The person who reported Mateen to the FBI

June 22nd, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Mohammed Malik writes:

Donald Trump believes American Muslims are hiding something.

“They know what’s going on. They know that [Omar Mateen] was bad,” he said after the Orlando massacre.

“They have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad. . . . But you know what? They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death and destruction.”

This is a common idea in the United States. It’s also a lie.

Firstly, Muslims like me can’t see into the hearts of other worshippers. (Do you know the hidden depths of everyone in your community?) Secondly, he’s also wrong that we don’t speak up when we’re able.

I know this firsthand: I was the one who told the FBI about Omar Mateen.

And he is not alone in this. In many countries the best source of information on radicalised Muslims comes from other Muslims.

Soon after Omar married and moved to his own home, he began to come to the mosque more often. Then he went on a religious trip to Saudi Arabia. There was nothing to indicate that he had a dark side, even when he and his first wife divorced.

But as news reports this week have made clear, Omar did have a dark outlook on life.

Partly, he was upset at what he saw as racism in the United States – against Muslims and others. When he worked as a security guard at the St Lucie County Courthouse, he told me visitors often made nasty or bigoted remarks to him about Islam.

He overheard people saying ugly things about African Americans, too. Since September 11, I’ve thought the only way to answer Islamophobia was to be polite and kind; the best way to counter all the negativity people were seeing on TV about Islam was by showing them the opposite. I urged Omar to volunteer and help people in need – Muslim or otherwise (charity is a pillar of Islam). He agreed, but was always very worked up about this injustice.

Good advice.

After my talk with the FBI, I spoke to people in the Islamic community, including Omar, abut Moner’s attack. I wondered how he could have radicalised. Both Omar and I attended the same mosque as Moner, and the imam never taught hate or radicalism. That’s when Omar told me he had been watching videos of Awlaki, too, which immediately raised red flags for me. He told me the videos were very powerful.

After speaking to Omar, I contacted the FBI again to let them know that Omar had been watching Awlaki’s tapes. He hadn’t committed any acts of violence and wasn’t planning any, as far as I knew. And I thought he probably wouldn’t, because he didn’t fit the profile: He already had a second wife and a son.

But it was something agents should keep their eyes on. I never heard from them about Omar again, but apparently they did their job: They looked into him and, finding nothing to go on, they closed the file.

So while he was not stopped, Malik did his best.

I had told the FBI about Omar because my community, and Muslims generally, have nothing to hide. I love this country, like most Muslims that I know. I don’t agree with every government policy (I think there’s too much money in politics, for instance), but I’m proud to be an American. I vote. I volunteer. I teach my children to treat all people kindly.

Our families came to the US because it is full of opportunity – a place where getting a job is about what you know, not who you know. It’s a better country to raise children than someplace where the electricity is out for 18 hours a day, where politicians are totally corrupt, or where the leader is a dictator.

Dr Malik sounds like a great American.

A NZ Muslim on Islam

June 21st, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Donna Miles-Mojab writes in the NZ Herald:

I write this as a Muslim even though being a Muslim does not define me. In fact, I have a very secular outlook to life and last time I knelt down to pray was more to impress my grandmother than Allah – I was 7 or 8.

A useful reminder that for many people their religion does not define them – it is just a part of them. For some people their religious beliefs are the most important and central part of their life. But not for everyone, or even most people.

I have therefore decided that, for the sake of the majority of peaceful Muslims, to embrace my Islamic heritage and to celebrate, build and promote what is good, beautiful and uniting about Islam: think solace, comfort, charity, hospitality, empathy, kindness.

The alternative is to denounce the religion I was born into because of the actions of a minority.

But doing that would only play into the hands of extremists; their goal is to declare themselves as the only true Muslims by dismissing my mother, grandmother and over one billion of other peaceful Muslims as infidels.

Very true. And Islam can only be reformed by those who are within the religion.

It is time for secular Muslims, feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, bisexual Muslims, lesbian Muslims, transsexual Muslims, Marxist Muslims and all the other shades of Muslims to come out, in greater numbers, and proudly say that they are Muslims too. It is also time for Muslims to accept that extremism, violence, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, oppression and patriarchy are rife amongst many Islamic cultures. But Muslims need to talk about these issues in an open and transparent way and acknowledge that the extremists who carry out vile acts of terrorism are Muslims too.

Good to have this acknowledged. Now again this does not mean that all or even most Muslims are anti-Semitic, racist or sexist. They’re not. But in a fair number of Muslim majority countries, these values do hold sway. Women can not vote or drive. Consensual homosexual activity can attract the death penalty. Apostasy is seen as a capital crime.

There is no doubt that the majority of the global terrorism today is carried out by Islamist groups but 50 or 100 years ago, it was communists, anarchists, fascists and others who resorted to terrorism to achieve their goals. Nobody blamed Christianity or atheism then so why are we blaming Islam now?

My view is that communism, fascism and Islamism (not Islam) are incompatible with democracy. Islam as private religious beliefs is fine. Islamism, as the political belief that a country’s laws should reflect the religious beliefs is not.

Shi’a Muslim scholar who urged death for homosexuals spoke in Orlando in March

June 14th, 2016 at 12:12 pm by David Farrar

Fusion reports:

On March 29, 2016, Farrokh Sekaleshfar — a British-born medical doctor and Shi’a Muslim scholar — was invited to speak at the Husseini Islamic Center just outside Orlando, Florida.

His sermon, “How to deal with the phenomenon of homosexuality,” at the Sanford-based center, happened behind closed doors, but it alarmed local gay and lesbian leaders. Only three years before, in another U.S. speaking engagement, the scholar and sheikh had described in characteristically sotto voce what it meant to do the compassionate thing for gay people:

“Death is the sentence. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence.”

He continued: “We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals, it’s the same. Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now.”

This is the different between Islam and almost all other religions. While the views of Dr Sekaleshfar are of course a minority view, you have a number of religious leaders in Islam who go around promoting these views. In other religions such as Christianity, people holding these views are deeply marginalised – the Westboro Baptist Church for example. They are shunned by pretty much everyone else (and are not so much a church as one extended family).

But here you have religious leaders invited to speak, and saying such things. It creates the climate for extremism.

Fusion got in touch with Dr. Sekaleshfar, who lives in the holy city of Qum in Iran and is currently traveling in Sydney, Australia.

Asked what his reactions are to today’s attacks, he told Fusion through Facebook, “I am totally against the barbaric act of violence that has happened. In no way at all can such a killing be justified Islamically.”

He called Orlando shooter Omar Mateen Siddiqui “an ill and perverted, animalistic entity who has abused an ideology to satiate his sad, twisted desires.”

Asked specifically about his March comments about gays in Orlando, as well as his better-known 2013 speech, Sekaleshfar called his approach an “academic discussion” in which he was describing the “theoretical angle as to what Islam says.”

“I never gave the call to a death sentence,” he said, adding that lines of his 2013 speech had been taken out of context. “I was explaining what Islamic law – in a country whose people democratically desired Islamic law to be exercised – states in relation to NOT homosexuals, but rather in relation to when the act of anal copulation is executed in such an aforementioned public,” he said.

Now there is a difference between saying the state should executive homosexuals and that individuals should do so. But it is about the climate. When a dozen or so Muslim countries do have the death penalty for homosexuality, when some Muslim scholars do say we should get rid of homosexuals, then it is perhaps no surprise that an individual may take that to mean that God wants him to kill homosexuals.

Again there is a difference between moderate Muslims, extremist Muslims and jihadist Muslims. But we delude ourselves if we think the problem is only the jihadists who actually pick up a gun. The extremist views of Dr Sekaleshfar provide a climate which fosters jihadism. Of course in this particular case, we don’t know if there was a link, but the point is no religious group should invite any religious leader to spread a message that homosexual acts should result in death.

Views of British Muslims

May 14th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

As I’ve said before, there is a challenge with not just jihadists, but also what I call extreme views among a minority of Muslims. The example I use is support for the death penalty for apostates. That is a view incompatible with a free society. You should not face any criminal penalty for changing your religion, let alone death.

A survey was done of views among Muslims in the UK. The full results are here. Now there has been some criticism of the survey methodology such as possible over-sampling in areas with a high Muslim population (which is more likely to foster radical views). So these findings should be taken as approximate. Maybe 38% is only 30% for example. And you have sample margin of errors. But nevertheless the high level of support for some views is a concern, and something that needs to be confronted.

There is also good news in the survey – most Muslims strongly feel they belong to Britain, and only 1% was separate Islamic areas.

  • 86% strongly feel they belong to Britain (which is good)
  • However only 63% in the North East strongly feel they belong
  • Only 3% think they are treated worse than other religions by their local doctor or schools
  • However 17% think treated worse by Police
  • 22% of Muslims think religious harassment of Muslims is a big problem and 73% not a problem
  • 17% have personally experience harassment while 82% have not
  • 36% mix socially in their home with non-Muslims at least weekly, 39% infrequently and 22% never
  • 39% want to fully integrate with non-Muslims, 29% mainly integrate, 17% some integration and only 1% want seperate Islamic areas with sharia law and government
  • 33% think boys and girls should be taught separately and 46% disagree
  • Only 28% think it is acceptable for a homosexual to be a teacher and 47% say unacceptable
  • 31% say a British Muslim should be able to have more than one wife and 46% disagree
  • 39% say a wife should always obey their husband and 32% disagree
  • Only 18% think homosexuality should be legal and 52% disagree
  • 23% support sharia law in some ares of UK, and 43% opposed
  • 88% say UK is a good place for Muslims to live and only 3% a bad place
  • Negative feelings towards other religious groups are Catholics 12%, Atheists 23%, Buddhists 20%, Jews 25%, Protestants 13%, Hindus 17%
  • Only 1% think the Holocaust is a myth
  • 4% support and 83% condemn terrorist acts
  • 5% support stoning for adultery and 79% condemn
  • 18% support violence against those mocking the Prophet and 64% condemn
  • Only 4% believe publications should be able to publish depictions of the Prophet and 78% say not okay
  • 7% support objective of Islamic State (but not methods) and 675 oppose
  • 3% support actions of Islamic State and 73% oppose

Overall some of the results are very encouraging, with very low levels of support for Islamic State, stoning for adultery etc, Holocuast denial. However other findings such as criminalising homosexuality and prohibiting publications showing Muhammad are more challenging.

This is a good thing

April 7th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Egypt’s Government is sending Cairo-educated imams to “take control” of New Zealand mosques and Islamic centres in a new drive to reduce radicalisation and counter jihadism.

The imams – trained at the ancient Al-Azhar University, regarded as the foremost institution in the Islamic world for the study of Sunni theology and sharia law – will spend up to three years working alongside local mosque leaders promoting moderate Islam and tolerance.

Good. The best way of reducing the extreme versions of Islam, is promoting moderate Islam. Despite what some think, there is a huge diversity of views within Islam.

“We don’t want anything to happen here like what has happened in Belgium, Paris, Madrid or London so we are sending imams to explain Islam and to take control of Islamic centres and mosques here.”

Mr al-Wasimy said the imams were funded by the Egyptian Government and Al-Azhar, which dates back to 970 and in recent years has embarked on a global initiative to improve the image of Islam, promote tolerance, and battle radicalisation and recruitment of young Muslims by extremist groups. …

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand said it welcomed the “extremely positive” move after checking out the authenticity of the offer.

“We decided to accept their offer, especially as Al-Azhar is a very well-known organisation promoting moderate Islam,” said federation president Hazim Arafeh.

Sounds good to me.

Karl du Fresne on Islamic refugees

January 29th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Karl du Fresne writes:

Let me see if I can get this straight. Millions of oppressed, dispossessed Muslims have risked their lives fleeing the Middle East and North Africa.

They are mostly victims of Islamic regimes from a part of the world where democracy is virtually unknown (Israel aside). They are escaping sectarianism, persecution, civil war, anarchy, corruption and starvation.

None of them want to go to other Islamic countries. Why would they, when Islam represents all that they’re trying to get away from? …

Besides, hardly any Islamic regimes offer them refuge. With the honourable exceptions of Lebanon and Jordan, most Islamic countries – including some that are fabulously wealthy – appear impervious to the suffering of their co-religionists.  

No, the place these Islamic refugees want to be is Europe – Western Europe, to be precise. And what attracts them there? Presumably freedom, for a start. 

Western Europe is democratic. People actually elect their governments. The rule of law is enforced not by religious zealots but by courts that apply principles of fairness and impartiality.

In Europe, people’s prospects don’t depend on having been born into the right sex, religious sect or clan. They enjoy civil rights – the right to dress the way they want, to vote, to speak their minds, to have educational opportunities, to drive cars and enter into romantic relationships without fear of being murdered in “honour” killings. 

And presumably these refugees are also attracted to capitalism, because more than any other “ism” it gives them the greatest chance to fulfil their human potential.

You can understand why they want to come to Europe.

So, having been drawn to this benevolent part of the world where people enjoy freedom, opportunity and prosperity, what do they do? 

A large number of them, it seems, immediately want to replicate the conditions that they’ve just fled from. This is the bit that I just don’t get.

As events in Germany on New Year’s Eve showed, the first impulse of many young Islamic men is to abuse the hospitality extended to them. 

Some, of course, go much further than orchestrated sex attacks on young women. They want to murder the infidels who have given them shelter and succour. 

Things just don’t add up here. Why would anyone flee a cruel and repressive society, then seek to undermine the democratic institutions of their host country so that it might become another Muslim theocracy? How perverse is that?

They say Islam isn’t to blame for the barbaric acts carried out in its name, but that’s only partly true.

Yes, many Muslims respect Western institutions and want only to live in peace in the countries that have accepted them. They understand that freedom to practise their religion is one thing; the right to impose it on their host society is quite another. These Muslims are welcome. 

But Islam cannot be exonerated of responsibility for the mayhem and slaughter in the Middle East, nor for the creeping contamination of Europe. The tenets of Islam provide a theological framework that enables groups like the Taleban, Al Qaeda and Isis to flourish.

I distinguish between Islam (the religion) and Islamism (the political system based on Islam).

Many Muslims are happy to practice their religion as a private thing and don’t want the law to reflect their religion. They just want the right to practice their religion.

But a large minority believe that the beliefs of Islam should be part of the law of a country. This may be sharia law, making apostasy a crime etc. This is Islamism.

I believe that Islamism is on a par with fascism and communism. They are incompatible with democratic liberal values. They all require an all powerful state.

I would not see any barrier in the way of Muslims migrating to any country, if they support democratic values.

But if they are Islamists. If they believe their religious beliefs should be enshrined in law. Then I think taking in such migrants is a stupid thing to do, as you weaken your country.

Why doesn’t Trump just call for Muslims to be tatooed?

December 8th, 2015 at 10:51 am by David Farrar

AP report:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is calling for a “complete and total shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States.

Trump says in a statement released by his campaign Monday that his proposal comes in response to the level of hatred among “large segments of the Muslim population” toward Americans.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says Trump’s proposed ban would apply to “everybody,” including Muslims seeking immigration visas as well as tourists seeking to enter the country.

So no Muslims as migrants or tourists. And presumably no diplomats from other countries can be Muslims so half the embassies must close. Tim Groser is a Muslim, so he would be banned. And no visits from Heads of States that are Muslims. And of course the logical next step is to tattoo Muslims in the US so they can be identified and deported.

You expect this sort of call from the fringe of politics, but not from the leading US contender for the republican nomination.

Trump is going to destroy the Republican Party.

I quote the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Donald Trump would ban Malala Yousafzai from entering the US who won the Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to the Taliban!

Despite his lead in the polls, he must be recognising he doesn’t have a path to win the nomination, so he is getting desperate.

Guest Post: David Garrett on A case for immediate cessation of all Muslim immigration

December 3rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A guest post by David Garrett:

I recently found myself in an argument with the wife of an old friend over Muslim immigration. By an accident of sychronicity, I had just finished Volume I of Sir Winston Churchill’s WW II memoirs, “The Gathering Storm”, which covers his period in the political wilderness in the 1930’s. In developing my argument with my friend’s wife, I saw striking parallels with where we are now with regard to Muslim immigration, and the position of Western Europe during the latter 1930’s. [Yes, I know…Godwinning myself in the first paragraph. So be it.]

When pressed as to why she thought Muslim immigration was such a good thing, my opponent frequently used the word “diversity”, as if that in itself explained all, and  was the end of the argument. I tried in vain to get her to expand on just what she meant, and why diversity of that kind was something good.

To try and get her to think more deeply, I gave an example. I asked her to imagine that next door to their bungalow in leafy  Remuera there lived a strictly observant Muslim family, the mother in her black tent walking dutifully behind her husband, carry the groceries and anything else he required his subject wife to do.  The little girls of the family with their heads but not yet their bodies covered, and their mode of  playing tightly prescribed. The boys modelling themselves after their unsmiling bearded father, and doing none of the things my host’s children did.

Mrs Remuera was unable to say quite how the presence of that imaginary family – with their way of life so utterly different from ours – gave a richness and vibrancy to her neighbourhood, the wider community, or our country. Her husband, gallant gentleman that he is, tried to assist his wife by wanly suggesting that Arab food was “really very nice.” I think he was only partially serious. I’m sure there  are cafes in Auckland serving Arab food, but  I have not seen them. “Much wider choice of ethnic foods” is of course one of the best and most commonly cited  examples of how diversity enriches us.

Why should we worry?

It is really very simple. Every western country which has allowed its Muslim population to exceed 2% has experienced problems generated by that community – or at least arising because of their presence within those societies. The severity of the “problems” appears directly related to the proportion of Muslims in any given western society.

In Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden – and now Australia – there have been civil disturbances which can be directly linked to the presence of a sizeable Muslim community. Those disturbances range from harassment of women dressed “immodestly” at the low end, to mass murder – most recently in France – at the other.

I have always thought that George Santayana’s famous dictum about those who do not learn from history being destined to repeat it is the crème de la crème of philosophical observations. I have asked the question many times – on this very blog and in my life in the real world – “why would our experience of allowing a Muslim population to develop above 2% be any different from that of all other western countries’?”  The usual response is that there is no evidence of anything bad happening here. The response to that non-argument is of  course “not yet – we  have not yet reached what appears to be  the tipping point of 2%”.

I truly believe we are, in a very real sense, in exactly the position Western Europe was in the  early 1930’s. The prevailing sentiment among both  the political elites  and the population of Britain at large was then, as ours is  now, one of tolerance, or at least wilful blindness to the dangers posed by the rising tide of fascism in Germany. It is important to be reminded that the very word “fascism” had none of the pejorative connotations in 1933 that it most definitely carried ten years later.

While some laughed at Hitler’s histrionic posturing, there was widespread support for the view that both Hitler and his model Mussolini had “made the trains run on time”, had reduced unemployment in their countries, and that those countries were handling the effects of the depression far better than the democracies. In all European countries there were fascist parties openly advocating the same type of polices. In Britain, the British Union of Fascists – led by a brilliant former cabinet Minister – had a great deal more support than those few surrounding Churchill, who was derided as a war monger, and “yesterday’s man.”

Do we not now have a very similar situation?  Our rulers and the political elites seem blandly unconcerned about Muslim immigration into our country, and deride people like me who warn of the possible consequences of it. I recently received a letter from the colourless Minister of Immigration in response to my letter expressing concern. The Hon. Minister tartly informed me that: “New Zealand does not select [immigrants] on the basis of race or religion.” How utterly un-reassuring. One can almost see the rolling eyes of the 22 year old staffer drafting a reply  to “another crack pot”. The letter did not even warrant the Minister’s signature.

Why act now?

Again it is very simple – if we don’t act now, it will be too late if doomsayers like me are right. We are endlessly lectured by the greenies about “tipping points”; that if this or that greenhouse gas emission is not reduced to some unfeasible level  by next week,  unstoppable catastrophic climate change will ensue. Once it has happened, we are told, it will be too late to reverse it.

Well, I know very little about climate change, but simple logic tells me that if I am right about the dire effects of a Muslim population above 2%, it will be impossible to do anything about it. The reason is again simple. We have 50,000 odd Muslims now, a bit more than 1% of our population. There are nowhere near enough of them to cause any significant trouble – yet.

Even if we closed our borders to all of the Muslim faith immediately  – I would go further than that, and exclude all  immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries – we could not stop the ones we already have from multiplying. Given their greater birthrate, it is a certainty that in 10 or perhaps 20 years at the most, we will have a Muslim population well above the crucial tipping point of 2%.

If I am right, and we are then seeing harassment of women dressed in ways the bearded ones do not like – or much worse – what then could we do about it? Very little. Again, if we follow overseas experience,  the harassment and terrorism will be perpetrated not by the immigrants we have so blithely let in ten or twenty years before, but by  their New Zealand born children.

 All of the atrocities that I am aware of in Western Europe have been perpetrated by young Muslims born in their host countries (although early reports suggest that some at least of the terrorists responsible for Paris have slipped in with “genuine” refugees.) If the same thing were to happen here ten years down the track, there is absolutely nothing  we could do about our local Muslim community. As we have just learned from the Australians, we are stuck with our citizens, however unsavoury they may be.

Let’s just say for arguments sake that I am wrong – not being a leftie, I am never absolutely certain of anything. What do we lose by stopping Muslim immigration right now? My argument is that we lose absolutely nothing of value. Unlike the vibrant communities which have developed from our South East Asian immigrants – which by and large have had overwhelmingly positive effects on our society – there is nothing from overseas experience which suggests there is anything of value to be gained from having communities of stern bearded men and their subjucated women among us. And that’s assuming none of them are or could be  terrorists

Except, perhaps, a few cafes serving  the cuisine of Somalia, Saudi Arabia, or the Sudan. I can do without that, thanks very much. I much prefer that my beautiful daughter is allowed to go to the beach wearing whatever she likes, and that my son isn’t influenced by people who think his wife should also be his servant. Muslim immigrants are a very real threat to our way of life. We should not take one more of them.

For the avoidance of doubt, the post is the opinion of the author, not of Kiwiblog. Kiwiblog accepts guest posts, even when I disagree with the views in them.

A sad example of the problems of extreme Islam

November 19th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

In my earlier blog post I laid out that the problem with Islam extends beyond Jihadist Muslims to other Islamists or extreme Muslims who cheer on death in certain circumstances. They are a minority of Muslims, but still number in the hundreds of millions.

We sadly see this in this story:

Turkish fans booed and chanted Allahu Akbar (“God is greater”) during the minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris attacks before their national team drew 0-0 with Greece in a friendly international match on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time).

They celebrated the slaughtering of youths at a nightclub.

Starting to rethink my view that one day Turkey should be allowed into the EU.

Five shades of Islam

November 17th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

One of the predictable, yet distressing, things about the Paris terror attacks is you get extreme opinions about Islam and Muslims, from both “sides”.

One the one side, you get people saying the entire Islamic religion is to blame, and all Muslims are untrustworthy, and should be deported/not allowed in etc.

On the other side you get many try to argue that Islamic terror attacks have nothing to do with Islam, and that there are no problems with Islam.

I reject both those views.

Those who argue that the West should somehow banish all Muslims, and that all adherents of Islam are potentially a problem are wrong both ethically and practically.

Ethically it is wrong to treat individuals purely as members of a religion, rather than on the basis of everything else in their lives. You only judge someone by their group characteristic in the absence of any knowledge of them as an individual.

Practically it is nuts to think that you could try and divide the world up by banishing 1.4 billion people from certain countries.

Anyway I want to go into some detail as to why you can’t lump all Muslims together, just as you can’t lump all Christians together or even all Catholics. But I also want to explore why there is a problem with Islam beyond the jihadists.

For the purposes of the post I’m going to divide Muslims into five broad categories. They’re categories created by me, so don’t argue about whether there are four or six or seven or 852. And I’m not even going to get into Sunni vs Shia and Wahhabi etc.

Broadly speaking I personally see five broad groups of Muslims. They are:

  1. Secular Muslims
  2. Moderate Muslims
  3. Devout Muslims
  4. Extreme Muslims or Islamists
  5. Jihadist Muslims

Secular Muslims

Now wait a second you say. There is no such thing as a Secular Muslim. It is a contradiction.

Well just as Israel has Atheist Jews, you do have basically secular Muslims. They’re people who culturally identify as Muslim, but don’t really practice the religion at all. It is a cultural thing, rather than a religious thing. And yes I’m aware they’re probably not considered Muslims by some of the other groups, but it is about what they identify as.

You might ask why do they identify as Muslim, if they do not really follow the religion at all. Well basically it is family. Declaring yourself not a Muslim would get your ostracized from your family.  You would have years of  arguments and stress. Also you are proud of your family and their culture, and wish to be associated with it.

Beyond the identification as Muslim, the behaviour is generally no different from others in their country and peer group. I know Muslims girls who have numerous boyfriends, hook ups, drink alcohol etc. Possibly even eat pork. And one of them I know wasn’t even sure if their family/they are Shia or Sunni.

For many years I have not believed in God, yet I still have ticked Anglican on my census form, because I grew up Anglican, was only 99.99% sure their is no God, and still have positive feelings about the Anglican Church. So I have been a sort of secular Anglican. I also have Jewish heritage, and associate with my Jewish heritage, even though I am not religiously Jewish.

I don’t know what proportion of Muslims are basically secular, but in Western countries it is quite a few.

Moderate Muslims

This is what I call the equivalent of the Easter and Christmas Catholic. They will believe in God/Allah. They will very occasionally go to a religious service. They may not necessarily wear a head scarf without fail (if female), and their religion is not the most important aspect of their lives. It is significant, but not dominant.

Again no real estimate of numbers, but in my observations more common in Asian countries than the Middle East. Not unknown also in parts of Africa.

Devout Muslims

Arguably the largest group. Their religion is a very important part of their life. They will go out of their way to adhere to religious customs, and attend mosque regularly. They do not think their religion should be the law of the land, they just want to be able to practice it themselves.

The equivalent of weekly church goers in Christian  churches.

Islamists/Extreme Muslims

These are Muslims who basically do believe their religious beliefs should not just be practiced by themselves, but should have legal force. They may support sharia law, stoning as punishment for adultery, the death penalty for apostasy, suicide bombings as justified sometimes, have favourable views of jihadist groups, support honour killings.

This group does not include jihadists, but provides the environment where they can thrive and gain support. If you support killing adulterers and apostates, then it is not surprising that it is hard to argue that however it is wrong to kill party goers in Paris. One really wants adherents of a religion to say that killing anyone (except in self defence) is always wrong – full stop.

The number of Islamists or exteme Muslims is not insignificant. In this blog post I estimate it is around 420 million or so. A minority, but a large minority – say 25%.

Jihadist Muslims

These are the ones who actively get involved in killing people who they think have offended their religion, willing fighters for Islamic State, al-Qaeda etc. Estimated (low end) numbers are:

  • Islamic State 60,000
  • al-Qaeda 20,000
  • Taliban 60,000

There’s around 100 smaller groups also. In total talking low hundreds of thousands.  As a proportion of Islam not even 0.1%, but as raw numbers scarily high.  By comparison the IRA had around 10,000 members.

So I see no good in lumping all Muslims together. It’s unhelpful, it’s offensive to them, and it only makes things worse.

However I do believe the focus should not just be on Jihadists Muslims, but also Islamists or Extreme Muslims. I’m quite happy for countries to have immigration policies that say if you think think death is an appropriate punishment for adultery or apostasy then you’re not suitable to live here. Likewise if you think your religious beliefs should be imposed on people who don’t follow your religion, the same. And that applies to extreme adherents of other religions also.

In my mind you can’t make the case that blowing civilians up is bad, but executing someone for changing their religion is acceptable.

Islam does need a reformation. That can’t be done by non Muslims. It can only be done within Islam. The bottom line needs to be that death is never justified. The problem however is that Islam has no central authority (unlike most religions) and the status of the Koran makes a reformation very difficult. However there is no other long-term solution.

So I do reject those who say Islamic State and its terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. That is a lie. It may be an extreme minority aspect of Islam, but the teachings of Mohammed clearly are a driving force for many Islamists and Jihadists.

Douglas Murray covers this well in The Spectator:

The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. It was what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris in January. And it is all that most politicians will be able to come out with again after the latest atrocities in Paris.

All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting.

And it has become counter productive.

‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion.

Muslims in the first three categories bear no responsibility for what Jihadists do. But there does need to be a recognition that reform is needed – that their views of Islam need to become more widespread so they represent not 75% of Muslims, but 99%.

To claim that people who punish people by killing them for blaspheming Islam while shouting ‘Allah is greatest’ has ‘nothing to do with Islam’ is madness. Because the violence of the Islamists is, truthfully, only to do with Islam: the worst version of Islam, certainly, but Islam nonetheless.

Other religions have issues also, as the author notes but:

Here we land at the centre of the problem — a centre we have spent the last decade and a half trying to avoid: Islam is not a peaceful religion. No religion is, but Islam is especially not. Nor is it, as some ill-informed people say, solely a religion of war. There are many peaceful verses in the Quran which — luckily for us — the majority of Muslims live by. But it is, by no means, only a religion of peace.

You can cherry pick verses in the Quran to argue it is a religion of peace or war. What matters is the actions by its adherents.

I say this not because I hate Islam, nor do I have any special animus against Muslims, but simply because this is the verifiable truth based on the texts. Until we accept that we will never defeat the violence, we risk encouraging whole populations to take against all of Islam and abandon all those Muslims who are trying desperately to modernise, reform and de-literalise their faith.

And they are the ones we must support. Not demonise.

The world would be an infinitely safer place if the historical Mohammed had behaved more like Buddha or Jesus. …

We may all share a wish that these traditions were not there but they are and they look set to have serious consequences for us all. We might all agree that the history of Christianity has hardly been un-bloody. But is it not worth asking whether the history of Christianity would have been more bloody or less bloody if, instead of telling his followers to ‘turn the other cheek’, Jesus had called (even once) for his disciples to ‘slay’ non–believers and chop off their heads?

A point worth considering.

This is a problem with Islam — one that Muslims are going to have to work through. They could do so by a process which forces them to take their foundational texts less literally, or by an intellectually acceptable process of cherry-picking verses. Or prominent clerics could unite to declare the extremists non-Muslim.

Again the lack of a central authority makes this difficult. However political leaders in Muslim countries could lead the way. They could remove laws around executing people for apostasy or adultery as a start.

We have spent 15 years pretending things about Islam, a complex religion with competing interpretations. It is true that most Muslims live their lives peacefully. But a sizeable portion (around 15 per cent and more in most surveys) follow a far more radical version. The remainder are sitting on a religion which is, in many of its current forms, a deeply unstable component. That has always been a problem for reformist Muslims. But the results of ongoing mass immigration to the West at the same time as a worldwide return to Islamic literalism means that this is now a problem for all of us. To stand even a chance of dealing with it, we are going to have to wake up to it and acknowledge it for what it is.

The challenge is to talk about the problems within Islam, in a way which doesn’t lead to more extremism and defensiveness.

The hijab and niqab

November 2nd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

The young Muslim woman refused a job at an Auckland jewellers because of her hijab (headscarf) has been the subject of an important debate since her story appeared in the Weekend Herald last Saturday. Letters to the editor have questioned whether it is fair to expect a shop hiring counter staff to ignore a garment that may make some customers uncomfortable. They praised the Stewart Dawsons/Pascoes outlet for at least being honest with the woman.

Many employers might turn her down on a false pretext. But the James Pascoe group was quick to disown the decision. “This is by no means how we run our business,” said a spokesman. “We have employees who wear the hijab.”

I don’t think most people have any problem with the hijab. Criticising a Muslim woman for wearing a hijab is like criticising a nun for wearing a coif.

There may be a small set of jobs where a hijab would not be appropriate, as in a job where any headgear is banned – possibly for safety reasons. But these would be very few.

Those who are unsettled by Islamic women covering their head, and even their face in some cases, will need to get used to it.

Head yes, face no.

But tolerance does not preclude debate about the meaning and purpose of covering up in this way. Islam insists on the hijab (covering hair) but not the niqab covering all but the eyes, which some adherents choose to wear as part of the full body covering, the burqa. To Western minds it is profoundly sad that any women should want to cover their face in public or cover themselves completely, especially if their religion would otherwise blame them for arousing male interest.

I view the niqab very different to the hijab. Apart from the fact is is more a political than a religious requirement, it is an incredibly hostile garment as it means you can not make any sort of visual identification with a person wearing that – something that cuts to the core of most societies.

I find the niqab as anti-social as a balaclava.

One of them, British-born, Iranian-bred New Zealand citizen Donna Miles-Mojab, described the niqab in the Herald on Thursday as a rejection of “the objectification of women and manufactured views of beauty and liberty”.

There are many ways to reject manufactured views of beauty and objectification of women, without covering up every piece of skin except your eyes.

It is almost a signal that I don’t want any contact with anyone. If you were not sure of where you were going and wanted to ask someone directions, you wouldn’t ask someone in a niqab. You wouldn’t make casual conversation with them at say a bus stop. And it is almost beyond belief that someone wearing a niqab would ever get hired in a job, as almost all employers and employees value the norm of visual identification.

More seriously, they are a social barrier to others. We are not accustomed to people around us in public being hooded or masked and it is not easy to get used to. If we must, of course, we can. Tolerance will prevail.

We should tolerate it in the legal sense. Any NZers should have the right to wear what they want, within decency standards. But I don’t think we should shy away from making it clear that wearing a niqab in New Zealand is a socially unacceptable thing to do (even if legally acceptable) and that it is the equivalent of someone in a Middle Eastern country walking around in say cut off shorts and a t-shirt.

When we visit or live in other countries we respect the cultural norms around dress. If people choose to live in NZ it is my hope they will respect our cultural norms around dress – which is being able to have visual identification of people you interact with. It should not be a legal requirement, but to me it is a sign that someone doesn’t want to integrate into NZ society.

Western governments who have tried to discourage these dress codes have not achieved very much.

Tolerance is the only fair and sensible response and with it, immigrants are more likely to find the space and confidence to discard some encumbrances and embrace new ways.

We should have legal tolerance, but that is different from societal tolerance. And I am only talking about the niqab, not the hijab. So long as I can see someone’s face, I don’t care what else they’re wearing – overalls, a nun’s habit, a hijab or a dinner suit. But a society where a large number of people walking down street are showing their eyes only, is not one I want for New Zealand.

Maybe he should have paid his tax?

August 24th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Khalid Mehmood didn’t believe in paying $1 million tax – but the government didn’t have much sympathy and sent him to prison

Now, the restaurateur says jail itself is against his religion: he isn’t fed a Halal diet, he can’t pray because the other inmates are too noisy, and he doesn’t have access to an Imam. 

Again, authorities are unsympathetic. This week, the Court of Appeal upheld his three-year sentence in Northland Region Corrections Facility.

Good.

Mehmood’s appeal failed after judges found no records of the prison receiving his complaints, and noted he had since moved to a newly-built prison in South Auckland where he was able to observe his duties. 

So he was using his religion as an excuse to try and get a lighter sentence.

He appealed the sentence, claiming it was “disproportionately severe” because it prevented him from observing daily religious protocols. He argued it was a hardship not generally suffered by other prisoners. 

By that argument, atheists should get longer prison sentences than people of faith.

The Court of Appeal noted Mehmood had since been moved to a new facility where he had his own cell, could shower four times a day, had access to an Imam, was provided a Halal or vegetarian diet, and was given his two meals at 5pm everyday so he could eat after sunset and before sunrise.   

Sounds lovely!

How is this man running a school in Australia?

April 23rd, 2015 at 4:27 pm by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

THE State Government will probe shock claims girls at an Islamic high school in Melbourne’s west have been banned from running in case it caused them to lose their virginity.

A former teacher at Truganina’s Al-Taqwa College alleged that principal Omar Hallak stopped girls from running in cross country events in 2013 and 2014, Fairfax Media reported.

It gets worse than that.

Mr Hallak previously drew the ire of Mr Merlino when he reportedly told some students that Islamic State was a Western plot.

He claimed Islamic State was created by Israel and the US.

Bad enough to have such radicals in the wider community, but to have one of them poisoning the minds of school children is terrible. The State Government should stop all funding for his school.

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on “Islamophobia”

April 9th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Daily Beast interviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Do you think there is such a thing as Islamophobia? The term is often used to mean not just criticism of Islam, but bigotry toward Muslims as a group and as individuals. Do you think this is a problem?

You know what? Bigotry exists. People are racist. I grew up in a racist household. My mom used to look down on Kenyan people and call them slaves. It’s almost human nature to be racist. When it comes to “Islamophobia,” I think the individual who has given the most comprehensive answer and analysis is Asra Nomani in a January 16 article for The Washington Post. She [talks about the] “honor brigade” [a loosely knit network of bloggers and activists who criticize slights against Islam]. She tells you the genesis of how this “Islamophobia” term was invented, how it was kept afloat, but most disastrously, how it’s used to keep people silent. Right now, the country of Sweden has stood up for human rights, and Saudi Arabia is accusing Sweden of Islamophobia. Saudi Arabia is actually beheading people for sorcery, flogging women. And they dare call Sweden Islamophobic. It’s a country that has no churches, no synagogues, that persecutes fellow Muslims on grounds of being Shiites. It’s just amazing. That’s how “Islamophobia” is used.

Good point.

Are there people in the Muslim community who have been willing to engage with you, more than before?

Yes, it’s very interesting. Ten years ago, I was a pariah. And now, I have Muslims who are saying, “I don’t necessarily agree with every word you say”—which they don’t have to—“but you’re one of us, you’re brave, a reformation is needed.” I’m giving you an example: Maajid Nawaz, because he’s very prominent. The last time I debated him three years ago, here in New York, we were debating on Intelligence Squared, “Islam is a religion of peace” and he was saying, Islam is a religion of peace, and I was saying, No, Islam unreformed is not a religion of peace. Today he is saying, like me, Islam needs a reformation; but unlike me, he is still a Muslim. And along with him is a cleric, Usama Hassan, who has endorsed this book. He doesn’t agree with me, but he says, “This discussion is absolutely necessary. It’s important, it’s urgent, let’s have it.” So there is a shift, and beyond individuals who are just talking. Look at the president of Egypt [Abdel Fattah el-Sisi]. I think ISIS is forcing a lot of people who are Muslims into opposition. [El-Sisi] says we need a revolution in religion. That goes much farther than I’m going. I’m saying reform; he’s saying revolution. But it’s ultimately going to be a revolution in religion, he’s right.

A reformation of Islam, as happened to Christianity some centuries ago, would be a very good thing. But also very difficult.

So you’re very hopeful about what’s happening right now.

I just want to remind the free world that there was a time when they were not free—Europeans and Americans were not free. There was a time when Christian theology and Jewish theology was used to commit atrocious acts. Remember the witch hunts, remember the Protestants. I think Americans associate religion with something positive. In Europe, Protestants were killing other Protestants, Catholics were killing Protestants, Protestants were killing Catholics, just as the Sunni and the Shia are doing now. That is now in the history books. I look forward to a time when atrocities committed in the name of Islam will be in history books and museums and movies, but not happening to real people in real time.

The key is changing the focus of a religion from justified death, to honouring life.

You’ve had some reactions from Western feminists to your statements about Islam that you’ve found a bit disconcerting.

We are seeing that Western feminists are shy about pointing out the misogyny that’s committed in the name of the religion of Islam, because they feel we can’t impose our ethnocentric or Eurocentric or American-centric ways. If you read the [faculty] letter at Brandeis, that’s the core of it. Which is—don’t be ridiculous. It doesn’t matter where you are as an individual human being; freedom is freedom. Nobody likes to be oppressed. Human rights are universal. Individual rights are universal. This is the message to American feminists and other Western feminists: the best thing to share is the outcome of the emancipation.

There’s an argument, which I’m sure you’ve heard, that Western women face their own forms of oppression, which are different but may be just as bad, or almost as bad—

Like what? Who does the dishes at home? That’s what it boils down to: How can we balance work-life. Of course that’s challenging. But can you imagine how far we’ve come from the points when women weren’t allowed to get out of the house, couldn’t be in public, couldn’t take public office, weren’t allowed to vote, couldn’t own their own bank accounts. Even the money they inherited wasn’t theirs, it was for the male guardians to look after. And now, [it’s], “Who loads the dishes in the dishwasher, who does the unloading?” And I think it’s still very important; I have massive fights with my husband about who does what at home. But that is more on the micro level, and it’s a luxury. And I don’t think that the government can do anything about that. What kind of law are you going to pass that says who does the dishes, who does the diapers, who looks after the children, who’s going to work and whose career is going to go up or down?

I always find it amusing when NZ’s progress of women’s rights is judged by a UN committee that includes countries that don’t even given women the vote.

Fight extremism with humour

April 6th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

The police officer had just finished an earnest presentation on counter-extremism before an audience of 200 restless teenagers at an East London high school when a young man of Pakistani origin in a black hoodie took the stage.

“How many of you people are Muslim?” the man barked.

He grinned as nearly every hand went up.

“Guys, we can take over! Sharia law coming soon!” the man cried gleefully. “Allahu Akbar!”

The teens erupted in laughter even before the man had a chance to clarify: “I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I think I scared the white people.”

It’s the kind of knowing humor that has made 29-year-old Humza Arshad an Internet sensation, a hero to Muslim teenagers and perhaps the most potent new weapon in Britain’s arsenal as it wages an increasingly desperate campaign to counter violent Islamist extremism.

At a time when the flow of British Muslims to the war in Syria shows no sign of ebbing, Arshad has positioned himself as the anti-Jihadi John. Like Mohammed Emwazi, the scowling Islamic State executioner, Arshad is a London-raised Muslim from an immigrant family whose face has become instantly recognizable to millions of young Brits through videos uploaded online.

We need more people like this.

But where Emwazi seeks to terrify the world and seduce fresh recruits to join his bloodthirsty crusade, Arshad’s message is precisely the opposite: Laugh at extremism; don’t fall prey to it.

Great message.

In his “Diary of a Bad Man” series, Arshad plays a wannabe gangster who gets beaten up by girls, peed on by a fox and endlessly ridiculed by his mother. But he also manages to save his cousin from a descent into radicalism, and uses lessons from the Koran to urge others to steer away from violence.

This spring, Arshad has taken his message directly to students through an unusual partnership with Scotland Yard in which the police sponsor him to tell jokes at London-area high schools. The program has been a hit, with schools across the city vying for his time and officials planning to take the program nationwide.

Probably more effective than several dozen community engagement panels.

van Beynen on Islamic extremism

March 30th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

A very good column by Martin van Beynen:

While there can be no disputing that only a minority of Muslims believe in taking their beliefs to extremes, an intrinsic part of Islamic teaching justifies the death of opponents, non-believers or believers in other religions.

And a large minority of Muslims support the death penalty for apostates. I estimate around 32%.

An ancient text can be used to justify a variety of lethal behaviour as the history of Christianity has shown but, as some commentators have pointed out, you don’t get the feeling the Islamic world is moving away from fundamentalist interpretations of the Koran.

There are almost no people in Christianity demanding that there be an empire run on old testament law.

There are a fair amount in Islam wanting an empire run on a fundamentalist 7th century version of Islamic law.

As British columnist Rod Liddle pointed out recently in the Sunday Times, it is only in Islamic countries that people risk being put to death for blasphemy or apostasy (renouncing Islam).

“It is not just Muslim extremists who want to punish people for apostasy and blasphemy; it is the view of the mainstream Islamic world,” he writes.

And this is the challenge – not just the jihadists, but the laws in many Islamic countries.

How widespread is extreme Islam?

February 5th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

It is often said by many (including me) that Islam is not the problem, just the extreme version of it practiced by a minority. The majority of Muslims do not support suicide bombings, killing of apostates etc just as the majority of Christians do not support old testament punishments.

However many commentators (again including me) have pointed out that the size of the extremist faction of Islam is not small. It is a minority but it is a large minority. This is where Islam is different to other religions – the size of the faction with extremist views.

I’ve not seen much reporting trying to quantify the size on a global basis. Pew Research in 2013 published a report which collated opinion among Muslims in 39 countries with a large Muslim population. They report on views in each country. What I have done is take the percentages for each country and multiplied it by their estimated Muslim population to get a global figure. For some issues they report the data as a percentage of those who favour sharia law, so I have cross multiplied to get it as a consistent percentage of all Muslims in those countries.

Globally there are 1.6 billion Muslims. Here’s how many share what I (and most) would consider extreme views.

Favour Making Sharia the Law of the Land

In the 38 countries surveyed 69% of Muslims said they supported Sharia law being the official law of the land. This represents 739 million Muslims out of 1,064 million in those countries

Favour Stoning as Punishment for Adultery

In the 20 countries surveyed 42% of Muslims supported the stoning of adulterers .  This represents 352 million Muslims out of 835 million in those countries.

Favour Death Penalty for Apostates who leave Islam

In the 20 countries surveyed 32% of Muslims said the death penalty should apply to apostates who leave Islam.  This represents 267 million Muslims out of 835 million in those countries.

Say suicide bombings against civilian targets can be justified

In the 21 countries surveyed 22% of Muslims said suicide bombings against civilian targets can be justified . This represents 209 million Muslims out of 944 million in those countries.

Favourable opinion of al Qaeda

In the 11 countries surveyed 16% of Muslims said they had a favourable opinion of al Qaeda. This represents 107 million Muslims out of 666 million in those countries

Say honour killings can be justified as punishment for sex

In the 23 countries surveyed 47% of Muslims said honour killings can be justified as punishment for pre-marital or extra-marital sex.  This represents 420 million Muslims out of 903 million in those countries.

 

This data gives some idea of the size of the problem. It isn’t 20 lunatics members of the Westboro Baptist Church. A large minority of Muslims globally hold views that are extreme and go against basic human rights and/or principles such as separation of church and state. There is good news in that there is declining support for suicide bombings and al Qaeda. And a strategy of demonising all Muslims and an entire religion will not reduce extremism, but increase it. However neither is it a good idea to pretend that the problem is just a few thousand jihadists. It is more widespread than that.

 

The problem is not just terrorism

January 14th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reported:

Saudi Arabia is remaining silent in the face of global outrage at the public flogging of the jailed blogger Raif Badawi, who received the first 50 of 1,000 lashes on Friday, part of his punishment for running a liberal website devoted to freedom of speech in the conservative kingdom. …

Saudi Arabia joined other Arab and Muslim countries in condemning the murder of 12 people at the Paris satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo but angry comments highlighted its double standard in meting out a cruel punishment to a man who was accused of insulting Islam.

The two acts are not the same, but they are part of the same problem. There is almost universal condemation of the Islamist terrorists who killed the cartoonists because they thought the cartoonists had insulated Islam. It was an extra-judicial killing, designed to terrorise.

However when countries like Saudia Arabia have laws which allow judicial torture and even killing of people who offend Islam, then it can hardly be surprising that some Muslims get the idea that offending Islam is something that should be punishable by death – even in non-Muslim countries.

The solution is that there should be no criminal sanction anywhere for offending any religion. The only sanction for offending a religion, should be excommunication from that religion. Any religion that needs to terrorise people into being nice about it, is a pretty lame religion in my view. And that applies just as much to state sanctioned terror, as that done by terrorists.

Young female Muslims in Australia

November 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

I detest Islamists and the psychopaths that are flocking to ISIS as much as anyone. But I also deplore people who think they represent the majority of Muslims. They are a very significant threat, but treating every member of a religion as the same is stupid and goes against my beliefs of treating people as individuals.

News.com.au has a cool feature on four young Australian Muslims. They are:

  • Delina Darusman-Gala, a fashion blogger
  • Neslihan Kurtonal, a tattooed social worker
  • Frida Deguise, a stand up comic
  • Abi Moustafa, a TV content editor

I’d encourage people to read the article and consider the need to distinguish between Islamists and Muslims.

Well done the moderates

May 21st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Lincoln Tan at the Herald reports:

A mosque in Auckland has been shut down indefinitely following violent attacks and the declaration of jihad, or holy war, against private security staff hired to guard the premises.

Bill Frost, who leads the Global Security Intelligence team at the Avondale Islamic Centre, was assaulted twice on Sunday and said he feared for his life and the safety of his family after one worshipper threatened him with jihad.

High fences, seven security guards and two police officers were yesterday seen on the site as worshippers were turned away from afternoon prayers.

The New Zealand Muslim Association, which owns the property, said it was shutting down the centre until further notice because of safety concerns.

The centre’s administrator was brutally beaten two weeks ago after issuing trespass orders to a Salafist imam and some of his supporters, and spent 10 days in hospital with fractures and eye injuries.

Mr Frost said he was assaulted twice as he was handing out six trespass orders to people causing trouble at the Blockhouse Bay Rd mosque on Sunday.

There has been an ongoing battle against a small number of extremists. It’s been massively pleasing to see those who run the Avondale Islamic Centre, rejecting the extremists. I’ve often said the only solution to extreme Islam, is moderate Islam.

The extremists claim they are not extremists. But the fact they respond to the trespass orders with violence and threats of jihad, suggests that the NZ Muslim Association has judged the situation correctly. They should be congratulated.

Arrested for quoting Churchill in England

April 30th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

A candidate in the European elections has been arrested after making a speech quoting from a book by Winston Churchill about Islam.

Paul Weston, chairman of the far right Liberty GB party, was making the speech on the steps of Winchester Guildhall, Hampshire, on Saturday, when a member of the public complained to police and he was arrested.

He had been reading from Churchill’s book The River War, written in 1899 while he was a British army officer in Sudan.

Mr Weston, who is standing as a candidate in the South East European elections on May 22, was detained after he failed to comply with a request by police to move on under the powers of a dispersal order made against him and he was arrested on suspicion of religious/racial harassment.

It’s quite outrageous.

Just as David Irving should be allowed to talk in public on how he thinks the Holocaust is a hoax, people should be allowed to speak in public about their dislike of particular religions.

I’m damn sure if someone was making a speech attacking Christianity, they would not be arrested.

A sensible ruling

September 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Britain’s leading Muslim organisation warned yesterday that a judge’s landmark ruling that women should not give evidence in court while wearing the veil threatened to undermine the nation’s long-standing tradition of religious tolerance.

Amid warnings by the Muslim Council of Britain of an increasingly “hysterical” debate on the niqab, Judge Peter Murphy concluded that a female defendant would be allowed to attend court while wearing the Islamic face covering but would not be permitted to take the witness stand unless she removed it.

No other ruling is possible. Of course you must be able to see the face of a witness. Observing body language is crucial for lawyers and a jury.

People can believe whatever they want. But their beliefs do not trump the law.

Talat Ahmed, chair of the council’s social and family affairs committee, said: “Every time we discuss the niqab, it usually comes with a diet of bigoted commentary about our faith and the place of Islam in Britain. There are few people who wear the niqab, and they should be allowed to wear this veil if they freely decide to do so.”

She said banning the garment was “un-British” and would mean “embarking on a slippery slope where the freedom to wear religious attire of all faiths would be at risk”.

Who is talking of banning them? The court has merely said you can’t testify in court wearing one.

The woman denies attempting to intimidate a witness. When she stands trial in November the court will be adjourned and cleared to allow her to identify herself to a female court officer. When she gives evidence with her face uncovered she will be able to do so from behind a screen or via video-link so she will not be on view.

Sounds like the court has bent over backwards.

Bigotry in Australia

July 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Peter Kurti at CIS writes:

Federal Labor MP Ed Husic is to be commended for his cool reaction to the swirl of anti-Islamic posts on Twitter and Facebook this week.

When he was sworn in on Monday as a Parliamentary Secretary, the member for Chifley became Australia’s first Muslim frontbencher.

Mr Husic, the son of Bosnian migrants, took the oath of office on a copy of the Qu’ran. ‘I couldn’t obviously take my oath on a bible,’ he said. ‘I am who I am.’

But that decision provoked unpleasant and anonymous attacks on social media which accused Mr Husic of treacherous and unconstitutional behaviour.

As well as being offensive, these rants were both absurd and inconsistent.

Far from being an unconstitutional act, Mr Husic’s decision to take the oath of office on the Qu’ran falls entirely within the provision of section 116 of the Australian Constitution.

Not only does the Constitution protect the free exercise of religion, section 116 prohibits religion being made a qualification for public office under the Commonwealth.

In other words, the Constitution protects the rights of Muslims to hold public office. When a Muslim is appointed to such an office, it is entirely appropriate that he or she take the oath on the Qu’ran if they wish to do so.

The Qu’ran has long been made available to Australian Muslims taking the oath in Australian courts of law.

A person taking an oath on a sacred book is not promising explicitly to uphold the contents of that book. The book simply serves as a symbol of invocation as the oath taker calls upon God to be the guarantor of his or her integrity.

NZ is rather more tolerant on these things. Ashraf Choudhary in 2002 was elected an MP and chose to swear his parliamentary path on the Qu’ran.  Off memory, there was no fuss or protest or backlash at all (except from Winston Peters, but he doesn’t count) – as there should be. We either allow no-one to swear an oath on a religious book, or we allow all religious books to be used. A country should not tell its citizens which religions are acceptable.

Islamic Terrorism

April 24th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon appear to have been motivated by a radical brand of Islam but do not seem connected to any Muslim terrorist groups, US officials said after interrogating and charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with crimes that could bring the death penalty.

Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in his hospital room, where he was in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries suffered during his attempted getaway. His older brother, Tamerlan, 26, died after a fierce gunbattle with police.

The Massachusetts college student was charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was accused of joining with his brother in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 200 a week ago.

The brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia who had been living in the US for about a decade, practiced Islam.

Two US officials said preliminary evidence from the younger man’s interrogation suggests the brothers were motivated by religious extremism but were apparently not involved with Islamic terrorist organisations.

In one sense it is more concerning they were not dupes put up to it by a terrorist group, but decided to turn to terrorism based solely on their religious beliefs.

There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims, and it goes without saying that the vast majority do not practice or support terrorism. Just mindlessly ranting against an entire religion achieves nothing.

And of course there have been terrorists motivated by other religions – Northern Ireland, for one.

But to my mind there is a difference with terrorism done by extreme Islamists. It is that religion seems to be the sole reason for the terrorism.

Most terrorism involves territorial disputes. Northern Ireland was part-religious but partly an fight over the partition or Ireland.

Terrorism in Kashmir is linked to control of disputed territory. Religion is part of it, but not all of it.

Other factors involved in why people turn to terrorism can be extreme poverty, lack of education etc.

But when it comes to terrorism involving relatively well off, well educated citizens, with no territorial dispute – the sole factor often is just their belief in an extreme version of Islam. And to be frank that is scary.

Tony Blair and the IRA managed to find a political settlement that has almost stopped terrorism in Northern Ireland. The same has happened in other areas.

But I’m at a loss to know how you stop people like the Tsarnaev brothers concluding that their God wants them to blow up children who are watching the Boston Marathon. When a religion doesn’t unambiguously condemn violence and killing, and many priests promote rewards in the afterlife for those who kill in God’s name – no wonder. When Iran’s mullahs hand out fatwas encourging people to kill the likes of Salman Rushdie, it is no surprise that you have others decide that killing people for their God is a good idea.

Christianity has it faults, and a chequered history. But the number of Christian priests who in modern times ever call for someone to be killed is almost zero – the odd lunatic excepted. But sadly in Islam, all too many religious and political leaders (and the two are linked) do preach violence in God’s name.

The solutions are not easy. Just condemning 1.6 billion Muslims for the sins of a few is not a solution – just prejudice. But neither is there merit in ignoring the problems and almost unique challenges of Islamic terrorism. The lack of a central authority in Islam, and the inability to modernise their teachings, makes change very challenging.

In the end the only practical long-term solution is to encourage moderate Muslim leaders, to speak out and condemn the extremists, and make clear that terrorism is evil and sinful – no matter what.

But I have to admit I am pessimistic. I don’t see an end to religious terrorism in my lifetime.

Wogistan

February 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser has a column in Investigate Magazine. In his latest column he refers to certain people as coming from “Wogistan” and also declares that no young male who is a Muslim, looks like a Muslim or is from a Muslim country should be able to fly on a Western airline.

It is worth realising that these are not comments made off the cuff in an interview. A New Zealand Member of Parliament sat down and wrote a column that refers to Wogistan and calls for basically dark-skinned people (how else do you interpret look like a Muslim) not to be allowed to fly.

36,000 New Zealanders are Muslims. A New Zealand MP has said they should be banned from flying or Air New Zealand if they are male and aged 19 to 35. I’m sorry, but that is appalling.

Now before anyone says this is just political correctness, and one should be able to talk about the fact almost all airline terrorism incidents have been done by young male Muslims – I agree.  I there there is an absolutely valid discussion to be held on issues such as the pros and cons of profiling, the costs of airline security, and the fact that so much terrorism is done in the name of Islam. In fact I have blogged on these issues several times.

But one can have that discussion without referring to Muslims implicitly as Wogs and without calling for Muslims to be banned from flying on Western airlines.

Some of the quotes from the article:

I will not stand by while their [his daughters’] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners, are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan …

I mean seriously – effectively calling people wogs. I actually like Richard Prosser and agree with him on a few issues, but this column is seriously offensive.

If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airline …

When he says looks like a Muslim, does he mean look like a wog? Because let’s face it any sensible wannabee terrorist could simply wear non-religious attire if they really wanted to blow up a plane. So I can only imagine “look like a Muslim” means if you look South East Asian or Persian or Arabic or Turkish etc? Never mind that they may in fact be Christian or Hindu or anything. If they look like a Muslim, we have a Member of Parliament saying you should not be able to travel on Western airlines?

Taking Richard literally, Air New Zealand should refuse to accept any passengers from Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia etc if they are a young male. This presumably includes all the students from those countries that are students at New Zealand universities.

If the belief systems of ancient history are so important to you, and the advances of the decadent West so abhorrent, go ride a camel instead?.

Now this comment was not directed at the extremists, but at anyone who is a Muslim, looks like a Muslim or comes from a Muslim country.

Now again, there is a very legitimate debate to be had about profiling, terrorism, extreme Islamists and the like. I’ve been attacked myself for writing on some of those issues.

But never in a hundred years would I refer to Wogistan and advocate that people be barred from flying based on their appearance or country of origin. And to have a Member of Parliament deliberately write that is staggering.

Labour and the Greens are desperate to form a Government with NZ First as they know it is near impossible without them. Will any Labour or Green MP come out and state what they think of their potential coalition partner writing about Wogistan? Winston wants to be Foreign Minister again. Does he stand by the views of his MP that young men from Malaysia and Indonesia should be banned from travelling on Western airlines?

A photo of the second page of the column is below.

InvestigateRP