Category Archives: Islam

The Enlightenment of the Brave Saira Khan

When it dawns on the enlightened Saira Khan that the truth must come out, she really goes for it, and reveals some tragic long held secrets of abuse, surprises herself at the behaviour of Pakistani men (not all, we must inevitably add), and rallies around our shared values for peace and freedom.

I’ve become an admirer of Saira, because it takes some doing for a Muslim women to speak the way she does on Loose Women (UK daytime TV show). I’m sure she’s been influenced and helped by being part of that show, and the result is that she is providing a significant contribution for the benefit of young girls and women suffering abuse.

This importance of voice of hers cannot be under-estimated.

I don’t agree with Saira on all points. It’s nothing to do with religion?

Saira On Islamic Terrorism

We start with Saira’s input on an episode on Islamic terrorism.

Let’s dig into this a little …

Whether you are white or you are Muslim …

There are no white Muslims? There are no non-white non-Muslims opposed to Islam?

ISLAM. IS. NOT. A. RACE.

Islam is a political judicial ideology, as well as a religion – it says so itself. Read the texts.

It’s not only legitimate to oppose Islam, as it is Communism, Fascism, Christianity, or any ideology, for any liberal, it’s a duty: read the texts of Islam, especially the Quran, which is presented as the ‘inerrant’ word of Allah.

Religions are let off the hook far too easily.

We have to feel what we can say without being deemed a racist.

Let that sink in. I ask you to do this, not to pick on Saira, but to point out that to declare criticism of Islam to be racism is a very common defensive stance we see regularly.

Every time there is an issue about Muslims, I’M brought out to talk about it.

Saira! You go on Loose Women and CHOOSE to talk about it. And, now that you are being more honest about it, I’m very glad that you do.

I want Jane to come out, I want you to come out. Because we are united by our values, not by religion. If we live in this country we have to put our hands up and say we are British, and we are all aligned by the same things.

Who would Saira not want to talk about it? White working class men?

Nevertheless, it’s warming to hear Saira say this.

Saira moves on to integration, and how Britain is a well integrated society, an yet so many Muslim children don’t feel integrated …

But we are not integrated. If you go to a school … and your best mate goes on six weeks school holiday and doesn’t come back and nobody asks you, why dodn’t your friend come back, you’d feel angry. Who do you talk to? You can’t talk to your family, you can’t even talk to your school.

In 2012 I visited 75 primary schools, and I have to say, some of those schools would have been quite happy as if they were in Afghanistan. How can you have that in Britain? How can you have schools, with white teachers, and fully Muslim kids, and the parents are dictating the agenda?

These are strong words. So, don’t be surprised if Saira gets some flack for this.

And those teachers say to me, we don’t have the powers, we don’t have the resources. We are too scared to say something in case we are deemed racist.

Jane asks about Jihadi John …

He came over hear from Kuwait. As far as I know he went to a multicultural westernised school. He got our free education, free healthcare. we were nothing but kind to him and his family. Where did that hatred for Britain and all that we represent, come from?

Saira …

It comes from home. It comes from ordinary Muslim families that don’t speak up, who actually hear what’s being said, and don’t make a big deal about it. And that’s why I say today, it is not good enough for the majority of peaceful Muslims living in this country not to come out and speak up and say, not in our name. And these people are using Islam, and Muslims and it’s branded all over the place. I’m a Muslim. Not in my name

A great sentiment, Saira. Thank you. I agree. It’s not in your name.

But it’s quite counter to what we have been told for years, not only be peaceful Muslims, but by Islamic apologist non-Muslims. Here’s why:

By adopting the narrative of “Nothing to do with Islam”, how can you then come out and say, “Not in our name?”

  • Islamic terrorism clearly does have something to do with Islam.
  • And it’s not in ‘your’ name that they do it, but in the name of Islam.
  • And, Islam isn’t just ‘your’ Islam – remember how diverse Islam is? So we are told.

This is where it becomes a bit tricky for a critic of Islam.

You can hardly use unifying notions, as many Muslims do, and then deny that unity. We hear about the Caliphate, the Ummah, Brothers and Sisters, ‘Nation of Islam’, ‘Muslim lands’ – there is no doubt that if one claims to follow Allah, Mohammed, and the Quran, and declare you are a Muslim (the shahadah), then you are a Muslim.

Despite that, Muslims around the world are endlessly declaring other Muslims to be non-Muslims, not proper Muslims, not Islamic enough, not authentic, …

If any particular Muslim thinks they are an authentic Muslim, then without some ‘Pope’ to determine otherwise, who is to say who is not a Muslim?

But, oh, do they. Muslims denounce Muslims regularly.

And what’s more, the fools on the left are all too eager to join in with this duplicity.

I want to see a million people marching in this country, led by Muslims, led by moderate Muslims, to say, this is not in our name. Because I think indigenous people of this country, now, deserve people, somebody looking like me, saying, we are with you.

Wow! But she’s has a point. You’ll not that indigenous peoples are a common cause for activism, among the left – with the exception of white people.

Of course, the term ‘indigenous’ doesn’t carry the same meaning in a genuinely mixed race multicultural society like ours, and quite rightly. We have enough generations of British born people, of various ethnicities, and many of children or other descendants of mixed raced relationships, that a person with any skin colour could be as ‘indigenous’ as any particular white person. At least in part, my heritage on both sides is Irish from about three or four generations. There will be descendants of other ethnicities with a longer heritage than mine.

Just to let you know, when I say things, I get abused, I’m called a coconut*, .., I’m called a racist.

(*coconut: brown on he outside, white on the inside)

It’s both tragic and amusing how many non-white racists are prepared to call other people racist.

I’m attacked by white British liberals, as well as members of my own community. I don’t care.

Nuff said.

The discussion moves on to the parental responsibility, regarding being aware of the radicalisation of children,

You can’t watch them all the time, but you do have a sense of who their friends are, what they are doing, and how they’re acting.

Fair point.

But I do have some concern for some Muslim mothers. Some of the more pious and misogynistic parts of the Muslim community actually give young sons greater authority over the female members, both sisters and mothers.

In Saudi (yes, I know Saira is talking about a particularly Pakistani Muslim community) there are widowed women who are under control of their young sons, their ‘guardians’, that prevent the women going out alone. They may even require the son’s permission to take up employment.

But, with regard to the Pakistani Muslim community, when Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch was killed by brother, many British Muslim young men were on social media declaring they’d have done the same had their sister dishonoured the family.

This is how messy it gets, and though I agree with Saira that parents should take more note, there are cultural and religious influences that prevent that happening.

Saira is also asked whether parents should ‘shop’ (expose, report to authorities) radicalised children.

I’ve shopped my own cousin who came to this country on a sponsorship form and disappeared within fifteen days. It was all pre-planned, I had not idea about it. Am I not going to shop him in just because he’s my cousin? No. I’m going to shop him in because he went against my British values of honesty, decency and respect.

Honest? Decency? Respect? Respect for the law?

This is worth noting, because there are so many people on the left that actually condone illegal immigration. It doesn’t matter that honest legal immigrants are prevented from coming here, or that illegal immigration cannot vet those arriving for their intentions.

Even ex-Muslims and fanatic for  ‘open doors’, Maryam Namazie doesn’t want to avoid proper vetting:

But, back to a leaving remark from Saira ..

I say to people in my own community, if you don’t like it here, go and live somewhere else. I want you to own it. I want you to stop cowering behind “Oh, I’m too scared to be racist.” If you want to have a conversation, and you want to put people on the spot, then you own it and you say it, you are not a racist.

That’s quite a statement. Well done Saira.

Abuse in Pakistani Muslim Families

Bear with me on this aside, you’ll get the point. … Some time ago, atheist Richard Dawkins collected and published on his site some of the many examples of abuse and death threats he received through various channels, from lovely religious people that didn’t appreciate his atheism. He made light of it. They were hilariously stupid.

Mayor of London, sad Sadiq Khan (no relation to Saira) didn’t quite take the same tack. He made a racist meal of it, and wallowed in his Muslim victimhood as he read out the abuse he received. … Except …

One of the examples he read out was a mere question, from the daughter of Muslim father and non-Muslim white mother. It was from none other than Shazia Hobbes, author of The Gori’s Daughter.

This was the ‘hate speech’ that Sadiq Khan read out:

If you use a knife to mutilate your daughter’s vagina will the full force of the law be brought down on you? Asking for a Muslim. Thanks.

Given that at the time this was written there were thousands of recorded incidents of FGM, and zero prosecutions, it seems like a reasonable question. For more context, here’s Shazia’s letter in response.
This is the context of ‘hate speech’ and the fear of being called a racist, that Saira has been talking about in the other context of Islamic terrorism.

And so, it was with some surprise, and great admiration, that I heard Saira broaching this subject, again on Loose Women. …

Saira begins by telling this story …

In June 2002, Mukhtār Mā’ī was the survivor of a gang rape as a form of honour revenge, on the orders of a tribal council of the local Mastoi Baloch clan that was richer and more powerful as opposed to her Tatla clan in that region. See here.

Saira …

She then went on to set up a charity in Pakistan to help women like that. … She was put on a fashion show in Pakistan, which shows that progress is being made, slowly. The designer said that she wanted here to be a symbol of hope and for women’s rights.

Picking up Saira’s earlier point, “I’m attacked by white British liberals“, we find this sort of attack on one’s intentions happens so often if non-Muslims try to support Muslim women at all.

Yes, as a Humanist I oppose all religions, and yes, I find Islam to be particularly bad. But that doesn’t negate my support for women, even Muslim women, especially Muslim women, that are oppressed by cultural norms that are perpetuated by Islam.

Now, specific cultures may result in different specific brutal and misogynistic practices, but you will still find that much of the justification comes from the religious modesty and honour system. I’d like to see anyone justify this act using the Humanist Manifesto.

And it’s here I’m guessing we’d still see Saira reacting negatively to comments on Islam, despite her earlier statement, “Because we are united by our values, not by religion.” Yes, we should be, and religion should not be let off the hook so easily.

But, to continue, at 2:10, we come to Saira’s brave revelation …

… at thirteen years old, sitting in my bedroom, a male member of my family – he’s died now – came in, and did things …

Please, listen to Saira’s story directly. She struggles to hold it together, but does manage to do so.

I’ll pick up points salient to the wider message. …

It is wrong. It is not culturally acceptable. It is not religiously acceptable.

Correct. It is not acceptable. But note that Saira points out that it is unacceptable both culturally, and religiously.

For those that want to protect the religion and say, “It’s not the religion, it’s the culture,” well, it is both, and is unacceptable as both.

The culture in Pakistan is a mixture of older traditional culture and religion. The religion and the culture ARE used to justify these behaviours, because in both, women are second class citizens.

How on earth can a religion be excused, when it endorses: taking a woman’s testimony to be worth half that of a man; beating of wives; … Of course such a religion will perpetuate the misogyny and ‘toxic masculinity’ that was present when it arose – in Islam’s case, 1400 year old misogyny.

Culturally we can’t talk about it [abuse], because we [women] are seen as the ones that inspired it, there’s no help.

Quite. And this aspect of the culture is right there in the texts, and encouraged by the modesty rules that see women as the provokers of men’s uncontrollable lust.

It is not JUST the culture. Because this attitude remains prevalent across many cultures that are intertwined with Islam. And with other religions.

But, let’s hear more from Saira, on another Loose Women episode, about a visit to Pakistan, because that will reveal more about the cultural AND the religious acceptance of the abuse of women.

I was sent to Pakistan by the BBC to do a documentary … There was one day where the prophet Mohammed’s birthday was to be celebrated. I had an all-male British team with me. We went to this square, and there were just thousands of men, and there wasn’t a woman in sight. And my director was quite nervous, and I said, look, we need to get into the heart of this, we need to find out what the atmosphere’s like.

And my Pakistani fixer was, like, there’s no way you can do that. And I just looked at him, why not, I want to do it. A was wearing traditional chemise, I had my head covered, because it was a spiritual day, they were celebrating the prophet’s birthday, and I thought, what’s going to happen to me. And I didn’t want to believe ….

And I didn’t want to believe ….” – and that, I’m afraid, is what drives a lot of opposition to the criticism of Islam. It’s what drives many interactions with Muslims.

They will close their eyes and flat out tell you it’s night, when right in front of their eyes it’s day, if only they’d open them.

I’m attacked by white British liberals” – Well, yes. because they too don’t want to believe.

… with everything my parents told me about men from those cultures, I thought, no, it’s not true, I’m going to prove to them them that it’s not true..

Denialism is a powerful psychological force, and it controls many a religious mind. Saira had the courage to face hers.

They’re going to respect me as a woman. … I went down, into the crowd, and only on the sidelines, and within moments I’d been bustled into the middle of a group of men … it was horrific

… my boobs were touched, my bottom was touched, my legs were touched .. I was just shaking “Get me out, get me out, get me out.”

… My fixer came in, and grabbed me.

… I dread to think what would have happened. I believe I would have been raped.

… I was so angry. … No one would have helped me [had the British camera crew not been there]

That’s an astonishingly brutal awakening. Bear in mind that Saira isn’t some wet lefty that has a couple of Muslim acquaintances that wear the hijab and claims, “But my Muslim friends are lovely,” as if to explain why these stories couldn’t possibly be true.

Saira is, as she says, part of the Pakistani Muslim community (or one of the variety of those). And her parents warned her. And she knows of the honour culture, the treatment of women …

Denialism is a powerful psychological force, sustained only by cognitive dissonance. You WANT to believe, and when faced with stories, the stories must be racist lies … or so he conversations so often go.

There’s more …

We have to accept, that when we are bringing in migrants, alsylum seekers, people from different cultures, they have a very different upbringings. Their societies, their political systems, …

Islam is the bedrock of the social and political features of these cultures, and often contribute to the judicial system too, and the misogyny in Islam informs it, and the behaviour of many of the men. Young boys are taught to both respect women, but also devalue them.

… what they think is normal in their country is not normal in our country …

Sadly, many of those ‘liberals’ that attack you are post-modern relativists, who ask who are we to judge their culture, their religion. And many Muslims pick up on this and ask, who are YOU to tell me about MY religion.

And, also sadly, many think it should be normal in this country, and act as if it is, … which it can seem, in a closed community.

… and we have to do that to protect ourselves, and to also protect them …

You can see why racist Muslims talk of Sarah in terms of ‘coconut’ … I’m surprised she hasn’t been called a white supremacist, for daring to suggest these behaviours aren’t up to our British value standards.

But, of course, Saira is dead right. Spot on.

Our standards of equality, across race, religion, gender, are significantly better than any that privileges one race, religion, gender over the other.

We may not succeed in achieving this equality (and no thanks in small part to religions that perpetuate it – looking at you CofE, not just Islam), but in law, and mostly in practice, we are all equal.

It’s quite common to see these faults as the domain of the white racist misogynist male xenophobic bigot – aka Nazi – but that is engaging in precisely the false accusative rhetoric that Saira has been opposing in these programmes.

No. Some of the highest privileges we have go to religion. The Church of England is the state church, and we have unelected bishops … and child abuse. The Roman Catholic Church is even further behind … and child abuse. And Islam is virtually untouchable, despite Islamic terrorism and grooming gangs appearing in our newspapers regularly.

As Andrew Norfolk said, after publishing his Times report on grooming gangs, his PC and fear of being thought of, as thinking himself as, a racist, made him sit on the story, while who knows how much child abuse continued.

Ruth Langsford chips in …

We all have this fear of being labelled a racist,
or you can’t talk about somebody’s religion
… this is not a religious thing, this is a cultural thing

What???

Have you ANY idea what that sounds like? Let me spell it out. It sounds like this:

You can’t talk about somebody’s religion, so let’s not talk about religion, even though I just did, because I don’t want to blame religion, so let’s blame their culture …

And let that sink in for a while. You’d rather throw whole rich and potentially adaptable cultures under the bus, rather than even contemplate that it’s related to the cultural impact of the religion?

And this, in a context of talking about sexual abuse occurring right in the middle of a  festival dedicated to the celebration of prophet Mohammed’s birthday, where there was absolutely ZERO conflict in the minds of those that abused Saira?

What???

Jane Moore has a stab at excusing religion … but then after Saira’s interruption goes on to say …

Explain to me, surely there is not a culture, your experiences aside, where a couple of these assaults we’re talking about do extend to rape, I mean, obviously, white men commit rape as well, but surely there is no culture in the world where it is acceptable to rape a woman who is a stranger to you.

Wow! That needs some unpacking.

  • They have just decided that it’s the culture, not the religion.
  • Now Jane wants to make sure there is no culture in which it is acceptable to rape a women who is a stranger to you.

The point here, regarding culture, AND religion, is that some cultures, or even sub-cultures, DO condone rape, of any women, because they see women as a lower value than men. AND, it’s all over the Islamic texts.

Jane is confusing two points that Saira has already managed to be pretty clear about, … but I’ll help out with the third one

  • It’s not acceptable TO US that ANY culture should condone this.
  • But it IS accepted in some cultures
  • And it IS accepted in some religions.

And very clearly so, if THEY find it acceptable to molest Saira in the middle of a religious festival dedicated to the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. It really is accepted in the religion.

You can keep on playing around with words all you like, but it’s right there in front of you.

Saira responds …

You’re right , it is unacceptable, but rape, in many cultures, goes unreported, because men can get away with it, because it’s not seen as a serious crime.

So, Jane, how is that not clear enough to you. SOME cultures DO see rape as acceptable behaviour by men towards women.

But, again, I have to disagree with Saira and the panel. It very clearly IS acceptable in the Islamic texts. As is slavery, as is sex slavery. The Quran has passages that excuse various behaviours, regarding one’s wives, and ‘those that your right hand possesses’, which is usually referring to slaves, and female slaves. Mohammed married one of his female slaves, to which the excuse it usually, “Oh, she became a Muslim first.” A Mafia ‘Offer you can’t refuse’.

Saira …

I was taught that as a woman, if I ever got raped, or if anything happened to me, it was going to be my fault. What were you doing in that situation? Why were you on your own? What were you wearing. I was brought up with that mentality.

And the Quran has plenty to say about modesty and women covering themselves.

Blame culture?

No. Cultures adapt. We have seen 1970s westernised Afghanistan, and Iran, with women in the mini skirts that were fashionable at the time. Cultures adapt to the times.

Blame religion? A BIG YES. It’s no coincidence that the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Ayatollah in Iran swept away the modern cultural adaptation to more liberal values, and dragged both those countries back 1400 years.

Come on, Saira, you can’t keep excusing the religion.

Jane again …

Is the issue here then, mass uncontrolled immigration, where everyone arrives at once and there’s no expectation of integration? Because surely, you growing up in Britain, you must know lots of law abiding men from your culture who would never behave like that.

Saira …

Yeah, we’re not talking about Britain, because they’ve been brought up in Britain, with Western values, with British values, who know that you cannot do that, that women have equal rights, … [End of clip]

And I’m sure there are many decent people in Pakistan and in other cultures that know they the cultures they’re in, on the whole, don’t treat women well … and, yes, Britain has been like that too.

As I said, cultures can adapt.

But hold on there Saira, they do do it in Britain. That was the point of your brave exposition on your misfortune.

Let’s look at this next clip to clear this up …

Christine Lampard …

They’ve also told us of a noticeable rise in calls [about abuse] from Asian women

Another aside …

You have to be careful when the media use the term ‘Asian’ regarding abuse and grooming gangs. It is used so often to mask a more specific identification, such as in the case of Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs, or grooming gangs generally. This is a really weird and dishonest narrative.

First, after years of insisting that if anyone starts a criticising sentence with “Muslims, …” they are immediately tarred as racist Islamophobes, because, well, “Not all Muslims”…

But, when they are talking about Pakistani Muslims, they prefer to use ‘Asians’.

Are they Asianphobic racists?

Well, I’d certainly say it’s more racist than being specific. If “Muslims …” unfairly implicates all Muslims, then surely “Asians …” implicates all Asians, and is racist towards even more people.

I think they are going for the angle that if you implicate an ever wider range of people, then you are not being a specific racist. Maybe that’s better, I don’t know entirely how this left PC mind-set works.

But, in truth, this is a total fraud, of course, because this never happens to Chinese, or Koreans – they would be identified by their original ethnicity.

We know this is only used to protect Islam, to avoid criticising Muslims.

You should spot this when referring to grooming gangs, because though most are Pakistani Muslim, some are Muslims from other cultures, including African.

Back to Christine’s main point …

They’ve also told us of a noticeable rise in calls from Asian women who suffered abuse in childhood, and the main perpetrator is usually someone from their own family …

I remind you again of Shazia Hobbes’ story.

It just sounds shocking, but this is not even surprising to you, Saira, from the stories you’ve heard.

Saira …

We had the fight for the girls in Rochdale, and I think we now need to put a real fight up for the girls that can’t be seen or heard, because hey don’t have representation in society.

That’s another devastating statement. Let that one sink in too. Nobody in their community will represent them? Are social services able to operate in these communities? What are the police doing?

I’m afraid that what we’ve learned from Rochdale, Rotherham, Telford, Oxford and other places, is that if the police won’t act for child victims from outside the community, they sure as hell won’t act for children inside those communities – and one suspects, given some of Saira’s comments above about schools she visited, they wouldn’t find much cooperation if they tried.

Look, I can talk about it because I come from culture, I come from a community, and I’m talking about the Pakistani community.

Bear in mind that Pakistan is substantially occupied by Muslims, and that most British Pakistanis are Muslims. Pakistan was, after all, created as a nation for Muslims. It is a Muslim nation. What does that tell you about the ‘community’?

Well, as I said, the problem is that these closed communities will not allow outsiders, non-Muslims, to investigate. This is the non-integrative isolated community that reeks of bad Multiculturalism – Multiculturalism will fail, if we are not more discriminating about which cultural/religious practices we will tolerate – some, as Saira has said, are not acceptable. And though we mouth off about FGM … no prosecutions. It’s very un-PC to investigate the inner women’s business in such a community, and your average non-Muslim PC plod isn’t up to it, and I doubt many Muslim PC plods would dare.

Note that my objection to Islam does not mean banning or not tolerating Islam. Part of our ‘British values’ that Saira subscribes to is freedom of belief. You can believe what you want.

But if you turn your beliefs to actions, and those actions contravene basic human decency, and/or the law, then they need dealing with and must not be left to fester, the way the Muslim grooming gang problem has, and, according to this episode of Loose Women, the way abuse has within those communities.

I have to say that this isn’t based on religion, this is culture, and the culture I was brought up in is, keep your mouth shut, and make sure you do not bring dishonour on our family, you must not bring shame.

Except it is religion. Various religions. Bringing shame through the behaviour of children, especially girls, is pretty standard across many religions, including Christian conservatism of the USA, and has been in Roman Catholicism, such as resulted in the Magdalene laundries of Ireland.

So, again, we have Saira desperately trying to avoid blaming Islam. Why is that?

Because that would bring down even more wrath upon her head, if she dared blame the religion of Islam. It’s that simple.

Saira’s perspective might be induced by her own indoctrination, so that she really believes that what is blindingly obvious, is not so.

Or, …

It might be self preservation. Because to blame Islam would be blasphemous. A very dangerous game, in Islam.

… you must not bring shame. And what that means, as a young girl, .. or a young boy, growing up, you’re too scared to talk. If terrible things happen to you, you are too scared to talk.

There is no representation, because it’s such a tight knit community. There are other things that go on in the culture that basically mean you’re isolated.

I have sat amongst a group of people, and I have heard stories of a young girls being raped in the family, of a young girl being abused, or a young bot being abused.

And I’m sat there thinking, why doesn’t anybody do something, please.

And when asked, why don’t they, …

Because, there is no one to talk to. Most of the elected community members are men …

Religious men. Muslim men. Do they elect atheists, or Christians? Are Pakistani Christians allowed to exist in the ‘community’?

No, I’m sorry, Saira, but your fantasy has to be shattered. These leaders are religious men. Good Muslims.

.. and they know that you can’t just go and snitch on your family …

Bear in mind how Saira had no trouble with HER British values, with regard to snitching on her cousin’s simply bunking off. This is child abuse we’re talking about. Or not talking about, depending on your ‘culture’. So, you’d think that a British Pakistani community that isn’t suffering the misogynistic throwbacks of Pakistan would be more forthcoming in solving this problem. Apparently not. More like Pakistan than is good for us … or rather than is good for the children.

When asked whether a young girls could speak to her mother …

You are so brainwashed into what shame means and what dishonour means.

In these communities, rape in a marriage is not recognised …

Again, I refer you to Shazia Hobbes who has been resoundingly castigated, as an Islamophobe, for saying these very same things. Do read her book.

Culturally, you can marry somebody that’s thirteen years old. You can do it back in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, you can do it in India.

Except, of course, it is endorsed by the example of the prophet Mohammed, and his marriage to his six year old wife, and in some places they take that age even more seriously. And, even if the state doesn’t allow it, oddly enough the religious do it.

See here: Marriageable Age. Note that most state determined ages are 15 – 21, but some allow younger than the self-consent age, with parental/judicial approval. Given that many marriages are forced anyway, that will often apply.

Note also the table lower down, on religion, and the various sects of Islam. Hanafi and Jafari Islam: age 9 for girls. These are the sects of Islam of Pakistan and Iran, where child marriages occur.

Still nothing to do with Islam, Saira?

When that’s acceptable, you think that’s normal.

They are taboo subjects anyway, but in this culture they are even more taboo.

Once you bring shame to your family, that’s it.

The consequences are, you could be killed, you could be ostracised.

Killed??? In the UK, you might be killed, for honour. We know of several cases that have made the news.

I wonder how the rest of the Loose Women panel are taking this. They are the ‘liberal’ that would shoot down as a racist (despite Saira’s insistence they should not) any non-Muslim that said this.

But, this is general knowledge.

NOT ALL MUSLIMS – Yes, we know. But enough. Too many.

Literally, the whole family splits up. When I came on here to talk about me, it was a family member. It took me years to come out and say it. I think I just did it spontaneously on Loose Women. The repercussions on my family have been horrendous. They didn’t believe me. They had a go at my mum. …

But wait … this is important

It went all the way back to Pakistan and the family there.

This is what a lot of liberal lefties don’t get.

They see our lovely British Muslims like Saira, or their hijabi friend at school, and they are totally clueless about the extent to which these ‘unacceptable’ cultural practices are so easily imported to the UK, whether it’s this topic now, or abuse, or the earlier one, of Islamic terrorism. They have no idea what their nice Muslim friends are NOT telling them.

The left just don’t get it. Labour just don’t get it. Jermey Corbyn just doesn’t get it. That’s why he’d rather nudge Sarah Champion, MP, off the front bench, for daring to say, “Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs“, and leave the gangs to continue grooming.

The Conservative government hasn’t been much better. But, just this week, we had …

Another very important point coming up

They did a study at Hull university, and the research in 2015 found out that “Official police data suggest that incidences of sexual violence among South Asian women are low, however, this new research suggests it is happening, but not reported.

As you would expect from a close knit community.

I want to say that, if there is anybody, in the South Asian community, or any community for that matter, please not that there are help lines, and you can talk in confidence. Even if you don’t want to take it any further, or get something off your chest, please do so. I’ll tell you something, that happened to me at thirteen, and that affected the rest of my life.

Now, here comes Jane Moore, working her way up to the patently obvious,  …

They are saying that the increase [in reporting] from the Asian community has increased since the broadcast of the Three Girls**, because that was largely, but not all Asian men

(** Rochdale’s infamous an dramatised case of the prosecution of a Muslim grooming gang abusing young white girls)

I think what Jane should have said was, they were largely but not all Pakistani [some British born but Pakistani families) Muslim men, because some were Muslim men from other Muslim backgrounds. I’m not aware any were non-Muslim. To be specific:

Nine men were convicted, of whom eight were of British Pakistani origin and one was an Afghan asylum-seeker. – from Rochdale child sex abuse ring.

They were all Muslim.

And here comes the obvious …

The majority of perpetrators of organised abuse are white. And the second largest group are Asian. Now that may be because a lot of it goes unreported. We should also point out that it happens in white families.

The conflation of issues here is astounding.

  • It’s not white v Asian. The significant figures are Pakistani Muslim v everyone else.
  • Of the ‘family’ child abuse, those numbers differ so much you’d expect an absolute figure to be greatest among the largest group you’re identifying, whether that’s white, non-white (including black, for example), specifically Asian (including Sikhs and Hindus, for example), even more specifically Pakistani Muslim, or Muslim. This matters.
  • Muslims are only a small percentage of the UK population, and Pakistani Muslims even smaller (Saira’s concern) .
  • Again, you’d expect a largest absolute figure in other groups.
  • You’d expect a similar rate among all groups, except, with lower reporting in Pakistani Muslim communities, the numbers should be lower.
  • Jane is also conflating in-family abuse, with the grooming gang abuse.
  • Of the particular type of grooming that is public, under the noses of the community, local police and social workers

From a story based on information from Haras Rafiq, from Quilliam

A think tank has claimed that 84 per cent of people convicted of child grooming-gang offences since 2005 were Asian.

Type 1 offenders work in groups such as grooming gangs to target victims based on vulnerability, while Type 2 offenders form paedophile rings to carry out abuse because of a specific sexual interest in children.

Jane …

The whole thing that props this up is the conspiracy of silence …

And you continue to be silent on the religion.
But, on the specif c problem of abuse, no matter what the cause, I’ll leave the final word with Saira …

The only thing that I would say, is that whereas those girls [Three Girls case] did go to the sexual health worker to get condoms, and the social worker was involved, there was a pattern, so it could be traced. In an Asian household, these girls aren’t seen.

They can never be detected, unless somebody from the community or a member of the family puts their hands up bravely and says we’ve got a problem here.

 

Explaining My Bias Against Islam, and Christianity

There’s always some point in a discussion, having had a dig at Islam, there comes a necessary aside. So here it is, for future reference.

“Why do you pick on Islam? What about Sikhs, Hindus? What about Christianity?”

This question inevitably follows. I don’t only pick on Islam, but it does attract greater attention now.

Because, after a lifetime of opposing Christianity and seeing secular success in taming it, Islam has burst on the scene in the UK and undone much of the work of secular liberal progress. To the point that in support of ‘minorities’ (but not minorities within minorities – FGM victims, persecuted and killed for honour, apostates) the second largest religion in the world gets a free pass on way too much of its own bigotry.

The rhetoric of ‘Victim Islam’ (fake Islamophobia) has even contributed to many young people rejecting secular liberal values like free speech, in favour of the dangerous ‘hate speech’ laws.

It started with Blair, funding self-appointed Islamic organisations, several later shut down for their links to extremists. It has continued after 9/11, with excessive and poor attempts to ‘protect’ Muslims in the UK, with ridiculous statements like “Nothing to do with Islam”. Lies like that have only increased anti-Muslim sentiment as well as opposition to Islam.

So, yes. I oppose Christianity and Islam, explicitly. I find them both antithetical to Humanist liberal values. I won’t support their legal outlaw, or any violence against their followers. But I do oppose them and argue against their support.

As for Hindu and Sikh religions … I do criticise them, when the need arises. In the UK we occasionally have reason to criticise. But, anecdotally, personally, I find they accept the secular nature of the UK more readily. So, while I’d probably disagree with them on some grounds, I don’t know enough or find I’ve needed to know enough to make an issue of it.

Islam and Christianity are in my face constantly. Fair enough – proselytise by all means. But expect a response. And don’t think I’ll look the other way, as many police, politicians and press have done, actively, in the face of evil done in the name of or under the cover of religion.

You can tell I’m not one of the passive aggressive atheists that complain more about atheists like me, in some daft deference to religion. Religions deserve ZERO deference. They are ideologies, like any other. To be criticised and ridiculed, like any other. There is a ‘spiritual’ aspect, but religions are NOT about spirituality, but about propagating THEIR particular dogmas, politically.

There are many very nice Christians, Muslims and other religious people that follow their religion and don’t ram it down my throat, and don’t try to impose their personal ideas of sexual propriety on others (it’s always about sex). Many in my own family are like that. I’ll argue the toss over religion, if they like, but otherwise, their beliefs are their business.

I’ll even agree that some, a few, religious people are far nicer than most non-religious people. There’s a reason. Nice people are attracted to the sales pitch of religion, and naturally cherry pick just the Goldilocks parts of the doctrine. The bad people in religion I’d say were already religious, and somehow manage to convince themselves there’s no incongruity: Roman Catholic Mafia gangsters, paedophile priests. So, anyone that is seriously lacking in empathy isn’t going to be attracted to the nice religious sales pitch, and if they have no need for religion, they will boost the number of evil non-religious people: the non-religious killing regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot.

But on the whole, and very specifically too in some cases, religion is a divisive force that I oppose.

That’s how it is. I value Global Liberal Secular Democratic Humanism. Not religion. Certainly not Islam.

For more detail on ‘Why Islam’, see My Problem With Islam.

For my view of Islamophobia, see Our Islamophobic Politicians.

For a list of other posts on Islam, see Islam.

Islam, LBGT, and Peter Tatchell

So this event happened a few years back. “Public reactions to LGBT-Muslim Solidarity initiative – East London, 21 October 2015”:

The reason I’m posting now is that Peter Tatchell is still selling this narrative.

It was a brave attempt by the great Peter Tatchell, the long term campaigner for LBGT cause against persecution, particularly by the law and the police.

I support Peter’s support of gay Muslims. An since I support freedom of belief, I support their right to be gay and Muslim. No problem.

Unfortunately, Peter suffers from the common blindness that has a tendency to think a critic of Islam is an anti-Muslim bigot. He has joined in the smears of people outspoken about Islam. And it’s this aspect of the narrative being sold here that I object to.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell, 2 minutes in:

“I feel that LGBT communities and Muslim communities are ideally placed to show solidarity with one another because of the long history of homophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment that they both face.”

Let’s go through some of the problems with this statement, that sweeps across time and geography selectively picking out the narrative that Peter Tatchell has been pushing for some time.

LGBT communities, and Muslim communities are not monoliths (we are told so often) that have some uniting common ground.

The long history of homophobia in Britain is there to be examined. But now? No. Some remnant homophobia among the ignorant, but generally socially accepted.

The most homophobic messages in Britain today come from religious people, and, accounting for population proportions, proportionately more from Muslim ‘communities’. That is, after all, why this event was put on.

And, you will find that the most horrendous stories where gay people are rejected wholesale by family and community are from gay Muslims and ex-Muslims. The video above starts with one, and others are recounted. And, since the religion is often specifically cited as the reason for the rejection and persecution, the idea that LGBT communities, and Muslim communities have something in common is laughable – unless you see the common ground as actually having polar opposite views on homosexuality.

Of course, not all Muslims are homophobic. And not all LBGT are not anti-Muslim. And plenty of LGBT people are anti-Islam. And not all non-Muslims are not homophobic.

It’s a messy world, and the above poor attempt to persuade Muslims that they have a lot in common with LBGT because they are both persecuted is a lie. LBGT is well accepted now in the wider British society, and it’s Muslims doing the persecuting of LBGT now. It’s an insane narrative.

Then, add to that the fact that Muslims are not a minority.

We are told there are 1.6 billion Muslims. That isn’t a minority. It’s the 2nd largest and fastest growing religion. And in ‘Muslim lands’ (that monolithic term beloved by many Muslims) Muslim and ex-Muslim LBGT are at risk of losing their lives. You will have seen the images of gay men hanged on cranes in public squares in Iran.

Nevertheless, you can bet your life that without having to endorse LBGT one iota, the Islamic homophobes will be rubbing their hands, because their victim status has been turned up a notch and validated by the LBGT community in this video. This is madness.

Oh, wait. I’ll tell you where there’s common ground between LBGT and homophobic misogynistic Muslim groups. When Maryam Namazie tried to present her views on the misogynistic nature of Islam at a university, the ISOC shut her down. And then the LBGTSOC backed up the ISOC, not Maryam. This is madness.

By all means get as much support from the Muslim communities as you can. Try to persuaded them that freedom of belief and freedom of sexual orientation are valuable freedoms. It was obviously nice to see that some Muslims agreed (we don’t know to what extent the video was edited).

But the problem with trying to set a false narrative is it has the habit of backfiring. The emperor’s nakedness is obvious. And speaking of nakedness, at 2:13

Muslim: If I don’t approve this, doesn’t mean they are my enemy. It doesn’t mean I haven’t got tolerance against (for) them. I am tolerant. …

That sounds like freedom of belief and tolerance to me.

Off screen interviewer: Don’t you believe that the fact you are saying that you don’t approve of something is lessening people who are gay and Muslim. You’re not saying that they deserve to be gay.

This is typical Leftie BS. You’re worth is not set by whether someone believes that being gay is OK. It is set by yourself. If this Muslim man, as a parent of a gay son or daughter, were to persecute them, that would be infringing on their freedom. But if he disapproves, but is tolerant of them, then what’s the problem? After all, Peter Tatchell is here preaching tolerance and he’s not a Muslim. And I doubt all ex-Muslims present approve of Islam.

Msulim: Do you approve of somebody walking barefoot without clothes?

To which one could answer yes or no, depending on one’s approval or disapproval. That’s freedom of belief. I think he expected here to disapprove, but she may have been about to approve. But she lost the plot when she tried to deny the comparison to right to express your feelings in nakedness to the rights of LBGT. He wasn’t denying rights, he was speaking of personal approval., which is free to give or not.

They do get a bit confused.

Of course, the interviewer is merely arguing here that the Muslim’s view is devaluing. It’s a handy rhetorical tool – it can be useful to throw back at someone that accuses you of devaluing them, while they happily devalue you. Where have we seen that before? Oh, yes, when Peter Tatchell complains about how Muslims are devalued by critics of Islam, and then goes on to devalue those critics of Islam, calling them anti-Muslim bigots.

So, to be clear, freedom of belief is important. Thought policing, the persecution of people for their beliefs, is bad. But, trying to persuade someone to change their beliefs, through dialogue, and through protest (Peter Tatchell’s fame is built on it) is legitimate.

Sadly, Peter doesn’t seem to think this is the case when it comes to criticising or protesting against Islam, because, as this narrative goes, Muslims are a minority ally of the LBGT community.

Who knew? Someone best tell the gays and their hangmen in Iran that they are allies.

Another Muslim interviewed, asked if they should unite is against a common oppression, having just been told that his community is doing the oppression:

No comment, man. No comment.

 

 

 

Our Islamophobic Politicians

The hot trend at the time of writing is the call for the Conservative Party to investigate itself for the amount of ‘Islamophobia’ engaged in, by members or MPs.

Obviously, this is kick-back for the accusations of antisemitism in the Labour party, and it looks like Corbyn is now benefiting from his alliances in the Islamic world, as race baiting CMB and their puppet master Miqdaad Versi push this for all they’re worth.

To Conservatives in particular. You have lost the narrative to Islamic fundamentalists. You bought into the ‘multiculturalism’ narrative of Blair’s Labour, and you have lost. But, as you’ll see, you can start to save your party.

Politicians generally. You are being conned on ‘Islamophobia’.
The people know this.
The people know that YOU know this.
Do you realise the contempt with which you are currently held for this cowardice?

Islamophobia:

  • a) a tool used by Islamists (those politically motivated to further Islam and Sharia)
    to shut down discussion of the worst practices in Islam,
    by conflating criticism of Islam, anti-Muslim bigotry, and racism.
  • b) a fear instilled in Muslims, based on indoctrination into a cultish reverence
    for Mohammed and the Quran,
    such they submit themselves to Islam,
    often above family members,
    so that some would kill their own children or siblings if they left Islam.
  • c) a fear instilled in Muslims by Islamic fundamentalists,
    that to speak out about the bad practices in Islam is
    un-Islamic, treason, blasphemous, heretical,
    even default apostasy by fiat … and threateningly, a death sentence
  • d) the fear of Islam instilled into UK politicians, police and press that shuts them up,
    and even persuades them to collude in the silencing of those that speak out about the worst aspects of Islam.
  • e) the fear of Islam instilled in politicians across Europe,
    that Muslim unrest is more difficult to deal with than any popularist reactionary unrest,
    so that they would rather kow tow to Muslim community demands.

Islamist have succeeded. We realise you just want it all to go away. Your opponents know how to play this game. It’s a rhetorical method that works very well throughout the wider Islamic world. But, you are too scared to do anything about it.

Andrew Norfolk knew of this fear of Islam, when he accepted he’d sat on a report on paedophile Muslim grooming gangs, and let the rapes continue unexposed.

Maggie Oliver knew this, when her GMP seniors deflected her from investigating a case. Only with #threegirls in Rochdale, did she get anywhere.

Maggie Oliver realises you have no stomach to do the right thing. So she now calls for people power.

But we know what you politicians and police have done when people have raised this. We have seen you smear those that speak out, or at best, you have looked the other way.

Labour sacked MP Sarah Champion. They even deselected a Labour councillor.

Decent head teacher, Ray Honeyford, was hounded out, three decades ago, for trying to protect and improve the lot of children, and YOU or your fellow MPs let this happen.

Here’s what you can do.

  • You can start by rejecting the term ‘Islamophobia’.
  • Islam is the set of ideas.
  • Muslims are the people.
  • Oppose actual anti-Muslim bigotry, where individual decent Muslims are persecuted.
  • Oppose racism.

On that last point, I’m sure you’ve been told, but, Islam is not a race. There are many ‘white’ Muslims, and many ‘non-white’ non-Muslims. Make sure you are prosecuting actual racism, and not opinions on what is just another set of ideas.

If you play this ‘Islamophobia’ game, of seeing Muslims as victims while a minority, then you’ll find that you are becoming the minority.

Decent secular Muslims will tell you all this too. Perhaps you don’t want to listen. perhaps you’ve already submitted to Islam.

 

Killers for Religion and Atheism?

So, an atheist kills a bunch of religious people, and the religious can now cite an example that shows that their religion isn’t that bad after all.

Not so fast.

Atheism vs Theism

Both Atheism and Theism are simply opposing philosophical positions. Any other system’s metaphysical philosophy is ‘atheistic’ if it rejects theism.

A particular theism might be vary vague – “I believe there is one, and possibly more gods, but I don’t know whether any of the religions are true …”.

Or it might be specific yet still ‘other worldly’ – “I believe that there must have been a creator god, but I have no idea what he intends for us, and I offer no moral guidance based on my belief that there is a god.”

Or it might be committed to the variable claims about the god or gods of a particular religion, which may have many sects.

Atheism is pretty much opposition to these sorts of theism, usually on the grounds that there is no evidence or reason to believe specific claims, or support the level of hopefulness that the ‘spiritual’ seem to be clinging onto. In this respect Atheism is a negative position: it simply rejects the claim that there are gods.

Note that Atheism does not assert that there are definitely no gods.

Some atheists might assert that there are absolutely no gods, but that isn’t much better than asserting absolutely that there are gods. You might call such an atheism a ‘faith’ based atheism. But if you take the trouble to pin atheists down they generally agree that they do not hold such a strong opinion, but merely act as if they do because that’s often easier to express.

But this acting as if there are no gods is a fair position to take. Christians act as if there are no Norse gods. They act as if there are no fairies or Santa. (Note that playing along with such fantasies for the fun they provide for children isn’t acting with true belief.)

Religions

Religions are a subset of Theism …

Atheism-Theism-Religion

[Agnostics may not deny the existence of god, but they don’t positively assert there are gods either.]

Religions take the basic philosophical position of theism, thinking there are some teleological entities that created our universe, and add many more specific claims:

  • Our god is the only god.
  • Our god cares about us.
  • Our god dictates our moral codes.
  • Our god wants us to punish people that don’t follow his codes.
  • Our god wants us to punish people that don’t believe in him.
  • Our god doesn’t want us to eat pig meat and thinks it a moral obligation that we don’t.
  • Our god wants us to punish people that have sex outside the specific type of union sanctioned by our god (monogamy for Christians, up to four wives, but one husband for Muslims)
  • Our god will not remarry divorcees – old school Catholic; god changes his mind sometimes; he’s fickle; or humans decide he changed his mind.

Most religious people are born into, indoctrinated into, their religion. And the religion may provide many social benefits if it’s a large religious community.

But there can also be great costs for those that simply cannot continue to believe. In some more fundamentalist communities, ex-believers can be ostracised, might suffer social and economic hardship if rejected by the community, and might even risk death. If the religion prescribes death for apostates, as is the case for Islam, then even if the religion isn’t the state authority, believers are easily persuaded to take it upon themselves.

The list of additional beliefs on top of basic theism, including the many moral prescriptions and proscriptions, is long. It depends on the religion, the sect within the religion, and the personal willingness of individuals to follow the rules of the religion.

This becomes a little tricky for the religious that try to divert criticism away from their religion, when opinions differ so widely within:

  • God changes his mind often, it seems, judging by how religious opinions change.
  • Individuals make up their own minds what they take from their religion … you’d think the religious would therefore appreciate how atheists make up their own minds about morality.
  • The greatest opponents to a particular religious believer’s views are … other religious people. Islamic terrorism? Many victims are other Muslims, for being the wrong type of Muslim.

The variety of religious belief is often greater than the difference between Atheism and a particular Religion. Modern Anglicans that accept secular liberal democracy, have no problem with homosexuality, even in the church, are for full gender equality, and gender identity. They have much more in common with the social and political leanings of many atheists, than with even their fundamentalist Christian brethren, let alone than with people of other faiths.

And yet, the religious stick together. It only takes the whiff of an atheist with a strong opinion for the ‘interfaith’ community to band together in offended outrage. And let anyone speak out about the Islam of the Islamic extremists and even moderate Muslims will come to Islam’s defence as much as agree with an atheist that there might be a problem with the religion.

[Update 5/12/2017] There was greater outrage that Trump retweeted a lead figure one of Britain First’s outspoken anti-Islam activists than at the content of the videos the activist posted. One was ‘fake news’, but the other two were of Muslims persecuting others. Despite the acts of the Muslims, this was actually seen as anti-Muslim bigotry. Take a moment. Here’s the upshot: every tweet condemning German neo-Nazis is anti-German bigotry; every tweet showing and condemning videos of Britain First are anti-British bigotry, and by extension, anti-Muslim bigotry, since, as  is belaboured painfully, British Muslims are British. This is the state of play in 2017, where any criticism of Islam is interpreted as ‘Islamophobia’, ‘anti-Muslim bigotry’ … and yes, ‘racism’.

Political Ideologies of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, …

Whenever an atheist argues with Christians or Muslims, it’s not long before we get the Hitler, Stalin, Fascism, Nazism, Communism line thrown at us. And no matter how often it’s pointed out that this isn’t a valid argument, it still keeps on coming up. Often from the same people that have had this pointed out before.

Political ideologies can of course cross boundaries of Atheism-Theism. Christians can be socialists. In the 70s it was quite common for Islamists to lean towards socialism … maybe they hadn’t realised how far right Islam really is … or maybe they had.

And, Hitler was not an atheist. He might not have favoured the established churches that opposed his thugs, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t religious. Many Nazi ideas were based on the old Teutonic ideals of religiously motivated knights.

Communism? Don’t think that political ideology stops you believing in a personal god … it just becomes less convenient and maybe a little dangerous to admit to one, but Communism does not preclude theism.

These political ideologies tell us little about the wide variety of atheists. The Atheism that some political ideologies might embrace informs the ideology with nothing other than the fact that there is no evidence for any god.

Religious Political Ideologies

Some political ideologies are religious ones.

And most religious ideologies are political – they are inherently so because they dictate the behaviours of people, and that’s a very political thing to do. And they usually have a lot to say on social issues … not all good. Homophobia, sex outside marriage, modesty, … religions can be obsessed with sex, particularly with regard to women, and if feminism isn’t a political matter I’m not sure what is.

It is possible to believe in a religion and treat it as an entirely personal belief system that determines how you live your own life, without you making any claims about what it implies for anyone else.

But this is rare. Most religions, and especially religious organisations, are very keen on telling: religious believers how they should act; non-believers that they are anything from misguided to evil; the religious what they should do to the non-believers: killing apostates, bombing abortion clinics, punishing people for blasphemy (the modern version is imprisoning people for ‘hate speech’).

Christianity, as supposedly expressed by Jesus, is a “render unto Caesar” kind of religion – a reasonable basis of separation of church and state. However, the Catholic church in Rome put a swift stop to that. Christianity, especially through many bishops and popes, made state business very much church business. The US continues this tradition by distorting the intentions of the founding fathers and making it the godly nation the founding fathers tried to avoid – they’d seen enough of that in Europe.

Islam is very specifically, inherently, by design, a political ideology. Only Muslims can hold certain offices of state. Muslims and non-Muslims are taxed differently.

Many Muslims will try to pull a fast one by telling you that Islam insists that Muslims follow the laws of the the land in which they find themselves … where Muslims are a minority that does not hold power. But Islam also requires Muslims to spread Islam … which means it would eventually become a majority. This is why many opponents of Islam also oppose too much immigration from Muslim countries.

Of course many Muslims don’t want a dominant Islam any more than non-Muslims do. Many escape the domination of Islam of their homelands, and are quite happy to live in secular democracies where they can practice their religion in peace.

But then we also see a lot of duplicitous language from supposedly ‘moderate’ Muslims that think homosexuality should be illegal, and make excuses for their more extreme brothers and sisters (“Nothing to do with Islam”).

In Europe the atheists and secularists have been opposing the power of the church for centuries, letting the humanistic principles take precedence. There’s still plenty of religious protectionism that goes on – a refusal to give up the reigns of power, as diminished as they are. Why the heck do Bishops get seats in the UK House of Lords – and why is there even such an unelected house still?

But I’ve seen and heard much more of the stranglehold religion has in some parts of the US, where the mark of a good plumber is whether he’s a good Christian or not. “In God We Trust” – indeed they do.

So, religions are political, and as such are as fair game for criticism and ridicule as any non-religious political ideology.

And being offended when religions are criticised is just one more political tool the religious try to pull. It may be a genuine feeling, and so they try to give it moral weight. Hence, critics of Islam are labelled haters of Muslims.

But, realising that atheists tend not to be impressed by the special pleading for the religion, that atheists aren’t taken in by the piety, the hurt feelings, what are the religious to do? Compare their religion to atheism? They can’t. They are not comparable.

Humanism

So, religious friends, you can’t really compare Atheism with your religion.

You can compare Atheism with Theism, if you’re talking only about the philosophy, reason, evidence, to support either case.

But you can’t compare Atheism as such with Christianity or Islam. Yes, I know that atheists argue against Christianity and Islam, but they do so on two quite separate grounds:

1 – A disagreement with the underlying theistic claims of your religion. If your religion relies on a claim that there is one or more gods, and there isn’t, then 2 is irrelevant. But, we humour you anyway and so …

2 – A disagreement with the moral assertions that you think your imaginary god has prescribed. It’s not like we disagree with all your moral positions, we just hold those we agree on for different reasons, for which we don’t need an imaginary god. But those Humanist atheists also find many of the moral guides of religion to be immoral, barbaric at times, and remnants of ancient codes of conduct prescribed at the time of the religion’s inception.

The thing is, Atheism prescribes no moral position whatsoever. It really is merely the rejection of your unsubstantiated claims about your god.

And this, of course, leads to another failure to understand atheism: “Atheists have no morals. They are nihilists.” Not so.

We have morals. We just don’t think some imaginary friend dictates them; and we very specifically reject many of the immoral codes that gods supposedly do dictate.

But you’re nearly right. it’s not our atheism that determines our morals, it’s something else.

Many atheists find other reasons for their morality – many simply acknowledging that harming others isn’t nice. People and animals don’t like to suffer harm, so we prefer to minimise that. It seems a very simple idea, but it’s amazing how far you can go with just that basic starting point. And it also avoids the need to punish people for daft reasons – such as for having sex outside marriage, for not being heterosexual, for drinking, for working on the Sabbath.

[In the UK the Shops Bill 1986 was defeated; the Sunday Trading Act 1994 eventually introduced limited Sunday trading … so strong was Christianity’s hold over British life. Now we’re finding we have to start again, with Islam.]

Many atheists want to live by their own moral ideals, and many collect these ideas about living a moral life into a set of codes. It’s not that these codes are necessary, but they are helpful in declaring some minimal set of behaviours we agree to abide by.

And one example of such a guide is the Humanist Manifesto. Take a look at it. You’ll find no diktats about women being lesser than men, or how to deal with the evil of homosexuality, or what the best way is to kill apostates. Humanists don’t have to look for ‘nuance’ and ‘scholarship’ to explain away inconvenient passages ‘revealed’ through some desert warlord or hippy.

So, if you want to carry out any comparisons I’d suggest you try these:
– Atheism vs Theism
– Humansim vs Christianity, Islam, …

You might find that many atheists tell you they don’t belong to any Humanist organisation, because they would rather not belong to any group that sets their ethical standards for them, as they can figure it out for themselves. They have a point. We are free to decide our own moral codes, and put them to the test in our societies.

My personal subscription to Humanism is one of convenience, and support for many of the programs of Humanists UK (formerly British Humanist Association).

Other atheists might join other groups of common interest, such as the many secular and skeptical societies around the world. Ex-Muslims have a shared experience that brings them together in various groups – often with the added benefit of providing a safe community to those ex-Muslims that are still at risk from their families.

Let that sink in, and imagine a child of Humanists being ostracised, forced into marriage, threatened with death, killed. I don’t know of any such incident. Has one ever made the news?

The next time you’re arguing with atheists on Twitter, they are unlikely to be Nazis. So when you pull the “What about Hitler, Stalin ..” it’s a Straw Man. If you want to argue for your religion, why don’t you try coming up with good reasons for it, not excusing the bad stuff by dragging in some irrelevant comparison.

And for pities sake, give up on trying to defend the indefensible. Your religious texts are full of ancient stuff that really doesn’t stand up to our moral standards today. Some religious passages are outright contraventions of the human rights that most people would want to sign up to. Stop defending that crap with ‘nuance’ and ‘scholarship’ – it makes you look like damned fools that are fooling no one but themselves.

Atheist Terrorists

And that atheist killer you want to call a terrorist because you’re sick of hearing about Islamic terrorists? Could be they are genuinely crazy, or have some motive other than their hate for religion.

And even if they carried out the heinous act because they hate religion and religious believers, there’s no Atheist Bible, and nothing in the Humanist Manifesto to suggest they should … unlike your religious books. Not even The God Delusion, Letter to a Christian Nation, or any of the New Atheist books.

If some killers that are atheists really are killing for atheism, there’s nothing in atheism, or Humanism, that can be removed that would stop them. There are no doctrines we can reject. There’s no “Believers are children of Satan” sermons going on. Pointing out the problems with religion doesn’t automatically create Atheist Killers. Sadly it does all too often create killers of atheists.

But, hey, if someone has a terrorist agenda, against believers, for atheism, then pretty much all humanist atheists will oppose them. I’ll happily denounce any such terrorists. But I won’t be able to point to any atheist texts that has incited them. I can only point to Humanist texts that are very short and very explicit in their opposition to doing harm. There is no Humanist Prophet whose example I should follow that includes his beheading of enemies.

The Humanist Manifesto is so clear in rejecting doing harm to others there’s no way you can mistakenly or otherwise derive some crazy idea that it’s a good idea to kill believers.

This cannot be said of the books of Christianity and Islam. Alongside all the lovely stuff is some seriously dark and immoral doctrine.

Look, if you want to call some atheist killer an atheist terrorist, knock yourself out. Any disagreement from atheists will be on a technicality, not for some fear of having to explain away our inconvenient texts. Let me help you out with A Guide To Terrorists For Idiots.

You Should Read The Quran – Really? Why?

I’m often told, “You Should Read The Quran.” – Really? Why? Islamic specialism seems to presume I’d be enlightened by one particular holy text, but not by others.

I’m an atheist that doesn’t see any merit in holy books that claim to be inspired by or revealed by imaginary friends. I don’t swallow the presuppositional existence of a deity that such inspiration or revelation demands. There are just too many religions, and sects within religions, to make ANY of the claims credible – and there is NEVER any evidence to back up the claims.
Continue reading You Should Read The Quran – Really? Why?

Headless May, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

I’m sure Chalrie Hebdo staff must feel that Sisyphus had it easier than this. Having to explain Charlie Hebdo, again, and again, …

I made an attempt a while ago: Amatrice Pasta, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie, when the Italian victims were on the cover but the target was Italian politics.

This time the images are of London victims fleeing ISIS, and Theresa May, head under her arm.

CH is not mocking the victims but those that contribute to the creation of victims. CH asks you to think. The image is the shock that makes you question. But if you just look at the image and jump to your own simple conclusions based on that alone, it is YOU that is failing to think.
Continue reading Headless May, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

My Problem With Islam

I have been asked by a ‘liberal’ friend, “What’s your problem with Islam?”

I now have to put ‘liberal’ in scare quotes because the word no longer means what one might expect it to mean. I consider myself to be a liberal: a secular liberal democratic atheist Humanist sums up my political persuasion.

That I have to spell this out today is pretty much entirely down to the matter of Islam. This is about why that is.
Continue reading My Problem With Islam

The White European Culture Fallacy

White supremacism! Eurocentrism! Murticulturalism! Western Values! …

Endorse, deplore, assert, denounce, support any of these, vociferously, emotionally? Want to promote freedom and equality without stumbling over these dilemmas? Read on.

Richard Spencer is an ‘Identitarian’, in his own terms – though not all ‘Identitarians’ are quite like Richard Spencer. He’s a white separatist; white nationalist; whatever he wants to call it; but, it’s about being white. He values ‘White European’ values.

His ideas are based on a fallacy, because what we really value, what Spencer pretends to value, is not whiteness, or anything associated with the rather poor attribution of being white. His is really an ancient tribalism, something that we acknowledge the human race went through naturally, but not something that’s worth hanging on to.

The origins of the ‘Identitarian movement‘ suggest something more specific than just being white, but rather the desire, one which many ethnic groups aspire to, to have an ethnicity and culture remain intact. Other ethnicities cling to their ‘ethnic identity’ without receiving any push back. White Identitarians (and Jews) do seem to take a lot of flack for expressing what other ethnicities do.

I’m not a ‘white Identitarian’. As you’ll see when I get to the thought experiment later. I can understand some of the concerns – they are mostly related to opposition to the political ideology of Islam. Now, that I do oppose.

The problem I have with the ‘White Identitarian’ movement is the specificity of the ‘white’ aspect. I know, it arose arose in opposition to the perceived non-white Islamification of France. However, it erroneously conflates a difference that matters, culture, with one that does not, ethnicity. I doubt very much the ‘White Identitarian’ movement would be much of a thing (outside Richard Spencer’s tiny mind) had it not been for Merkel’s open door policy. But, let’s put that aside, and focus on the fallacy of the ‘whiteness’.

When Spencer uses the qualifier ‘White European’, when referring to culture, he’s doing so to pretend to loftier things, but he’s really about nothing more than base tribalism.

What’s worth valuing is something else other than racist ‘whiteness’; or even anything specifically ‘European’, despite Europe being historically the most localised origin of what we do value … and here I presume ‘we’ value freedom and equality, though I recongnise some do not.

Continue reading The White European Culture Fallacy

Biggest Threat – Islamism or Far Right? Trick Question – Islamism is Far Right.

My previous post had a dig at an article by Julia Ebner of Quilliam. I still support Quilliam’s efforts, even though they went hyperbolic over Tommy Robinson’s (typo alert) crass stunt, which in turn was a response to the hit job by Julia.

This post might be damning them with feint praise too, but I do agree with Adam Deen’s HuffPo piece:

The Emergence Of Meta-Jihad: Why Defeating Isis Won’t End The Plague Of Terrorism
Continue reading Biggest Threat – Islamism or Far Right? Trick Question – Islamism is Far Right.

Julia Ebner’s Hit Job – Is Everyone Far Right?

This is about a piece from Juila Ebner in the Guardian:

The far right thrives on global networks. They must be fought online and off – Julia Ebner –  Nationalists across the world are sharing knowledge and reinforcing messages of hate. The fightback begins with social media companies, and all of us.

It sounds like (look at the url) it’s about getting the social media companies to tackle hate speech. But that begins to look like a thin disguise for a hit job … or perhaps the person being made example of is an unlucky target. That will depend on your perspective.

It’s also related to the spat between Maajid Nawaz and Tommy Robinson deepening, and Robinson’s attempst to interview Julia about the article, when he ‘stormed’ the Quilliam offices.
Continue reading Julia Ebner’s Hit Job – Is Everyone Far Right?

Carl Miller of Demos Still Misfires on ‘Islamophobia’

rCarl Miller (@carljackmiller) of Demos, a ‘Cross Party Think Tank’  has produced some research that claims to show spikes in ‘Islamophobic’ tweets around incidents of Islamic terrorism.

There are problems with this research, as pointed out very well in this piece, by Benjamin Jones: Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law [1], from the National Secular Society (NSS). One big problem is the word ‘Islamophobia’ and how it is used; which in turn leads to a subsequent problem, the selection and analysis of the tweets used to produce the results.

Carl Miller responded to Benjamin here: Measuring Islamophobia on Twitter [2]. He acknowledges the problem, but then goes on to compound it. Continue reading Carl Miller of Demos Still Misfires on ‘Islamophobia’

Clinton Exposes Muslim Victimhood

Hot on the heels of Fireman Sam, Bill Clinton has managed to expose how many Muslims are more interested in Muslim Victimhood and playing the offended and persecuted.

Here’s what Clinton said:

If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.

Here’s an article from Imraan Siddiqi: Continue reading Clinton Exposes Muslim Victimhood

Fireman Sam Exposes Victimhood of Muslims

I follow the Facebook page of British Asians UK. It has great well balanced articles. Very fair in reporting. A good place to come for honest articles when the mainstream press is too afraid to be un-PC.

But some of the followers do not do it justice. The outrage over a Fireman Sam episode that contained a page depicting script from the Quran just shows, in the context of Islamic terrorism and honour killings, the professional victimhood, and hypocrisy, within our Muslim communities.

There were many sensible Muslim voices too – but it’s setting a low bar when I have to point that out.

None of the Muslims commenting have all the details about the episode, but the importance of this fact is a crucial part of the fiasco that is an embarrassment to any credibility Islam has. Continue reading Fireman Sam Exposes Victimhood of Muslims

Total Islamist Whitewash – Incompetent or Brilliant

I can’t figure out whether Emma Green and Shadi Hamid are providing an incompetent interviewer’s apologism for Islam, and an Islamist’s propaganda, or they have colluded to show Islam to be the violent authoritarian political religion it is.

The Meaningless Politics of Liberal Democracies – An interview of Shadi Hamid by Emma Green.
Continue reading Total Islamist Whitewash – Incompetent or Brilliant

Populations in a Secular Liberal Democratic EU – #EUref

This is about the UK referendum on EU membership. It’ll meander back an forth across some issues as it’s more an ideas and concerns barf than a rational argument aimed to persuade, so apologies if it’s a chaotic and incoherent at times. These are the issues that I hear people talking about; issues about populations, migration and sovereignty that are easier to understand than the economic ones that even the ‘experts’ can’t give clear answers to.

Here’s a quick summary, with short videos, that explains the organisation of the EU and the powers of its various bodies. Use it as a primer if you’re not sure what the EU is about: BBC’s EU Introduction.
Continue reading Populations in a Secular Liberal Democratic EU – #EUref

Jew Hating Indoctrination of Children – Religiously Validated

Jew hating indoctrination of children in schools – all religiously validated, of course. That wouldn’t happen today. Would it? Even after this in the 1930’s …?

Already in grade school, we were told that the Jews were evil because they did not believe in Christ and that they were “Jesus killers. … One of my teachers was a member of the “Waffen SS” and I can remember when he came to school in uniform with the imprint on his belt buckle, “Gott ist mit uns” (God is with us). He was very strict and attendance of the Wednesday afternoon Hitler Youth meetings were just as important as school attendance.

Mmmmm. His dedication is a bit like praying five times a day.

What Made Me Turn To Atheism – Carl Zimmerling explained in his 2000 piece.

When the up-side to religion is that it is so God damned awful it can turn you to atheism.
Continue reading Jew Hating Indoctrination of Children – Religiously Validated

The Quran – Polysemous or Duplicitous?

I’d like to address the nonsense that is passed off as reasons for thinking the Quran is a fine book, that it represents a religion of peace, that it’s all for freeing slaves, that blah blah blah … you know the typical lines.

As an example, I’ll use a recent comment made to excuse Islam and the Quran. Continue reading The Quran – Polysemous or Duplicitous?

Islam – A Breakdown

The lack of an authoritative source, other than the texts, makes pretty much anyone a specialist on Islam, and at the very same time an ignorant fool. Don’t worry, the irony of me presenting a breakdown of Islam isn’t lost on me. Islam is a crazy world. Welcome to it. No. really, you’re welcome to it.

A question put to me has finally prompted me to write this post, because the inevitable demand for a ‘brief’ explanation of my view simply cannot be met:

On the one hand you say you understand the difference between Islam and Islamism. On the other you speak about “Islam” as if it is a violent ideology that compels its followers to violence — as if there is no difference between Islamism and Islam. I’m confused.

What follows is a convenient reference. It’s a simplistic breakdown of Islam from my point of view.
Continue reading Islam – A Breakdown