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Found 4 results

  1. Richard Dawkins’ anti-Islam/anti-Muslim propaganda exposed: The facts Original Guest Post by Jai Singh There is currently increasing journalistic scrutiny of the atheist British scientist Richard Dawkins and his ally Sam Harris’ statements about Islam and Muslims. In December 2012, the Guardian published an excellent article highlighting the acclaimed physicist Professor Peter Higgs’ accurate observations about Dawkins’ pattern of behaviour when it comes to religion in general; Professor Higgs (of “Higgs Boson particle” fame) has forcefully criticised Dawkins. More recently, superb articles by Nathan Lean in Salon (focusing on Dawkins), Murtaza Hussain for Al Jazeera (focusing on Dawkins, Harris etc) and Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian (mentions Dawkins but focuses predominantly on Harris; also see here) have received considerable publicity. Readers are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the information in all of these articles. Before I address the issue of Richard Dawkins, it is worthwhile highlighting some key information about his ally Sam Harris. As mentioned in Glenn Greenwald’s extensively-researched Guardian article, Harris is on record as a) claiming that fascists are “the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe”, and b) stating “We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim”. Furthermore, bear in mind the following paragraph from a previous Guardian article about Harris: “…..But it tips over into something much more sinister in Harris’ latest book. He suggests that Islamic states may be politically unreformable because so many Muslims are “utterly deranged by their religious faith”. In another passage Harris goes even further, and reaches a disturbing conclusion that “some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them”.” Richard Dawkins’ “atheist anti-religion” agenda has noticeably become increasingly focused on Islam & Muslims; his online statements (recently including his Twitter account ) have now become so extreme that a great deal of them are essentially indistinguishable from the bigoted, ignorant nonsense pushed by the English Defence League leadership and the main US-based anti-Muslim propagandists such as Robert Spencer etc. In fact, as Nathan Lean’s Salon article mentioned, the following very revealing information recently surfaced: It turns out that Dawkins has publicly admitted that he hasn’t even read the Quran even though (in his own words) he “often says Islam is the greatest force for evil today”. Mainstream Islamic theology (including the associated impact on Muslim history) is not based solely on the Quran, of course, but Dawkins’ admission is indicative of a number of major problems on his part. So much for the credibility of Richard Dawkins’ “scientific method” in this particular subject. It goes without saying that this also raised questions about exactly which dubious second-hand sources Dawkins has been getting his information on Islam and Muslims from, if he hasn’t even taken the normal professional academic steps of reading the primary sacred text of the religion he has also described as “an unmitigated evil”. Not to mention the question of Dawkins’ real motivations for his current fixation with Islam and Muslims. Well, it appears that some answers are available. It certainly explains a great deal about Richard Dawkins’ behaviour. In the main part of this article beneath the “Summary” section below, I have listed 54 anti-Islam/anti-Muslim statements posted by Richard Dawkins on the discussion forum of one of his own websites. (The list of quotes also includes embedded URL links directly to the original statements on Dawkins’ website). Summary of Richard Dawkins’ actions 1. There is a direct connection to Robert Spencer’s inner circle. As confirmed by the URL link supplied by Richard Dawkins in quote #11, Dawkins has definitely been using that cabal’s anti-Muslim propaganda as a source of “information” for his own statements; Dawkins specifically links to the “Islam-Watch” website, which is a viciously anti-Muslim site in the same vein as JihadWatch and Gates of Vienna (both of which were the most heavily cited sources in the terrorist Anders Breivik’s manifesto). More pertinently, as confirmed by this affiliated webpage, the core founders & members of that website include the currently-unidentified individual who uses the online alias “Ali Sina”. This is the same fake “atheist Iranian ex-Muslim” who is a senior board member of “SIOA”/“SION”, an extremely anti-Muslim organisation whose leadership is formally allied with racist white supremacists & European neo-Nazis and has even organised joint public demonstrations with them. “Ali Sina” himself was also cited by Breivik in his manifesto. Note that the SIOA/SION leadership inner circle includes: a) AFDI and JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer, an ordained Catholic deacon who has been proven to have repeatedly made false statements about Islam & Muslims and has publicly admitted that his actions are heavily motivated by his (unilateral) agenda for the dominance of the Catholic Church; b) AFDI and Atlas Shrugs’ Pamela Geller, who is now on record as advocating what is effectively a “Final Solution” targeting British Muslims, including mass-murder; c) the English Defence League leadership; and d) David Yerushalmi, the head of an organisation whose mission statement explicitly declares that its members are “dedicated to the rejection of democracy” in the United States. Furthermore, Yerushalmi believes that American women shouldn’t even have the right to vote. Extensive details on “Ali Sina” are available here. Quite a few of the quotes in that article are horrifying. Bear in mind that this is the person whose website Richard Dawkins has publicly cited and promoted. “Ali Sina” is on record as making statements such as the following: “Muhammad was not a prophet of God. He was an instrument of Satan to divide mankind so we destroy each other. It is a demonic plot to end humanity.” “I don’t see Muslims as innocent people. They are all guilty as sin. It is not necessary to be part of al Qaida to be guilty. If you are a Muslim you agree with Muhammad and that is enough evidence against you.” “Muslims, under the influence of Islam lose their humanity. They become beasts. Once a person’s mind is overtaken by Islam, every trace of humanity disappears from him. Islam reduces good humans into beasts.” [Addressing all Muslims] “We will do everything to save you, to make you see your folly, and to make you understand that you are victims of a gigantic lie, so you leave this lie, stop hating mankind and plotting for its destruction and it [sic] domination. But if all efforts fail and you become a threat to our lives and the lives of our children, we must amputate you. This will happen, not because I say so, but I say so because this is human response. We humans are dictated by our survival instinct. If you threaten me and my survival depends on killing you, I must kill you.” “Muslims are part of humanity, but they are the diseased limb of mankind. We must strive to rescue them. We must do everything possible to restore their health. That is the mission of FFI [“Faith Freedom International”, “Ali Sina’s” primary website]. However, if a limb becomes gangrenous; if it is infected by necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease), that limb must be amputated.” [Addressing all Muslims] “But you are diseased. You are infected by a deadly cult that threatens our lives. Your humanity is destroyed. Like a limb infected by flesh eating disease, you are now a threat to the rest of mankind…..Islam is disease. What does moderate Muslim mean anyway? Does it mean you are moderately diseased?” “But there was another element in shaping his [Muhammad’s] character: The influence of Rabbis. Islam and Judaism have a lot in common. They have basically the same eschatology and very similar teachings…..These are all secondary influences of Judaism on Islam. The main common feature between these two faiths is their intolerance. This intolerance in Judaic texts gave the narcissist Muhammad the power to do as he pleased…..How could he get away with that? Why would people believed [sic] in his unproven and often irrational claims? The answer to this question is in Judaism. The Rabbis in Arabia had laid the psychological foundations for Islam among the tolerant pagans…..The reasons Arabs fell into his [Muhammad’s] trap was because of the groundwork laid by the Rabbis in Arabia.” “Muhammad copied his religion from what he learned from the Jews. The similarity between Islamic thinking and Judaic thinking is not a coincidence.” “By seeing these self-proclaimed moderate Muslims, I can understand the anger that Jesus felt against those hypocrites whom he called addressed, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” “In Christianity, it wasn’t the religion that needed to be reformed but the church. What Jesus preached was good.” “The image portrays the words of Jesus, “the truth will set you free.” That is my motto…..After listening to this rabbi, I somehow felt sympathy for Jesus. I can now see what kind of people he had to deal with.” 2. After Nathan Lean and Glenn Greenwald published the aforementioned Salon and Guardian articles, both “Ali Sina” and Robert Spencer rapidly wrote lengthy articles on their respective websites defending Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. It would therefore be constructive for Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris to publicly clarify if they welcome or reject “Ali Sina” & Robert Spencer’s support. It would also be constructive for Dawkins and Harris to publicly clarify the nature and extent of their involvement with “Ali Sina” & Robert Spencer. 3. Richard Dawkins’ anti-Islam/anti-Muslim narrative (including the stereotyped caricature and his own convoluted strawman arguments) is essentially identical to the hatred-inciting, theologically-, historically- & factually-distorted/falsified propaganda promoted by Far-Right groups such as the English Defence League and especially the owners of JihadWatch and Gates of Vienna. This is clearly not just a coincidence, considering Dawkins’ online sources of [mis]information. 4. Richard Dawkins is now on record as making a series of extremely derogatory statements in which he bizarrely refers to Islam (a religious belief system) as though it were a conscious, sentient entity (see #5, #32, #36, #49). The nature of those statements suggests that Dawkins is actually referring to Muslims. (Also see #7). 5. Richard Dawkins is now on record as repeatedly defending Sam Harris, including Harris’ claims about Muslims and Islam (see #42, #43). 6. Richard Dawkins is now on record as enthusiastically praising the Dutch Far-Right politician Geert Wilders (see #50). 7. Richard Dawkins is now on record as publicly claiming that “communities” has become code for “Muslims” (see #18) and that “multiculturalism” in Europe is code for “Islam” (see #19). 8. Richard Dawkins is now on record as repeatedly praising & defending Ayaan Hirsi Ali (see #20, #26, #50). Hirsi Ali has been proven to have fabricated aspects of her background/experiences (as confirmed by the BBC). Hirsi Ali is also on record as revealing the full scale of her horrific beliefs, including the fact that she sympathises with Anders Breivik and blames so-called “advocates of silence” for Breivik’s mass-murdering terrorist attack. 9. Richard Dawkins is now on record as repeatedly promoting the Far-Right conspiracy theory that British police avoid prosecuting Muslims due to fears of being labelled “racist” or “Islamophobic” (see #1, #24, #28, #45). Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller’s closest European allies, the English Defence League leadership, are amongst the most vocal advocates of this ridiculous conspiracy theory. 10. Richard Dawkins is now on record as explicitly describing himself as “a cultural Christian” (see #54). 11. Richard Dawkins is now on record as proposing what is basically an “enemy of my enemy is my friend” strategy, specifically in terms of Christians vs. Muslims (see here and here. Also see #16). This raises questions about exactly how much support Dawkins has secretly been giving to certain extremist anti-Muslim individuals/groups, or at least how much he is personally aware that these groups are explicitly recycling Dawkins’ own rhetoric when demonising Islam & Muslims. 12. Richard Dawkins is now on record as exhibiting very disturbing attitudes towards the British Muslim Member of Parliament Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and the British Muslim Independent journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, including repeatedly making highly offensive claims that they are “tokens” with zero qualifications for their respective jobs and are in positions of seniority/influence solely because they are “female, Muslim and brown/non-white” (See #25, #29, #30, #31, #35, #53). Dawkins clearly shares the EDL leadership’s noticeable hostility towards Baroness Warsi in particular; furthermore, note Dawkins’ sneering “open letter” to Baroness Warsi (see #29), and also note the fact that the EDL leadership recently published a similar “open letter” to Baroness Warsi on their main website, written by an unidentified anonymous author. 13. Richard Dawkins has published a lengthy diatribe by Robert Spencer/Pamela Geller/EDL ally/SIOE co-founder Stephen Gash. 14. Richard Dawkins has enthusiastically republished a large number of viciously anti-Muslim comments originally posted on the discussion thread of a Telegraph article written by Baroness Warsi. Dawkins claimed that the only reason he was reproducing these comments on his own website was “because the Telegraph is apparently censoring them”. 15. Despite the claims of Richard Dawkins’ defenders that he is an “equal opportunity offender” in terms of his criticisms of various organised religions, the aforementioned 54 quotes speak for themselves and Dawkins’ real pattern of behaviour is self-evident. Amongst other things, it raises the question of whether Dawkins was already perfectly aware that the anti-Islam/anti-Muslim propaganda he is basing his statements on originates in members of Robert Spencer’s extremist inner circle and their respective hate websites (which would have very nasty implications about Dawkins himself), or whether Dawkins has been astonishingly incompetent about researching his sources of “information”. 16. Further information on Richard Dawkins’ other activities targeting Islam & Muslims is available here, here, here, here, here, and here. Examples of statements by Richard Dawkins: #1: [Quoting: “No I don’t think it was racist to feel that way. If you saw a European mistreating his wife in public wouldn’t you feel the same? “] “Of course. In that case I might have called a policeman. If you see a Muslim beating his wife, there would be little point in calling a policeman because so many of the British police are terrified of being accused of racism or ‘Islamophobia’.” #2: “Religion poisons everything. But Islam has its own unmatched level of toxicity.” #3: “Religion poisons everything, but Islam is in a toxic league of its own.” #4: “…..But let’s keep things in proportion. Christianity may be pretty bad, but isn’t Islam in a league of its own when it comes to sheer vicious nastiness?” #5: [Quoting: “He blamed ‘radical stupid people who don't know what Islam is,’”] “They are certainly stupid, but they know exactly what Islam is. Islam is the religion that wins arguments by killing its opponents and crying ‘Islamophobia’ at anyone who objects.” #6: “This horrible film deserves to go viral. What a pathetic religion: how ignominious to need such aggressively crazed defenders.” #7: “Muslims seem to suffer from an active HUNGER to be offended. If there’s nothing obvious to be offended by, or ‘hurt’ by, they’ll go out looking for something. Are there any other similar examples we could think of, I wonder, not necessarily among religious groups?” #8: “Paula’s letter in today’s Independent (see above) will doubtless provoke lots of fatuous bleats of “Oh but Islam is a peaceful religion.”” #9: [Quoting: “But it has nothing to do with Islam.”] “Oh no? Then why do the perpetrators, and the mullahs and imams and ayatollahs and ‘scholars’, continually SAY it has everything to do with Islam? You may not think it has anything to do with Islam, but I prefer to listen to what the people responsible actually say. I would also love it if decent, ‘moderate’ Muslims would stand up and condemn the barbarisms that are carried out, or threatened, in their name.” #10: “What is there left to say about Sharia Law? Who will defend it? Who can find something, anything, good to say about Islam?” #11: [Quoting: “needed to respect other religions”] “That word ‘other’ worries me and so does ‘respect’. ‘Other’ than what? What is the default religion which makes the word ‘other’ appropriate? What is this ‘other’ religion, which is being invoked in this high-handed, peremptory way. It isn’t hard to guess the answer. Islam. Yet again, Islam, the religion of peace, the religion that imposes the death penalty for apostasy, the religion whose legal arm treats women officially as second class citizens, the religion that sentences women to multiple lashes for the crime of being raped, the religion whose ‘scholars’ have been known to encourage women to suckle male colleagues so that they can be deemed ‘family’ and hence allowed to work in the same room; the religion that the rest of us are called upon to ‘respect’ for fear of being thought racist or ‘Islamophobic’. Respect? RESPECT?” #12: “All three of the Abrahamic religions are deeply evil if they take their teachings seriously. Islam is the only one that does.” #13: “Yes, Christians are much much better. Their sacred texts may be just as bad, but they don’t act on them.” #14: “Quite the contrary. I think the problem [with Islam] is with the MAJORITY of Muslims, who either condone violence or fail to speak out against it. I am now praising the MINORITY who have finally decided to stand up for peace and nonviolence.” #15: [Quoting: “Actually I think linking to every video this bigot releases does look like an endorsement, even if it's unintentional. Why not link to some news items by some other right wing bigots the BNP or the EDL, they're always banging on about Islam so it should qualify.”] “I support Pat [Condell]’s stance on Islam. It is NOT based on racism like that of the BNP, and he is properly scathing about so-called ‘Islamophobia’.” #16: “After the last census, Christianity in Britain benefited, in terms of political influence, from the approximately 70% who ticked the Christian box, whether or not they were really believers. With the menacing rise of Islam, some might even be tempted to tick the Christian box, for fear of doing anything to boost the influence of the religion of “peace””. #17: [Quoting: “What sort of justice is this? My daughter has been beaten to death in the name of justice,” Mosammet's father, Dorbesh Khan, 60, told the BBC.] “What sort of justice? Islamic justice of course.” #18: “Just as ‘communities’ has become code for ‘Muslims’, ‘multiculturalism’ is code for a systematic policy of sucking up to their often loathsome ‘community leaders’: imams, mullahs, ‘clerics’, and the ill-named ‘scholars’.” #19: “Forgive me for not welcoming this judgment with unalloyed joy. If I thought the motive was secularist I would indeed welcome it. But are we sure it is not pandering to ‘multiculturalism’, which in Europe is code for Islam? And if you think Catholicism is evil . . .” #20: “I don’t think this is a matter for levity. Think of it as a foretaste of more serious things to come. They’ve already hounded Ayaan Hirsi Ali out of Holland and their confidence is growing with their population numbers, encouraged by the craven accommodationist mentality of nice, decent Europeans. This particular move to outlaw dogs will fail, but Muslim numbers will continue to grow unless we can somehow break the memetic link between generations: break the assumption that children automatically adopt the religion of their parents.” #21: “I said that Islam is evil. I did NOT say Muslims are evil. Indeed, most of the victims of Islam are Muslims. Especially female ones.” #22: “Whenever I read an article like this, I end up shaking my head in bafflement. Why would anyone want to CONVERT to Islam? I can see why, having been born into it, you might be reluctant to leave, perhaps when you reflect on the penalty for doing to. But for a woman (especially a woman) voluntarily to JOIN such a revolting and misogynistic institution when she doesn’t have to always suggests to me massive stupidity. And then I remember our own very intelligent Layla Nasreddin / Lisa Bauer and retreat again to sheer, head-shaking bafflement.” #23: “Apologists for Islam would carry more conviction if so-called ‘community’ leaders would ever go to the police and report the culprits. That would solve, at a stroke, the problem that has been exercising posters here. ‘Community’ leaders are best placed to know what is going on on their ‘communities’. Why don’t they report the perpetrators to the police and have them jailed?” #24: “Presumably we shall hear all the usual accommodationist bleats about “Nothing to do with Islam”, and “It’s cultural, not religious” and “Islam doesn’t approve the practice”. Whether or not Islam approves the practice depends – as with the death penalty for apostasy – on which ‘scholar’ you talk to. Islamic ‘scholar’? What a joke. What a sick, oxymoronic joke. Islamic ‘scholar’! It is of course true that not all Muslims mutilate their daughters, or approve it. But I conjecture that it is true that virtually all, if not literally all, the 24,000 girls referred to come from Muslim families. And all, or virtually all those who wield the razor blade (or the broken glass or whatever it is) are devout Muslims. And above all, the reason the police turn a blind eye to this disgusting practice is that they THINK it is sanctioned by Islam, or they think it is no business of anybody outside the ‘community’, and they are TERRIFIED of being called ‘Islamophobic’ or racist.” #25: “Apologies if this has already been said here, but “Baroness” Warsi has no sensible qualifications for high office whatever. She has never won an election and never distinguished herself in any of the ways that normally lead to a peerage. All she has achieved in life is to FAIL to be elected a Member of Parliament, twice (on one occasion ignominiously bucking the swing towards her party). She was, nevertheless, elevated to the peerage and rather promptly put in the Cabinet and the Privy Council. The only reasonable explanation for her rapid elevation is tokenism. She is female, Muslim, and non-white – a bundle of three tokens in one, and therefore a precious rarity in her party. You might have suspected her lack of proper qualifications from the fatuous things she says, of which her speech in Rome is a prime example.” #26: [Quoting: “Muslim extremists have called for Aan to be beheaded but fellow atheists have rallied round, and urged him to stand by his convictions despite the pressure.”] “For one sadly short moment I thought the ‘but’ was going to be followed by ‘moderate Muslims have rallied round . . .’ Once again, where are the decent, moderate Muslims? Why do they not stand up in outrage against their co-religionists? Maybe Ayaan Hirsi Ali is right and “moderate Muslim” is something close to an oxymoron. How can they not see that, if you need to kill to protect your faith, that is a powerful indication that you have lost the argument? It is impossible to exaggerate how deeply I despise them.” #27: “There are moves afoot to introduce sharia law into Britain, Canada and various other countries. I hope it is not too “islamophobic” of me to hope that the “interpretation” of sharia favoured by our local Muslim “scholars” will be different from the “interpretation” favoured by Iranian “scholars”. Oh but of course: “That’s not my kind of Islam.”” #28: [Quoting: “Richard, I really dislike disagreeing with you. However, female genital mutilation is not really based on Islam. My wife is from Indonesia and I have asked around and none of them know of anyone who does that in their country. From all that I have read and seen, it seems like it predates Islam and is mostly found in Africa and to a lesser extent the Middle East.”] “Even if you are right (and I am not necessarily conceding the point) that FGM itself is not based on Islam, I strongly suspect that the British police turning a blind eye to it is very strongly based on Islamophobophobia – the abject terror of being thought islamophobic.” #29: “Dear Lady Warsi Is it true that the Islamic penalty for apostasy is death? Please answer the question, yes or no. I have asked many leading Muslims, often in public, and have yet to receive a straight answer. The best answer I heard was from “Sir” Iqbal Sacranie, who said “Oh well, it is seldom enforced.” Will you please stand up in the House of Lords and publicly denounce the very idea that, however seldom enforced, a religion has the right to kill those who leave it? And will you stand up and agree that, since a phobia is an irrational fear, “Islamophobic” is not an appropriate description of anybody who objects to it. And will you stand up and issue a public apology, on behalf of your gentle, peaceful religion, to Salman Rushdie? And to Theo van Gogh? And to all the women and girls who have been genitally mutilated? And to . . . I’m sure you know the list better than I do. Richard Dawkins” #30: [Quoting: “Blimey Richard! This really has got up your nose, hasn't it? Your comments are usually a great deal more measured. It's not exactly uncommon for a Minister to “rise without trace”. I think we can all agree that our political system is “sub-optimal” to put it politely. Tokensim is one possibility (though if the Tories were really just after the muslim vote its interesting that they opted for a female muslim token).”] “I didn’t mean to suggest that the Tories were after the Muslim vote. I think they know that is a lost cause. I suspect that they were trying to live down their reputation as the nasty party, the party of racists, the party of sexists, the Church of England at prayer. More particularly, the ceaseless propaganda campaign against “Islamophobia” corrupts them just as it corrupts so many others. I suspect that the Tory leadership saw an opportunity to kill two, or possibly three, birds with one stone, by elevating this woman to the House of Lords and putting her in the Cabinet. I repeat, her [baroness Sayeeda Warsi’s] qualifications for such a meteoric rise, as the youngest member of the House of Lords, are tantamount to zero. As far as I can see, her only distinction is to have stood for election to the House of Commons and lost. That’s it. Apart, of course, from being female, Muslim, and brown. Like I said, killing three birds with one stone.” #31: “Baroness Warsi has never been elected to Parliament. What are her qualifications to be in the Cabinet? Does anyone seriously think she would be in the Cabinet, or in the House of Lords, if she was not a Muslim woman? Is her elevation to high office (a meteoric rise, for she is the youngest member of the House of Lords) any more than a deplorable example of tokenism?” #32: “I too heard Paul Foot speak at the Oxford Union, and he was a mesmerising orator, even as an undergraduate. Once again, Christopher Hitchens nails it. It is the nauseating presumption of Islam that marks it out for special contempt. I remain baffled at the number of otherwise decent people who can be seduced by such an unappealing religion. I suppose it must be childhood indoctrination, but it is still hard to credit. If you imagine setting up an experiment to see how far you could go with childhood indoctrination – a challenge to see just how nasty a belief system you could instil into a human mind if you catch it early enough – it is hard to imagine succeeding with a belief system half as nasty as Islam. And yet succeed they do.” #33: “Orthodox political opinion would have it that the great majority of Muslims are good people, and there is just a small minority of extremists who give the religion a bad name. Poll evidence has long made me sceptical. Now – it is perhaps a minor point, but could it be telling? – Salman Taseer is murdered by one of his own bodyguard. If ‘moderate’ Muslims are the great majority that we are asked to credit, wouldn’t you think it should have been easy enough to find enough ‘moderate’ Muslims, in the entire state of Pakistan, to form the bodyguard of a prominent politician? Are ‘moderate’ Muslims so thin on the ground?” #34: “It is almost a cliché that people of student age often experiment with a variety of belief systems, which they subsequently, and usually quite rapidly, give up. These young people have voluntarily adopted a belief system which has the unique distinction of prescribing execution as the official penalty for leaving it. I have enormous sympathy for those people unfortunate enough to be born into Islam. It is hard to muster much sympathy for those idiotic enough to convert to it.” #35: [Quoting: “Why do any media outlets keep repeatedly inviting her [Yasmin Alibhai-Brown] (excluding more capable, intelligent, qualified guests) as if she is some kind of authority or expert on anything at all?”] “Do you really need to ask that question? Media people are petrified of being thought racist, Islamophobic or sexist. The temptation to kill three birds with one stone must be irresistible.” #36: [Quoting: “I'm surprised nobody has acknowledged the elephant in the room -- namely, multicultural appeasement of Islam. The fact that (a) the paper was accepted, and (b) it took only five days to get accepted, suggests that there's something funny going on here. Could it be that the referee of the paper was a subscriber to the popular opinion in Britain that anything associated with Muslims short of murder in broad daylight is somehow praiseworthy and something to be encouraged?”] “Yes, I’m sorry to say that is all too plausible. Perhaps the Editor decided it would be “Islamophobic” to reject it.” #37: [Quoting: “I seem to remember a very bright young muslim lad”] You mean a bright young child of muslim parents. #38: “Oh, small as it is, this is the most heartening news I have heard for a long time. What can we do to help these excellent young Pakistanis, without endangering them? If, by any chance, any of them reads this web site, please get in touch to let us know how we might help. If anybody here has friends in Pakistan, or elsewhere afflicted by the ‘religion of peace’ (it isn’t even funny any more, is it?), or facebook friends, please encourage them to join and support these brave young people.” #39: [Quoting: “The obvious question is: who cares, are we saying when it was a catholic school it was ok and a Muslim school is worse.”] “Yes. It is worse. MUCH worse” #40: [Quoting: “I was even accused of having converted and married into another religion. But I wasn't worried as I'm a true Muslim," says the feisty young woman.”] If only she were a bit more feisty she would cease to be a Muslim altogether – except that would make her an apostate, for which the Religion of Peace demands stoning. Indeed, you’ll probably find she’d be sentenced to 99 lashes just for the crime of being feisty.” #41: [Quoting: “Disgusting and hideous as this practice is, I think the article makes it quite clear that it's not limited to any one religion or community. It's common to Christians, Muslims, Hindus, yezidis and many others.”] I just did a rough count (I may have missed one or two) of the named victims Robert Fisk mentioned. As follows: Muslim 52 Hindu 3 Sikh 1 Christian 0 But of course, Islam is the religion of peace. To suggest otherwise would be racist Islamophobia.” #42: “Whatever else you may say about Sam Harris’s article quoted above, and whether or not he is right about the NY Masjid, the following two paragraphs, about Islam more generally, seem to me well worth repeating. Richard”
  2. At least 130 people are injured and three dead after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon. The injuries include dismemberment, witnesses said, and local hospitals say they are treating shrapnel wounds, open fractures and limb injuries. An eight-year-old boy is one of the three known dead, multiple news outlets reported, and several of the injured are also children. At a Monday night press conference, Gov. Deval Patrick urged Bostonians to be vigilant on their morning commute Tuesday, and to report any suspicious packages to the police. The FBI has officially taken over the investigation, and is treating it as a potential terrorist attack. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis stressed that the police had no suspect in custody yet. "I'm not prepared to say we are at ease at this time," Davis said, when asked if the area was safe. "This cowardly act will not be taken in stride," Davis said. "We will turn over every rock to find out who is responsible.'' Davis said Boston police were not aware of any specific threat to the marathon before it began. Police said they had no one in custody and no suspects, but the Boston Globe reported that a "person of interest" who was injured in the blast was being questioned at Brigham and Woman's Hospital Monday night. [Related: Full coverage of the Boston marathon explosions] Two large explosions, just 50 yards apart, went off at 2:50 p.m. ET, more than four hours into the race. One of the explosions happened near the entrance of the Fairmont Copley Hotel in Copley Square. The blast scattered hundreds of onlookers and runners, and left a bloody scene of injured spectators, including children. Local news reporter Jackie Bruno wrote that she saw some people with their limbs blown off. The Boston Police Department said it is looking for video footage taken from the finish line as part of its investigation. Video footage shows first responders and bystanders rushing to the scene of the blast to help the wounded. Boston Medical Center took in 20 patients, including two children, most of whom are being treated for "lower leg injuries," a spokeswoman said. A spokeswoman for Tufts Medical Center said the hospital is treating nine patients for conditions such as shrapnel wounds, ruptured ear drums, and "serious orthopedic and neuromuscular trauma to the lower legs." At least one patient was as young as three years old. President Barack Obama warned Americans in a brief statement Monday evening not to jump to conclusions before authorities find out who committed the crime. "We will find out who did this," Obama said in an appearance in the White House briefing room. "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice." A White House official said the incident is being treated as an act of terror. NBC News, citing anonymous law enforcement sources, reported Monday that a "small homemade bomb" is believed to be responsible for the explosion. The FAA created a no-fly zone around the area. Cell phone service was shut down in the area, the AP reported, to prevent any remote detonations. Family and friends of marathon runners or spectators can call 617-635-4500 for information on their loved ones. This video from the Boston Globe shows the moment the bomb went off, and the paper has also pulled together dramatic photos from the aftermath. According to marathon officials, several thousand runners had not finished the race when the explosions detonated. Police have evacuated the area on Boylston Street to continue sweeping for more devices. Runners who had not yet finished the race were stopped at mile 25 and directed to Boston Common. The Boston Police Department called in all off duty officers in the city. This New York Times map shows where on the route the explosions took place. [Related: Photos from the scene of the Boston Marathon explosions] Patrick called it a "horrific day in Boston" in a statement. The New York Police Department is stepping up security around the city in response to the explosion. At the White House, yellow police tape was used to block off Pennsylvania Avenue from pedestrians in front of the White House's north gates and secret service were positioned along the perimeter. Credentialed pass holders continued to be permitted entry and exit from both the White House and the Executive Office Building. --The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  3. Several people have been injured in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, when Buddhist monks led hundreds in an assault on a Muslim-owned clothing warehouse. Buddhist monks were filmed throwing stones at the storage centre of popular garment chain Fashion Bug in a suburb of the capital on Thursday night. Police told AFP news agency that forces had been deployed to guard the area. The attack comes as hard-line Buddhist groups step up a campaign against the lifestyles of Muslims. The development comes four years after the army in the mainly Sinhalese Buddhist country defeated Tamil separatists. During Sri Lanka's bitter civil war the Muslims - a small Tamil-speaking minority, about 9% of the population - kept a low profile, but many now fear that ethnic majority hard-liners are trying to target them. The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo said the monks led a crowd which quickly swelled to about 500, yelling insults against the shop's Muslim owners and rounding on journalists seeking to cover the events. Eyewitnesses said the police stood and watched although after the trouble spread they brought it under control. "We have deployed extra units of STR (Special Task Force commandos) and police to guard the area," police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena told the Agence France-Presse news agency. "The situation was brought under control within a few hours," he said, adding that no arrests had been made. Television footage showed broken glass and clothing from the warehouse strewn in the street. Hard-line Buddhist groups led by monks also sent around a text this week urging people to boycott Muslim shops when stocking up for the forthcoming Sri Lankan New Year festival. After some Muslim groupscalled a strike in protest against a growing Buddhist campaign against their lifestyle, including halal food classification, a hard-line Buddhist party in the governing coalition issued a statement saying: "Sinhalese Buddhists should be determined to teach such Muslim extremists a lesson that they will never forget". The assault comes a day after police set up a hot-line to tackle complaints about anyone "inciting religious or racial hatred".
  4. 25 March 2013 Last updated at 02:52 GMT The hardline Buddhists targeting Sri Lanka's Muslims Hardline monks and Buddhist groups are trying to outlaw halal certification After a series of attacks on Masjids, wild rumours about animal slaughter and an attempt to outlaw the halal system of classification, the BBC's Charles Haviland investigates how Sri Lanka's Muslim minority is being targeted by hardline Buddhists. On a January morning a crowd of Buddhist monks storm a law college, yelling, chanting and even hitting one or two seemingly random people and pushing back the police. Furiously they shout that the exam results have been distorted to favour Muslims. A few weeks later, apparently abetted by the police, monks attack a slaughterhouse in Dematagoda, Colombo, alleging that calves are being slaughtered inside (illegal in the capital) or the meat is improperly stored. Both are incorrect, but the monks spread rumours that the facility is Muslim-owned as most of the truck drivers are Muslim. Sri Lankan monks are now taking this so-called "direct action" every few days. It is part of a growing wave of anti-Muslim activities in Sri Lanka carried out by new hardline Buddhist groups - a trend that is making many people anxious, even fearful. It comes four years after the army in this mainly Sinhalese Buddhist country defeated Tamil separatists. Regular attacks During Sri Lanka's bitter civil war war the Muslims - a small Tamil-speaking minority, about 9% of the population - kept a low profile, although many suffered violence. Muslim leaders have shied away from any kind of confrontation with the state Muslims are seen as having remained largely loyal to the state during the 26-year conflict. Indeed in 1990 they were expelled en masse from the north of Sri Lanka by Tamil rebels with just a few hours' notice. But they now fear that ethnic majority hardliners are trying to target them. At their recent rallies, the most prominent new hardline group, the Buddhist Strength Force (Bodu Bala Sena, BBS) have used coarse, derogatory language to describe Muslim imams and have told the Sinhalese majority not to rent property to Muslims. At one meeting attracting thousands, the organisation's secretary, Gnanasara Thero, told each Buddhist present to become "an unofficial policeman against Muslim extremism" and said "so-called democrats" were destroying the Sinhala race. Away from the rallies, I visited a temple in the suburb of Dehiwala as the early morning sun hit the majestic bo tree. The presiding monk, Akmeemana Dayarathana, has founded another ultra-nationalist Buddhist group, Sinhala Echo. He says the Sinhalese have real grievances, that Muslims are trying to convert people, building too many Masjids - even having too many children. In fact statistics show that both the Sinhalese and Muslim population percentages have grown slightly over three decades. He says, without giving any evidence, that Muslims propagated a message that Sinhalese families should be small. "Then they started to increase their own population," he says. "This is the only country for the Sinhalese." He proceeds to give a unique take on geography and religion. "Look around the world - Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others, they were all Buddhist countries - but the Muslims destroyed the culture and then took over the country. We worry they're planning it here too." A few days later his organisation stormed a house where they alleged Christian conversions were taking place and verbally abused the family inside, some of them - according to a local website - physically assaulting a woman. Top-level support Since last April, when monks led an attack on a Masjid during Friday prayers in the town of Dambulla, there have been regular accounts of Masjids being attacked or vandalised, for instance with graffiti or pictures of pigs. There have also been assaults on churches and Christian pastors but it is the Muslims who are the most concerned. In the south of the country on 18 March, a mob of hundreds including monks surrounded a pastor's house, set fire to tyres outside and shouted abusively to those inside. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said monks are there to protect country, religion and race "Muslims are worried all over the country," Mufti MIM Rizwe tells me. "Everybody is [in] fear." He is president of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), the main organisation of Muslim clerics, and meets me at a hotel where imams have come together for emergency discussions on the situation. He defends the halal system of food classification, which the hardline monks are now trying to outlaw, and strongly denies that the community is fostering extremism as they claim. He rejects their accusation that Muslims have been destroying Buddhist holy sites. "You can't show one incident that Muslims have reacted in this way," he says. "No single statue or any religious worship places have been targeted by Muslims, totally not. Muslims have never done this. We hope we are guiding our Muslims to be calm and respect every religion." Days later his organisation appears on a platform with moderate Buddhist monks who have decided to distance themselves from the hardliners. The hardliners are withering in their description of the moderates, calling them "unethical and immoral". It has become clear that the BBS has top-level support. At its ceremony to open a new training school, the guest of honour was the powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of the president. "It is the monks who protect our country, religion and race," he said in a speech. "No one should doubt these clergy. We're here to give you encouragement." President Mahinda Rajapaksa was reported to have told a BBS delegation in January not to promote "communal hatred", but the official communique was issued only in English, not in Sinhala. It is also apparent that Muslim leaders have shied away from any kind of confrontation with the powerful monks or any supporters they may have in government on this issue, remaining largely conciliatory in their language and actions. Mood of triumphalism Civic society activists are concerned. Sanjana Hattotuwa, editor of a citizen media initiative, groundviews.org, showed me some of the anti-Muslim web pages that are fast growing in number. Some civil society activists believe the dominant mood in the country is one of triumphalism The main picture on a Sinhala Facebook page called "My Conscience", with more than 8,000 followers, shows a lion - symbol of the Sinhalese - devouring a wild boar depicted with a crescent and star on its forehead. Mr Hattotuwa believes the dominant mood in the country is one of triumphalism, four years after the Tamil Tigers were beaten, and that this is encouraging victimisation of a new minority. "The country is seen today as Sinhala Buddhist," he says. "Everybody else has a rightful place. If they articulate concerns that question the dominant narrative then they should be put into their place. So the end of the war ironically has given the space for new social fault lines to occur." He rejects the concern voiced by some people that the socially conservative Muslim community is doing too little to integrate. "Integration means a recognition that this country is comprised of many communities and each one of them has the right to live where they want, how they want." Clearly not everyone in the government - which in any case contains Muslim ministers - is happy with the rise of the hardliners. Some Sinhalese ministers have expressed unease and a prominent newly retired diplomat, Dayan Jayatilleka, calls the BBS an "ethno-religious fascist movement from the dark underside of Sinhala society". Many Sri Lankans feel there are uncomfortable echoes of the 1983 pogroms, when Sinhala violence against Tamils precipitated the war. But hardline Buddhist rallies and "direct action" stunts are happening all the time now. And their social and political influence is expanding. -BBC
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