Defend European Civilization!

Much though I want to see Brexit happen I think its important to also urge our fellow Europeans to throw off the shackles of political “correctness” and resist the migrant invasion. The UK will not be in a good place if large areas of Europe become Islamified. The leaders of Great Britain in the past understood the importance of a stable Europe. We would be very unwise not to give our support to the likes of Frauke Petry, Geert Wilders, Viktor Orban and Marine Le Pen. Marine Le Pen particularly has a hard task to overcome the legacy of her father’s political viewpoint – we should appreciate the fact that she has moved her party away from antisemitism. It is particularly important that France with its nuclear weapons does not succumb.

The relentless barrage of bad news relating to the migrant crisis has shocked me to the core, just one example here of how the traitors who “lead” us are assisting the illegal immigrants and trampling on our liberty:

[Hat tip to Vlad Tepes via John L. Work for publicizing the video]

Let us also show our support to our ordinary fellow Europeans who have been let down by their governments and help them find the courage to win the argument for defending Europe’s borders. We are all Luigi. A wrong done to one is a wrong done to all.

I prefer to accept those of other races who have joined our civilization in the past and contributed to it, who have learned our languages and become Europeans in spirit and culturally. Let us also show solidarity with those brave ex-Muslims who risk everything to resist their religion, everybody must watch this to understand what can happen to those people even in the UK:

We must find a new vocabulary and a new patriotism. We must unite not around race but around the shared belief in the freedom of speech and democracy and human progress.

[This post originally posted on the Not the Daily Telegraph channel]

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

In the discussion of the above post some questions were raised, I give some answers to them here:

Q. Is the migrant crisis the West’s fault for intervening in the Middle East?

A. A large number of the migrants are not coming from Syria, or anywhere near it. Many of the migrants are coming from southern and central Africa for example. Of those who are coming from Syria they have a safe haven in Turkey or Jordan, they should remain there. There are other Islamic countries near by that should be pressured to help them as well. The West’s interventions in the region are simply an excuse, not a reason for the influx into Europe. Most of the migrants are simply opportunistically trying to enter Europe, who knows to what end. We must resist illegal immigration – if migrants are prepared to break the law to enter our country, we should not be surprised when they break the law again, once they are here, as many are doing.


Q. Can we expect a majority of Muslims will ever be able to lose their religion? Since they were raised to believe from birth it is particularly difficult.

A. We will never know for sure how many will be persuaded by the arguments until we try – we must find the courage to challenge Islamic beliefs.


Q. Should we treat Muslims better in the hope that they will become Westernized?

A. We have been treating Muslims in Europe very well for many decades – many have been the recipients of free housing, free healthcare, free education, and we have allowed them to build their mosques in our countries, and given them equal opportunities in employment. Far from becoming Westernized, they have grown further apart, encouraged by their divisive religion. It is time to resist the religion by calling for the closure of mosques. We must reform welfare by putting time limits on welfare payments, and refuse to fund those who irresponsibly have children while they are unemployed.


Q. Is there hope for an Islamic reformation?

A. The short answer is that Islam cannot be reformed, it revolves around the “perfect example” of Mohammed who was a brutal intolerant bandit who became a ruler purely by conquest. I will explain my reasoning for this position at more length in a future post.

RELATED POSTS:

Our Shared European Identity

A Clash of “Civilizations”?

Groupthink In Action

I mentioned an episode of the BBC Radio 4 series called “Law in Action” in a recent post. The episode was:

Terrorism, Extremism and the Law

In this episode the BBC presenter Joshua Rozenberg (JR) talks with a Muslim called Dr. Salman Butt, with the former GCHQ director Sir David Omand, and with David Anderson QC (DA QC), about the government’s “Prevent” strategy and the surveillance bill known as the Snooper’s charter.

[Note: The longer 45 minute version of the program is found by clicking on the download MP3 link in the above web page]

I decided to write a specific post about this program because I think it helps to shine a light on the way the government and the mainstream media (particularly the BBC) exist in a narrow-minded ideological group-think bubble. Together they reinforce each others’ prejudices and work to block voices from outside the bubble from being heard. Many people consequently have come to the view that the current establishment is engaging in a sort of conspiracy that is actively working for the benefit only of a narrow rich elite, and against the interests of ordinary people. Unfortunately I think there is a degree of truth in this, although I think the closed nature of the establishment “clique” is also a problem in its own right. Even if there is such a big conspiracy going on, it will eventually come back to haunt the establishment elite themselves as the whole Western world will either likely descend into chaos and conflict, or become part of a theocratic caliphate which will not be kind to the former elite. Either way, they are living in a deluded ideological bubble which needs to be burst, and soon.

[Click the READ MORE button to see this post in full:]

Read More »

An Open Letter To John Rees-Evans

Dear John

I am taking the time to write this because I think you may in fact be a good candidate to be the next UKIP leader in general.  What I feel however is that there may be a huge blind spot in your thinking which troubles me greatly.  To be fair to you its the same blind spot that most prospective politicians in the UK seem to also suffer from.  We never find out what politicians really think about it because its practically a taboo subject in UK politics currently.

WHAT BLIND SPOT?

The blind spot is Islam.  I conclude this from your comment:

“UKIP is the only party that doesn’t care what religion you are…”

in this video:

By the way there is nothing racist about objecting to a person’s religion as you seem to be implying by your remarks here.  I also think it is extremely unwise to allow people into our country whose stated beliefs are that they should strike terror into our hearts by smiting our necks and cutting all our fingertips off (Quran 8:12).  Even, or perhaps especially, if they are qualified doctors.

You may not feel you have time to listen to my arguments about Islam but that is part of the problem here – our politicians never do.  They are too busy talking about Brexit (rightly), immigration (rightly), “modern slavery”, transgender rights, the national debt (occasionally) and then whatever trivialities the mainstream media are fussing about today (donkeys?!?).  Islam is a grave threat to our way of life.  Islam incites its followers to commit acts of violence including terrorist attacks, murder, rape against us non-Muslims.  I explained in more detail how it does this here:

Incitement and Religion

Islam also threatens our way of life because it is not just a religion but also a supremacist political ideology – a blueprint for brutal totalitarian rule following the “beautiful example” of Mohammed.  If Muslims ever become the majority of UK citizens our democracy and freedom of speech will be doomed.  Even a large Muslim minority could spell the end of a truly free society – in fact measures proposed by the Conservative govt. have threatened this already, supposedly as a response to the threat of “extremism”.  There are already areas of the UK that are in practical terms no longer part of the UK, having their own courts and even police.  We can fully expect this trend to continue under the feeble current political establishment’s policies.

EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

Equality before the law has been eroded by a number of trends in recent decades, a subject I wrote about here:

The Principle of the Thing – Equality Before The Law

Do you intend to address incitement law?  Currently we have the problem that followers of religions (particularly Islam) are free to incite violence/murder/rape against the rest of us.  If the law was applied logically and consistently then mainstream Islamic preachers would be arrested for suggesting that the Koran is the unquestionable word of the only god.  The Koran incites violence, murder, terror, rape as I explained in the post linked to above.  We can never have equality before the law as long as there is one law for the religious and another for everyone else.

HOW CAN WE ADDRESS THE PROBLEM CALLED ISLAM?

CLOSE SHARIA COURTS?

You apparently have promised to close Sharia courts but you will be unable to do this except in a few isolated instances when complaints are made to the police by those affected.  Sharia courts can take place anywhere, behind closed doors.  They also often take place in areas that are practically no-go zones for the police.  Therefore any efforts you make in this direction will be futile and never amount to more than a token gesture.  You will not be able to close most of them down and it is very unwise of you to promise to do this – you are raising expectations that you cannot deliver.

BAN MINARETS AND THE CALL TO PRAYER?

This is certainly worth considering and would have some effect.  As someone reminded me today, the process of direct democracy could enable the people to bring forward a measure such as this.  By this route we could minimize the diplomatic difficulties that would be involved if our government proposed this directly.  A ban on minarets was actually implemented in Switzerland by this route.  I fully support direct democracy but we must also address voting fraud before we launch direct democracy.

CLOSE MOSQUES?

Closing mosques would have an effect on reducing Islamic influence in general because they are very visible symbols of the religion.  They embolden the preachers who encourage their followers to think Islam is going to replace our way of life.  They cause non-Muslims to leave the areas where they appear because non-Muslims feel alienated by them and there are often “parking problems” (something Gavin Boby has referred to as parking jihad – cars blocking private entrances and so forth).

Of course closing mosques would be quite an inflammatory thing to do, although certainly not nearly as inflammatory as a lot of things that go on in Muslim majority countries.  Somehow I doubt that you will want to contemplate this course of action – perhaps direct democracy could also deliver this.

Another softer approach would be to covertly encourage councils to block all future planning applications for new mosques and mosque extensions, this would be better than blithely approving the applications as seems to be the current policy.  Unfortunately due to the rate of change such measures would only likely slow the growth of Islamic influence a little.  That is not good enough, we need to reverse this trend.

https://mosqueblock.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/great-lever-mega-mosque-approved-again/

WELFARE REFORM

This is in fact the most significant area where something can easily be done right away.  I am very pleased to see UKIP wants to limit child benefit to 2 children, although I would go further all the way down to zero.  I just don’t think we should be paying people to have children that they cannot support (or cannot be bothered to support in many cases).  This policy will likely meet great resistance from the left, especially when it is implemented and the inevitable sob stories start to be published.  You need to be prepared for that, reintroducing responsibility into society is going to meet a lot of resistance I believe.

THE DEATH PENALTY FOR MOHAMMED?

Apparently you have called for the death penalty for those paedophiles who target pre-pubescent children, a suggestion which many Muslims may find offensive, as I explained here:

Mohammed and Aisha – Why It Matters

UKIP AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH

A return to a sensible degree of freedom of speech is one essential thing we must have.  I am glad to hear this seems to be high on your agenda.  Then we can talk more openly of such subjects as that awkward one I just referred to, which is never mentioned at the BBC.

PRIVATIZE THE BBC

We need to do this urgently.  The BBC is brainwashing the UK population into believing that Islam is nice when its really not, among other things.  Perhaps privatizing the BBC is another policy that can be achieved through your proposed direct democracy.

THE UKIP AND ISLAM PROBLEM

A news article seems to illustrate this problem rather starkly – a UKIP candidate is banned for making this sensible suggestion:

“Ban Islam and knock down all mosques”

http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/news-features/8/news-headlines/85859/-ban-islam-candidate-kicked-out-of-ukip

Candidates should not be banned from your party for making sensible suggestions like that.  The recent leadership campaign does seem to be finally raising the question of what the contenders are referring to as “radical” Islam, a religion that is known to those of us in the know more simply as just plain ordinary Islam.

A BILL OF RIGHTS?

Another more radical way we might address these problems is by adopting an equivalent to the US constitution.  We would also have to recognize that with greater freedom comes greater danger – if we allow Islamic preachers to continue to incite violence against us then we must be able to protect ourselves, with an equivalent to the Second Amendment.  This would be a momentous change in our society that would need to be thought about long and hard.  It may become necessary in any case however due to Theresa May’s immigration policy (let them all in while pretending to be tough on immigration).

A SHORT STORY ABOUT A DONKEY AND A HORSE (OR WAS IT A BBC PRESENTER?)

Serious people do not care if you make a joke about a donkey raping a horse.  Serious people do care about the ever growing influence of Islam in the West.  Don’t worry about what BBC presenters think of you, the public at large is increasingly skeptical about everything the BBC represents, as I think was demonstrated by the Brexit vote.

SUMMARY

Please, get educated about Islam.  I’m not asking you to become the UK’s answer to Geert Wilders necessarily (its very, very dangerous to do what he is doing of course).  However we do need to care about what religions people follow, we really do.   The links to my posts above should be enough to convince you about that.

Perhaps politicians should stay out of the debate about Islam, but what they certainly should NOT do is to try to suppress that debate, as Theresa May has been doing.  Perhaps the best way forward is for greater freedom of speech and direct democracy, to allow incitement in fact.  In that case we also need to consider allowing people to defend themselves properly, as I suggested above, in case those incited decide to act.

High Court Judge Rules Islam Is A Religion Of Peace!

A UK High Court judge has ruled that Islam is a religion of peace as part of a decision in a libel case. This is very troubling because it may set a precedent that could influence future court judgements in the UK. This very serious (and probably wilful) misunderstanding of the Islamic religion is now in danger of becoming entrenched in the UK legal system. The case in question was a libel action brought by one Shakeel Begg against the British Broadcasting Corporation. The full details of the case are available here:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2016/2688.html

The case was commented on quite widely in the media, for example Douglas Murray hailed the judgement as a landmark victory in an article in the Spectator. However most commentators including Mr. Murray seem to have overlooked the fact that the ruling included this pronouncement about the nature of the Islamic religion. This aspect and the details of the judgement were brought to my notice by Graham Senior-Milne, who has written a detailed paper looking particularly at this aspect of the case. Its an entertaining and thought-provoking read, he draws some interesting conclusions:

Some comments on the case of Shakeel Begg v BBC

For brevity here I will just quote a few of his key points in this post.

One website that did comment on the interpretation of Islam in the judgement was a prominent UK Islamic website. I won’t link to that article as it may attract unwelcome attention from various directions, but in the article they also complained that the judgement would set a legal precedent about what is “acceptable” Islam in the UK courts.

WHAT WAS MR. BEGG COMPLAINING ABOUT?

Mr. Begg felt that he had been libelled by an episode of the BBC’s Sunday Politics program. The words he was particularly upset about were these:

The East London Mosque, which you personally and the MCB closely associated with, it’s also the venue for a number of extremist speakers and speakers who espouse extremist positions. This year Shakeel Begg, he spoke there and hailed jihad as “the greatest of deeds”. In 2009 the mosque hosted a video presentation by somebody described by US security as an Al-Quaeda supporter. You had another speaker there who in the past had described Christians and Jews as “filth”. You’ve had a jihadist supporter of the Taliban there. Why do you do nothing to stop extremism, extremists like that, at this mosque with which you’re associated with.

WHAT WAS THE JUDGEMENT?

You can see the bailii page for the full judgement, but here are some of the most important points:

It is common ground that Islam is a religion of peace. The Qur’an is a book of peace.

…..

I find the words complained of (“WCO”) are substantially true in their meanings: (1) The Claimant is an extremist Islamic speaker who espouses extremist Islamic positions. (2) The Claimant had recently promoted and encouraged religious violence by telling Muslims that violence in support of Islam would constitute a man’s greatest deed.

…..

The Claimant was something of a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character: he presented a (benign) face to the local Lewisham and inter-faith community and another (extremist) face to receptive Muslim audiences on chosen occasions.

HOW DID THE JUDGE REACH HIS CONCLUSION THAT ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE?

Mr. Senior-Milne draws our attention to paragraphs 112-113. In these paragraphs the judge hears Mr. Begg’s expert say that the Quran “licences” both offensive and defensive jihad, and the BBC’s expert say that it only allows armed defence. The experts also agree that there are differences of opinion among both Sunni and Shia jurists about what even constitutes offensive and defensive jihad. Somehow the judge then perplexingly decides from all this “expert” testimony that the Quran permits only defensive jihad, despite the clear difference in opinion between the two experts and the fact they say there is confusion among Islamic jurists on the question as well. In Mr. Senior-Milne’s words:

Arriving at a clear view necessarily means that you have resolved the key uncertainties, whatever they are. This is utter nonsense.  And it is nonsense in relation to the most critical question – whether Islam is a religion of peace. If Islam mandates offensive war then, by definition, it is not a religion of peace. So how can you conclude that Islam is a religion of peace while leaving unanswered the question of whether Islam mandates offensive war? You can’t.

IS ISLAM A RELIGION OF PEACE?

No, it is not a religion of peace because Islam incites violence/offensive warfare/terror against the “disbelievers”.  I explained my own reasons for reaching this conclusion here:

Incitement and Religion

Douglas Murray and Ayaan Hirsi Ali also managed to convince a large audience in an Intelligence Squared debate that Islam is not a religion of peace, despite the fact that they were up against Maajid Nawaz who is a Muslim who is very familiar with his own religion.

The judge came to the wrong conclusion about Islam.  The idea that Islam is a religion of peace is not “common ground” at all.

WAS IT EVEN NECESSARY FOR THE COURT TO MAKE A JUDGEMENT ABOUT ISLAM?

The judge seemed to think that it was necessary to decide whether Mr. Begg’s views were extreme compared to mainstream Islam. No it was not necessary to do this. There was no need for the court to listen to any experts’ opinions about the nature of the Islamic religion. As Mr. Senior-Milne puts it:

The question of extremism should not be judged by reference to (through the prism of) Islam at all – and for a very simple reason. If Islam itself is extreme in a certain way by the standards of the ordinary reasonable man, then a man who espouses such extremism is not extreme by Islamic standards (he is mainstream Islam), but he is extreme by the standards of the ordinary reasonable man. And it is by the standards of the ordinary reasonable man that the question of libel must be assessed – as Haddon-Cave himself acknowledges elsewhere in his judgment (para. 62).
….

Put it this way, if Haddon-Cave had found that Islam is extreme, would be have found that the BBC had libelled Shakeel Begg because, while he does espouse terrorism, he is not extreme by Islamic standards because Islam itself mandates terrorism?

WHAT WAS GOOD ABOUT THE JUDGEMENT?

The judgement has at least exposed Mr. Shakeel Begg’s activities and also shone a bit of a spotlight on what goes on in Lewisham mosque. It also has shone a bit of a spotlight on the Muslim Council of Britain, as Douglas Murray points out, serious questions now need to be asked of that organization because the Lewisham Islamic centre is a member.

Had we better perhaps investigate some more of the UK’s mosques to discover if more of them are similarly misunderstanding their religion (or should we say THE HON. MR JUSTICE HADDON-CAVE’s interpretation of their religion)? Those of you who remember the excellent Channel 4 documentary Undercover Mosque will know that this isn’t the first time that those preaching in mosques have misunderstood THE HON. MR JUSTICE HADDON-CAVE’s interpretation of their religion. To be fair those preachers had been speaking before THE HON. MR JUSTICE HADDON-CAVE had announced his decision.

Douglas Murray also draws our attention to the fact that apparently Lewisham mosque operates as a charity. Readers may wish to vent their frustration at the charity commission for assisting in the propagation of such extreme views. From Douglas Murray’s article:

Perhaps readers would like to ask the Charity Commission themselves. Complaints to the Charity Commission can be registered here:

The Lewisham Islamic Centre’s Charity number is: 285641.

Please submit your complaint.

HOW MUCH DID THIS TRIAL COST AND WHO WILL PAY THE BILL?

Mr. Senior Milne says that:

Note that the case has taken three years to determine (and there might still be an appeal).

I find it very alarming that so much of the High Court’s time has been wasted on this matter. I hope that Mr. Begg will personally have to foot the bill to cover every last penny of the costs.

ANOTHER LIBEL CASE IN THE PIPELINE

A Dr Salman Butt is apparently bringing a somewhat similar libel action against the UK government for accusing him of being an extremist. He can be heard talking about his views here:

BBC Radio 4 Law in Action

(Note – BBC programs do not always remain available indefinitely, readers might want to download the podcast if they want to listen at a later date).

It will be interesting to see whether this judgement will have a bearing on the decision in this forthcoming case.

THE PRETEND STRATEGY

Theresa May and David Cameron have been promising for some time that they will “stamp out extremism in all its forms” as an objective of their “Prevent” strategy. Many are inclined to think the strategy is having a good effect when it upsets Muslims. However the problem with the government’s strategy is not only that it is based on the avoidance of truth about the Islamic religion, but more worryingly still they have decided that all sorts of other people merit the label “extremist”, including some of their political opponents, and that those people should be silenced using “Extremist Banning and Disruption Orders”. They also want to tar opponents of the Islamic religion with the label “extremist”, because they too fail to fall in line with the establishment version of Islam. Could it be that the judge in this case felt somehow obliged to reinforce the government’s re-invention of the Islamic religion (which some have referred to disparagingly as “MI5 Islam”)?

It should not matter in our legal system who is an “extremist” and who is not. The word is subjective, it can never therefore be a useful term in drawing up laws. What matters is who incites violence and who does not.

CONCLUSION

This judgement about the nature of the Islamic religion seems to have been inspired by the establishment’s group-think view of how the threat of Islamic terrorism should be countered. The establishment imagine (in their deluded ideological bubble) that if they redefine Islam as a peaceful friendly sort of religion that the followers of the religion will stop noticing the words plainly written in black and white in their holy books. Obviously it is a strategy not only utterly doomed to failure but also almost certainly likely to exacerbate the dangers we face – by suppressing the honest debate that needs to take place and so allowing the problems to grow unchallenged.

RELATED POSTS:

Extremist Banning and Disruption Orders

The Pretend Strategy – From Chamberlain to Cameron

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2016/libel-case-dismissed

TRUMP WINS!!!

BBC COVERAGE – BREXIT ALL OVER AGAIN

Just as during the Brexit EU Referendum, the BBC “News” service confidently predicted a Clinton victory right up to the point when it became inescapably obvious that Trump was winning. To be fair, US opinion polls had been suggesting a close race with Clinton always shown in the lead. Once again, the opinion polls got it wrong.

The BBC was rightly criticized for its bias throughout the campaign:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/725660/BBC-newsnight-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-bias-president-election-social-media-meltdown

SHOULD THE UK PROSECUTE DAVID ATTENBOROUGH FOR INCITEMENT TO MURDER?

David Attenborough, the (formerly) much loved wildlife documentary presenter famous for his Life on Earth programs on BBC TV, has called for the assassination of Donald Trump. Was he joking? I am not entirely sure, judge for yourself:

Attenborough’s head is in his hands but his response is curiously phlegmatic. Or perhaps pragmatic. “Yes, I know. Well, we lived through that with earlier presidents – they’ve been equally guilty… But what alternative do we have? Do we have any control or influence over the American elections?  Of course we don’t. [sotto voce] We could shoot him… It’s not a bad idea…” He catches my eye and giggles.

See the article in full here:

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-11-06/david-attenborough-on-planet-earth-ii-brexit-and-the-future-of-humanity

The “joke” certainly wasn’t very funny when you consider that there had been an actual attempt not long before by a British youth to actually shoot Donald Trump:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/20/donald-trump-assassination-attempt-las-vegas-rally

If he had jokingly called for the assassination of Theresa May do we think he would have escaped prosecution? Is there some special reason why its OK for a BBC TV presenter to call for the assassination of a political candidate whose political views he disagrees with? A young man was arrested and convicted in the UK for joking about blowing up an airport not so long ago. Increasing numbers of people have been prosecuted for merely “grossly offensive” comments on social media, but this was actual publicly voiced direct incitement to murder from an influential British public figure, albeit seemingly made in fairly jokey spirit.

Its time for a level playing field, its time to restore the freedom of speech and the principle of equality before the law. Those on the left have long escaped even rebuke from the left-leaning mainstream media for comments that would have led to the arrest and prosecution of those in less privileged positions. In my own legal framework I proposed that direct incitement would have to meet the test of “credibility” and I feel that Mr. Attenborough’s comment would fail that test (just). However, the law is being applied currently in a very unfair and inconsistent manner. There are too many laws endangering the freedom of speech.

I am not calling for David Attenborough’s arrest here, I am calling for a return to a meaningful degree of freedom of speech in the UK. He should be vilified for his statement however, it was a very crass and irresponsible thing to say, especially given the recent attempt on Mr. Trump’s life. It also wasn’t very long ago since a UK politician was murdered in broad daylight by a member of the public. All politicians take a great risk in the public service, regardless of what we think of their policies.

MAJOR QUESTIONS REMAIN RE. THE CLINTON FOUNDATION

Have the Clintons defrauded the UK taxpayer? Some of the allegations coming from the US seem to suggest so. I will be returning to this subject in future posts.

AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVERSE WESTERN DECLINE

I hope the Trump era will mean:

  • that the Anglosphere will now recover a sensible degree of pride and self-confidence.
  • that the era of receding freedom of expression will not just come to an end, but be reversed.
  • that the West’s disastrous recent meddling in the Middle East will come to an end and peace and stability will return to that region.
  • that the migrant influx into Europe and the West generally will be halted and reversed.
  • that the birth rate of Western Europeans will recover and return to sustainable levels, along with a return of our self-confidence.
  • that we will begin to win the ideological war against Islamic influence that so far we have been losing as much by our own fear and timidity as by the aggression of those who wish to take human progress backwards to the 7th century.

However we should not merely sit back and HOPE for these things to happen. Lets remember the famous words of the former (Democrat) president JFK:

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

We have a real opportunity here to reverse the toxic trends of self-loathing and political “correctness” which has blighted the West for so long.  If this is not merely to be a blip, but a real and permanent change in direction, then we all have a lot of work to do. It is time for people to rise up and participate in politics and public debate like never before. We have this great invention – the internet – at our disposal. Vast amounts of information about government policy for one thing are now easily available to us. We can scrutinize and question our governments’ plans like never before. Huge numbers of people have already joined the debate and arguments are being developed at a rate never before seen in human history. If you haven’t already, then please – start a blog, join in debates, get busy raising issues that concern you, write to your political representatives, join a demonstration. Do not allow this opportunity to go to waste, find the courage to voice your convictions.

Don’t forget, Donald Trump is only one man and he is not perfect. Many have called him a demagogue and even voiced fears that he will turn into some sort of dictator. I think these fears are unfounded, but power tends to corrupt and so we must hold him to account just as we should any leader when we disagree with a policy or direction. It is time for a new era of public participation to begin.

RELATED POSTS:

Its NO LONGER A Free Country

Mohammed and Aisha – Answering the Apologists

THE APOLOGISTS’ ARGUMENTS

Apologists for the Islamic religion have created a set of arguments for a Western audience to try and deflect criticism of the marriage and its implications. In general it seems that there is no absolute consensus in the Islamic world about what age Aisha was when she “married” Mohammed, but if anything most Sunni Muslims in the world seem to take the statements in the 6 main hadiths literally when they are actually aware of them. Discovering what the Shia texts say is more difficult, but as I mentioned in the previous post, Islamic authorities in Iran have argued that current age of marriage restrictions are un-Islamic, so it seems the Shia take a similar view. To summarize here are some of the main arguments/claims that apologists usually resort to:

  • Aisha wasn’t really 9 when Mohammed consummated the marriage with her. This argument ignores the rather obvious fact that of the 6 most important hadiths in Sunni Islam 3 of them state she was 9 (or 10) at the time in multiple places in those hadiths. None of these 6 hadiths contradict these statements. A religion is defined by its core religious texts, not what may or may not really happened. This argument is based on the claim that there is contradictory evidence in other texts (such as biographies) that proves that Aisha was a lot older than 6 when she married Mohammed. One problem with this argument is that there is also the evidence of what the texts regarded as the most authoritative by Muslims explicitly say in those multiple places.  There will always therefore be room for doubt in the matter.
  • The marriage was a happy one. However, since Mohammed’s behaviour is an example for Muslims generally there is a big problem – you cannot know when a girl is six how the marriage will turn out. By effectively condoning such marriages, Islam opens the door for very unhappy marriages and much worse – marital rape.
  • The age of puberty varies over time, and perhaps Aisha had already reached puberty by the age of 9. The problem with this argument is that there is a long way from the first signs of puberty to the point where a woman becomes ready for childbirth. Although such variations no doubt exist it is a very long stretch to think that a girl of 9 was ready for childbirth. Worse there seems to be a suggestion in the Koran that a girl who hasn’t yet reached puberty may still be ready for marriage (Koran 65:4). Furthermore many Muslims in the Islamic world do not take such variations into account when deciding if child marriage is moral or not.
  • The marriage was acceptable according to the norms of the 7th century society Mohammed belonged to. Once again, the problem with this argument is that Mohammed’s life is supposed to be an “excellent” or “beautiful” example for Muslims. There is no suggestion made that this “excellent” example only applied to people living in 7th century Arabia. If his example was only applicable in those times then what is the point of following the Sunnah now, in the 21st century?
  • The medieval Kings and Queens argument – that European Kings and queens in the middle ages were just as bad because they also sometimes married children. The problem with this argument is that nobody in the modern West regards those Kings and Queens lives as “excellent” or “beautiful” examples to follow, quite the reverse in many cases.
  • That there is a contradictory statement in the Koran that says that marriage should only occur “between two consenting adults”. In the examples I look at the apologists mysteriously fail to say which statement/verse they are referring to. I think this idea *may* be derived from Koran 4:6 and/or 4:19. 4:6 seems to specifically refer to Orphans (it may be directed mainly at male orphans) and it seems to be mostly about when to release their possessions to them more than marriage. 4:19 seems to be specifically about the wives of deceased relatives (see the Pickthall translation which refers to your deceased kinsmen) who would be unlikely to be particularly young in any case. It also, again, conveniently overlooks 65:4.
  • That the hadiths are unreliable and only the Koran should be viewed as authoritative. This is really a branch of Islam called Quranism. This still leaves the problem of Koran 65:4. The exact number of people who follow this branch of Islam is not known but it is likely to be very small, so the impact of this approach is probably minimal in the Islamic world. Sunni Muslims by comparison make up about 80% of the world’s Muslims.
  • That the Old Testament also condones similarly immoral marriages such as child marriages and forced marriages. This argument is ridiculous for one thing because if Christianity really was also as bad, then that would not make Islam any less bad. Also since Jesus’s message is really the most important message of Christianity it generally overrides the Old Testament barbarity and Jesus did not in any way condone such behaviour. Jesus did not himself marry any children (or anybody) according to the New Testament.
  • That Mohammed’s life was the most perfect example and therefore he could not have done anything as bad as marrying a six-year old girl. The point of religions is usually that they give moral guidance, but this argument seems to work backwards – making a moral judgement about a behaviour first and then deciding that a religion cannot possibly be condoning that behaviour because the behaviour is immoral.

SOME EXAMPLES OF APOLOGISTS IN ACTION

MEHDI HASAN

(Note for those not familiar with Mehdi Hasan he is a familiar face on UK political tv shows such as BBC Question Time, he is also a UK political editor for the Huffington Post which is a high profile political website although the UK branch is not so high profile.)

Mehdi Hasan condemns the practice of child marriage here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/british-muslims-child-marriage_b_4310440.html

Unfortunately he also says in this article that child marriage is not Islamic, quote:

Prophet Muhammad did not, as is often claimed, marry a child bride named Aisha.

Then he says:

Yes, I’ll concede that there is a saying in Sahih Bukhari, one of the six canonical Hadith collections of Sunni Islam, attributed to Aisha herself, which suggests she was six years old when she was married to Muhammad and nine when the marriage was consummated.

– overlooking the fact that it isn’t just stated in one hadith, but in multiple places in 3 of the most important Sunni hadiths. It also overlooks this:

Sahih Muslim hadith 8 3311

Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah’s Apostle (May peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.’

There are other references to Aisha playing with dolls, but in this reference there is a mention both of the dolls and of the marriage age at the same time. Some apologists have attempted to claim that references to dolls come from another time in her life but in this reference it is clear that she was still playing with dolls at the time of her marriage. It is not really normal for a girl of sound mind to be playing with dolls when they have reached an adult age. It is very clear from the mentions of Aisha in general throughout her life that she was of sound mind.

Then he says:

there are plenty of Muslim historians who dispute this particular (Bukhari) Hadith and argue Aisha was in reality aged somewhere between 15 and 21.

There are indeed Muslim historians who have argued this but their arguments undermine the veracity of the core hadiths that most Sunni Muslims believe to be the most authoritative. (Others have discussed the subject of other “historical” accounts at much greater length – I have included some references at the end of this post).

More importantly it also remains inescapable that Islamic authorities in a number of Muslim majority countries TODAY take the view that current marriage age laws are un-Islamic. Mehdi focuses on Saudi Arabia in his article as if this problem is restricted to that country, but the references I gave in the previous post show clearly that Islamic authorities in a number of Islamic countries including Pakistan and Iran also take the view that restrictions on child marriage are un-Islamic. This flies in the face of his claim that:

the vast majority of classical scholars throughout Muslim history agreed on a minimum marriage age of 18

He also claims:

The Quran does not contain a specific legal age of marriage, but it does make clear that men and women must be both physically mature and of sound judgement in order to get married.

Unfortunately he doesn’t give the specific references in the Koran he is referring to. This may be a reference to the two statements in the Koran that I mentioned above 4:6 and 4:19, but we can’t be sure.  Again this claim ignores the problem of Koran 65:4, which he doesn’t mention at all.

A little credit is due to Mr. Hasan as he condemns child marriage himself directly, but unfortunately in his attempts to undermine valid criticism of his religion he is attempting to deflect attempts at a sensible debate of the subject. Islam condones child abuse through the “beautiful example” of Mohammed’s conduct, and through the Koran 65:4 verse. There is no escaping this fact. He is trapped in an immoral mental cage of his own making. It is time for Mehdi to renounce Islam. He already made the first realization. You don’t have to be a Muslim Mehdi, if you’re bothered by what it says about Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha in the Islamic texts you can just give it up.

This whole article was reprinted in the New Statesman:

http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/11/british-muslims-should-stand-and-say-it-there-nothing-islamic-about-child-marriage

Mehdi Hasan’s article criticized by another Muslim called Indigo Jo:

Mehdi Hasan’s Phoney Apologetics

Indigo Jo dismisses Hasan’s claims as “da’waganda” which he describes as

material promoting Islam but giving false information about it to make it palatable to a (usually) western reader.

Unfortunately he then goes on to say:

Muslims in the UK have really nothing to answer for in regard to this

which is not what the figures from the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit suggest (see previous post – link at the end of this article).

MYRIAM FRANCOIS-CERRAH

The well known Muslim convert writes at the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/17/muhammad-aisha-truth

She begins her article in attack mode, referring to:

the Islamophobic film Innocence of Muslims, which has sparked riots from Yemen to Libya.

Muslims will often use this kind of tactic – an appeal to the conscience of the reader with the use of emotive words such as “Islamophobe” and suggestions that Muslims are the victims of bigotry which provokes them to riot violently. Of course these riots are not even slightly relevant to a discussion of Aisha’s age of marriage as stated in Islamic texts, and of course they didn’t have to riot violently in any case. They could have simply argued calmly and rationally against the suggestions made in the film, if they really had good arguments to make that is.

She first attempts to use the “consenting adults” argument:

Qur’an states that marriage is void unless entered into by consenting adults, Aisha must have entered puberty early.

as usual not quoting the verses where this is supposedly stated.

She then attempts to use the “Medieval Kings and Queens” argument which is one of the weakest arguments of the lot. We don’t regard medieval kings and queens as paragons of virtue. Never have, never will.

She then attempts to use the “consenting adults” argument again, still not quoting the verses she is referring to:

What we do know is what the Qur’an says about marriage: that it is valid only between consenting adults, and that a woman has the right to choose her own spouse.

Note particularly the phrase – “the right to choose her spouse”, which is particularly laughable considering such verses in the Koran as 33:50 which states:

surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war

Really – “Allah has given to you as prisoners of war”? This is what you think qualifies as the “right to choose her spouse” Myriam? Perhaps as “good” Muslims are supposed to you now think that non-Muslims are not really human beings, that we are the “vilest of animals” (Koran 8:55)?  I feel sorry for you that you should now despise your former self so completely.

She then attempts to attack “Islamophobia” again with this statement:

The gulf between her true legacy and her depiction in Islamophobic materials is not merely historically inaccurate, it is an insult to the memory of a pioneering woman.

I have never read anything anywhere that insulted Aisha in any way in connection to this matter or any other. If Aisha was really married to Mohammed at the age of 6 then she clearly didn’t have any choice in the matter, it does not “insult her memory” to talk about this. This is simply another attempt at deflecting criticism of Islam.

DR. DAVID LIEPERT

Another attempt from the Huffington Post (note that Myriam Cerrah-Francois has also written at the Huffington Post):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-david-liepert/islamic-pedophelia_b_814332.html

Again we have an apologist in attack mode here with this little rant:

There are really only three reasons to insist — as so many do — that Aisha was only 9 years old when Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) married her: Either you are such a crazy Islamophile that you are willing to go to your grave insisting Muhammad could do whatever he wanted, or you are such a crazy Islamophobe that you want to insist he did, or you are such a weirdly religious sex-crazed pervert that you hope accusing him makes it OK for you to do it too.

There is absolutely no other reason to either make or repeat that disgusting claim.

That would be “absolutely no other reason” except for the fact that Bukhari and 2 other of the most respected Islamic hadiths SAY SO.

I won’t go into this one any further, it is already expertly debunked here:

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/silas/liepert.html

(Note particularly the answer to the comment about the phrase “Lam Yahidna” in the 65:4 verse and how Liepert’s argument about this phrase is contradicted by every single one of the commonly regarded translations.)

SOME OTHER APOLOGISTS

This includes a misquote of Koran 4:19 which is only about women of deceased relatives:

https://quranalyzeit.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/cii-vs-islam-does-the-quran-really-permit-child-marriage/

It also makes a lot of the fact that 65:4 doesn’t include the word “yet”, but “those who have not menstruated” could easily mean those who have not menstruated yet.  As usual where there are two possible interpretations the apologists seize on the one that suits their view.  The fact that there is vagueness leading to confusion is a problem in its own right.  However I also found a translation where this is spelled out very clearly:

MUHSIN KHAN TRANSLATION

And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death]. And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.

This next article from Australia seems to rely on the debunked Dr. Liepert’s arguments as its source:

http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/nowhere-does-the-quran-condone-child-brides-20140416-36rxo.html

SOME OTHER DE-BUNKERS

http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2013/10/was-muhammad-pedophile.html

https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Responses_to_Apologetics_-_Muhammad_and_Aisha

http://islamo-criticism.blogspot.com/2012/09/aishas-age-islamophobic-propaganda-and.html

http://islamo-criticism.blogspot.com/2012/09/rejecting-dr-david-lieperts-myth-that.html&date=2012-10-21

RELATED POST:

Mohammed and Aisha – Why It Matters

FURTHER READING ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/prepubescent.htm

Mohammed and Aisha – Why It Matters

The man Muslims regard as their prophet (named Mohammed) had many wives, the youngest of them was called Aisha.  This is a well trodden subject, but I suspect that many of my readers may be ignorant to some degree especially of the impact that it has in Islamic societies and even increasingly in our own Western countries.  The human race is going backwards despite all the huge advances that were made in thought, science, medicine and technology in the last few centuries.  Even if you are aware of the marriage already, please take the time to read to the end of this post as I am pretty sure you will find some information that is new to you here.

WHAT DO THE ISLAMIC TEXTS SAY ABOUT THE MARRIAGE?

There are quite a few references in the hadiths to Aisha’s age when she married Mohammed:

Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:58:234, 5:58:236, 7:62:64, 7:62:65, 7:62:88, Sahih Muslim, 8:3309, 8:3310, 8:3311, 41:4915, Sunan Abu Dawood, 41:4917

They all say the same thing – essentially that Mohammed married Aisha when he was 53 and she was 6. They also say that he consummated the relationship when she was only 9. That is what the texts say. Here is a page showing all these passages from the texts:

http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/sina/ayesha.htm

Note this one particularly:

Narrated ‘Ursa:

The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).

The language is absolutely clear – not only did he marry Aisha when she was 6, he also consummated the marriage when she was only 9.  What is more the Koran also says this:

065.004

Yusuf Ali: Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.

In the modern world we would regard this marriage as child abuse. In fact in most countries in the world (including many Muslim majority countries), such a “marriage” is illegal under the state law. The Koran states that Mohammed’s life is a “beautiful pattern” or an “excellent example” for Muslims to follow:

033.021

YUSUFALI: Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

SHAKIR: Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.

WHY WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT THIS?

All criticism of the behaviour of Mohammed is strictly prohibited not just by Islamic tradition, but by the very core religious texts and sayings of Mohammed himself, for example:

Quran (33:57) – “Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and has prepared for them the doom of the disdained”

….

Quran (33:61) – [continues from above] “Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.”

So joining all the dots here we have the supposedly most perfect example of a life including child abuse and nobody is allowed to criticize the behaviour. It is difficult to criticize such a marriage occurring now because to do so would be implicitly to criticize Mohammed. In Pakistan currently (in 2016) the punishment for blasphemy is death by hanging.

WHAT IS BAD ABOUT SUCH A MARRIAGE?

At the age of 6 a girl cannot properly even understand what marriage is, and so a child marriage is also a FORCED marriage. A forced marriage may end up being a happy marriage in time, but it could just as easily become an unhappy marriage. Such an unhappy marriage can lead to MARITAL RAPE and WIFE BEATING which is also condoned by the Koran (4:34). If the husband decides to consummate the marriage before the girl is old enough then he is committing the crime of CHILD RAPE.

REAL WORLD IMPACT ON MUSLIM BEHAVIOUR

The fact that Mohammed married a girl so young has a real impact on attitudes in the Muslim world and even in Muslim populations in non-Muslim majority countries.

IRAN

In Iran childhood officially ends at age 9 for girls, 16 for boys. Why such a difference? Well yes, you guessed it, Mohammed consummated the marriage to Aisha at 9, so it must mean that girls are grown up at age 9, otherwise we are criticizing the one who cannot be criticized.

The official age of consent for “women” may be much higher at 13, but with the permission of a court girls much younger can be married:

As many as 42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 were married in 2010, according to the Iranian news website Tabnak. At least 75 children under the age of 10 were wed in Tehran alone.

An attempt has also been made in parliament to lower the age of consent to 9 (from the already low current age of 13):

http://www.ibtimes.com/child-bride-practice-rising-iran-parliament-seeks-lower-girls-legal-marriage-age-9-760263

Then there are the harrowing individual stories such as this one:

http://www.stopchildexecutions.com/news-and-updates/261-razieh-ebrahimi-faces-execution.html

PAKISTAN

In Pakistan the age of consent is 16, there have even been attempts to raise the age to 18. However there has also been pressure to reduce the age of consent as well, for example:

Quote:

In a recent series of rulings, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body which gives Islamic legal advice to the Pakistani Government, declared that Pakistani laws prohibiting child marriage are un-Islamic. The rulings were widely criticised.

A lot of child marriages take place in any case.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/487659/child-marriages-42-of-underage-married-girls-from-pakistan/

Unfortunately there are no reliable statistics as to how widespread the practice is in Pakistan:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-law-child-marriage-idUSKBN0M619F20150310

INDIA

Lets be clear there is a problem with child marriage in India generally (not just among Muslims) if these figures are correct:

India Has 12 Million Married Children Under Age Ten

They show an actually slightly higher percentage of child marriage among Hindus than Muslims in India.

SAUDI ARABIA

In Saudi Arabia a Grand Mufti said there was nothing wrong with girls marrying under the age of 15:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/12/26/saudi-arabia-grand-mufti-nothing-wrong-with-child-brides/

OTHER ISLAMIC COUNTRIES

We could go on but I think the above are enough examples to illustrate the point – that religious authorities in Islamic countries tend to press for lowering the age of consent because they are aware of the age of Aisha when Mohammed married her.

UNITED KINGDOM

In the UK there is a problem with child marriage, not necessarily solely in the Muslim population, but since the Muslim population is already large (and growing rapidly) compared to other religious minorities it is sensible to assume that it is largest in that population as a percentage of the UK population overall.

Child marriage happens in the UK too, warn British MPs

From a UK government report into forced marriage in the UK (27% of their cases involve victims below 18 years of age):

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/forced-marriage-unit-statistics-2015

The five highest volume countries in 2015 were

Pakistan – 539 cases (44%)
Bangladesh – 89 cases (7%)
India – 75 cases (6%)
Somalia – 34 cases(3%)
Afghanistan – 21 cases (2%)

In 2015, 175 (14%) of the cases handled by the FMU had no overseas element, with the forced marriage activity taking place entirely within the UK.

Note that obviously these statistics may be the tip of a much larger iceberg as they are just the numbers of forced marriages reported to the Forced Marriage Unit.

An ITV documentary appeared to show a willingness to perform child marriage ceremonies among significant numbers (a third of those approached) of imams in the UK:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2447720/Clerics-18-mosques-caught-agreeing-marry-girls-14-Four-imams-investigated-undercover-operation.html

The majority refused to entertain the idea but from a number the reasoning was that it was against UK law rather than that it was immoral.  Of course an imam is in dangerous territory if he challenges the truth of religious texts.

Then there are the harrowing individual stories:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/feb/22/ukcrime.gender

CONCLUSION

The pressure to reduce the age of consent never goes away in Muslim societies, usually coming from religious leaders and organisations. The problem is also growing in the West thanks to the politically “correct” (read incorrect) policy of turning a blind eye to ethnic minority cultural norms that break UK laws.

FURTHER READING ELSEWHERE:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1070888

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_marriage_in_Pakistan

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9500484/Alarm-as-hundreds-of-children-under-age-of-10-married-in-Iran.html

http://dunyanews.tv/en/SpecialReport/329208-The-dilemma-of-child-marriage-in-Pakistan

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/259971/child-marriage-iran-dr-majid-rafizadeh

Confusing Historical Parallels

You often hear the phrase “history repeats itself”. The reality is that history never repeats itself exactly, but sometimes there are similarities. Mark Twain is reputed to have put it rather more poetically:

“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.”

Sometimes however these similarities or “rhymes” can be confusing and lead people to jump to the wrong conclusions. I believe this is a major problem in the current situation in the “West” with regard to two related issues – the rise of Islamic influence and the migrant crisis. Although there are many theories about exactly what is motivating the West’s political leaders currently, I think there is genuine confusion about these issues among some people more generally and yes to some extent among the leaders as well. Here are some of the different “rhymes” that I’m thinking about:

THE CURRENT MIGRANT INFLUX INTO EUROPE AND THE EXODUS OF JEWS FROM NAZI GERMANY

WHAT WAS THE SAME?

In truth, not so much:

  • SOME of the migrants are genuine refugees fleeing from war zones particularly Syria. The Nazis in Germany were behaving in an increasingly violent manner towards the Jews in that country. Any German Jews were in mortal danger, as would later become absolutely clear when the concentration camps were discovered near the end of WWII.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

A lot:

  • A great many of the current migrants (probably the large majority) are not fleeing from war zones at all but opportunistically taking advantage of the crisis, and the weakness of Europe’s borders and leadership, to push their way into Europe. We can know this because so many of the migrants are fit young men. Fit young men would not generally be running away from war zones leaving all their womenfolk, children and older relatives behind. A few might be doing that, but that such huge numbers would be doing that does not seem remotely credible to me. If they are genuine refugees, running away from war zones and leaving their relatives to fend for themselves, we have to wonder what sort of people they are, exactly. By contrast when the Jewish exodus from the European continent came to the UK in the run-up to WWII there were men, women, children, young and old.  A journalist visits the migrant camp in Calais to determine how many are from Syria: https://youtu.be/vSg4gBi7heY
  • The sheer numbers involved – over a million migrants entered Germany just in one year alone in 2015 and more are still coming. If these people all settle in Germany and bring their relatives in as well (remember the ECHR grants the “right to a family life) the numbers could multiply 4-8 fold. what effect will it have? With Germany’s aging population and low birth rate this is going to completely change the ethnic and cultural makeup of Germany, which already has a large population of people with foreign origins. The potential further numbers of people who want to come to Europe could be truly enormous – the population of Africa is 1.216 billion and it is exploding while the population of Europe continues to decline. The population of Pakistan and Afghanistan is continuing to grow as well. Not all of these people may want to come to Europe, but many parts of Africa and the middle East have suffered instability and poverty, the potential numbers who MIGHT want to come are quite large enough to overwhelm Europe and change our way of life forever. Europe is already heavily in debt and experiencing increasing problems with previous immigrant communities from the same areas – long term unemployment and rising crime rates.
  • The Jewish people were an ethnic minority in Germany – how many of the migrants supposedly fleeing from danger are coming from countries where they are also ethnic minorities? In a great many cases they are coming from places where they are not minorities either ethnically or culturally. Instead of staying to fix what is wrong in their societies, they are running away from problems when they should be staying and helping to sort those problems out.
  • European countries have adopted welfare policies since WWII that benefit the poor at the expense of the rich. We give free welfare payments to the unemployed and the sick, free healthcare to all, free housing to many, legal assistance. We have adopted a culture of generosity towards everyone since WWII. Allowing huge numbers of unemployed, unskilled, homeless people (many of whom are illiterate) into our countries will add a huge burden to our already heavily indebted welfare systems. Even if some of these people find work it will probably be low-skilled work so they will benefit from our generous system that gives free healthcare and housing often to the poor and they won’t have to pay much or any tax at all if they stay on low wages. Many of the migrants are being housed and fed at huge expense.  Can we even afford all this?
  • Crime rates are increasing, adding to the burden still further. We will have to recruit more police to deal with this. Many undocumented migrants are just disappearing, some working illegally, not paying taxes.
  • A very large number of the migrants are Muslims – its impossible to know exactly how many, but most of the countries the migrants are coming from have large or majority Muslim populations. Islamic culture does not get along well with other cultures, especially cultures that value freedom of speech as Europe does. We already have a very serious problem with incitement to violence in mosques in Europe.  After all, Islam incites violence against us non-Muslims in the core religious texts, if we’re honest about it.  Why on earth should we feel obligated to look after people whose religion incites violence against us and sedition against our democracy and legal system?
  • The manner of migration is also very different, as shockingly revealed by this footage: https://youtu.be/gaiJawAUyJ0

“ISLAMOPHOBIA” AND THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN EARLY 20TH CENTURY EUROPE

WHAT WAS THE SAME?

In truth, not so much:

  • One similarity (possibly the only similarity) is that members of a religious minority are facing increasing hostility in their host country. There was real anti-semitism all over Europe prior to WWII, including even in the UK.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

A lot:

  • Really vicious Islamic terror attacks have been taking place with some regularity, large numbers of people dead many more injured. We don’t know exactly the motivations perhaps, but they keep telling us that they are doing it in the name of their religion, so why would we not believe them? I can’t think of a reason why we wouldn’t believe them, especially since their religious texts encourage them to commit acts of violence and terror. There just weren’t any Jewish terror attacks going on in Europe in the run up to WWII. None at all.
  • Jews are members of a race, the Jewish race.  Anti-semitism in Europe was motivated by racial hatred more than hatred of the Jewish religion and culture.  Muslims are followers of a particular belief system, they are not a racial group.
  • Muslims are a (very) rapidly growing minority in Europe, they could even become a majority in just a few generations time if current trends continue, completely altering the culture of Europe. This was never the case with the Jewish population which was always small and remained quite static in Europe. For example, in 1933 Jews were less than .75 % of the population of Germany. Muslims are already around 7.5% of the population in France (officially) which is also the country (coincidence?) that has experienced the most Islamic terrorist killings so far.
  • Hostility to Islam may be growing in Europe in the present, but so is anti-semitism AS WELL. A lot of the anti-semitism is coming from the Islamic population.  Not many Muslims have been attacked, but Jews have been attacked and killed by Muslims for example in the killing of 4 people in a Kosher supermarket that happened at the same time as the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Is “Islamophobia” the new anti-semitism or is Islam the new Nazism? Islam has quite a few similarities with Nazism in fact – Islam was admired by the Nazis. There are nasty and derogatory references to Jews in the Islamic religious texts.
  • A lot of reports of Muslim “grooming gangs” committing rapes of vulnerable children have been coming to light in the UK particularly.  Jewish people were never known for this sort of behaviour, at least I’ve never heard of such a thing.
  • Muslims throughout Europe have also been engaging in other types of crime such as drug dealing and generally are very disproportionately represented in our prison systems.  Is it really so unreasonable to be objecting to this kind of behaviour? Jewish people were never known for this type of behaviour either, most were hard-working and many were exceptionally intelligent and did very well.

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF ROME AND THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION

WHAT WAS THE SAME?

Quite a lot actually this is quite an interesting lecture on the subject:

WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

A lot is also different:

  • Modern Europe has a vast wealth of technological knowledge and achievements including many things that the Romans would be truly astonished by if they came back to life in our times.
  • We know that we are poisoning our water supply (with chemicals), the Romans were also poisoning themselves (with lead in cooking vessels) but they didn’t know.
  • Finally what is most different is the fact that the Roman Empire declined and actually fell a long time ago. Western civilization is in a bad way, but it is still very much alive. We still have time to reverse the decline, IF we can find the courage to question every opinion that we secretly disagree with, regardless of whatever names anyone wants to call us for speaking our minds.

CONCLUSION

We should never forget the past, we can learn many lessons from it, but we should never try to draw too many conclusions from history about how we should react to the present. Every situation we find ourselves in is a new situation, requiring an objective assessment of the facts that now face us.

Incitement and Religion

[Fourth in a series of 4 posts about “Freedom of Speech”]

[Trigger warning – this post contains a few modest proposals and references to terrible religious incitements (don’t blame me I didn’t write them), those of a sensitive disposition are advised NOT to read this post.]

In this post I am going to take a look at the 3 Abrahamic religions to decide whether any of their religious texts should be considered as direct and credible incitements to violence according to the framework that I set out in the previous post. In so many debates that I have listened to about whether these religions encourage violence, historical acts carried out supposedly in the name of each religion have been used as “arguments”. I regard these “arguments” as non-arguments because often the historical acts were carried out in opposition to the actual religious teachings, and so instead I am here going to focus purely on the religious texts.

The only “history” that is relevant in this discussion is the story of the actions of the main characters in the religions, as told by the religious texts. The actual historical truth of the religious texts is also not relevant, because it is the religious texts that form the basis of the religions, not what may or may not have actually happened. The truth about the events described in the religious texts is at best either historically disputed or unverifiable in any case.

ISLAM

Note – when I refer to apologists here I am referring to all those who try to excuse the incitements in the Islamic texts, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE?

One of the central ideas in the Islamic religion is that the life of the man that Muslims regard as the last prophet was an excellent example for Muslims to follow. This is stated for example in this Koranic verse:

033.021

YUSUFALI: Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

SHAKIR: Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.

Apologists have claimed that this pattern of conduct does not include the violent deeds of Mohammed. However there is nothing in this verse to suggest that those violent deeds should be excluded. This claim becomes particularly ridiculous when you look at the immediately preceeding and following verses which are clearly referring to a warlike campaign that Mohammed was involved in at the time. Consider this following verse particularly, which is almost certainly supposed to be Allah’s blessing for the Banu Qurayza massacre or at least a very similar event, where Mohammed’s forces executed hundreds of defenceless prisoners and enslaved their women and children:

033.026

YUSUFALI: And those of the People of the Book who aided them – Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners.

SHAKIR: And He drove down those of the followers of the Book who backed them from their fortresses and He cast awe into their hearts; some you killed and you took captive another part.

In the modern world such an action would be considered a war crime – the execution of defenceless prisoners who had surrendered without a fight at the end of a siege. This is the sort of thing the Nazis used to get up to in occupied Europe in WWII. The apologist defence of this massacre is that the people of this settlement had helped Mohammed’s enemies in violation of an agreement that they had with Mohammed. Even if this was really the case however, it could scarcely excuse the execution of all the men of the settlement, including adolescent boys, and not just the leaders of the settlement. As for the enslavement of the women and children then again this is a criminal act in the modern Western world, by the example of his conduct the Islamic texts incite Muslims to enslave civilians captured in war, another direct and credible incitement which encourages slavery (including sexual slavery, some of the captives were taken as wives).  While the above verse refers to the taking of “prisoners” rather than slaves, later in this section slavery is justified explicitly:

033.050

YUSUFALI: O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

SHAKIR: O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her– specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Note also the reference to terror in the 33:26 verse – “cast terror into their hearts”, which flies in the face of those who claim terrorist acts have nothing to do with Islam. There are other references to terror in the Koran as well, for example:

008.012

YUSUFALI: Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

SHAKIR: When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

You see – “strike off every fingertip”, its not really very nice is it?

The second half of Mohammed’s career, known as the Medina period, was essentially a campaign of war to establish Mohammed’s rule and consequently to establish the Islamic religion. Apologists have tried to claim that this war was purely defensive, but this is also an utterly ridiculous claim in light of the fact that Mohammed went from having just a small band of followers to ruling the entire Arabian peninsula by the end of his life. Clearly it was an expansionist campaign designed to establish Mohammed’s rule.

There are numerous incitements to violence in the Koran, supposedly Allah’s encouragements to Mohammed to wage war against the unbelievers, for example:

009.029

YUSUFALI: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

SHAKIR: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

Although these incitements are quite enough evidence on their own, readers unfamiliar with the Islamic texts should understand there are many more in the Koran and Hadiths, as well documented here:

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

In summary then the Islamic religion incites its followers to wage war against the non-Islamic people of the world until they submit to Islam, because Mohammed did the same, according to the instructions he claimed to have received from Allah which are recorded in the Koran, and Muslims are supposed to follow the example of Mohammed’s conduct. This is not only a direct and credible incitement to violent propagation of the Islamic religion, it is also an incitement that has been heeded through the ages, and continues to be heeded in the present day. We should be glad that most Muslims do not act on these incitements most of the time, but we cannot escape from the fact that the Islamic religion incites violence against the unbelievers, and that it does so in a direct and credible manner. I therefore rule that the preaching of the Islamic religion, and construction of mosques should both be illegal under my legal framework.

It appears that the Reverend Gavin Ashenden, a chaplain to the Queen, agrees with me that Islam incites violence:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/islam-invites-people-to-violence-queens-chaplain-reverend-gavin-ashenden-claims-10104445.html

Note particularly:

Reverend Ashenden said in response: “If they are offended by my quoting the Koran they are not offended by me, they are offended by the Koran.”

This is a good way to answer those who try to suggest that telling the truth about Islam somehow “radicalizes” vulnerable people. No, its the Islamic religion that radicalizes people. It appears that a former “Islamist” also agrees that Islam incites violent conflict with the unbelievers. The fact that he now claims to interpret the texts in another way does not alter the fact that the texts clearly CAN be interpreted in this way, and that he DID once interpret them in that way.  Quote:

“In the Koran and the Hadith (the compiled sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), I found an abundance of verses that I believed justified heinous violence in support of the establishment of an Islamic state for the whole world.”

The full article is here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/i-believed-al-qaeda-when-they-said-911-was-justified-15-years-on/

The fact that many Muslims somehow manage to interpret their Islamic texts differently does not alter the fact that those texts contain direct and credible incitements to violence that can be interpreted as such.

CURRENT LEGAL SITUATION

It is my belief that the preaching of the Islamic religion is currently in violation of UK law against incitement to violence. The failure of the UK law enforcement authorities to prosecute those who preach the faith should be a matter of the gravest concern to all UK citizens. This failure is in fact an act of appeasement of the religion. This failure is an act of cowardice by the UK authorities.

I do not believe that the preaching of the Islamic religion is currently in violation of US law because of the requirement established in Brandenburg v. Ohio for the incitement to be likely to lead to imminent unlawful action.

I humbly suggest to the people of the USA your current law is misguided. The failure to use the law to act against the Islamic religion is simply inviting more bloodshed for example in the Orlando gay nightclub massacre and Fort Hood massacre and San Bernandino massacre.

The danger of escalation of conflict can most probably be seen in the arson attack that occurred against the local mosque in the Orlando case. Armed militias are also now staging protests against mosques in the US. Surely it would be better for the law to intervene and close down all the mosques before any more incitements to violence can be made within them.

A PROPOSAL TO “BAN” ISLAM

Obviously it would be impossible to ban religious thought. We can scarcely start arresting every person who declares themselves to be a Muslim either, this would be impractical.

What we could do however:

  • Make it illegal (at least publicly) to preach the Koran as the word of a supreme being, on incitement grounds. I don’t think the Koran should be banned as a book however, because for one thing people need to be able to see for themselves WHY such a “ban” on the religion became necessary. It would also be practically almost impossible to achieve and in any case the Koran is widely published on the internet. Also, it is not the Koran that directly incites violence on its own, but rather the preaching of the Koran as the unquestionable word of Allah.
  • Withdraw planning permission for mosques and force existing mosque closures. Mosques that clearly bear the hallmarks of mosques – domes and minarets could be closed and either modified for other uses or demolished.
  • Make it illegal to wear face veils. I personally think bans on hijabs and the other headgear and burkinis would be impractical to enforce. For one thing women in Europe used to wear headscarves of a non-religious kind not so very long ago, and some even still do.
  • All legislation for example on employers and schools should be removed to allow employers to discriminate against hijab etc. wearing candidates if they wish to.  A recent decision by some UK police forces to allow the hijab as part of police uniforms is of course entirely ridiculous and should be stopped.
  • Allow employers to sack any worker for taking time out of the working day for prayer.
  • Make Ramadan fasting illegal in cases where it potentially could endanger public safety.

The sheer number of Muslims already in the West means that this is going to be a very difficult and controversial position to adopt, but its better to have this conversation now than 10-20 years from now.

An exception could be made for example for the Ahmadi religion possibly as that religion does not incite violence. It would have to be established that the Ahmadi religion did not incite other crimes, from my current knowledge I don’t believe it does however. The “most perfect life” verse would have to be clarified.  I think on the whole the message of the Mahdi probably abrogates the violent verses in the Koran, but I’m not an expert on that.

Such an exception could equally be applied to any other sect where it can be shown that religious texts override the incitements to violence in the Koran. I don’t like these other “versions” of Islam but as long as something is harmless then of course we should tolerate it. Remember, we are trying to construct a watertight legal framework here.

There are growing numbers of voices across the “West” calling for such a ban:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/08/27/geert-wilders-close-mosques-netherlands/

German far-right AfD calls for mosque ban

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/18/germanys-far-right-afd-party-attempts-to-block-construction-of-m/

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/09/14/watch-australian-senator-calls-ban-muslim-immigration-mosques-burkas/

CHRISTIANITY

There can be no doubt that the Christian bible contains incitements to violence. For example, in Leviticus 20:10 it says:

If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

However in the New Testament, Jesus appears to implicitly contradict this ruling:

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I think this demonstrates that the old testament is over-ruled by Jesus’s moral teachings, and since Jesus is the central figure in the Christian religion, I would say his teachings take precedence.

The only doubtful statement in the new testament is (Matthew 10:34):

“I came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword”

This statement seems not only ambiguous but also at odds with everything Jesus says elsewhere, for example (Matthew 26:52):

“But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword”.

(Jesus said this after Peter had struck one of the soldiers who were attempting to arrest Jesus. Jesus subsequently healed the soldier’s wound).

I therefore rule that the former statement in Matthew 10:34 does not constitute a credible incitement, it isn’t even direct but rather ambiguous.

In conclusion then, none of Jesus’s teachings meet the credibility test of inciting violence, and Jesus’s teachings can be regarded as over-ruling the Old Testament and so I would rule that Christianity does not overall constitute a direct and credible incitement to violence. The terrible events described in the book of revelations should be regarded I believe as God punishing the human race, not as any sort of incitement. I will deal with the old testament accounts of extreme violence in the next section on Judaism, as the old testament and Judaism are based on the same stories.

JUDAISM

The Judaic religion is possibly much more problematic than Christianity, because it does not include the later moral teachings of Jesus against violence. I don’t have the knowledge of this religion to really be sure that Judaism does not constitute a direct and credible incitement. The fact that Jewish people have not for example been stoning people to death for adultery and other sins for over a thousand years (as far as I know) should be taken into account however.

Capital punishments generally could also be seen as only being applicable under the law of the land, rather than incitements to violence between citizens. Therefore, as long as the law of the land that is either secular or otherwise overrules whatever religions advocate, then any incitements to capital punishment in the religions can be ruled not credible.

The Old Testament accounts of violence, terrible though they are (including genocide), could be regarded as mere historical accounts of what took place, or at the most indirect incitement, rather than direct incitement. As far as I can determine there is no instruction to followers of the religion to repeat these acts.

Some claims have been made that the old testament was taken as justification of the treatment of indigenous peoples during the colonial era, but since these are at worst indirect incitements, they would not constitute a reason to make the religion illegal according to my framework.

SUMMARY

In the first post in this series I called for an amendment to the First Amendment to remove all mention of religions. This clears the way for a rational evaluation of whether any particular religion incites violence. In the preceeding post I created a legal framework for types of incitement that should be deemed illegal and types that should not. Clearly there is much that is problematic in all 3 Abrahamic religions, particularly Islam and Judaism, however I am inclined to rule that Islam uniquely incites violence in a direct and credible manner and that therefore Islam should solely be considered in violation of this legal framework. Furthermore, there have now been a long succession of extremely violent terrorist attacks in Europe where the Islamic religion was known to be a major motivating factor. Such events should pragmatically carry weight in deciding that its time to ban a particular religion.

If European countries that have laws against incitement fail to ban the Islamic religion, then they are violating that most important principle of just societies, namely equality before the law.
ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnah

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banu_Qurayza

http://www.meforum.org/2159/are-judaism-and-christianity-as-violent-as-islam

Bible and Qur’an: equally violent?

http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/03/08/dark_passages/?page=full

Violence in the Bible—How Should We Respond?

Incitement – A New Legal Framework

[Third in a series of 4 posts about “Freedom of Speech”]

This post is an attempt to define a new legal framework for which types of incitement to commit crimes should be illegal, and which should not. My definition divides potential incitement into two main categories, DIRECT and INDIRECT.

DIRECT INCITEMENT

DEFINITION

Directly encouraging another person or persons to commit any crime. As stated in the previous post I reject the requirement (that exists in the US currently) that a direct incitement should also have to meet the test that it incites IMMINENT criminal action.

A CREDIBILITY TEST

I propose a credibility test – is it credible that the incitement will be acted upon by others? Is the inciter (the one inciting the crime) for example the leader of a criminal gang, a mob boss, or political or religious leader? Where such a significant influence exists I would suggest that the credibility test would be met, i.e. that a direct incitement should be regarded as a criminal act.

At the other extreme, if the inciter is a comedian making a statement in the context of a comedy show, then its unlikely that even a direct incitement will be taken seriously e.g. Noel Fielding apparently urged his followers to stab Nigel Farage. Even such an incitement as this becomes harder to dismiss however if the crime were to be subsequently carried out. On the whole in this example I would be inclined to say that even in such an eventuality as the violent assault suggested being committed the incitement would still lack credibility due to the context.

In between these two extremes it becomes much more difficult. Should we consider a bit of banter between friends on social media for example e.g. “Why don’t you go and kill so-and-so?”, “Yes that’s a good idea I’ll go and do it” to be credible incitement or not? Such an exchange might be regarded as a mere joke by both parties, we cannot see inside their minds. Of course if the murder they mooted is actually subsequently committed then that puts the exchange in a very different light and should probably be then regarded as credible. I think on the whole in cases where no crime occurs however such an exchange should NOT be classified as credible unless say one or other of the two friends has a criminal record involving serious violence.

The problem with social media is that it is just a little bit too easy to sit down and write something that could be construed as incitement without really thinking or particularly meaning what is written literally. I think this should be a consideration, a type of mitigating factor, as we look at such incitements. Writing a letter requires more effort, more “malice aforethought”, and usually requires knowing the subject’s address, whereas communications on social media are often made between individuals who don’t know each other in the real world (another reason to rule an incitement as not credible). However, this is not to say that incitements that take place on social media should not be considered POTENTIALLY just as serious as any other type of incitement.

To summarize the credibility test –

  • Is the inciter likely to have an undue influence over those he incites to commit a crime. Such factors as – is the incited person mentally deficient, does the inciter wield undue influence e.g. is he an older brother or gang leader? Is the inciter a highly regarded authority figure in the case of incitement of groups? Even if the inciter is merely a simple peer of the incited person, there could be factors such as the fact that they both belong to the same violent gang.
  • Is the incited person known to have committed a similar crime in the past, and was this fact probably known to the inciter.
  • The distance in time between an incitement and the resulting crime actually taking place should also be considered when judging an individual case. The longer the gap in time between the two must surely reduce the likelihood that the incitement had a significant impact on the degree to which the crime was inspired by the incitement.
  • What is the context of the incitement? Obviously an incitement that takes place in a serious gathering such as a political or religious gathering is much more to be taken seriously than an incitement that takes place at a comedy show.
  • Would the suggested crime be practically impossible? For example, social media incitements where the identity of the target is unknown to both the inciter and the incited person.

We cannot describe every possibly nuance that could occur and so I fear we will have to rely on a judge and jury to decide on the individual circumstances of each case. All the above factors should be considered when making a judgement however.

For example, lets look at this speech from a US pastor, (which would not currently be illegal under US law at least by my understanding):

He comes really close here to saying that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and chat show host Oprah Winfrey should be killed by the sword, and claiming that God is calling for this.

“you’ve got to annihilate the leadership thereof”

“to be destroyed with the edge of the sword”

“we need to annihilate black people”

“when the lord calls for the destruction of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, to be destroyed with the edge of the sword, are we ready to do it?”

This is a very borderline case but I think I would rule that he is speaking figuratively not literally, partly because he appears to call for the annihilation of black people at one point, yet he is himself black, and also partly because he is talking about the use of the sword.  It would probably be very difficult practically to kill any of those mentioned people with a sword because they have armed bodyguards, and so it is not really a credible incitement.

Here is another very borderline case, clearly a direct incitement:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/714169/John-McDonnell-REFUSES-apologise-Esther-McVey-lynching-comments

However due to the context of a UK mainstream political discussion I would tend to think probably not credible, since Labour politicians in the UK are not really known as major rabble rousers, although recent events in the Labour party since Corbyn assumed the leadership have rather altered that perception.  Mr. McDonnell was PROBABLY speaking figuratively.  Of course if such a lynching were to actually take place, then it would put a very different perspective on the comment.  The fact that a UK politician has been murdered in public since he made these remarks would tend to make such a statement more credible now I think.

GAUGING THE SEVERITY OF THE INCITEMENT

In cases where no crime is committed immediately, I believe we should still criminalize incitement particularly if the influence of the inciter is substantial. For example political and religious leaders with significant followings who incite violence within our country should be charged with direct incitement, even if no violence takes place, because of the sheer weight of influence that such people carry. The danger involved in ignoring such incitement was I believe demonstrated by the Orlando gay nightclub massacre in the US. The mosque involved has since suffered an arson attack as well, possibly demonstrating how these situations can potentially lead to retaliatory attacks (which then could lead to further escalation of conflict) if the law is powerless to intervene.

CODED INCITEMENT

A form of incitement that may appear to be indirect but which I think should probably be classified as direct is what we might call “coded” incitement. This is where the inciter uses a code phrase that is known by both parties to mean that a particular crime should be committed.

I think in cases where it can be established that such a code was known to both parties then this should be considered a criminal act of the same seriousness as a direct and explicit incitement such as “go and murder so-and-so for me”.

The phrase Henry II is famously supposed to have used “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” is a more difficult case. We need not worry here about the historical authenticity of this incitement, we are just considering an example. Of course as the King, Henry had probably the most influence possible over his knights as anyone ever does, but there is no hint anywhere that such a phrase was a known code of his time for “go and murder so-and-so”. I think overall in this case I would be inclined to believe that Henry was merely “sounding off” and probably did not intend for his knights to actually kill the archbishop. The phrase “rid me” could also plausibly suggest a non-violent act. In this case I would therefore rule this as not an incitement at all.

PRIVATE INCITEMENT AND GANG VIOLENCE

The hardest kind of direct incitement to deal with of course is those incitements that take place in private. The US authorities struggled for many years to convict the gangster Al Capone despite the involvement of his gang in a large number of murders. They eventually convicted him of tax evasion instead, such was the difficulty involved.

In the UK the problem of gang violence has been addressed by the use of the Joint Enterprise law which meant that even bystanders at a murder were convicted of the crime of murder. The use of this law has been controversial however:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6638287/Police-using-300-year-old-law-to-target-gang-violence.html

I think we would need to study this law separately as it is a big subject in its own right.

The difficulty with gang related incitements that are not usually witnessed outside the gang will always exist, the authorities will continue to have to use undercover policing, wiretaps and confessions in cases like these.

RELIGIOUS INCITEMENT

A great issue that is dividing our society today is the problem of religiously inspired violence. I believe strongly that religions SHOULD NOT be excluded in any way from incitement law. No special privileges or “protections” should be granted to religions. Of course this question becomes more debatable with some religions that appear to incite violence do not have any recent history of violence among their followers that could be associated with this incitement. As this is a very big subject I will cover it separately in the next post.

INTER-STATE INCITEMENT

One particularly controversial subject has been the use of drone strikes against British nationals who have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Are our politicians inciting violence when they order such drone strikes? I consider such drone strikes legitimate however because the individuals have joined a foreign state that this country is at war with, and so the normal rule of domestic law need not apply.

Generally speaking, when politicians call for the initiation of force against foreign powers or individuals, they are inciting violence. We should have high standards for the justification of the use of such force. I think on the whole we will leave international incitements involving states for another time, as it is a huge subject in its own right.

INDIRECT INCITEMENT

DEFINITION

By indirect incitement I mean any speech that could conceivably inspire or indirectly encourage a person or persons to commit a criminal act where that speech does not explicitly urge the incited person to commit the act. In my opinion INDIRECT incitement should not be criminalized. Many of the examples I give here of INDIRECT incitements should most probably not even be deemed incitements at all. The reason I list them is because I have come across claims that they do constitute incitement in the past.

GLORIFYING TERRORISM

In 2005, in the wake of the London terrorist attacks on 7 July, the UK govt. proposed new legislation that criminalized indirect incitement in the form of praising terrorist acts, quote:

“For example, saying isn’t it marvellous this has happened and these people are martyrs – not direct incitement to do something but something that could be construed by someone as giving an endorsement of terrorism.”

Quite apart from anything else I suspect the sheer number of people expressing such views, and the impossibility of identifying them all, makes this an absurd thing to try to criminalize, much though it may be tempting to punish those who express such views.

CRITICIZING GROUPS – CONTAGION OF IDEAS

There appears to be a notion among some politicians that even merely derogatory (non-threatening) comments about particular groups or individuals should be suppressed. The reason given for the need for such suppression seems to come from the idea that such ideas could become contagious and lead to acts of violence against the mentioned group – people “egging each other on”, a sort of spiral of hatred. One problem with such suppression is that its not possible to prove that the one thing necessarily leads to the other.

Another larger problem with this idea is that it effectively makes it impossible to criticize any group’s behaviour, because such criticism might incite violence against that group. For example, if a religious sect was advocating child abuse, then we should be free to criticize that group in the strongest terms without being accused of indirect incitement to violence against that group. Only if we were to actually start shouting out say “Kill the followers of the child abuse sect!” (a direct and credible incitement) should we be guilty of incitement.

Even in the case of a racial group we should be free to criticize the behaviour of that group because, for example, that group might be disproportionately involved in crime. Only by a frank discussion of such behaviour are we likely to understand what is causing that behaviour, or discover alternatively that the behaviour is not real but imagined. Merely suppressing the views is unlikely to change anybody’s mind but rather increase suspicions that the truth is being suppressed.

Here are a couple of examples of such suppression from Germany:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/07/08/german-couple-sentenced-migrant-critical-facebook-group/

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/05/04/pegida-founder-bachmann-found-guilty-of-sedition/

INCITING HATRED OF GROUPS

It becomes harder when we look at more extreme cases where people are inciting hatred of groups, as opposed to merely criticizing them.

Consider this case, where images of dead Jews and other material was prosecuted:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/two-jailed-for-inciting-racial-hatred-online-1741921.html

However I maintain that as long as people are not directly inciting criminal acts then more extreme expression should be allowed, as long as other laws such as privacy laws are not transgressed. If we don’t draw a very firm clear line between indirect and direct incitement then we leave the door open to more subjective sentencing and important conversations could be inadvertently prevented from taking place. It is therefore better to err on the side of greater freedom of expression than the side of censorship. It is also more likely that the dividing line will shift over time if it is not thus clearly defined.

To quote Noam Chomsky:

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

ACCUSATIONS OF INDIRECT INCITEMENT FOR POLITICAL ENDS

During the EU referendum campaign in the UK there were many accusations made against the Leave campaign that they were inciting hatred of foreigners by their opposition to immigration. Many politicians even attempted to blame the murder of the MP Jo Cox on the Brexit campaign:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/681005/labour-mp-anger-jo-cox-murder-eu-referendum-debate

The hypocrisy of these claims was starkly exposed when there was no corresponding condemnation of incitement of hatred towards Leave campaigners, for example consider these incitements to murder Nigel Farage:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/06/20/shoot-and-stab-nigel-farage-hundreds-of-social-media-messages-urging-attacks-on-ukip-leader-revealed/

These politicians would be more believable if they applied this notion consistently.  Their argument could be turned on its head as well, when the Remain side of the campaign were arguing that the Leave campaign were “project hate” for example, were they then indirectly inciting violence against the Leave campaigners?

Consider this absolutely ridiculous claim from a UK Labour politician called Chris Bryant who accused the Brexit referendum campaign of responsibility for inciting a Turkish coup:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/690072/Turkey-coup-map-military-turkish-fco-Chris-Bryant-Brexit-EU-referendum-campaign-MP

A TV presenter accuses Nigel Farage of stoking hate, tries to make a connection with the Nice terror attack where 84 people were killed:

http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/689742/Nigel-Farage-GMB-Ranvir-Singh

Clearly there was a political motivation behind all these accusations, which shows us how open to abuse the very idea of indirect incitement really is.

In another example of hypocrisy, we have yet to hear any politicians or mainstream media pundits blaming anti-Trump views expressed in the UK media of inciting this alleged attempt to assassinate US presidential candidate Donald Trump:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/13/briton-charged-with-attempting-to-shoot-donald-trump-pleads-guil/

FIGHTING TALK – INDIRECT INCITEMENT AGAINST YOURSELF

The Pope famously said if you insult someone’s mother then expect a punch. Through this statement the Pope was condoning anybody who felt insulted by mere words who then committed an assault. Very problematic coming in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I would not argue that the Pope himself was directly inciting violence here, because he didn’t suggest that you MUST hit someone who insults you. He was I think more just suggesting that it wasn’t wise to insult people. Therefore the Pope’s statement would not itself constitute incitement to violence in my view, however reprehensible it was in the context.

One problem with “fighting talk” is that it is not possible to make a sensible definition of what constitutes “fighting talk”. By the context of his comment, I believe the Pope was implying that the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were wrong to offend the followers of Islam by drawing cartoons of Mohammed. Were the Hebdo cartoonists inciting violence against THEMSELVES? I find this argument utterly preposterous. I feel that people need to grow up and stop taking offence at mere words and pictures. If you deliberately attack somebody except in self defence, then you are guilty of assault. I reject the idea that “fighting talk” should be unprotected speech.

SATIRICAL FILMS

A short film called “The Innocence of Muslims” was blamed by White House officials for provoking an attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya in which 4 Americans died.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/22/benghazi-scandal-what-happened-and-what-does-it-mean-for-hilary/

It later transpired that the attack was a pre-planned terrorist attack, that in all probability had nothing whatever to do with the video. The video was merely a satirical/critical look at the Islamic religion, it did not incite violence at all.

VIOLENT FILMS

Some violent films have similarly been accused of inspiring people to commit random murders. The film “Natural Born Killers” was one such.

It seems to me that to be so inspired by such films would require someone to already be in a very disturbed mental state, and so it would be very difficult to be certain that the murderer would not have just found some other excuse for their actions.

COMPUTER GAMES

Computer games are often very violent and sometimes the violence is so evocative of real life situations that it must be considered. For example some video games have allowed the player to take the role of a terrorist killing innocent civilians. However I think the argument that playing computer games like these leads people to commit murder is very dubious and no evidence can prove this is the case. At the most it could be considered as a very indirect incitement and as such would not meet my criteria for prosecution. Again anyone who was so inspired would have to already be in a seriously disturbed mental state.

RADICALIZATION THROUGH CRITICISM OF RELIGION

A truly absurd claim of indirect incitement is when people with anti-Islamic views who try to tell the truth about Islam are accused of radicalizing the followers of Islam. The Muslim was peaceful until this Islamophobe persuaded him that the Koran instructs him to kill the disbelievers (so goes this cranky theory). He then felt he had no choice but to join the Islamic State and kill some disbelievers.

Obviously this argument would make it impossible for anyone to criticize the Islamic religion truthfully, because the religion can be proved to incite violence, as I shall argue in the next post. Criminalizing such indirect radicalization could in fact then be seen as a step towards submission to Islam, because it could in effect create a de facto blasphemy law only applying to Islam (or any other religion that can be demonstrated to incite violence).

Quote from a speech by President Obama:

“Groups like ISIL and al-Qaida want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions. They want us to validate them, by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people, that they speak for Islam. That’s their propaganda. That’s how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.”

This sort of argument I believe demonstrates how trying to include indirect incitements leads to a great many absurd claims.

HOLOCAUST DENIAL

Some countries have made denial of the Nazi holocaust illegal, but I think this is a big mistake. Archaeological discoveries often come to light which change our understanding of history. We must always be able to challenge accepted wisdom about historical events. Let us argue against holocaust denial with evidence, not law.

An example of a claim that holocaust denial incites violence can be found here:

http://jcpa.org/article/expanding-holocaust-denial-and-legislation-against-it/

Quote:

An additional consideration is that deniers use Holocaust denial to incite hatred against Jews. They usually claim that Jewish demands for reparations and restitution for property stolen during the Nazi era are specious and based on a falsification of history. There was no Holocaust, or the consequences were much less serious than Jews say they were, hence Europeans and European governments are being conned by the Jews. Almost invariably this constitutes incitement against Jews and Jewish communities, and frequently has led to violence against Jews and Jewish institutions. Again this undermines fundamental concepts of civil liberty and fundamental rights.

(Readers please note – I personally believe that the Nazi holocaust took place, I don’t want to get into a debate about that subject.  I am simply arguing against laws that criminalize holocaust denial.)

CONCLUSIONS

Incitement should be illegal only if it is believed by a judge and jury to be a direct credible incitement that is likely to lead or have led to a criminal act being committed. The set of tests of the credibility of an incitement outlined above in the DIRECT section should be considered by said judge and jury, in an effort to minimize subjective sentencing. However due to the nature of incitement there will always unfortunately be a subjective element to the judging and sentencing. All we can do beyond issuing such guidelines is try and ensure only sensible people become judges.

An incitement should be considered serious enough to prosecute even if there is some time delay between the incitement and the crime, i.e. the current US requirement that the incitement is likely to lead imminently to a crime being committed should be discarded. Even in cases where no crime has yet been committed, some incitements should be considered serious enough to prosecute if for example they are issued by political or religious leaders who are well regarded by their followers. In short, the set of considerations outlined here should be weighed up together to decide on whether a direct incitement should be prosecuted, and what the severity of the sentence should be if so.

Indirect incitements should never be criminalized because it is too difficult to prove cause and effect, and because the serious danger of inhibiting free speech/debate is too great. As I mentioned before in a post about hate crime, the way to deal with hatred is through dialogue and debate, not prosecutions. Prosecutions merely serve to increase the sense of victim-hood and a feeling that the state is siding with those who are hated, which is more likely to increase the hatred than reduce it.

RELATED POSTS:

Hate Crime – A Terribly Flawed Concept

The Principle of the Thing – Equality Before The Law

The “Brexit Hate Surge”