Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

I recently wrote about the disgusting chants of a group of Muslim Extremists during a home coming parade by our troops. In the post I said how I wished more Muslims would publicly distance themselves from the warped version of Islam being advanced by extremism.

So I was pleased to read about Hadiya Masieh, a Muslim woman who turned her back on the extremist group who’d brainwashed her into supporting the 9/11 attacks and is condemning those who’ve hijacked her faith. Hadiya now works for the Three Faiths Forum, a group whose aim is to bridge the gap between religions. Given my wish for more condemnation of extremism from the Islamic community I feel I should commend Hadiya.

Anyone familiar with me will know my thoughts on religion and there is plenty wrong with Islam, even in it’s most “liberal” form; but I support anything that aims to drown out the nonsensical noise being made by extremists.

You can read about her story here in the Guardian

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I’ve neglected my blog again. I’d love to have an excuse, but I’ve just been lazy.

I’ve slapped myself on the wrist and I won’t do it again!

I was sickened to hear about the brave soldiers returning home from the front line who were subjected to vile abuse by a group of Muslim extremists. The members of Muslims Against The Crusades shouted “murderers!” and “go to hell!” at the troops.

I think it’s important to make the point that these fanatics do not echo the thoughts of the majority of Muslims. I know that most Muslims are law abiding citizens who just want to get on with their lives and that these few extremists are the minority not the majority.

But if most Muslims don’t agree with them, where are they? Why aren’t more Muslims speaking out against these fanatics? Those Muslims who deplore the terrorist atrocities should do more to condemn some of the evil that has been perpetrated by the likes of the Taliban. If the Muslim world could unite and help eradicate the rogue elements who do things like executing children for spying then we’d get a lot further, a lot quicker. It seems to me though, that often many sit on the fence.

The signs of brainwashing are all over these fanatics. The following statement, made by the young “leader” of the group, is so nonsensical that it is pretty obvious he’s not very intelligent.

“We are quite disgusted by the fact these murderers that raped our people are coming back and they are being honoured for doing something wrong. These people have been killing and raping and pillaging in Islamic countries and they should not be welcomed home. As Muslims, we wanted to make a stand.

“The families of the soldiers are not the only ones with feelings. We also have feelings, our fellow Muslims are being butchered. Islam is not a violent religion but we will use violence if necessary to defend ourselves. Democracy is failing, that was clear as this year we had a hung parliament. Islam is the alternative.

“People in this country are very patriotic. They support Britain even if the country has done something wrong. We want to show that there is an alternative. Sharia law would provide an alternative, it would provide balance in the UK.

“People say ‘don’t take it out on the soldiers, they are just doing their jobs’. But how it when Osama Bin Laden blows up a plane or a building he is a terrorist. It is not that he is just doing his job – this is a double standard. They are both killing.”

He makes ludicrous statements claiming Allied troops are raping and pillaging and thinks Sharia law is the answer. It’s a view so tainted with the evidence of a brainwashed religious fanatic that nobody has taken him seriously.

His attempt to propagate the myth that our soldiers are raping people is intended to anger, and anger it certainly has. It is evident from his belief that the west is “pillaging” that he has a limited understanding of the complexities of the conflict, either that or he has no idea what pillaging means. In fact it’s probably both.

What makes it quite clear this guy is of limited intelligence is the last part where he tries to claim Bin Laden was just “doing his job” and that supporting our troops for doing their job somehow means we’re demonstrating double standards. Does he not know Bin Laden lives in a cave and answers to himself? I’d love to know who hired Bin Laden. That’s an interview I’d love to see!

If you want to learn how to make statements completely devoid of logic, take a lesson from this guy.

Most of the extremists try and divert the conflict in the Middle East into one about religion. They make it about the West trying to eradicate Islam and use that to advance their argument that they must fight to defend their religion. The leaders at the top of the Taliban do this intentionally and are fully aware of the power this has to capture the spirit of young Muslims. It’s the young people like Muslims Against The Crusades who have no idea they’re being drip fed lies. These young guys probably come from honest, normal Muslim families and their brains have been poisoned by the powers in the East.

I don’t support the conflict. I’ll make that known now. I never have and I never will. I am pretty ashamed of some of the things the West has done to the East and I’m not blind to the reality that people in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan can find plenty of reasons to not trust us. We were misled by our leaders and ill prepared for what we met when we invaded. There were ulterior motives for invading and history will not look favourably on what we’ve done. We’ve made the area more unstable and we are more at risk from terrorism now than we were before.

Having accepted that we’ve made lots of mistakes that I do not condone, I do not believe we are over there to eradicate Islam. So we must make a stand against those trying to divert this conflict into one where they try and force Islamic law on Britain. Muslims Against The Crusades would do well to remember that it is the freedom of thought, speech and religion granted to them in Britain that allows them to shout the vile things they do. In many Islamic countries you wouldn’t be able to stand on the street saying such horrible things against that country without ending up in jail. Someone needs to teach them they can’t have their cake and eat it.

Despite wishing we weren’t involved in this war we’re ultimately there to help rid the East of the grip of the Taliban. They force people to obey strict, archaic rules, enforcing them without a shred of compassion. They murder anybody who dares to denounce or disobey them. Women are virtual prisoners and elders roam the town beating any unfortunate woman found out without an escort. Education for women is non-existent and healthcare is poor. The Taliban are virtually in control of Afghanistan and rule based entirely on man-made religious doctrine that makes no sense and results in an appalling quality of life for so many.

It is this sort of life these young protesters advocate. They are trying to divert our thoughts elsewhere and make it about their own religious agenda. This is not a religious war and we can’t let them make it into one.

This post was updated on June 17

This week I had the privilege of watching the 200th episode of South Park. I have to say it was one of the funniest I’ve seen in a long time. In terms of jokes it wasn’t as funny as some episodes but what it did wonderfully was highlight the absurdity of Islamic censorship.

For those who didn’t see it the basic plot saw all the people South Park has previously made fun of bring a class action lawsuit against the town. The only way to stop the lawsuit was to bring the prophet Mohammed to Tom Cruise. Rather than actually depict Mohammed the creators dressed him in a bear suit.

Not surprisingly then, given the willingness for violence of some Muslims when someone dares to depict Mohammed, the writers of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have now received death threats. The internet has also been awash with angry Muslims ranting about how incredibly offensive the show was. Funny how those who say they’re “people of God” are the ones making the death threats, a shining example of morality!

I applaud South Park for having the guts to stick their neck on the line. It’s about time the world stopped pussy footing around and pandering to such lunacy. Some may say this episode was trying to purposefully offend Muslims but lets face it, that’s what South Park does isn’t it? It’s important to point out that in the US they have a concept called free speech (It’s a concept they’ve not heard of in the Middle East), one which is far more important than not drawing images of some bloke called Mohammed. This South Park episode screamed from the rooftops “this is America and we allow people to say what they like”.

It’s because of this I was sad to hear they’d censored the follow up episode. I understand that the creators value their lives and I can understand Comedy Central wanting to avoid being the centre of a religious row, but what on earth did they think would happen? The first episode made a point of how Muslims would respond so they were aware of the response it was going to have.

This episode raises an important issue which is deeply affecting the planet at the minute; the issue of why the religious think that the rest of the world has to humour their beliefs. If, as a Muslim, you wish to refrain from drawing pictures of Mohammed then by all means go ahead but that should not give you the right to dictate what the rest of the world does. It seems to be that we have created a new human right: the right to not be offended if your illogical beliefs are questioned.

We need to sort this out. Let’s face it, if we seriously think we can continue this farce of never offending the religious then we’re very mistaken. All religions are built upon ancient superstitions which are slowly being proven fallacious. We are trying to create a ‘free speech’ world yet, at the same time, we’re granting the religious not only the freedom from persecution but freedom from having anything negative said about them. As we push forward into a new age of enlightenment this is only going to cause conflict. The result of sending this signal to the religious, that the world will bend over backwards to accommodate their beliefs, will create a generation of fools who think they can say whatever they want but can’t have anything said back to them. It is nothing more than ludicrous for the religious to demand that non-believers live their personal lives in accordance with a religion they have no interest in.

Situations like this are going nowhere and will happen again. This is why the world needs to get some balls and stand up to religious threats.

Recently there has been a lot of chatter in the news about the age old issue of religious discrimination. This week a Christian relationship counsellor is in court after losing his job for refusing to counsel gay couples. He is claiming it is discriminating to force him to give advice in contradiction to his beliefs. And not long ago a Christian nurse lost her case when she tried to claim she was being discriminated against after she was forced to remove her cross from her neck. The court decided the cross wasn’t “essential” to her faith and therefore she couldn’t wear it as jewellery is banned. She claimed that she’d worn it for years and there’d been no problem.

It may seem ludicrously bureaucratic to some to force a change now if it has caused no problems. But it’s important to remember that the no jewellery rule was created to combat the spread of bacteria and MRSA. Therefore a ban should include all jewellery, full stop.

On the surface this looks like yet another religious person wanting special treatment. But this issue is a little bit more complicated. Christians are not the only ones wanting to wear jewellery. Sikhs wear bangles, bangles incidentally, which are still permitted. These bangles are obviously on wrists where they pose a much greater risk of spreading disease than a cross around a neck.

Exceptions are not only being made for Sikhs though. Muslim women are resisting new rules requiring people to be bare sleeved from the elbow down. Again this is aimed at curbing the spread of bugs and allows hands and arms to be kept much cleaner. Sleeves are a big potential breeding ground for bacteria. The Muslim defence is that women must not show their arms and they reel out their usual ‘modesty’ rubbish. We’ve even gone to the length of buying disposable sleeve covers to keep the complainers happy. Doctors have resigned and medical students are quitting, all because they’re being asked to show their arms.

This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. We have a hygiene standard aimed at making our hospitals as safe as possible, but we give some people special privileges because they think if they show their arms, or remove some rings of metal, they’ll go to hell. Not only that but we’ll even charge the taxpayer the bill for indulging their ridiculous fantasy.

Whilst making these exceptions for Sikhs and Muslims we’ll refuse to budge on the rules for Christians who want to hide a small cross under their clothes. I can understand the frustration of Christians who feel they are being singled out. It certainly poses questions about underlying motives in the justice system. I fear the system has become petrified of appearing racist; so makes such stupid rulings regarding cases involving ‘Eastern’ religions; while sticking to the rules when dealing with ‘Western’ religions. Why do so many of the religious fight for equality but happily accept a little special treatment if it’s offered? We’re heading into the territory of discriminating against the non-religious to keep the religious happy.

However, singling out the Christians is not the main issue here. We shouldn’t be allowing anybody to flout the rules. This country needs a backbone. Hygiene is the number one priority in our hospitals and it needs to stay number one. Keeping the religious happy should not be a higher priority and clearly it is.

Those who wish to work in a profession which asks things of them that their religion doesn’t allow need to ask which is more important: their job, or their religion. A Muslim woman who must cover her body could not be, for example, a lifeguard. She would have to accept that she couldn’t do this job because it requires that she remove her veil. A Muslim man could not insist on being allowed to wear his traditional dress and be a fireman. Neither could a Sikh refuse to wear breathing apparatus because he’d have to remove his turban. He’d have to accept that he’d have to sacrifice his religious ‘rules’ in order to be a fireman. This silly idea that we’re doing something horrific if we impose an occupational standard and ask a Muslim to bare her arms needs to end. Are we genuinely saying that if an aspect of a religious person’s job conflicts with their religion the rules should always be bent, otherwise we’re discriminating against them? And do we really think that we can operate every organisation, work place, school etc in harmony with every single religion? Especially when EVERY single religious ‘rule’ relies on the interpretation of a human being and so is always different.

Nobody is being discriminated against by the NHS. No religion was purposefully targeted in a bid to persecute and penalise its followers. It simply happened that a new rule change conflicted with their personal beliefs. This should not be grounds to grant special privileges.

The liberal world we now live in has come full circle. We created the concept of freedom and liberty and granted people the freedom to believe whatever religion they wanted. This is an important freedom to have and prevents government persecuting the religious. Despite its intended purpose this freedom has been hijacked by the religious. They have turned it into a weapon to fight a war they have started themselves. It is a war against the modern world and a fight against common sense. Instead of using it to prevent discrimination they are using it to halt any change which conflicts with their religion, insisting on the right to veto such changes. In doing so it is actually the non-religious who are being discriminated against. We are being held hostage by the religious who are slowly turning the country into a religious state.

Whilst freedom of religion is a vitally important freedom to possess, we need to forget this new found idea that religious ‘customs’ can never be infringed.

The word terrorism brings to mind certain images. The Twin Towers, car bombs, Anthrax in the post etc. Right now the majority of the world’s terrorism has its roots in the Middle East and Islamic extremism. The East is a breeding ground for radicalised young Muslims hell bent on forcing the world to believe as they do. They oppose everything about the western way of life and will go to any lengths to make the entire planet as restrictive and appalling to live in as the Middle East. These young Muslims are a new breed who have found ways to manipulate their holy book to justify just about anything.

It is vital we do everything in our power to maintain the freedom of western life and to oppose the spread of the oppression that Islam brings. As a side note; when I talk about oppression I am not limiting this to the ‘radicalised’ Muslims. I accept that most Muslims want to live a peaceful life and do not condone the use of violence advanced by the extremists and I applaud them for their stance. However, many of these ‘peaceful’ Muslims are still sympathetic to the aspects of their religion which force women to be second class citizens in society. I live in a country free from the rule of the Taliban but witness on a daily basis the lack of freedom women in Islam have. I have known of numerous cases of women being told they can’t decide their own path in life, forced to hide under a veil, shipped out to the Middle East to marry whoever their father wanted them to marry, regardless of their own wishes. Women’s rights are just one of many examples I could cite. It is vital for the health of humanity, and to maintain the freedom we have, that we oppose these ludicrous customs fervently.

But we must not forget that the eastern religions are not the only risk to our freedom. In the USA out-dated, backwards, hateful and discriminatory feelings are stronger than ever before. These feelings are fuelled by the intense ignorance which is prevalent in American society and culture. In what is ironically called the ‘land of the free’, conservative Christianity, and it’s message of precisely the opposite of freedom, still has a stronghold on the nation.

It is a stronghold I fear could only become stronger. It is more than obvious that Islam is making a lot of noise and is currently experiencing a period of rapid growth. This growth seems to scare the Christians, who similarly want us to forget the thousands of years of social evolution we’ve experienced and pretend we live 2,000 years earlier than we actually do. Right now something scary is happening in America. Christian extremists are becoming more vocal and more confrontational than ever before, determined to make more noise than Muslims about their deluded view of how the world should work. The lengths they are prepared to go to in order to spread their message of hatred are increasing.

The Army Of God is a group opposed to abortion. They see the world in a narrow minded, black and white way where every person who aborts a pregnancy is a baby murderer. Their tactics are confrontational; their website contains a plethora of images of aborted babies interspersed with Bible verses which they twist to fit their agenda. They support the murder of abortion doctors and use inflammatory statements like “American Hero Scott Roeder”, glorifying the abhorrent actions of Scott Roeder the mentally deranged man who shot dead a father for performing abortions. ‘Pro-life’ terrorists like Scott Roeder have been responsible for burning and bombing medical centres, I dread to think what else they may be capable of. While stopping short of actually advising people to murder, the Army Of God’s web site is riddled with the sentiment that such murders are ok. Slightly hypocritical that the Army Of God clearly believe two wrongs make a right. These people are no different from the terrorists of the east. They are prepared to use and/or support violence in order to bring fruition to their own agenda.

Repent Amarillo are a group of equally narrow-minded, intolerant bigots who have elevated their religious mission into the realm of terror. They are on a self-imposed war against what they see as the evils of Amarillo and have vamped up their activity in 2010. They use military language, wear military clothing, call themselves ‘soldiers’ and create the impression they like all things violent. It’s difficult to discern what their aim is from their web site as it’s full of rambling non-sensical bullshit. They claim they “cannot stand by and watch [their] neighbours walking through the gates of hell”, which would suggest their mission is to ‘save’ people and bring them into Christianity. Their actions suggest the exact opposite, however, as to date they’ve involved themselves in standing outside strip clubs and hurling abuse at the patrons; finding the contact details of those who visit the ‘evil’ places they despise and intimidating them; picketing outside people’s houses who they disagree with; trying to ruin ordinary people’s lives by informing their employers of their sexual preferences. Not really the actions of a group wanting to save people is it?

Repent Amarillo share a number of similarities with the terrorist groups of the east. For example they exist centred around a small number of people’s personal interpretation of an ancient text which has long been shown to be total bollocks. At the centre of this group is David Grisham, a religious nut who worryingly is an armed guard at a nuclear facility. They are, in many ways, a cult built on the personal delusions of one man and his band of followers. In addition to this most of David’s recruits are young men in their teens or twenties who have found a perfect environment to vent their hatred. These young men have been radicalised in the exact same way the young Taliban and Al’Queda recruits have been.

The worst case scenario is that these new breed of Christian terrorists will ‘up their game’ in the face of this new breed of radicalism we’re seeing. These people are just as dangerous, in my opinion, as the terrorists who carry out bombings against the innocent. These people care not about the rules of decency and kindness, they have no regard for the law (apart from the parts of it which allow them to spout their rubbish) and believe the end justifies the means. I fear we are in for a rough future where these nuts will continue to carry out atrocious acts all in the name of religion.

The above is a question I’ve heard asked and discussed many, many times. In short, the answer is yes.

Religion is a personal choice, it’s one that adults choose for various reasons. These reasons usually boil down to the fact that it makes the follower feel better. Whatever the reasons for following religion, the important point here is that an adult is capable of making such a decision. Putting aside the fact that the overwhelming majority of religious people I’ve met are incapable of discussing their religion using logic and reason, they are still (usually) of sound enough mind to make an informed choice.

They can learn about evolution and choose to reject it. They can learn about the age of the earth and choose to believe it’s as old as the Bible says. They can ignore the hypocrisy and stupidity of the Bible/Qur’an or whatever other book they read and choose to follow it blindly. They can turn away from religion if they want. Most children in religious families do not have this option. They are simply told what to believe. In other words, they are indoctrinated. They are labelled as a ‘Christian child’, a ‘Muslim child’ or a ‘Catholic child’. As Richard Dawkins points out in The God Delusion we’d be appalled if we referred to a child as a ‘Labour child’ or a ‘Tory child’. We’d object to a child being used as an extension of their parents political belief. We’d say a child isn’t old enough to understand which political party they belong to. Why is religion any different?

Let’s remember we set an age of consent for sex, the reason being that children are not mature enough to consider the consequences of their actions. There is a minimum age for voting because children are not capable of understanding politics enough to make an informed vote. If children cannot do these things then they can never be expected to understand religion. I know plenty of adults who are still not able to decide what they believe.

Humans have evolved so that children listen to their parents unquestionably. If we tell them Santa delivers their Christmas presents, they believe us. If we tell them the tooth fairy will collect their broken teeth, they believe us. If we tell them God created the Earth in 7 days, started with Adam and Eve and requires us to live our entire lives according to the Bible, they believe us. If we tell them it’s wrong to be gay, they will believe us, and then experience absolute turmoil when they realise they are gay. To take a young mind and fill it with such rubbish can only ever be abusive.

The religious will obviously disagree. They argue that it’s their right to bring up their child according to their belief. But that is just the point. It is their belief.

This is one of those issues where society as a whole displays double standards. They scorn at the Westboro Baptist Church for making their kids stand with ‘God Hates Fags’ signs and they would no doubt scorn if a parent brought their child up as a witch or devil worshipper. They would be disgusted if a nutter who thought he lived his life in servitude to an alien god from Venus taught his young child to do the same. But some of these are the same people who will fill their child’s mind with their own delusions. What they are doing is taking their own life choices and imprinting them on their children. Children are so open to being imprinted, the Westboro Baptist church are a prime example of this. The children of the Phelps’ family believe exactly what their parents believe because it’s all they’ve ever been told. Could there be a better example of how dangerous this can get?

There will always be a small number of slightly liberal Christians who will not force their children to believe as they do. They are, however, a small number. All too often I read or hear stories of those who were forced to attend church, forced to pray and severely chastised if they even dared speak against the Lord! The fear of punishment is enough to qualify as forcing.

Can it ever be right to teach an innocent child that if they’re attracted to the same sex they’ll burn in hell? Based on nothing more than your own interpretation of an ancient text. Is it just me who sees this as atrocious? Children should be allowed to be innocent, to think about playing and having fun and not worry about going to hell. The sort of psychological damage this can, and does, do to kids is awful. I personally know of so many people who went through absolute turmoil, and some, complete ex-communication from their families, all because they reached an age where they realised that their whole childhood had been built on a lie. Because as they got older they realised their religion was incompatible with the realities of life. This issue is often magnified in Muslim families, where some are prepared to resort to murder if a family member turns from their religion. These families are completely self centred if they put their own opinion before loving their family.

I will be accused of thinking the way I do purely because I’m an atheist. I refute this. To impose any of our beliefs on our children in such a way that they do not question what they are told is indoctrination. This is not reserved for religion alone. We should encourage our children to think for themselves and not just pass on our own beliefs. It is equally abhorrent to bring a child up reading their horoscope, force feed them racist or homophobic views, tell them they belong to a particular political party, imprint our own bad eating habits on them (how many fat kids do you see with fat parents?), pass on our irrational phobias or our modern obsession with our image (how many kids do you see wearing makeup and mini-skirts?).

We need to question the parental ability of people who force their own beliefs on their kids. At the end of the day what is our job as parents? To give our children the start and the skills they need to be ready for life as an adult? Or is it to turn out mini clones of ourselves who think and act exactly as we do? Too many parents are choosing the latter.