Monday, September 01, 2008

The religion of pieces...

I have not mentioned Islam for some time: many of my articles on it have been extremely intemperate and I was rightly picked up for some very sweeping generalisations. But that doesn't alter the fact that this kind of thing, via Strange Stuff, is extremely worrying.
In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent's Park Mosque in London - widely considered the most important mosque in Britain - I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.

What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? "We kill him," she says, "kill him, kill, kill…You have to kill him, you understand?"

Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death - and as for homosexuals, and women who "make themselves like a man, a woman like a man ... the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place".

These punishments, the preacher says, are to be implemented in a future Islamic state. "This is not to tell you to start killing people," she continues. "There must be a Muslim leader, when the Muslim army becomes stronger, when Islam has grown enough."
...

The mosque is meant to promote moderation and integration. But although the circle does preach against terrorism and does not incite Muslims to break British laws, it teaches Muslims to "keep away" and segregate themselves from disbelievers: "Islam is keeping away from disbelief and from the disbelievers, the people who disbelieve."

Friendship with non-Muslims is discouraged because "loyalty is only to the Muslim, not to the kaffir [disbeliever]".

To be fair and, indeed, complimentary to Sunny Hundal for a moment—shock, horror!—this sort of intolerance is something that he and his colleagues at Pickled Politics have made a specialty out of skewering.

It is the segregation aspect that I find particularly worrying: creating a self-selecting group of people, preaching evil things to them and then ensuring that they not only see themselves as different (and superior) and but also have little interaction with anyone else in society can only lead to tears. And explosions.

All religion is stupid: you only have one life and it is up to you to live it decently. And stoning and mutilating people is not the way to do that.

34 comments:

Old Holborn said...

DK,

It's quite late and the Pomerol is taking effect but as a Libertarian, I cannot think of a bigger threat to my personal liberty than a religion that is totally inflexible (under Sharia) and has converted (by the sword) every country it has ever invaded.

Name ONE Muslim democracy (don't bother with Turkey, it isn't). Radical Islam is THE threat to well, just about everything. Ask the Russians (Balkans, Chechnia), ask the Yanks after 9/11, the Spanish etc etc.

Anonymous said...

"Name ONE Muslim democracy"

The largest population Islamic country in the world: Indonesia. Oh, and the 3rd, Bangladesh. Then there's Malaysia, and most of NW Africa.

The whole Muslim countries of any size that aren't democratic are Egypt and Iran, and even together they only just equal the population of Bangladesh.

SACKERSON said...

"All religion is stupid: you only have one life and it is up to you to live it decently."

Bit glib. Mao agreed with this, except for the last word. Once you've gone Cartesian, there's no building anything on the abyss.

And do you really think, after the last decade and more, that we in the UK live in a democracy?

purplepangolin said...

@Sackerson

In short, yes.

It is true that our leaders have fallen short of the democratic ideal on occasion. Sometimes, such as in the dodgy dossier saga, a long way short. However, I think that sometimes people are a bit to quick extrapolate from this and say that we are therefore not in a position to point out the bad behaviour of other states.

Roger Thornhill said...

Segregation is key, for it allows the "leaders" to paint "the other" as sub-human and for that paint to stick - for their group do not interact and cannot relate to "the other" as fellow human beings.

Once "the other" is accepted as sub-human - and to look at the language they are half-way there already - then killing them with no mercy is simplicity itself. One only needs to look at the recent mass killings in the C20th, which all had the dehumanisation of the victims as a core enabler.

SACKERSON said...

@purplepangolin: I wish I were quite so sanguine.

Relatively recent (ab)uses of the powers of the Privy Council suggest that our democracy has thin foundations. Funny how swift, powerful and unaccountable the Crown can be when its Ministers wish it.

And our voting system for General Elections skews the results; and except in the case of '79/'97-style psephological 'quakes, most voters in most constituencies are effectively disenfranchised.

Not that we're permitted to vote in really important issues like membership of the EU, anyway.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

Anon 01.51

Ok, let's rephrase OH's question:

Name me one Muslim country that became Muslim by anything other than force, and with mass slaughter at that. You might say Malaysia - but that one is still in play.

I paraphrase slightly, because I can't be arsed looking it up - but from the aHadith:

"it is not for a prophet to make prisoners until there has been much slaughter in the land"

And as he is the ideal man who must be emulated in every way - emulated he historically has been and, barring an extremely unlikely Islamic Enlightenment, always will be.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

Mecca itself only became Muslim through the use of force - and with BigMo's army sitting outside.

macx stirner said...

Muslims don't convert by the sword, they convert through generous tax incentives - and are often more tolerant than their forebears (viz. Byzantium). "Islamic Enlightenment"? That happened 1000 years ago, while we were still scrabbling in the dirt.

And as for "all religion is stupid", how about the religion of "natural law"? And the Mao comment is off-base, as he believed in the religion of Dialectical Materialism like all good Marxists.

Rob said...

"Muslims don't convert by the sword"

You cannot be serious. Perhaps your post was a very subtle satire on Progressive liberals' denial about Islam, in which case I apologise.

SACKERSON said...

@macx: "ain't nuthin' so peaceful as a dead man" - Islam was not spread by marauding hosts of tax-cutters. We have the Hungarians (1526) to thank for the preservation of Europe.

And Marxism was a "science", not a religion; some of its most fervent adherents thought you should not do anything to further the Revolution, as this would indicate that you thought it wasn't inevitable, as the doctrine maintained.

Rumbold said...

Muslims conquered countries "by the sword", as everyone did. But conversion to Islam was actually discouraged in the first few hundred years of Islamic expansion, for financial reasons, as non-Muslims had to pay the jizya tax, while Muslims didn't.

Many North African Christians welcomed the Arab conquests because previously they were ruled from Christain Constantinople, which presecuted their type of Christianity, so their new Muslim rulers were actually more tolerant.

SACKERSON said...

@Rumbold: interesting, esp. on N African Christians - can you direct me to a source for further info?

Rumbold said...

Sackerson:

This Wikipedia isn't the worst ever, though it does understate North African support for the Muslims. It is good on the religious tensions between Christians:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquest_of_Egypt

I shall root for some more sources later, as I can't rember where I originally read about it.

Anonymous said...

Hundal is a sikh. So I do not place much truck with the fact he criticises muslims and hindus. He is just a Sikoe.

Anonymous said...

Plus why does Hundal keep doing artciles about penis envy. Hmmm, I wonder why/

SACKERSON said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SACKERSON said...

@Rumbold - ta, shall have a read.

Anonymous said...

Anon (above) lists a bunch of countries including Indonesia and that bastion of democratic moderation, North Africa as examples of Muslim democracies... Sorry old boy, but if truly Muslim they can't be democracies as by definition religion itself is not a democratic institution.

I can see it now... "Let me see, do we want to enforce the 10th commandment? Ney ney ney - OK, the neys have it, Moses - tell him it's nine or it's all off"

The simple fact is that all religion was created by men to impose their will (or at least some order of law) upon other men - end of story. The fact that so many people still blindly follow it is sad, but not unsurprising.

Perhaps what anon meant was that their are democracies where the majority of their citizens are Muslim - that I'd accept. Just not very many.

Of course, as a non-believer in any faith, I have no problem with Christians, Seikhs, Jews or Muslims believing whatever the bloody hell they want, its just when they start enforcing their beliefs on me that I get a bit pissed off.

So stop it!

macx stirner said...

"Sorry old boy, but if truly Muslim they can't be democracies as by definition religion itself is not a democratic institution."

Ah, the old "No True Scotsman" fallacy comes into play whenever someone's assertion is refuted.

And yes, I am serious when I say that Muslims don't convert by the sword. Please provide some evidence in support of your original assertion that they do.

Anonymous said...

Anon@2:36pm "Perhaps what anon meant was that their are democracies where the majority of their citizens are Muslim"


Yes, that's the only defintion of "Muslim country" that really has any relevance. If you mean Islamic country as constitutionally defined, there are only three in existence: Saudi, Oman and Libya. These all have miniscule populations compared to the likes of Indonesia and Bangladesh - indeed even India and China have vastly larger Muslim populations.

Of course, there are plenty more that constitutionally _mix_ secular and Islamic state structures (witness the unbelievably convoluted and complex setup in Iran), and a great deal more that declare Islam as a state religion but are otherwise principally secular (eg Bangladesh leans more on nationalism, military pride and in the past socialism). The rarest are like Turkey, explicitly secular. Most in practice are a mishmash, perfectly summed up by Pakistan's constitution:

"Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed"


What I'm getting at is there's a tendency to equate "Muslim" with the low population Persian Gulf states, or less specifically the Arab world, when in fact most Muslims are in (non-Maghreb) Africa and east or south Asia. Maybe 90%+ of Muslims worldwide are governed by secular rather than theocratic politics.

By the way, I was referring to NW Africa, not N Africa. See Senegal as an example.


Oh, and yes, all religion is fucking silly.

Roger Thornhill said...

macx "And yes, I am serious when I say that Muslims don't convert by the sword. Please provide some evidence in support of your original assertion that they do."

Convert is not the point, they took over countries, including the Byzantine Empire by force. Systematically. A few, such as Zanzibar, Indonesia and Malaysia were conversions with no military involvement.

It is splitting hairs to talk of "no conversion" - bit of a fait accompli when you militarily overtake a country and make anyone who is not Muslim live as a Dhimmi, a second class citizen. Yes, even "people of the book".

fewqwer said...

I wonder how many 'moderate' Muslims attend that mosque? Is there a 'moderate' mosque nearby for the 'moderates' to attend, or is it jihad for all?

What is the Libertarian response to this kind of cultural warfare?

Budgie said...

Indonesia only became a democracy in 1998, so it is hardly a shining example. Most Muslim countries mix tribal/cultural mores with Islam, resulting in severe restrictions on personal liberty. This is not democracy as we know it, Jim.

Dirty Euro said...

Let's home the government's economic stimulus plan to help stop poverty helps. And lets hope those cocaine maniacs in the tory party can stop trying to wreck our economy.

John B said...

"Convert is not the point, they took over countries, including the Byzantine Empire by force"

It's lucky that sub-Saharan Africa and South America both became Christian purely through their love of the revealed word of Jesus, isn't it?

Budgie's euro-socialist zombie said...

Dirty Euro said..."Let's home the government's economic stimulus plan to help stop poverty helps."

Help helps?? Help! - none of their previous plans have. And borrowing £billions more an "economic stimulus"?? Yeah in socialist la-la land.

"And lets hope those cocaine maniacs in the tory party can stop trying to wreck our economy."

Because after all they've been secretly running the economy for the last 11 years. Oh yes.

Morgoth said...

It's lucky that sub-Saharan Africa and South America both became Christian purely through their love of the revealed word of Jesus, isn't it?

Indeed.

However, we must remember that Islam is still going through its force phase.

I look forward to the day when both the Vatican, the Martyr's Memorial and Mecca are glowing carparks...

Anonymous said...

I recommend anyone wishing to learn more about the 'religion of peace' and its growing malign influence upon the world to visit-
http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/

Roger Thornhill said...

"It's lucky that sub-Saharan Africa and South America both became Christian purely through their love of the revealed word of Jesus, isn't it?"

A second turd does not clean the swimming pool.

Anonymous said...

The segregation thing makes Islam a cult, not a religion. Its legal status should be adjusted accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Anon@3:43 says;

'Yes, that's the only defintion of "Muslim country" that really has any relevance'.

I disagree.

Islam seems to be THE acquisitve religion of our time. Although I do appreciate that north american Christian fundamentalists might envy the title.

In reality, most 'Christian countries' are effectively secular in practice if not in name - the UK for instance. Perhaps that is why the leaders of the C of E are becoming so vocal in supporting their competitors in the world of Islam. They see that threat.

I take your point about 'Islamic' being different to 'Muslim' and I see the distinction you are making. Where we perhaps differ is that I see one to be the natural result, over time, of the other.

Perhaps it's just that my exposure to our mainstream media leads me to believe that Islam and even moderate followers of Islam, appear to follow a pretty acquisitive belief structure. In other words, 'We are the only way and Islamic Law is the only real Law'. Having read the contributions from others above, I will freely admit that I am probably the least knowledgable on the history of the subject, but I hope you take my point.

And before anyone says it, I do appreciate that most, if not all, religions have the capacity and desire to be acquisitive and equally sure of their moral authority...(and have been in the past). That's what makes them all so bloody dangerous.

V said...

Religion is just the politics of faith.

randian said...

Great examples of Muslim "democracies":

Indonesia: where Muslims attack Christians for praying, which they consider "disturbing evangelical activity".

Malaysia: where the "bumiputra" system operates as disguised jizya, official expropriation of wealth from non-Muslims to Muslims.

Nigeria: where Muslims just burned down a Christian church for "being too close (500m) to a mosque".

Sudan: Muslim Janjaweed commit mass murder by the tens of thousands against Christians and animists.

And in every Muslim country, the non-Muslim populations are squeezed to death: In the early 1950s, Lebanon was 40% Muslim and 60% Christian; while censuses are no longer taken, the proportion is likely reversed. At independence, West Pakistan was 15% Hindu; now it is 1% Hindu; East Pakistan was 38% Hindu, and is now 8% Hindu.

These are democracies? Only if the word is corrupted. Muslims can certainly have nominally democratic government forms, but the results are not and cannot be democratic, because Islam corrupts all it touches.

The ultimate expression of Muslim rule exists in places like Pakistan, where four Muslims killed an elderly Christian woman "because they believed Pakistan’s legal system would not prosecute them for murdering Christians". They're right, crimes against non-Muslims are rarely prosecuted, assuming the police will even investigate such crimes, which usually won't. Kidnapping, rape, and forcible conversion of non-Muslim women is also a notable feature of this legal landscape. All the better to make them feel subdued (Quran 9:29).