Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One law for all

The Toronto Star published an opinion by York University Professor, Harvey Simmons, a political scientist specializing in fascist movements in France. His piece was what could fairly be described as “Sharia-friendly”. The irony of a non-Muslim male making a career of decrying fascism and seeing no particular danger with legalizing Sharia in Ontario is just too rich to not write about.

Simmons was marking the 5th anniversary of the successful battle by Muslim women in Canada to defeat the proposal by Muslim male political activists to establish Islamic family arbitration councils whose decisions would be enforced through the mechanism of the Ontario Arbitrations Act – a statute that was really intended to deal with commercial matters. However, the Act was broad enough to permit religious arbitrations in the Christian and Jewish communities.

The Ontario Muslim males, who have much to gain by legalizing their doctrinaire power over Muslim females, thought, “Hey, why not us?” Why not indeed? They even got the foolish socialist politician, Marion Boyd, a former Attorney-General, to write a favourable report to the Ontario government. Funny how socialism can turn your thinking ability to mush. Shame on any woman supporting implementation of Sharia to the detriment of her sister citizens.

Professor Simmons seems to have been cooed by the blandishments of the late Syed Mumtaz Ali, the former President of the Islamic Society of Canada and the creator of the proposed “Islamic Institute of Civil Justice” that there would be nothing going on in these arbitrations that violated Ontario law. How can anybody familiar with women’s rights under Sharia accept such nonsense? There is no way the equal rights that all women enjoy in Ontario do not conflict with the Sharia.

Simmons claims:

Ironically, because religious arbitration now takes place mainly outside the scrutiny of the Ontario courts, there is no way to tell whether women are being treated well or badly in informal religious arbitrations conducted by imams, rabbis or, indeed, any other arbitrator chosen by the parties involved.

What rubbish! Women in Ontario have the right to have their family matters decided in accordance with the Family Law Act. That is where they may apply for justice and that is where they can expose any unfairness in any ad hoc religious arbitrations.

For a very good examination of the problems of reconciling the Sharia with the laws of a secular liberal democracy go to this site.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine years and still lying -- what a sad tribute to the victims of 9/11

This was in today's Toronto Star:

Obama described with admiration how former President George W. Bush drew a “crystal-clear” line between the attackers of Al Qaeda and the immense religion they purported to represent.

Bush helped Americans understand “we were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts,” said Obama.

“And I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we're not going to be divided by ethnicity ... It is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing which is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance ... we have to make sure we don't start turning on each other.”

Nine years and counting and they still do not get it:

1) The Islamists who brought down the World Trade Centre did not "steal" Islam and did not "pervert" it. The religious prescription for waging jihad against the enemies of Allah (i.e. non-believers) is as authentic in the Islamic holy lexicon as "turning the other cheek" is in Christianity. And it is not a few of these; the estimated number of Islamists worldwide is nearly 5 times the entire population of Canada.

2) Belief in religious tolerance does not provide a moral obligation to allow religious intolerance to be suborned. Islam is not a tolerant religion. When the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defence of the United States have to appeal to an obscure nutbar in Florida to desist from his announced intention to burn Korans lest dire consequences flow around the world in Muslim countries why would the same people be castigating Americans to be tolerant.

3) Just because you may not consider yourself at war with Islam does not mean that Islam may not be at war with you.

As long as the political leaders in the western world continue to lie and obfuscate the real problem that has become more and more evident to the ordinary people that these leaders are duty bound to protect, they will continue to slide down the slope of untrustworthiness. One would think they would start changing their tunes if for no other reason than to retain political position.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Go ahead, make my day

If Islamism weren’t such a serious issue you would have to laugh out loud at Islamist’ spokespeople, like Sheik Feiz Muhammad, pictured above.

The Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, is facing criminal charges under restrictive Dutch speech laws. He said rude things about Islam and produced a short video which shows Islamic texts, Imams preaching jihad and the results of terrorist activities carried out in the name of Islam. Gilders maintains that Islam is antithetical to the tradition of liberal democracy and justice in the Netherlands and he equates some of the most egregious examples drawn from the Koran, the Hadith and the Sharia as being equivalent to the kinds of statements and arguments one would find in Hitler’s famous book, Mein Kampf. Hitler’s book is banned in the Netherlands.

As if on cue, a notorious Australian imam, Muhammad, has called for Wilders to be beheaded. This is a serious thing to say – just ask author Salman Rushdie who still has a death sentence hanging over him from the utterings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

Do you think Muhammad is making Gilders’ point about the nature of Islam?

Contrast this with the reaction of Christians to the news that well-known anti-Christian author, Christopher Hitchens, is dying of cancer. Many have offered prayers for his recovery.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New York City mosque and frank discussion

It seems the controversy over the New York City mosque has boiled down to those who oppose it claiming it sullies the memory of those who died because those who did the killing did it in the name of Islam and those who support it claiming that the opponents are bigots or are prejudiced. The pro forces claim that to oppose it means that you blame all Muslims for the actions of a few or you are being Islamophobic.

Apologists for Islam are constantly pointing out that Islam is not monolithic – there are different schools of thought and there are Sunnis and Shias as the two main, but quarreling, streams of Islam. The fight between Sunni and Shia, however, has to do with theological history within the faith. As far as Muslim relations with the non-Islamic world, all 4 recognized schools of Islamic doctrine do not differentiate in any meaningful way, whether you are Sunni or Shia. Jihad against the non-Islamic world is a fundamental religious obligation in either stream.

Many commentators and editorial writers have decried the politicization of the issue. I think, to the contrary, it is a good thing this matter has blown up into a national debate. It is less than 2 weeks away from the 9th anniversary of 9/11. It is about time the people of the United States had a frank and open examination of America’s relationship with the Islamic world. One wonders why it took so long.

In the 18 months since Barack Hussein Obama has been the President of the United States he has ventured into this relationship like a defeated Muslim-whipped dhimmi, constantly praising Islam for things it doesn’t deserve and trying to re-write American history in the same way the European have revised their history to make it sound like it has always been about Islam. Since about 70% of Americans in national polls indicate they oppose the building of this Islamic structure in the place proposed, it is clear that he is out of step with his citizens in a very big way. If this issue were the only thing on which he were being judged, then his approval rating would be no more than 30%.

While I am sure that there are bigots involved in opposition, to brand all opposition as simply being bigoted is itself a form of bigotry. There are many thoughtful people who have spoken out and said that for a religion that demands the utmost deference from non-Muslims (sometimes with the implied threat of violence otherwise) it has shown itself to be singularly resistant to the sensitivities of the general American public.

Secondly, there are an increasing number of people who are throwing off the shackles of political correctness and moral relativism and reminding themselves that America is not “one of the world’s largest Muslim countries” as Obama said in his Cairo speech, but is, in fact, a fundamentally Christian country, with a secular constitution. To stand in support of the beliefs of the vast majority of the citizens of the U.S. to counter the belief system of another religion and culture is not bigotry. To take a position that your cultural norms are better than their cultural norms may be prejudice, but that does not mean it is not warranted.

The fundamental concept underlying the pejorative notion of bigotry and prejudice are that they are without thought or reason. If the opponents have said that they have examined their own belief systems and that of Islam and prefer their own beliefs, how is that bigotry?

That is why I like the current debate. It forces the nation to re-examine its roots and its principles free from the thought-control of the political elites and media establishment.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Well, it is now official. The British electorate has thrown one fool out of public office, Gordon Brown, only to replace him with another, David Cameron.

This morning Cameron is quoted as saying that he will fight to get Turkey admitted to the EU. He conflates the EU with NATO, saying that it is not right to call upon Turkey to help defend the members of that treaty organization while keeping it out of the EU.

Does he believe NATO is a European construct? To the contrary, it was an American initiative that was shunned by the anti-American French President, Charles de Gaulle, who ordered the Americans to vacate their French airbases.

NATO membership is a non-sequitur to consideration for membership in the EU. NATO membership implies only military responsibilities and rights. EU membership permits free travel and easy immigration throughout the member countries, a not insignificant benefit to Turkey when one looks at its demographics (huge numbers of young people) and its distribution of the economic pie (low GDP per person compared to European countries).

He thinks that Turkey will be a moderating influence in bringing peace to the Middle East, but the price that must be paid for Turkey doing the right thing is to make it a member of the EU. Otherwise it will do the wrong thing and embrace the dark side, meaning -- Islam?


You want to make it a member of the EU because it is Islamic, but you are afraid if you reject it then it will be, uh, Islamic, and therefore not a useful influence in making the Middle East peaceful.

The lights are on but nobody is at home.

What is most infuriating with this silly man is his elitist lecturing about the “real Islam” to the British public (including his own party) and other members of the EU, like France, which has now woken from its long self-induced Islamic hypnosis, and Germany.

This is what the Mail On-Line quotes him as saying during his trip to Turkey commenting on those who oppose Turkey’s entrance because it is an Islamic nation:

‘They see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists.
‘They think the values of Islam can never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.
‘All these arguments are just plain wrong. I want us to be at the forefront of an international effort to defeat them.’

And he criticized those who see the world as a ‘clash of civilizations’ in which Turkey must choose sides.

Europe has been fed a restricted diet of this crap for 40 years by the David Camerons of this world, and will, in 40 years, cease to exist as Europe because of it.

Was this man sleeping during the recent dust-up over the Turkish flotilla trying to crash the Israeli arms blockade that had the approval of the Turkish government, and resulted in threats by Turkey to Israel? How does that demonstrate Turkey’s neutrality and usefulness in bringing peace to the Middle East?

The man he is seen shaking hands with in the picture above is Turkey’s Prime Minister Ergodan who is on the public record as making the following statement:

"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers..."

Yep. That would be the “real Islam” Cameron wants to bring to the U.K. and the EU.

Time for another British election before it is too late.

UPDATE: When I wrote this post I debated with myself whether to call the British Prime Minister an idiot or a moron, but I thought these were too harsh, so I opted for the more neutral "fool". Such restraint however does not enter into Melanie Phillips incisive deconstruction of Cameron's Ankara speech. See this.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cluttering up the legal landscape with God

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins by affirming that “Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” This week’s minor controversy about God’s presence in the preamble–set off, indirectly, by a Quebec ruling upholding a Catholic high school’s right to set its own curriculum — is no threat to our Constitution, but it is instructive. To a certain secularist mindset, any mention of God is a danger to public life, and any legal recognition of religion is but a short step away from theocracy. That’s not the case in Canada, and the “supremacy of God” preamble is something worth understanding– and defending.

The words were written in 1982 — less than 30 years ago. Constitutions, especially in their fundamental aspects, are supposed to endure more than a few decades without revision. By 1982, Canada already enjoyed a long tradition of religious liberty and democratic freedom, so the idea that putting God in the Constitution is a threat to anything, or a limitation on liberty, or an occasion of division among Canadians, is simply false. Indeed, given that several highly contentious decisions by our courts have expanded the language in the Charter beyond its original text, it is odd to argue that language actually in the Charter should be disregarded.

So say the editorial writers in the National Post.

Having dismissed secularists as wingnuts, which they are not, NP goes on to contradict itself. The first Constitution of Canada was proclaimed in 1867 and between then and 1982 contained no reference to the “supremacy of God” -- one hundred and fifteen years in which God was absent from the land, and the country prospered and grew. As Post put it, “Canada enjoyed a long tradition of religious liberty and democratic freedom”, without enshrining the supremacy of God in the Constitution. So, why bother pissing people off by throwing God into the mix?

The national makeup of Canada was very different in 1867 from what one finds today. Religion is less important to a rapidly growing number of people and among those are many people who think the concept of God is simply anachronistic. Moreover, the dominant religion, Christianity, is in a long decline in Canada

The Post tries to finesse this issue by claiming that it’s OK to put God in because it reminds of us our historical roots. I remember my historical roots: we used to sing "God Save the Queen" as our national anthem and Canada’s flag was a Red Ensign with a small Union Jack in the corner. We used to regularly refer to our country as the Dominion of Canada, and Statistics Canada used be called The Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Funny how selective we are about what historical roots are important and which ones are not.

The Post continues:

The Constitution describes not only who we are–matters of history — but also who we ought to be–matters of aspiration. This is likely what those who object to the “supremacy of God” find difficult. They think that such language excludes from the Canadian project those who do not believe in God. Yet even those Canadians should welcome God in the preamble. Something, after all, has to be supreme. And if it is not God, even understood in the broadest possible sense, then what is it?

Fearsome it would be to live in the land where the works of man alone are supreme. The “supremacy of God” is shorthand reminding us that our laws, even if duly passed, must conform to principles of justice, the service of the common good and the truth about the human person. That is an essential principle, otherwise the rule of law can be put in the service of tyranny. Laws which do not correspond to the truth cannot serve justice or advance the common good.

Memo to Post: those who do not believe in God are excluded by this language, it has nothing to do with what they think. Let me put it this way. Suppose instead of God we identified ourselves by sexual orientation and the Constitution said something about the “supremacy of heterosexuals”, which, after all, is also historically defendable. Would homosexuals feel excluded by such language?

Something, after all, has to be supreme.” Assuming this is self-evident (which I am not conceding), we have the supremacy of Parliament, checked mainly by something called “The Supreme Court of Canada”. I think there is more than enough supremacy to go around in this country without loading up God’s shoulders with the burden.

Then comes this clunker:

Another point should be added. The God of which the Charter speaks remains undescribed — it could be the philosopher’s first cause or the Holy Trinity, or something else altogether. In practice, most Canadians would assume that this is the God of Jews and Christians. The Charter does not say that, but we ought to be grateful that it intuitively points in that direction. The Judeo-Christian tradition is not the only foundation for tolerance between different peoples, or for harmony in a pluralistic society, but surveying the global scene today it is the most secure foundation currently on offer. Certainly the experience of officially atheistic regimes is not encouraging.

The fact that most people would assume that it is the God of Jews and Christians is the whole point why God should not be mentioned in the Charter. Is that what judges will also assume if there is a religious contest with other religions that come before the courts where this language will be referenced? Courts should not be put in the position of picking one religion over another.

And what is an “officially atheistic regime”? This needs some clarification. After all, the new Prime Minister of Australia has declared herself to be an atheist – does that mean Australia qualifies as having an “officially atheistic regime.”

I think if one looks to countries that are “officially religious”, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, as examples, one could make the very same statement. This is why secularism is an important principle that should be upheld and defended.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Turkey's foreign policy

The latest go around between Turkey and Israel has Turkey calling for an apology from Israel for the May 31 raid on the Turkish-flagged vessel, pay compensation, agree to a U.N. inquiry into the incident and lift the blockade of 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza Strip. In return for all of this Turkey offers not to “cut ties”.

The amount of compensation is unclear, the make-up of a U.N. inquiry is unclear, the nature of the ties to be cut is unclear and the wholesale lifting of the blockade will ensure an “armed to the teeth” Gazan militia.

In an earlier time, Turkey’s actions in all of this would likely constitute an act of war.

Fortunately, Turkey is dealing with a nuclear-armed state that shows remarkable constraint in the face of provocations. The U.S. asked Israel to stay out of the Gulf War and despite the rocket bombardment of Israel by Saddam Hussein, it complied with the request. One wonders if the charlatan in the White House who appears determined to set Israel adrift to appease the Muslim world would have the same success with Israel in a similar circumstance.

Anyway, it ought to be Turkey apologizing to Israel and having to explain why it permitted a ship load of Islamic radicals, bent on martyrdom to leave port for the sole purpose of provoking a military response from Israel. The only conclusion one can come to is that Turkey has long planned its break from Israel and the flotilla raid is the fig leaf it needed for legitimacy.

Turkey’s foreign policy should not be surprising to any student of the history of that country. It is best summarized by this: “Who is winning, go with them.”

At the outbreak of the First World War, Turkey wanted to sit on the sidelines in glorious neutrality until it figured out who was going to win and then it would join that side in the hope of sharing in the spoils. However, German diplomacy, in the face of British perfidy, indifference and arrogance caused the Turks to join the German and Austro-Hungarian Axis.

Had Turkey stayed out of the conflict there never would have been a disastrous Gallipoli campaign, Churchill would not have had to resign as First Lord of the Admiralty, Lawrence of Arabia would have been an obscure Arabist, Saudi Arabia would never have been born, and Britain and France may never have ended up with the League of Nations mandate over Syria, Iraq and Palestine.

What a difference all of that might have made for the Near and Middle East.

Turkey learned from its experience and managed to stay out of the Second World War, despite pressure from Germany, until the closing months when it joined the Allied side.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey embarked on a modernization program, reforming its governmental institutions and its cultural norms to make it more “Europeanized”. It saw modern, industrial Europe and the United States as the models of the winning side and it endeavoured to be one with them.

Now Turkey has slid away from that Western embrace and is courting the Islamic world it once dominated. Having taken the measure of the results of the 40 years of Arab-Euro dialogue on the fate of Europe and Israel, having seen the United States squander its political and economic capital on mostly fruitless wars in Islamic countries, having taken the measure of Muslim-leaning Barack Hussein Obama, Turkey has decided that the winning side is an Islamic world and it wants to join it, for the spoils.