Tag Archives: sharia

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.

PREAMBLE

“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….”.

ARTICLE 1

“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.

ARTICLE 5

“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.

ARTICLE 6

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

See above.

ARTICLE 9

“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).

ARTICLE 10

“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.

ARTICLE 11

“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)

ARTICLE 19

“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.”

ARTICLE 24

“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.

ARTICLE 25

“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.

Advertisements

Through the academic looking glass

Always keen to learn new things, I enrolled on a short online course given by the University of Groningen entitled Religion and Conflict. The lecturers were Dr Kim Knibbe, Dr Erin Wilson and Prof Marjo Buitelaar, above.

My special interest was one particular religion and conflict and I put in my student profile that I was “hoping to be dissuaded of my expectation of a coming catastrophe in Europe due to religious fanaticism”.

This was true although I couldn’t say I was very hopeful. More realistically I hoped to gain an insight into why academics invariably give Islam such an easy ride. Even in that I was disappointed. The “why” must remain a subject of conjecture but I did come to understand something of the “how”. They minimise the content of the various religions and maximise the many extraneous influences affecting their believers then claim to have come up with a more nuanced understanding. Simple, really!

The course consisted of 6 weeks worth of short lectures, videos, interviews and assignments, each with the opportunity for discussion with fellow students. I had expected a bit of friction in the discussion forums and so it turned out, though no worse than a rough night in the Guardian comments sections. One fellow student was decent enough to say that I probably wasn’t a bad person, just having problems with my shadow (he was a Jungian).

A handful of people gave me a hearing when I challenged the arguments of our tutors and I took the opportunity to inject some real information about Islam into the debate, including a comprehensible presentation of the Koran, a manual of Sharia law, an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Mohammed, an explanation of al wala wal bara, the Hamas charter (see article 7), a dynamic battle map of historic Jihad and the Crusades and a British government report on the Muslim Brotherhood.

We spent Week 1 defining our terms.

Firstly religion and the difference between substantive definitions (what it is) and functional definitions (what it does). The reassuringly basic “Religion is the belief in supernatural beings” was an example of the former and the charmingly silly “Religion is society worshipping itself” represented the latter.

Both approaches were discussed and backed up with academic pedigrees but then, out of the blue and with no explanation, we were told that we would be taking a third approach:

“In this course, we will mainly look at religion in a third sense, as something that can mean different things to different people in different contexts.”

Uh oh, I thought, that sounds suspiciously like non-essentialism, the fashionable and specious academic view that anything can be anything, or to put it more formally “for any given kind of entity, there are no specific traits which entities of that kind must possess”. By taking the view that things, even religions, have basic inherent characteristics, for instance that Allah will never be part of a trinity and God does not live on Mt Olympus, I consigned myself to the essentialist camp. If you think this merely a big end/little end distinction confined to the ivory towers of academia I invite you to consider the skirmish going on elsewhere on the cultural battlefield over whether people with penises should or should not be allowed to use female toilets.

Secondly violence, and here we continued to drift away from commonly understood meanings. Violence apparently can include non-physical violence. Examples of structural or symbolic violence, which is committed by no individual and which leaves no bruises, include the shorter life spans of lower class people, the lower incomes of women and the oppression of Muslim countries by the West. All of these have other possible explanations and the one-sided selection of some of the left’s favourite victims seemed to suggest a leftist bias. At any rate I felt a little cheated out my share of victimhood since the fact that men do not live as long as women failed to make the grade.

Week 2 was about the link between religion and conflict. We prepared the ground with items about framing a conflict as religious, the significance of definition and scholarly understandings of the link between religion and conflict.

Then we started to get down to business in an interview with external Professor Jose Casanova. Since I had been boring everyone with my dreary essentialist concern with what various religious texts actually say, it was encouraging to hear him say “we have to get the facts in a hermeneutic, relatively sensible interpretation of each particular conflict as a first step”.

Since hermeneutics is the interpretation of scriptures, I expected at least a superficial examination of Islamic sources. But no, it turned out that there was no need. He simply dismissed the idea that Islam has an authentic role in Boko Haram’s activities because in other places Muslims and non-Muslims live peacefully together.

In a later interview, citing state-formation as the underlying cause of some instances of violence usually attributed to religious differences, he said that “…Jews, Muslims and Christians could live together in Spain convivencia under Muslim and Christian kingdoms”. Professor Casanova, himself a Spaniard, is talking here about the Convivencia.

It is my understanding that the word refers only to the supposedly harmonious co-existence of the three groups in mediaeval Spain under Muslim rule. With regard to that the professor is wrong. The Convivencia has been officially declared a myth by historians who have found no evidence for it. But even if he was right he would still be wrong because the issue at the heart of the civilised world’s concern about Islam is not whether Muslims can be benign when in power but whether they can, with religious sanction, live as equals with the infidel when they are demographically powerful enough to do otherwise. After all, Allah tells them that they are “the best of peoples” and we are “the vilest of creatures”.

In Week 3 we learned of the many factors that can contribute to religious violence. They include:

State-formation, state-failure, the end of the cold war, the decline of secularism, globalisation, the need to reduce ambiguity, uncertainty and insecurity, Western-backed dictatorships, injustice, unemployment, teenage rebellion, alienation, identity problems, existential anxiety, ontological insecurity, othering and collective memories.

But nothing about what the various religions’ holy texts actually say. How strange. You might think that they could give us a clue as to why there are so many Islamic terrorist groups and so few Jainist ones.

Week 4 included a study of ISIS. Our tutors made it clear what they considered primary in the conflict currently being played out in Syria and Iraq:

“The historical background of present day clashes in Iraq and Syria indicates that rather than civilisational or religious clashes, what we are in fact witnessing are conflicts over economic and political hegemony….Earthly struggles are placed in a framework of cosmic warfare between truth and evil.”

and what they considered secondary:

“…there is no causal relation between the contents of authoritative religious texts on the one hand and specific religious views and practices of adherents to a specific religious tradition on the other. Actors choose from a rich body of transmitted texts those that most adequately answer their existential questions and provide them with concrete scripts for action.”

I disagree on both counts but particularly on the second (did you spot the non-essentialism?). There may be no 1 to 1 relation between religious texts and views and practices but it is absurd to suggest that there is no causal relationship at all. Religious texts are not Rorschach tests. There are limits to what you can pull out of them. You will find plenty about spreading the faith by fighting and killing in Islamic texts but precious little in Buddhist texts. Accordingly we find not just ISIS in Syria but jihadist groups fighting expansionary wars in most of the countries on the borders of Islamdom from Mali to the Philippines to the Caucasus, and now of course in Europe. By contrast if there are Buddhist groups doing something similar then they are keeping it very quiet.

I suggested in the discussions that we should make some attempt to ascertain whether the jihadis’ understanding of Islamic supremacism (the end) and jihad (the means) is actually consistent with the mainstream Islamic tradition or not. It seems to me to boil down to the question of whether the undisputed jihad verses in the Koran are to be understood only in the context of the battles Mohammed happened to be fighting at the time they were “revealed” or are valid for all time until the whole world is under the rule of Islam.

Those fellow students who had an opinion on the matter all took the contextual view for granted. I put forward in support of the timeless view:

a) The example of Mohammed and his immediate successors.

b) Mohammed’s threatening letters to surrounding kings and emperors.

c) The views of the great mediaeval commentators (eg “Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, while delivering the glad tidings to the believers that the Messenger will triumph over his enemies and the rest of the people of the earth“ Tafsir of ibn Kathir).

d) The various schools of Islamic Law (eg “It is apostasy to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message to be the religion followed by the entire world” Reliance of the Traveller).

I also pointed out that I had been unable to find any support for the contextual view in the Islamic tradition before the late 19th century (and that was from the Ahmadiyya, generally regarded as heretical) and asked for examples. None were forthcoming. If you could provide some I would be most grateful.

Nor was any attempt made by our tutors to consider whether ISIS’s beliefs and actions had any connection to those of Mohammed and his immediate successors as they claim. I pointed out that ISIS didn’t pluck robbery, ransoming, beheadings, crucifixion, sex slavery, forced conversion, stoning, immolation, throwing homosexuals off rooves, jizya and takfir out of the air and offered to give details but got no takers.

The only time the tutors ventured anywhere near the theology they got it wrong. In attempting to absolve Islam from some of ISIS’ more extreme brutalities they claimed that there is no justification in the Islamic tradition for beheadings and immolation. In fact, since Mohammed did both they are sacralised as part of the Sunnah, the example of Mohammed. If you doubt it check out chapters 18, 20 and 25 here.

Week 5 was about peace building, but focussed on attempting to bring about reconciliation after wars had already burned themselves out.

What could have some effect on the currently warring parties in Syria? Seminars about existential anxiety perhaps?

I suggest the only thing likely to make a difference would be the discovery of a new “world’s oldest Koran” with a previously unsuspected verse at the end of Sura 9 abrogating everything prior, something like:

“And remember boys, when all Arabia is under your control cut out the jihad stuff and make it up with the Jews and Christians…they’re not such a bad lot after all”.

Week 6 involved a couple of assignments and finished with this message to students:

“It is now your job to share with your friends, your family and your colleagues through
social media and conversations in daily life, that religion, or a particular religious
tradition, is NOT either “good” or “bad”, violent or peaceful, but like other strong ideologies, the symbols, rituals and stories found in religion provide the tools for people to make sense of and respond to the world and the issues they have to deal with.”

There are a few things to note here:

1. Six weeks and not so much as a verse from any religious text. Would our tutors take such a hands off approach to the “other strong ideologies” which they equate with religious traditions? Would they say, for instance, that Nazism was “not either violent or peaceful” and would they look everywhere but in Mein Kampf to understand it? If so then they would be taking a very different approach to that of political scientists who analyse to death the texts of political ideologies.

2. How does our tutors’ message that particular religious traditions are not either good or bad, violent or peaceful translate when it filters out to the less rarified atmosphere of public discourse? Why, that no particular religion is more violent than any others of course. And, despite the daily evidence to the contrary with regard to one particular religion, that is what we continue to hear from our journalists, politicians and church leaders.

It is academia which has created the intellectual climate which allows such nonsense to be taken seriously, and which in turn stifles attempts to name our enemy and take realistic precautions. That is why I say that our tutors, along with so many other well meaning academics, were culpable in the slaughter in Brussels which took place during the course and will be culpable in the many more atrocities which we must look forward to in the coming months and years. Perhaps it will take a beheading in the canteen at Groningen University to burst their bubble. Probably even that would not be enough.

3. Nothing adduced in the course justified the claim that particular religious traditions are not either good or bad, violent or peaceful. A very superficial knowledge of different religious texts is enough to show that it is simply wrong. Most religions have both good and bad, violent and peaceful teachings, varying in their proportion.

One fellow student, in discussion, offered his own largely peaceful religion as one also containing some very violent content. He thought he was disagreeing with me but in fact he was agreeing with me and disagreeing with our tutors since “both…and…” is entirely different to “not either…or…”.

What a feat to convince people who disagree with you not only that they agree with you but to spread your message for you. It can only be done by ignoring the obvious and confusing the dupe with irrelevancies which they won’t understand (ontological insecurity…ye gods!). Not that I am accusing our tutors of deliberately deceiving their students. They in turn have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by others or managed to bamboozle themselves. This is how the marketing of “the cloth so fine that only the most intelligent can see it” proceeds. The question is are we to side with the emperor or the child who points out the obvious?

The 2029 Interfaith Handicap

horse-race

1. Harmonious Co-existence
Widely fancied among those in a position to gamble with our grandchildren’s future but the form book holds out little hope.       50 to 1

2. Sensible Curbs
Obviously an outsider but worth a small punt if things get bad enough and obvious enough early enough.       20 to 1

3. Long-term uneasy Stand-off
Separately controlled areas under British or Sharia law.       5 to 1

4. Civil War
The red horse. The worst of all options, apart from No. 5 obviously.       2 to 1

5. Eventual Swamping and Subjugation
The bookies’ favourite.       Evens

6. Black Swan Event
Nuclear exchange in the Middle-East, global economic collapse, return of the Mahdi, intervention by aliens etc.       5 to 1

7. Islamic Reformation – Withdrawn after a stewards’ inspection revealed it to be only a pantomime horse.

Place your bets now.

20 years from now

(Written in 2014 – some minor deviations already!)

Version 1.

2034. There are whole cities officially under sharia where the police and non-Muslims do not venture. In the rest of the country a blasphemy law prevents criticism of the one true faith yet in the semi-autonomous region of Deenistan, formerly known as Lancashire, it is illegal to repair churches and Christians have to pay a special tax. The first stoning takes place in the Old Trafford football stadium. Naturally there are no Jews left in the country. Armed militias battle it out with other kinds of Muslims and the Kuffar, just like on the other side of the Channel. Whole neighbourhoods are regularly ablaze. After the Italian Navy set up an EU funded ferry service from Libya, and Italy and France co-operated on the high speed Brindisi to Dover rail link, the Muslim population has swollen to 23%, officially. White flight continues apace but in the Celtic fringes they say “What did you ever do for me, Englishman?”.

Multiculturalism has become Balkanization. The puzzle of the “moderate Muslim” has been solved. The King Faisal Stock Exchange is the centre of world Islamic finance. The young King George, a recent revert, and his beautiful Queen Ayesha (though it’s hard to tell behind that niqab) have turned Buckingham Palace into a centre for the propagation of the faith. Tony Blair and Anjem Choudary sit in the House of Elders, both bearing the title “Hero of Islam”. After numerous blue on blue incidents it has been decided to set up two independent armed forces. The Muslim Brotherhood, the third largest political party, whose offices occupy the top six floors of Canary Wharf, have joined a coalition with the United Kingdom Survival Party in return for a guarantee of free passage in and out of the country for forces of the Caliphate.

A goup called the UAF, having served their purpose, have succumbed to a short campaign of throat cutting. Those who once read the now defunct newspaper “The Guardian” wring their hands and say “It wasn’t meant to be like this”. Old men who tell tales of the Tower Hamlets demo of 2013 look their grandchildren in the eye and say “I tried”.

Version 2.

2015. After a string of low level attacks from the Syrian returnees, MI5 admits there are more extremists than they can possibly monitor. David Cameron insists that the situation has nothing to do with Islam. Boris Johnson, spotting his opportunity, suggests it might have something to do with Islam. Nick Clegg witters about a great salvation religion.

2016. The mood of the country turns ugly after the Bluewater shopping centre massacre but the tide really begins to turn when jihadis plant a bomb outside the offices of the Guardian (the ungrateful swine!). The truth of the old saying “a reactionary is a liberal who’s been blown up” is borne out. An article appears in the Guardian with the title “Diversity bad, Unity good” and another one suggesting that the British Empire did some useful things.

The Pact of Umar is sometimes mentioned at Hampstead dinner parties. It is no longer considered smart to say that Britain has been multicultural since the Jutes. Solicitors who coach asylum seekers through the regulations no longer find “I’m a human rights lawyer” serves as a good chat up line.

EDL demonstrations attract tens of thousands. The occasional journalist and MP start to refer to them as “patriots”.

Mo Ansar, who has not appeared on TV since it was discovered that he was not actually a lawyer and Imam, and Fiyaz Mughal, a mendacious grievance-mongering taqiyya artist, also down on his luck, complain to anyone who will listen that it’s all so unfair.

The BBC stop pretending that IS and Boko Haram are unIslamic.

It becomes widely known that there is more Jew-hatred in the Koran than in Mein Kampf.

The “Ibaana” programme intended to deradicalise extremist prisoners is suspended when one of the Imams involved is found to be teaching his charges bomb making.

2017. The Cameron government falls and the new prime minister Michael Gove announces a state of emergency, declaring “Both sides know there is a war on now”. He recants on his earlier view that the problem is not Islam but “the specifically 20th century phenomenon of Islamism”.

As an experiment Ed Miliband takes a stroll through Tower Hamlets one evening wearing his skull cap. After he recovers the Labour Party gives limited support to the government. Alas, there are no more Liberal Democrat MPs to give anything to anyone.

Individual liberties are sharply curtailed, as in any time of war:

Plans are put in place for a national identity card programme.

Sharia courts are banned along with sharia compliant legal and financial instruments.

The hate speech legislation, widely seen as a de facto blasphemy law, is revoked.

New, tighter restrictions are placed on the building of mosques, incuding the banning of foreign funding. All sermons have to be given in English. Mosques found encouraging jihad are to be demolished.

A Royal Commission is set up under the chairmanship of ex-Muslim scholar IQ al Rassooli to consider such questions as whether the Medina suras of the Koran should be banned completely and whether religious scriptures should lose their exempt status regarding the crime of incitement to murder. Critics claim that there are also calls to genocidal violence in the Bible but after research is carried out it is found that there are no more Amalekites to be concerned about it either way.

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are asked to give evidence and are invited to tea at Buckingham Palace where Theresa May offers a fulsome apology for banning them in 2013.

Halal meat has to be clearly labelled. It is made illegal to serve it to diners in restaurants and public institutions without their knowledge and consent.

The Charity Commission draft in a team of forensic accountants to ascertain where all that zakat is really going.

Schoolchildren are taught the truth about Mohammed the bloodthirsty warlord. A core syllabus is set up emphasising British values and history.

2018. The government sends the Muslim Brotherhood packing, along with all the other factions they got so chummy with in the old Londonistan days.

Changes are made to the welfare system designed to halt dangerous demographic trends. Sikhs and Hindus say that if indigenous Brits can’t be bothered to reproduce then they will do their best to step into the breach.

There is a five year moratorium on all immigration from OIC countries apart from persecuted non-Muslim minorities.

2019. Ken Livingston and George Galloway decamp to Sweden where they are still welcome.

Translation facilities in public services are slashed and the money saved is put into English language teaching.

2020. Identity cards are issued to everyone entitled to be in Britain. Those who do not qualify are deported. Work starts on the backlog of illegal immigrants.

The government declares Islam a special case because of its dual nature; the private devotional religion (which is welcome) and the political aspect of supremacism, sharia and jihad (which is not). Muslims are required to swear an oath of loyalty to Britain superseding their loyalty to Islam. If they do not accept they have their citzenship revoked and are deported, along with their dependants, to any country which will have them or, as a last resort, Sudan with which Britain has come to an arrangement.

2021. After an economic version of cold fusion is perfected the price of oil falls by 70%. Bloody riots ensue around the Gulf and rulers leave for Switzerland to be near to their money.

2022. Young Muslims start to look at the Koran and ask “What is this bollocks?”

Mehdi Hasan becomes a Seventh Day Adventist, saying “Thank God I stepped into the light. The cognitive dissonance was killing me”.

2024. Matthew Goodwin, the social scientist who once called for the censoring of polls which could provide support for Islamophobes, publishes a book proving that the only way to coexist with Muslims is to limit their proportion in any given population to no more than 2.5%.

2026. Muslims publicly apostasize in such numbers that the fear of reprisals loses its force. They march with placards saying “Mohammed was a monster”. Death threats from the Muslim community dry up.

2028. Sufism becomes the dominant branch of Islam in Britain.

2029. Muslims begin to display a rudimentary sense of humour.

2030. Members of the UAF drift away, embarrassed at their former foolishness. Some of them get proper jobs.

2032. Geert Wilders is awarded the Nobel Peace prize for helping to avert in Europe the horrors we see in the great Sunni/Shia convulsions of the Muslim heartlands.

2033. The proportion of self identifying Muslims stabilises at 2%. They are once again seen as an exotic and welcome addition to the life of the country.

2034. Everyone lives happily ever after.

Deceptiveness – Mehdi Hasan

I’ve never taken to Mehdi Hasan. He talks too fast, making one specious point after another and moving on before you can spot the flaw, relying on the tongue being quicker than the mind. Also the fact that I’ve heard him come out with everyone’s favourite doctored quote “…he who kills a soul… etc” doesn’t endear him to me. Nor that he can still use the wretched term “Islamophobia” with a straight face.

However, when someone used the clip of him at the Oxford Union debate in support of their positive view of Islam I thought I’d take the trouble to slow him down with the pause button in order to examine his claims:

1. “A Muslim mathemetician called Muḥammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi came up with algebra and algorithms”.

Irrelevant and overstated. Although the word “algebra” came from one of al-Khwarizmi’s innovative mathematical procedures and the word “algorithm” is taken from his name, he did not come up with them. In both cases he was working from pre-existing works by Indians or Greeks.

2. “Although I wrote about anti-semitic prejudice in the Muslim community modern anti-semitism comes from the Judaeo-Christian tradition”.

Well, a lot of it does but he does not mention that the intense, even demented, anti-semitism in the Muslim world today has been incubating quite independently from Christianity ever since the Jewish tribes rejected Mohammed as a prophet. He was cursing the Jews on his death bed and today Muslims refer to them five times a day in their prayers as “those who earned your anger”.

The following hadith has been incorporated as part of the Hamas charter:

“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews”. (Sahih Muslim 41:6985)

3. “The journalist Tom Friedman told me if Islam were running Europe in the 1940’s there would be 6 million more Jews alive today”.

What a fantastically silly thing to say (if my aunt had….well, you know the rest), particularly since Muhammad Amin al-Husayni the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem spent most of the war in Berlin enthusiastically supporting the Nazis’ final solution and recruiting Muslims to fight in the Waffen SS.

In 1944, while speaking on Radio Berlin, al-Husseini said “Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion”.

4. “Atheists see all religions as evil, violent and threatening”.

Firstly, is it not comical when people who complain that Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc happily do the same to other religious or anti-religious groupings?

Secondly, how could anyone at all, atheist or religious, who knows about Jainism, Buddhism or the actual teachings of Jesus or Mohammed accept the equal malignancy of all religions? As a comparison Mohammed ordered stonings, Jesus said “He who is without sin cast the first stone”.

5. “Crusades, Inquisition, Lord’s Resistance Army, pogroms etc”.

Why do Muslims always hark back to the Crusades as an unforgivable aggression against Muslim lands and which the West is meant to feel guilty for? They were a pin prick compared to the Muslim crusade a few hundred years before which expropriated Christian lands from Palestine to Spain.

And, as for the LRA (and Leviticus, another favourite of Islamic apologists), is it not significant how far from the teachings of Jesus the practitioners of this particular false equivalence have to go to find anything resembling the actual words and deeds of Mohammed?

6. “113 out of the 114 suras of the Koran start by introducing Allah as a god of mercy and compassion”.

So what? I start all my letters “Dear…”, usually to people who are not dear to me at all. It’s the content that counts and we all know what is in most of the suras.

Just as an example, this is how one unremarkable sura (111) continues after introducing Allah as a god of mercy and compassion:
“May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.
His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained.
He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame
And his wife [as well] – the carrier of firewood.
Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber…”.

7. “Islam is not pacifist but only allows military action in certain limited contexts”.

Unfortunately Mehdi does not detail these certain limited contexts or give scriptural justification, not surprisingly since it is a hotly contested area. Let us just say that:

a. There are suras which appear to require only that the neighbouring people are unbelievers to attract the Muslims’ violent attentions.

b. The renowned scholar Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Bouti (assassinated Damascus 2013) seems to have drawn a different conclusion from Mehdi:

“The concept of Holy War (Jihad) in Islam does not take into consideration whether defensive or an offensive war. Its goal is the exaltation of the Word of Allah and the construction of Islamic society and the establishment of Allah’s Kingdom on Earth regardless of the means. The means would be offensive warfare. In this case, it is the apex, the noblest Holy War. It is legal to carry on a Holy War.” (“Jurisprudence in Muhammad’s Biography”)

c. In the later part of his career when he had the military strength Mohammed certainly invaded neighbouring tribes and kingdoms simply to convert or subjugate them.

Here is Mohammed writing to the Christians of Aylah in Northern Arabia:
“I will not fight against you until I have written thus unto you. Believe, or else pay tribute. And be obedient unto the Lord and his Prophet….Come then, before trouble reach you. I commend my messengers to you. Give to Harmala three measures of barley; and indeed Harmala hath interceded for you. As for me, if it were not for the Lord and for this [intercession of Harmala], I would not have sent any message at all unto you, until ye had seen the army. But now, if ye obey my messengers, God will be your protector, and Mahomet, and whosoever belongeth unto him”.
(Sir William Muir “The Life of Mahomet”)

d. His successors did likewise, presumably under the impression that they were following Mohammed’s intentions, conquering every kingdom or empire from Spain to the borders of India within 120 years of Mohammed’s death. Either that or it was the most spectacular and sustained campaign of self defence in history.

8. “Suicide bombings and terrorist acts are done for political not religious reasons”.

Mehdi has half a point here but Islamic terrorism is conducted not for political or religious reasons alone but for political and religious reasons together. In Islam, unlike all other major religions, politics and religion are inextricably intertwined. That is why terrorists, such as the Woolwich butchers, quoted both Koranic verses and political grievances.

9. “Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri published a 600 page fatwa condemning the killing of all innocents and all suicide bombings unconditionally without any ifs or buts”.

Not even the odd if or but? You might wonder how he dealt with the so called terror verses of the Koran. It turns out that he did not have to because he was working from his own translation which renders every violent act defensive with the addition of helpful comments. Just like that….for instance:

Sura 9:123 “O believers! Fight against those of the disbelievers who are around you (i.e., who are directly involved in hostilities and terrorist activities against you). And (fight in a way and at a time that) they find in you toughness (of might, valour and defensive capability). And bear in mind that Allah is with those who guard themselves against evil.”

Helpful, no doubt, to those desperate to believe in the religion of peace or to those wishing to encourage them, but would it convince your everyday jihadi?

10. “Where is the book of Sharia law? It doesn’t exist. People argue over what Sharia law is.”

It is hard to know what point Mehdi is making here. Is it that because there is no one unchanging statute book that there is nothing to worry about? You might as well say that because Islam is fractured into many sects that it presents no problem to the non-Muslim world.

According to Robert Spencer “Sharia in reality is marked by a remarkable uniformity: the four Sunni schools of Islamic law agree on about 75% of all rulings. Whenever and wherever we see Sharia implemented, it looks essentially the same. Changes and variations come in when Sharia provisions are relaxed or dropped altogether, as in secular Turkey — but that is not some different version of Sharia, it is no Sharia at all”.

11. “If a tiny minority of Muslims are committing acts of terrorism why aren’t the rest of us doing it?”

a. Because there is no need. Jihad (the struggle to promote Islam) comes in many forms other than violence, such as contributing to charities which help terrorists or by spreading the influence of Islam through proselytising, lawfare and endless demanding and complaining (note the Arab saying “Show a victim’s face and you will take over”).

As Ibn Khaldun the mediaeval historian said:
“In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force“.

b. Not everyone follows their religion closely or is neccesarily aware of their obligations, especially as many Muslims merely recite the Koran in Arabic, a foreign language to the majority. Sadly, the more seriously a believer takes Islam the greater the likelihood of violent jihad. How often do we hear of a terrorist that he was becoming more devout in the preceding months, such as this British Jihadi fighting in Syria:

“It wasn’t taught to me that Islam is peace and there’s no fighting.
It is peace but it requires fighting.
The duty of a Muslim is to love jihad.
One of the sayings of the prophet peace be upon him whoever does not go jihad or doesn’t even talk about it dies with the characteristic of of hypocrisy.
I am actually a Muslim following the way I should be.”