About hostility-mongering on Feltz’s phone-in
Time for a new way of funding religious societies? – On the Times’ campaign against “persecution” of Christians
Last Friday, in the Guardian, Simon Jenkins wrote that he welcomed the decision of the Scottish Qualifications Authority that they would accept text-message spellings in school examinations in “a direct challenge to the English at their most reactionary”. “The dark riders of archaism will protest and the backwoods will howl. No spell is cast as dire as spellcheck. But the champions of reason are massing north of the border and need our support,” he declares. This, he hopes, might set off some renewed interest in reforming spelling, the discussion of which “has become a no-go area, an intellectual tundra”.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s lies exposed
The Dutch MP is revealed to have told a number of lies to gain asylum in the Netherlands.
Douglas Murray, author of the Social Affairs Unit’s Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, recently made a speech at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Lecture on the topic “What Are We To Do About Islam?”. This lecture has been reproduced on the SAU’s blog, trots out the usual rhetoric about “dhimmitude” and calls for, among other things, the ending of all Muslim immigration and the “persuasion” of Muslims to return to their own countries, and suggests that western converts to Islam are no more than the “Last Men” written of by Fukuyama, who cannot bear the idea of a life without struggle.
Muslims may not be on course for another set of gas chambers as some seem to think (see this entry at my own blog), but Islamophobia in Europe is taking on yet another of the characteristics of traditional European anti-Semitism: the conspiracy theory. We’ve all heard of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forged document containing supposed plans for Jewish world domination fabricated by a Russian agent about a century ago; the tone of a Melanie Phillips diary entry revealing a similarly conspiratorial document of the authorship of members of the Muslim Brotherhood brought precisely this to mind. The Daily Ablution has published a series of articles about the 14-page document, allegedly discovered during a raid on a villa near Lugano in Switzerland by Swiss and Italian police in November 2001. “The Project”, supposedly dating from 1982, is made to sound like a plan for Muslim world domination, “a strategic plan whose ultimate ambition is ‘to establish the Kingdom of God everywhere in the world'”. (More: Crooked Timber.)
The breaking of the levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina has also unleashed the usual flood of stupid speculation as to the causes of the disaster from the ill-informed religious lunatic fringe. The same fringe claimed that the Sept 11 attacks were Divine revenge on America for its tolerance of abortion, homosexuality and feminism, and similar things were said of last year’s Boxing Day tsunami. This time, an outfit called Repent America, run by one Michael Marcavage and based in Philadelphia, PA, has issued a press release relating the destruction of New Orleans to an event called “Southern Decadence”, a gay celebration which was due to start this Wednesday.
Many Muslims in this country, as correctly reported by the media this week, will not be sorry to see the back of Omar Bakri Muhammad, the leader of the former al-Muhajiroun. He had a small, marginal following, which mostly preached in the streets and was banned from some mosques. His, and his group’s, opinions were the subject of much disagreement, particularly his insistence that voting for non-Islamic parties was against Islam, even when it was intended to keep an even worse candidate out. There were also doctrinal issues, both those dating from the time when al-Muhajiroun were an offshoot of the British section of Hizbut-Tahreer, and from the Salafi movement they later embraced.
His decision to leave the country for Lebanon, where he holds citizenship, demonstrated that his claim of refugee status in any case has no merit. If you fear persecution in a country, you don’t go there for a holiday or to see Mama or to “take the pressure off the Muslim community”, as if he has shown much concern for that with his behaviour since 2001. “Not conducive to the public good” is a fairly good assessment of his presence in this country, unless his contributions to the economy by helping to sell papers with his various pronouncements and interviews counts as “public good”.
In the same way as the Windsors are Britain’s best royal family and George W Bush is the best President the USA has at the moment, the Evening Standard is London’s best evening newspaper. As long as I can remember, it has included on its banner “incorporating the EVENING NEWS”, the market having demonstrated however many decades ago that, however many newspapers we can sustain in the morning, in the evening there’s only room for one. Or perhaps it was just that the Standard was able to force the News down because it also had the power of the Daily Mail. Whatever. What’s clear is that the lack of competition does not exactly motivate the Standard to get its facts right. In the wake of the 7th July bombings, it has circulated demonstrably false information on several occasions.