Tagged: Islam

Muslim mob mentality

As news spreads of the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya, J Christopher Stevens, by an angry mob reacting to a film about Islam, there’s also news that Channel 4 has cancelled its screening of Tom Holland’s film, Islam: the untold story, in response to threats from Muslim extremists.

The film that prompted the Benghazi assault on the US Embassy, as well as demonstrations in Egypt, was made by an Israeli filmmaker, Sam Bacile (who’s gone into hiding), and was promoted by Morris Sadek, an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner who lives in California. It’s a rubbish film, whatever you think of Islam, with wooden acting, comedy beards, and an inflammatory depiction of Islam. Click here to watch it

Tom Holland’s film, shown on Channel 4 recently, is not a rubbish film; it’s a documentary that records the research Holland has done into the origins of Islam. Click here to watch it on 4oD. The Telegraph reports, “The investigation into the origins of the religion claimed that there is little written contemporary evidence about the prophet Mohammed”. This reminded me that Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou said more or less the same things about King David in the Old Testament and Jesus and the origins of Christianity in her BBC TV series last year, yet there were no Jewish or Christian mobs baying for her blood – though some American fundamentalists probably would have been rather rude about her, if they’d seen it. Uneducated Muslims in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Libya live in social groups where the men and women are segregated, independence is frowned upon, and a mob mentality is easily developed. It’s taken centuries to get this way; simply being rude about them isn’t going to change anything.

The main Abrahamic monotheistic religions‘ stories have been changed as they’ve been passed down through the generations, like Chinese whispers, so now there’s very little truth in any of them. In spite of this, anyone who dares to say so is likely to be threatened by those who prefer to remain in ignorance than to question the nonsense they’ve been conditioned to believe. One of the biggest problems with all of them is their fundamental sexism, but atheists can be just as guilty of that.

Instead of picking fights with theocracies, it would be better if some of the money currently being spent on military hardware was used to provide education. In the long term, it’s the only thing that can make a difference. Most of the men in the Muslim mobs were taught by imams in madrassas, the only form of schooling they ever had.

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.” – H G Wells

Multiple choice answers

The Big Questions on BBC TV on Sunday was amusing. It was supposed to be about “The future of British Islam”. Nicky Campbell lost control of a bunch of Muslims all shouting at one another, while Dame Anne Leslie kept chipping in with comments prefaced with “When I was in Pakistan/Iran/Afghanistan…”, etc. When she referred to the burqa as a “bin bag”, that really fanned the flames of indignation.

I had to Google Dr Taj Hargey, whose posture indicated his contempt for most of the opinions being expressed by sitting right back in his chair, while others leant forward as they tried to outshout one another. He’s described as “the imam who took on the ‘Muslim McCarthyists'”.

Is wearing the niqab any more acceptable than wearing a paper bag over my head?

BurqaPhillip Hollobone MP has said that he expects niqab wearing constituents to remove them before he’ll talk to them. Liberty has warned him of potential legal action under the Equality Act 2006, because this would constitute religious discrimination.

Maybe Mr Hollobone is right. It would be reasonable to ask someone wearing a crash helmet with tinted face shield to remove it, or a paper bag, so why should a niqab be different? In this instance, I think Liberty is wrong. You might argue that this isn’t about religion, but about culture. I’ve emailed Liberty (not that they’ll take any notice of me, having forgotten that I was once on their National Executive committee). This is what I commented on the Guardian website:

I saw two very young women being interviewed on TV about their burqas and niqabs the other day. They were clearly unaware, as are most who are raised in the UK and adopt this form of dress, that this is as much a cultural issue as a religious one. Many Muslim women’s families originate in countries where the burqa and niqab aren’t worn by a majority, and their interpretation of the Qur’an is quite different; they don’t wear Islamic dress. I recently spoke to a young man from Egypt who said he was shocked at the difference between the liberal attitudes back home and the rigidity of the attitudes in a British mosque. He said he’d never go there again as he felt he had nothing in common with the mainly Pakistani people who worshipped there.

Fictional TV character drops Qur’an, Muslims incensed

Muslims deficient in a sense of humour or proportion are upset about a scene from BBC TV’s Eastenders in which a gay Muslim character handles his copy of the Qur’an rather roughly, upset about his love life. He probably didn’t even say “Oops!”, though I wouldn’t know because I never watch it.

Oh please! Taking offence has become a full-time occupation for some people.

One Law for All London rally, November 21.

Maryam NamazieA message from Maryam Namazie of the One Law for All campaign about the rally on November 21:

I am now responding to Sharia-related comments and questions every day of the week until the One Law for All rally on November 21. You can see my responses for the past two weeks by visiting the One Law for All website. If you have any questions or comments, please email them to me or post them on the website and I’ll be sure to respond.

Also, don’t forget to tell everyone you know about November 21. It is an important day to raise our voices against Sharia and religious laws and defend humanity, secularism and universal rights, including the right to asylum for those fleeing political Islam. If you can’t get to London and want to organise something in your city, contact us so we can help you do so. Click here for more information on the London rally.

Philosophy, fish, and other matters

A quick trawl through the Internet for the weekend, to keep the little grey cells going. Firstly, Dr Stephen Law, a member of the BHA’s Humanist Philosophers, has a blog that’s worth reading. Among other things, he asks, “Does the concept of an intelligent designer make sense?’ We know the answer, but for anyone who doesn’t, here’s something to consider:

… when we suppose that the spatio-temporal universe was created by some sort of agent, we are presumably supposing it was designed by a non-temporal agent – an agent that does not (or at least did not then) exist in time. For there was not yet any time for the agent to exist in. But if desires are psychological states with temporal duration, how, then, could this agent possess the desire to create the universe? And how did it perform the act of creation if there was not yet any time in which actions might be performed? It is hard to see how talk of a non-temporal agent makes any more sense than talk of a non-spatial mountain.

The NSS’s Keith Porteous Wood comments about the Church of England’s determination to keep their bishops in the House of Lords on the NSS website:

Their presence in the House of Lords is unsupportable in a country where less than half of the people do not belong to Christianity, far less, the Church of England. The UK is the only Western democracy that has clerics in its parliament as of right. These clerics are all men, they are unrepresentative and, despite their claims, they have no special insight or universally accepted morality to bring to the debate.

More from the web

Cat in a box

I’ve been trying to declutter. Amongst other things, I’ve been adding more and more tabs to my browser, thinking, “Oh, I’ll include that in a news update on our site,” and it’s got to the stage where I really, really have to clear up all the clutter. So here you are.

If you remember that we were concerned about the possibility of Holywells High School in Ipswich being taken over by the Church of England, then things went very quiet, there’s been a development. The secretary of state for children, schools and families has approved the county’s plan to turn Holywells into an academy, with Kunskapsskolan, the largest provider of secondary education in Sweden, to be a “preferred partner”. Sounds interesting…

Campaign against sharia law in the UK

OneSecularLaw_A3Placard_160This Saturday, the day before International Women’s Day, the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law is organising a demonstration and public meeting in Central London. Maryam Namazie emailed:

We are looking forward to seeing many of you at the anti-racist London rally against Sharia and religious-based laws in Britain and elsewhere and in defence of citizenship and universal rights in Trafalgar Square from 3:30-4:30pm. You can find posters that have been prepared for the rally by Dan Simon and Reza Moradi on our website. Please feel free to download them and bring them along to the rally to ensure that there are enough placards for everyone. At 4:30pm we will begin our march to Red Lion Square and then join a public meeting at Conway Hall from 6:00-8:00pm. We will be registering people for the public meeting at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square WC1R 4RL from 5:00pm. From 5:30pm onwards, there will be live music by Raised Voices, pastries and refreshments. The entry fee to the public meeting is £5, including refreshments, but we won’t turn anyone away. If you plan on coming, try and send in your booking form before the event (by March 6) so that we can reserve a place for you.