Thursday, 1 August 2019

Speech and Intention

As Islam makes further in-roads into Western societies that have a tradition of free speech, we are witnessing an intensification of the inevitable conflict between the freedom to question and ponder and the desire to prevent speech critical of Islam.

Whilst revisiting the blog of Mark Durie recently I came across a very good series of articles that shed light on these issues and more generally on why people say what they do: to reveal, to question, to conceal, to threaten, to illuminate.

The first is an opinion piece by the journalist Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald in which he gives voice to an observation that many non-Muslims have pondered, namely, that Islamic texts are routinely used to justify killing and persecution in the name of Islam. See

The second is what can only be described as an attack on Paul Sheehan and freedom of speech by Randa Abdel Fattah, a PhD candidate in sociology, in which she deploys the familiar tactics of guilt by association, smearing, and victimology to argue that any examination of Islam’s scriptures risks turning the ire of non-Muslims on powerless Muslims. This being an example of how free speech arguments are used to reinforce existing power imbalances. 

The third is a rejoinder by a Dr Mohamad Abdallah, which argues that Paul Sheehan is not competent to interpret the Koran or Hadith and that a scholarly interpretation looking at verses in their proper context suggests a much more moderate interpretation.
The fourth article is by Dr Mark Durie, in which he takes on Dr Mohamad Abdallah’s challenge to interpret the problematic verses in their proper context and to be informed by the customary interpretations offered by authoritative Muslim scholars.  What he discovers is that context is not a magic wand that always makes the interpretation more benign but can also make it worse.
I'm sure you can judge for yourself which speakers have the most honourable intentions.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

How to disable the communication systems of a whole society

A Military Strategy

During the execution of Operation Desert Storm, I was impressed with the logical order of the campaign. First item on the list was to degrade and destroy the communication and control systems thus rendering the enemy deaf and blind and unable to collect information centrally to get an overall assessment of where we (their enemy) were operating. The aim was to impair the enemy’s ability to get any advanced warning of where we aimed to invade or how we intended to do it.

A laser-guided weapon strikes

Radar systems at points throughout the country and the relays that transfer the information to the central command are the key components of the system. A command centre can only act effectively if it has good intelligence to work with. Without it, it is to extent rendered more stupid, like the one-eyed Cyclops blinded by Ulysses.

We also sought to sow confusion by planting misinformation in order make the enemy believe we had Plan A whereas we had Plan B. To this end we carried out exercises for an amphibious landing, which was not our true intention.

Once we had downgraded the communication systems using cruise missiles, we were able to deploy aircraft more safely and hit more targets, thereby gaining ever greater control of the air.

It was the undermining of the communication systems that was the key to our success. Without it we would have sustained more losses and become more bogged down and this would inevitably been followed by a gradual reduction in public support and loss of confidence.

If you wanted to undertake the conquest of a society without the military superiority that we had in relation to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq what would you do?

A Subversive Strategy

When you don’t have military superiority the objective is very similar: You must downgrade or destroy the transfer of information to the command centres from any points where information that is contrary to your interests emerges. By comparison, the military strategy is a simple matter since within a whole society, rather than just it’s military systems, you cannot assess or control the battlespace to anything like the same degree.

When Raymond Ibrahim’s talk at the U.S. Army War College was recently postponed (i.e. cancelled for June 19th 2019), the success that CAIR and thousands of other Muslim advocacy groups have had with such a strategy really came home to me.

Researchers like Raymond Ibrahim are like the outlying early warning systems that need to transfer information to the command centres. Without this intelligence, the command centres cannot operate effectively and can only make decisions based on guesswork. Well, that is just what the U.S.A.W.C has done in this case.

The ability of CAIR to succeed in this is the result of years of persistent and careful work to undermine the credibility of anyone with information to share such as Raymond Ibrahim. CAIR is essentially a PR company for the Muslim Brotherhood. Its role is managing the news in order to put the best possible spin on the beliefs and behaviour of Muslims. One means of doing this is to attack anyone offering information that contradicts their information management message.

Given that the truth can emerge unexpectedly from any quarter you have to have a means of nullifying what rational people might say. You cannot counter them with Reason since, as aforesaid, they are rational, therefore you must resort to irrational means.

A prime example of this is the charge of “Islamophobia”. Islamophobia is a word with no demonstrable meaning. Perhaps because of this it can be deployed to stigmatize someone as unworthy of attention. It is not the only weapon in CAIR’s informational arsenal, but it has proven to be one of the most effective.

The term plays a subtle and complex game with fear. Firstly, it uses a psychiatric term affixed to the name of a religion in order to imply that any concern about Islam springs from irrational fear. At the same time, it makes people afraid to have the word ascribed to them, since it is now a member of a group of words (homophobia, transphobia) which are used as pejoratives for anyone not wholly in favour of certain conditions or behaviours.

The word has the effect of rendering concern about Islam socially unacceptable (at least in public). It makes people reluctant to investigate, to reason logically, or even to associate with those who do. It thus makes communication about Islam very difficult. It has also been used very cleverly to associate criticism of Islam with racism – which is logically absurd.

There will certainly be people critical of Islam who are also racist but their racism and critical attitude towards Islam are separate; similarly there are people who admire(d) Islam and (were) are racist – Hitler being a case in point; and there are other logical relationships: people who admire Islam who are not racist and people who are critical of Islam who are not racist.

Which brings me to my other point: the spread of confusion as a military tactic. Once important sources of information like Raymond Ibrahim are blocked; once Emotion is given priority over Reason; once categories like Islam and race become interchangeable; once any correction of these fallacies becomes harder; then, we are weakened, susceptible to false hopes and hopeless solutions
This is how societies’ early warning systems can be disabled.

The fact that CAIR can describe Raymond Ibrahim as a “white supremacist” and get away with it shows just how much CAIR can lie with complete impunity. How is this possible?

I think the answer can be found in the successful intimidation achieved by the “Islamophobia” charge. The communication systems have been successfully degraded by the “Islamophobia” weapon such that the information transmitters (i.e. people in this case) are reluctant to pass on or broadcast the message for fear of being demonized and ostracised as “Islamophobes”.

The degradation of the communication systems now means that what would have, if used at the outset, been riskier methods of attack can now be deployed with success. Hence, describing Raymond Ibrahim as a “white supremacist” is not called out immediately as patently absurd due to the fear induced by accusations of “Islamophobia”.

Thus, are prime information assets nullified and society left wide open for conquest.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Why does the Left defend the far Right?

Whenever I mention anything critical of Islam to left-wing people they tend to spring to Islam’s defense. Not through any logical defense of Islam’s merits (they know nearly nothing about Islam) but by means of illogical refutations (what about the Crusades; what about the Inquisition; what about colonialism), all of which have no logical bearing on the merits of Islam.

There is an immediate labeling process that takes place before you can even blink. Their minds instantly apply the labels of racist, bigot, Islamophobe; and, henceforth, anything I say is framed by these labels and marked as intolerant, bigoted, and invalidated. They have fallen into the poisoning the well fallacy. What a person does in this situation is to infer that nothing a person of a certain character says can be true. They set themselves up to commit the ad hominem fallacy.

So, they know next to nothing about Islam and yet they defend it.

They may acknowledge that they don’t like certain aspects of Islam but they will defend Muslims’ right to hold their beliefs.

Would they defend the right of Nazis to hold their beliefs?

This may seem provocative but Islam shares many characteristics with Nazism, as I’ve pointed out before.

In a previous post I identified eight key features of far right thinking (Authoritarianism; the subjection of women; hostility to out-groups; hatred and distrust of Jews; general hostility to minorities; intolerance of non-conformity; intolerance of homosexuality; resort to violence to impose their will).

I could also have mentioned that far-right ideologies like Nazism do not respect freedom of speech. 

On all of these points Islam is in agreement. By any logical definition it is “far right”.

And yet, in their blind, illogical muddle the Left defends it.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

From Compliance to Dominance: Islam and the Power of Numbers

"...and feel themselves subdued." Koran 9:29

One of the things that constantly bothers me is the effect of growing numbers of Muslims on the nature of my society. Is it going to become more and more like Muslim majority societies elsewhere in the world?

Some writers have pointed out that there appears to be a “Rule of Numbers”  with respect to the behavior of Muslims towards non-Muslims whereby a larger proportion of Muslims in relation to non-Muslims leads to increasing discrimination and violence against non-Muslims.

This to me seems like a very believable pattern, and one for which there is considerable evidence, but what could explain it in more detail?

One thing worth considering is the effect of situational factors on behavior.

In 1973 a very interesting social experiment was carried out at Stanford University under the direction of Prof. Edward Zimbardo.

A mock-up jail was constructed in the cellar of Stanford University Psychology Department in order to test the effects of prisoner and jailer roles on a set of students. Zimbardo expected the social roles given to each person to alter their behavior in ways independent of their disposition. That is to say, there are factors in any situation or social context which drive behavior regardless of an individual’s more persistent character traits.

A request was made for volunteers to participate in the experiment and all those who applied were subjected to various psychological tests to weed out anyone with a problematic disposition such as a history of drug abuse, violence, or other form of criminality.

Volunteers were assigned to the role of prisoner or jailer at random. Various ground rules were laid down, such as no violence, and a general instruction was given to the jailers to maintain order.
You can read in more detail about the experiment here.

These are the main points:

  • Dispositional factors were controlled by psychological tests and random assignment to jailer or prisoner
  • Participants quickly adopted behavior stereotypical of their roles
  • Jailers adopted authoritarian and aggressive behaviors; prisoners adopted submissive behaviors.
  • Over the duration of the experiment these relationships were accentuated
  • Prisoners became increasingly distressed and adopted “identification with the oppressor” attitudes; jailers became more ruthless and set out to humiliate prisoners
  • It was possible for certain individuals to “set the tone” for everyone else due to their more extreme behavior
  • The experiment strongly suggests that the context in which people find themselves and the relationships of power between them are major determinants of their behavior regardless of their basic disposition

This study provides us with some insight into the way people relate to other people when there are social structures of dominance and submission and how these structures affect their behavior. These factors are particularly relevant when we look at the role of non-Muslims in Muslim majority countries. Under Sharia there are clearly defined ways in which non-Muslims are designated as inferior to Muslims: they cannot testify against a Muslim in court; they cannot occupy a position of authority over Muslims; they cannot criticize Islam and they cannot proselytize their own religion; a Muslim cannot be punished for injury to a non-Muslim, etc.

But even without these formal structures there are informal, cultural patterns of thinking and behaving which are informed by a sense of superiority. Islam has a strong in-group / out-group mentality which underpins cohesiveness among Muslims and denigration of non-Muslims. This is a very common dynamic of in-group / out-group structures. Obedience and loyalty are the top priorities.

Raymond Ibrahim has been keeping an invaluable catalog of Muslim persecution of non-Muslims (warning: disturbing image on landing) in his monthly Bulletin of Muslim persecution. You can read the endless stream of anecdotes from around the world, but what emerges is very well summarized by Raymond Ibrahim when he says:

“Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or third-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.”
I think it’s the last point that really concerns us here: the supremacist culture. What is a supremacist culture? It’s one that sets a group (the in-group, in this case Muslims) above all others (the out-groups, be they Hindus, Christians, Jews or more broadly non-Muslims) and renders certain forms of behavior acceptable towards these out-groups that is not acceptable towards members of the in-group.

It is a culture wherein in-group members are deemed to be superior to all out-group members simply by virtue of in-group membership. Loyalty to the group is of supreme importance and must override any consideration for non-members who are always to be despised. It undercuts empathy and concern for outsiders as fellow beings.

These social divisions and the attitudes that accompany them have close parallels to those studied in the Stanford Prison Experiment. The social context of any Sharia-compliant society, to whatever degree, confers upon Muslims a power advantage.

We see the fruits of these attitudes and beliefs in places like Pakistan where the dehumanisation and mistreatment of non-Muslims by Muslims is commonplace and goes largely unpunished. Take the example of Sunil Saleem, as reported in the March 2018 Bulletin of Muslim Persecution.

Sunil Saleem and his family were attacked by hospital staff in Lahore when they tried to intervene on behalf of his sister-in-law who was in severe pain from labor. The doctor, Dr Saira, called upon other hospital and security staff “to teach these Christians a lesson”. Sunil Saleem died as a result of this “lesson”.

Sunil Saleem after "the lesson"

Too many of the perpetrators of such crimes go unpunished in accordance with the supremacist culture of Islam. Such impunity emboldens aggressors considerably.

The Muslim behavior that we see at present in Western societies is the expression of the situational factors prevailing at this time. They are in a minority.  Now, we don’t know anything for certain; we know only probabilities. But if Muslims behave as they do in Pakistan, where they are a majority, what is the likelihood that they will increasingly behave this way in the West as their numbers increase thereby changing the context?

The power of numbers is a form of power, perhaps one of the greatest. Power tends to corrupt. Add to the situation a culture with an unbounded sense of its own superiority and you have exactly what we see in Pakistan – the abuse of non-Muslims; the abuse of power based on numerical superiority and discriminatory laws.

The behavior of Dr Saira and her staff arises in a context (situation) where she and her staff belong to the dominant group. There are few, if any, controls to restrain their reactions. The Christians are in a particularly vulnerable position.

Numbers change the context and the context changes behaviour. Non-Muslim behaviour becomes more submissive; Muslim behaviour becomes more domineering.

If Muslims gain more control over society, as their numbers will inevitably ensure that they do, why would it be in any Muslim’s interest to oppose this or to offer support to the infidels who are losing control?

Muslims have already learned that we will keep flattering and protecting their religion from criticism because we fear them. This conforms to the behavior expected of non-Muslims.

Even less fervent Muslims would surely maintain silence and feign support for the growing Islamisation? And surely the growing power of Islam would turn all towards greater conformity like a magnet changing the orientation of millions of needles?

Add to this the increasing sense of superiority and destiny with which Islam invests its members on account of worldly conquest and the social dynamics under the spotlight in the prison experiment are multiplied many times.

The current proportion of Muslims who are militant may become a greater proportion as the proportion of Muslims as a whole increases. It’s not even necessary for the majority of Muslims to actively engage in militancy; they only need to remain neutral towards those who are.

It is easy to see how dominant and submissive behavior once adopted (especially over the long term) generates further dominance and submission. The contempt felt towards the subordinate people is apt to stimulate further contempt and to reinforce in-group / out-group boundaries.

The power that numbers will bring will enable Muslims to change the social context in western societies in other ways that will enhance the inequality between them and non-Muslims. For example, criminalizing criticism of Islam, an agenda which is already well advanced, will raise Muslims above non-Muslims. The recent ECHR ruling against Elisabeth Sabaditisch-Wolf for “disparaging religious doctrines” demonstrates very clearly how Muslim numbers and the threat of violence can be used to sway legal judgments.

If Islam gains greater protection from criticism in western societies (as is happening right now), they will have established Sharia-compliant inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims. This will be the foundation of further inequality and have a drastic effect on the social context.

The question is: how do the compliant, multicultural Muslims of the West become the persecuting Muslims of places like Pakistan? The answer I think lies in the continuously shifting social context which, as Muslims become a larger proportion thereof, is continuously drifting in the direction of Islam and greater Islamic power.

I can only foresee the West slowly dropping to its knees in the face of this.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Elisabeth and Asia

On 25th October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) reached a decision in respect of the case of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. They determined that protection under Article 10 (freedom of expression) did not apply in her case and thus upheld the judgement of the Austrian court that had convicted her for “denigrating religious beliefs”.

A good summary of the case can be found here. In brief, Elisabeth gave a series of lectures in 2009 in which she addressed the dangers of fundamentalist Islam. A left-leaning magazine, News, planted a journalist in the audience to make recordings of what was said. Having done this the magazine handed the recordings to the public prosecutor’s office as evidence of "hate speech" against Islam.

What Elisabeth actually said, in the context of a discussion about Muhammad’s marriage to six-year-old Aisha was this: "A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?"

The prosecution started by attempting to convict her of “hate speech”. Hate speech is defined in Section 283 of the Austrian criminal code as (using Google Translate which does not actually have Austrian), publicly expressing views which may lead to the scorn or disparagement in the eyes of the public towards a group on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, race, etc.  So, if you say something which is actually true but can cause such effects on public opinion you are guilty of hate speech.

The prosecution went up various blind alleys in their attempt to prevent such statements of fact but eventually the judgement handed down was “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion”. They imposed a fine of €480 or an alternative prison sentence of 60 days. Thus, however, repulsive or immoral the behaviour, if it is sanctioned by a legally recognized religion you cannot criticise it or even say what it is.

Elisabeth took her case to the EHCR in the hope of a rectification. Their judgement is a catalogue of mangled reasoning which offends logic.

The court began by stating that religious groups could not expect to be exempt from criticism. But if comments went beyond critical denial, “and certainly where they were likely to incite religious
intolerance, might a State legitimately consider them to be incompatible with respect for the
freedom of thought, conscience and religion and take proportionate restrictive measures.”

It’s not clear to me whose “religious intolerance” they are talking about but given this comes up in the context of religious groups and their exposure to criticism it seems to imply the people whose religion is being criticised. That being the case, the logic flowing from this is clear enough: the more intolerant a religious group is of criticism of their beliefs the less they can be criticised.

I can't help wondering what sort of contradictions of religious beliefs would not incite religious intolerance.

The EHCR further observed that the subject of the case was of a “particularly sensitive nature” and the State of Austria was “in a better position to evaluate which statements were likely to disturb the religious peace in their country.”

This can mean nothing other than riots and mobs; the assassination of judges, politicians and so forth.

“The Court noted that the domestic courts comprehensively explained why they considered that the
applicant’s statements had been capable of arousing justified indignation; specifically, they had not
been made in an objective manner contributing to a debate of public interest (e.g. on child
marriage), but could only be understood as having been aimed at demonstrating that Muhammad
was not worthy of worship.” And this could not possibly be true of a man who married a six-year-old girl?

But this above all shows how corrupted the thought processes of these judges has become: It agreed with the domestic courts that Mrs S. must have been aware that her statements were partly based on untrue facts and apt to arouse indignation in others.

What, pray, are “untrue facts”? It’s a contradiction in terms. Either they are facts and therefore true or they are not facts and therefore untrue. This is the grovelling level of “thinking” that the penultimate court in Europe is reduced to by the fear of the Muslim mob.

And their summing up: Under these circumstances, and given the fact that Mrs S. made several incriminating statements, the Court considered that the Austrian courts did not overstep their wide margin of appreciation in the instant case when convicting Mrs S. of disparaging religious doctrines. Overall, there had been no violation of Article 10. (my italics).

It's a long time since disparaging religious doctrines was a punishable offence in Europe, but now that Islam has arrived it's all going to change.

In Pakistan this last week, following the acquittal of Asia Bibi on blasphemy charges, the mobs erupted in fury that someone who has already spent 8 years in prison in terrible conditions was not going to be hanged for expressing a legitimate Christian opinion about (you guessed it) Muhammad. (Are Muslims allowed to worship Muhammad or is that not idolatry?)

What she said, after a dispute with her Muslim co-workers who claimed that their drinking water had been contaminated because she had drunk from the same vessel was this: I think Jesus would see it differently from Muhammad, Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?

Under Sharia, interfaith dialogue is somewhat restricted to say the least. You can listen politely to the Muslim perspective but you can’t propose anything different or criticise Islam. So poor Asia ended up incarcerated on death row and fearing every day that she would be killed in prison or eventually executed.

But light appeared to break through the clouds of religious darkness when the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her. One was greatly relieved but felt anxious of the aftermath.

And justly so. The judges were threatened with death and as fundamentalists brought the mobs onto the streets demanding her execution one wondered how the situation might be resolved. Could she be whisked out of the country by Navy Seals; would President Trump give them an ultimatum and get her out?

It was not to be. The acquittal is now to be reviewed due to the level of social disorder aroused. The mob has won.

Behold, how Islam turns Muslim hearts to stone.

The authorities have struck a deal with the mob leaders which involves starting proceedings to prevent Asia from leaving the country (thus making it easier for them to hunt her down and kill her).
The government will also allow protesters to mount a legal challenge to the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit her.

What we see in these two cases is essentially the same thing. Fear of the Muslim mob drives decision-making. The European judges with all their muddle-headed thinking and weasel words has succumbed to the same forces of religious intolerance as the Pakistanis.

The problem is extremely widespread. For example, 100,000 UK Muslims signed a petition demanding Asia’s execution.

The EHCR claims to be upholding tolerance but they are bowing to intolerance of the worst kind. In fact, by this judgement, the EHCR has undermined one of the key foundations of European life: freedom of speech. This will have far more serious consequences than even the "disturbance of religious peace"...if indeed you can describe sitting on a box of explosives as peace.

We know these forces of intolerance are growing with every Muslim born in the West and every Muslim migrant arriving. The power of numbers will enable them to impose their rules on the rest of us. These dark days are only the beginning.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Islamophobia is Altruistic

A phobia is an intense fear out of all proportion to the threat. Phobic people experience their fears in relation to themselves. They feel a direct threat from the phobic object or situation. They are not afraid for the welfare of others. They experience fear in an immediate and personal way. They may dread the sight of spiders or feel intense anxiety in open spaces.

An Islamophobe is someone who experiences a deep concern or dread regarding the negative impact of Islam on society as a whole and on behalf of people in the future. 

This dread is based on the abundant evidence of Islamic-inspired warfare and persecution throughout 1400 years of history; it is based on the pretty repulsive societies that are based on Islamic principles; it is based on the mountains of evidence of non-Muslim persecution in Muslim majority countries. It is not an immediate and personal sense of threat. It is not solely related to the individual who experiences the dread.

In this respect it is a completely different experience to a phobic reaction; it is as much concerned with the threat posed to others as to the self.

Islamophobia is therefore an altruistic concern not a personal one. It springs from concern for others. It has far more connection with love than hate.