Algeria’s Sins of Origin

Here is an interesting article, Frantz Fanon and the crisis of mental health in the Arab world. The author Joelle M Abi-Rached, a Lebanese doctor and academic, recounts a visit to the psychiatric hospital of Blida-Joinville in Algeria. Today it is run down and desolate but in the 1950’s it was “the pride of the colonial Algerian school of psychiatry”. At that time there co-existed at the hospital two schools of thought explaining the violent pathologies presenting in Algerian patients.

The first was called Primitivism which found the source of the troubling behaviours in the supposedly deficient cortex of the Arab native. It was championed by psychiatrist Antoine Sutter and has long since been consigned to history.

The second was developed by Frantz Fanon, a French psychiatrist and revolutionary from Martinique. His theory put the blame squarely on colonialism, and is still influential today although looking somewhat threadbare sixty years after colonial emancipation.

This is the core part of Dr Abi-Rached’s article:

In his book The Wretched of the Earth (1961), Fanon locates the origins of Algerian violence in the ‘colonial situation’. Through a series of poignant case studies drawn from his clinical practice, he showed how the colonialist’s violence bred in the colonised a constellation of pathological behaviours. And perhaps because of that inextricable link, he argued that violence was an essential part of the anticolonial struggle. It was nothing more than an appropriation of the means with which the colonialist/settler rules, but turned towards the rise of national consciousness and the birth of the ‘new man’ – a revolutionary subject born out of decolonisation.”

Dr Abi-Rached then asks “What has become of the ‘new man’ and the morbid symptoms of colonialism almost six decades after Algeria and other colonised countries gained independence?”

She also approvingly quotes a psychoanalyst named Karima Lazali. In her book Colonial Trauma Dr Lazali writes of the protean symptoms of colonial trauma that persist until today, including fratricidal violence. This, she argues, is a natural consequence of the colonialist’s “sin of origin” and claims that colonialists pushed Algerians on a trajectory of perpetual loss and suspicion, of constant malaise and self-mutilation, and even of a collective ‘death drive’.

Two items here seem particularly to invite sceptical scrutiny: the new man and the colonialist’s sin of origin.


I must admit the more I read of Frantz Fanon the less sympathetic a character he appears to be. Like his counterpart in the New World, Che Guevara (also a believer in the revolutionary new man), he looks better from a distance. Fanon’s writing reminds me of the Marxist theology I remember being earnestly debated decades ago by fellow students who would demand to know “Which side will you be on in the Revolution?” Fortunately, the revolution has been delayed indefinitely but Fanon’s influence remains strong among our impressionable young. Sadly, in the absence today of actual colonies, they have to content themselves with decolonising statues and their university libraries.

I do not like Fanon’s enthusiastic encouragement of others to engage in horrific violence. The first section of The Wretched of the Earth, Concerning Violence, makes it plain that for Fanon decolonisation is, by definition, a violent process without exception. This is plain wrong. There are plenty of exceptions, the most obvious being that of India. The British realised the game was up after WWII and withdrew in an orderly fashion, something made possible by the non-violent ideals popularised in the country by Gandhi. It was certainly attended by much violence but that was almost entirely between two religious communities of the colonised not between colonised and colonisers.

Fanon thought that violence would be a necessary cleansing act, bringing forth a new national consciousness and the birth of the elusive new man. On the other hand there are those who think that violence merely begets more violence, a view encouraged by comparing the postcolonial histories of India and Algeria. India has rubbed along with no more than the usual internal frictions of any country, while 30 years after independence Algerians could not resist throwing themselves into another prolonged bloodletting, something that strains credulity when blamed on anyone other than Algerians.

And I do not like the fact that he said “Truth is whatever hastens the disintegration of the colonial regime”. That paints him as an ideologically committed propagandist more than an honest researcher.

But I really do not like that he “locates the origins of Algerian violence in the colonial situation” and only in the colonial situation. Dr Lazali concurs with him by blaming Algeria’s woes entirely on the colonialist’s “sin of origin”. I suggest that since Algeria did not in fact originate with French colonisation we should look further back in time for the origins of Algeria’s problems – much further back – where we may find other sins of origin.


Fanon claimed that colonisers attempt to write the precolonial history of a colonised people as one of barbarism and degradation “in order to justify the supremacy of Western civilization”.

Indeed they have done so but, unfortunately for Fanon’s thesis, in this case the people the French invaded and colonised really were barbaric and degraded….unless you regard piracy and slaving as civilised.

Before the coming of the French the region now called Algeria, but then known only as Algiers, formed part of the Barbary Coast, home to the Barbary Pirates, famed for their rapaciousness and cruelty. For hundreds of years piracy and slave-trading were the principal economic activities of the four main Barbary ports, Tripoli (in modern day Libya), Tunis, Algiers, and Sale (in modern day Morocco).

A Catholic religious order, the Trinitarians, was established as early as the late 12th century for the purpose of ransoming Christian captives. One famous example, Miguel de Cervantes, was released to them in 1580 after five years captivity in Algiers. He returned to the episode repeatedly in his later literary work, detailing the inhuman treatment visited upon him and his fellow captives, and warning Europe of the ever present danger from “the Turk” ie Muslims.

At any one time there would be thousands of Christian – and other – slaves in Algiers. Here is an illustration from the British naval captain Walter Croker’s account of his visit to Algiers in 1815:

The Barbary Pirates started to become a significant threat to European shipping under Ottoman rule (1525-1830) although for much of that time the Barbary regions were semi-autonomous, with the pirate captains wielding formal political power. The continued piracy on European, and later American, ships led to repeated naval attacks on Algiers by Spain, Denmark, France, Britain and the United States. And then came the French invasion.

It is clear that the Algerian people were deeply entrenched in a violent and predatory way of life long before French colonisation (1830-1962). But where exactly did that culture come from? A concise answer was provided in 1786 when future US presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli’s ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman. When they enquired:

concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury the ambassador replied that it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise”.

This candid acknowledgement should not surprise anyone who has read the Islamic scriptures. The Koran and the Hadiths are bad enough but to get the full picture of Mohammed’s criminal beginnings in Medina as a “desert pirate” and enslaver of vanquished tribes one should go to Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Mohammed, Sirat Rasul Allah.

Clearly the Barbary Pirates were faithfully following Mohammed’s example as Muslims are enjoined to do:

“Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.” (Koran 33:21)


Could it be that a thousand years of being subject to various Islamic empires, and therefore the thorough inculcation of Islamic teachings, played some part in Algeria’s admitted pathologies? Did Islam breed in the faithful a constellation of pathological behaviours?

On an individual level, the Syrian born psychiatrist Wafa Sultan certainly thinks that Islam is bad for your mental health. She came to loathe the religion and secretly apostasised before escaping to the United States where she wrote a book called A God Who Hates. That is a very apt description of Allah, don’t you think? Throughout the Koran he does not hide his hatred for anyone who will not believe in him. He repeatedly commands the faithful to militarily dominate those unwise enough not to submit to him in this life, and gives lurid descriptions of the endless tortures he intends to inflict on them in the afterlife. Here is an example:

“Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment.” (Koran 4:56)

Indeed a god who hates. What would be the likely effect on a child forced to worship such a monstrous deity, and to revere his prophet Mohammed, an obvious criminal?

Dr Sultan has written “When I examined the Koran, the hadith, and the Islamic books under a microscope, I came to the absolute conviction that it is impossible – impossible! – for any human being to read the biography of Muhammad and believe in it, and yet emerge a psychologically and mentally healthy person”.

Surely she has a point. You do not find Hindus or Sikhs or Christians machine gunning or beheading unbelievers in the street on account of a cartoon.

On a societal level, which is Fanon’s chosen area of focus, we have to ask why did he look back only to the recent past of Algeria? Would he have been satisfied exploring only the last few years of a patient’s adult life to find the source of their problems or would he, following conventional psychiatric practice, have delved all the way back to their adolescence and childhood?

If he had examined Algeria’s pre-colonial history he would have found a people saturated in cruelty and violence. That was how they earned their living for hundreds of years. Could it have been that, denied an outlet directed toward the unbelievers, that predisposition turned inwards and was thus partly responsible for the “constant malaise and self-mutilation, and even of a collective ‘death drive’ which Dr Lazali identifies?

Perhaps the modern concept of Cognitive Dissonance can also shed some light on the colonial and post-colonial condition of Algerians and Muslims generally.

Allah assured the believers that they are “the best of nations” (Koran 3:110) while unbelievers are “the worst of creatures” (Koran 98:6) yet everywhere Muslims find themselves at the bottom of the pile in terms of prosperity, achievement and liberty. What wealth they have, and the source of their standing in the world, comes only from what happens to lay under their lands and which unbelievers have to pump out of the ground for them.

Today Muslims are truly the Wretched of the Earth. How far they have fallen! For hundreds of years the people of Algeria enjoyed licence to prey on the kuffar, provided by a religion which sacralised the worst of human behaviour. They terrorised shipping and coastal communities within their reach by use of force alone. They added nothing to civilisation but were entirely parasitical upon it.

And then came the French with greater force; bigger ships, better weapons and more advanced technology. They put an end to both the piracy and the slave-trading, allowing seagoing commerce to flourish safely in the region for the first time, something for which the civilised nations of Europe should be profoundly grateful.

How did the colonised Algerians, and other Muslim peoples, come to terms with their massive fall from power and prestige, then and now? Not by accepting that their culture was at fault, that’s for sure. That would mean admitting that the example of their prophet was fundamentally malign, which would of course undermine their religion.

Instead they comfort themselves with nostalgia for a largely illusory Golden Age and look for someone else to blame.

They are always the victims of the French or the British or the Americans. Or, most virulently, the Jews, a thorn in Mohammed’s side in 630 AD, and now, in the guise of Israel (population 10 million), the arch villains keeping 400 million Arabs down. Israel’s neighbours keep trying to wipe it off the face of the Earth but it would be a disaster for them if they succeeded. Who would they then blame when conditions in the region remained obdurately unimproved?

No one has done more than Fanon to position Arabs, and Muslims, as perpetual victims, something encouraged by the political left and successfully exploited by Muslims to the extent that any criticism of Islam is dismissed as a phobia by people who should know better. However throughout their history Muslims have consistently been the victimisers of non-Muslims whenever strong enough. Anyone taking at face value their current position in Western cultures as top victim, ahead of other clamouring identity groups, should bear in mind the Arabic saying “Show a victim’s face and you will take over”.


Dr Abi-Rached ends the article by claiming that “The thesis that Fanon posed decades ago remains relevant, but today the new man seems, alas, to be dead and in need of reinvention”.

I suggest that the new man was never born. The old man of Algeria had been too long in the making to be wished away overnight. Surely psychiatrists, of all people, should understand that for new psychological growth to occur, whether for individuals or for societies, it is first necessary to confront, and accept responsibility for, ones own “sins of origin”?

PS On the subject of taking, or not taking, responsibility for one’s own actions – shortly after finishing this blogpost I came across an item in the newspaper obituaries which I think needs no further comment from me. It concerned the recently deceased Saadi Yacef. He was the military chief in Algiers for the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) at the time of the Battle of Algiers. In an interview he said “We killed women, yes, and took foetuses out of their womb”, which he justified as part of the struggle for freedom. “This was our only means against a cruel enemy.”

ibn Ishaq, Hadiths and early non-Muslim sources

A prime exhibit for the prosecution against Islam is ibn Ishaq’s early biography of Mohammed, Sirat Rasul Allah (Life of the Messenger of God). Extant only in partial form in later works, it provides the principal source for the group of biographies known as the Sira. Alfred Guillaume compiled and translated it as The Life of Muhammad (here are edited highlights if you don’t have the time).

This is the verdict of the David Margouliath, the distinguished scholar of early Islamic history (or Orientalist, depending on your point of view), as expressed 100 years ago in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics:

       “The character attributed to Muhammad in the biography of Ibn Ishaq is exceedingly
        unfavourable. In order to gain his ends he recoils from no expedient, and he approves of similar
        unscrupulousness on the part of his adherents, when exercised in his interest. He profits to the
        utmost from the chivalry of the Meccans, but rarely requites it with the like. He organises
        assassinations and whole-sale massacres. His career as tyrant of Medina is that of a robber
        chief, whose political economy consists in securing and dividing plunder….This is a disagreeable
        picture for the founder of a religion, and it cannot be pleaded that it is a picture drawn by an
        enemy; and though Ibn Ishaq’s name was for some reason held in low esteem by the classical
        traditionalists of the third Islamic century, they make no attempt to discredit those portions of
        the biography which bear hardest on the character of their Prophet.”

This last point no longer held by the time Margouliath was writing. He adds, regarding defences of Mohammed’s character which started appearing in the late 19th century:

       “These apologists endeavour to discredit the biography of Ibn Ishaq where it shocks the European

This is also the case today. I have found that whenever I raise ibn Ishaq in discussion with Muslims, or sometimes even with non-Muslims, they immediately cry foul because, so they claim, ibn Ishaq cannot be trusted. They object that it is unfair to blacken Mohammed’s name with unreliable stories of atrocities ordered by him.

In this blog post I do not aim to prove ibn Ishaq correct in all his accounts; that would be impossible. Rather, I want to show that the picture he provides, of Mohammed as a cruel, merciless warlord, is consistent firstly with the Hadiths and secondly with the earliest independent accounts of him.

1. The Hadiths

In this document a defender of Mohammed’s good name called Ehteshaam Gulam brings forward a selection of the charges made against ibn Ishaq’s reliability including the two that always crop up, that he used reports from Jewish sources (which were likely to be both hostile and fabricated) and that the isnads (chains of transmission) for his stories about Mohammed are defective.

a. In Section #4 Gulam provides 9 stories of killings on Mohammed’s orders which appear in ibn Ishaq but not in the sahih (ie reliable) Hadith collections. He also adds the story of Kinana, whose killing is not denied but only the torture by fire before his decapitation (in terms of mitigation that must rank alongside “I shot the Sheriff but I did not shoot the deputy”).

Personally, I wouldn’t put any credence on stories, either from the Hadiths or the Sira, which had been handed down by word of mouth over a minimum of 125 years. Anyone who has played a game of Chinese whispers around a dinner table will understand why. But Muslims take a different view. As Gulam says “Muslims follow the Quran and the Hadith 100%”. That being so, let us compare the Hadiths and ibn Ishaq in terms of the brutality which Muslims claim should not be ascribed to Mohammed.

WikiIslam is an ex-Muslim run site which is a mine of information about the Islamic scriptures. Islamic apologists will automatically scoff at the mention of it but I find it to be scrupulous in its attributions, something I rarely find from those apologists themselves. Here is WikiIslam’s complete list of killings ordered or supported by Mohammed, with sources. You can even look up the individual Hadiths concerned via the links provided.

b. In the WikiIslam list we find 13 such stories which figure in both ibn Ishaq and the sahih Hadith collections.

As a representative example, number 5 in the list is the assassination of Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf. Here we can see Bukhari and Muslim (the two most trusted of sahih Hadith collectors), the historian al-Tabari, and ibn Ishaq combining to tell the kind of tale which engenders revulsion for Mohammed in normal people.

Number 12 is the infamous slaughter of 600-900 captured men of the Banu Qurayza tribe. WikiIslam does not cite ibn Ishaq directly but you can find it in Guillaume on pp461-466.

Number 42 is the torture and killing of Kinana.

c. In the WikiIslam list we also find 9 such stories which figure in the sahih Hadith collections but not in ibn Ishaq.

Number 15 surpasses even the story of Kinana in horror. Eight men from Ukil stole some camels from Mohammed. He ordered their hands and feet to be cut off. Their eyes were branded with hot metal and they were left in a desolate place to die.

The rest are everyday assassinations and executions apart from number 43 in which Mohammed sends a force to destroy the Kaaba of Yemen, killing 300 tribesmen in the process.

What are we to make of all this?

We can see that the stories which only appear in ibn Ishaq are no worse than the stories which appear in both ibn Ishaq and in the Hadiths, or those which appear only in the Hadiths. They consist, largely, of assassinations and executions of those who crossed Mohammed or mocked him. The Perfect Man appears to have been remarkably thin skinned and vengeful, just like Allah in fact.

The two exceptions are the stories involving torture. Gulam writes:

       “That a man [Kinana] should be tortured with burns on his chest by the sparks of a flint is too
        heinous a deed for a Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who had earned for
        himself the title of Rahma’lil Alamin (Mercy for all the worlds)”.

Yet the hideous torture of the eight men of Ukil cannot be too heinous a deed for him because it is attested to by Bukhari. If I ever bump into Ehteshaam Gulam I will ask him how he reconciles these two accounts of the Mercy for all the worlds.

I think the above shows that ibn Ishaq is entirely consistent with the Hadiths regarding Mohammed’s cruelty, and that the crucial difference between the two is only that ibn Ishaq is more coherently presented as a narrative. That means it will be more likely to convince the general reader and therefore represents a greater threat to Mohammed’s reputation. There must then be a greater incentive for Islamic apologists to attempt to counter the likely effect of the message by undermining the messenger.

2. The Early Sources

The following are the three earliest accounts of Mohammed given by non-Muslims. I believe they speak for themselves.

a. The Didaskalia of Jacob, otherwise known as the Doctrina Jacobi, is a Greek Christian tract set in Carthage in 634 AD. According to the ground-breaking scholars of the origins of Islam, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, it was written in Palestine shortly after that date.

The Sneakers Corner channel explores the tract’s background and supports its claimed credibility in this video.

Here is the text itself, and this is the relevant passage for our purposes (p99-100):

        ….Abraham my brother has written to me that a deceiving prophet has appeared: “For at the
        time when (Sergius) the Candidatus [ie Byzantine general] was slaughtered by the Saracens I was
        in Caesarea”—Abraham says—”and I went out by boat to Sykamina. And they said: the
        Candidatus was slaughtered. And we Jews rejoiced greatly. And they said that a prophet
        appeared, coming with the Saracens and he is proclaiming the arrival of the coming Anointed
        One and Christ. And when I went out into Sykamina I communicated it to a certain very
        scriptural old man and I said to him: ‘What do you say to me about this prophet who is
        appearing with the Saracens?’ And with a great groan he said: ‘He is a deceiver. Do prophets
        come with swords and chariots? Really these are works of disorder set in motion today, and I
        fear that the Christ who came earlier, whom the Christians worship, was the one sent by God
        and instead of him we shall accept Hermolaos [ie the anti-Christ]. For Isaiah said that we Jews
        have a mistaken and hardened heart, until all the land is made a desert. But go forth, Mr.
        Abraham, and learn about this prophet who is appearing.’ And I, Abraham, thoroughly
        investigating, heard from those who met him that you find nothing true in this so-called prophet,
        except shedding human blood. For he says that he has keys of Paradise which is unbelievable.

b. The Fragment on the Arab Conquests

This consists of fragmentary notes that were written on the blank front pages of a Syriac Christian manuscript of the Gospel of Mark around the year 636 AD.

Here is what Sneakers Corner has to say on the Fragment. This is the actual text which concerns us:

        In January {the people of} Ḥomṣ took the word for their lives and many villages were ravaged by
        the killing of {the Arabs of} Mūḥmd and many people were slain and {taken} prisoner from
        Galilee as far as Beth…

        On the tw{enty-six]th of May the Saq{īlā}ra went {…} from the vicinity of Ḥomṣ and the Romans
        chased them {…}

        On the tenth {of August} the Romans fled from the vicinity of Damascus {and there were killed}
        many {people}, some ten thousand. And at the turn {of the ye}ar the Romans came. On the
        twentieth of August in the year n{ine hundred and forty-}seven there gathered in Gabitha
        {a multitude of} the Romans, and many people {of the R}omans were kil{led}, {s}ome fifty

Note that the curly brackets denote illegible or nearly illegible words. Also that the Fragment places Mohammed in Palestine in year 947 of the Seleucid Greek calender, or 636 AD, whereas Muslim histories claim that he died in 632 never having broken out of Arabia.

c. Thomas the Presbyter

Thomas the Presbyter (ie the leader of a congregation) was a monophysite Christian whose manuscripts are preserved in the British library of Syriac Manuscripts.

Sneakers Corner introduces the account in the first three minutes here. The rest of the video concerns a scholarly spat which is of no direct interest to us.

This is the relevant text:

        In the year 945 [ie 634 AD], indiction 7, on Friday 4 February at the ninth hour, there was a battle
        between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhmd in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza. The
        Romans fled, leaving behind the patrician bryrdn, whom the Arabs killed. Some 4,000 poor
        villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans. The Arabs ravaged the
        whole region.

        In the year 947 [ie 636 AD], indiction 9, the Arabs invaded the whole of Syria and went down to
        Persia and conquered it. The Arabs climbed the mountain of Mardin and killed many monks
        there in [the monasteries of] Qedar and Bnata. There died the blessed man Simon, doorkeeper of
        Qedar, brother of Thomas the priest.

(As an aside, it seems Mohammed’s forces at Mt Mardin didn’t get the memo about protecting and defending Christians in general and monks in particular. See here for further details).


We see that ibn Ishaq, the sahih Hadiths and the earliest independent sources are all aligned in portraying Mohammed as a brutal, rampaging warlord.

When Islamic apologists next complain about my bringing forward ibn Ishaq as evidence, I shall ask them to explain how the character of Mohammed presented in his biography differs from the one we find in the Muslim sources (which they believe) and the non-Muslim sources (which I believe). In the meantime I feel justified in regarding the Sirat Rasul Allah as a reliable part of the Islamic tradition.

Parliamentarians duped over Islamophobia – postscript

As if Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3 weren’t enough about the All Party Parliamentary Group definition of Islamophobia, here comes a postcript!

There are two reasons – firstly, there have been developments since those three articles were written and, secondly, I feel bound to draw an obvious, yet everywhere undrawn, conclusion from the whole process.

1. Later Developments:

On 16th May 2019 the House of Commons debated the APPG definition and the British Government formally declined to adopt it.

During the debate Communities Secretary James Brokenshire characterised the APPG definition as a “backdoor blasphemy law” and rejected it on the grounds that it is too vague and has “potential consequences for freedom of speech”.

He also made it clear that the definition is “not in conformity with the Equality Act 2010, which defines ‘race’ as comprising color, nationality and national or ethnic origins — not religious practice”.

Prior to this a flurry of critical responses had already appeared from people who matter, not just humble bloggers. For instance:

A group of British academics, writers and public officials signed this open letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Richard Walton, former Head of Counter-Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police warned here that:

     “…this deeply flawed definition – which wrongly conflates the religion of Islam with a racial group –
      could over time cripple the UK’s successful counter-terrorism strategy and counter-terrorism

Sir John Jenkins produced this comprehensive demolition of the definition. If I had come across it earlier I probably wouldn’t have bothered delving into the subject myself.

My efforts added only one thing to Sir John’s report. Although he points to the “radical chic of critical theory, derived from a particular reading of the Frankfurt School and largely French postmodern theorists” he does not examine the core of the definition, the bogus sociological concept of cultural racism. You can only find that in the aforementioned Part 3.

In response, Wes Streeting (that’s him, centre front row, seated between Anna Soubry and Baroness Warsi) responded in the Guardian:

     ”…it is particularly disappointing to see a noisy chorus of vocal opposition making arguments in
      bad faith that accuse us of trying to use the term Islamophobia to shut down criticism of Islam
      and introduce blasphemy laws by the back door. In fact, our report makes it crystal clear that
      our definition does not preclude criticism of Islam or Islamic theology”.

Yes, the report does make it crystal clear, in the introduction, that ”our definition does not preclude criticism of Islam or Islamic theology”. But towards the end it also makes it crystal clear that many things that we had thought came under the heading of Islam or Islamic theology, now come under the heading of Muslimness, a splendidly vague neologism which the APPG have added to the already vague enough concept of Islamophobia.

As an example of the difference, if the APPG get their way it will become an offence to call Islam an aggressively supremacist cult, which it is and has been for 1400 years.

2. Drawing an obvious conlusion:

In the House of Commons James Brokenshire said:

     ”It is vital that we get this right, that any definition reflects the experience of those who have
      experienced hatred because they are Muslims, and that we can be satisfied it will have a positive
      effect…With the best of intent, the APPG definition does not yet meet this and further work and
      consideration is needed”.

Why would anyone assume that a “backdoor blasphemy law” had been proposed “with the best of intent”?

In his report Sir John Jenkins wrote:

     “There is no doubt that the MPs involved had – and have – the best of intentions.

Why does he think there is no doubt?

Elsewhere in his report he shows that he is fully aware of the malign influence on the report of the sinister Islamist organisation MEND but merely asks:

     “Were members of the APPG and other MPs who appeared at the launch of the report fully
      informed about the connections of those who helped write this report and contribute evidence?“

I suggest that anyone with the best of intentions should have informed themselves about who was presenting information to them, and about their possible agendas. Even if the members were totally duped by MEND and their ideologically aligned academics, they were soon enlightened after the publication by the criticisms from Sir John and others but they still stand by the report.

The APPG report does not at all reflect the best of intentions. Rather, it is a determined and deceptive attempt to claim special protection from criticism for one religion, Islam, just as Sharia demands. The individual members must have been either astonishingly naive, or complicit in what can only be described as enemy action against our society. It is just the proportions which are in doubt.

Lizzie Dearden reported in the Independent:

     ”It [the APPG definition] has been adopted by parties including Labour, the Liberal Democrats,
      Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party and Scottish Conservatives, and backed by 750 Muslim
      organistions and institutions

That is an awful lot of Muslim organisations, isn’t it? Do they all understand cultural racism and Muslimness? I doubt it. I contend that all they see is the demand for special treatment, which equals Sharia, which equals power. Their immediate response of “Yes, we’ll have some of that” demonstrates more clearly than any poll what a great many Muslims actually want, and who and what they identify with above all else.

The expected response to hearing that the APPG definition is supported by 750 Muslim organisations is that it must therefore be good. Having examined the definition in detail, and found it bad, my conclusion is that a great many Muslims, beyond the ranks of the usual suspects, must wish to see Sharia trump the British values of free speech and equal treatment for all.

My “Islamophobia” has in fact been confirmed and even strengthened by this alarming report and by the whole unedifying process of its production. I wonder how many other people it has affected in the same way.

Parliamentarians duped over Islamophobia part 3

I don’t usually do box sets but there is just so much to say about the All Party Parliamentary Group on Muslims report Islamophobia Defined that it just keeps calling me back, fascinated by the brazenness of the attack on our freedom of expression.

In Part 1 I detailed the evolution of the term Islamophobia over the last 20 years from fear of Islam and Muslims to racism about Muslimness and noted the involvement in the inquiry of a sinister Islamist organisation called MEND.

In Part 2 I studied the contributions to the inquiry from various activists, sociologists and activist sociologists, and what “toilsome reading and a wearisome confused jumble” I found them to be (that was Thomas Carlyle on the Koran, by the way). I also noted the unavoidably subjective way in which the APPG definition would have to be interpreted by those attempting to apply it and, thus, the power it will put into their hands.

In this third, and hopefully final, part I want to examine more closely the concept of cultural racism, which is at the heart of the APPG’s definition of Islamophobia:

     “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of
      Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

I also want to look at some of the practical implications of the definition and to bring to your attention various responses to it, both positive and negative.

[NB There is also a Postscript]

Cultural racism examined.

Although the Group do not specify in their definition what “type of racism” they consider Islamophobia to be, it is clear from the text of the report that they mean cultural racism.

What is that? Craig Considine, very much an activist sociologist, explains here. He at least lays out the concept and its claimed link to Islamophobia clearly enough to engage with it, which is more than can be said for most of the contributors to the inquiry.

Claiming the Marxist sociologist Stuart Hall as his inspiration, Considine declares that:

     “Racism is no longer about race (skin color) but culture. People are Othered and
      discriminated against not (simply) because of the color of their skin (or other phenotypes)
      but because of their beliefs and practices associated with some imagined culture”.

This is the core of the concept but there is something obviously wrong about it. Cultural racism is actually two concepts presented as one. If racism is no longer about race then it is no longer racism. If it is about culture then it should properly be called something like culturism*, just as discrimination based on sex is sexism and discrimination based on age is ageism. Just because people are “othered and discriminated against” (assuming that they are) it does not mean that one form of discrimination is necessarily a disguised version of another, or even connected to it.

* NB It appears that there is a long established term for discrimination on the basis of culture, ethnocentrism, but I think I’ll stick with culturism because it’s snappier and because the link with culture is obvious.

So let us start from the position that what we have here is two possible forms of discrimination, racism and culturism, and then explore whether they can sensibly be fused together to form a new compound form.

I suggest that attitudes about culture may sometimes be genuinely independent of attitudes about race, something which I believe we can establish empirically with regard to Islam in Britain.

If Hall and Considine are correct, that culturism is just a disguised form of racism, I think we would expect perceptions of particular groups not to differ markedly over time when judged either by culture or by race.

If I am correct, that culturism is a distinct phenomenon and that racism has been spuriously attached to it, then we shouldn’t be surprised to see perceptions of particular groups based on culture diverge significantly from earlier perceptions based on race.

I claim that Considine is wrong to ascribe negative perceptions of Islam and Muslims to a form of racism and I can demonstrate it. All I need is a subject group (Muslims) and a control group to compare over time.

In Britain we are fortunate in having not one but two control groups. There are three culturally (but not racially) distinct populations originating from the Indian subcontinent: Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims. The three groups all share similar pigmentation and ancestry, the same history of British colonialism and similar histories of immigration and settlement. But they do have radically differing cultures centred around three very different religions, the implications of which only started to dawn on the British people after the Ayatollah’s fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1989.

The first two generations of post-war immigrants from the subcontinent were barely distinguished from each other by the native population. Going for an Indian (meal) was a very standard end to a Saturday night out with almost no awareness that the cooks and waiters might in fact be Pakistani and Muslim rather than Indian and Hindu. I remember, I was there. Any negative feeling there might have been toward them was uniform.

How things have changed. Today there are street organisations and even political parties devoted to stopping the increasing Islamisation of Britain while Sikhs and Hindus rub along with the natives just fine.

Why do Muslims today attract so much more hostility than Sikhs and Hindus? I did what any good social scientist would do and conducted a survey. I might add that academics in the field would do well to get out of the mosque and their Hate Studies departments, and spend some time in pubs and betting shops…it would give them a whole different slant on the issue.

It turned out that people are not at all concerned about Muslims’ pigmentation or their clothing or their “perceived Muslimness”. What really concerns them is that periodically some members of the Muslim community take it into their heads to blow us up or mow us down or chop our heads off, claiming religious sanction.

My respondents were also angered by the long standing rape on an industrial scale of vulnerable indigenous girls. At this point it may, or may not, be relevant to mention that APPG member Lord Ahmed (back row, third from the right) is currently awaiting trial, along with his two brothers, charged with historic sexual abuse of minors in – you guessed it – Rotherham.

This is not to say that anyone thought that all Muslims are jihadis or paedophiles, just that some are…enough to establish a pattern. Put it this way: if members of the Women’s Institute (a much loved organisation primarily known for jam-making and nude calenders) started blowing up children at pop concerts, claiming parts of the W.I. constitution as justification, it would be disingenuous not to expect people to regard both the W.I. and W.I. members with suspicion or worse.

But my respondents were particularly infuriated that Muslim representatives routinely respond to these assaults on the host population by claiming that Muslims are the real victims. They give the impression of caring only about Muslims, with a pulled hijab or a nasty look carrying as much weight as someone’s child blown to bits. Perhaps this is not surprising when you consider that their god tells Muslims that they are “the best of peoples” and the rest of us are “the worst of creatures” who deserve to be tortured for eternity.

Sikhs and Hindus have not become associated with similar behaviours and attitudes and therefore do not excite similar animosity. Accordingly they do not need their own special words to deflect attention from, and avoid the consequences of, their own or their fellow religionists’ actions. The very act of attempting to play the victim and blame the very understandable hostility which exists towards Muslims on the indigenous population only intensifies the mutual resentment which drives the Muslim and non-Muslim populations ever further apart.

I therefore contend that the differing current levels of negativity towards Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims are wholly explained by their differing cultures, at the centre of which sit their respective religions, and not at all by any residual racism.

Can Considine explain this puzzling discrepancy by means of cultural racism? Until such time as he does I claim that the hybrid concept of cultural racism, specifically in relation to Islam, is bogus, a mere mixing together of two unconnected concepts for the dishonest purpose of producing the race card where it is not relevant. That being so, the APPG’s definition of Islamophobia, which is based on it, must also be bogus.

If you disagree with this analysis and conclusion please explain why in the comments below, preferably without using the words “trope”, “essentialised”, “narrative”, “intersectional” or “orientalism”.

Other reasons to be sceptical about the application of cultural racism to Islamophobia.

Firstly, we only have to look at Wikipedia to find that there are academics who oppose the validity of the concept, but unfortunately none of them made it to the inquiry. The Group heard only one side of the story, repeatedly presented as fact by professor after professor, so it is perhaps not surprising that they swallowed it whole. Who selected such a one-sided presentation of views? Well, we do know that the secretariat contained a member of MEND and also an activist who loudly complained about Islamophobia on the part of the police after the horrors of Rotherham were exposed (see Part 1) so I think we know where to start looking.

If you read the contributions to the inquiry, accepting the speciousness of the central concept, it appears very much like a prolonged sales pitch to gullible buyers of the cloth so fine that only the most intelligent can see it. Some people have already noticed that the new definition is a perfect set of Emperor’s new clothes. Hopefully more will raise their voices when those in authority attempt to use it to curb our free speech, and it will become the laughing stock it deserves to be.

Secondly, When do we ever hear of cultural racism being applied to Muslims rather than non-Muslims? Islam is absolutely built on discrimination against, and othering of, non-Muslims. No one “others” like Allah. Just read his book and see how he encourages his followers to view Jews, Christians and any other unbelievers. Not surprisingly, these attitudes are acted out wherever non-Muslims, or even the wrong kind of Muslims, find themselves in proximity to those who take Allah’s words seriously.

Consider all those Muslim activists and their sociologist supporters contributing to the inquiry. When do any of them protest at the obvious “cultural racism” practised by Muslims upon Copts in Egypt, Ahmadiyya in Pakistan, Anglicans in Nigeria, Catholics in Sri Lanka, Jews anywhere and Kafir girls in Northern England? The answer is never. “Cultural racism” serves solely to boost the effectiveness of “Islamophobia”, and the APPG, in their innocence or otherwise, have given it their blessing.

Implications for Free Speech.

The report claims that the definition of Islamophobia has become more robust. This is not so. It has actually become flakier, but at the same time more controlling.

The group tell us that:

      “the aim of establishing a working definition of Islamophobia has neither been motivated by,
      nor is intended to curtail, free speech or criticism of Islam as a religion…”

but is only aimed at:

      “the victimisation of Muslims through the targeting of expressions of Muslimness”.

It turns out though that Muslimness covers so much that we had thought of merely as religious issues, or questions of fact, that there is very little left that we can say about Islam or Muslims that will not fall foul of the APPG’s strictures.

On pages 56 and 57 of the report there appears a list of things we may not say, for instance,

That Muslim identity has a unique propensity for terrorism
That there is a demographic ‘threat’ posed by Muslims
That there is a threat of of a ‘Muslim takeover’
That Muslims invent or exaggerate Islamophobia
That Muslims are more loyal to the Ummah or to their countries of origin, than to the interests of their own nations.
That Muslims should be expected to take loyalty tests
That Muhammed was a paedophile
That Muslims spread Islam by the sword and subjugated minority groups under their control
That Muslims are ‘sex groomers’, inherently violent or incapable of living harmoniously in plural societies

I would say that there is good factual evidence for most of these assertions (what else would you call a 53 year old man who had sex with a 9 year old girl?) But facticity here is trumped by the religious sensibilities of Muslims.

That presents us with a remarkable juxtaposition. In British law the truth of a statement is a defence against slander whereas in Islamic law it is not because slander is only “what someone may not wish to hear”. Is it not ironic, and shameful, that British lawyers (well represented in the APPG group) should propose giving Muslims the benefit of Sharia level protection against criticism while non-Muslims will have to do what we have always done, to counter criticism with facts and argument?

No doubt the non-Muslim lawyers in the group had no clue about slander in Sharia, but I suspect that the Muslim ones likely did.

Reactions from the usual suspects.

When I wrote Part 1 three local Councils had adopted the APPG definition. As we see here there are now four. The Greater London Authority under Sadiq Khan (who appears to prioritise seeking out hate speech over sorting out the bloodbath that London has become) has also recently adopted it, with Khan calling on the Government to do likewise. Three national political parties have done the same.

Here are the 60 odd Muslim organisations which naturally think it a jolly good idea. One of them is particularly interesting. MAB, the Muslim Association of Britain, is, according to a British Government report, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot. In this press release about the definition they make clear what they see as the next click of the ratchet of sharia compliance:

“Alluding to only racial and cultural aspects of Islam, rather than the religious and symbolic elements, is problematic and must be developed through an ongoing broad and extensive discussion”.

The “racial and cultural aspects of Islam” are taken care of by the de facto Sharia slander law referred to above. To protect the “religious and symbolic elements” would also require a full blown de facto Sharia blasphemy law. Take note what some of those among us actually plan for our future!

Here is another interesting MAB press release congratulating the NUS (representing 7 million students) on adopting the APPG definition and Zamzam Ibrahim on being elected as President.

It has emerged that Ms Ibrahim once posted online that she wanted to see “an Islamic takeover”.

What…one of those things the APPG want us not to mention because it would be a racist attack on Muslimness? Yes, the same. Naturally it was taken out of context and she was only a mixed up teenager and she no longer holds those sorts of views. Well, that’s a relief but one has to wonder where did they come from in the first place…her parents perhaps, or the mosque or the community? Or maybe straight from Allah who declared in his best seller, the Koran, “He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion”.

But the news is not all bad.

The Government have so far refused to have anything to do with it.

The National Secular Society and Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam have called the APPG definition unworkable.

Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (under whose leadership the original Runnymede definition was produced), has written that:

     “despite the undoubted good intentions of the MPs and peers who wrote the definition, they
      appear to understand neither the concept of racism nor the meaning of Islamophobia”

and that:

     “the definition reduces the lives of British Muslims to the status of perpetual victims and pawns
      in some wider battle”.

Here anti-extremism Czar Sarah Khan points out that an increasing amount of hatred towards Muslims comes from other Muslims. She wishes for the definition of Islamophobia to be enlarged to include such hostility however the examples she gives only show her confusion over the matter.

Jalal Uddin was killed in Rochdale by an ISIS supporter who believed that Uddin’s practice of an Islamic form of faith healing was blasphemy, and therefore apostasy. Kahn rightly points out that this is takfir, the act of a Muslim declaring another Muslim not a Muslim, and therefore a Kafir. She also cites Muslim persecution of Ahmadiyyah Muslims (who are not allowed to call themselves Muslims in their native Pakistan).

In both cases Muslims are not being attacked for their “perceived Muslimness” but their “perceived non-Muslimness”. Therefore the hostility Kahn identifies does not constitute Islamophobia but merely another category of Kafirphobia alongside the Judeophobia, Christophobia and Polytheophobia which appear so frequently in the Koran and among the Ummah.

Various journalists, and even the occasional blogger, have pointed out the definition’s shortcomings.

But the most surprising, and welcome, ray of sanity in all this came all the way from Indonesia and from an astonishing source. Yahya Cholil Staquf is apparently the head of the largest Muslim organisation in the world, the Nahdlatul Ulama with 90 million members. He recently wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph entitled “To prevent another Christchurch, Islam must confront the attacks in its name that have radicalised the West”. It is behind a paywall but a filleted version can be found here.

In a display of shockingly unIslamic self-reflection he suggests that hostility to Islam and Muslims may have something to do with Islamic teachings and Muslim actions. This is what he has to say about the APPG definition:

     “There is a desperate need for honest discussion of these matters. This is why it worries me to
      see Western political and intellectual elites weaponise the term “Islamophobia,” to short-circuit
      analysis of a complex phenomenon that threatens all humanity. For example, it is factually
      incorrect and counter-productive to define Islamophobia as “rooted in racism,” as proposed by
      the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. In reality, it is the spread of Islamist
      extremism and terror that primarily contributes to the rise of Islamophobia throughout the
      non-Muslim world.”

If only the members of the APPG had such clarity of vision.

Parliamentarians duped over Islamophobia part 2

In Nov 2018 the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (APPG) published their report Islamophobia Defined. This was the definition they came up with:

     “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness
      or perceived Muslimness.”

There are many shortcomings both in the definition itself and the process of arriving at it, as pointed out in Part 1. This post will look in more detail at two aspects (my highlighting in bold type throughout):

1. The confused and confusing relation between religion (but only one religion) and race.

2. The unavoidably subjective distinctions which will have to be made by those in a position to apply the definition in practice, between free speech and “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness”.

1. Religion and Race

In chapter 2 of the report we see how definitions of Islamophobia evolved from the original Runnymede Trust definition of 1997:

     ”…a useful shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam – and, therefore, to fear or
      dislike all or most Muslims.”

to their 2017 update in which they baldly stated that:

     “Islamophobia is anti-Muslim racism.”

In 2018, as we have seen, the APPG declared that:

     “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism….”

At the start of chapter 3 the group say this of their contributors:

     “The contributors – academics, activists, NGOs, think tanks, experts and practitioners – tend to
      agree that the term Islamophobia is the most appropriate one, as it encompasses a variety of
      manifestations and practices that can comfortably be localised within what is generally
      understood as anti-Muslim racism.”

I contend that Islamophobia certainly is not generally understood as anti-Muslim racism but only by Muslim activists and certain academics within the field. Here is a small but very representative selection of their contributions to the inquiry:

On p29 Dr Imran Awan and Dr Irene Zempi say Islamophobia is:

     ”…motivated by institutional, ideological, political and religious hostility that transcends
      into structural and cultural racism
which targets the symbols and markers of a being a

On p30 Akeela Ahmed MBE points out:

     ”…the ‘structural nature of Islamophobia’ – which concerns “every aspect of a British Muslim
      person’s life” such as education, employment and representation in the Criminal Justice System
      – and the ‘intersectional nature of Islamophobia’ – which concerns its intersection with
      racism and sexism – would not to be captured if we were to understand and define
      Islamophobia solely as religious hate crime.”

On p39 Dr Omar Khan of the Runnymede Trust explains that:

     “Islamophobia is positioned within a social and cultural space that homogenises Muslims and
      places them at disadvantage vis-à-vis society, on the basis of their belonging to a specific group
      perceived to carry certain characteristics. The process is known as ‘racialisation’ and, as
      Massoumi, Miller, Mills, and Aked argue: “Racialisation describes process by which certain groups
      become signified as ‘races’ within specific social contexts. European colonisation relied on
      pseudo-scientific theories of races to categorise people into different racial hierarchies, today we
      rely on more culturalist explanations. Muslim appearances, behaviours and assumed
      practices are taken as a sign of inferiority – this is the process of racialisation. If ‘race’ is a
      fiction created when certain ethnic heritage or cultural practices attach to social
      advantage or disadvantage, it is hard to see religious identity as ontologically distinct from
      ‘race’. For good reason then, racialisation is increasingly used to explain Islamophobia as a
      form of racism.”

On p41 Professor Kallis declares that:

     “Race is not about phenotype, race exists first and foremost in the eyes of the racist. Race
      is a group that is defined by the person that makes a generalisation.”

      “It is the racist who creates the race”.

What this boils down to is the claim that A looks like B therefore A is B (or a kind of B). This is plain bad logic to anyone but academics who beguile themselves with ten dollar words. If a person disparages groups because of their culture rather than their race then their attitude should properly be called something like “culturism”*, not “racism” or the hybrid “cultural racism”. One can see why people seeking enhanced victim status on account of one form of discrimination might want to link it to the gold standard of discriminations, racism, but it only works if you can persuade enough people to believe something which is simply not true.

* NB It appears that there is a long established term for discrimination on the basis of culture, ethnocentrism, but I think I’ll stick with culturism because it’s snappier and because the link with culture is obvious.

To spread the idea wider, is discrimination against gay people racist? Why not? To paraphrase one of the statements above:

     “Gay appearances, behaviours and assumed practices are taken as a sign of inferiority
      – this is the process of racialisation. If ‘race’ is a fiction created when certain ethnic
      heritage or cultural practices attach to social advantage or disadvantage, it is hard to see
      sexual identity as ontologically distinct from ‘race’. For good reason then, racialisation
      is increasingly used to explain homophobia as a form of racism.”

It works just as well, or badly, doesn’t it?

Here is another aspect to all this. No other racially heterogeneous group attempts to claim that discrimination against themselves is racist, not even other religions. When Christians are persecuted in Nigeria, Egypt or Pakistan – or derided in Britain – they never make this claim. The fact that Muslims do makes one suspect something less than straightforward is going on. The phobes among us will see this inquiry as merely another example of what Muslims do best, claiming victim status in order to gain special treatment and therefore political advantage, summed up in the Arabic saying “Show a victim’s face and you will take over”. It is exactly what Mohammed did in Medina when he fled there as a “refugee”, after all. The extraordinary thing is how the APPG members lapped it up, although perhaps not quite so extraordinary when you consider that the majority of them are Muslims themselves.

Also, Muslims should be careful what they ascribe to others because it can be turned back on them and their religion. For instance, it is surely beyond doubt that Allah is a hateful religious bigot. How else can you describe a being who refers to those who don’t believe in him as “the vilest of creatures” and who boasts throughout the Koran of the hideous tortures they will suffer once he gets his hands on them? Clearly, according to this new concept of “cultural racism”, he must now also be a racist.

Which brings us on to:

2. The unavoidably subjective distinctions which will have to be made by those in a position to apply the definition in practice, between free speech and “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness”.

On p11 of the Executive summary the APPG tell us:

     “…the aim of establishing a working definition of Islamophobia has neither been motivated by,
      nor is intended to curtail, free speech or criticism of Islam as a religion. Evidence read
      and heard by the group clearly delineated between the desirability of criticism, debate and free
      discussion of Islam as a religion – by Muslims and non-Muslim participants in the inquiry
      – and the victimisation of Muslims through the targeting of expressions of Muslimness to deny or
      impair their fundamental freedoms and human rights.”

So that’s okay then, I can criticise Islam, presumably including its god, as long as I do not target Muslims’ expressions of Muslimness.

Except that on p35 they endorse these views from two of their contributors:

      “Ali and Witham further their concern about the boundaries between Islamophobia and free
      speech by arguing that “there is no ‘good faith’ criticism of Islam”. Central in their argument is
      the concept of inseparability of race and religion, whereby an attack on the religion cannot
      be separated from an attack on the race
because both concepts are constructs adopted “as a
      means of categorising colonial subjects”. As such, the recourse to the notion of free speech
      and a supposed right to criticise Islam results in nothing more than another subtle form of
      anti-Muslim racism, whereby the criticism humiliates, marginalises, and stigmatises
One, real life example of this concerns the issue of ‘grooming gangs’: “Participants
      reported being told that ‘Mohammed is a paedophile’, for instance. This comment does
      not,in a strictly grammatical sense, have the victim themselves as subject, but is rather an
      example of the ‘criticism of Islam’ as it is actually articulated and experienced. Yet, clearly,
      it is aimed at (and can achieve) harm to individual Muslims, and is not rooted in any
      meaningful theological debate but rather in a racist attempt to ‘other’ Muslims in general
      associating them with the crime our society sees as most abhorrent of all.”

and on p57 of the Conclusion they describe calling Mohammed a paedophile (along with several other arguably factual statements about Islam and Muslims) as a “symbol associated with classic Islamophobia”.

I maintain that the characters of both Allah and Mohammed are central to the theological debate about the truth or falsity of the religion of Islam. In my view Allah’s all too human character flaws make him an unlikely candidate for the position of Creator of the Universe. Likewise Mohammed’s rap sheet, including much more than paedophilia, is an indication of his untrustworthiness as the sole witness to the supposed Creator’s revelation.

But the APPG appear to regard making such claims as unavoidably directed at Muslims and therefore Islamophobic. I wonder what criticisms I can make of Islam that are not trumped by concern for the sensibilities of Muslims.

At best, the verdict on such criticisms will depend on the judgment of the individuals in authority armed with this definition. If it becomes officially accepted, and some councils have already accepted it, your fate, if you dare to express an opinion about Islam, will depend on the subjective interpretation of any social workers, teachers, policemen, employers etc you have dealings with.

At worst, despite the APPG’s protestations about free speech, we could find ourselves subject to official sanctions, and their enforcers, against any criticism of Islam. There is a word for such an arrangement…Sharia.

Parliamentarians duped over Islamophobia part 1

I have long thought that Islamophobia is a word in search of a thing, merely a thought-paralysing device to discourage people from criticising or even investigating Islam. That being so this is an apt definition:

     “Islamophobia is the state of knowing more than one should about Islam”.

The word should have died of embarrassment long ago, but it hasn’t. In fact it has gone from strength to strength and now the great and good of the land have taken the trouble to produce a new substantive definition:

     “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of
      Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

It appeared in the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (APPG) Nov 2018 report
Islamophobia Defined.

One important question not addressed in it is why does Islam need its own special word when Hinduism and Sikhism do not?

Since the major populations in Britain of adherents of the three faiths originate from the same region (India/Pakistan) would it not be reasonable to ask whether the undoubted ill feeling which exists towards Islam and Muslims, but not towards Hinduism and Hindus or Sikhism and Sikhs, has something to do with Islam and Muslims?

Another question is if Islamophobia really exists and deserves examining then why not its obvious counterpart Kafirphobia?

Considering the many hateful sentiments about non-Muslims expressed by Mohammed himself in the Koran, and how seriously devout Muslims take his example, perhaps it might have been worth considering the possibility that prejudice is far from a one way street. For one example, in 2012 Lord Nazir Ahmed, a member of the APPG himself, blamed a Jewish conspiracy for a driving conviction in Britain. For another, here is the account of the racism encountered in the Muslim community of Glasgow by a half Scottish half Pakistani girl, and the racism she did not encounter after she left and lived among indigenous Glaswegians.

The really shocking thing about the report though is that after publication it soon became clear that it had been heavily influenced, even largely taken over, by Islamist activists and their allies seeking always to put Muslims in the position of victims of a hostile British society. As we shall see, the parliamentarians of the APPG were either duped or complicit in the process.

But to start at the beginning:

The APPG introduce themselves (p4)

     “The Group was established to highlight the aspirations and challenges facing British
      Muslims; to celebrate the contributions of Muslim communities to Britain and to
      investigate prejudice, discrimination and hatred against Muslims in the UK.”

So they declare their position at the outset. The existence of prejudice and hatred against Muslims is accepted uncritically with no thought given to the possibility of prejudice and hatred on the part of Muslims against non-Muslims. Some people are of the opinion that the former is largely a response to the latter.

Executive Summary (p9)

The group reassure us that:

     “…the aim of establishing a working definition of Islamophobia has neither been
      motivated by, nor is intended to curtail, free speech or criticism of Islam as a religion.
      Evidence read and heard by the group clearly delineated between the desirability of
      criticism, debate and free discussion of Islam as a religion – by Muslims and
      non-Muslim participants in the inquiry – and the victimisation of Muslims through the
      targeting of expressions of Muslimness to deny or impair their fundamental freedoms
      and human rights.”

Here we run straight into a major problem with the APPG’s definition, the concept of Muslimness. The problem of defining one abstraction, Islamophobia, is solved by referring it to another, novel, abstraction. But Muslimness is defined nowhere in the report, only supposed examples of it are given such as skin colour, clothing, dietary rules and the “radical otherness of so-called Muslim practices” including FGM, forced marriage, veiling, electoral fraud, the imposition of shariah law and child sexual exploitation (p46).

This is a sorry list which does nothing to clarify matters. Where are the main objections to Islam, its supremacism and jihad? Clearly a new consultation process and report will be necessary sometime in the future to define Muslimness.

Even if we accept a common-sense idea of Muslimness, like those we use for Englishness or Jewishness – adequate for everyday but not for legal or educational purposes – there is still the massive problem of Islamic duality. Islam comes in two distinct forms, the Islam of Mecca and the Islam of Medina, shown graphically here.

In Mecca Mohammed, while not exactly friendly to non-Muslims, left the violent retribution for unbelief up to Allah. In Medina he became a political and military figure who took matters into his own hands and imposed Allah’s will on his neighbours by warfare. Both were expressions of Muslimness in their time and both find their supporters today. Most people couldn’t care less what Muslims eat or wear but do care about jihad which they see on their streets every few weeks in some new atrocity or other. So, can the APPG tell us, is jihad an expression of Muslimness or not? To do that they would need to go deeply into the theology of Islam and even then would not be able to agree, echoing the arguments raging within and without Islam around the globe.

Chapter 2 Arriving At A Working Definition (p23)

Chapter 2 takes us through the evolving definitions of Islamophobia from the famous 1997 version of the Runnymede Trust through to the APPG one.

Before we visit some of them I have to ask, do MP’s use terms like “intersectional” or “essentialist tropes” or “othering” or “Orientalism” which are scattered throughout the heart of the report, chapters 2 and 3? No they do not. These terms are almost exclusively used by postmodernist whatever-studies zealots and professional Islamophobia hunters such as Dr Chris Allen of Leicester University’s Center for Hate Studies.

This made me wonder, did the APPG members actually write those chapters or did they outsource them to someone “more suitable”? That is how they read both in the language used and the contributors chosen. We will see later how my suspicions were confirmed.

Here is a selection, from the report, of past definitions, starting with the Runnymede Trust one from their Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All (1997):

     ”…a useful shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam – and, therefore, to fear
      or dislike all or most Muslims.”

A fairly modest start, confining itself just to Islam and Muslims.

The Council of Europe report, Islamophobia and its consequences on Young People (2005) added racism, discrimination and human rights to the mix:

     ”…the fear of or prejudiced viewpoint towards Islam, Muslims and matters pertaining to
      them…[taking] the shape of daily forms of racism and discrimination or more violent
      forms, Islamophobia is a violation of human rights.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (2007) added baseless hostility, unequal treatment, victimhood and exclusion:

     ”…a baseless hostility and fear vis-à-vis Islam, and as a result, a fear of, and aversion
      towards, all Muslims or the majority of them. [Islamophobia] also refers to the practical
      consequences of this hostility in terms of discrimination, prejudices, and unequal
      treatment of which Muslims (individuals and communities) are victims and their exclusion
      from major political and social spheres”.

The 2008 report from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Observatory on Islamophobia went with most of the above plus intolerance and stereotyping:

     ”…an irrational or very powerful fear or dislike of Islam and the feeling as if the Muslims
      are under siege and attack. Islamophobia however goes much beyond this and
      incorporates racial hatred, intolerance, prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping. The
      phenomenon of Islamophobia in its essence is a religion-based resentment.”

The writer of Chapter 2 commented:

      “This definition introduces the intersectional nature of Islamophobia by incorporating
      ‘racial hatred’ as a defining feature of anti-Muslim hostility.”

From our point of view it is worth noting that in 1990 the OIC produced the Cairo Declaration which effectively reduces Human Rights to Sharia Rights (see Article 24, “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah”). It is well known that Sharia epitomises intolerance, prejudice, discrimination and religion-based resentment…but only of non-Muslims so that’s ok.

In 2017 The Runnymede Trust revisited the issue with their “Islamophobia: Still A Challenge for Us All” report and baldly stated:

     “Islamophobia is anti-Muslim racism.”

And, to remind ourselves, in 2018 the APPG added the novel term Muslimness:

     “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of
      Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

How has something about Islam and Muslims morphed into something about racism and Muslimness? Why does this definition make no mention of either Islam or fear of any kind, let alone the irrational kind, that the word “phobia” usually refers to?

What we have here is definition inflation, and it is possible because the word has no real meaning beyond what the definer wishes it to mean. The stripes on a tiger are limited by reality. The stripes on a unicorn are limited only by the imagination of the believer in unicorns. One thing we can be sure of is that this is not the end of the story. No doubt some Hate Studies scholar or Islamist activist will be tacking something new and unpleasant onto it within a year or two. How about fascism? No one likes fascism do they? Be my guest. I don’t even ask for a credit.

Here is one last point about the definition. Islamophobia “is a type of racism”. That’s a bit vague isn’t it? What type of racism do they mean? In fact they are talking about cultural racism. It crops up throughout the report like essentialist tropes but I suspect the APPG are a bit coy about presenting such an obvious oxymoron to the general public. They might start wondering whether the Emperor is fully clothed.

In the wonderful world of postmodernism, where words can mean whatever you want them to mean, the term makes perfect sense. Most ordinary people think racism has to involve race but that is just because they are too thick to appreciate the higher understanding. Here you go…all explained on p41:

     ”Race is not about phenotype, race exists first and foremost in the eyes of the racist.
      Race is a group that is defined by the person that makes a generalisation.”

That is why thinking poorly of scholars of Islamophobia is racist.

Chapter 3 Our Findings (p27)

I will refrain from going into the contents of chapter 3 in detail. It is there in the link above for those with a taste for the intellectual equivalent of bog snorkelling. Suffice it to say that it consists of wall to wall grievance-airing by Muslim activist groups and their academic supporters. The only counterview comes in the form of a quote by Douglas Murray, an example of what not to think, to the effect that “the fear of Islam is not irrational but in fact, ‘supremely rational’, because Islam can be both violent and extremist”.

At this point I asked myself, who set the agenda here, who selected the contributors and actually wrote the report, in particular chapters 2 and 3? Checking the Acknowledgements section I found that the group gave thanks to the secretariat with particular mention of Dr Antonio Perra. Who he? This article shows him to be one of those hard left academics who hate everything about Britain, a clear Britophobe in fact.

Not only that but he was until recently a member of MEND, a group described by the Henry Jackson Society as Islamists posing as civil Libertarians. He is just the kind of person who adds fuel to my Islamophobic fantasy of an alliance between the Left and Islam designed to undermine Western civilisation.

Andrew Gilligan adds details both about Dr Perra and about a particular member of the secretariat:

     “One of the APPG’s secretariat, Muhbeen Hussain, is from Rotherham, where in 2015 he
      organised the local Muslim community to boycott the police for their ‘Islamophobic’
      behaviour after the child-sex grooming scandal.”

At this point I thought it no longer necessary to engage with the report on its own terms. It is clearly discredited by its associations. We now know who set the agenda but who put Perra and Hussain in place? Could it have been Baroness Warsi who has always got along fine with MEND? Just asking.

The APPG group have clearly been duped at best by a determined and underhand attempt to portray British Muslims as eternal victims of their host country, thereby driving a wedge between the two. That is an Islamist goal and the APPG have aided it with their nonsensical new definition of Islamophobia.

A merry Christmas, one and all

The festive season has officially kicked off with the now traditional attack on a Christmas Market, this time in Strasbourg. Allah will be pleased, and remember all you other lone wolves….there are only 13 slaughtering days to Christmas.

For the rest of us, why not set the tone with this new style Christmas tree, made of Berlin Wall quality concrete and deployed at reputable Christmas Markets across Germany? Guaranteed not to shed needles, it will last for years and should stop a fully loaded eight wheeler:

When it comes to choosing presents that show you really care, what could be better than this stylish yet practical range of accessories for that trip to Oxford Street for the New Year sales? A military grade stab vest, an acid proof visor and an anti-slash scarf discreetly reinforced with carbon fibre wire:

Here’s my present list. What’s yours?

For those who haven’t noticed what is happening all around them – a bomb at the end of their street. Nothing messy, just enough to wake them up:

…and for those who know there’s a problem but read nothing, say nothing and do nothing – this item of casual wear:

For those who do their damnedest to rouse Britain to action while maintaining all the while that it is finished – a dead horse and a big stick. Be gentle, I think I saw an ear twitch:


For those Guardian feminists who go on about the toxic masculinity of Western men while ignoring the source of the world’s greatest misogyny – an empowering hijab. Get used to it, they may not be optional forever:

For you who believes in the caring, sharing Mohammed of the Covenant with the Monks of Mt Sinai – the cache of government bonds I have discovered in your name. I’ll just need a small deposit to cover the administrative fees:

For academics who believe that there is such a thing as racism without race, that Islamism started in the 1920’s, that Muslims are blowing us up because of ontological insecurity, and who don’t understand that Islamophobia is a word in search of a thing – tenure at the University of Laputa. May they never descend to bother us again:

For those who appreciate the fine art of seeing what you want to see, and not seeing what you don’t want to see – this hagiography by Karen Armstrong, who refers to Safiyah as merely a war widow (with explanatory subtitle):

For Palestinian children – a cute toy AK-47 inscribed with the message “This machine kills Jooooooz”, and for ISIS children a fluffy teddy bear to practise on (knife included):


For our deluded Pope – a book by one of his priests who isn’t:

For those whose default reacton is “We’re just as bad” – a nos quoque kit with one line explanations of the Crusades, the Inquisition, Leviticus, the Ku Klux Klan, the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Westboro Baptist Church, Timothy McVeigh and the British Empire. Handy in any discussion with racists and fascists:


For Moderate Muslims – a Moderate Koran. With all the vicious stuff taken out….more of a pamphlet really:

And for Allah – a son and heir, and an invisible friend. It must have been tough growing up with no family. If only he had brothers and sisters, he would have had to learn to share (in his case, the universe):

With thanks to Fun with Muhammad

World’s 100 greatest bloodbaths…but no Jihad

In his book Atrocitology (aka The Big Bad Book of Horrible Things in other editions) Matthew White lists the 100 bloodiest episodes of human history. Although not a professional historian his list, with accompanying information and classifications, has been welcomed by many academics. Steven Pinker referenced it in his The Better Angels of Our Nature to argue that humankind is getting less violent.

Top of White’s list is World War II with 55,000,000 deaths. The 8th century An Lushan Revolt in China comes 4th with 36,000,000. Pinker took into account the relative world population in earlier times by giving mid 20th century equivalents. The weighted death tolls moved the An Lushan Revolt up to 1st place with 429,000,000 while World War II dropped to 9th place.

As another example, White places the Middle East Slave Trade (7th-19th centuries) in 9th place with 19,000,000 deaths and the Atlantic Slave Trade (15th-19th centuries) in 10th place with 18,000,000. After applying Pinker’s weighting the Middle East Slave Trade moved up to 3rd place with 132,000,000 and the Atlantic Slave Trade moved up to 8th place with 83,000,000.

Atrocitology is a fascinating read but there is one thing missing…the real number 1, which doesn’t appear in the top 100 at all! I know, it’s a shock. Let me try and approach the matter obliquely.

Number 30 on White’s list is the Crusades with 3,000,000 deaths. Several campaigns were launched over a period of 200 years yet he classifies them as an analytically and functionally coherent group; not a sequence of distinct events but a succession of waves of new recruits fighting the same long war. That seems a reasonable view because the Crusades were started as a response to a call to war issued in 1095 by a religious leader, Pope Urban II, and they had in common the religiously motivated aim of taking control of a particular piece of real estate, the Holy Land, from their Muslim rulers.

Here is a map of all the battles fought during the Crusades:

In contrast, here is a map of all the battles fought between Muslims (attacking) and Christians and others (defending) in the preceding 450 years (historians consider the Crusades to be a defensive, or counter-offensive, response to this onslaught):

I was shocked to find so many battles fought between Muslims pushing west and then north into Europe, and Christians defending their lands (and then counter-attacking in the early stages of the Reconquista of Spain). So I asked a professor of history who confirmed that they really happened.

Are the campaigns fought over 450 years a sequence of distinct events or a succession of waves of new recruits fighting the same long war? The military expansion of Islam also started as a response to a call to war by a religious leader, Mohammed (speaking for Allah), in the 620’s. The Muslim invasions also had in common the religious aim of taking control of a particular piece of real estate from their non-Muslim rulers. It just happens to be rather larger than that fought over in the Crusades, namely Dar al-Harb (the house of war), all of the world not yet brought within Dar al-Islam (the house of Islam).

It is an unfamiliar comparison to most people simply because of the difference of scale in both time and space, but the principle is the same for both. Over 200 years the different waves of Crusaders took control of (and lost) Antioch, Edessa, Tripoli, Jerusalem and Acre. Over 450 years waves of Muslim armies took control of Jerusalem, Cairo, the whole of North Africa and Spain. If one campaign can be grouped together as the Crusades then I can see no reason why the other should not be grouped together as Jihad.

Look at it this way. Everyone recognises Meteor Crater in Arizona as just that, a meteor crater. That is because we are looking from the outside and it is small enough (1 km across) and well enough defined to afford us a clear view of the whole thing. The citizens of Nordlingen in Germany, on the other hand, had no idea they were living inside a meteor crater until modern science showed that the 24 km wide depression in which Nordlingen sits is just such. The Nordlinger Reis crater is less obvious but it is every bit as much a crater as its more famous cousin.

Likewise, to us the Crusades are clearly a long but coherent military campaign, but Jihad is less obviously so. Firstly, its spatial extent is so much greater, in fact it has no boundary since the world is round. Secondly, its temporal extent is also unclear since it is still continuing today, 1400 years after its inception. On both counts we are living within the crater of Jihad and, unable to see the rim, do not recognise it for what it is.

Defining our terms

Firstly, The Maliki manual of Islamic Law, the Risala, defines the word “jihad” as “a technical term for the Muslim fighting the unbelievers who have no treaty with the intention of elevating the word of Allah or presenting Islam”. The Risala provides a succinct explanation of Jihad in Chapter 30: On Jihad, including important features such as the different kinds of obligation; presenting the triple choice of conversion, paying the jizya, or war; rules of engagement; and the distribution of booty. One thing missing is an explanation of the Dhimma, the agreement of protection (as in protection racket) which entailed humiliating conditions for conquered non-Muslims, including the jizya tax, in return for which they were permitted to a) practise their ancestral faith and b) remain alive.

Secondly, this is how the Encyclopaedia of Islam characterises Jihad:

“The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general…Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam…Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad [warfare to spread Islam] can be eliminated.”

Thirdly, the Islamic historian Bernard Lewis adds this:

“The basis of the obligation of jihad is the universality of the Muslim revelation. God’s words and God’s message is for all mankind; it is the duty of those who have accepted them to strive (jihada) unceasingly to convert or at least subjugate those who have not. This obligation is without limit of time or space. It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.”

Note the phrase “without limit of time and space”, making clear the scope of Jihad. It could accurately be referred to as “Eternal and Global Jihad” but let’s just stick with “Jihad” for the sake of brevity.

The scriptural basis for Jihad

This is verse 48:28 of the Koran, showing Allah’s frankly supremacist attitude towards other religions:

“He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness.”

And this is verse 9:29, which is the clearest expression of what Allah expects his followers to do about it:

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

It is the source of the famous triple choice traditionally presented to unfortunate infidels who happened to be next on the map: Convert, Submit and pay the jizya, or War. There are those who maintain that 9:29 and the other Jihad verses, conveniently highlighted in mauve here, refer only to the infidels Mohammed happened to be fighting at the time he produced the revelations. That would be a plausible claim if Mohammed had called a halt to his Jihad at the borders of Arabia before he died. But he didn’t. Mohammed’s last act was to send Jihad international by ordering an attack on Byzantine Syria. His surviving companions, who presumably understood his intentions, immediately set about subduing rebelling tribes in Arabia and then attacked their neighbours to East and West. What we can definitely say is that the Muslim warriors who took Islam to the infidel after Mohammed’s death clearly subscribed to the “universal” rather than the “contextual” view of Jihad.

And remember, they did not issue ultimatums in the name of this or that empire, but always in the name of Islam. As White points out in his chapter Religious Killing, “…if the parties declare religious motives, we should at least consider the possibility that they are telling the truth”.

Two early Jihadists make their motivations clear

Less than 10 years after Mohammed’s death in 632 Al-Nu’man ibn Muqarrin, a representative of the encroaching Muslim army, made the Persian emperor, Yazdegerd III, an offer he should have accepted:

“We are therefore inviting you to embrace our religion. This is a religion which approves of all that is good and rejects all that is evil. If you refuse our invitation, you must pay the poll tax [ie jizya]. This is a bad thing, but not as bad as the alternative; if you refuse, it will be war.”

In the 680’s, after conquering Christians living in North West Africa, the invading general Uqba ibn Nafi reached the Atlantic coast. He rode his horse out onto the beach and into the waves, declaring:

“Great God! If my course were not stopped by this sea, I would still go on, to the unknown kingdoms of the West, preaching the unity of thy holy name, and putting to the sword the rebellious nations who worship any other Gods than thee.”

Both the examples above are taken from Robert Spencer’s indispensable The History of Jihad.

What was the extent of Jihad?

Here is the video from which the pictures above were taken, showing Jihad in the West and the Middle East, not just up until the Crusades but throughout 13 centuries, starting with Mohammed’s wars to bring Arabia under Islam and ending with the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924.

And there was just as much Jihad carried out to the East, some say to much more deadly effect in India, and all the way to China.

What would the death toll be for all this historic Jihad? Various estimates for the total number of victims of Jihad exist, such as this one on Bill Warner’s site Political Islam:

120,000,000 Africans
60,000,000 Christians
80,000,000 Hindus
10,000,000 Buddhists

For our purposes I think we should discount the figure of 120,000,000 Africans. It comprises slaves taken plus collateral losses in transportation, and dependents left behind to starve. Slavery is definitely connected to Jihad because taking slaves as booty from Jihad raids is sanctioned in Islamic Law, but it cannot count as Jihad itself because the Middle East slave trade was not conducted in order to convert slaves but merely to profit from them.

So that would give us an estimate of 150,000,000 deaths due to Jihad. It is only an estimate, made up from estimates. The fact is that no one really knows the correct figure so suppose, for the sake of argument, we halve that number to 75,000,000. Since the total for World War II stands at 55,000,000 Jihad immediately shoots to number 1. Applying Steven Pinker’s weighting would surely also push Jihad above the 8th century An Lushan Revolt with 36,000,000 (unweighted) deaths since the first great Jihad conquests took place in the 7th and 8th centuries and the invasion of India started around 1000 AD (with less weighted increments ever since).

Not joining up the dots

Why does Matthew White not include a chapter on Jihad or even have an entry for it in the index? Presumably because it never occurred to him that it forms a coherent whole just as much as the Crusades do. Nor does he detect Jihad in particular atrocious episodes of history. For instance he denies the Muslim invasion of India a place in his list because it is “too long and sporadic to count as a single event”. His dismissal is arbitrary. If he understood what Jihad is he would recognise that it doesn’t matter how long and sporadic the long war is. Allah has plenty of time.

Also, although he gives Aurangzeb a chapter, White does not see his wars against the Hindus and Sikhs as Jihad, even though he touches on the humiliating conditions of the Dhimma Aurangzeb imposed on Hindus, and the temples he had destroyed and replaced with mosques. Puzzlingly, White identifies the dividing line in these conflicts as being between Muslims and Hindus but does not classify Aurangzeb’s wars as religious yet in the preceding chapter about Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland he identifies the dividing line as being between the English and the Irish but does classify it as religious.

White is not alone in this unseeing of the thread of Jihad which connects apparently unconnected conflicts in the Old World over 1400 years, and now around the whole world. It is a cultural pathology currently affecting the great majority of people in the West. Until a hundred years ago the West (aka Cristendom in those days) knew Islam as its implacable enemy. Mystifyingly, over the last 50 years or so, a great amnesia has fallen upon the population.

Why did that happen? It is not as though Jihad has disappeared. In fact it has come roaring back after 150 years of relative quiescence under European colonialism (here is a list of 35 recent or current conflicts “fought as Jihad”). We can only speculate on the reasons, but invariably our attention is diverted away from the one thing that the endless litany of atrocities on our streets share in common. Academics tell us that Muslims are attacking us because of poverty or Western foreign policy or othering or ontological insecurity or a host of other things. A current favourite is mental illness which is routinely diagnosed in the mainstream media immediately after a devout Muslim stabs a policeman, shouting “Allahu akbar”.

What would happen if Matthew White accepted the reality of Jihad “without limit of time or space”? That would put him in opposition to the message, promoted by governments and spread by the mainstream media, that there is no such thing as global Jihad, only lone wolves, criminals and “extremists” adhering to an aberrant interpretation of Islam. I suspect that in the eyes of establishment academics he would immediately be demoted from “amateur historian” to “dissident historian” and the calls would dry up. They have careers to protect and, given the spirit of the age, who would wish to be seen associating with “the vilest of creatures”, Islamophobes? He would also likely attract the attention of CAIR, the lawfare specialists who try to kid the world that “jihad” means making new friends and going to the gym. And of course there are those who take this kind of thing personally…

Even putting those disincentives aside, I do not expect that he will accept my argument regarding Jihad and rearrange his list. Nevertheless I will ask him and report back if he replies [he didn’t].

At the moment it is only dissident scholars – Robert Spencer, Bill Warner, Ibn Warraq, Andrew Bostom, Mark Durie etc – who point out the obvious. Wouldn’t it be a great step forward if mainstream scholars started to investigate 1400 years of correlation to see if there might be some causation there too? Estimates of the death toll of Jihad might be firmed up and find a respectable place in academia alongside those for the victims of the Holocaust, Mao, Stalin etc.

Danusha Goska has actually proposed a museum of the victims of Jihad, along the lines of the Holocaust Museum and similar. It would not only commemorate the dead but act as a centre for academic research for the purpose of educating the general public, academics, journalists and our purblind leaders. Why hasn’t this been done already? I expect for the same reason that Matthew White hasn’t included Jihad in his list, because so very few people have joined up the dots and realised what they spell.

The Cairo Declaration

There are many ways to differentiate between the two sides currently playing out the Clash of Civilisations which has been going on for 1400 years but which has taken on new and more insidious forms in recent times.

One very telling one is to compare the Western and Islamic attitudes to human rights, as represented by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights with its Islamic equivalent the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam which was produced by the OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference since renamed the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation).

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I am sure that few Westerners would argue with the selection of rights presented in the UDHR. Nor would I. Most of them should apply in any society which calls itself civilised.

Nevertheless I have to admit to feeling more than a little queasy about them because I do not recognise specifically human rights as rights at all, but merely wishes disguised by impressive sounding words like “fundamental” and “inalienable”. It has always seemed to me that most religions consist of the suggestion that people could be a bit nicer to each other, wrapped up in mumbo jumbo to to hide its obviousness. So it is with the modern secular religion of human rights.

As far as I can see, all rights are conferred on humans by other humans whether formally as in legal rights or informally as in customary rights. The kind which philosophers claim are inherent in humans simply by dint of being human are, I’m sorry to say, only imaginary rights. That’s the trouble with letting philosophers get involved with things like this, they tend to confuse their concepts with actual things – it’s called reification.

But don’t take my word for it. Here is Jeremy Bentham letting rip about Human Rights’ not too distant ancestor Natural Rights:

Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible [in our modern terms “inalienable”] rights, rhetorical nonsense, — nonsense upon stilts.”

As an example, Article 26 states that everyone has the right to education. Well, no they don’t unless someone else – their parents, their tribe or the state – is prepared to provide it. Likewise with Article 24 which states that everyone has the right to paid holidays.

The idea that humans pop into the world with a list of entitlements which were only discovered 200 years ago after 200,000 years of going unnoticed is….well, see above.

There are problems with believing in things which do not exist. For one thing they can get out of hand. The number of stripes on a zebra are limited by reality. The number of stripes on a unicorn are limited only by the imagination of the believer in unicorns. Thus rapists can now avoid deportation because of their human right to a family life or because of their human right not to be subjected to human rights deficiencies in their homeland.

All that explains why I would feel more comfortable if it was called the Universal Declaration of Human Aspirations. That said, it was clearly written by people with their hearts in the right place. Three things we can say about it are that it is:

1) Universal in that it is intended to apply to every human being regardless of race, sex, religion etc.

2) Benign in its intentions.

3) Honest since (putting aside the well meaning self-deception about the nature of rights) there is no intent to deceive the reader with hidden or deceptive content.

Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

Firstly, we notice that the title does not include the word “Universal”. That is quite accurate since in Islam different categories of humans qualify for markedly different rights. However it does use the phrase “in Islam” which implies that the conception of human rights presented here applies only within Islam, ie only to Muslims, with no implications for non-Muslims. We will see that this is not the case.

Secondly, Article 24, as shown in the picture above, is of crucial significance because it underlies the whole Declaration:

“All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.”

We should bear this in mind when examining selected excerpts from the Declaration. The excerpts are in italics with my highlights in bold like this, followed by comments in standard text.


“Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah which Allah made as the best community….”

This comes from Koran 3:110:
“Ye are the best community sent forth unto mankind….”

The authors of the Declaration were too polite to include the matching verse regarding unbelievers (8:55):
“The vilest of moving creatures with Allah are those who disbelieve….”

“Believing that fundamental rights and freedoms according to Islam are an integral part of the Islamic religion and that no one shall have the right as a matter of principle to abolish them either in whole or in part or to violate or ignore them in as much as they are binding divine commands….”

This prepares us for the reality that the Cairo Declaration is more about proscriptions than rights. Note that this also applies to non-Muslims since the crucial section starts “no one shall have the right….” rather than “no Muslim shall have the right….”.


“All human beings form one family whose members are united by their subordination to Allah….”

One thing the Cairo Declaration is not is universal. Rights for Muslims, non-Muslims, men and women are markedly different. The only universality in the Declaration is that which we find here in Article 1, that of universal subordination to Allah. That does not mean just Muslims but Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, Atheists…and you too, Kafir. And it’s not optional.

“All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities,
without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations.”

Did the authors of the Declaration think no one would notice these bare faced lies?

Islam was founded on discrimination based on religion….Muslim good, infidel bad. Being a non-Muslim in Medina around 630 AD was a very bad idea, as it still is in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc today.

The same goes for discrimination based on sex….unless “basic human dignity” is characterised by near total domination by father then husband, and lesser legal rights over property, marriage, divorce, children, her own body and testimony in court.


“Men and women have the right to marriage, and no restrictions stemming from race, colour or nationality shall prevent them from exercising this right.”

That’s nice but where is “religion” in that list? Nowhere, because in Islamic law (effectively equivalent to Sharia) Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslim women whereas Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men. Since the children in Muslim families have always automatically taken the religion of the father the Muslim population in any mixed society will always grow at the expense of the non-Muslim population.


“Woman is equal to man in human dignity….”

See above.


“The State shall ensure the availability of ways and means to acquire education and shall guarantee its diversity in the interest of the society so as to enable man to be acquainted with the religion of Islam.”

Sounds fine to start with doesn’t it, until it becomes clear what the point of the education is. And, of course, it is not just Muslims who are to become acquainted with Islam but “man”. Islam has always been a proselytising religion….by fair means (dawah) or foul (jihad).


“Islam is the religion of true unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of pressure on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to force him to change his religion to another religion or to atheism.”

This of course means to change his Muslim religion to another religion or atheism.


“Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to Allah the Almighty.”

Human beings are of course not born free into Islam. They are immediately slaves of Allah. That’s how he refers to his followers throughout the Koran. The popular name “Abdul” means “slave of Allah”. All that is recognised in the phrase “no subjugation but to Allah the Almighty”. The problem comes when humans take on subjugating duties on his behalf. Just as an example, what is likely to happen when a Muslim decides to reject Allah?

Come to think of it, aren’t the authors of the Declaration accusing Mohammed of being a human rights abuser? He certainly enslaved the women and children of the Banu Qurayza tribe (after executing the men) and the protection racket he instituted, known as jizyah, was specifically intended to humiliate, oppress and exploit subjugated non-Muslims:

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.” (Koran 9:29)


“All individuals are equal before the law, without distinction between the ruler and the ruled.”

But plenty of distinctions between Muslims and non-Muslims and between men and women.

“There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Shari’ah.”

This is interesting, and shows the predominance in the OIC of Saudi Arabia which really does adhere to Article 19. Only they and a few other countries do so. The majority of Muslim countries retained large parts of the European Colonists’ legal systems and yet they endorsed the Declaration. Can it be that all the 45 OIC signatory countries have a hankering for the old ways?

Article 22

“Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.”

In other words everyone is free to express any opinion as long as it does not criticise Allah, Mohammed or Islam. And remember the Sharia applies to you too.

“Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.”

But you see, jihad is good according to Sharia and freedom of conscience is wrong.

In any case, this is a toned down version of the Sharia based duty to “command the right and forbid the wrong” which goes a good deal further than mere advocating and warning. According to The Reliance of the Traveller, a handy guide to Islamic Law, sanctions against wrong-doing (which can be applied vigilante style) range from “explaining” to “force of arms”.

“Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.”

As with so many of the above articles this is not a right but a proscription. That’s Islam for you but, you know what, the same authoritarian mindset can be found in our own Western controllers of information today who shadow ban and close the accounts of offenders against prevailing left/liberal orthodoxies. Just change a few words….

“Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate politically correct sanctities and the dignity of favoured identity groups, undermine globalist Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm the Left’s cultural dominance or weaken the faith of the indoctrinated.”


“All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.”

Here we come to the nub of the matter. Throughout the Declaration we routinely find curtailments of what Westerners would regard as rights, as though the UDHR has been laid on the Procrustean bed of Sharia and found to be too long, which means too generous, too fair, too free. What the Cairo Declaration presents is not Human Rights at all but Sharia Rights – miserable, hobbling facsimiles of the originals.

Bad enough for those primarily affected, Muslims, but non-Muslims should be aware that Sharia has a place for them too, and it’s not a good place. In Sharia there is only one true religion and it is entitled to dominate all the others, which in effect means Muslims dominating infidels. Saps in the West cannot imagine that this is the reality of Islam but if they dared to examine how non-Muslims are treated in Muslim majority countries around the world they would understand. As it is, with demographic changes in the West showing no sign of doing anything but accelerating, they will soon enough have the chance to experience it for themselves.


“The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.”

Islamic Sharia is invoked throughout the Declaration so you would need to know what it consists of before you can understand what the Declaration means. No source for the Islamic Sharia is referenced in the Declaration so anyone accepting it is buying a pig in a poke.

It is extraordinarily difficult to get a straight answer to the question “Where can I find the Sharia?” from any imam. It appears to consist in a massive, scattered collection of fatwas and legal rulings. Fortunately there are a few manuals of Islamic Law which have been translated into English and give the enquiring infidel a key to the Declaration. They all have things to say about relations between Muslims and non-Muslims which give the lie to many claims made in the Declaration, for instance the statement in Article 1 that:

“All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion…”

This is what the Hanafi manual of Islamic Law, the Hedaya (Book 9 p.140) has to say about discrimination against non-Muslims on the basis of religion:

“War must be carried on against the infidels, at all times, by some party of the Mussulmans. The sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently observed when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of the Mussulmans; and it is then no longer of any force with respect to the rest. It is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said, in the Koran ‘SLAY THE INFIDELS’; and also by a saying of the prophet, ‘war is permanently established until the day of judgment’.”

So how does the Cairo Declaration shape up on the 3 criteria above? It is:

1) Universal regarding the subordination of all humans to Allah but not so much for humans themselves.

2) Benign for Muslim males at least. Again not so much for anyone else.

3) Honest about the fact that that Islamic human rights equals Sharia but dishonest in kidding us about equal respect for non-Muslims and women, and dishonest in hiding from the reader what Sharia actually entails.

While Muslims routinely play Western human rights for all they are worth in that branch of jihad known as “lawfare”, the OIC have made it clear here what human rights we can expect when they are in a position to dictate them. We should be grateful to them at least for the warning.