Swiss to vote on banning minarets


by Rumbold
29th November, 2009 at 1:14 pm    

The Swiss are to hold a referendum on whether or not to ban the construction of new minarets. The plan is backed by the Swiss People’s Party, the largest party in parliament and the creators of this poster:

Swiss poster

There are currently only four minarets in Switzerland, and around 400,000 Muslims (making it the country’s second largest faith, after Christianity).

This is one of those profoundly illiberal bans that doesn’t do anyone any good. Let’s say you wanted to tackle extremism amongst Muslims, or improve the lot of Muslim women. How would banning minarets help? What effect can this have apart from to make Muslims feel under attack and give them more incentive to withdraw into their own world? More minarets won’t lead to more extremism, but this referendum will.

(Hat-Tip: Steve at Amnesty)

Update: Swiss exit polls now indicate that a ban has been apporved.


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Filed in: Current affairs,Muslim,Race politics






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  1. pickles

    Blog post:: Swiss to vote on banning minarets http://bit.ly/55IPPC


  2. Tim Phillips-White

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Swiss to vote on banning minarets http://bit.ly/55IPPC


  3. Asif Akhtar

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Swiss to vote on banning minarets http://bit.ly/55IPPC


  4. ? Nick Hobson ?

    The Swiss are to hold an illiberal (and counterproductive) referendum on whether to ban the construction of new minarets: http://mod2.org/C


  5. Dil Nawaz

    @pickledpolitics http://bit.ly/55IPPC Adel Darwish @ajenglish #Europe #Islamist community leaders living #eu state benefits #islam #swiss


  6. Selected Reading 01/12/09 « Left Outside

    [...] Guthrum at Old Holborn on the vote on banning minarets in Switzerland. Minerets? Non Merci, Nein Danke. To which I reply. Libertarian? Non Merci, Nein [...]




  1. Abdul Abulbul Emir — on 29th November, 2009 at 4:43 am  

    As Mrs A says

    Well what do they expect ?

    The Turkish Leader has said that 'Minarets are the Bayonets of Islam'.

    No wonder the Switzers are getting touchy. One must make an effort to understand these people Abdul. Such arrogance is typical of whitey imperialism at the height of the Raj and we mustn't make the same mistake.

    After all the British got chucked out in the end and now look at them in their wretchedness.

    Fortunately a consignment of 'Readers Wives' turns up and I can mercifully turn my attention elsewhere.

    Peace be upon me.

  2. MikeSC — on 29th November, 2009 at 5:02 am  

    It's in the same vein as the prospective French ban on burkhas- attacking Muslim related paraphernalia in order to drive out the Muslim community, without having to state openly- “we consider you an undesirable and want you out.”

  3. Jessica Parker — on 29th November, 2009 at 5:17 am  

    Yes, democracy sucks doesn't it? Thats why the UK got rid of it.

  4. Martin (riverScrap.com) — on 29th November, 2009 at 6:17 am  

    How is this a “liberal ban”? It sounds more like a knee-jerk, right-wing reaction to multiculturalism. Either way the ban (which was approved this morning) is a complete waste of time, not because of what it ordains but simply because the vast, vast majority of Swiss Muslims don't practice their faith. So they really won't give a crap about whether or not the mosques they hardly ever visit have minarets atop them.

    That poster is also in very poor taste.

  5. MiriamBinder — on 29th November, 2009 at 7:02 am  

    What never ceases to amaze me is that there are sufficient blinkered masses to approve of these superficial, banal and shallow bans; which ultimately are counterproductive.

    Entirely my fault of course. I am continually having to take myself to task for imputing the average human being with far more intelligence, cognizance and emotional maturity then the average earthworm.

  6. MiriamBinder — on 29th November, 2009 at 7:06 am  

    Democracy works as a rule. The trouble is that it needs people to engage with it on a daily basis. It isn't something you can leave in the back closet till the next annual clear-out. It is the average apathy in the Uk that has lead to the sham we have now.

  7. Ron — on 29th November, 2009 at 7:52 am  

    Maybe the US & other nations should follow Swiss style direct democracy?

    The Swiss just voted to ban minarets on mosques and this is a great exercise of their unique form of direct democracy regardless of your views on the subject. But my question is why do the Swiss get to overrule their politicians and parliament and here in the US, we don’t have that right?

    Let’s bring Swiss style direct democracy to the United States so Americans can vote on the Wall Street bailouts, government health care, whether to audit or abolish the FED, or require Congress declare war before we invade another country. Read why Switzerland is free and America is not and help restore citizen control over the US government and Congress currently under control of special interests. http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/holland9.1.1.html

  8. SarahAB — on 29th November, 2009 at 8:42 am  

    I agree with the article – a minaret ban seems a completely inappropriate issue for a referendum and a ban would be illiberal and counterproductive.

  9. Laban — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:09 am  

    Apparently the vote's gone in favour of a ban.

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/front.html?siteSect

  10. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:10 am  

    Certain states already do – 'direct democracy' is why California is bankrupt.

  11. KB Player — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:10 am  

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8385069

    The president of Zurich's Association of Muslim Organisations, Tamir Hadjipolu, told the BBC that if the ban was implemented, Switzerland's Muslim community would live in fear.

    “This will cause major problems because during this campaign in the last two weeks different mosques were attacked, which we never experienced in 40 years in Switzerland.

    “So with the campaign… the Islamaphobia has increased very intensively.”

    The word “Islamophobia is chucked around far too much but seems accurate in this case.

  12. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:11 am  

    “What effect can this have apart from to make Muslims feel under attack and give them more incentive to withdraw into their own world? More minarets won’t lead to more extremism, but this referendum will”

    That's the point.

  13. Cauldron — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:20 am  

    Well, this will create interesting dilemmas for everyone.

    Will we see Muslim solidarity, with Arabs repatriating funds from Zurich? Or will they think it more prudent to keep the funds with the usurious infidel rather than entrusting it to the al Maktoum family? Considering that the Muslim world has had a decade to organise a boycott of Christoph Blocher's companies I'm guessing the latter.

    Equally, this might force the Swiss to examine some of their own hypocrisies. They say that neutrality makes them clean but in reality it just allows them to accept laundered money from allcomers. They reject joining the UN but are quite happy to host UN bureaucracies in Geneva. They have no standing army but happily freeloaded off NATO during the Cold War.

    I have a feeling that this referendum means that they won't be able to claim neutrality in the globe's current big battle of ideas. The Swiss should accept this reality.

  14. Jessica Parker — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:40 am  

    It's the lack of democratic process that causes apathy. If the electorate feel powerless (because they're never given a vote or referendum), they will become apathetic. When I ask people who they're voting for, I get the reply “What difference does it make, they're all the same, none of them ever ask our consent to anything anyhow”. The EU being a prime example of course!

    We are only expected to vote every four years and are never asked our opinions on anything else of national importance (like the two illegal wars for example).

  15. Jessica Parker — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:44 am  

    Best to kill democracy if it doesn't fit in with your socialist utopia. Switzerland, democracy in action, whether you agree with it or not!

  16. MiriamBinder — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:58 am  

    Is it? Are you sure? The average UK voter has never really engaged with the 'democratic process' … I returned to England in 1980 having spent a number of years abroad following my mother's decision to follow her libido … I was an adult then and one of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that politics is not a topic for discussion as a general rule of thumb.

    The first time I have seen this country get really hot under the collar and engage in the democratic process was in the early days of the poll tax. Once they got their victory (which was a bit of a hollow one) they all crawled back into their little holes; instead of following it through …

    Sheep with the occasional billious attack that's the average UK voter. I have a glimmer of a theory about it and one day I may actually get around to really working it up into a thesis ;) (I'm not that different after all (HA!))

  17. Rumbold — on 29th November, 2009 at 10:42 am  

    Jessica Parker:

    It is not an attack on democracy, but an attack on illiberalism. Just because, say, 55% of people apporve of something doesn't exempt it from criticism. If 55% of people in, say, India voted to stop the construction of chuarches I wouldn't say, 'oh that is democracy at work'. In a country with the rule of law you are supposed to have certain mechanisms so that people's liberties are protected even if said liberties are unpopular.

  18. MaidMarian — on 29th November, 2009 at 10:57 am  

    Cauldron – I would hazard a guess that your average oil rich sheihk with multiple Swiss bank accounts would not give a toss about this. The glorious islamic brotherhood is a fantasy. One only needs to look at muslims-killing-muslims to see that, Said glorious brotherhood is a talkboard fantasy.

    MikSC – By ban on muslim things, do you mean the French ban on all ostentatious religious symbols?

    As a general rule, referendums are a bad thing. They give the impression of democracy when they are in fact the best crimp on democracy I can think of. The word democracy is lazily thrown about. The UK is not a democracy, neither is the US, Switzerland, Australia or any other state. We do not live in democracies, we live in constitutional systems where we delegate decisions and place restrictions on pure democracy. To that extent, Rumbold has got it spot on. Jessica Parker – decisions are made by the people who show up! We live in constitutional systems with more or fewer trappings of democracy, not pure democracies.

    That being said Rumbold, this is cobblers.

    'What effect can this have apart from to make Muslims feel under attack and give them more incentive to withdraw into their own world? More minarets won’t lead to more extremism, but this referendum will.'

    This referendum does not 'force' anyone to withdraw. This is not an excuse for a community to ghettoise itself. The referendum may leave a bad taste in the mouth, I don't question that – but there is a rule of law, like it or not. As an aside here, I think that several German regions have similar bans.

  19. Rumbold — on 29th November, 2009 at 11:44 am  

    MaidMarian:

    I don't think that it gives carte blanche for Muslism to behave however they want, but if you are a minority community (both racially and religious) and your neighbours vote to ban your houses of worship, that isn't going to endear you to wider society, and will make you more resistant to outside change.

  20. Rumbold — on 29th November, 2009 at 11:44 am  

    MaidMarian:

    I don't think that it gives carte blanche for Muslism to behave however they want, but if you are a minority community (both racially and religious) and your neighbours vote to ban your houses of worship, that isn't going to endear you to wider society, and will make you more resistant to outside change.

  21. A Councillor Writes — on 29th November, 2009 at 12:37 pm  

    As a “temporary resident” of the place for a couple of months during the 90's, I can assure you there's very little liberal about Switzerland, especially east of the Röstigraben. I note that the French-speaking cantons mainly voted against the ban and the others voted for the ban, although Zürich was very close.

  22. Chris Baldwin — on 29th November, 2009 at 1:05 pm  

    What a disgrace. Isn't it lovely when the majority votes away the rights of the minority?

  23. Lianne — on 29th November, 2009 at 2:48 pm  

    “How would banning minarets help?”

    Is my question on the matter; have I missed something, and al-Qaeda's latest tactic is to hide training camps in the towers of Swiss mosques? It's obviously an inflammatory proposition with a single purpose.

    Though I was surprised earlier to see some (American Muslim) friends of a friend commenting on Facebook about how “Europe sucks” and “they hate muslim immigrants and they feel entitled to do so because their countries don't have democratic or immigrant histories” (sic). I thought this WAS a mechanism of democracy.

    As usual though, irrational and disproportionate fears in response to multiculturalism means that minority groups are now legislatively discriminated against. Maybe this is a sign that something should be done to reduce the conditions for these fears to arise in the first place? Not sure what exactly though – to an outsider, the momentum in Switzerland at least, may be beyond retrieval.

  24. A.C. — on 29th November, 2009 at 2:49 pm  

    Rumbold,

    if you are a minority community (both racially and religious) and your neighbours vote to ban your houses of worship…

    The ban is not on mosques, only on minarets. From a purely religious standpoint, that should not bother Muslims as it does not affect their ability to worship.

    How it feels from a political and cultural standpoint is obviously a different question.

  25. A.C. — on 29th November, 2009 at 3:05 pm  

    Rumbold,

    if you are a minority community (both racially and religious) and your neighbours vote to ban your houses of worship…

    The ban is not on mosques, only on minarets. From a purely religious standpoint, that should not bother Muslims as it does not affect their ability to worship.

    How it feels from a political and cultural standpoint is obviously a different question.

  26. A.C. — on 29th November, 2009 at 3:08 pm  

    Chris Baldwin

    What a disgrace. Isn't it lovely when the majority votes away the rights of the minority?

    Should the majority in the UK give way to the rights of e.g. the white supremacist minority? Or do you only support the rights of some minorities?

  27. Naadir Jeewa — on 29th November, 2009 at 4:38 pm  

    Oh screw this. [deleted]

  28. Kulvinder — on 29th November, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

    Should the majority in the UK give way to the rights of e.g. the white supremacist minority?

    Erm yes?! I don't think anyone seriously considers that the MEP results with the BNP (for instance) should be annulled or that the swastika should be banned.

    I'm unsure what your point is with the last question though; so ill ask you the same question: do you only support the rights of some minorities?

  29. Refresh — on 29th November, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

    I suspect one of the repurcussions will be a movement to divest Switzerland of some if not all of its UN organisations. We could start with UNHCR.

    And perhaps the International Red Cross could also follow.

  30. Binky — on 29th November, 2009 at 9:41 pm  

    “The Mosques are our barracks, their domes are our helmets, the minarets are our bayonets and the believers are our soldiers.”

    And those literal-minded Swiss took it seriously!

    The Swiss obviously deserve to be punished, don't they? Like the beastly and unspeakable Danes!

    Euronews, the BBC and – predictably – PressTV have all said in so many words that the Swiss have been dreadfully wicked and that 400,000 'Swiss' Muslims will now be living in fear.

    Doncha just love self-hating ever-apologizing breast-beating guilt-ridden white liberal masochism?

    My guess is that the 'Swiss' Muslims will not be so fearful that they will flee safe prosperous Switzerland and take refuge in some vile Trashkanistan, led by Brother Tariq Ramadan.

    We can onl;y wait and see!

  31. Binky — on 29th November, 2009 at 10:00 pm  

    Here is what the VERY ungoodthinkful black sheep of British politics have had to say:

    http://bnp.org.uk/2009/11/switzerland-takes-sta

    But they would say that, wouldn't they? The beasts!

    Unhappily, the SVP would had muddled and confused the issue by calling for a referendum limiting the height of minarets in Switzerland to the same height as that permitted for church towers and steeples in Saudi Arabia; even in literate Switzerland, most people don't quite 'get' irony.

  32. Binky — on 29th November, 2009 at 10:08 pm  

    Is there something in the air?

    The Torygraph says this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/j

    Appalling! What will the goodthinkful guilt-ridden people at Amnesty think?

  33. MiriamBinder — on 29th November, 2009 at 11:19 pm  

    And Binky is off again … You can take any comment, quote it an infinite number of times and that still won't make it a fact. I think that is why we are supposed to develop discernment and critical thinking; it's a rather well tried way of sifting the wheat from the chaff.

  34. boyo — on 29th November, 2009 at 11:28 pm  

    “More minarets won’t lead to more extremism, but this referendum will.”

    Actually Rumbold, denying people a say over the future of their country inevitably ends in extremism.

  35. MiriamBinder — on 29th November, 2009 at 11:34 pm  

    What possible bearing can the construction of a minaret have on the future of a country; apart from ensuring some gainful employment for architects, surveyors, bricklayers and plasterers that is.

  36. philiphunt — on 29th November, 2009 at 11:35 pm  

    Cauldron: Will we see Muslim solidarity, with Arabs repatriating funds from Zurich?

    Somehow I can't see Muslim leaders like Hamid Karzai abandoning their Swiss bank accounts.

  37. boyo — on 29th November, 2009 at 11:37 pm  

    “If 55% of people in, say, India voted to stop the construction of chuarches I wouldn't say, 'oh that is democracy at work'. In a country with the rule of law you are supposed to have certain mechanisms so that people's liberties are protected even if said liberties are unpopular.”

    Yes that is democracy at work Rumbold, even if you don't like it. Maybe they would want to preserve their cultural and community cohesion and didn't like the idea of it being upset by Christianity… whatever. Democracy is democracy whether you like it or not – it is definitely NOT there as a mechanism to protect people's liberties, whether you agree with them or not. However, you have perfectly defined liberal fascism.

  38. dnotice — on 30th November, 2009 at 12:10 am  

    You're confusing democracy with majoritarianism.

  39. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 12:24 am  

    Boyo … if 10 people wanted to tar and feather you and only 1 was against the notion would you meekly submit to the tar and feathering?

  40. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 12:26 am  

    Not only that but Boyo is also failing to see a difference between 'act' and 'rule' libertarianism.

  41. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 1:00 am  

    Democracy is democracy whether you like it or not – it is definitely NOT there as a mechanism to protect people's liberties, whether you agree with them or not.

    The goal of democracy is not democracy itself, but to use it to protect people's liberties against the tyranny of a government. However, it does not protect against the tyranny of the majority. In the US right now, gays cannot marry because the majority keeps denying them the right in referendums. The nazis came to power through democracy – thanks partly to the the passive resentement and anti-semitism of the German population, and that didn't do much for the civil liberties of Jews and other minorities. Democracy in the US has been around since the 18th century, but the fact is it did not do much for civil rights in America until the 1960s, because people believed that blacks were 3/5 of a person. And when LBJ signed the civil right's act, he did so against the will of the majority of the South, enough for the Democrats to lose white support to the Republicans.

    Call it “liberal fascism”, Boyo. But progressive ideals – even if they go against the majority at one time to protect a minority – always seem to stick once they have been established. Do you know why?

  42. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 1:06 am  

    By voting to ban minarets, the Swiss are making a statement.

    They are saying that they don’t wish for Islam to become part of the fabric of their society. Something that every European nation would say, if it enjoyed the same freedom to say it as the Swiss.

    And despite the huffing from multiculturalists, the inconvenient truth is that throughout the Muslim-majority world, the building of non-Muslim places of worship is curtailed. In many Muslim-majority countries it is illegal to try to convert Muslims to Christianity, and in some, the mere act of conversion can mean imprisonment or even death for the former-Muslim.

    This is very encouraging news and an example of the way Europe is beginning to react to the staggering growth of Islam through immigration and very high birth rates.

    Another inconvenient question multiculturalists should ask is why do the majority of people in European nations not perceive more Islam as being a ‘benefit’ to their society.

    Couldn’t it be because of the demonstrable fact that whatever measure you take, be it employment, educational achievement, criminality, social exclusion or economic success, you will find European Muslims huddled towards the bottom of society?

  43. platinum786 — on 30th November, 2009 at 1:17 am  

    Rather hypocritical of the Swiss. Voting to ban visible images of Islam/Islamic places of worship. Why claim to be secular when you are targetting a particular religion? It would make a lot more sense if they declared themselves a Christian theocracy and then carried out these bans.

    Places like the Vatican City, Saudi Arabia, don't allow the construction of places of worship for other religions, they also don't declare themselves the heartlands of secularism and democracy.

    Day by day europe is getting more and more anti Muslim, it's an attempt to make life uncomfortable for us to drive us out. Shouldn't be too long before we see trains full of Muslims being “sent back”.

  44. Trofim_Vissarionovich — on 30th November, 2009 at 1:33 am  

    Space is at a premium in the Vatican City. There's really no room for any kind of construction at all, religious or otherwise.
    But it seems to me that majoritarianism is the natural order of things. Muslim countries, of which there are plenty, are simply places where Islam is top dog, and at best, doesn't encourage competing ideologies, at worst, persecutes them. But surely the advantage that Muslims have over us, is that they always have their ummah, that inbuilt transnational welfare system which will always take care of them in case of need. There is a whole swathe of countries starting from Morocco in the west, to Indonesia in the east, where muslims will always be taken in and cared for if they need it. It would make perfect logical sense if we took in all those Christians who are persecuted in Muslim countries, and swopped a volunteer Muslim for each one? It would be best for us all, wouldn't it?

  45. Rumbold — on 30th November, 2009 at 1:43 am  

    A.C.

    Muslims can still worship, true, as any building can technically become a hosue of prayer. But, as you say, the cultural/political effects are what matters.

    Boyo:

    What Ravi said. Democracy is just one part of a country's system. It is the most important part, but it doesn't mean that it can override everything else. Otherwise we would have an elective dictatorship all the time, and people with a mandate could do anything they wanted.

  46. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 1:49 am  

    Elham Manea, co-founder of the Swiss Forum for a Progressive Islam has said:

    “It's a message that you are not welcome here as true citizens of this society.”

    No, Islam isn’t welcome.

    And a democratic society must have the right to say what it is and is not willing to tolerate. People should respect that.

    For decades, Europeans have been unwillingly subjected to mass immigration and multiculturalism.

    This has gone on unabated despite every significant opinion poll demonstrating that these policies are very unpopular with the majority populations of the victim countries.

    It is understandable why multiculturalists loathe democracy. And they’ve had great success in stymieing it for years. But no more.

    In the Netherlands, we have an openly anti-immigration, anti-Islamification and anti-multiculturalist party poised for government. In Denmark, Belgium, Italy and France governments have been forced to respond to their electorate’s wishes and stop appeasing foreign cultures and values and in particular Islam.

    In Britain, both Labour and the Conservatives are taking tentative away from multiculturalism.

    Some people here accuse them of “adopting the language of the BNP”.

    But this is simply democracy at work. If you keep pushing people, eventually they’ll push back.

  47. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 1:55 am  

    “The goal of a democracy is not democracy itself, but to use it to protect people's liberties against the tyranny of its government.”

    No, again, that's your goal.

    I agree that, although the Nazis manipulated the electoral process, as did Hamid Karzai, that too was democracy, which is one of the reasons why in the subsequent war the talk of “Germans” somehow being different from Nazis was nonsense, and that is one of the reasons it was perfectly justified for them all to suffer the consequences.

    On average, transparent democracy = stable societies, but not always. Often they may not produce the result you desire, in which case, like the EU constitution should people be given the right to vote until they decide correctly? Because you know what's best for them?

    Your southern US example is not really valid, one only has to look at the 2000 Election and how blacks were persecuted even then from voting to argue there was a general lack of democracy.

    True democracy is closest to true liberalism. I think Tom Paine would be on my side of the argument.

  48. boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:03 am  

    “Otherwise we would have an elective dictatorship all the time, and people with a mandate could do anything they wanted.”

    The horror! ;-)

  49. Random Guy — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:04 am  

    Hmm, never thought I would live to see the Swiss torpedo themselves so spectacularly. In a way, there is no better place for Europe to abandon its facade of impartiality, liberalism and tolerance. The game has changed and there is now a new far-right movement in force, in many ways successors to the Nazis ideologically, but really just a mish-mash of racist scum.

    Even funnier still is seeing the normal parade of ass-hats (here and in the MSM) at work saying this is “Democracy in action”. Look at that poster in the main article. What a fucking disgrace.

  50. boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:05 am  

    Come on, admit it – it's quite hard to argue AGAINST democracy… ;-)

  51. Rumbold — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:08 am  

    Boyo:

    Nobody is arguing against democracy. What we are arguing against is that the will of the majority trumps anything else.

  52. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:15 am  

    “What we are arguing against is that the will of the majority trumps anything else.”

    As they say in Brussels ;-)

  53. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:16 am  

    Ironically, Tariq Ramadan hits the nail on the head in CiF:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/

    “My compatriots' vote to ban minarets is fuelled by fear

    Every European country has its specific symbols or topics through which European Muslims are targeted. In France it is the headscarf or burka; in Germany, mosques; in Britain, violence; cartoons in Denmark; homosexuality in the Netherlands – and so on. It is important to look beyond these symbols and understand what is really happening in Europe in general and in Switzerland in particular: while European countries and citizens are going through a real and deep identity crisis, the new visibility of Muslims is problematic – and it is scary.

    At the very moment Europeans find themselves asking, in a globalising, migratory world, “What are our roots?”, “Who are we?”, “What will our future look like?”, they see around them new citizens, new skin colours, new symbols to which they are unaccustomed.

    Over the last two decades Islam has become connected to so many controversial debates – violence, extremism, freedom of speech, gender discrimination, forced marriage, to name a few – it is difficult for ordinary citizens to embrace this new Muslim presence as a positive factor. There is a great deal of fear and a palpable mistrust. Who are they? What do they want? And the questions are charged with further suspicion as the idea of Islam being an expansionist religion is intoned. Do these people want to Islamise our country?”

    You’ve answered the question Tariq, “it is difficult for ordinary citizens to embrace this new Muslim presence as a positive factor.”

    Because without a doubt, Muslim immigration has not been a positive factor for any European country.

    On the contrary.

  54. Rumbold — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:17 am  

    A low blow Boyo. Heh.

  55. persephone — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:17 am  

    “ staggering growth of Islam through immigration and very high birth rates.

    Reza, I hope you don't choke on your morning brew of bile but a few facts for you:

    Switzerland sits at the crossroads of several major European cultures, which have heavily influenced the country's languages and cultural practices. Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian (three Confederation official languages), and Romansh (official only in the Grisons). English is widely known. Resident foreigners and temporary foreign workers make up about 20% of the population. The constitution guarantees freedom of worship and the different religious communities co-exist peacefully.

    1. Population – registered residents 2007:
    Total: 7,593,500. Swiss: 5,991,400 (78.9% ) Foreign: 1,602,100 (21.1% )

    2. Birth rate: 1.46 children born per woman

    From the above the Swiss have a heritage of foreigners who meld into their country, their constitution protects religion and there are more non muslim foreigners than muslim going by the facts.

    And given that it is a country that has been melded from cross cultural influences and has a population whereby 21% is foreign its bizarre that arguments are centred around it being 'overtaken' by a religion, immigrants and multi- culturalism.

    As to high birth rates, 1.46 is hardly high – any less and it would mean no children, unless that is the desired aim and there is a very ugly word for that.

  56. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:34 am  

    Tariq Ramadan article in the Guardian is a classic, because in it he expresses his views with forensic precision, yet with the knowledge they will be largely misunderstood by the readership.

    “The claim was made that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Swiss values.”

    It may well have been – it has frequently by Tariq himself, who describes Europe as preferable to many Muslim countries because it allows believers to freely practice their religion in security. This is often interpreted as respect and admiration for European values (especially by Guardian readers who cling to straws of hope), but on the contrary: he does not encourage assimilation, but integration – ie, taking what is needed, such as wealth and security, while firmly rejecting the rest. He states this time and time and time again – yet he remains a darling of the left, who hear only what they want to.

    His article could have easily been read by hardline Islamists as trendy lefties. He's a clever man.

  57. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:37 am  

    I think about this quite often, like it has been said there is a ban on minarets, not mosques or worship … if you look at images of swiss cities … a minaret looks very out of place against the skyline. If one culture wants to protect it's style and image … I think they do have a right to do so …… even if I personally think it is just a matter of preference. But When you think about it … the minaret is also in a cultural “style” ….

  58. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:41 am  

    “Switzerland sits at the crossroads of several major European cultures…”

    Exactly, Rumbold. “European cultures”. Not Islamic culture.

    As for birth rates, the Muslim birth-rate in Switzerland is 2.44. The national average is 1.46.

    And when you wrote:

    “Resident foreigners and temporary foreign workers make up about 20% of the population.”

    Were you speaking of the Muslim population?

    From the BBC website:

    “Official figures suggest the Muslim population has doubled in recent years, but some sources say there are also about 150,000 Muslims in the country illegally.”

    Funny how often terms such as “doubled” and “illegally” are used when describing Muslim populations in Europe.

    The country's total unemployment rate is around 2.5 percent, but for Muslims it is more than 15 percent.

    I suggest terms such as “foreign worker” and “resident foreigners” are misleading when applied to Muslims.

    The data is from Claude Bovary and Raphaël Broquet, Eidgenössische Volkszählung 2000. Religionslandschaft in der Schweiz (Neuchâtel: Bundesamt für Statistik, 2004), 48ff. [German]

  59. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:53 am  

    Almost everything that need be said has already been said, including the wise and thoughtful words of Brother Tariq.

    Not this, though:

    DEMOGRAPHICS 101:

    Do not count the percentage of Strict Scientologists in Molvania in relation to the population of Molvania as a whole because such a comparison is meaningless and totally misleading.

    Count only the five-year-olds, ten-year-olds and so on.

    Then spin the clock forwards ten or fifteen or twenty years.

    Apply to, say, Muslims, living in, say Rotterdamistan or Berlinistan.

    See how easity it is?

  60. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 2:59 am  

    I agree that, although the Nazis manipulated the electoral process, as did Hamid Karzai, that too was democracy,..Your southern US example is not really valid, one only has to look at the 2000

    There is no evidence that the Nazis manipulated the electoral process, he got the support from the majority of Germans despite his anti-foreign rethoric. And I am not talking about 2000, but about the 18th century and 19th century, where the vast majority of the population believed that blacks – the minority – should not be a part of the fabric of society, and remain as slaves and servants.

    True democracy is closest to true liberalism. I think Tom Paine would be on my side of the argument.

    What nonsense. Democracy is simply people having a vote on a matter, and the majority (depending on the voting system) wins. It says nothing about the ideology of the majority. If the majority of people has deep hatred against a minority and votes against its rights, then there is nothing “liberal” about that.

    We may agree or disagree about the virtues of democracy, but let's not fiddle with facts.

  61. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 3:01 am  

    Reza!

    Any more of this rampant Islamophobia on your part and Taqiyya and Kitman, the well-known firm of Human Rights Lawyers, will be issuing a salvo of writs in your direction, probably funded by the Rowtree Trust or someone similar!

    Ho Ho

  62. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 3:05 am  

    Ravi, see

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

    political consequences

  63. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 3:08 am  

    You know, as with all discussions on PP, it all comes back to the Nazis ;-)

  64. cjcjc — on 30th November, 2009 at 3:17 am  

    I'm not sure I support this ban, but Ramadan on CiF is beyond parody.

    Apparently the Dutch are attacking Muslims through homosexuality!
    While, needless to say, the Danes never cease to unleash their own WMD against them – the dreaded cartoon.

  65. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 3:18 am  

    On this subject, I have to say I am not very impressed with what I have seen.

    First, it is clear to me that SPP is a racist and xenophobic party. Their famous black and white sheep posters are a not so-subtle way to racialise the immigration debate, and this attempt to make a huge deal out of minarets is simply petty, polarising and divisive. But it works in Switzerland, because it is a deeply conservative country.

    Having said that, I am not sure why some Muslims have made this a referendum on freedom of religion in Switzerland. Islam and building new Mosques are not forbidden (which no doubt disappoints Reza). I also think that there should be respect in preserving the urban landscape, and reasonable people can compromise on that issue without compromising aspects of faith and beliefs. In this case here, I am not entirely sure either party has created an environment for this to happen,

  66. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:06 am  

    The black and white sheep posters were because of this:-

    “In Switzerland, 69.7% of prison population had no Swiss citizenship, compared to 22.1% of total resident population (as of 2008). The figure of arrests by residence status is not usually made public. As in 1997 the conviction rate of Swiss citizens fell below 50% for the first time, a special report was compiled by the Federal Department of Justice and Police (published in 2001) which for the year 1998 found an arrest rate per 1000 adult population of 2.3 for Swiss citizens, 4.2 for legally resident aliens and 32 for asylum seekers. 21% of arrests made concerned individuals with no residence status, who were thus either sans papiers or “crime tourists” without any permanent residence in Switzerland.[5]

    The term Ausländerkriminalität (“foreigner criminality”) since the 1990s has become a politically charged term, with the populist “black sheep” campaign for the “initiative for the extradition of criminal foreigners” of the Swiss People's Party making international headlines in September 2007.”

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

    When 69.7%, (yes 69.7%!) of your prison population is made up of foreigners, then it isn't 'racist' to draw conclusions from that fact.

    The policy idea of the SPP was to automatically deport the foreign criminal together with their dependents.

    That's a perfectly reasonable idea.

  67. Cauldron — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:15 am  

    My guess is that the reason the referendum passed is precisely because the practical consequences of the referendum (a 5th minaret doesn't appear in the Alps) are so minuscule.

    As a result, Swiss voters took this as an opportunity to make a symbolic statement of values: “We do not think all cultures are equal. Based on practical observation of people's behaviours, we do not think that the cultures of rural Anatolia, rural Morocco, Somalia or Mirpur are equal to ours. As a result, we are not willing to accommodate symbols of their cultures. If they want to be in Switzerland, we will not meet them half way – they must adapt to our way of life.”

    Some people may find this message to be ugly but it isn't inherently unreasonable. I think if the referendum had proposed a genuinely Nazi outcome – e.g. “let's burn mosques, ban Islam, disenfranchise Muslims” etc – it would have been defeated.

  68. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:19 am  

    Who's socialist utopia?

    The one that would occur after 'direct democracy' sent everyone back to the fields?

  69. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:30 am  

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire
    political consequences

    Uhm… what are you trying to argue? Hitler had *already* been elected Chancellor through democracy when this incident happened. He was elected based on his anti-Semitic and xenophobic platform, and he was deeply popular. True democracy at work.

    Mind you, I still believe that a liberal Democracy is the best political system we have. It is just not the goal, and certainly does not guarantee a liberal and just outcome, even in the fairest of elections.

  70. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:44 am  

    When 69.7%, (yes 69.7%!) of your prison population is made up of foreigners, then it isn't 'racist' to draw conclusions from that fact.

    The policy idea of the SPP was to automatically deport the foreign criminal together with their dependents. That's a perfectly reasonable idea.

    And what conclusion is that?

    I have no problems in deporting foreign criminals, depending on the severity of their crimes. But it still doesn't excuse SPP's action to make posters that depict 'black' sheep as criminal immigrants (the criminal context makes it even worse).

  71. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:58 am  

    And here we see the anatomy of modern smears and how xenophobic parties operate in a democracy. Everyone is against criminals. So such parties will focus on immigrant criminality, instead of criminality regardless of who commits it. If you don't like homosexuals, you link them to paedophilia. Don't like Muslims, Asians or non-whites? Focus simply on non-white extremists, terrorists and criminals, and pretend like they are the majority, and pretend like they are responsible for all the ills in our society. Don't like Jews? Invent a big lie. So big that it cannot be proved false.

  72. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:04 am  

    But you can only have “liberal democracy” if you have freedom of speech.

    And multiculturalists hate freedom of speech. That’s why they invent ways of countering it by accusing those that disagree with them of being “racists” or “islamophobes”.

    Surely it’s perfectly reasonable for a liberal democracy to decide that it doesn’t want to tolerate ideologies that it considers to be ‘illiberal’ or against the ‘common good’?

    And there’s the irony. Islam is, and is increasingly seen as, a fascistic belief system. It creates defective societies wherever it takes root.

    This is clear for all to see.

    Muslim immigration has not benefitted Switzerland anymore than it has benefited any European country.

    Just look at the statistics with regard to Muslims in Europe. Crime. Educational achievement. Unemployment. Voluntary social exclusion.

    And ask yourself, “Why is that?”

    Could Islam have anything to do with it?

    Winston Churchill understood:-

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.

    The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”

  73. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:05 am  

    Well yes, but the big lie cuts both ways – every time i question multiculturalism or immigration Sunny calls me a racist. Isn't that the way it works?

  74. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:07 am  

    Ravi, the link was a clear demo how the Nazis manipulated the process to embed their policies and themselves in power. Without this, it is unlikely they would have prosecuted their most extreme policies. But if you wish to use this as “exhibit 1″ for the case against democracy then go ahead. My points remain valid.

  75. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:07 am  

    That's exactly how it works.

  76. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:15 am  

    One issue and one issue only that I will address in your post that claims that Nazies came to power through the democratic process. The Nazis actually came to power by intimidation and manipulation as well as brow beating.

    Off topic I know but this belief that rampant, raving and supremist nationalism can ever be as a result of a fair and open democratic process is abhorent. Stating that this was the case in that particular dark period in 20th century European history is to show either a utter ignorance of the historical facts or a total disregard of historical fact.

  77. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:17 am  

    Nothing like being true to type is there Binky …

  78. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:17 am  

    “And what conclusion is that?”

    The only conclusion one can draw from the demographic of the prison population, taken with the unemployment figures, is that immigration, and especially Third-World Muslim immigration is not beneficial to the Swiss.

    The SPP are highlighting that fact.

    It’s the same pattern everywhere you look. Here’s something you’ll like from my favourite book at the moment, Christopher Caldwell’s “Reflections”:-

    “As for the public sector, almost everywhere, immigrants and their dependants take more out than they put in. Native Germans between the ages of 20 and 65 pay out more in taxes than they collect in services, but Turks in Germany do that only between the ages of 28 and 57. These figures worsen over time. The number of foreign residents in Germany rose steadily between 1971 and 2000 – from 3m to about 7.5m – but the number of employed foreigners in work held steady at roughly 2m people.”

    Indisputable fact: Third-World immigration is harming Europe.

  79. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:43 am  

    But you can only have “liberal democracy” if you have freedom of speech. And multiculturalists hate freedom of speech. That’s why they invent ways of countering it by accusing those that disagree with them of being “racists” or “islamophobes”.

    Telling you that you are a racist and an Islamophobe and showing you evidence (shall I bring that paragraph of yours that Jai and I keep bringing?) is not “hating freedom of speech”, but exercising our right to tell you how we feel about you said. Oh, and you seem to be pretty silent in our follow-up questions. So stop whining.

    One issue and one issue only that I will address in your post that claims that Nazies came to power through the democratic process. The Nazis actually came to power by intimidation and manipulation as well as brow beating.

    There was street violence between the communists and nazis, but I have not read anything that indicated that the election that put Hitler into power was not fair or that there was foul play in the democratic process. Care to show some evidence?

  80. Sofia — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:55 am  

    You don't need minarets to make a building a mosque..so that isn't really the issue..the issue is to do with the Swiss attitude to their perceived landscape as many of you have pointed out.

    Anyway…a belated Eid mubarak to you all..xx

  81. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:07 am  

    http://www.johndclare.net/Weimar7.htm It's a very simplistic overview but its a start.

  82. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:13 am  

    I bloody well did and you finessed it!

  83. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:17 am  

    Aren't the minarets used to call the faithful to service and, that being the case, isn't the banning of minarets effectively saying that the faithful cannot be called to service?

  84. Jai — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:18 am  

    Ravi,

    Superb points by you throughout this thread, especially your last four comments.

    It is amusing to see apologists for anti-Muslim bigotry such as the discredited “Reza” displaying a conspicuous silence in relation to the recent PP article about Guru Gobind Singh's stance towards Muslims, considering that the Guru lived through a period of Indian history involving Mughal imperial power at its height, an empire had become the wealthiest region in the world by the time of Emperor Shah Jahan, a subsequent administration which was headed by Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb, an emperor with an extremely intolerant and bigotted attitude towards non-Muslims who had seized power by overthrowing his father and murdering his liberal and tolerant brother (the original heir), in a part of the world which had more Muslims than anywhere else on the planet and who had been there in large numbers for 700 years at the time, and the fact that the Guru himself suffered horrific personal loss and tragedy at the hands of people claiming to act in the name of Islam.

    Yet Guru Gobind Singh still did not come to any of the “conclusions” about Muslims en masse that individuals like “Reza” are attempting to promote. Because Guru Gobind Singh was able to differentiate between ordinary Muslims and his era's equivalent of Islamist extremists, along with being aware of the fact that “Islam” is not a homogeneous monolithic construct (especially where the Indian subcontinent is concerned) and that huge numbers of Muslims had different interpretations of Islam itself and different attitudes towards religion in general.

    In fact – tying this in to the thread’s main topic – one of Guru Gobind Singh’s precedessors and his near-namesake, Guru Hargobind (the first Sikh Guru to initiate the militarisation of Sikhs in response to increasing conflicts with the Mughal administration of his time) actually had a mosque built for the local Muslims. It’s called “Guru Ki Maseet”, now located in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India (see http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Gurdwara_Gur… for more information about its history and more recent events involving the building). So much for “threatening Islamification” and the presence of mosques being indicative of a “fascist belief system”.

    But I guess some people, like “Reza”, the BNP and the SIOE, believe that demagoguery, propaganda and ignorant rhetoric are adequate substitutes for the reality of a thousand years of Indian history, the numerous positive precedents it involves, and the positive examples of amicable coexistence between Muslims and people from other backgrounds in the present day.

  85. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:23 am  

    “Telling you that you are a racist and an Islamophobe and showing you evidence (shall I post that shameless paragraph of yours that Jai and I keep bringing?) is not “hating freedom of speech”, but exercising our right to tell you how we feel about you said.”

    No, there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with a point of view. However, when you create draconian ‘race’ legislation that effectively makes it illegal to criticise an ‘ethnic’ group’s culture or religion that’s “hating freedom of speech”.

    When those on the left routinely accuse anyone who criticises immigration or multiculturalism as being “racist” that’s “hating freedom of speech”.

    When teachers applying for jobs in state schools are, as a condition of employment, forced to sign ‘Equal Opps.’ declarations stating that they will “value and celebrate the home language and culture” of the children they teach, that’s “hating freedom of speech”.

    Indeed, that’s Orwellian.

  86. Refresh — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:26 am  

    'Indisputable fact: Third-World immigration is harming Europe.'

    Clearly words of an idiot.

    I could counter by telling you pillaging of 3rd world resources to give the west its lifestyle (and dare I say culture) has done irreparable harm to the whole world. Rigging rules of trade to keep the 3rd world poor is the driving force (along with violent conflicts over raw materials) behind emigration and general movement of populations.

    I wonder how you will view further dislocation when climate change really kicks in? Will you be looking to spray chemical weapons over the poor and huddled masses – as Winston Churchill would have delighted.

  87. Jai — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:27 am  

    And multiculturalists hate freedom of speech. That’s why they invent ways of countering it by accusing those that disagree with them of being “racists” or “islamophobes”.

    “Reza”, we're still waiting for your answer to the following questions:

    Do you deny making the following statement ?

    So that’s your answer isn’t it? Race replacement. Only when the indigenous British become a minority can your bitter, revenge-motivated Utopia come to pass. Then you’ll get even. For colonialism. For the fact that the culture and values of your parents or grandparents weren’t the ones that created this advanced society. For the fact that this country is a far better place to live than the backward sh*t-holes most of your ancestors hail from. For all the sins of ‘whitey’. You’ll get even.

    (Source: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6505#co… )

    Do you deny the fact that, during the course of your participation on this website, you have used recognisable BNP/white supremacist terminology such as “race replacement”, “assimilable”, “unassimilable”, “host nation”, “client state”, “parasite”, “multi-culti”, “alien minority culture”, and “alien minority religion” ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of repeatedly calling you a “Nazi” and that you have claimed that these alleged incidents started soon after you begin participating on this website ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of deliberately making offensive remarks about your parents and that you have claimed to “remember” these alleged incidents ?

    Do you deny the fact that a full search of this website's archives confirms that, in reality, none of the alleged incidents referred to in the previous two questions ever occurred ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have repeatedly refused to provide an answer in response to repeated questions as to whether you were deliberately lying when making the aforementioned two allegations or whether you genuinely “remember” these incidents which never actually occurred ?

    Yes or No ?

  88. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:29 am  

    “Don't like Muslims, Asians or non-whites? Focus simply on non-white extremists, terrorists and criminals, and pretend like they are the majority, that they can't integrate, and pretend like they are responsible for all the ills in our society.”

    This has nothing to do with not liking anyone.

    Among any closely related group, whether the close relationship is ethnic, cultural or religious, you'll find a million unique individuals with a million different viewpoints.

    But put them together and you will find a general trend.

    I know that's not the leftie viewpoint. But that's how things are, despite the intellectually bankrupt protests from moral and cultural relativists.

    A million Muslims will create a very different society to a million Jews, a million Christians or a million Sikhs. A million Norwegians will create a different society to a million Koreans. Capitalism is not the same as socialism. Communism is not the same as Nazism. And Islam is not the same as Christianity, Sikhism or Judaism.

    I have no doubt that if the founding fathers of America had been Muslims, we would today be seeing wretched Americans sneaking across the Rio Grande for a better life in Mexico.

    However much evidence is apparent to support this conclusion, the ‘believers’ of the liberal left, and Muslims themselves, will continue to blame the failings of the Muslim world and Muslim communities living in the West on white racism, Islamophobia, Western imperialism, the illuminati, the CIA, the BBC, and of course, those damned sneaky Jews.

    Let’s try a practical example to demonstrate the above:

    Tell me Ravi, in what ways has Somali immigration been a net-benefit to British society?

    Now, why don’t you try to formulate an argument in favour of increased Somali immigration?

    See what I mean?

  89. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:36 am  

    One wonders how many of these 'Swiss' Muslims are readers of the bloody 'Daily Mail' and are tempted to consider settling in Britain after reading a story like this one:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1231795

    The *Campaign for Increased Somali Immigration* will be ready and willing to issue tips on how best to work the system on arrival in the U.K.

  90. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:43 am  

    Jai

    As I’ve said previously, I made that inelegant and deliberately provocative statement because I believe that some members of our ‘ethnic’ minorities believe that the indigenous British peoples are “getting what they deserve” by having their culture replaced by multiculturalism and their indigenous populations replaced by foreign peoples.

    And here we have Refresh eloquently vindicating that viewpoint:-

    “I could counter by telling you pillaging of 3rd world resources to give the west its lifestyle (and dare I say culture) has done irreparable harm to the whole world. Rigging rules of trade to keep the 3rd world poor is the driving force (along with violent conflicts over raw materials) behind emigration and general movement of populations.

    I wonder how you will view further dislocation when climate change really kicks in? Will you be looking to spray chemical weapons over the poor and huddled masses – as Winston Churchill would have delighted.”

  91. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:44 am  

    Here are the comments in 'Socialist Unity' on the issue

  92. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:49 am  

    Among any closely related group, whether the close relationship is ethnic, cultural or religious, you'll find a million unique individuals with a million different viewpoints. But put them together and you will find a general trend

    Assuming that you are from Iran, are you saying that if we take 1 million assimilated individuals like you – we would come up with the same result as if we took 1 million people from Iran by random? Are you so naive as to believe that race is always linked to culture?

    Tell me Ravi, in what ways has Somali immigration been a net-benefit to British society? Now, why don’t you try to formulate an argument in favour of increased Somali immigration? See what I mean?

    Many of the Somalis we have in this country are asylum seekers and refugees, and therefore the net-benefit of that community is not positive. But we do gain with the arms trade, which is a billion pounds industry.

  93. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 6:57 am  

    A million Norwegians will create a different society to a million Koreans.

    Do you believe that 3rd gen Iranian Norwegians would build the same society as 3rd gen Iranian Koreans? Would 4th gen Italian Americans create the same society as Italians?

  94. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 7:02 am  

    Here is the debate on HP

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/11/29/defend-r

    Actually a little more – er – cerebral than it is on SU

  95. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 7:04 am  

    Comments on Socialist Unity:

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=4939

    MEA CULPA

  96. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 7:18 am  

    “Assuming that you are from Iran, are you saying that if we take 1 million assimilated individuals like you – we would come up with the same result as if we took 1 million people from Iran by random? Are you so naive as to believe that race is always linked to culture?”

    I’m not sure I understand your question.

    But I’ll try to answer. No race isn’t always linked to culture.

    If we took small numbers of assimilable Iranians at a rate that allowed them to assimilate then I don’t think that we’d have many problems.

    If we took 1 million Iranians at random and over a very short period of time then a large proportion of those Iranians would have the opportunity to create ‘parallel’ societies in our towns and cities, as we’ve seen with the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.

    If those Iranians were overwhelmingly Muslim, then there would be little assimilation and British society would become more ‘Muslim’ and more ‘Iranian’ in nature.

    “Many of the Somalis we have in this country are asylum seekers and refugees, and therefore the net-benefit of that community is not positive.”

    Okay, you're admitting that ALL immigration of ANY peoples from ANY countries is not by default ‘enriching’. Many multiculturalists wouldn’t even admit that.

    But is it simply because they are “asylum seekers and refugees”?

    And given the propensity of Somali’s to live on benefits (as a majority do) and commit crimes (as a disproportionally high number do) would it be reasonable to limit the number of immigrants coming here from that country?

    What about the Roma from Central and Eastern Europe? Could you make a case for increased Roma immigration ‘enriching’ British society?

    And what about the ethnic-Pakistani population? How do we explain the relatively low employment, low educational achievement and high criminality of that group?

    How easily could you make a case for increased Pakistani immigration ‘enriching’ British society?

    All cultures are not the same. As the differing success rates of different cultures proves, some cultures are simply superior to others at encouraging economic and academic success and preventing criminality.

    Multiculturalism denies this fact. That’s why it is so wrong.

  97. Refresh — on 30th November, 2009 at 7:20 am  

    Reza

    Well really? Just shows how disconnected you really are.

    As for the reasons for emigration – please go ahead and address the points I made so eloquently.

  98. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 7:39 am  

    The main reason for emigration is the perfectly natural desire for people to move from a dysfunctional society to a more functional society where they’ll have a better life.

    The reason that we have “better societies” is because of the culture and values of the people that created them.

    And the reason we have “dysfunctional societies” is because of the culture and values of the people that created them.

    Therefore, when peoples move from a dysfunctional society to a more functional society, they should be prevented from bringing the very culture and values that created the dysfunction in their societies in the first place.

    Multiculturalism denies this truth. It seeks to blame dysfunction on the functional.

    As you do.

  99. dnotice — on 30th November, 2009 at 7:57 am  

    So you're arguing against, e.g. Brit ex-pats in Spain and people who take, e.g. PG tips and Marmite with them if they move abroad?

  100. Jai — on 30th November, 2009 at 7:58 am  

    Ravi,

    But you are just cherry-picking, and ignoring other success stories. Why? Because no matter how good non-whites are and contribute to our society, your supremacist arse will not be happy. You made it very clear here:

    “So that’s your answer isn’t it? Race replacement.”

    For people like you, Reza, it's all about race, skin colour and how you look like.

    I'm sure you've noticed that he's still conveniently ignoring a thousand years of Indian history and, particularly, the points I've made about the attitude of Guru Gobind Singh (and his predecessors — see my previous reply to you) towards Muslims. Too much of “an inconvenient truth”, as he would say.

    The main reason for emigration is the perfectly natural desire for people to move from a dysfunctional society to a more functional society where they’ll have a better life.

    The reason that we have “better societies” is because of the culture and values of the people that created them.

    And the reason we have “dysfunctional societies” is because of the culture and values of the people that created them.

    Therefore, when peoples move from a dysfunctional society to a more functional society, they should be prevented from bringing the very culture and values that created the dysfunction in their societies in the first place.

    “Reza”, perhaps you should read the following article, written by a British historian who is one of the West's leading experts in his field:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/dec/09/britis

  101. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:07 am  

    Reza wins the argument hands down. Here's a true story:

    A colleague at work, English – Dutch and bicultural and bilingual, used to be involved in a social work programme in Holland and told me this:

    Suriname had self-government in the run-up to independence. This was before anyone except the grimmest of grim pessimists foresaw a military coup and the mass disaster that lay in the future.

    Someone in the self-governing body got the spiffing idea of making sure that all the criminals and ne'er-do-wells of Surinamese society had enough loose change to go to the Netherlands, thus relieving soon-to-be-independent Suriname of their presence.

    Can anyone imagine that they were the same people – in quality – as those Anglo-Saxons and Scotch-Irish who settled the Thirteen Colonies and built Boston and Philadelphia?

    Britain has been very unfortunate in the kind of Somalis it has accepted, but the word from the USA, Australia and Scandinavia is no more encouraging, sad to say.

    Word from Australia tells us that Afghans and Somalis and Kurds and Sudanese all have to kept apart in resettlement centres. The tale of the Sudanese 'lost boys' in Australia is instructive: by the time the hundredth 'lost boy' was unpacking, the first few were trying their eager hands at street crime in their new hospitable homeland.

    Again, check out the sorry tale of the Ethiopian 'Jews' resettled in Israel – with the good wishes and active aid of all kinds of Israelis. These days they seem to be overrepresented on welfare and in youth custody.

    Perhaps they'd do better in Britain. Or in Perth. Or Minnesota. Or Malmo.

  102. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:12 am  

    This is about Somalis in Minnesota:

    http://blog.vdare.com/archives/2009/11/27/littl

    Probably the people of Minnesota got bored with calling themselves “The High IQ State” and decided to change matters irreversably!

  103. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:15 am  

    On the other hand, Somalis in the USA seem to have grasped the idea of the ethnic gang without too much difficulty:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/20/natio

  104. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:22 am  

    Sudanese and Somalis are doing their best to liven up dull Australia:

    http://www.australian-news.com.au/Ethnic_crime_

    Feel the love!

  105. Leon — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:24 am  

    I'm struggling to see this as anything other than insane. Can someone please enlighten me as to why this isn't mad??

  106. Binky — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:26 am  

    Brits in Spain and Bulgaria DO like PG Tips and Marmite and Ryvita and marmalade, like Aussies in Kansai need Vegemite and cans of Forsters, but so far those sort of settlers / sojourners manage to be self-supporting and usually stay out of jail.

    Brits in Spain and Bulgaria make quite a thing out of supporting local charities and orphanages, even if their mastery of the lingo is not up to much.

  107. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:32 am  

    Oh no not the Brit ex-pats in Spain again!

    If you’re going to get into moral equivalence, make sure your examples are at the very least morally equivalent.

    Your example is not about ‘immigrants’.

    In Spain, we're talking about a community of mainly self-supporting people, making very few demands on their host nation. Many are retired, the population doesn’t have more children than the indigenous Spanish and very few take Spanish nationality. Fewer still consider themselves as ‘Spanish’.

    Nevertheless, I would be the first to admit that British people living in parallel communities in Spain is harmful to Spanish culture and community cohesion.

  108. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:42 am  

    The reason that we have “better societies” is because of the culture and values of the people that created them. And the reason we have “dysfunctional societies” is because of the culture and values of the people that created them.

    That is a very simplistic way to look at it, and not really a good argument against immigration. It ignores that individuals are a product of the society they live in. Which means that someone from the Thirld World can actually do great things in the West, and not much where he is originally from because of lack of opportunities. And that societies change. Anglo-Saxon societies were not always rich and successful, but also went through misery and poverty, while non-white societies were blooming and far more advanced.

    So what happened in Third World countries? Colonisation, which left locals uneducated and then left to a messy decolonisation process in the 20th century which left them at the mercy of despot dictators who benefited from ripping the lands resources and then paid large sums to Western countries in return of arms, which keeps the war alive.

    To me, the most amazing piece of information which Jai brought a few months ago, was that India was richer than all Europe countries put together (with the exception of Russia), just before British colonisation.

    So before talking about white supremacy and the white men's burden, let's have a few things in context.

  109. Shamit — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:44 am  

    Wow – extrapolation at its best – nah actually at its worst.

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc ie “after this, therefore because of this”. – Some commentators seem use this flawed reasoning as their staple argument no matter whatever the post is.

    They continue to shout out their great intentions to protect the British culture but their words and preferred choice of policies go against the very values that culture dwells upon.

    There is nothing fair in singling out a particular group because of their religious affliation and none of us need reminding what the jews experienced about 60 odd years ago. And if it is not fair – it is not British.

    Fairness is an ethos that the British culture takes pride in and anyone who believes in literally limiting another human being's rights cannot be fair therefore cannot claim to be protecting British culture and values.

    And some of you idiots should just give up. There's no way you are going to win this argument especially arguing with very predictable idiotic logic.

    *************************************************************

    On the Swiss referendum – protecting the rights of the minority and upholding the rule of law are integral part of any democratic society. And anyone who argues otherwise is delusional.

    The challenge, however, has always been how does the State reconcile between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in society? And we do impose the collective will on individual rights to practice religion.

    For example, some Hindus might want to have a law which stops killing cows – and they could erroneously claim their religion demands so. The State's response in that case that rightly would be – if you don't want to eat beef don't do it but you have no right to stop x,y and z eating beef.

    So where do you draw the line? This referendum seems to have drawn a very harsh line – but I wonder if that would actually stop any Muslim from being able to practice their faith. You have the right still to practice your religion – right to practice your faith does not equate to having your right to have a public place of worship automatically.

    If someone wants to build a place of worship in every street corner, I think the local authority would be well within its rights to reject such planning applications.

  110. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 8:53 am  

    “I'm sure you've noticed that he's still conveniently ignoring a thousand years of Indian history…”

    On the contrary. I regularly comment on examples of the ‘harmonious’ relationship between India’s diverse multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious communities, whenever they're discussed on PP.

    Such as here:-

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6629#co

    And here (I particularly liked this one):

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6400#co

    And of course you should expect the British people to owe you a great gratitude for seeking to bring such wonderful harmony to these unworthy shores.

  111. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:02 am  

    On the contrary. I regularly comment on examples of the ‘harmonious’ relationship between India’s diverse multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious communities, whenever they're discussed on PP.

    The irony, Reza, is that those people who disrupt the harmony and who *you* use as examples against multiculturalism, actually have the same mindset as you: they hate diversity, they hate the concept of living next to people who have a different religion/ethnicity, and they link religion/ethnicity to the place where they live.

    Funny, eh?…

  112. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:04 am  

    “So what happened in Third World countries? Colonisation, which left locals uneducated and then left to a messy decolonisation process in the 20th century which left them at the mercy of despot dictators who benefited from ripping the lands resources and then paid large sums to Western countries in return of arms, which keeps the war alive.”

    Yet another example of my inelegant, deliberately provocative (yet increasingly vindicated) statement:-

    “…Then you’ll get even. For colonialism. For the fact that the culture and values of your parents or grandparents weren’t the ones that created this advanced society. For the fact that this country is a far better place to live than the backward sh*t-holes most of your ancestors hail from. For all the sins of ‘whitey’. You’ll get even.”

    The problems of the Third World are the fault of the First World. Therefore the First World deserves everything it gets.

    Uncontrolled immigration. The replacement of its indigenous cultures with multiculturalism.

    That’s what you’re saying isn’t it?

    I was right wasn’t I?

  113. Shamit — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:07 am  

    Reza

    Again Post hoc ergo propter hoc ie “after this, therefore because of this”.

    The logic above is bullshit – you know it, we know it – So why keep repeating it.

  114. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:12 am  

    The problems of the Third World are the fault of the First World. Therefore the First World deserves everything it gets.

    No, that was my answer to why developing countries are what they are right now. I did not talk about “punishing” the West, or that the West should solve all the problems of the world. That's your caricature.

    I was right wasn’t I?

    No, what you wrote was the most disgusting piece of racist garbage I have seen in this blog.

  115. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:15 am  

    “Fortunately, 1 billion Indians do live together harmoniously despite the diversity. And we live in harmony here in this country, despite your hysteric fits.”

    I know, I know!

    After all I was the one who wrote:-

    “4000 deaths is such a small price to pay for the cultural enrichment that comes from mixing different cultures and religions so that they can add such rich richness by enriching society.”

  116. Reza — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:29 am  

    That's probably because I'm not a BNP supporter and am someone who (pretends to) hail from a relatively “backward sh*thole” so I have an inconvenient insight into the anti-British attitudes of some immigrant groups here.

  117. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:36 am  

    There are amny many reasons for emigration. Dysfunctionality being one among many. The only time dysfunctionality is a major consideration is when people are not seeking to become emigrants but rather become displaced people and some, not all but some may become asylum seekers.

    These comments in the main have strayed rather from the main issue of the leading article … The ban on construction of additional minarets.

  118. Jai — on 30th November, 2009 at 10:24 am  

    Ravi,

    To me, the most amazing piece of information which Jai brought a few months ago, was that India was richer than all Europe countries put together (with the exception of Russia),

    Specifically, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar, India and China jointly accounted for about 50% of the world's entire GDP. And a couple of generations later, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was technically the wealthiest ruler on the planet.

    The irony, Reza, is that those people who disrupt the harmony and who *you* use as examples against multiculturalism, actually have the same mindset as you: they hate diversity, they hate the concept of living next to people who have a different religion/ethnicity, and they link religion/ethnicity to the place where they live.

    Absolutely correct. And despite his claims “on the contrary”, “Reza” is still desperately ignoring numerous positive examples from the last thousand years of Indian history, again including Guru Gobind Singh and his predecessors.

    Anglo-Saxon societies were not always rich and successful, but also went through misery and abject poverty (and there were not that many darkies at that time, Binky and Reza), while non-white societies were blooming and far more advanced.

    Exactly. You'd also find the following article by William Dalrymple to be extremely interesting (yet more historical information “Reza” is choosing to conveniently ignore):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/dec/09/britis

  119. Jai — on 30th November, 2009 at 10:39 am  

    The replacement of its indigenous cultures

    In 2009, the number one source of “non-indigenous culture” as far as Britain is concerned is the United States. By far.

  120. Jai — on 30th November, 2009 at 10:42 am  

    “Reza”,

    Do you deny the fact that, during the course of your participation on this website, you have used recognisable BNP/white supremacist terminology such as “race replacement”, “assimilable”, “unassimilable”, “host nation”, “client state”, “parasite”, “multi-culti”, “alien minority culture”, and “alien minority religion” ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of repeatedly calling you a “Nazi” and that you have claimed that these alleged incidents started soon after you begin participating on this website ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of deliberately making offensive remarks about your parents and that you have claimed to “remember” these alleged incidents ?

    Do you deny the fact that a full search of this website's archives confirms that, in reality, none of the alleged incidents referred to in the previous two questions ever occurred ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have repeatedly refused to provide an answer in response to repeated questions as to whether you were deliberately lying when making the aforementioned two allegations or whether you genuinely “remember” these incidents which never actually occurred ?

    Yes or No ?

  121. Don — on 30th November, 2009 at 10:52 am  

    Miriam,
    Quite so, but hobby horses are notoriously fractious beasts and straying off topic is inevitable.

    The question was raised several times about whether or not this vote was an exercise in democracy or a move away from democracy. Reza has always taken the line that what the majority wants the majority should get and that's democracy. Surprisingly Boyo seems to have adopted this definition as well. They are wrong. Mere majoritarianism is not democracy, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition that the governing party should have been elected with a majority of the votes but the resulting regime cannot be considered democratic unless it also fulfills other constitutional criteria, including equality before the law, equal access to power, freedom of speech and of conscience, and protection from the arbitrary exercise of state power. These are not optional extras, even if your party has legitimately garnered 90% of the votes it is not a democracy without these constitutional safeguards. And Reza, this is not hair splitting, it is central.

    (It should not be necessary to add, but I will, that we don't live in an ideal world and cannot expect to see an ideal democracy but we can all make a judgement call on whether or not those safeguards are adequate even when not perfect.)

    Does banning of minarets breech these criteria? Well, it doesn't prevent freedom of belief, of speech or of worship. But it does single out a specific group which is apparently not to be equal under the law. If religion A is permitted to build towers on its places of worship but religion B is not, or if religion X may wear whatever head-gear they choose but religion Y may not then that principal of equality is breeched.

    One may agree or not with the French system but, at least in principle, it applies equally to all. Had the Swiss limited themselves to planning issues – placed a moratorium on all towering religious buildings or prominent buildings not in the local vernacular – then they would have been on firmer ground. even though the intent would have been plain (not too many big churches being built in Europe these days) it would at least have had a fig leaf of democratic process.

    This applies even if you sincerely believe that Islam is an inherently destructive religion which brings nothing but bigotry and backwardness in its wake. I think that there is a case to be made for that, but there are plenty (including myself) who feel the same way about catholicism or evangelical christian fundamentalists. Argue your case that their belief system is vile if you will, but in a democracy you can't have special laws for 'them' just because you don't like them.

    If we had a referendum in this country on, say, banning the burkha there is a fair chance that it would pass with a majority. (That's just an opinion, I'm not pinning my colours to the mast on this.) But it would still be undemocratic unless the resulting act stated that no-one should appear in a public place with their face concealed. The intent may have been the same, but at least the principle would be (more or less) intact.

    In my view, Switzerland has taken a step away from democracy with this decision.

  122. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 10:58 am  

    That's probably because I'm not a BNP supporter and am someone who (pretends to) hail from a relatively “backward sh*thole” so I have an inconvenient insight into the anti-British attitudes of some immigrant groups here.

    I am not sure what you are, Reza, and quite frankly I do not care. What you write speaks for itself.

    I was making the point that societies change, that Anglo-Saxons lived in abject poverty while non-white societies thrived a few centuries back, and that a lot of the problems of the developing world today can trace back to colonisation, and that it takes time for developed countries to recover. I did not mention what the West should do, but it seems to me that there are plenty of things it can do, like helping these countries with education and health. It is not punishment for anything, but I believe that in the long run, it is in everyone's interest that we have peace and prosperity around the world in this new global order.

    What is your response? That you felt vindicated from what I just written. Let's analyse your racist rant: non-whites harbour hatred against whites, so much so, that they conspire to destroy Britain and its people through miscegenation as revenge for colonisation. You also imply that non-whites are incapable of building advanced societies and that they did not contribute to this country (even though most people's ancestors and lands contributed to the British empire), which is one more reason for the revenge.

    In supremacist sites like Stormfront, there is a variation of this narrative, which tells of ZOG – the Jewish conspiracy to destroy the Aryan race through… miscegenation and race replacement. It is interesting how you make this point, time and again, that you are Iranian and therefore you have an insight on non-whites. And yet, I have seen 13-year old whites with more insight about Iran than you. At least to the point of knowing that Islam is not indigenous to Iran.

  123. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 11:08 am  

    Guru Gobind Singh and his predecessors

    Jai, thanks for sharing with us this remarkable figure. It seems that in every epoch, we have people fighting the same battles. And it is truly inspiring to see how ideologies that seek to preserve our humanity instead of invoking our worst instincts, always seem to prevail.

  124. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2009 at 12:15 pm  

    In my view, Switzerland has taken a step away from democracy with this decision.

    Well said, Don.

  125. persephone — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:42 pm  

    “Exactly, Rumbold. “European cultures”. Not Islamic culture.

    Your reply sums up my point about non acceptance of muslim culture in a country with a heritage for it. The issue is why Islam is not similarly accepted in a democratic country. Pertinently, the Swiss journalist and author, Roger Du Pasquier summarised the West's ignorance of Islam and the motives of Orientalism:

    “ The West, whether Christian or dechristianised, has never really known Islam. Ever since they watched it appear on the world stage, Christians never ceased to insult and slander it in order to find justification for waging war on it. It has been subjected to grotesque distortions the traces of which still endure in the European mind. Even today there are many Westerners for whom Islam can be reduced to three ideas: fanaticism, fatalism and polygamy. Of course, there does exist a more cultivated public whose ideas about Islam are less deformed; there are still precious few who know that the word Islam signifies nothing other than 'submission to God'. One symptom of this ignorance is the fact that in the imagination of most Europeans, Allah refers to the divinity of the Muslims, not the God of the Christians and Jews; they are all surprised to hear, when one takes the trouble to explain things to them, that 'Allah' means 'God', and that even Arab Christians know him by no other name.

    One is forced also to concede that Oriental studies in the West have not always been inspired by the purest spirit of scholarly impartiality, and it is hard to deny that some Islamicists and Arabists have worked with the clear intention of belittling Islam and its adherents. This tendency was particularly marked for obvious reasons in the heyday of the colonial empires, but it would be an exaggeration to claim that it has vanished without trace. These are some of the reasons why Islam remains even today so misjudged by the West, where curiously enough, Asiatic faiths such as Buddhism and Hinduism have for more than a century generated far more visible sympathy and interest, even though Islam is so close to Judaism and Christianity, having flowed from the same Abrahamic source. Despite this, however, for several years it has seemed that external conditions, particularly the growing importance of the Arab-Islamic countries in the world's great political and economic affairs, have served to arouse a growing interest of Islam in the West, resulting for some in the discovery of new and hitherto unsuspected horizons.” (From Unveiling Islam, by Roger Du Pasquier, pages 5-7)

  126. persephone — on 30th November, 2009 at 4:56 pm  

    “As for birth rates …. etc “

    I was replying to your hyperbole of to quote “very high birth rate”. When did 2.44 become a high rate when until recently the average was 2.4 children.

    “Were you speaking of the Muslim population? “

    You know the point was in relation to your hyperbole about “staggering growth of Islam” – I repeat Switzerland has a large 'foreign element” the majority of which is non Muslim.

    “The country's total unemployment rate is around 2.5 percent, but for Muslims it is more than 15 percent.”

    Muslims in Switzerland see a disparity & are doing this about it:

    “There has been some cooperation between the Jewish and Muslim communities with the former even providing support to the latter. Certain Muslim groups want to learn from the established Jewish community how to gain legal, political, and social acceptance in Switzerland.”

    Apparently it took the Jewish people a 100 years to reach their current position in Switzerland.

  127. persephone — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:10 pm  

    It seems the Swiss have made a judgement call about minarets being symbolic of a political/fundamental/separatist mindset & not part of, & intrinsic to, private worship which would give it the religious freedom within their constitution.

  128. Old Pickler — on 30th November, 2009 at 5:32 pm  

    Reza – excellent, incisive argument. Keep it up.

    “I have no doubt that if the founding fathers of America had been Muslims, we would today be seeing wretched Americans sneaking across the Rio Grande for a better life in Mexico.”

    Exactly. Follow the traffic.

    (South and Central Americans are, indirectly, products of Islam. Spain was under the Islamic yoke for centuries, and had only just shaken it off at the time of the conquests. So South America and Central America are a mixture of indigenous primitives and newly Christian, culturally Islamic primitives. So it is purely a question of degree – if North America were more Muslim than South and Central, they'd go South, to where Islam was a bit diluted by Christianity and therefore more tolerable.)

  129. Kulvinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 9:18 pm  

    In Spain, we're talking about a community of mainly self-supporting people, making very few demands on their host nation. Many are retired

    I suppose i could also make an argument by, you know, ignoring any actual facts and dementedly flapping around; but then id just think less of myself.

    You seem curiously ok with it though.

  130. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 10:32 pm  

    Persephone – kerching!

    “The West, whether Christian or dechristianised, has never really known Islam. Ever since they watched it appear on the world stage, Christians never ceased to insult and slander it in order to find justification for waging war on it.”

    erg… wheeling out apologists is not enough Persephone. Have you never heard of the Muslim Conquest? Vast parts of the world were not Terra Nullis before Islam – they were Christian. Have you never heard of Byzantium? It stretched from Palestine to Egypt and was Christian. The much-lamented crusades were a mere blip in contrast to the relentless centuries of Muslim aggression. Why do you think Bosnia and Albania are Muslim? They didn't joyously convert. The Conquest got as close as France and Vienna in the past 1000 years, so i don't think the Christians needed to invent an excuse. Although I'm sure you will find one.

  131. Boyo — on 30th November, 2009 at 10:37 pm  

    “In my view, Switzerland has taken a step away from democracy with this decision.”

    Hee-hee.

  132. MiriamBinder — on 30th November, 2009 at 11:25 pm  

    Of course Boyo … Islam is the only faith that has ever rampaged across continents isn't it. Oops, sorry I forgot about the crusades; First Crusade 1095-1099, Crusade of 1101, Norwegian Crusade 1107-1110, Second Crusade 1147–1149, Third Crusade 1187–1192, Fourth Crusade 1202–1204, Albigensian Crusade 1209, Fifth Crusade 1217–1221, Sixth Crusade 1228–1229, Seventh Crusade 1248–1254, Eighth Crusade 1270, Ninth Crusade 1271–1272, Northern Crusades (Baltic and Germany) which ranged contemporarneously with the Second Crusade and went on till sometime in the 16th century. The Aragonese Crusade declared by the angler Pope Martin IV … that is not to mention the various Inquisitions. My sincere apologies, I said not to mention and then I did. Me bad!

    Just ignore and carry on. As you were ;)

  133. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:02 am  

    From your link:-

    “The government is claiming that British expatriates living there, most of whom are over 50 years old, are placing a too high a burden on the local health system.”

    And the government would be right to claim that.

    So it seems that they are making some “demands. Ho hum. But they are oldies as I said, and shouldn't be compared with the hundreds of thousands of young third-world immigrants coming to these shores in order to ‘enrich’ this country by having many, many children, a disproportionate number of whom end up being paid for by tax-payers like me.

    But my other points were correct. Nevertheless I'll allow you to give yourself a (very) small tap on the head.

    I'll use those links myself, as you should expect me to.

    They support my opposition to the mass immigration of large groups of unassimilable people from anywhere to anywhere.

    If the Spanish people were democratically allowed to deport the old Brits swamping their health system they would.

    And if the British people were democratically allowed to prevent all new third-world immigration and ban the building of large mosques, I have no doubt that they’d vote for that too.

    But you guys know that don’t you.

  134. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:15 am  

    So Muslim unemployment is all the fault of those beastly, Islamophobic Swiss.

    I wonder what the Sikh unemployment rate is there. Here it’s lower than the indigenous rate whilst ‘surprisingly’ the Muslim unemployment rate is considerably higher than both.

    The plot rather thinnens doesn’t it.

    But putting aside the Swiss stymieing of the ‘legendary Muslim work-ethic’, are you now saying that Switzerland should continue to welcome Muslim immigrants, who will be six times more likely to be unemployed and wait for a hundred years for them to settle?

    Why Persephone? What have the Swiss done to deserve that?

    I know that some of you here snigger spitefully at Britain’s predicament with immigration and multiculturalism but why Switzerland?

    They had no colonies. They didn’t ‘rob’ the lands of your ancestors.

    Why would you hate them?

  135. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:25 am  

    But they are oldies as I said, and shouldn't be compared with the hundreds of thousands of young third-world immigrants coming to these shores in order to ‘enrich’ this country by having many, many children, a disproportionate number of whom end up being paid for by tax-payers like me.

    This is actually fun now

    But my other points were correct.

    You had a point!?

    And if the British people were democratically allowed to prevent all new third-world immigration and ban the building of large mosques, I have no doubt that they’d vote for that too.

    …But you guys know that don’t you.

    And if the british people were allowed to stop paying taxes, the license fee or any council tax im sure they would to. Infact i can claim any number of things the british people would, could or might do, but its a spurious idiotic argument as theres no way of knowing. The very fact there are different political parties who each endorse different ideals of what they percieve the people of wanting points to the fact theres no way of knowing.

    But then you knew that didn't you.

    On the one hand you seem to be making broadly anarchical arguments about the notion of democracy; on the other you're advocating a weird sense of nationalism where someone else has a say over my property.

  136. MiriamBinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:33 am  

    Wrong place, me bad!.

  137. MiriamBinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:34 am  

    Four minarets is considered hating? Wow, I wonder what a few thousand church spires means …

  138. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:37 am  

    Wonderful link! Thank you.

    However, if you look carefully, you'll notice that it is the British taxpayer, and not the Spanish one who is being defrauded.

    I wouldn't mind too much if Turkish kebab-shop workers or Pakistani minicabbies nipped away for a few hours each week to sign-on and claim benefits from their respective homelands. But they don’t.

    They claim them from me.

  139. MiriamBinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:41 am  

    I wonder where Christianity originated? Did it spout up quite unbidden and organically in that famous ol' Albion glen … you know the one. Oops, no, it didn't. Did it not come from the Middle East? By Zeus and Thors' whiskers … I do believe it did.

  140. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:50 am  

    They claim them from me

    You're British? I haven't been paying attention i vaguely remember you mentioning you were Iranian.

    So your argument now is; you're content with being massively defrauded in order to benefit the lifestyle of people living in another country, as long as those are people you (i assume) identify with?

    To paraphrase an earlier 'point' you made

    And if the British people were democratically allowed to prevent all such fraud irrespective of who committed it and if asked whether the 'ethnicity' of the people in question mattered, I have no doubt that they’d call you a loon.

  141. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:53 am  

    I wouldn't mind too much if Turkish kebab-shop workers or Pakistani minicabbies nipped away for a few hours each week to sign-on and claim benefits from their respective homelands. But they don’t.

    They claim them from me.

    Tax cheats come in all colours, and they take money from all of us – including Pakistanis minicabbies and Turkish kebab-shop owners, not just whites and pretend Iranians. You really can't help it, can you?

  142. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:55 am  

    You really know you've been accepted into Robert Spencer's Hall of Fame, when Old Pickler reappears to congratulate you on your views.

  143. persephone — on 1st December, 2009 at 1:39 am  

    “ Why would you hate them? “

    This is called self projection. And as you want to get personal – all of your responses point to one thing. Your own hatred of Muslims & Islam.

    You happily jump & exaggerate on anything negative & dismiss anything positive. Even to the extent of excusing UK fraud from expats in Spain which contradicted your earlier stance that things not be judged on race. Reza, your 'debating' is getting embarassing. Remember this is meant to be a progressive site.

  144. Rumbold — on 1st December, 2009 at 1:39 am  

    Heh Refresh.

    Boyo and Reza:

    You seem to be adopting the Rosseau view of democracy: the tyranny of the majority. The Swiss decision was democratic, but that doesn't put it beyond criticism.

  145. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 1:46 am  

    Of course I'm British.

    However, I was born in Iran. I am forced to have an Iranian passport and birth certificate (on which my religion is given as “Muslim”) because there is no other way that I would be allowed to visit that country.

    Iran doesn't recognise dual nationality. Neither does it allow someone with a 'Muslim' father to have any other religion in their birth certificate than “Muslim”.

    The rest of your points are moot. I don't know what you're trying to prove.

    I don’t support the establishment of unassimilated British communities in Spain. I don’t think that those communities benefit the indigenous Spanish population, as your links support.

    However, I find it ironic that most thinking people would snigger if I were to write:

    “The Spanish nation benefits greatly from British immigration. British immigrants really enrich Spanish culture and add rich enriching diversity enrichment to Spain. The overwhelming majority help the economy by working hard and doing jobs the Spanish are unwilling to do. It is only right that the Spanish should invest in translation services in schools and hospitals and accommodate the cultural demands of their British communities by providing services geared to their needs and opening publicly funded British Community Centres. Every welfare benefit available to the Spanish should be made available to the British community and all welfare forms should be translated to English. In areas with large British communities, schools should employ English-speaking support staff and they should be closed to celebrate British holidays.”

  146. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 2:10 am  

    “In my view, Switzerland has taken a step away from democracy with this decision.”

    Really? And what would a multiculturalist know of democracy?

    Denying the wishes of the electorate is not democracy. It's liberal fascism.

    Here's an example of just how much contempt multiculturalists have for the electorate:-

    Roy Hattersley writing in the Guardian:

    “For most of my 33 years in Westminster, I was able to resist Sparkbrook's (Hattersley’s Parliamentary constituency) demands about the great issues of national policy – otherwise, my first decade would have been spent opposing all Commonwealth immigration and my last calling for withdrawal from the European Union.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/ju

    But you’d recognise and no doubt support that approach.

    I really envy the Swiss.

    But nevertheless, things are improving. Multiculturalism is on its way out, both here and throughout Europe.

    And your complaints are simply dying gasps from a deeply unpopular and discredited movement that knows it has been exposed for what it is.

  147. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 2:25 am  

    “…the tyranny of the majority.”

    But Rumbold, that is far preferable to the tyranny of the minority.

    Because that’s what the British people have suffered for decades with regard to mass third-world immigration and multiculturalism. Both these ideologies have been consistently and deeply unpopular with the British electorate.

    Yet that electorate has been willfully ignored and relentlessly subjected to those policies just the same.

    The Andrew Neather confession demonstrated just how wicked and deceitful the ideologues have been on those issues.

    And Roy Hattersley added his smug confirmation of that deceit in the Guardian:-

    “For most of my 33 years in Westminster, I was able to resist Sparkbrook's demands about the great issues of national policy – otherwise, my first decade would have been spent opposing all Commonwealth immigration and my last calling for withdrawal from the European Union.”

    Since the mo-toons debacle, I've been buying Danish whenever I can.

    Now I’ll add Swiss products to my ethical shopping list. Everyone should.

    [Chomps on a Toblerone whilst sipping Nescafe]

  148. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 2:26 am  

    Reza, its time to move up a gear.

    Given the bile that is being spluttered by the likes of you and the far-right, what policies should the 3rd world adopt in general, and muslim countries in particular?

    Should they put up trade barriers, should they weaponise themselves awaiting the day your ilk starts yet another foray into Central Asia, the Middle East, Asia. Should Iran obtain nukes, as insurance policy?

    And coming back to my key point upthread – should the UN general assembly start divesting from Geneva – Switzerland is clearly not a neutral state. Should there be a boycott of trade with Switzerland? Their ministers are already concerned about the loss of $10Bn as a consequence. You don't exist in a vacuum.

    Upthread you mentioned people emigrating because of dysfunctional societies. There is a very broad definition to the term dysfunctional, and I suspect you are hiding behind that breadth. In the main people move because of economic circumstances. Others move because they seek asylum or they get kicked out by diktat. Why did you move? Or rather why did your parents move?

  149. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 2:44 am  

    [Chomps on a Toblerone whilst sipping Nescafe]

    Its tragic you should have mentioned them. The picture you conjure for me is a heavy-duty Toblerone stuck where the sun don't shine followed by a Nescafe enema.

  150. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 2:46 am  

    I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Nestle and Kraft executives will have been lobbying the Swiss government the moment the results were announced. And they would take no delight in knowing Reza is in the wings to save the day.

  151. Rumbold — on 1st December, 2009 at 2:51 am  

    Reza:

    Why do we have to have tyranny of the majority or minority? Why not have a system where people's rights are clearly set out by the law, and no one is more equal in the eyes of the state than another? Is that so difficult?

  152. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 2:54 am  

    Jai, thanks for sharing these remarkable figures of the Sikh faith with us. It seems that in every epoch, we have people fighting the same battles. And it is truly inspiring to see how ideologies that seek to preserve our humanity instead of invoking our worst instincts, always prevail.

    Absolutely correct, Ravi. And by virtue of their greatness, people like Guru Gobind Singh and his predecessors also show how truly small, petty and twisted individuals like “Reza” and the BNP leadership actually are in comparison.

  153. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:07 am  

    However, I was born in Iran. I am forced to have an Iranian passport and birth certificate (on which my religion is given as “Muslim”) because there is no other way that I would be allowed to visit that country.

    Didn't you make a point that Islam should not be practised in this country because it is “alien” to the UK (to which point I asked what religion should be allowed in this country, but I think you couldn't reply because you do not have freedom of speech). It seems that Iran operates under the same mindset: it doesn't give individuals the freedom of religion or the freedom to define themselves.

    And you, as an immigrant, want to bring that narrow and bigoted mentality to this country. As in a M. Night Shyamalan movie, the twist here is that you are the best argument against immigration. :-)

    I have to say you entertain me. I mean, you have self-appointed yourself as the guardian of the white race in the UK, with your “race replacement” speech, while admiting you have married a white woman and have two mixed children. You've convinced me that bigots are just demented individuals.

  154. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:12 am  

    Reza

    One other point I'd like you to address – what will you do when there is a major dislocation and movement of populations due to climate change?

    Consider two possible scenarios:

    1. The north is flooded and populations need to move south.
    2. The south becomes a desert and people move north.

    What should the south do to protect the little they have? And what would you do to keep those repulsive immigrants out?

    Do you think you would invade the South to gain territory and resources, or would you seek accomodation with your southern neighbours as we saw in 'Day after Tomorrow' – where they crossed the Rio Grande?

  155. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:15 am  

    The rest of your points are moot. I don't know what you're trying to prove.

    Then how do you know they're moot??!!

    But to recap, you claimed the majority of expats aren't a drain on the spanish; i pointed out they were (with evidence), you claimed (for whatever reason, the rationale wasn't clear) that hundreds of thousands of immigrants (like you) come to this country and have many many children (presumably unlike you) and are paid for by people like you; i pointed out (again with evidence) that hundreds of thousands of emmigrants were, not only being paid for, but paid for in another country.

    You then effectively stated (well ok you didn't, you just ignored it and claimed not to understand, but in the absence of an argument im having to fill in the dots) that it didn't matter as you, a british taxpayer, was paying.

    I then paraphrased back to something you'd originally written in order to shed light on how vague it actually was (ie that the british disagree with you)

    Thats obviously the minor stuff; more interesting is (and we have to go all the way back up again) this

    'On the one hand you seem to be making broadly anarchical arguments about the notion of democracy; on the other you're advocating a weird sense of nationalism where someone else has a say over my property.'

  156. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:17 am  

    As Persephone hinted, the Swiss didn't like Jews that much, and they banned kosher slaughter in 1893. Recently, the SPP decided to support a referendum on banning the import of kosher meat in Switzerland in a move that would affect both Muslims and Jews. The BNP is taking notes.

  157. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:20 am  

    Reza,

    My only regret about Toblerone is that they don't make one big enough for you.

  158. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:24 am  

    Because that’s what the British people have suffered for decades with regard to mass third-world immigration and multiculturalism. Both these ideologies have been consistently and deeply unpopular with the British electorate.

    Yet that electorate has been willfully ignored and relentlessly subjected to those policies just the same.

    This is exactly what im talking about; you don't make an argument, you make a series of semi-hysterical statements without any clear reasoning to back it up.

    The electorate has been willfully ignored REALLY? Have you told the council of europe? which election was that then? which party or person was prevented from standing? at which point the the electorate vote for someone, and in the end they were 'willyfully ignored' and persumably got someone else.

    But hey, why bother arguing with a loon; ill just do what you do.

    Because that’s what the British people have loved for decades with regard to mass third-world immigration and multiculturalism. Both these ideologies have been consistently and deeply popular with the British electorate.

    Yet that electorate has been willfully ignored and relentlessly subjected to those policies other just the same.

    Look at me im on the internet! Go on Reza its your turn to be coherent.

  159. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:28 am  

    Of course I'm British.

    However, I was born in Iran. I am forced to have an Iranian passport and birth certificate (on which my religion is given as “Muslim”) because there is no other way that I would be allowed to visit that country.

    Iran doesn't recognise dual nationality.

    Given that “Reza” claims that he was born in Iran, holds an Iranian passport, and that his nationality is therefore still legally Iranian, it also raises the question of exactly how he is British in the formal legal sense (re: his statement “Of course I'm British”), considering that — unlike many of us — he was neither born in Britain nor holds a British passport.

  160. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:29 am  

    Old Pickler

    Was your boyfriend a victim of child abuse (assuming you are still together)?

  161. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:32 am  

    Refresh

    Okay, let's move up a gear.

    ”Given the bile that is being spluttered by the likes of you and the far-right, what policies should the 3rd world adopt in general, and muslim countries in particular?”

    It is up to the third world what policies or styles of government they adopt. I don’t believe that any country has the right to interfere. We should respect the national cultures and values of foreign states.

    “Should they put up trade barriers, should they weaponise themselves awaiting the day your ilk starts yet another foray into Central Asia, the Middle East, Asia. Should Iran obtain nukes, as insurance policy?”

    As I said previously, countries should be left alone to find their own way in this world, a way based on their customs, beliefs and values and not the customs beliefs and values of the West.

    As for Iran and nukes, I believe that if Britain believes that Iran’s nukes threaten it, then it should join in either sanctions or as a last resort, pre-emptive military action to neutralise that threat. Then it should retreat immediately. I wouldn’t support the invasion of Iran or anywhere else.

    “And coming back to my key point upthread – should the UN general assembly start divesting from Geneva – Switzerland is clearly not a neutral state. Should there be a boycott of trade with Switzerland? Their ministers are already concerned about the loss of $10Bn as a consequence. You don't exist in a vacuum. “

    I find such comments amusing. But not surprising. After all, I assume you’re a Muslim.

    Virtually every Muslim majority country in the world treats other religions differently to Islam. Muslim majority countries may ‘tolerate’ other faiths, but they are very clear that Islam should be supreme and dominant.

    In many Muslim majority countries it is all but impossible to build a church or a Sikh temple. In many Muslim majority countries you can be imprisoned or even put to death for seeking to convert a Muslim to another faith.

    Today, a Muslim in Switzerland is far freer to practice their faith than a Christian is in many Muslim majority countries.

    But somehow I doubt you’d support boycotting those Muslim majority countries.

    “Upthread you mentioned people emigrating because of dysfunctional societies. There is a very broad definition to the term dysfunctional, and I suspect you are hiding behind that breadth. In the main people move because of economic circumstances. Others move because they seek asylum or they get kicked out by diktat. Why did you move? Or rather why did your parents move?”

    Yes “dysfunctional” is a very broad term. But any problem a nation experiences, whether that is war, famine, poverty will have some form of dysfunction or defectiveness at the root of its problems.

    I don’t buy the “we’re poor because you’re rich” bullshit favoured by moral relativists.

    My parents came here in 1973 (some years before the revolution). My father had studied here in the 60’s and thought that it was a nicer place to raise his kids than Iran. He felt that we would receive a better education and better life opportunities.

    He was right and I’m grateful to him.

    I love this country. I love the people that created it. I love and have embraced British culture and values. I have found the indigenous British people to be the most tolerant and accommodating people I’ve ever come across.

    I get very angry with ‘ethnic’ minorities, immigrants and their offspring who wish to replace the British culture with their own (after first neutralising any resistance with the Trojan Horse of ‘multiculturalism’). I also get very angry when I see whole indigenous communities replaced with foreign and immigrant cultural or religious groups.

    And I feel very sorry for the few indigenous British people living in those areas where they have become ‘minorities’.

    The irony is that not one of our ancestral homelands would tolerate that level of cultural or demographic change.

    And I can only surmise that in supporting it in this country, some ethnic minorities are displaying utter contempt for the people and the culture that has existed here for centuries.

  162. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:51 am  

    Of course I hold I hold a British passport!

    I was naturalised at 16. It was a very proud day for me. I had to swear an oath of allegiance to Britain in front of a JP. I’m not sure that this even happens anymore.

    I have to have an Iranian Passport because I'm not allowed to travel there with my British passport. Nearly all Iranian immigrants and their children are in that position if they ever want to visit Iran. Even my brother's English wife was forced to take Iranian citizenship (and take part in an Islamic ‘wedding’) and have her name put in my brother’s Iranian passport so that she could visit Iran with her husband. Otherwise, their travelling in Iran together would be illegal. They wouldn’t be allowed to share a hotel room.

    That’s how it works under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ask your mate Persephone. His/her numerous Iranian connections would elucidate further for you.

    I don’t want an Iranian passport. But if I want to visit Iran then I have to have one.

    The sheer twattery of some of your comments is simply staggering.

    If you really believe that I’m pretending to be Iranian born, then simply ignore me.

    And by the way, you can remove the italics from “Reza”.

    That happens to be my real name.

  163. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:59 am  

    “Reza”, you have explicitly claimed that Iran doesn't recognise dual nationality. If that is correct, you cannot hold both an Iranian passport and a British passport.

    Even my brother's English wife was forced to take Iranian citizenship (and take part in an Islamic ‘wedding’) and have her name put in my brother’s Iranian passport so that she could visit Iran with her husband.

    Have the same restrictions applied to your own English wife when she has travelled to Iran with you ?

    The sheer twattery of some of your comments is simply staggering.

    Given how far you fall beneath the standards set by people like Guru Gobind Singh in relation to attitudes towards Muslims and people from different backgrounds in general, I'm sure you'll understand if your feedback carries very little weight indeed as far as I'm concerned.

  164. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:11 am  

    Because that’s what the British people have suffered for decades with regard to mass third-world immigration and multiculturalism. Both these ideologies have been consistently and deeply unpopular with the British electorate.

    Yet that electorate has been willfully ignored and relentlessly subjected to those policies just the same.

    Reza keeps repeating this assertion which is demonstrably false. There was never an election where you did not have at least one party which was fiercely against multiculturalism and non-white immigration. The fact is that we are a multicultural and multiracial country because the electorate decided so.

  165. Binky — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:20 am  

    REFRESH makes the point – an obvious point but one often overlooked – that the capitalist class has few principles beyond its unswerving devotion to self-enrichment.

    The Swiss capitalist class do well out of KSA and the Gulf; they will be distressed that the tiresome citizenry have DARED to vote agin the clever ones after the government's own considered recommendations.

    “Swiss jobs are at stake!” they are howling even as I type this. Ho Ho Ho

    In the 'Mohammed Cartoons' era, ARLA FOODS, the owners of Lurpak etc., were howling like injured dogs that their profit margins would be hurt by this ill-considered folly about free speech and free expression.

    I was in Jubail at the time and remember the supermakets adorned with posters in Arabic and English proclaiming the fact that they did not sell anything Danish.

    And, of course, THAT sparked a memory going back many years.

    When GRANADA dared to make, and show, DEATH OF A PRINCESS on UK telly, it looked as though ALL Brit enterprises would be booted out of KSA to placate no less a personage than the king himself.

  166. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:34 am  

    But I live in the UK so I couldn't give a toss about Iranian law. It doesn’t apply here.

    However, I must (and it is only right that anyone should) obey Iranian law when I visit that country.

    I cannot get a visa for Iran on my British passport from the Iranian Consulate because my names are clearly Iranian and my “place of birth” is given as “Tehran, Iran”. Therefore, they rightly accuse me of being ‘Iranian’ under their law.

    However, there is an interesting hypocrisy to the Iranian system.

    I have an exit visa on my Iranian passport (you need one to leave the country, and if you’re a woman, you also need your husband or father’s written permission. Nice.)

    However, my passport does not have a visa to give me entry to the UK. Therefore, like all Iranian foreign passport holders, I have to keep my British passport in my pocket and show it to the airline as I check in. Otherwise the airline would be fined if I was refused entry into the UK.

    The authorities know that this happens but nevertheless turn a blind eye to it.

    Now as I said previously, go ask Persephone to ask one of his/her vast network of Iranian contacts if that is the case.

    Then ponder to yourself about the elaborateness and detail of my cover story.

    And stop torturing yourself with more pathetic attempts to ‘expose’ me as an imposter.

    (Scratches clean-shaven chin on handsome middle-eastern-looking face. Hat tip Fojee Punjabi)

  167. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:42 am  

    You didn't answer my question: Has your English wife had to deal with the same restrictions as your brother's English wife in relation to travelling with you in Iran ?

  168. Naadir Jeewa — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:50 am  

    Parties in Denmark and Holland, including well-respected expert on toleration, Geert Wilders, are also proposing to hold similar referendums now.

    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/147

  169. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:51 am  

    The authorities know that this happens but nevertheless turn a blind eye to it.

    Tolerance is great when it affects you, isn't it? Anyway, enough about you.

    Here is a story that happened yesterday to Baroness Warsi. I am not particularly fond of her, but this is the sort of thing that I like to see. Not letting fools like Reza, Stephen and radical Islamists define them.

  170. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:55 am  

    “And those that keep saying that the electorate was not consulted, probably don't understand how Democracy works…”

    Oh don't worry Ravi, people are really beginning to understand how 'democracy' has been ‘working’:

    Andrew Neather:

    “Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.”

    “I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn't its main purpose – to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”

    Mr Neather said senior Labour figures were reluctant to discuss the policy, fearing it would “alienate its core working-class vote”.

    Chris Mullin:

    “Despite the hoo-ha over asylum, we've barely touched the rackets that surround arranged marriages. What mugs we are.

    The trouble is we are terrified of the huge cry of 'racism' that would go up the moment anyone breathed a word on the subject. There is the added difficulty that at least 20 Labour seats, including [Foreign Secretary] Jack Straw's, depend on Asian votes.”

    Roy Hattersley:

    “For most of my 33 years in Westminster, I was able to resist Sparkbrook's demands about the great issues of national policy – otherwise, my first decade would have been spent opposing all Commonwealth immigration and my last calling for withdrawal from the European Union.”

    The cat’s out of the bag Ravi.

    And despite the gerrymandering of the multiculturalist left in importing huge numbers of probable ‘voters’, there are still enough people here to punish the perpetrators of this wicked manipulation and deception.

    I can’t wait.

  171. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:03 am  

    Oh don't worry Ravi, people are really beginning to understand how 'democracy' has been ‘working’

    I am definitely not worried, Reza. Though let me note that you shifted your position from “not consulted” to “consulted by they were deceived”. Again, you fail to understand how Democracy works.

    The cat’s out of the bag Ravi.
    And despite the gerrymandering of the multiculturalist left in importing huge numbers of probable ‘voters’, there are still enough people here to punish the perpetrators of this wicked manipulation and deception.
    I can’t wait.

    You can't wait to see punished the people that allowed your parents, you and so many others to immigrate to this country to find a better life? What kind of punishment are you talking about, Reza?

  172. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:08 am  

    No. She got a visa. We travelled separately. We only stayed with relatives.

    As practising Catholic, she refused to go through the required sham Islamic wedding. And her parents were worried about her having Iranian nationality in Iran.

    It was therefore problematic. For example we could never go out of the house without being accompanied by a female relative. We couldn't travel together. If we had stayed in a hotel, we wouldn't have been able to share the same room.

    But I respected her stance.

    Why do you ask?

    I take it you're not really interested in the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  173. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:12 am  

    Parties in Denmark and Holland, including well-respected expert on toleration, Geert Wilders, are also proposing to hold similar referendums now.

    The funny thing is that these parties are fueling up their anti-Islamic rhetoric by asserting their nations as Christian nations (as Nick Griffin did in QT). That is the sort of thing that usually backfires.

  174. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:16 am  

    Is your wife English ?

  175. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:18 am  

    Here is a chronology of women's rights in Switzerland.

    Switzerland is several decades behind Europe.

  176. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:36 am  

    Excellent news.

    Both Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in The Netherlands and the Danish People’s Party are excellent political movements.

    If only we could have similar parties here to take votes away from the racist-socialist buffoons of the BNP. UKIP are showing some promise, although they continue to be perceived as somewhat one-issue. However, given the current political vacuum in addressing these issues, they’ll get my vote.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/l

    But I suspect that the long-suffering British majority will have to wait for some time before their views are shown a similar level of respect that the Dutch and Danish electorate will hopefully receive.

    The Times also had some positive news, despite the misleading title of the report:

    “However spokesman for Mr Sarkozy's centre-right Union for a Popular Majority, took a different line, saying that the vote showed the degree to which radical Islam was alarming Europe's citizens. Xavier Bertrand, the party leader, said that he was “not sure that minarets are needed in order to practise Islam in France”.

    In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) party reacted with similar caution. To criticise the Swiss ban would be counterproductive, said Wolfgang Bosbach a senior CDU MP. It reflected a fear of growing Islamisation “and this fear must be taken seriously,” he said.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/eur

    Germany and France seem to be tentatively waking up to their electorate’s wishes.

    This is only the beginning.

    Finally it seems, that Europe is waking up.

  177. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:37 am  

    Why do you ask?

  178. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:41 am  

    It's a pretty straightforward question. You've just discussed your brother's English wife. Is your own wife English ?

  179. Shamit — on 1st December, 2009 at 5:54 am  

    Why are we letting Reza derail an important thread?

    I would love nothing more to shut him up but he refuses to see that his logic is flawed. But I think this is an important issue.

    Switzerland has joined the very elite (not) group of countries namely Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan in banning public display of any religious structure that is not of the dominant faith.

    But the ban does not call for not building of any mosque rather the minarets. Why is it such a big deal? How does this referendum stop anyone from practicing their faith?

    Also, I am actually pissed off about the various commentary coming out of some of the Muslim clerics calling it a war and insult to Islam blah blah blah. How is it an insult to Islam? Or why is it okay for Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to persecute people from other religions openly and we do not say a word about it?

    Why do we have to accept that Islam is superior to Christianity and Hinduism and Sikhism and Judaism? Sikhs in NW frontier province are having to pay a tax for being Sikh — I don't hear the Akal Takht going about declaring a war against everyone who follows the Islamic faith or every Pakistani.

    I do think the referendum is a bit bizzare but it does not stop building of a mosque and niether does it stop anyone from practicing their faith. So why is it such a big deal? How is this referendum acting against someone's human right to practice their religion?

    As I have mentioned in my previous comment, we already in all secular countries impose the collective and society's will on individual rights to practice their religion. And the question is where do you draw the line? Having no typical temple structures or mosques in the 60's – 70s Britain did not stop, our parents generation to practice their chosen faith. So again whats the big deal?

    We have had in this country planning applications rejected for Gurdwaras and Temples and no one cried foul.

    Why can't we treat our Muslim citizens like anyother? Why do we always worry about the outer Muslim world? Most Muslims in Switzerland have come from Bosnia where they were being ethnically wiped out and Switzerland provided them with a safe haven – and allows them to practice their faith.

    So again could anyone please tell me how this particular referendum abrogates any rights of any citizen? It does not.

  180. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:06 am  

    I've never been against all immigration. A manageable stream of assimilable or at least integrateable immigrants who are either self-supporting or able to offer skills that this country lacks donesn’t harm society and may even be beneficial.

    Being swamped with massive numbers of unskilled and unassimilable third-world immigrants is certainly not beneficial to this country. It is also deeply unpopular.

    The rules when my parents were allowed to settle here are very different to those today.

    I remember an aunt who stayed with us a few years after we moved here. She stupidly over-stayed her visa. She was arrested, put in the cells and deported the following day. That was in the 70’s.

    The fact that somehow, we have well over 700,000 illegal immigrants living here today (with their dependants!) suggests that there would be no fear of being arrested and summarily deported these days.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7928880.stm

    I would have a public enquiry on the way the British people have been mislead and manipulated on immigration and name, shame and if possible prosecute, the perpetrators in the courts.

  181. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:08 am  

    Shamit, well said.

    There is a sense of euphoria in nationalist blogs after this referendum, because they think it is precursor of a revolution that will sweep around Europe. However, I would say that this referendum actually achieves the worst of both worlds for them. As you say, it achieves nothing in regards to Islam, since Mosques can continue to be built and Islam to be practised in Switzerland, and on the other… it just highlights the pettiness of the Swiss for having wasted so much time and money on a symbolic gesture that singles out one minority group.

  182. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:13 am  

    Okay, I'll appease you.

    My wife isn't. She's comes from an EU country. My ex-wife is British.

    What is your fascination with my background?
    .

  183. Fojee Punjabi — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:24 am  

    Reza: because they're Straw-Manning.

    Point is: why hasn't PP chosen to cover the story of the Muslim bigots who pelted Warsi?

    If they were white skin-heads, you just know Sunny Hundal would have jumped on the story but nooo… the story doesn't gel with his delusional ideology so he picks and chooses to harass the white extremists but ignores the Muslim ones.

    What a pr!ck,

  184. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:26 am  

    Which one is the mother of your children ?

  185. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:28 am  

    …..since you've repeatedly mentioned the decisions you and your wife have taken in relation to your children's upbringing.

  186. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:36 am  

    Reza: because they're Straw-Manning.

    orly

  187. douglas clark — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:38 am  

    Ravi Naik,

    I think it's quite pretty, really.

  188. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:44 am  

    You probably wouldn’t welcome my approval, but I actually agree with your general point, that this particular referendum doesn’t abrogate any rights of any citizen.

    However, you’re missing the underlying issue.

    Since the war, Western European countries have based their social policies upon the accepted ‘wisdom’ of moral and cultural equivalence and multiculturalist dogma.

    And incrementally, the national identities of European countries have been eroded by mass immigration, and the imposition and appeasement of alien cultures and religions.

    But today, throughout Europe, we’re seeing a backlash.

    And Switzerland’s move will embolden politicians in other European countries and spur their electorates to demand that Islamification and demographic change is halted in their countries.

    Ten years ago, even discussing these issues would have been unthinkable.

    Today, they are mainstream.

    Just look at the German and French Responses (from the Times):

    However spokesman for Mr Sarkozy's centre-right Union for a Popular Majority, took a different line, saying that the vote showed the degree to which radical Islam was alarming Europe's citizens. Xavier Bertrand, the party leader, said that he was “not sure that minarets are needed in order to practise Islam in France”.

    In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) party reacted with similar caution. To criticise the Swiss ban would be counterproductive, said Wolfgang Bosbach a senior CDU MP. It reflected a fear of growing Islamisation “and this fear must be taken seriously,” he said.

    This is unprecedented!

    Despite the multiculturalists best efforts, European countries continue to have established and dominant cultures. And their peoples are not willing to stand back and allow alien cultures and religions, and in particular Islam, to become equivalent to their indigenous values.

    The issue you miss is that throughout Europe, people are saying “Enough!”. “Enough third-world immigration!” And definitely “Enough Islam!”

    Look at the Netherlands, at Belgium, at Italy, at the Czech Republic, at France and Germany. Look at what mainstream politicians and commentators are saying in Britain.

    And carry on blaming the ignorant masses mislead by the Daily Mail.

    We’re witnessing the emergence of a new Europe, a better and more culturally confident Europe.

    A revolution is taking place.

    And it’s wonderful!

  189. platinum786 — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:47 am  

    hmm, so the Iranian bloke married to a woman from Mainland europe is telling British citizens to not practise their religion in their country of origin?

    Is Reza's contempt reserved only for Islam but also for Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism etc.

  190. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:53 am  

    Fojee

    Good to have you back.

    A genuine proposition.

    My brother (who also ‘pretends’ to be ethnic-Iranian and I, together with an ethnic-Nigerian work colleague and a black-British lawyer friend and a few white-English guys want to set up a movement to fill the space between the darkie-hating racist-socialists of the BNP and the whitie-hating, Islam-appeasing liberal-fascist socialists of the left.

    It would start with a blog, and hopefully snowball from there.

    Everyone I speak to agrees that Britain is crying out for some commonsense.

    It seems that the only choice the electorate ore being given is between the BNP and more unrestrained multiculturalism.

    You seem like a bright guy.

    I’ve got a few bob that I’d be willing to invest in the venture.

    Interested?

  191. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 6:56 am  

    Only Islam. Not Muslims.

    However, I oppose any group, anywhere, being allowed to become large enough to create a duo-cultural society.

    Because then people inevitably start killing each other.

    But that's a different debate.

  192. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:03 am  

    hmm, so the Iranian bloke married to a woman from Mainland europe is telling British citizens to not practise their religion in their country of origin?

    Yes, that is exactly what he is doing. He is trying to demonstrate what happens when bloody foreigners come to this country and try to change our liberties and way of life.

  193. Shamit — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:06 am  

    Ravi

    Thanks but mate I am also concerned about the articles I read in Guardian today – such as Jonathan Freedland shuddering at the thought of this referendum. I am very concerned about the right wing nutters but I also am equally vexed at the left wing's failure to challenge certain issues:

    1) Why do we treat Islam different to any other religion?

    For example, we have the human rights to criticise every religion but NOT Islam. And no serious left wing commentator wrote a piece on the ammendment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    2) No one has challenged or condemned the clerics who are calling this an act of war and pointing out the hypocricy.

    3) While I hate nothing more than agree with either Reza or Fojee – they do have a point – you would be surprised by the lack of column inches that Sayeeda Warsi getting pelted with eggs got — and it is true if it was BNP we would all jump up and down.

    4) We are secular ie all religions are equal and no religion should get preference over others. And All RELIGIONS SHOULD BE TREATED THE SAME WAY. But that is not the case.

    5) I believe this utter lack of perpsective and making it a rather politically divisive issue is nothing but vote bank politics – we are actually strengthening the hands of islamophobes such as Gash, Reza and Fojee.

    6) If we had BNP members running a charter school imagine the hue and cry that would have covered the pages of our blogs and MSM. But Hizb ut Tahrir.members running a school – well we were told cameron should not have done it.

    7) I ask again why the special status for Muslims – isn't that what causes divisiveness in our societies?

  194. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:20 am  

    For example, we have the human rights to criticise every religion but NOT Islam.

    That is clearly wrong. And counter-productive.

    would be surprised by the lack of column inches that Sayeeda Warsi getting pelted with eggs got — and it is true if it was BNP we would all jump up and down.

    I did highlight this incident in this thread. However, are you saying that there is not enough coverage of Islamists behaving like arses?

    I ask again why the special status for Muslims – isn't that what causes divisiveness in our societies?

    This is a chicken-egg situation. While all religions should be treated the same, you have right now xenophobic political parties around Europe who want to specifically ban Islam, which explains this counter-reaction of protecting this religion. Not sure you have other parties trying to ban other religions.

  195. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:26 am  

    hmm, so the Iranian bloke married to a woman from Mainland europe is telling British citizens to not practise their religion in their country of origin?

    …..Yes, that is exactly what he is doing. He is trying to demonstrate what happens when bloody foreigners come to this country, marry foreign women, and try to change our individual liberties and way of life. :-)

    Not just “British citizens”, but British citizens who were actually born in Britain.

    So yes, the immigrant from what he would call a “third world country” is lecturing and attacking people who are not even immigrants themselves.

  196. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:40 am  

    Since the war, Western European countries have based their social policies upon the accepted ‘wisdom’ of moral and cultural equivalence and multiculturalist dogma.

    Ah yes, again with the meaningless statements.

    Fair enough though and once again interpolating what you actually mean as you refuse to clarify. The definition of 'western european' is obviously open to question, but for the sake of argument i doubt France or Germany would be classed as anything but western european.

    How does the fall of the fourth republic fit into your little rant? Can you juxtapose 'the moral equivalance and multiculturalist dogma' that you presume occured in west germany with the treatment of the gastarbeiter (wiki it)?

  197. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:42 am  

    So yes, the immigrant from what he would call a “third world country” is lecturing and attacking people who are not even immigrants themselves.

    Immigrants from “third world countries” lecturing British nationals who were born and raised here? They are becoming too confident, aren't they? That didn't happen in the 1970s or in the Ice age.

  198. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:08 am  

    I know all about the “gastarbeiter” matey. I'm close to someone who's got experience of teaching their offspring.

    And believe me, it wasn’t at all a pleasant for a woman given the disgusting and misogynistic attitudes of the boys in that er, Muslim community. Google that. Or if you want I’ll try to find some links.

    Sadly, the German attitude has been to keep their heads down for fear of being accused of racism.

    Nevertheless, I’ve already commented on the enormous 'value' the gastarbeiter add to Germany in this very debate:-

    From Christopher Caldwell’s “Reflections”:-

    “As for the public sector, almost everywhere, immigrants and their dependants take more out than they put in. Native Germans between the ages of 20 and 65 pay out more in taxes than they collect in services, but Turks in Germany do that only between the ages of 28 and 57. These figures worsen over time. The number of foreign residents in Germany rose steadily between 1971 and 2000 – from 3m to about 7.5m – but the number of employed foreigners in work held steady at roughly 2m people.”

    Read that again.

    “The number of foreign residents (ie gastarbeiter plus dependants) in Germany rose steadily between 1971 and 2000 – from 3m to about 7.5m – but the number of employed foreigners in work held steady at roughly 2m people.”

    How ‘enriched’ the Germans must feel!

  199. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:09 am  

    No, what you wrote was the most disgusting piece of racist garbage I have seen in this blog. I have yet to see a BNP supporter matching that.

    Given the level of deep-rooted, psychotic hatred indicated by that outburst, it's certainly far beyond what any sane person would regard as being appropriate or proportionate if it was motivated purely by a desire to “provoke a response” (which is what “Reza” has recently claimed, but this contradicts several of his previous “explanations” of those remarks), although BNP members such as Lee John Barnes, “Colin Brown”, and “Guessedworker” repeatedly made similarly disgusting statements here on PP. The tone of Nick Griffin's publicised comments have also often been along similar lines, particularly in relation to his statements about the “genocide of the English/indigenous British”, using military vessels to murder African refugees on boats, and so on.

  200. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:19 am  

    Incidentally, “Reza”, you should probably stop clicking the “Like” button underneath your own comments in an attempt to inflate the perceived popularity of your posts after you submit them. It's pathetic, to say the least.

    Yes, we do know that you're doing that.

  201. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:21 am  

    Nevertheless, I’ve already commented on the enormous 'value' the gastarbeiter add to Germany

    Why are you placing the term value under quotes?

  202. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:21 am  

    Forget the treatment of Christians in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt and Iran.

    Here’s something about the treatment of Christians in Turkey:-

    “In the last three years Agape church members have endured false allegations and verbal abuse from Muslim and nationalist locals. Their pastor has received death threats, and their building has been vandalized, all in an attempt to stop the 30 or so Christians from meeting.

    Local authorities have also had their part in opposition to the church, threatening it with legal action based on spurious charges. Despite being an “association,” an official status that provides some legal protections and that the government encourages Christian congregations to obtain, the church was threatened with a lawsuit because members had hung verses of Scripture and a cross on the walls. The Provincial Directorate of Associations inspected the building and told them to remove the offending articles because their rented rooms looked too much like a church.”

    http://www.rightsidenews.com/200812153001/cultu

    Where’s the concern? Where’s the outcry?

    And to think we have f*ckwits who support allowing Turkey into the EU.

  203. Shamit — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:22 am  

    Ravi -

    That is clearly wrong. And counter-productive.

    I agree but except for the economist and the times of london and one brief article in the independent – not a single article was written about it. Not a single country protested about it.

    As organised religion has often been the biggest violators of human rights, it should have been simply unacceptable to the world and I wonder why the Security Council, which could have vetoed the resolution avoid it completely.

    Somehow there is a fear psychosis that is engulfing our civil society based on the actions of mullahcracy and idiotic islamist individuals. The whole religion and our civil society are being held hostage to what these people would do. And we as humanity are falling backwards to ensure they are not pissed off. And thats what pisses me off as that brands all muslims to be stupid and extremists.

    Most Muslims I know were offended with the depiction of their Prophet as a terrorist in the Danish cartoons – and I share their views. And most would have preferred to challenge the cartoonist in a debate and articulate why he was wrong as it insinuates following Islam = terrorism.

    Unfortunately, what the islamists did was develop a far worse image and take it to the middle east to fan that trouble. And burn embassies and

    And, comment is free and other so called liberal intellegensia actually said that the danish cartoons caused the death of many due to the burnings of the embassies and the newspapers should desist. I find that bizzarre.

    Similarly, the Jonathan Freedland article talked about everything and how bad it is but did not focus on the fact that this does not actually take away any rights from Muslims. Although thats exactly how both the Islamists and their counter parts the Reza's like to play it.

    Even the ever balanced Rumbold said
    “What effect can this have apart from to make Muslims feel under attack and give them more incentive to withdraw into their own world?”

    My question is why would this make them feel under attack – if that does so then I guess Jai (sorry to bring you in mate) has every right to be pissed off at every Muslim and Pakistani for Sikhs having to pay tax for their religion in NWF.

    Or angry at me because some Hindu PM put the army in The Golden Temple.

    That question by Rumbold made me feel very very uncomfortable. As this was not such a big deal and this was not about an individual practicing their faith.

    As I said when it comes to Islam both the right and the left wing and most of them mean well, have all lost their perspectives.

    Why is it okay to discuss whether Jesus Christ was married or not — and it is wrong to say Mohammed having a very young wife was not appropriate. And now by human rights laws of the globe — it is okay to do the first one but not the second one.

    I don't know but the whole tone of the debate is not very healthy. Again where was anyone's rights rescinded by this referendum.

    Why would this be taken as an insult or an attack on Islam? Could someone please answer those questions? I cannot think of any reasons myself.

    I am getting more confused about this whole issue and the ensuing debate I notice that is taking place on the net and everywhere else

  204. cjcjc — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:24 am  

    “Only when Muslim immigrants and converts in Europe reject the twisted ideology of a fundamentalist male clergy will the chief causes of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe recede. Meanwhile, despite the Islamophobic minaret ban, the religious rights of Swiss Muslims remain intact. They do, however, have a rare opportunity to cut the link with the dominant theology of the East and to restore Islam’s pristine beliefs.”

    Dr Taj Hargey is the chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and the imam of the Summertown Islamic Congregation in Oxford

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/column

  205. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:32 am  

    “Why are you placing the term value under quotes?”

    Because of this:

    “The number of foreign residents (ie gastarbeiter plus dependants) in Germany rose steadily between 1971 and 2000 – from 3m to about 7.5m – but the number of employed foreigners in work held steady at roughly 2m people.”

    So that would leave 5.5 million unemployed.

    And this:

    “The children of Turkish immigrants in Germany are failing at school and in danger of solidifying into a permanent underclass. Both right-wing politicians – who hold up the two-million strong Turkish community as evidence that multi-culturalism cannot work – and Turkish leaders are sounding the alarm over levels of under-achievement among the children of Germany's largest ethnic minority group.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/

    Am I missing something? Enlighten me. Where’s the ‘value’ Ravi?

  206. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:33 am  

    if that does so then I guess Jai (sorry to bring you in mate) has every right to be pissed off at every Muslim and Pakistani for Sikhs having to pay tax for their religion in NWF.

    Or angry at me because some Hindu PM put the army in The Golden Temple.

    Before any lurking opportunists try to seize on the above as some kind of “smoking gun” ammunition, let me state for the record that Shamit is using purely hypothetical examples and is speaking rhetorically.

  207. Shamit — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:36 am  

    Jai

    Good thinking mate – and btw, I haven't heard back from those people. Planning on giving them a call tomorrow.

    S

  208. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:42 am  

    How petty.

    But hell, I'll do it if you stop putting what happens to be my real name in quotation marks. Petty enough for you?

    Funnily enough, I regularly and inadvertently click “Like” instead of “Reply” when responding to your posts. So don't kid yourself!

    And anyway, you can't “Like” your own comment 7 times can you?

    So it must be the Mail readers then.

    Finally, despite your provocation, I do try to avoid making personal attacks against you, because I imagine you to be a teenager. It would feel cruel and bullying.

    I've answered questions you've asked about me. So please answer this: How old are you?

    A ballpark would be fine.

  209. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:47 am  

    Am I missing something? Enlighten me. Where’s the ‘value’ Ravi?

    Yes, you are missing something. Why they were called there in the first place.

    “In the last three years Agape church members have endured false allegations and verbal abuse from Muslim and nationalist locals…
    Where’s the concern? Where’s the outcry?
    And to think we have f*ckwits who support allowing Turkey into the EU.

    You do realise the absurdity of you of all people criticising anyone for religious intolerance. You have called to outlaw Islam in the UK, and you support people like Geert Wilders who wants to do the same in the Netherlands.

  210. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:49 am  

    Funnily enough, I regularly and inadvertently click “Like” instead of “Reply” when responding to your posts. So don't kid yourself!

    And anyway, you can't “Like” your own comment 7 times can you?

    Be advised that some people have access to this website's comments tracking systems. We are fully aware that you do not “regularly click 'Like'” when replying to my posts, and we are also fully aware of your own activities in relation to regularly attempting to artifically inflate the popularity your own comments.

    So please answer this: How old are you?

    A ballpark would be fine.

    Mid-thirties.

  211. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:52 am  

    Now answer the following questions from me:

    Do you deny the fact that, during the course of your participation on this website, you have used recognisable BNP/white supremacist terminology such as “race replacement”, “assimilable”, “unassimilable”, “host nation”, “client state”, “parasite”, “multi-culti”, “alien minority culture”, and “alien minority religion” ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of repeatedly calling you a “Nazi” and that you have claimed that these alleged incidents started soon after you begin participating on this website ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of deliberately making offensive remarks about your parents and that you have claimed to “remember” these alleged incidents ?

    Do you deny the fact that a full search of this website's archives confirms that, in reality, none of the alleged incidents referred to in the previous two questions ever occurred ?

    Do you deny the fact that you have repeatedly refused to provide an answer in response to repeated questions as to whether you were deliberately lying when making the aforementioned two allegations or whether you genuinely “remember” these incidents which never actually occurred ?

    Yes or No ?

  212. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:55 am  

    Here’s another example of the cultural ‘enrichment’ being provided by Muslims in Germany as a result of the idiotic gastarbeiter programme.

    “If the parents' strict faith expresses itself as an extreme form of modesty in girls, then it often leads to rowdiness in Muslim boys. Paul Reiter, 47, an English and French teacher at a school in the western city of Bochum, constantly experiences the results of self-imposed, aggressive exclusion in the classroom. Reiter says he knows many “poor students with gold chains” who routinely use anti-American, anti-Semitic and sexist language, often addressing German women as “whores.” Reiter says female teachers “are doing their best to survive” in some classes.”

    More or less echoes experiences described by the German teacher I’m close to.

    Ny thinking person should read the whole article and weep.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1

    The naïve and trusting German idiots really believed that the gastarbeiter would go home!

    Surely no one believes that the German people deserve this.

  213. kElvi — on 1st December, 2009 at 9:14 am  

    Am I the only one to have read this in the Daily Mail?

    “Indeed, what has most shaken the Swiss liberal elite is that Left-wing feminists played a prominent part…feminist author Julia Onken, who sent 4,000 emails warning that Islam tacitly condoned the burqa, forced marriage, honour killings and marital violence against women.”

  214. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 9:24 am  

    “Be advised that some people have access to this website's comments tracking systems. We are fully aware that you do not “regularly click 'Like'” when replying to my posts, and we are also fully aware of your own activities in relation to regularly attempting to artifically inflate the popularity your own comments.”

    Really? You make me laugh Jai, you really do, with your pettiness, distrust, paranoia and pomposity.

    “Mid-thirties.”

    And you surprise me. I thought of you as an earnest young student or a teenager. I'll still try to refrain from responding to you in kind. It just doesn't seem worth it.

    As for your oft repeated cross-examination, let me put you out of your misery, once and for all:

    “Do you deny the fact that, during the course of your participation on this website, you have used recognisable BNP/white supremacist terminology such as “race replacement”, “assimilable”, “unassimilable”, “host nation”, “client state”, “parasite”, “multi-culti”, “alien minority culture”, and “alien minority religion” ?

    I’m sure I’ve used all of those terms at one time or another. I don’t recognise them as being BNP/white supremacist terminology. You’ll find them in many right-wing books and blogs. And also in a dictionary.

    “Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of repeatedly calling you a “Nazi” and that you have claimed that these alleged incidents started soon after you begin participating on this website ?”

    I recall being called a Nazi, or a racist or a BNP supporter many times. I don’t know how I’d find the examples without manually trawling through every comment. I’m not willing to do that.

    “Do you deny the fact that you have accused commenters of deliberately making offensive remarks about your parents and that you have claimed to “remember” these alleged incidents ?

    I recollect my parents and family background being introduced by commentators. Again, I wouldn’t know how I’d find the examples without manually trawling through every comment.

    “Do you deny the fact that a full search of this website's archives confirms that, in reality, none of the alleged incidents referred to in the previous two questions ever occurred ?

    Frankly my dear, I couldn’t give a damn. But if you can let me know how I can quickly search the archives I might be willing to spend a few minutes looking for the examples.

    But first you’ll have to promise to make my effort worth my while. When I find the examples referred to in your charmingly pompous cross-examination, you have to promise me that you’ll scurry away with your little tail between your legs and NEVER post irrelevant paranoid and personal garbage in any debate I’m choosing to take part in. Oh, and my actual real name is Reza not “Reza” (although it would be cool to sign your name in quotations wouldn’t it?) Nevertheless, my other condition would be for you to stop referring to me in quotation marks.

    Do we have a deal?

    “Do you deny the fact that you have repeatedly refused to provide an answer in response to repeated questions as to whether you were deliberately lying when making the aforementioned two allegations or whether you genuinely “remember” these incidents which never actually occurred ?”

    No I don’t deny that I’ve refused to answer you. (You should feel honoured that I spending any time on you at all).

  215. Reza — on 1st December, 2009 at 9:49 am  

    “You do realise the absurdity of you of all people criticising anyone for religious intolerance. You have called to outlaw Islam in the UK because it is not the religion of the land, and you support people like Geert Wilders who wants to do the same in the Netherlands.”

    I wouldn't outlaw Islam anywhere. I have previously posted ideas on how we could to define the version of Islam that we believe is tolerable in our British society.

    Muslims following that version would be tolerated like any religious group. Muslims following more extreme versions would be tolerated like any bunch of extremists.

    So just as Mr Griffin cannot demand that his kids sit apart from black kids in schools, Muslim extremist will not be allowed to prevent their kids from mixing with children of the opposite sex in schools.

    See.

    As for Islam not being the religion of the land, I believe in the concept of ‘foreignness’.

    Just because we have Christian schools doesn’t mean we should have Islamic schools.

    I would also ban foreign Imams and the funnelling of foreign cash into this country to propagate Islam and build mosques when it comes from countries that don’t allow other religions to have equal status to Islam.

    And yes, I support Geert Wilders because of his anti-Islam and anti-immigration stance. I don’t support his desire to ban the Qur’an in the Netherlands.

    As for my example, I posted it to demonstrate the hypocrisy of Muslims in Europe. They have a staggering sense of entitlement when it comes to having their religion tolerated and supported by their adopted countries yet are happy to sit back and allow prejudice and discrimination of other religions in their Muslim majority ancestral homelands.

    But it’s not hypocrisy. They fully know what they’re doing.

    Islam is after all an intolerant, fascistic and expansionist ideology.

  216. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 9:55 am  

    Really? You make me laugh Jai, you really do, with your pettiness, distrust, paranoia and pomposity

    As several commenters (including myself) have remarked, psychological projection is an identifiable clinical psychiatric disorder.

    I recall being called a Nazi,……

    You specifically stated that you recalled being repeatedly called a Nazi, and that these incidents started soon after you began participating on this blog.

    I recollect my parents and family background being introduced by commentators.

    There has not been a single instance of any commenters ever making any insulting, offensive remarks about your parents during the course of your entire participation on this website.

    I don’t know how I’d find the examples without manually trawling through every comment. I’m not willing to do that.

    Again, I wouldn’t know how I’d find the examples without manually trawling through every comment.

    It's not necessary to manually trawl through every comment in order to perform the relevant search of the archives.

    But if you can let me know how I can quickly search the archives I might be willing to spend a few minutes looking for the examples.

    Let's take one example: Regarding the “Nazi” allegation, I already gave you details of the full search results on two previous occasions, including the specific URL via the search engine utilised.

    I'm not going to spoon-feed you instructions. You clearly know how to use search engines such as Google. Figure it out.

    (You should feel honoured that I spending any time on you at all).

    As stated previously, your persistent tendency to accuse other commenters of behaviour that you consistently and repeatedly demonstrate yourself, eg. “pomposity”, is yet another indication of you being afflicted with psychiatric disturbances such as psychological projection.

    When I find the examples referred to in your charmingly pompous cross-examination, you have to promise me that you’ll scurry away with your little tail between your legs and NEVER post irrelevant paranoid and personal garbage in any debate I’m choosing to take part in

    Here's my condition: When it's proven that repeated instances of you being called a Nazi “soon after you began participating on this blog” or repeated instances of other commenters making deliberately offensive, insulting remarks about your parents never occurred, and that you were therefore either deliberately lying or “remembering” events that never happened (and in the case of the latter, therefore suffering from a clinical psychosis), you will scurry away with your little tail between your legs and NEVER comment on this website again, either under the username “Reza” or any other aliases, from the computer you're using now or any others, and you will not attempt to switch IP addresses in an attempt to circumvent the matter.

    As a result, it will mean that your capacity to continue commenting on this website is permanently terminated, with immediate effect.

    Do we have a deal ?

  217. Rumbold — on 1st December, 2009 at 9:57 am  

    Shamit:

    “That question by Rumbold made me feel very very uncomfortable. As this was not such a big deal and this was not about an individual practicing their faith.”

    Well, in itself it is not such a big deal. But it is very symbolic. Let's say I am a Muslim living in Switzerland. I now know that the majority of my fellow Swiss residents were exercised enough to bother to vote in order to deny me the opportunity to build part of my place of worship. This tells me I am not welcomed by many people in Switzerland, because people were not criticising the design of mosques, nor the buildings of other religions. This has the effect of distancing me from those around me, and so make me more prone to anti-Western feeling.

  218. Binky — on 1st December, 2009 at 10:06 am  

    If secularist volunteerists would only hand out the right kind of candy, people would stop being so uptight:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodand

    Rather 'School of Early Robert Crumb' I would say [Brian Seward]

  219. Don — on 1st December, 2009 at 10:29 am  

    Just back from work. Gosh, you guys have been busy.

    Reza,

    One quick point, if you will. Twice I queried your definition of democracy, the first time you shrugged that I was splitting hairs and the second you simply implied that I knew nothing about democracy. But you didn't address the points. I thought this mildly discourteous, but I'm not the sensitive kind.

    One last time, if you choose not to respond then I'll drop it.

    How would you respond to the proposition that in order to be a democracy a regime must both have been elected with a legitimate majority and maintain constitutional safeguards, chief of which is equality before the law?

    And how would you respond to the corollary that a law which targets a specific group only (or which confers advantage on a specific group to the exclusion of others) is therefore undemocratic, however popular.

    For example, do you see Malaysia's bumiputra laws as adding to or detracting from Malaysia's claim to being fully democratic?

    I don't want to be tedious about this, but I am concerned that in your no doubt sincere determination to save us all from the black cloud of Islam you seem willing to ditch the principles which define actual (difficult, imperfect and often infuriating) democracy.

    One final question, which of course you are not obliged to answer. If it were possible to rid Europe of Islam completely but at the cost of abandoning democratic rights such as equality before the law and freedom of belief, would you see that as a bargain worth making?

  220. Shamit — on 1st December, 2009 at 10:34 am  

    Rumbold –

    Did anyone stop them from building a mosque? No.

    Did anyone stop them from practicing their religion? Resounding No.

    Now, let's look at some historical facts – the earliest mosques did not have minarets. And minarets did not start appearing almost a century after Mohammed's passing away. Therefore, while some of the Wahabis might argue that Minarets are integral part of a mosque – the Prophet obviously did not believe so.

    Therefore, assuming that stopping minarets would alienate Muslims means that Muslims are not aware of their history or they are all ignorant and extremist in nature. And that is where I have a problem with the argument.

    Singling out one religion was wrong – which I agree but it does not mean that Muslims are not allowed to exercise their right to practice their religious freedom.

    In the UK, we also do not cut off a man's hand when he steals – so if a muslim plaintiff wants to cut off a defendent's hand who has been convicted of stealing – is that acceptable? Wouldn't that also mean denying Muslims their rights to practice their faith according to their wishes?

    Some Hindus, couple of years ago wanted an open crematorium – and both the local population and the local authority and the court system disagreed. So, as a hindu I should feel slighted or as a British citizen I should be proud that my religious freedom has boundaries that the collective will imposes. I would be offended if I was told I could not wear my ethnic garb on certain occassions, or celebrate Diwali –

    I don't see why anyone should feel so aggrieved — singling out is a problem and I agree with that. And, but no is taking any rights away from anyone – so all this talk about Nazi visions in CIF etc etc etc is just bollocks.

    All the old temples in west Midlands are in normal buildings and all Hindu Architecture are inside the building. Usually they look like normal buildings from the outside. I don't recall any outrage about Hindus being denied their rights. And that happened in probably the least racist country in Europe- the United Kingdom.

    No matter which way I look at it – I think most of us lose perspective when it comes to Muslims. And, the way both the right and the left talk is actually insulting to the majority of Muslims.

    We have started treating Muslim communities differently than we do any other – and while doing so we make lives difficult for those who are normal and not exxtremist idiots. Those idiots in Luton yesterday or day before had the balls to say that Sayeeda Warsi is not a proper Muslim — and very few establishment figures on the left or the right challenged it.

    Why? because we treat them differently and it is not a good thing for our society.

    Why is it so wrong to challenge the Burqah – Yasmin Ali Brown seem to think so yet we had people on TV and commentary and blogs saying she is not a proper Muslim and she should refrain from making those comments. Again not many challenged it but went on criticising Jack Straw.

    We are starting to apologise for extremists and those who have no respect for our secular state. And in the process we are hurting those moderate Muslims who we should be supporting.

    The right and the left are playing the same game and in the process increasing this hysteria about Islam. That was my point.

  221. kElvi — on 1st December, 2009 at 11:02 am  

    Shamit, talking of mandirs, here's a link to what seems like a sarkari website on religion in die Schweiz. Check out the page on Hinduism and the many links to Hindu mandirs here http://www.religionenschweiz.ch/hinduismus.html

    Here you can see a typical mandir actually kovil in Tamizh, built inside a larger structure. http://www.hindutemple.ch/. It has got the dhwajasthambam or flagpost, a gopuram or tower, and everything else. From outside it would look unremarkable. Also can be found the many utsavs that the Hindus of Switzerland celebrate, complete with rath yatra, and immersion of the murtis in flowing water. By all accounts the Swiss Hindu community numbers barely 50,000 and consists in the main of Sri Lankan Tamizh asylees. It appears that the community decided to modify the traditional plan of a mandir, as you point out has been done in the UK or as I have seen of mandirs here in the US, that only now have become lavish affairs with sky high vimanas.

    Toleration practice is all over the map Europe. Recently Hindus in Rome when their Durga Puja tent permit was canceled turned to the Indian Ambassador for help, who intervened sucessfully on their behalf. In Russia the ISKCON continues to face harassment.

  222. Don — on 1st December, 2009 at 11:28 am  

    Shamit,

    Hi.I'd like to quibble with a couple of your points, although in broad terms I think we agree.

    Surely the point about punitive amputation and open cremation is that no-one gets to do it. Regardless of their beliefs. Similarly with the cow which was destroyed as a TB risk. These are laws that apply to all, as they should.

    I agree that many people in politics and the media tip-toe around Islam where they wouldn't around any other belief system and that this is wrong.

    But the question here is that a law has been passed (that may be technically premature) which applies only to one belief system. No, it does not impinge on freedom of worship but it does single out a specific group as having a (symbolic?)restriction applied to them and them only.

    I don't think it is wrong to challenge the burkha – in debate. I do think it would be wrong to pass a law restricting freedom of dress if it applied only to one specific group.

    I think it is important to challenge political Islam in debate without worrying about shouty people getting offended. I believe that Islam, of all the current religions has the highest potential for being viciously retrograde – a potential which in some places is being spectacularly realised. But the answer is in debate, not in petty laws which are clearly designed to put 'them' in their place.

    I agree entirely that our secular state should stand up against religious incursions into the public sphere. But there are ways of going about this which do not include singling out one specific group for legal discrimination. By all means oppose obnoxious proposals from sections of that group, but not by fudging the principle of equality. Debate the issue, don't try to intimidate or squash the proponents, however much we might disagree.

  223. douglas clark — on 1st December, 2009 at 11:33 am  

    May I quote this:

    A Foreigner in Switzerland”
    (copyright 1984 by A. Cockburn)

    Imagine a line: draw an arrow at each end to indicate continuation. Label one end “Freedom to Do” and the other end “Freedom from Disturbance”. Label any point on the line “Switzerland”, and mark another, located somewhere between that point and the “Freedom to Do” arrow, “USA”.

    You now have a continuum without metric or political values that shows the following: Freedoms move in different directions. “Freedom to Do” and “Freedom from Disturbance” lead away from and diminish each other. In Switzerland a greater emphasis on “Freedom from Disturbance” has developed than in the USA (alternatively, in the USA a greater emphasis on “Freedom to Do” has developed than in Switzerland). The directions of other freedoms have been left out.

    What does “Freedom to Do” mean? In the extreme, it is the freedom to sit quietly, to play noisily, to smoke in public, even to kill people, whenever one wants. “Freedom from Disturbance” is a force in the opposite direction, since other people’s actions interfere with one’s own. In the extreme, everybody must sit quietly, no one may smoke, and personal contact is proscribed. Traditional societies agree on certain points. Murder is forbidden. Some smoking and partying is allowed.

    The pervasiveness of the problem of balancing “Freedom from Disturbance” and “Freedom to Do” can be demonstated with a short list:

    Sunbathing topless.

    Sunbathing naked.

    Going shopping naked.

    Driving faster than the speed limit.

    Building a business in a residential zone.

    Washing clothes on Sunday.

    When you want to protect yourself from disturbance, what do you do? You make a rule. “Murder is illegal”. “Naked sunbathing forbidden”. “Use of the washing machine room after 10 PM not permitted”. There are more “Freedom from Disturbance” rules and laws in Switzerland than in most other countries. This is the root of the discomfort felt by many foreigners in Switzerland, and at the same time, one reason that many people want to live in there.

    When “Freedom from Disturbance” is achieved, an individual can go about his business in security. A protective shell is built around him. Living in a protective shell has certain consequences. The feeling of security grows, and the desire to leave the security of the shell diminishes. The feeling of righteousness within the shell increases. The interest in entering another’s shell (where he has security and right-of-way) diminishes. Interpersonal communication skills are eroded, and the reliance on authority to settle small disputes grows. The notions grow that the thicker the shell is, the greater the security, and that the problems of another person are somehow his own fault (e.g. his shell is not thick enough). One leaves the problems of other people to other people.

    In Switzerland, reliance on authority is noticeable:

    .in 10mm A man opens the door one day to find a pair of policemen standing there. A neighbor has complained that his hedge has been allowed to grow too high. The policemen measure the hedge and find it is too high. They tell the man to trim it, and come back later to measure it for conformance. .in 0

    Why did the complaining neighbor not talk directly to the man? It was a small problem, and could have been solved easily. The answer is that the system does not support that sort of communication, since the neighbor would have to leave the security of his own shell and enter the man’s.

    The presence of the shell in Switzerland becomes apparent on two occasions. One is when a person is unexpectedly confronted with a situation requiring personal interaction. His face expresses first surprise and then annoyance. Surprise at finding a stranger inside his shell, then annoyance at the same. The second is when he enters his car, which is a personal and powerful expression of his protective shell. Righteousness and confidence grow, since the shell is thicker and more evident to others. Pedestrians, in particular, are subject to the new-found strength of the driver.

    It is tantalizing to try to explain Swiss neutrality in terms of protective shells, but the metaphor weakens. The similarities may be coincidental rather than causal.

    If the negative side of the existence of protective shells is the atrophy of interpersonal communication, the positive side is security, one of the most envied achievements of Switzerland. Although it gets cheated of space in this article, the issue is so straightforward that it needs no development. Only a second effect is worth mentioning. The rules that provide “Freedom from Disturbance” directly improve the condition of the cars, equipment, houses, and landscape in Switzerland, making it a still more attractive place to live.

    The interpretation of the locations of the points on the line is clearly personal. I am a foreigner. If this paper sounded negative to your ears, have a Swiss person rewrite it from his point of view. We are just looking along the line in opposite directions.

    ——————————————————————————–

    (Note: this blog/article was one I wrote in 1984, some months after moving to Switzerland. I wanted to write it in German – With much pain, a colleague and I managed that as close as we could.I wish I still had the German copy.)

    With thanks to Shuggy who beat me to remembering it.

    The Swiss have a wierd, moderated form of civil society. I do not, in all honesty know what to make of it.

    I recall a short story where an ex tenant of a flat felt they had to turn the whole of Switzerland a shade of Daz white before they might retrieve their deposit.

    Just saying, the rules are a bit different….

  224. Rumbold — on 1st December, 2009 at 11:39 am  

    Shamit:

    I would echo what Don said. I have no problem with imposing rules that don't allow exemptions for certain religious groups. But it is quite another thing to set out a rule that targets a specific part of a specific religion which isn't harming anyone. Muslims (and everyone else) shouldn't be allowed to practice parts of their religion that harm others (parts of Sharia law for example). It is unclear however how minarets do this. People are not oppressed by having a minret in their town, as opposed to having a mosque without a minaret. If people have issues with minarets over things like noise then that is a different issue and should be dealt with accordingly.

  225. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:22 pm  

    I know all about the “gastarbeiter” matey. I'm close to someone who's got experience of teaching their offspring.

    Why would i care? What (again!) has that got to do with the original context of the discussion – that you started. I couldn't care less about your personal anecdotes or what Caldwell has to say; the 'point' made and i rejected was that the treatment of immigrants in both france and germany in the post war years (let alone other 'western european' countries) was based on anything BUT 'moral and cultural equivalence' . Even if you take the case of britain, and (again im having to fill in gaps as you seem to lack the ability to articulate) a cornerstone institution of the uk which is seen by the reactioanry and the 'right' as partly defining the uk – the army – even in the 70s they were actively discouraging and acting against ethnic minority candidates.

    But none of that matters does it? Because virtually every poster challenging you and, with increasing exasperation, asking you elaborate or stand by your points doesn't mean anything. You just headbutt the keyboard and spew out another tangential and irrelevant paragraph.

    You're no different to those ranting moronic HuT types who don't understand the idea of a coherent argument let alone have ability to express a rational thought.

  226. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:40 pm  

    I agree that many people in politics and the media tip-toe around Islam where they wouldn't around any other belief system and that this is wrong.

    Do politicians and 'the media' matter though? Islam is relentlessly attacked on the internet; virtually every act of blasphemy you can imagine is committed and uploaded to the 'net.

    Perhaps 20 years ago it could be argued the media has an important role to play but im not sure they matter anymore.

  227. Jai — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:51 pm  

    No response so far, I see. By the way, using a suitable internet search engine to derive the results in relation to those alleged incidents presumably archived in this blog’s electronic records is a very easy matter. It takes less than 1 minute.

    There is no record of anyone repeatedly launching insulting, personal attacks against your parents prior to the time you originally made this allegation. I can, however, provide concrete proof – including direct quotes and URL links – of you repeatedly making offensive statements about my father.

    However, I’ll make matters even more straightforward for you. Let’s take this right down to the wire :

    If you can provide evidence that, as you have previously insisted, there have been multiple instances of commenters on PP calling you a “Nazi” and that these incidents starting soon after you began commenting on this blog, then I will permanently stop participating in this website’s discussions.

    However, if I disprove your allegation by providing verifiable evidence that it is completely false on all points, then your time on this website is finished, as per the conditions in my previous comment.

    Russian Roulette. A single bullet. Assuming that you have the guts to put your money where your mouth is. If you really do have the courage of your convictions then you should have no hesitation in accepting this challenge.

    Do we have a deal ?

  228. Refresh — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:51 pm  

    Rumbold
    'This has the effect of distancing me from those around me, and so make me more prone to anti-Western feeling.'

    I think what you actually mean is it would leave you isolated from your fellow-citizens, and prone to abuse from the far-right. Suggesting the only issue at stake is whether you feel anti-western is a touch patronising.

  229. Rumbold — on 1st December, 2009 at 12:59 pm  

    Refresh:

    Well, I was thinking specifically about Shamit's question. I agree it isn't the only issue.

  230. Shamit — on 1st December, 2009 at 1:11 pm  

    Don – Brilliant response.

    And I do not disagree – and I said similar things about protecting the rights of the minority.

    But there is the hysteria still there which does nothing but undermine the moderates. And both the left and the right are to be blamed for that. It has become a political football and everyone claims to have the monopoly of being right except for those Muslims who just want to get on with life. We do not give them the voice as the “liberal apologists” and the “rightwing nutters” take up all the space.

    Anyway Rumbold too — I understand your point mate and I do not disagree but I think the discourse should have a different angle — The majority of the muslims who are actually non extremist should be the focal point and we should frame the Islam question and discourse through their perspective not the loonies.

  231. persephone — on 1st December, 2009 at 3:43 pm  

    Reza, at one time you state you will ignore my posts … not that you do … perhaps you state that because to be ignored is your worst fear of abandonment. Yet in other posts, you seek to gain my attention & get ever more peevish the longer you feel attention is withdrawn. (its also linked to why you feel you have to hit 'like' to your own comments). Its a common sympton of the condition of projection, this immaturity y'know.

    “Islamic Republic of Iran”

    Most Iranians, particularly those (and from your stated history that includes both you & your parents) who are old enough to remember the pre Ayatollah Khomeini regime, tenderly refer to it as Iran – not Islamic Republic of Iran and never as a s***hole.

    Feverish attempts to prove your Iranian background just make you seem evermore desperate.

  232. persephone — on 1st December, 2009 at 4:37 pm  

    Skylines are always changing. The skylines of major cities all over the world frequently mimic the typically dominant american skyscraper scene. And Switzerland has its fair share of skyscrapers, which out number minarets.

    In the UK we have Prince Charles intermittently complaining & informally lobbying against the modern carbuncles that are despoiling the UK skyline & the media either turn him into a figure of fun or villify him for interfering in planning applications.

    The Swiss approach is to issue a referendum over a 5th traditional minaret too far. I'd like to loan Prince Charles, defender of all faiths, to the Swiss to see what he would do about this.

  233. Binky — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:53 pm  

    Well, as anyone coulda guessed, the Swiss political class are eager to find a way to circumvent what over 50% of those present and voting told them.

    This is a doubleplusungoodthinkful source, of course, but remember that the CRANKS AND FANATICS will tell you the unpleasant truth long before the MSM will!

    http://bnp.org.uk/2009/12/eu-united-nations-and

    Don't miss next week's exciting episode !

  234. Binky — on 1st December, 2009 at 7:58 pm  

    Persephone mentions the Bigears of Highgrove and his dilettante interests.

    Scorn him as you might, the Bigears is sound on the horrors of modern architecture* and organic husbandry and having a decent aesthetic environment full of Tudor barns and Tradituional Breeds of Neolithiv goats munching wholesome organic food.

    * There are some who hold that Hitler's greatest crime was his failure to gas the Bauhaus gang; instead, they were permitted to escape and to spread their vile aesthetic over the entire globe.

  235. MiriamBinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 8:14 pm  

    Wow … over 50% was it. And there was me thinking there was only a 47% turn-out. Maybe it is a different way of counting?

  236. Binky — on 1st December, 2009 at 9:09 pm  

    Disappointing range of opinions over at SOCIALIST UNITY:

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=4939#comments

    MIRIAN-BINDER: There was a majority vote on the part of those present-and-voting. Considering the derisory turnout in UK elections these days – even by-elections in which the voters have a rich fruit-and-nut assortment of candidates from whom to choose – it was not at all a bad showing on the part of the Swiss.

    Of course, you can ask a few Aussies what they think of a law which makes it [theoretically] compulsory to vote.

  237. MiriamBinder — on 1st December, 2009 at 10:59 pm  

    That really says it all doesn't it … so over 50% of less then 50% voted for the ban. Hardly a majority then is it. Granted that it makes no difference to the outcome and that those over 50% of the less then 50% eligible to vote are therefore only a majority in a minority as it were. Big fish in small ponds comes to mind …

    Bearing in mind that it can be reasonably assumed that with the general apathy shown, as indicated by the relatively low turn-out; further bearing in mind that there was a proportion of those who did care enough to turn out to vote actually voted against the ban I do reckon that all this over-the-top gloating and the far-fetched conclusions jumped to rather unwarranted; with specific reference to those claiming that this vote indicates an overwhelming Europe-wide condemnation of immigration in general and Islamic immigration in specific. In other words, the far-right is trying to make silk purses out of pigs' ears again.

    What does this referendum outcome really have to say that is of interest to those where sensationalism and provocation is not the first concern.

    1. Referendums are an ineffective means of ensuring that you can claim a real majority (as opposed to the big fish/little pond majority) are in active favour of a proposal.

    2. Referendums are essentially an undemocratic process; primarily because big fish/little ponds results would be binding on all little fish in big ponds.

    As far as this specific referendum goes:

    Given that only 47% felt sufficiently strongly about the issue to actually bother to tick the various boxes, it can be safely assumed that 53% felt sufficiently unthreatened by minarets, be it their potential construction or non-construction.

  238. persephone — on 2nd December, 2009 at 1:14 am  

    Agreed. Good coomment

  239. Binky — on 2nd December, 2009 at 1:26 am  

    Miriam Binder thinks referenda are bad.

    Back in the days when I lived in Blighty all the time, was active in Labour politics and habitually associated with members of the Political Class, it was an Article of Faith among them that referenda were the Instruments of Satan on the simple grounds that those who read the 'New Statesman' and the 'Economist' are capable of making informed decisions whereas the readers of the 'Sun' and the 'Mirror' are not.

    Hattersley said as much quite recently.

    We can assume that referenda on the death penalty and mass Third World immigration would have produced results which the goodthinkful folk of the political class would have found appalling.

    One need not remind readers here of the equivocations and lies about the UE and the Lisbon Treaty.

    In today's 'Telegraph' Dan Hannan says Britain is no longer a sovereign country.

  240. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 2:01 am  

    “…tenderly refer to it as Iran – not Islamic Republic of Iran and never as a s***hole. “

    Actually, many Iranians of the type you speak of call themselves “Persians”. But you'd know that.

    I'm tired of this.

    I’ve long stopped giving a f*ck what you believe about me. The very fact that you are incapable of understanding that someone who was born in another country can actually be opposed to multiculturalism, mass third-word immigration, Islamification and massive demographic change demonstrates a level of ignorance that is quite frankly staggering.

    It is also utterly racist.

    My brother shares my views. I work with an ethnic-Nigerian guy who agrees with many aspects of what I say. I have other non-indigenous friends who broadly agree with me.

    But you assume that people can only have my views if they are white supremacists.

    What does that say about you?

    Pathetic.

    But understandable. You know people like me have won the argument. And it hurts. So you lash out and attack the man. It’s all you have left.

    Unless you’re capable of debating the issues I’m going to stop wasting my time with you. Shamit and Don made some intelligent points here. I’ll respond to them.

  241. MiriamBinder — on 2nd December, 2009 at 2:12 am  

    Regarding your point claiming that I think referendum are bad … do try and break the habits of a lifetime and actually stop to read something. I stated nothing of the sort.

  242. persephone — on 2nd December, 2009 at 2:21 am  

    “Bigears is sound on the horrors of modern architecture* and organic husbandry and having a decent aesthetic environment”

    Cor blimey I agree with Binky – but only on the organic aspect.

    As to Prince Charles he potentially would be in favour of minarets as (largely) they are classical in nature.

  243. persephone — on 2nd December, 2009 at 2:26 am  

    “ The Mosques are our barracks, their domes are our helmets, the minarets are our bayonets and the believers are our soldiers.”

    I always thought minarets were the islamic version of church spires myself. Etymologically, the word spire is derived from Anglo-Saxon, so it is related to “spear”.

    Symbolically, spires have two functions. The first is to proclaim a martial power. A spire, with its reminiscence of the spear point, gives the impression of strength. The second is to reach up toward the skies – aspiring to reach heaven. A spire on a church or cathedral is not just a symbol of piety, but is often seen as a symbol of the wealth and prestige of the order, or patron who commissioned the building. The battlements of cathedrals featured multiple spires in the Gothic style are in imitation of the secular military fortress.

    But where it gets confusing is when, speaking of the steeples, spires and other forms of idolatrous high places, God expressed to Israel His contempt for such structures in Leviticus 26:30: “And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.”

    And what would He make of this Church in Lucerne with two spires: http://www.fotosearch.com/FSD357/x12251748/

    An ardent feminist would focus on the provenance of spires & steeples being from pagan times when such obelisk structures were symbolic of male power.

    It all depends on your point of reference. And thats the rub because it can be quite individual.

    A referendum does not take account of that nor of personal/group think hypocrisy.

  244. persephone — on 2nd December, 2009 at 3:04 am  

    “I’m going to stop wasting my time with you “

    Oh dear. But you keep naming me in your comments when I am away from PP, including a few times yesterday on this very thread….?

    Even if your comments are getting repetitive & tediously 'on message' there are enough commenters here who will not let you control the debate to suit your motives.

  245. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 3:05 am  

    I will respond to you when I get round to it.

    A couple of points. How many examples of me being called a Nazi would be enough for you? 2? 3? 10? And what about “racist” or “BNP supporter”?

    As for my parents being mentioned in a negative comment, I’m reminded of the occasion when you denied I had been accused on these pages of being a Nazi. I gave you an example and you said that once wasn’t enough. Will you move the goal-posts when I show you an example involving my parents? Will you claim that a negative comment is somehow not ‘insulting’ enough to count?

    Judging by the way you’ve phrased your ‘cross-examination’ I do assume you will.

    As for your ‘conditions’ they’re childish. I don’t want you to stop commenting here. You’ve posted some really interesting stuff. The only times you resort to twattery is with your personal campaign against me.

    Remember, you’ve regularly accused me of being an impostor. Saying that I’m not Iranian born. That felt insulting. I’m used to it now, but initially I was very irritated by it.

    You saw Fogee’s responses when you and your buddies tried it on him. He got angry. He became very rude and threatening. It’s understandable.

    That’s not my style. I try to avoid personal attacks but I’m not immune to twattery. I can clearly be provoked into making points in unnecessarily offensive ways. I recognise it as a weakness and I regret it. Not the points I’ve made, but the offensive and uncouth way that some of them have been made. This is a blog. I type quickly. I post immediately. I get it off my chest. I don’t always think deeply enough about the way I’ve phrased my comments.

    Jai, imagine if every other post I addressed to you accused you of pretending to be a Sikh.

    At some point wouldn’t you become pissed-off too.

    Nevertheless, I have no intention not commenting on these pages. If you or Sunny want to ban me, then that’s your prerogative.

    I actually read your posts and when they’re not attacking me personally, I find them to be very worthwhile.

    You clearly have a bee in your bonnet about this. I understand that you feel I’ve offended you personally, even if it wasn’t my attention. I’ve tried apologising to you, but it wasn’t enough. But understand this: The very fact that I’m spending any time discussing these irrelevances with you is because I regret offending you. Despite the fact that you are a stranger to me. Just a name on a blog.

    So I’ll find those examples when I can.

    All I ask in return is that you drop the personal attacks. Attack my argument. Ridicule it. Insult it. Condemn it. Or ignore it.

    But do everyone here a favour and stop cluttering up these pages with your obsessive and paranoid campaign against me personally.

  246. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2009 at 3:36 am  

    My brother shares my views. I work with an ethnic-Nigerian guy who agrees with many aspects of what I say. I have other non-indigenous friends who broadly agree with me. But you assume that people can only have my views if they are white supremacists.

    You could say that you work with Mother Teresa and she agrees with your views, or that you are Nigerian yourself. It's irrelevant and not an argument. Your “race replacement speech” is racist because you accuse non-whites of wanting to destroy Britain because of deep hatred against whites, and you are spouting the white supremacist narrative by saying that non-whites had absolutely no contributions to the development of this country, or indeed the Western world. Oh, and that non-whites conspire want to destroy white societies. That makes you a white supremacist, and if you are not white, that makes you an utter moron.

    But understandable. You know people like me have won the argument.

    If that was the case, you would not be here trying time after time to make a case (even if it is not clear what would you do if you were in government and how would that be different from the BNP), only to be refuted by our regulars. And you never respond to follow-up questions, because at least you realise they inevitably lead you to admit that you are wrong. And that's because you get your facts and history wrong, you get your logic wrong , and here you are, thinking you won the “argument”.

  247. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2009 at 3:58 am  

    Ravi

    That's simply superb.

    Well said.

  248. persephone — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:14 am  

    “Actually, many Iranians of the type you speak of call themselves “Persians”. But you'd know that.”

    This is another example of you changing the subject when one of your faux pas is spotted. As you well know my comment related to your unusual naming of your native country not individuals e.g. I have never heard an Iranian call Iran a s***hole.

  249. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:15 am  

    Reza

    How is your free supply of Toblerones and Nescafe enemas?

    Can you now please answer my question about climate change and what you would do? Its a very important. I can understand that you might think its a trap, do not be afraid. Its a trap if you haven't worked out what you are about, otherwise it will be an exercise is logic.

  250. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:15 am  

    The ideology of moral and cultural equivalence, the bastard offspring of multiculturalism and the idea that ‘diversity’ was somehow to be ‘celebrated’ as a ‘strength’ didn’t happen over-night. It has been an incremental process. A cancer that has eaten away at European society, ignoring precedent, logic and rational reality.

    It’s clear you’re not interested what writers and thinkers have to say.

    If you bothered to read Caldwell, you’d understand how we got to this stage. How the logic behind our journey has been flawed. If you read Jonathan sacks, you’d understand why multiculturalism was created and why it has failed.

    But you won’t. You’re a ‘believer’. Faith doesn’t require evidence.

    As for personal experience I’m not surprised that this means nothing to you.

    This is a symptom of the leftist mind. I read recently that on immigration, that the electorate are told to ignore what they see with their own eyes and believe what the government tells them they’re seeing. You like that don’t you?

    Oriana Fallaci wrote of the journey that inspired her hatred of the ideology Islam, “I’ve seen and experienced too much”. And if you knew anything about her you’d know she had.

    My views are simple: Diversity isn’t always a strength. It is as much a weakness. Immigration doesn’t always ‘enrich’ a society. It also impoverishes society on many levels. Islam is not a religion equivalent to other religions. It is also a dangerous, expansionist and fascistic ideology. All cultures are not morally equivalent. Some are defective. When a cultural or religious group fails it is not always the fault of the group that succeeds.

    And my main point is that Europeans are increasingly accepting these inconvenient truths. They don’t support multiculturalism. Mass third-world immigration. Islamification.

    I post evidence to support that claim as well as my views.

    But you and your buddies simply repeat the same irrational mantras. The unsubstantiated pronouncements of ‘believers’.

    And demonstrate your contempt for the views of the majority by calling them ‘racist’ or blaming the Daily Mail.

    It’s over. For the first time in years I feel optimistic for the future. Your way is finished.

  251. Jai — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:20 am  

    A couple of points. How many examples of me being called a Nazi would be enough for you? 2? 3? 10?

    More than 1, with these “examples” having occurred soon after you began commenting on this website. As per your original allegation, which you subsequently repeated. I can provide direct quotes and URL links confirming the latter.

    I’m reminded of the occasion when you denied I had been accused on these pages of being a Nazi. I gave you an example and you said that once wasn’t enough. Will you move the goal-posts when I show you an example involving my parents?

    No, I denied that you had been repeatedly called a Nazi and that these alleged incidents occurred soon after you began commenting on this website. Again, as per your original allegations.

    And bear in mind that after you resorted to the extremely childish playground tactic of repeatedly insulting my father, you attempted to justify it by accusing me and other commenters of having previously made similarly offensive remarks about your parents. I challenged you to provide evidence that I had ever made any such derogatory remarks about them. You subsequently backtracked — but claimed that you distinctly “remember” other commenters being guilty of this allegation.

    The only person “moving the goalposts” is you.

    You saw Fogee’s responses when you and your buddies tried it on him. He got angry. He became very rude and threatening. It’s understandable.

    I have never addressed any posts to Fogee, either directly or indirectly, let alone “trying it on with him”. Your statement is yet another example of you lying or remembering things that never occurred.

    I think you'd agree, if you were completely honest with yourself, that this repeated pattern of behaviour on your part is indicative of a deeper disorder.

    I don’t always think deeply enough about the way I’ve phrased my comments.
    …..Just a name on a blog.

    That's another example of the basic problem. The other commenters are not “just names on a blog”. These are real people participating on this website. The wider silent audience also consists of real people. The fact that, more often than not, this doesn't register with you, and you obsessively persist in writing irrelevant, tangential, rhetoric-filled, and long, long, long grandstanding speeches to God-knows-whom, whilst conveniently ignoring every piece of factual and historical information which contradicts your frequently-misinformed assertions, and still claim that you have a history of “winning the argument”, is once again indicative of a much deeper problem on your part.

    And that's before we even address your hallucinatory, paranoid conspiracy theories about “hatred of the indigenous British” and non-white British citizens wanting to “destroy this country”.

    As several of us have now repeatedly said, 'psychological projection' is a clinical psychiatric disorder. Coupled with the sheer scale of cognitive dissonance you have persistently demonstrated, perhaps you need to rein in your narcissistic need for importance and attention, and start giving serious consideration to the fact that it is your own distorted perceptions and behaviour which is the fundamental problem.

    So I’ll find those examples when I can.

    Here, let me help you:

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=site:www

    The fact that you arrogantly levelled a challenge at me but didn’t have the guts or the integrity to put your own neck on the line by accepting my simple counter-challenge speaks volumes.

    Either way, the results confirm that you were deliberately lying or suffering from psychotic false memories.

    And again, since this is a consistently repeated pattern of behaviour, it is indicative of a much more severe problem on your part.

    Perhaps that is something you need to take some time out to reflect on, and therefore you should do everyone a favour by desisting from cluttering up these pages with your obsessive and paranoid campaign against Muslims and indeed anyone who is not white. If you have even a shred of self-awareness and self-respect, you will call it a day, before you humiliate and discredit yourself even more than you already have.

  252. Jai — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:21 am  

    Agreed. Very well said, Ravi.

  253. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:28 am  

    The Islamic Republic of Iran is a sh*thole. Persia was doomed to become a sh*thole following the Arab invasion and the forced-conversion and replacement of its Zoroastrian culture with the barbaric Arab ideology of Islam.

    History is littered with great civilisations made extinct by Islam.

  254. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:31 am  

    It’s over. For the first time in years I feel optimistic for the future. Your way is finished.

    Please. Can you articulate what exactly is going to change that makes you so optimistic? What exactly would you change?

  255. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:36 am  

    This is a ridiculously hypothetical scenario. So much so that it is meaningless.

    I’ve heard it said that demographic change is to all intents and purposes the same as war slowed down.

    If millions of people from the north suddenly began moving south, then I expect that the peoples of the south would repel them with force.

  256. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2009 at 4:41 am  

    Reza,

    Not ridiculous at all. I would like a full answer please.

  257. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2009 at 5:32 am  

    Refresh

    Giving a full answer would require some logical thinking and ability to analyse facts and come up with a coherent response. Do you really believe Mr. Reza (the one who has seen the truth) is capable of completing those basic neurological functions?

    I doubt it. And I am sure his inability is somehow the fault of the british asians – the ones you know who do so well in school and almost all go to university and very few live on the state – how dare we do that?

    How dare did so many of our forefathers die fighting for the crown? How dare we contribute so much to medical sciences and health care delivery in this country? And talk about banking and other professions – we have all gotten through the quota system.

    Its all part of our conspiracy to express our hatred for the white man – I am sure this is the kind of response you would be getting.

    Reza is a dumb, insolent fool who repeats itself like a broken record – stuck in his own mindnumbing incoherent flawed logic. But as you know when you repeat something many times even you start believing its true.

    He is a true believer — I will give him that. However, as we all know is faith is misplaced like Anjem Chaudhary. I think Reza and Anjem should debate each other – it would be a sight to see.

    ***********************************************

    Reza – give it up. Your logic did not win jack shit. It only seems so to you as you continuously fail to answer pretty simple arguments such as why only pick islam when the followers of that religion do not hold the monopoly of indiscriminate killing in the name of God? It has been around for centuries.

    But logic is not your forte – read Caldwell is the best you could do. I would say read Augustine, benjamin Franklin, John Rawles etc etc. Read Amartya Sen as well. You might learn something — and guess what on this blog people who write have done some reading before. So don't feel shy – be a good boy and do some reading and then come back please. Maybe pick up some secondary level critical reasoning books and practice. Good idea right?

  258. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 5:34 am  

    Don

    Regarding democracy.

    Clearly the definition of “democracy” is a broad one. And one that is very easy to manipulate. The Soviets described their system as democracy. The Iranian government claims to be the most democratic in the world given the very large mandate it has from the Iranian electorate due to high voter participation.

    The definition of “democratic” however is simpler to explain.

    It means that the government should act in a way that broadly reflects the wishes and interests of the majority. And that everyone should have the right to hold whatever view they wish to hold, and if there is enough support for that view, then that view should not be prevented from having a platform by any state instrument.

    I accept that referenda are not the best way to run a country.

    I don’t actually believe that an issue such as the one being discussed here is necessarily appropriate for a referendum.

    However, when a national policy is likely to have a massive effect on the people, then a referendum should be called and the people should be asked.

    The Lisbon treaty is an example of this. Immigration policy even more so, as the effects of that policy are even more far-reaching and ultimately irreversible.

    Furthermore, the fundamental principle of democracy must be absolute freedom of speech. As long as the speaker does not call others to harm anyone.

    In Britain we don’t have freedom of speech. We have draconian ‘race’ and ‘equality’ laws that prevent many views from being heard. We have ‘no-platform’ policies in our public institutions that prevent any discussion of criticism of immigration policy, foreign cultures or any religions.

    Our democracy has been abused for decades, with ideologically motivate policies and deceit from a political class that are experts in manipulating the system. I evidenced this earlier:-

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6701#co

    When you look at how the political class have deceived and manipulated the electorate then it does seem that the Swiss system of allowing people to force referenda would act as a safeguard to these types of abuse.

    “If it were possible to rid Europe of Islam completely but at the cost of abandoning democratic rights such as equality before the law and freedom of belief, would you see that as a bargain worth making?”

    This is a very good question.

    I would never support the abandonment of equality before the law. Neither do I support abandoning freedom of belief.

    I absolutely support freedom of belief. But currently we don’t have that as I demonstrated here:-

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6701#co

    The massive hole in your point is your assumption that all religions are morally equivalent. That is no less absurd than saying that all political ideologies are morally equivalent.

    I would never ban Islam. However, I believe that it is totally appropriate for a society to define what is and what is not acceptable. Just because a religion ‘says so’ doesn’t make something acceptable.

    Currently, Islam is whatever any Muslim says it is and demands ‘accommodation’ for. This is ridiculous.

    You wrote earlier about the niqab or burkha. I wouldn’t ban them. However, I do not believe that the wearing of that garb should be treated as a religious right and defended by our discrimination laws.

    A practical example would be to compare it with other extreme dress. A business owner can refuse to employ or even admit someone onto their premises who is wearing a BNP badge or a balaclava.

    The same right should apply with regard to wearers of the niqab.

    Another example. A white racist would not be allowed to demand that their child be prevented from sitting next to a black child in school.

    Similarly it is unacceptable for a Muslim parent to demand that their child is not allowed to sit with, touch or associate with children of the opposite sex, as is currently the case. You get the idea?

    I briefly described some more ideas on this here:-

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6701#co

    You make some very valid points, however, like many others on the left, your thinking, when it comes to the sacred cows of ‘ethnic minority’ cultures and religions, becomes irrational and muddled by a baggage of moral relativism.

    Can you understand the point I’m making?

  259. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 5:49 am  

    You got my answer:

    “If millions of people from the north suddenly began moving south, then I expect that the peoples of the south would repel them with force.”

  260. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2009 at 6:05 am  

    The massive hole in your point is your assumption that all religions are morally equivalent.

    The point that you make then is that it's up to society (as in the majority or the government) to decided which beliefs or religions are morally superior than others, and then impose those beliefs to the rest of the population.

    I think that a lot of people would hate to live in such a system. And there is a name for such systems.

    I also think that a white racist should have the right to their own beliefs, demand that his child be sat next to a white child, or any other racist demand. We live in a liberal Democracy and every citizen has the right to demand things from their governments and officials, and the world doesn't come to an end. Instead, it opens opportunities for a debate on issues.

    And demanding doesn't mean you get what you want. And you should know that.

  261. Kulvinder — on 2nd December, 2009 at 6:05 am  

    A cancer that has eaten away at European society, ignoring precedent, logic and rational reality.

    What precedent?! what does that even mean?!!?! Who ignored logic and rational reality?!

    As for personal experience I’m not surprised that this means nothing to you.

    This is a symptom of the leftist mind.

    My personal philosophy is best (though not completely) described by anarchism so your labelling of 'leftist' is hopelessly misplaced.

    I read recently that on immigration, that the electorate are told to ignore what they see with their own eyes and believe what the government tells them they’re seeing. You like that don’t you?

    I couldn't care less; personal liberty and property define social relationships for me, not nations or states.

    And my main point is that Europeans are increasingly accepting these inconvenient truths.

    goddamnithowmanytimescansomeoneask WHICH EUROPEANS?!? Are you defining this along the lines of the CoE or EU? You just headbutted the keyboard and cameout with another meaningless sentence; well fine heres one for you

    The lisbon treaty points to the fact europeans are less inclined to see themselves as europeans.

    They don’t support multiculturalism. Mass third-world immigration. Islamification.

    Point out when they did! go on when was third world migration popular? what time period was that in then? when did islamification become the objective of any state within the EU or CoE? because they had to have supported it at some point for that to make any sense whatsoever.

    I post evidence to support that claim as well as my views.

    well then i assume its a mistake in your html coding; because we can't find any. Heres how to do it.

    Repost the links; i look forward to reading about the time europe supported islamic theocracy in the post war period.

  262. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 6:38 am  

    “I also think that a white racist should have the right to their own beliefs, demand that his child be sat next to a white child, or any other racist demand without persecution.”

    Really? I’m thrown.

    Your moral equivalence is consistent and therefore worthy of respect, regardless of whether or not I might disagree with you. I’ve never come across that viewpoint before.

    But you must realise that allowing those rights would have far reaching implications.

    Would you support the abolition of our so-called race and equality industry with it’s associated laws?

    Allow people to say whatever they want wherever they want, live however they want, demand whatever they want, rent their homes to and employ whomever they want?

    Outlaw ‘No Platform’ policies and establish absolute freedom of speech?

    Interesting.

    “And demanding doesn't mean you get what you want.”

    Agreed. However, saying that your demands are to accommodate your ‘cultural’ or ‘religious’ beliefs certainly seems to help. Particularly is you are able to define yourself as a ‘victim’ group.

    I too believe that people should be allowed to ‘demand’ whatever they wish. As long as it is a level playing field. And as long as those people realise that a society has the absolute right to say “no” if it doesn’t believe that those demands are consistent with its values.

    Despite your obvious hostility to me, I actually thought that your earlier posts regarding the minaret ban and your acknowledgement that Islam is being treated differently to other religions were very perceptive and sound.

  263. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2009 at 7:03 am  

    Reza, its what you omit from your incomplete responses that I am interested in. Here is what I originally put to you:

    One other point I'd like you to address – what will you do when there is a major dislocation and movement of populations due to climate change?

    Consider two possible scenarios:

    1. The north is flooded and populations need to move south.
    2. The south becomes a desert and people move north.

    What should the south do to protect the little they have? And what would you do to keep those repulsive immigrants out?

    Do you think you would invade the South to gain territory and resources, or would you seek accomodation with your southern neighbours as we saw in 'Day after Tomorrow' – where they crossed the Rio Grande?

  264. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 7:05 am  

    “What precedent?! what does that even mean?!!?! Who ignored logic and rational reality?”

    This question is difficult to answer in anything less than one thousand words. I know you hate this but you’d discover what I mean by “precedent” if you tried reading Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945.

    http://www.amazon.com/Postwar-History-Europe-Si

    This isn’t a right-wing or political book. But it does describe how Europe ‘ethnically cleansed’ itself into fairly homogenous nations following WW2 and how this was inevitable.

    “WHICH EUROPEANS?!?”

    Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years you must have noticed the massive shift to the right throughout Europe. Geert Wilders runs the single most popular party in the Netherlands. The Danish Peoples Party is part of the coalition government in Denmark.

    The ruling parties of Italy, France, Austria and Germany are adopting policies that would have once been described as ‘Far-Right’.

    Here, we have Labour politicians like Woolas and Field adopting (as Sunny has implied) “the language of the BNP”.

    That’s what I mean.

    “Point out when they did! go on when was third world migration popular? what time period was that in then? when did islamification become the objective of any state within the EU or CoE? because they had to have supported it at some point for that to make any sense whatsoever.”

    Europeans have never supported those policies. But they were forced on them just the same. However, even 10 years ago, vocal opposition to immigration, multiculturalism and Islamification was the preserve of fringe parties. It is now mainstream.

    As for evidence, I regularly post links to opinion polls demonstrating the majority’s opposition to immigration, multiculturalism and Islam as well as quotes from mainstream politicians and commentators. Look for them yourself.

    And if my triumphalism irritates you, then understand that I’ve held broadly similar views for around 15 years.

    Back then it was impossible to repeat in public what is openly discussed today without being shouted down as a ‘racist’.

    If you can’t see the paradigm shift in the public mood then you’re deluding yourself.

  265. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 7:07 am  

    I believe that either of your scenarios would lead to war.

  266. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 7:27 am  

    “The point that you make then is that it's up to society (as in the majority or the government) to decide which beliefs or religions are morally superior than others, and then either impose those beliefs to the rest of the population or ban them.”

    No. Not ban them. Nor impose them.

    It is simply a question of tolerance.

    Surely you must accept that tolerance cannot be without limit?

    Nude sunbathing in public spaces harms no one. Yet it would appal and offend most people in the middle-east. It doesn’t in some parts of Europe.

    Society has a right to say what levels of tolerance it feels comfortable with.

    Furthermore, if you do go down the road of moral equivalence then you must be consistent. Currently we’re not.

    A BNP member can be sacked from the police for the views he holds. Yet a Muslim cannot. Regardless of whether that Muslim happened to believe in a version of Islam every bit as repulsive as racist-socialism.

  267. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2009 at 7:27 am  

    Your moral equivalence is consistent and therefore worthy of respect, regardless of whether or not I might disagree with you. I’ve never come across that viewpoint before.

    Do you think that people should be persecuted for making demands? Are people persecuted for asking a white doctor instead of an Asian one? I hope not. One the other hand, the hospital or the school that meets racial demands would be in trouble.

    However, saying that your demands are to accommodate your ‘cultural’ or ‘religious’ beliefs certainly seems to help. Particularly is you are able to define yourself as a ‘victim’ group.

    A tolerant society accommodates people's demands as long it is not done at the expense of others. Mind you, this is not a black-and-white issue, and there is always room for debate.

    Despite your obvious hostility to me

    I found your “race replacement speech” particularly odious.

  268. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 7:46 am  

    “Do you think that people should be persecuted for making demands? Are people persecuted for asking a white doctor instead of an Asian one? I hope not. One the other hand, the hospital or the school that meets racial demands would be in trouble.”

    You might remember this case:-

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/h

    Are you saying that it’s right for the hospital or the school that meets racial demands to be in trouble?

    “A tolerant society accommodates people's demands as long it is not done at the expense of others. Mind you, this is not a black-and-white issue, and there is always room for debate.”

    Exactly. However, very often ‘demands’ do end up being at the expense of others to some extent or other. The majority culture and values should also be respected. I made an example recently regarding public nudity that illustrates this.

    In his book “The Home We Build Together”, Jonathan Sacks also defines “the common good” as another consideration that should be taken into account when deciding what should and should not be tolerated.

    This is a difficult and highly subjective issue. But the answer is not the free-for-all non-judgementalism that we currently have.

    An example. If an unemployed and incompetent woman wishes to have child after child to different fathers then there is nothing that we as a society should be able to do about that. However, it is wrong to automatically provide ever-increasing levels of social care, housing and welfare benefits to fund that lifestyle choice.

    “I found your “race replacement speech” particularly odious.”

    It wasn’t a speech, it was a rant, and I regret the way I phrased it.

  269. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2009 at 7:50 am  

    Society has a right to say what levels of tolerance it feels comfortable with.

    How does that work? Who is the “society” (majority? government?) and in what way can society enforce what things are accepted, and what things are not? In any case, what you said is not, in my view, consistent to your reply to Don, where you said: I would never support the abandonment of equality before the law. Neither do I support abandoning freedom of belief.

    What if out of nowhere, society was convinced that the Koran was a terrorist manual and should not be tolerated. How would you then protect the individual freedoms of Muslims and maintaining freedom of beliefs?

  270. MiriamBinder — on 2nd December, 2009 at 8:02 am  

    This discussion has certainly strayed. Oh well, as long as you are having fun I suppose … keep up the mutual hammering.

  271. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 9:14 am  

    We have laws. For example incest. If a cultural group came here and wanted to marry their siblings then I don't believe that there would be anything wrong with saying no, that's against the law. And if there was a debate about it among our elected representatives, then I believe that they should decide whether or not it should be tolerated based upon whether it harmed anyone AND to what extent it was offensive to the customs or culture of the electorate they are supposed to represent.

    Otherwise, where do you draw the line? You didn't respond to my point on public nudity. Why should a naturist be prevented from going to Tesco naked? Who are they harming?

    A while ago we discussed polygamy. It is now appeased by the state, for certain immigrants, despite being technically illegal. This is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with being consistent. If our government is to legalize polygamy then it should be legalized for everyone. If they don't believe that it should be legal, then make it illegal for everyone.

    As you repeated “equality before the law”.

    And if you wish to go down the moral equivalence road, then it is wrong to set any limits on freedom of belief. If a racist wishes to set up a student society, then a university has no place banning that society, refusing to fund it nor refusing to allow the members of that society to speak publicly about their beliefs.

    Do you accept this? Or should “freedom” only have limits as long as those limits are defined according to YOUR principles?

    I thought I'd been clear on the Koran. Even if it was found to be a terrorist manual, it shouldn't be banned and no one should (or could) be prevented from from believing it.

    As for the freedoms of “Muslims”, as citizens of this country their rights should be no more and no less than anyone else's.

    However, the level to which we tolerate, accommodate and make allowances for ANYONE'S views has to take into account what those views are.

    I'm sick of hearing about “the vast majority of moderate Muslims”. Or “Islamists”. Or “Muslim extremists”.

    What do those terms mean? Let us create a legal process to define those terms and write those definitions down.

    Then when someone demands an accommodation justified on the claim that “it's part of Islam” the school, hospital, public or private institution can say “yes” or “no” after consulting the definition of what does and does not constitute 'acceptable' or “moderate” Islam.

    Otherwise where do you draw the line?

    It is intellectually flawed to by default 'tolerate' any demand based on the claim that it is part of someone's religion. You gave very good examples on this previously.

    And if you do want to create a situation where so-called 'harmless' demands should be accommodated without regard to the sensitivities of the majority, then it is wrong to set any limits whatsoever nor favour a demand because the 'demander' claims that their demand is 'religious'.

  272. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2009 at 9:18 am  

    'I'm sick of hearing about “the vast majority of moderate Muslims”. Or “Islamists”. Or “Muslim extremists”.

    And I am sick of your mendacious output. The only solace we have is picturing that Toblerone getting larger by the post.

  273. MiriamBinder — on 2nd December, 2009 at 9:58 am  

    “I'm sick of hearing about “the vast majority of moderate Muslims”. Or “Islamists”. Or “Muslim extremists”.” states Reza.

    Are you of the opinion then that there is no difference? Do you honestly hold that we should tar everyone with a single brush? Where would you draw the line or do you hold with this across the board.

    For example:
    Some single parents are benefit cheats ergo all single parents are benefit cheats
    Some skinheads are racist slobs ergo all skinheads are racists yobs.
    Some fathers are paedophiles ergo all fathers are paedophiles.

    Etcetera and so forth …

  274. Jai — on 2nd December, 2009 at 10:29 am  

    I'm sick of hearing about “the vast majority of moderate Muslims”.

    And carry on blaming the ignorant masses mislead by the Daily Mail.

    And demonstrate your contempt for the views of the majority by calling them ‘racist’ or blaming the Daily Mail.

    Ironically, the Daily Mail itself actually opposes the bigotted views about Muslims being promoted by our alleged Iranian commenter, along with the actions of Switzerland in relation to minarets:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-12322

    Quotes:

    The initiative was the handiwork of the Right-wing Swiss Freedom Party, whose campaign poster featured the red and white Swiss flag on which were superimposed a woman in a burqa and minarets bristling like ballistic missiles.

    The clear implication was that minarets were 'symbols of power', a fear indirectly fuelled by the Turkish prime minister who recently stupidly described minarets as 'bayonets of the faith'.

    Fear of this prospect resonates in a country where many Muslims are from Turkey.

    That a majority of Swiss should seek to prohibit the erection of minarets, while emphatically retaining Muslim freedom of worship, is surprising.

    After all, a minaret is no more objectionable in itself than any other example of religious architecture; indeed, like church spires, they are usually extremely graceful. Switzerland, like many members of the Muslim faith, also prides itself on its tradition of tolerance.

    …..Nor has Switzerland experienced the suburban strife of disaffected Muslim youth in France or the tragic terrorist bombings which have struck Britain, Spain and the U.S.

    The country's 400,000 Muslims also constitute a mere 5percent of the population and come from largely sophisticated, European countries such as Bosnia or Turkey, where a moderate brand of Islam is the norm

    …..This is a shame. Islam is a largely peaceful faith and there is much an increasingly amoral West could learn from its veneration of family and the elderly.

    …..The moderate peaceful Islamic majority [in Britain] – and it really is a majority

  275. Reza — on 2nd December, 2009 at 11:20 am  

    “Are you of the opinion then that there is no difference? Do you honestly hold that we should tar everyone with a single brush? Where would you draw the line or do you hold with this across the board. “

    Absolutely not!

    I am saying exactly the opposite. It should have been perfectly clear if you’d understood the context in which I made that comment.

    What I'm saying is that we need to define what we mean by “moderate” and “extremist.”

    What I’m “sick of hearing” are these terms being used by people on the left and right as well as Muslims themselves without any agreement as to what they mean.

    For example, what is a “moderate” Muslim:-

    1. A Muslim who doesn’t want to blow us up?
    2. A Muslim who supports our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?
    3. A Muslim who supports secular democracy?
    4. A Muslim who respects non-Muslims and British values?
    5. A Muslim who doesn’t support hudud punishments? (killing women for sex outside of marriage, killing apostates, limb amputation etc.)
    6. A Muslim who supports secular law over sharia law?
    7. A Muslim who doesn’t wear the niqab or hejab?
    8. A Muslim who eats pork and drinks alcohol?

    Ask a dozen people on the left, a dozen on the right and a dozen Muslims and I predict you’ll get 36 different definitions.

    That’s why we’re in this ridiculous situation when people, who happen to be Muslim, make outrageous demands and claim “my religion demands it”. What religion?

    And that’s why our government regularly embarrasses itself by engaging with a ‘moderate’ Muslim organization then discovering that there is nothing ‘moderate’ about it.

  276. Kulvinder — on 2nd December, 2009 at 11:32 am  

    Can the relevant mods approve my comments

  277. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2009 at 11:39 am  

    We have laws. For example incest. If a cultural group came here and wanted to marry their siblings then I don't believe that there would be anything wrong with saying no, that's against the law. And if there was a debate about it among our elected representatives, I believe that they should decide whether or not it should be tolerated based upon whether it harmed anyone AND to what extent it was offensive to the customs or culture of the electorate they are supposed to represent.

    Otherwise, where do you draw the line?I believe that they should decide whether or not it should be tolerated based upon whether it harmed anyone AND to what extent it was offensive to the customs or culture of the electorate they are supposed to represent.

    That is certainly something to consider but is not a requirement, not in the slightest. Just think about the women's rights, civil rights, end of apartheid, gay's rights and so on. Sometimes social policies need to be in place first before society gets used to it.

    Why should a naturist be prevented from going to Tesco naked? Who are they harming?

    In urban areas, the rest of us. It is not hygienic. And let's not talk about public transportation.

    If our government is to legalize polygamy then it should be legalized for everyone. If they don't believe that it should be legal, then make it illegal for everyone.

    Absolutely. But I do not believe that there are exceptions when it comes to poligamy in this country. No one is allowed to marry with multiple people here.

    If a racist wishes to set up a student society, then a university has no place banning that society, refusing to fund it nor refusing to allow the members of that society to speak publicly about their beliefs.

    Universities have absolutely no obligation to fund or to give platform to anyone for whatever reason. Specially if its whole purpose is to spout hate against other students.

    I thought I'd been clear on the Koran. Even if it was found to be a terrorist manual, it shouldn't be banned and no one should (or could) be prevented from from believing it.

    You were overly excited with the Swiss referendum, which you said it was the true form of democracy. What prevents the Swiss in your view from having a referendum about banning the Koran in Switzerland?

    What do those terms mean? Let us create a legal process to define those terms and write those definitions down.

    Why do you feel the need to single out Muslims? To me, an extremist (regardless of religion) is someone who engages in hate speech against group X, and/or uses violence to achieve their means. That's a generic template that works for any group.

    Then when someone demands an accommodation justified on the claim that “it's part of Islam” the school, hospital, public or private institution can say “yes” or “no” after consulting the definition of what does and does not constitute 'acceptable' or “moderate” Islam.

    Or then again, we can look at demands as they come, and like adults decide whether it is reasonable or not. The use of niqab by teachers was deemed not reasonable because children could not see the teacher's face and understand correctly what is being said, and therefore hindered their education. And there you go, our nation survived.

  278. MiriamBinder — on 2nd December, 2009 at 2:00 pm  

    The definition of a moderate Muslim should be fairly self explanatory given the context within which the term is used. Your questions seeking to search for clarification regarding the term/s (note I use the definitive rather then the indefinite article) actually are various aspects of moderation, aside from questions 5, 7 or 8 which actually address degrees of observance.

    Regarding your point of asking a variety of dozens to give you a definition and anticipating that you will get as many diverse answers … well, such is the nature of language. Each individual answer will carry with it a degree of idiosyncratic meaning; depending on which relative shades of meaning are of particular salience to that given individual. Suffice that there is a broad definition in order for meaning to be clear between individuals who share the same language.

    As for your claim that it is a lack of clarification regarding the precise definition of specific terms that has brought us to the point where, and I quote “… people, who happen to be Muslim, make outrageous demands and claim “my religion demands it”.”
    Well, where does one start? One doesn't really start. Demands have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not the demander is moderate, militant, extremist, orthodox, ultra or otherwise. Demanding in itself doesn't confer any qualifier; other then perhaps the added moniker bottomless pit.

    As for claiming that it is a lack of clarification that leads to a government, whether ours or any other, into the embarrassing situation where it has engaged with a perceived moderate Muslim organisation only tot hen find that it is anything but. Again, that has very little to do with the issue of clarification but rather a lack of sufficient in-depth research and recognisance prior to said engagement.

  279. Reza — on 3rd December, 2009 at 1:30 am  

    “That is certainly something to consider but is not a requirement, not in the slightest. Just think about women's rights, civil rights, end of apartheid, gay's rights and so on. Sometimes social policies need to be put in place before society gets used to it.”

    But the social policies you mention above had a reasonable level of public support. I don’t believe that it is democratic to inflict social policies on a population when those policies have very little public support. Immigration is an example. If you look at the polls over decades, a significant majority of the population has consistently opposed high levels of immigration, yet has suffered it just the same.

    “In urban areas, the rest of us. It is not hygienic. And let's not talk about public transportation.”

    What a cop-out! Okay, let’s say we can deal with the hygiene aspect. Perhaps a thin gauze sarong that would keep bus-seats clean. Why shouldn’t a naturist be allowed to wonder through a shopping centre with their breasts exposed?

    What about a student who wishes to go to college in a rubber gimp suit complete with rubber mask? If that’s what makes them comfortable, why not?

    That’s right Ravi, because you, possibly your family and the vast majority of British people would find it offensive. But the burqa is okay isn’t it? However offensive it is? Because those ‘offended’ people need ‘educating'?

    “Absolutely. But I do not believe that there are exceptions when it comes to polygamy in this country. No one is allowed to marry with multiple people here.”

    No, but if they enter this country with multiple wives obtained abroad then our state recognises their arrangement and accommodates in with the welfare benefit and social housing systems.

    “Universities have absolutely no obligation to fund or to give platform to anyone for whatever reason. Specially if its whole purpose is to spout hate against other students.”

    What if that ‘racist’ party made it clear that it was opposed to “hate”? They simply believed that races were different and preferred associating with members of their own race? Another cop-out which sadly demonstrates that for you, ‘tolerance’ and moral relativity can have limits, as long as YOU choose what those limits are. It seem that you just don’t want the ‘ignorant’ majority to be allowed to choose those limits.

    Can you see this?.

    “You were overly excited with the Swiss referendum, which you said was the true form of democracy. What prevents the Swiss in your view from having a referendum about banning the Koran in Switzerland?”

    I don’t know what the Swiss constitution is, but the bedrock of every democracy has to be absolute freedom of speech and thought. Like the First Amendment in the US. That would ensure that the barriers to banning books are sufficiently strong.

    Would you support a ‘First Amendment’ in the UK?

    “Why do you feel the need to single out Muslims? To me, an extremist (regardless of religion) is someone who engages in hate speech against group X, and/or uses violence to achieve their means. That's a generic template that works for any group.”

    I would single out any ideology that has senior and influential members and leaders who regularly spout incitement to violence, sexism, homophobia and hatred of other groups.

    We single out the BNP don’t we? They’re constantly challenged aren’t they? That’s just common sense. No one says “the vast majority of non-racist BNP supporters” even if there is evidence that this might be the case. Because that would be stupid. Commonsense is not prejudice. There IS a problem with Islam. Whether or not that problem is simply its misinterpretation by Muslims, we have nevertheless a problem that has to be acknowledged. It has been demonstrated that a very high proportion of Muslims here and throughout the world have views that our society would deem as being “extreme”. If the same was the case for Sikhs or Christians then I would support the singling out of Sikh or Christian organisations for scrutiny.

    “Or then again, we can look at demands as they come, and like adults decide whether it is reasonable or not. The use of niqab by teachers was deemed not reasonable because children could not see the teacher's face and understand correctly what is being said, and therefore hindered their education. And there you go, our nation survived.”

    For now. How long before our ‘equality’ laws are applied to force employers to employ niqabis? And we’re also back to demographic change. What would the situation be when the Muslim population grows sufficiently large to force our society to bend to its demands?

  280. Reza — on 3rd December, 2009 at 2:11 am  

    “The definition of a moderate Muslim should be fairly self explanatory …”

    No Miriam, it is not “self explanatory”.

    The term is misunderstood by non-Muslims who don’t understand the subtleties of Islam and abused by some Muslims who wish to play down the extreme aspects of their belief system.

    I’ll give a practical example of what I mean:

    Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra of the MCB was interviewed on Channel 4 following revelations that “over one third of British Muslims would support killing converts”.

    On this he stated “This is un-Islamic. This is Britain. Islam demands that Muslims living in Britain must obey British law.”

    Now on the surface this sounds perfectly reasonable, and gullible leftes will have gleefully clapped their hands in approval that Islam definitely is a lovely, tolerant religion. A “moderate” belief system.

    However I recognised (and if you are a Muslim, you’ll recognise) that those words were chosen very carefully. As carefully as Nick Griffin chose his words on Question Time when responding to difficult questions that went to the heart of his ideology.

    So I wrote to Mogra and asked whether he would renounce, unequivocally, the killing or punishment of Muslims who change their religion both here and throughout the world. He didn’t. Because he couldn’t. The killing of ‘apostates’ is a fundamental part of Islam, supported by both the Qur’an and the hadith.

    Tariq Ramadan, the ‘great modern Islamist thinker’ and so-called ‘moderate’, has asked for a “moratorium” on hudud punishments (prescribed Islamic penalties such as corporal punishment, stoning and beheading for such ‘crimes’ as sex outside of marriage and apostasy). Not a ban. A “moratorium”.

    Ramadan, like many prominent Islamic scholars believes that hudud penalties are absolutely right. However, he says Muslims should wait until we have a ‘true’ Islamic state.

    Now imagine, if a KKK supporter asked for a “moratorium” on lynching black men. Would that make him a ‘moderate’?

    Of course not.

    So let’s have it out in the open.

    Let’s be clear exactly what we mean by “moderate”.

    Because once we are clear, then I’m certain that many, many Muslim organisations and commentators would be exposed as being anything but ‘moderate’.

    And if you are a Muslim, you’ll know that.

  281. MiriamBinder — on 3rd December, 2009 at 2:34 am  

    Well, there we go … at an impasse already. If you wish to discuss/debate linguistic theory, with particular reference to the regulation of meaning, the value of meaning and the philosophy of meaning, let me know and I'll happily engage with you. (Give me a few days though as I shall be moving home over the next few days). Not on this thread though Reza, it's been derailed enough and I daresay the derailing is far from over ;)

    On the other hand if you just want to make the point of throwing your rattle out t'pram ,,, that's fine by me too.

    And no, I am not a Muslim … I am a Jew by birth, and a secular humanist by conviction.

  282. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2009 at 3:27 am  

    But the social policies you mention above had a reasonable level of public support. I don’t believe that it is democratic to inflict social policies on a population when those policies have very little public support.

    Civil rights for blacks had very little support in America in the South states, yet it was enforced upon them. To you, the goal of a Democracy is to respect the will of the majority. To me, is to maintain the civil liberties and equality rights of individuals against tyranny of either the government or the majority. Most social policies that went on to restore the civil rights of minorities were done without the consent of the majority (which by the way, were the ones perpetuating the injustices in the first place).

    Why shouldn’t a naturist be allowed to wonder through a shopping centre with their breasts exposed?

    Here in London where I live, during the summer, women do dress with very little to the imagination, and some do topless in parks. I have nothing against that, and no one else cares about it. If women want to show their breasts in shopping centres, that's fine by me. I do think it is unhygienic to go on about naked in public and crowded places, which urban places are notorious for.

    What about a student who wishes to go to college in a rubber gimp suit complete with rubber mask? If that’s what makes them comfortable, why not?

    Absolutely. I hardly think anyone would object to that, specially in universities.

    That’s right Ravi, because you, possibly your family and the vast majority of British people would find it offensive.

    No, they wouldn't.

    What if that ‘racist’ party made it clear that it was opposed to “hate”? They simply believed that races were different and preferred associating with members of their own race? Another cop-out which sadly demonstrates that for you, ‘tolerance’ and moral relativity can have limits, as long as YOU choose what those limits are. It seem that you just don’t want the ‘ignorant’ majority to be allowed to choose those limits. Can you see this?.

    Actually I see what you mean quite well. Are you actually ranting because appealing for 'racialism' (separation of races) is not tolerated in universities and public platforms?
    Quite interesting coming from (pretend) you.

    Let me tell you what is wrong with that. First, every individual has *already* the right to associate to whom he or she wants, and that includes members of their own race, tribe or whatever. You do not need any society or political party to tell you that. Second, it is not up to the majority to decide what those limits are on this subject. Third, what is actually there to talk about the difference of races that prevents you from marrying someone outside your race, and that does not incite hate?

    Racialism is a politically correct word for racism.

  283. Reza — on 3rd December, 2009 at 4:51 am  

    Ravi

    I’ll agree to disagree on your first three responses else we’ll go round in circles forever. Suffice to say that I don’t believe that most British people wouldn’t be happy to be exposed to public nudity nor gimp masks. As for “maintain the civil liberties and equality rights of individuals against tyranny of either the government or the majority”, I’d support that. As long as there was a level playing field.

    There isn’t. Some minorities, and in particular Muslims, are currently being allowed to get away with demanding special and different treatment, as you acknowledged rather eloquently in an earlier comment in this debate.

    I will pull you up on your third point, directed at me. I accept that you probably misunderstood the reasons for my analogy of ‘racists’ in universities, but your assumption that this implied that I’d support them is insulting and offensive. I don’t and have never supported racism.

    I oppose all ‘exclusive’ societies from receiving funds in British universities. Whether that is a Jewish society, a Women’s society, a Men’s society an African Caribbean society or a hypothetical ‘white’ society. I believe that all publically-funded and supported societies should be open to membership from anyone whatever their race, sex, religion, sexual orientation etc.

    The point I was making was that you either have a ‘level playing field’ or you don’t. You either allow complete freedom of speech and thought or you don’t.

    If we can say that racist societies can be treated differently because of the beliefs of their members, then why not any organisation?

    Why should the fact that an ideology is called a religion prevent us from treating it differently if we, our society, or our elected representatives believe that the beliefs of its members are outside of what we consider to be tolerable?

    You seem to say that the beliefs of Muslims are by default ‘morally equivalent’ to the beliefs of anyone else.

    But the beliefs of ‘racists’ or ‘racialists’ are not.

    I’d be interested to know your views on the Dutch Reformed Church, a religion that believes that the Mark of Cain is black skin. They insist that they don’t hate black people. But they believe that god has cursed them.

    In your world, would it be okay to treat them differently or tolerate them less than say Sikhs?

  284. Reza — on 3rd December, 2009 at 5:32 am  

    “By the way Reza … you were the one who requested a definitive meaning. I merely gave you my professional opinion that your request cannot be fulfilled.”

    Are you saying that it is impossible to define the term “moderate” or “extreme” in relation to our laws and accepted societal values?

    This seems absurd. Can you explain what you mean?

  285. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2009 at 5:51 am  

    I don’t and have never supported racism.

    One more thing that we will agree to disagree. Your “race replacement” rant is clearly the words of someone who harbours hate against the presence of non-whites in Britain, no matter how you rephrase that (which by the way, you didn't bother to do).

    Whether that is a Jewish society, a Women’s society, a Men’s society an African Caribbean society or a hypothetical ‘white’ society. I believe that all publically-funded and supported societies should be open to membership from anyone whatever their race, sex, religion, sexual orientation etc.

    Actually, these societies are opened to anyone. And unlike your hypothetical white racialist society, these societies do not preach separation or exclusion.

    The point I was making was that you either have a ‘level playing field’ or you don’t. You either allow complete freedom of speech and thought or you don’t.

    You do not need to go into two extremes. Somewhere, there should be a balance. The negation of freedom of speech is censorship, and fortunately we do not have laws like in Germany and Austria which make it a crime to use nazi swastikas or deny the Holocaust. However, it does not mean we are obliged to give everyone the same platform, specially when people are determined to insult and offend people because how and where they are born.

    You seem to say that the beliefs of Muslims are by default ‘morally equivalent’ to the beliefs of anyone else. But the beliefs of ‘racists’ or ‘racialists’ are not.

    I consider that racist and violent Muslims to be as bad a non-Muslim ones. And Muslims who give to charity and work with the poor as good as a non-Muslim one. How's that for moral consistency?

    I’d be interested to know your views on the Dutch Reformed Church, a religion that believes that the Mark of Cain is black skin. They insist that they don’t hate black people. But they believe that god has cursed them. In your world, would it be okay to treat them differently or tolerate them less than say Sikhs?

    The raison d'etre of the BNP is to exclude non-whites from Britain, and therefore there is little room for anyone to say that the party is not working every day to make that happen. They did not allow non-white members until they were forced to do so.

    The Dutch Reformed Church and the Mormon church – both of which have similar narratives which one needs to take into account when they were founded – have no restrictions on non-whites: not only they accept non-whites as full members of the congregation, but hold no restriction to priesthood, or what happens after-life.

    What is your point again?

  286. MiriamBinder — on 3rd December, 2009 at 5:54 am  

    Moderate and extreme are relative terms. You can be moderate when compared to 'y' yet extreme compared to 'x'.

    Societal values are continually shifting. What was considered immoral yesteryear is now acceptable and vice versa.

    Society is, like language, a fluid process. Think of them both as a river, continually flowing and ever changing yet always a river.

    If you really want to look at the impossibility of definitive definitions look at the high earnings made by top barristers ;)

    Anyway … I'm putting this issue to bed now. I am not going to play your game of derailing this thread even more. As I have previously told you, I am perfectly willing to debate linguistic meaning with you but not on this thread and once I have completed my move.

  287. persephone1 — on 3rd December, 2009 at 8:26 am  

    Reza

    “So I wrote to Mogra and asked whether he would renounce, unequivocally, the killing or punishment of Muslims” and

    ” As carefully as Nick Griffin chose his words on Question Time when responding to difficult questions that went to the heart of his ideology.”

    On several PP threads you have mentioned that you have written to various muslim individuals about this or another islamic topic. I have never seen you mention writing to BNP, SOIE, EDL in like vein about their policies or ideology.

  288. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2009 at 8:45 am  

    The killing of ‘apostates’ is a fundamental part of Islam, supported by both the Qur’an and the hadith.

    Fundamental part? As far as I know, there are 8 Muslims countries (out of 47) that actually apply the death penalty to apostasy. And there is an on-going debate in the Muslim world on whether the death penalty should be actually applied because it contradicts parts of the Koran.

  289. douglas clark — on 3rd December, 2009 at 9:53 am  

    What an oddly vibrant thread. This post will make it third equal on the 'Recently Popular' list.

    Call me a cynic, but it is something that I doubt any of us have any control over whatsoever.

  290. Don — on 3rd December, 2009 at 11:08 am  

    Reza,

    I think you are making a false equivalence between those who choose to form or join a group which is based on excluding or hostilty towards 'the other' and those who are defined by the religion into which they are born. By which I mean that one becomes a member of the BNP because of one's pre-existing hostility towards non-whites while one is a moslem by accident of birth.

    In the latter case there is no necessity to feel hostility towards 'the other' (although in some specific cultures this may well be inculcated). In the former the hostility is the driving force.

    No doubt you can cite chapter and verse in which moslems are urged to despise polytheists and kuffar, but I could equally cite personal experience of when I was young, dumb and reckless in moslem majority countries, where I would have been up shit creek big style had it not been for the hospitality, kindness and decency of countless (moslem) strangers. Who assumed I was a christian but who bailed me out anyway.

    As an atheist I think the religion as such is just as much about being suckered by a charismatic con-man as Scientology or Mormonism and historically has been as bloody as Catholicism. But I would no more regard an observant moslem as being a threat or an enemy than I would an observant catholic or jewish person. Why would I? However much I might disagree with their world view.

    You paint with far too broad a brush.

  291. jamestheVIII — on 3rd December, 2009 at 2:35 pm  

    Reza your constant repeating of the same scaremongering claims on this topic is getting rather boring “What would the situation be when the Muslim population grows sufficiently large to force our society to bend to its demands?”

    “muslim asking for special treatment”

    this kind of nonsense is what the bnp spout but oh of course your going to tell us next your not a racist and you have many black friends too i suppose!

  292. Reza — on 4th December, 2009 at 2:04 am  

    “On several PP threads you have mentioned that you have written to various muslim individuals about this or another islamic topic. I have never seen you mention writing to BNP, SOIE, EDL in like vein about their policies or ideology.”

    But persephone, I thought it was the accepted wisdom that the BNP are extremists. You know they’re extremists. I know they’re extremists.

    What purpose would my writing to them achieve?

    As for the SIOE, I have spoke to Stephen Gash years ago, when the organisation was first established in the UK. I discussed my view that SIOE must target the ideology of Islam and not individual Muslims. I also repeated that view to him here:

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6595#co

    And he responded to me here:

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6595#co

    As for the EDL, I’m not sure what they stand for. I’m not even certain that they’re an ‘organisation’ as such. Simply a group of disaffected people wishing to demonstrate their frustrations. If they had an intelligent leader then yes, I might write to them too, in the same vein as I wrote to Stephen Gash.

    I have written to Muslim organisations and prominent individuals (and met with them) because I am aware that there is a hypocrisy and even ‘cover-up’ going on in the Islamic establishment throughout the West, which is being ignored by the liberal establishment. Stephen Gash would call it “taghieh” or “kitman”. In most of these contacts my fears have been vindicated.

    Just as the BNP leadership have a policy of choosing their words carefully to try to hide their extremist views, so many Muslim organisations and prominent individuals do in order to play down the fundamental and extremist nature of Islam.

    However much you may loathe my views, this is a very important issue, it affects us all, and is one that any true “progressive” organisation should take up.

    The excellent questions PP put to the BNP and the subsequent analysis exposed that organisation for what it is.

    Why couldn’t PP carry out a similar exercise with prominent Muslim organisations and individuals? Let’s find out just how “moderate” they are.

    I’d happily help phrase the questions. As the PP BNP exersise demonstrated, it is vital that they are phrased properly.

  293. Reza — on 4th December, 2009 at 3:02 am  

    Ravi

    “Fundamental part?”

    Yes, according to the four major Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence as well as the major Shia school. I know that there are also prominent scholars who refute this.

    “As far as I know, there are 8 Muslims countries (out of 47) that actually apply the death penalty to apostasy. I guess you need to tell the other countries that they are missing on the fundamentals of Islam.”

    Well as long as it’s only 8, then we shouldn’t be concerned should we? If you hadn’t noticed, the majority of Muslim majority countries don’t apply Islamic law to its full extent much to the consternation of what we call ‘Islamists’ throughout the world.

    “It is not really a problem in Britain, is it?”

    Well I’d say it is as demonstrated here:

    “A poll conducted by the Policy Exchange last year suggested that over a third of young British Muslims believe that the death penalty should apply for apostasy.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7355515.stm

    However, it should be understood that many Muslim scholars describe the West as being the “Dar al-Amn” or “house of safety” with regard to Muslims living there. And as long as Muslims living there are allowed to practice their religion and are not driven from their homes, then there a covenant is deemed to exist. Muslims in those lands must not make war on their co-nationals in that land and they must obey the laws of that land. Therefore, it would be un-Islamic for a Muslim to kill an ex-Muslim in this country, (and it is also un-Islamic for British Muslims to blow British people up in Britain).

    Unfortunately, organisations like SIOE do not understand these subtleties and subsequently weaken their argument, however much merit it may have in other respects.

    Notwithstanding the above, I believe that the mere fact that a Muslim supports the killing of converts in other countries or envisages it as something desirable should Britain become a Muslim land, has to be considered as an “extremist” viewpoint.

    “And there is an on-going debate in the Muslim world on whether the death penalty should be actually applied because it contradicts parts of the Koran.”

    I know there is. Perhaps there’s hope yet.

    In Iran, Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri has argued that killing converts is un-Islamic and that many aspects of sharia law should not be applied unless there is a pure Islamic world. And he believes that that world will only come into existence following the return of the missing Imam or Mahdi.

    Nevertheless, in practical terms, scholarly interpretation is less relevant than the number of Muslims who believe something to be true.

    If you really believe that Islam is fundamentally ‘moderate’, if you really believe that the “extremist” views of many Muslims come from a misinterpretation of Islam, then surely you of all people should support my wish to define “extreme” and “moderate” Islam then challenge leading Muslim scholars in Britain to confirm that they do not support what have been defined as “extreme” views, such as killing converts, here or anywhere else.

  294. Reza — on 4th December, 2009 at 3:04 am  

    Typo

    “Therefore, it would be un-Islamic for a Muslim to kill an ex-Muslim in this country…”

    Should have read:

    “Therefore, it would be un-Islamic for a Muslim to kill a Muslim who converts, as an apostate in this country…”

    (Is it possible to edit comments after they've been posted?)

  295. Random Guy — on 4th December, 2009 at 3:28 am  

    Reza, do you renounce unequivocally, the killing or punishment of all innocent people in all wars perpetrated by or instigated by Western powers since the beginning of the 19th century? Do you also renounce unequivocally, the racism and colonialism exhibited by the British in the early parts of the 20th century? And the neo-imperialsim of the early years of the 21st? How moderate do you think your own ideology is?

    Oh and one more question – as a proportion of 1.6 Billion people, what do you think is the percentage of Muslims who have been killed for apostasy in the last…oh, the last year or so? I think you talk a lot of bs, to be honest, based more on conjecture than on hard evidence. I am sure if we stack up the number of people killed by the ideology you support, compared to the one you are so busy trying to stir shit up against, that reality will kick you in the ass.

  296. Reza — on 4th December, 2009 at 4:08 am  

    Don

    “I think you are making a false equivalence between those who choose to form or join a group which is based on excluding or hostilty towards 'the other' and those who are defined by the religion into which they are born. By which I mean that one becomes a member of the BNP because of one's pre-existing hostility towards non-whites while one is a moslem by accident of birth.”

    I think your argument is muddled here. Islam isn’t a race. It is a religion. An ideology. Someone (of any colour) can be born to ‘racist’ parents and raised a ‘racist’. That doesn’t mean that their views (if we have established them as being unacceptable) should be tolerated or appeased within society.

    Anyone can choose to become a Muslim (although, according to a very large number of Muslims, a Muslim cannot choose to stop being a Muslim).

    “No doubt you can cite chapter and verse in which moslems are urged to despise polytheists and kuffar, but I could equally cite personal experience of when I was young, dumb and reckless in moslem majority countries, where I would have been up shit creek big style had it not been for the hospitality, kindness and decency of countless (moslem) strangers. Who assumed I was a christian but who bailed me out anyway.”

    I have similar experiences to you, in particular backpacking in Eastern Turkey. Indeed most of my relatives are ‘Muslim’ by birth. Most of my close relatives ‘nominally’ so (some loathe Islam as much as I do). Some on the other hand are quite devout. I’m actually related to this guy:-

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

    I reject any prejudice towards individual Muslims. However, I argue that Islam is fundamentally, a dangerous, intolerant and expansionist ideology.

    “Prejudice” means to pre-judge. It is wrong to assume that a Muslim holds unpleasant or ‘extremist’ views just because they are a Muslim. On this I disagree with people like Stephen Gash from SIOE.

    However, I believe that it is appropriate to acknowledge that certain problems exist explicitly and disproportionally within the Muslim ‘group’.

    And whether or not those problems are said to be due to ‘misinterpretation’, it is acceptable to challenge Muslims (and in particular so-called Muslim leaders) to establish whether or not their views are “extreme”.

    For example, if I were interviewing someone who introduced the fact that they were a practicing Muslim (this happens often) I believe that it would be appropriate to ask them how they would respond to the gay people we have working here. I would further like to ask them if they believed that, in an ‘ideal world’, homosexuals should be killed. And if they said “yes”, then I believe that it would be appropriate to refuse to employ them.

    Now I’ll pre-empt an example of moral equivalence.

    Some Christians may also have an objection to homosexuality. I would question them too. However, those Christians would believe that homosexuals will be punished in the next life and not this one.

    Islam is different to all major religions in that respect.

    Unfortunately, I’d be reluctant to ask these questions as they could leave me open to charges of discrimination and the risk of an unlimited pay-out at an industrial tribunal.

    Now you would say that I should ask everyone I interview whether they thought homosexuals should be killed. That is after all the default mantra of a moral relativist. I would respond by saying that this would be ridiculous. Supporting killing people for sex outside of marriage (which is the main religious basis for killing homosexuals) is to all intents and purposes an Islamic monopoly.

    “As an atheist I think the religion as such is just as much about being suckered by a charismatic con-man as Scientology or Mormonism and historically has been as bloody as Catholicism. But I would no more regard an observant moslem as being a threat or an enemy than I would an observant catholic or jewish person. Why would I? However much I might disagree with their world view.”

    Don, as an intelligent person, you wouldn’t believe that all ideologies are morally equivalent. You’d accept that Nazism is different to communism, capitalism is different to socialism, and democracy is different to totalitarianism.

    How is it such an intellectual leap for you to acknowledge that Islam is different to Catholicism or Judaism?

    After all religions are also ideologies.

    Finally Don, earlier in the debate, you asked me some questions here:

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6701#co

    And I answered you here:

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6701#co

  297. Reza — on 4th December, 2009 at 4:51 am  

    Random Guy

    “Reza, do you renounce unequivocally, the killing or punishment of all innocent people in all wars perpetrated by or instigated by Western powers since the beginning of the 19th century?”

    Yes I do. I believe that most people would. With respect to your caveat “innocent”.

    “Do you also renounce unequivocally, the racism and colonialism exhibited by the British in the early parts of the 20th century?”

    Racism yes. Colonialism belonged to another time. One can no more renounce British colonialism of the early parts of the 20th century then they could renounce the Persian, Roman or Austro Hungarian empires.

    However, it is possible to renounce, unequivocally, colonialism today. That I would do.

    “And the neo-imperialsim of the early years of the 21st?”

    If you are speaking of the campaign to force Western ideas of democracy onto unwilling peoples such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, then I unequivocally renounce it.

    “How moderate do you think your own ideology is?”

    Well clearly it is not very moderate within a left-wing multiculturalist blog. However, I oppose killing anyone for anything and certainly not for ‘thought-crimes’ such as changing religions or ‘sex-crimes’ such as sex outside of marriage or homosexuality.

    “Oh and one more question – as a proportion of 1.6 Billion people, what do you think is the percentage of Muslims who have been killed for apostasy in the last…oh, the last year or so?”

    Not many. However, the few killings that are carried out, together with the very hostile attitudes that exist among Muslims with regard to apostasy succeed in terrorising ex-Muslims. This is similar the situation with ‘honour’ killings. You don’t need many actual killings in order to terrorise large numbers of girls into accepting forced marriage etc.

    “I think you talk a lot of bs, to be honest, based more on conjecture than on hard evidence. I am sure if we stack up the number of people killed by the ideology you support, compared to the one you are so busy trying to stir shit up against, that reality will kick you in the ass.”

    Please don’t presume that I am a Neo-con. For me, Neo-cons are the other side of the coin to multiculturalists and unconstrained globalisationists.

    I believe that the West should take care of its own affairs, treat other countries with respect and allow them to find their own way forward in this world based upon their national culture and values.

  298. soniaafroz — on 4th December, 2009 at 4:58 am  

    Well there is clearly a lot of mistrust and confusion going both ways. We really are seeing the clash turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy..i guess everyone wants the End of Days to come, and come quick.

    It is interesting though how humans are so obsessed with 'cultural symbols'. What's a minaret? nothing..any religious person ought not be obsessed with materialisms, as 'god' is everywhere. Its funny that the Swiss would think this to be such a problem that they need to go and hold a referendum on it.

    Bunch of traditionalist conservatives on 'either' side. Who cares about symbols and tradition? They do. Who likes to ban things if they think its not 'part of their group's heritage'? they do! Muslims are always going on at Hindus for worshipping 'idols' in temples – and call them idol worshippers, yet they are perfectly happy to hang on to their 'icons' and throw stones at “devils” and go around black cubes. Everyone thinks their 'group' and their 'tradition' is better than someone else's – and now we are seeing this 'clash' manifest itself as 'we' got here first, so our group can impose its idea on individuals, over your 'group's idea.

    Indian style communalism seems to have infected everyone. What we need to stand up for is individual liberty, and stop seeing individuals as 'group A' vs. group B. the leadership of both groups are trying to control individuals/.

  299. Ravi Naik — on 4th December, 2009 at 5:31 am  

    Well as long as it’s only 8, then we shouldn’t be concerned should we?

    As long as it is 8 out of 47, you can't say it is a fundamental part of Islam.

    If you hadn’t noticed, the majority of Muslim majority countries don’t apply Islamic law to its full extent much to the consternation of what we call ‘Islamists’ throughout the world.

    Yes, consternation to these Islamists and yourself, who seem to think they know better about the fundamentals of Islam.

    Well I’d say it is as demonstrated here:
    “A poll conducted by the Policy Exchange last year suggested that over a third of young British Muslims believe that the death penalty should apply for apostasy.”

    I get your point that 33% of Muslims thinking they people should receive capital punishment for converting shows that there is a considerable disconnect from the society they live in.

    I do not think though that you made a convincing case that this particular point is a fundamental part of Islam, when a small minority of countries (20%) and our Muslim population (33%) accepts it as such.

    If you really believe that Islam is fundamentally ‘moderate

    As I keep telling you, I do not try to interpret what Islam or Christianity are. Because it is not only irrelevant, but can lead you to the wrong conclusion – which is what you are doing. What is relevant is how people interpret it. And it is a fact – not an opinion – that in the Muslim world, you have different interpretations, and an on-going debate between reformists and conservatives, pretty much like what we had in Europe during the Reform.

    You say that Islam only leads to the same interpretation as the version of Osama Bin Laden. Funny how you give more credibility to extremists than the majority of Muslims. An interpretation that makes Muslims eternal enemies of the West and the kuffar, who ultimately want to Islamify and subjugate Europe. This is just paranoia, and a deep distrust of the strength of our liberal democracy and our institutions.

  300. Reza — on 4th December, 2009 at 7:10 am  

    Ravi

    “As long as it is 8 out of 47, you can't say it is a fundamental part of Islam.”

    Okay. I get your point. It’s a valid one. Whatever I or anyone else believes, it is wrong to say “fundamental part of Islam”. I recognise that Islam can have an almost infinite number of interpretations.

    It would be better to write, “A fundamental part of Islam as it is currently being interpreted by a significant number of leading Islamic scholars and believed by a significantly large number of Muslims.”

    Would you accept that statement?

    “Yes, consternation to these Islamists and yourself, who seem to think they know better about the fundamentals of Islam.”

    Fair point. I’ll accept that I and millions of Muslims throughout the world have misunderstood the intention of the various sura and hadith that appear to support killing converts. (This isn’t sarcasm, I’ve thought about this and am trying to see things your way).

    “I get your point that 33% of Muslims thinking they people should receive capital punishment for converting shows that there is a considerable disconnect from the society they live in.”

    This has nothing to do with a “disconnect” and everything to do with those people’s understanding of Islam. Support for killing converts exists among significant numbers of Muslims throughout the world. The challenge is to persuade those people that it is un-Islamic. And this can only happen if everyone who believes in freedom, whether Muslim or not challenges Islamic scholars, leaders and institutions to publicly denounce the killing of apostates and seek to prove to Muslims everywhere, that those attitudes are not Islamic, if that’s what we’re saying is the case.

    “I do not think though that you made a convincing case that this particular point is a fundamental part of Islam, when a small minority of countries (20%) and our Muslim population (33%) accepts it as such.”

    Okay. But it is a view shared by a significantly large part of the Muslim population as to be very worrying.

    “What is relevant is how people interpret it. And it is a fact – not an opinion – that in the Muslim world, you have different interpretations, and an on-going debate between reformists and conservatives, pretty much like what we had in Europe during the Reformation. “

    I accept your point. However, there is no evidence that the reformists are or ever will win the debate. The opposite appears to be the case. But we can help the reformists, by refusing to be silenced in our criticism of the various intolerant and violent interpretations of Islam currently being preached, supported and believed within our Muslim population.

    “You say that Islam only leads to the same interpretation as the version of Osama Bin Laden. Funny how you give more credibility to extremists than the majority of Muslims.”

    I say that the extremists have some powerful, often theologically convincing, arguments that can be difficult to counter in an Islamic context. I’m not convinced that they will ultimately lose the argument.

    Don’t forget that the late Ayatollah Khomeini is not seen as being an “extremist” by many millions of Shia Muslims, despite the very “extreme” interpretation of Islam he advocated. On the contrary, he continues to be revered and respected by millions of Shia Muslims throughout the world, whilst the reformist I mentioned earlier, the Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, languishes under house arrest.

    However, let’s continue go with your faith that the reformists will ultimately win this argument, and the “extremists” will wither and die over time.

    Do you believe that there is anything that we as a society can do to help the reformers? Surely our reluctance to expose, confront, challenge, criticise or even acknowledge the “extremist” views held by many so called “moderate” Muslims is hardly helping the reformists.

    Let’s put those Guardian darlings, Inayat Bunglawala and Tariq Ramadan on Newsnight and give them the ‘Nick Griffin’ treatment.

    “Under what conditions do you believe that it is acceptable to kill a convert, a homosexual or a woman who has sex outside of marriage?”

    And let Paxman keep pushing and pushing until he gets a straight answer.

    “An interpretation that makes Muslims eternal enemies of the West and the kuffar, who ultimately want to Islamify and subjugate Europe. This is just paranoia, and a deep distrust of the strength of our liberal democracy and our institutions.”

    Well Ravi, there are plenty of Muslim leaders and Muslim’s themselves who subscribe to that point of view, although these days, most talk of conquering Europe through demographics rather than war.

    And I wouldn’t feel so paranoid about this if I trusted our institutions.

    You have remarked yourself of how, for some reason, we are reluctant to challenge or criticise the “extreme” beliefs of Muslims in the public and political platform.

    The day I see this happening will be the day I cease feeling so fearful.

    In this debate, Random Guy asked, “what do you think is the percentage of Muslims who have been killed for apostasy in the last…oh, the last year or so?” I responded not many, but the threat is sufficient.

    And if you asked me “how many people have been killed for challenging the “extreme” beliefs of Muslims, I’d say not many. But a number of those who have live in fear of assassination.

    That’s enough to silence much of the debate that needs to be had.

  301. Don — on 4th December, 2009 at 11:17 am  

    Reza,

    I do understand, of course, that Islam is not a race. Perhaps I should have made myself clearer, the overwhelming majority of moslems are moslems by accident of birth – I doubt that converts comprise any significant proportion. Being born into a moslem family in a moslem country/community and raised & schooled in Islam means that it would be rare indeed for such a child to even conceive of an alternative. Only once a certain level of education and cosmopolitan awareness has been reached does apostasy become an option. A child born into a racist family, on the other hand, will be aware from very early on that this attitude is widely challenged and is subject to social disapproval.

    …you wouldn’t believe that all ideologies are morally equivalent. You’d accept that Nazism is different to communism, capitalism is different to socialism, and democracy is different to totalitarianism.

    How is it such an intellectual leap for you to acknowledge that Islam is different to Catholicism or Judaism?

    I would agree that the Islam you describe is diffferent to Catholicism or Judaism, but you are describing a (no doubt real enough) version of Islam which is far from universal and, as we seem to have established, is in fact a minority version. Your conclusion, that Islam is inherently different and far worse than other religions does not follow from this. The best conclusion it can support is that there is a current strain of Islam which is qualitively different from most current strains of other religions.

    Catholicism was, for by far the greater part of its history, as violent, oppressive and malevolent as any extremist group can be. If we go back far enough, so was Judaism. Judaism long since grew out of that, but we can still discern many of those malevolent traits within the current Catholic church.

    You mentioned communism. One could very easily make the case that the communism of Pol Pot was vicious, murderous and utterly destructive, In fact, you would need to be Noam Chomsky not to make that case. But you could not reasonably from that conclude that the communists in 1920's Glasgow were also vicious, murderous and utterly destructive.

    You have repeatedly described me as a moral relativist, but I don't believe that I am. I prefer to think that I am careful not to make hasty generalisations just because they might agree with my gut feelings. In fact, the more something feels right, the more I tend to examine it.

    As a secularist and an atheist it would actually feel comfortable for me to say 'Islam is an outdated and barbaric belief system which has negative consequences wherever it becomes a significant force.' It seems to me, however, that your argument (explicitly or implicitly) adds the words 'uniquely' and 'inevitably'. It is there that I disagree with you.

    I believe that all revealed religions have the capacity to become malevolent and, given a modicum of power, that capacity is almost always actualised. I think history supports me in this. Many people would claim that religion is a force for good, I would say that that is the case only when the religion in question is without even a jot of temporal power and even then I would be very doubtful. The Quakers, maybe.

    But more than any of that, I believe that the basic principles of democracy and hard won freedoms must be paramount. I think you have more than once shown that in your personal and often emotional hostility to this specific religion you would be willing to compromise and even abandon those principles. Hence the question I asked you and to which you replied.

    I understand that you believe that Islam per se threatens those principles, but you do not defend a principle by dumping it when convenient.

  302. Refresh — on 4th December, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

    Reza, are you preparing for war?

    Right on cue:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/

    'UK should open borders to climate refugees, says Bangladeshi ministerEurope and US should also be responsible for millions who will be displaced by climate change, says Abul Maal Abdul Muhith'

    'He called on the UN to redefine international law to give climate refugees the same protection as people fleeing political repression. “The convention on refugees could be revised to protect people. It's been through other revisions, so this should be possible,” he said.'

  303. Binky — on 5th December, 2009 at 12:12 am  

    THis is from a doubleplusungoodthinkful site, but SOME people can see a straw in the wind earlier than most.

    THE CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEES ARE A-COMING!

    http://bnp.org.uk/2009/12/here-they-come-right-

    Mind you, if the Arctic IS warming up, Spitzbergen and Baffin Island and Novaya Zemblya may be quite agreeable in the VERY near future!

  304. Halima — on 5th December, 2009 at 1:18 am  

    Yes, this was what came to my mind. I might also add tyrrany of the majority.

  305. Ravi Naik — on 5th December, 2009 at 2:22 am  

    I believe that all revealed religions have the capacity to become malevolent and, given a modicum of power, that capacity is almost always actualised. I think history supports me in this. Many people would claim that religion is a force for good, I would say that that is the case only when the religion in question is without even a jot of temporal power and even then I would be very doubtful. The Quakers, maybe.

    In my view, History also shows that *any* fundamentalist belief in a position of power has been tyrannical. Communism and Nazism in the 20th century were not driven by metaphysical gods, but they were responsible for the biggest genocides, well, ever. The implication here is that the main culprit is fundamentalism which leads to imposing a particular belief to the masses (see any totalitarian regime), and not the belief or the religion itself.

    As for the debate on whether religion can be a force of good, we need to wait until someone creates a thread on the subject. :-)

  306. Ravi Naik — on 5th December, 2009 at 5:02 am  

    And I wouldn’t feel so paranoid about this if I trusted our institutions. You have remarked yourself of how, for some reason, we are reluctant to challenge or criticise the “extreme” beliefs of Muslims in the public and political platform. The day I see this happening will be the day I cease feeling so fearful.

    I agree that there is a double-standard when it comes to bigotry, and that's something that needs to be rectified. And that there are a several factors that explain why this is.

    In this debate, Random Guy asked, “what do you think is the percentage of Muslims who have been killed for apostasy in the last…oh, the last year or so?” I responded not many, but the threat is sufficient. And if you asked me “how many people have been killed for challenging the “extreme” beliefs of Muslims, I’d say not many. But a number of those who have live in fear of assassination. That’s enough to silence much of the debate that needs to be had.

    What proof do you have that people are afraid of assassination? By the way, if 70% of the population say they support the death penalty, does it mean that they believe they should assassinate people they believe commit certain crimes?

  307. Jai — on 5th December, 2009 at 10:11 am  

    Ravi,

    Off-topic FYI: In case you missed it, a couple of nights ago Stephen Gash of the SIOE wrote a belated reply to you on the “Secular Muslims/open letter” thread:

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6595#co

  308. Reza — on 8th December, 2009 at 7:08 am  

    Rod Liddle, in the Spectator has written an incisive (or “racist!” depending on your propensity to rational thought) analysis of the reasons behind the Swiss vote and the mood in Europe today.

    I particularly liked this paragraph:-

    “It came as a surprise to commentators over here … that Europe’s most liberal country could be the most antithetical to Islam. A fabulous misapprehension: Holland was the most antithetical to Islam because it was the most liberal. Its people looked at the corpse of van Gogh and saw what Islam could be like. ‘Education by death’ is how one liberal Dutch commentator wryly described it to me.”

    Enjoy:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/5592733/p

  309. camilla — on 8th December, 2009 at 5:22 pm  

    oh yes! the reaction of muslims had definetly shown their total incapability to respect democracy and non-muslim's human rights

  310. poppy — on 26th April, 2010 at 12:49 am  

    The swiss politician Daniel Streich, who led the anti-Islamic campaign calling for banning of mosque minarets recently announced that he’s embraced Islam..speaks volumes really..i think he was looking to the Quran for counter arguments but instead found it quite a good read:)

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