists of Britain turn out in force in the capital to yell hideous, vicious, racist hatred and calumny, in a quiet avenue lined with dignified embassies.

Douglas Murray, who always displays moral clarity, writes at Gatestone:

The barricades are up again outside the Israeli Embassy in London, as they are across many capitals of Europe. Given that even more rockets than “normal” have been raining down on Israel in recent days, any sane country would need further barricades outside the Israeli embassy in order to contain yet another demonstration of support for Israel. But no, another day in London and another Palestinian-ist and Socialist Worker party protest is going on against the Israeli state.

The protestors are not, of course, demonstrating because they especially care about the lives of the people of Gaza. If they cared about the lives of Palestinians – or the people of the region in general – they would have spent night after night outside the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Turkish, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian embassies, among others. …

I have watched them a bit in recent days, watched the contorted hatred on their faces as they scream at the embassy and then watched their friendly sociability as the headscarfed women are driven away by their menfolk, often with their children in tow – a family day outing in “diverse” modern London. Behind their smiles and the increasingly competent public relations that the pro-Hamas faction is managing in Britain, it is possible for some people to forget that what brings these people out is one simple thing: a hatred of the Jewish state and a desire to see it annihilated by the terrorists of Hamas or anyone else at hand.

There are those who will say this is not a not-sufficiently-nuanced observation, that the motives of those protesting Israeli action are something other than a great hatred of Jews and the Jewish state. But if this were true, why would their posters say, “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza?” There is no “Holocaust” in Gaza. Anybody can see there is no similarity between the organized and systematic murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and the precision targeting of some Hamas rocket sites, some of which are deliberately hidden under hospitals, in the Gaza strip. Why do the protestors say “Holocaust” then? They know that this way they will hurt Jews as deeply as possible. By using the term “Holocaust” for this, they will either give the impression that the Holocaust was a small and minimal thing in the history of war – such as the confrontation between Hamas and Israel currently is – or else that the Israelis are, in their view, currently carrying out precisely the same barbarism which made the creation of the state of Israel such an added necessity for Jews in the 1940s, and that by supposedly becoming the Nazis they are meant to abhor, the Jews have forfeited any right to be regarded as part of acceptable humankind.

Either way, these protestors clearly mean to harm, not to help. But their presence – and the growing manner in which they are trying to wake up a far-away country to the actions of Israel, and condemn them as they would condemn Nazism – displays a trend worth dwelling on.

Israel has been through an exchange like this with Gaza every couple of years since Condoleezza Rice had the brilliant idea of pushing for elections in Gaza and allowing Hamas to finish with guns what they had failed to achieve at the ballot box. In the wider world’s response – as well as the facts in the ground in Israel – certain trends can now be spotted. One is that, since the 2006 war in Lebanon, protests against Israel in cities such as London have increased in number and vitriol year on year. This is not because the confrontations between Israel and her enemies during this period are getting larger. On the contrary, no exchange since 2006 has been anything in size like the war which had to be engaged in then. Each time, however, despite the actual conflict diminishing, the protests in London and other capitals in Europe have grown.

So how can one account for this? One reason, simply put, is that you cannot have a country in which the Muslim population doubles each decade (as in Britain) and radical Islamist groups teach young Muslims to make the Israel-Palestine issue their prime concern, and expect the result to have no impact.

The young men and women who pack their banners back in the car after a good day’s shouting at the Israeli embassy may or may not have British citizenship, yet it is hard to say that they are British in any recognizable sense of the term. If they were, they might think that a simple sense of fair play, among other things, ought to dictate that a country being bombarded with missiles on a daily basis should, every now and then, have the right to respond by hitting the sites from which those missiles are fired as well as at the people who order the launchers to let loose.

Israel, one can probably say with some confidence, can very well look after itself. Like everyone else who has spent time in the country, and admires and even loves it, I worry for it, but I can think of no nation on earth that is better equipped or better motivated to look after itself and its people. So when I see these young protestors in London, protesting against Israel, I do not worry for the country they are shouting against. They cannot touch her. But I worry for my country — Britain.

It is a country that is finding it so difficult to integrate the millions of Muslims who have come here that (in a figure that ought to be better known) there are now at least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other such groups than there are Muslims fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.

By any standards, this is a symptom of a disastrous immigration and integration problem. The people shouting outside the Israeli embassy – the knackered and foolish old minority of Trots aside – can do Israel no harm. But they can do great harm to the country they are in.

Europe’s Israel-haters are no real problem for Israel, but they are the greatest possible problem for Europe.

Sinister figures guide the US government 1

We cannot stress strongly enough that the Obama administration is committed to the protection and promotion of Islam in the world at large, and in America.

One of the few (known) just men of Europe, Douglas Murray, writes at the website of the Gatestone Institute:

Say hello again to two of the most appallingly over-promoted and sinister figures involved with the current U.S. government: Mohamed Elibiary and Dalia Mogahed. …

Thankfully there are a number of people who can still rouse themselves to point out how outrageous Western governments’ hiring policies are these days – as when Mohamed Elibiary was promoted to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council. Yet despite these heroic individuals pointing out Elibiary’s track record of support for Islamists worldwide, the appointment held – and so it was that the U.S. government welcomed another fox into its chicken coop.

In September, when violence against Egypt’s Copts had reached another peak, the new Department of Homeland Security Advisor, Elibiary, used his twitter account to blame American Coptic activists for the murder of their co-religionists by Muslim Brotherhood extremists of the type Elibiary has a track record of supporting.

On September 15, he wrote, “For decade since 9/11 attack extremist American Coptic activists have nurtured anti Islam and anti Muslim sentiments among AM[erican] R[igh]T wing.” A day earlier, Elibiary blamed American Copts for protesting against attacks on their relatives in Egypt, and recommended an article “on need to reform #Coptic activism in #US including stop promoting #Islamophobia.”

So while Copts were actually being targeted and killed in Egypt, Mr. Elbiary chose to try to switch attention onto the fictional persecution of Muslims in the U.S. …

Unfortunately, thanks to our enthusiastic, politically-correct attitudes and radical Islamist ideologies, Elibiary is not alone in the U.S. administration.

It was Dalia Mogahed, you will recall, who helped President Obama draft the 2009 Cairo Speech — a “reset” speech, regarded as seminal across several rooms in the White House. It was Mogahed who helped draft the address which apologized for America’s past actions while giving the benefit of the doubt to most of its self-stated enemies.

Dalia Mogahed, advisor to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Mogahed is not only one of the geniuses credited with that speech; her record also includes other glowing occasions. Such as the time, that same year, in which she cropped up on a U.K. television program, which aired on the most notorious satellite Islamist channel. Mogahed took part in a discussion about the empowerment of women through Sharia.

A reminder of just some of the ways in which sharia law – the law of Islam – treats a woman as half-a-human-being at best:  The testimony of two women equals that of one man. A woman can inherit only half of whatever would go whole to a man. A woman who is raped, unless she can produce four male witnesses to actual penetration by the rapist, is guilty of adultery and can be stoned to death. The Koran says she can be beaten by her husband. To sum up – Islam, far from empowering women, enslaves them.

She participated, seemingly happily, in the program hosted – and introduced as such – by a member of the radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Mogahed also seemed unfazed when, for instance, passionate fellow participants called for the restoration of the Caliphate (a key pipedream of Hizb-ut-Tahrir). …

[Now], after 80 Coptic churches had been burned down by Brotherhood supporters, Ms. Mogahed decided to single out for criticism not the perpetrators but – the Egyptian media! “The Egyptian media took advantage of the Copts to achieve many personal/political gains which has angered the West,” she wrote on one of the Facebook pages to which she spends her time contributing: “Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights.” … One of the strangest sets of messages any American government has surely ever given out.

If you were one of those Christian Copts standing in the ruins of your village or church, what message would you take from all this? If the officials of the current U.S. administration are managing to blame the media, or even fellow Copts in the U.S., for your slaughter and the desecration of your churches, would it be any surprise if they took the message that the current U.S. administration is not just indifferent to the suffering of Christians across the Middle East and the rest of the world, but actively asking them, “Would you mind dying quietly, please?’

War as a gesture 2

Our view on the pros and cons of a US military attack on Syria is very close to Douglas Murray’s as he expresses it in The Spectator (UK):

For me the conundrum of Syria now comes down to one particular problem. That is one which the House of Commons stumbled over last week and which the US Congress is likely to stumble over in the week ahead. The West has now given ample warning to President Assad of its intention to strike at some point. President Obama has famously drawn a red-line over the use of chemical weapons.

The problem then is this. If any country carries out punitive strikes against the Assad regime they will undoubtedly and rightly be demonstrating the international community’s revulsion over the use of chemical weapons. But if the targets that are hit in the resulting strike are meaningful (government buildings, installations etc) then there is the risk that such an intervention could tip the balance in the Syrian civil war. If that balance is tipped and Assad is severely weakened or even falls as a result then whoever carried out the strikes will be at least partly responsible for what comes next. That is a responsibility which neither America, Britain, France nor any other Western power can handle and it is one which none of us wants.

So – and here is the imponderable – the only purpose of strikes must be to hit targets which are meaningless. … That means something akin to President Clinton’s futile lobbing of missiles at an aspirin factory in Sudan as a response to the 1998 al-Qaeda embassy bombings in Africa. …

I don’t believe that the military should be used for making gestures, but rather to exert power and punish enemies in as meaningful a way as possible.

And the US should only intervene when its own interests are at stake. We want Iran’s nuclear installations to be attacked – in as effective a way as possible.

Speaking freely for freedom 0

On Tuesday February 5, 2013, Lars Hedegaard was shot at by a would-be murderer who came to his door pretending to be a postman. Fortunately, though fired at close range, the shot missed him.

Lars Hedegaard is the head of Denmark’s Free Press Society, which stands against attempts by religious and other ideological bigots to gag free speech if they don’t like what is said.

He is also head of  the  International Free Press Society which, under his leadership, supported Geert Wilders when he was indicted in a Dutch court of law for criticizing Islam (as it ought to be criticized).

In 2011, Lars Hedegaard was indicted in his own country for the same “crime” as Geert Wilders. He was fined, but won an appeal to Denmark’s supreme court.

Douglas Murray writes at the Spectator (UK):

It is now three days since a European journalist was visited at his door by an assassin. For three days I have waited for any response to this. The BBC reported the story in brief, as did the Mail and the Guardian posted the Associated Press story.

But where are all the free-speech defenders? Where are all those brave blogs, papers and journals who like to talk about press freedom, human rights, freedom of expression, anti-extremism and so on? Where are all the campaigners? I have been scouring the internet and apart from Mark Steyn at National Review and Bruce Bawer at Frontpage, and a few other US conservative blogs, hardly anybody seems willing even to report events in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

What explanation can there possibly be for this silence? Allow me some guesses:

Lars Hedegaard is a 70 year old white conservative male who is critical of Islamic fundamentalism. He enjoys none of the currently approved ‘minority’ statuses that might have allowed more people to leap to his defence.  

Two years ago Lars was outrageously put on trial in Denmark for discussing honour killings in his own home. Nothing he said should ever have been the subject of such a trial. As it was … the charges against him were dismissed on appeal. But I know that a certain type of otherwise ‘brave’ journalist gets the heebie-jeebies thinking they might be even within a million miles of defending anyone who was once near a courtroom on speech-crime charges. 

I can see the ‘liberal’ blogosphere contorting themselves over this. … “I’m happy to defend freedom of speech, but it must be speech I absolutely agree with, otherwise it’s all off.”

Then there remains the unknown identity of the attacker. The man who appeared at Hedegaard’s door has been described as ‘foreign’ looking. It remains eminently possible … that the person trying to kill Lars was not Muslim but was somebody whipped up by the lies and misrepresentations of much of the media into thinking they were doing a good deed. … But the possibility that the assassin was a Muslim would make this even harder. Surely, in the contortions which the left has got itself into over Islamic fundamentalism, even reporting the possibility that a young Muslim tried to kill a journalist for his views would risk being a hate-crime in itself. Might not even reporting such a fact (if it becomes fact), or mentioning it, let alone deprecating it, not risk causing further tensions? 

But there is one other crucial part of this near-unanimous cowardice. Might it not be the case – as the media suggested through their headlines – that as an ‘Islam-critic’ Lars Hedegaard might actually have brought this on himself? Very regrettable and all that, but it has been reported that he has started a new newspaper – Dispatch International – which some reports have described as ‘anti-Islam’. From a cursory look I cannot see that it is. It looks like it is trying to do the job that any mainstream paper would do if they weren’t all so terrified. …

Well to hell with them all. We live in a culture of cowards and hypocrites. Our public squares are packed with grandstanders who talk of human rights and freedoms, but when an assassin comes to a journalist’s door they can’t even lift their fingers to their keyboards.

I am now going to take out a subscription to Dispatch International and hope people will join me in doing so here. If that is indeed why the assassin called, then let’s spread the risk around a bit. Let’s make it the most gloriously widely-read publication out there. Since the attempt on his life, Lars has invited me to write pieces for Dispatch International and I have already told him that it will be a pleasure and an honour to do so.

What has happened to Lars Hedegaard was an attempt at the ultimate form of censorship. Many people have already shown that they take these lessons to mean they should be silent.

I suggest we go the other way. Solidarity used to be a virtue of the left. … I suggest we simply make it a virtue of the remaining free.

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