The Doctrine of Sitr

The word “Sitr” itself is related to the Arabic word for a curtain or a veil, and carries the meaning of drawing a blind over something that is not to be revealed. The doctrine of Sitr is related to the concept of “Aurah” or “dishonour / shame”.
In simple terms, when a person does something “shameful” or “dishonourable” within the Muslim community, it should be hushed up and only repeated offenders should be brought to (Islamic) justice. This is justified on the grounds that in the Hadith a duty is laid on Muslims to protect each other and each other’s honour.
Sitr developed in a primitive culture where the concept of a crime had not been fully developed into a formalised system. Muslims adhere to Sitr because of their religious belief. But times have surpassed this concept.
Modern legal systems replace such concepts as Sitr with that of justice, founded on the principle of innocence versus guilt rather than honour versus shame.
Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi explained the doctrine of Sitr in this Al Jazeera TV interview. Here is a summary of what Dr. Qaradawi said.
The interview was opened with a quote from Surat 24. After Muhammad ruled that a woman (Aisha) could not be convicted of sexual immorality without four male witnesses, the Prophet chastised the men who had raised the accusations against her. Here is the full passage from the Koran in the Hilali-Khan translation, emphases mine:
24:11-17 Verily! Those who brought forth the slander [against Aishah the wife of Mohammed] are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment. Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander) think good of their own people and say: “This (charge) is an obvious lie?” Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they (the slanderers) have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars. Had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy unto you in this world and in the Hereafter, a great torment would have touched you for that whereof you had spoken. When you were propagating it with your tongues, and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great. And why did you not, when you heard it, say? “It is not right for us to speak of this. Glory be to You (O Allah) this is a great lie.” Allah forbids you from it and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever, if you are believers.
Thus the implication is that if Muslims should hear anything “bad” against another Muslim, the natural reaction must be to dismiss it as a lie and not repeat – i.e. reveal – it.
“What is the importance of Muslims practising Sitr to protect other Muslims”, Qaradawi was asked, “And how is this related to Aurah, or shame?”
Dr. Qaradawi noted that Aurah is the common Arabic word for both the male and female genital organs. Just as the genitals are to be kept covered, there are actions and deeds that also need to remain protected and covered up. The Aurah are not limited to our physical bodies, but there are also social Aurah. People often do things of which they are embarrassed and ashamed, things they want to conceal from others. Each individual has his or her own weaknesses, things they do not want others to know. These are all Aurat (plural of Aurah) that are to be covered up [i.e. “aurah/aurat” are things that bring shame]. A man might hit someone in rage, for example, or engage in a sexual digression, or get drunk. He would be ashamed if others found out about his action. For this reason the Prophet said in an authentic Hadith, “The Muslim who protects another Muslim will himself be protected by Allah.” The Hadith says that Allah is both a Protector and a Lover of Modesty. That means that Allah not only  protects the Believers, but also wants them to protect each other. If a man falls into a transgression [sin or crime], he is not to be publicly exposedExposure only comes if he blatantly and flagrantly continues in the wrongdoing; then he must be punished.
This is true for all Muslim relationships. A Muslim is not to broadcast the sins of his neighbour, and a Muslim wife is not to make known the faults of her husband. They are instead to give the transgressor time to repent and seek forgiveness from Allah.
Thus, according to Dr. Qaradawi, if someone assaulted another in a rage, got drunk, visited a prostitute, etc. then if his criminal/immoral act(s) became public knowledge, he would be shamed – hisaurah would have been revealed. Under the doctrine of Sitr, in order to preserve the person’s “honour”, the offence should be covered up.
“But what if the [marriage] relationship has gone bad”? Qaradawi was questioned, “Can ex-spouses bad-mouth each other after divorce, or neighbours criticize each other publicly after their friendship has come to an end?”
Qaradawi replied that:
“… the principle of Sitr still applied. The neighbour should remember the good times they had together, and the divorced spouse should do the same. The Quran reminds Muslims in Surat 2 to be generous to the wives they divorce [Quran 2:237].
Children should be taught from their youth that some things are to be kept private and not disclosed to others… When the young Joseph dreamed that even the moon and the stars bowed down to him, his father Jacob warned him not to tell the dream to his brothers because they might plot against him in jealousy [Quran 12:5] … some people were more than willing to spread the word if a friend or neighbour committed sexual immorality, got drunk, or did something else shameful. The principle of Sitr requires that such behaviour, whether committed by you or someone else, remains forever hidden behind the veil.”
Note that according to Qaradawi this “cover-up” applies to both criminal (assault) and immoral or sinful (adulterous / fornicative) behaviour. This should not surprise us, since Islam rarely distinguishes sins from crimes, treating both types of behaviour as ‘crimes’ under Sharia Law.
Muslim children, teaches Qaradawi, should be taught from an early age to adopt the practice of Sitr if doing so will preserve the “honour” of fellow Muslims.
At first sight this is a doctrine which has somewhat to recommend it. It is the opposite of the “kiss-and-tell” attitude prevalent in much of the West, which can be damaging to put it mildly.
However it has a much darker side.
Dr. Qaradawi has said: “The principle of Sitr requires that [all] such behaviour, whether committed by you or someone else, remains forever hidden behind the veil [of Sitr].”
Recall that one example of something to be covered-up was a criminal act – that of assault. How widely does this doctrine reach and to what level of criminality should Sitr be applied?
Let me bring forward my next pieces of information.
The Muslim-authored website “IslamWeb” has this to say about itself:
Islamweb is a site designed to enrich the viewers’ knowledge and appreciation of Islam. Its aim is to provide the viewing community substantial knowledge about Islam, particularly the non-Muslim who may need clarification of common distortions of the media and misrepresentations of ill-informed followers. … Islamweb adopts balanced and moderate views, devoid of bias and extremism. It is designed to address the interests of a wide audience – casual viewers, new converts to Islam, and Muslims of long standing.
Thus Islamweb may be taken as a voice of moderate Islam to the whole world.
Amongst its many sections is a rather extensive selection of Fatwa (religious rulings) on a wide range of subjects.
Of particular relevance to the doctrine of Sitr are the fatwas available here,  here and here (as of Aug. 2013).
In the first case part of the question is this:
“My husband has sexually assaulted our daughter of 14 years old. She says he came in her bedroom, lied [sic] down behind her, undress her undergarment and put his private part from behind to front. She is not sure if it was entered or not.”
Thus we have a case of sexual assault and possible rape of a child.
What is Islamweb’s response?
“… However, you should conceal his sin and not disclose it to people, especially since he claims that he has repented and has become righteous, and that he even denies doing it….”
I am not quoting the full answer for brevity’s sake.
In the second fatwa part of the question is as follows:
“My husband’s maternal uncle tried to sexually abuse me (like trying to hug me, kiss on my cheek, trying to touch me in inappropriate places)… should I inform my husband?”
And, again in part, Islamweb’s response:
“…you did well by forgiving him [the Uncle], so you should not inform your husband about the matter as it is an obligation to conceal the sins of a Muslim according to the view of some scholars. The prominent scholar Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen may Allah have mercy upon him said while explaining Riyaadh As-Saaliheen: “It is an obligation upon a Muslim to conceal the faults of another Muslim and he should not spread it unless there is a necessity.” Even if we presume that this is not an obligation, it is not wise to inform your husband about the issue to make him have hard feelings towards his uncle over a matter about which he had already sought your forgiveness and he might have repented from it. As-San’aani may Allah have mercy upon him said in the book Subul As-Salaam: “If it is known that he has repented and gave up his sin, it is forbidden to disclose what he had done and it is an obligation to conceal his sin; this applies to the person who is not known to be corrupt or persistent in exceeding the limits of Sharee’ah.”
The third fatwa’s question is scarcely comprehensible, but the gist is that a girl-child was sexually abused when aged about 8-10 years old by her Uncle. Again the fatwa ruling says (in part): “she[the girl] should not inform anybody about this, neither her parents nor anyone else.”
Let me state at once the Islamweb is quite categorical that these cases are “great…obnoxious sins. But they don’t call them criminal acts as such. Whether this is because such things are not criminal in Islam, or whether it is due to the Islamic conflation of crime and sin is not relevant here. What is of relevance is that in two cases the cover-up of a serious crime (child sexual abuse) is advocated and in the other the cover-up of an immoral act. Further note that Islamweb refers to two “prominent scholar”s to support Sitr in these cases and, let me remind you, Islamweb is amoderate Muslim site – we are not talking about a bunch of “extremists”, but rather those Muslims whom we think of as “good law-abiding folk”.
In this fatwa “A 14 yr old girl has accused her father of sexual abuse since the age of 9 and also of rape” and that the man admitted it to her mother, his wife. The girl took the case to court (May 2011). What was Islamweb’s response?
“… it is not permissible to accuse the father of rape without evidence… the statement of this girl or the statement of her mother in itself does not Islamically prove anything against the father … she should not have claimed that she was raped by her father and she should not have taken him to the [non-Muslim] court.”
Again, let me be fair to Islamweb. They also state that if the girl was “telling the truth” – i.e. had four Mussalmen witnesses to the rape(s) – then she would be entitled to seek protection from him, even from a non-Muslim court.
Thus from these fatwa we can deduce that Muslims should cover-up not just immorality but also criminality on the part of fellow Muslims even where the sin/crime is against other Muslims. Given that at least one fatwa refers to rape, then this cover-up must extend to even the most serious crimes of all.
There are a whole number of similar fatwas on these and similar issues here that all say that the sin and/or crime of the perpetrators should be covered up.
Sitr in Sharia law.
The Umdat as-Salik (generally known in English as “The reliance of the traveller”) is a Sunni book of Sharia that was written in the 14th century. The book was translated by the American Muslim scholar Nuh Ha Mim Keller in 1991 and became the first translation of a standard Islamic legal reference in a European language to be certified by Al-Azhar University Cairo. Thus it has the “imprimatur” of the world’s leading Sunni university.
Section @R2 has this to say on slander (emphases mine):
@R2.2: Slander
Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him. “Mention” means by word, writing [thus this definition of slander includes libel, – i.e. slander = defamation], sign, or indicating him with one’s eye, hand, head, and so forth.   Body refers to saying such things as that someone is blind, lame, bleary-eyed, bald, short, tall, dark or pale.  Religion includes saying that he is corrupt, a thief, cannot be trusted, is a tyrant, does not care about the prayer, does not watch to avoid filth, does not honour his father, does not spend zakat on what it should be spent on, or does not avoid slandering others. Everyday life includes saying that his manners are poor; he does not care about others; does not think he owes anyone anything; that he talks, eats, or sleeps too much; or sleeps or sits when he should not. Father refers to saying such things as that his father is corrupt, his father is an Indian, Nabatean, African, cobbler, draper, carpenter, blacksmith, or weaver (n: if mentioned derogatorily). Disposition includes saying that he has bad character, is arrogant, a show-off, overhasty, domineering, incapable, faint-hearted, irresponsible, gloomy, dissolute, and so forth. Clothing means saying such things as that his sleeves are too loose, his garment hangs too low, is dirty, or the like. Other remarks can be judged by the above examples. The determining factor is; mentioning about a person what he would not like.
Once again we see that it is defamatory or “shaming” to say things that “a person would  not like” whether or not they are true.
@R2.3As for tale-bearing (namima), it consists of quoting someone’s words to another in a way that worsens relations between them.
@R2.4: The Evidence that Slander and Tale-Bearing are Unlawful. The above define slander and tale-bearing. As for the ruling on them, it is that they are unlawful, by the consensus (def:b7) of Muslims. There is much explicit and intersubstantiative evidence that they are unlawful from the Koran, sunna, and consensus of the Muslim Community.
@R2.5 Allah Most High says: -1- “Do not slander one another” (Koran 49.12). -2- “Woe to whomever disparages others behind their back or to their face” (Koran 104:1)  -3- “… slanderer, going about with tales” (Koran 68.11)
@R2.6 The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: -1- “The talebearer will not enter paradise.” -2- “Do you know what slander is?” They answered, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said, “It is to mention of your brother that which he would dislike.” Someone asked, “what if he is as I say?” And he replied, “If he is as you say, you have slandered him, and if not, you have calumniated him.” -3- The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not betray him, lie to him, or hang back from coming to his aid. All of the Muslim is inviolable to his fellow Muslimhis reputation, his property, his blood. Godfearingness is here [N: pointing to his heart]. It is sufficiently wicked for someone to belittle his fellow Muslim.”
This is worthy of note. In this hadith Mohammed is saying that telling an uncomfortable truth about a Muslim is slander (defamation) and that only if it is untrue is it “calumny” – a more severe form of slander in Mohammed’s view.
@R2.7: Mimicking Another’s Idiosyncrasies. We have mentioned above that slander [defamation] is saying anything about a person that he would dislike, whether aloud, in writing, by a sign, or a gesture. Anything by which one conveys a Muslim’s (A: or non-Muslim’s) shortcomings to another is slander, and unlawful. It includes doing imitations of someone, such as by walking with a limp, with a stoop, or similar posture, intending to mimic the person with such a deficiency. Anything of this sort is unquestionably unlawful.
@R2.8: Slander in Published Works. Slander also includes the author of a book mentioning a specific person in his work by saying, “So-and-so says such and such,” which is unlawful if he thereby intends to demean him. But if he wants to clarify the person’s mistake so that others will not follow him, or expose the weakness of his scholarship so others will not be deceived and accept what he says, it is not slander, but rather advice that is obligatory, and is rewarded by Allah for the person who intends it as such. Nor is it slander for a writer or other person to say, “There are those [or “a certain group”] who say such and such, which is a mistake, error, ignorance, and folly,” and so forth, which is not slander because slander entails mentioning a particular person or a group of specific individuals.
Section R2.8 is quite interesting in that the implication is that those who have made errors due to mistakes or poor scholarship can have their mistakes pointed out and that it is not defamatory to say “There are those [or “a certain group”] who say such and such, which is a mistake, error, ignorance, and folly,” etc. since slander entails mention of a particular person or specific individuals. However, claiming errors on the part of  “of Allah, of His book, of His religion, and of His Prophet” – i.e. Islam in general would not fall under this exemption, since all of the former are considered perfect and thus error free.
@R2.9: Slander by Allusion and Innuendo. When the person being spoken to understands whom one is referring to, it is slander and unlawful to say, for example, “A certain person did such and such,” or “A certain scholar,” “Someone with pretensions to knowledge,” “A certain Mufti a certain person regarded as good,” “Someone who claims to be an ascetic,” “One of those who passed by us today,” or “One of the people we saw.” This includes the slander of some would-be scholars and devotees, who make slanderous innuendoes that are as clearly understood as if they were plainly stated. When one of them is asked, for example, how So-and-so is, he replies, “May Allah improve us,” “May Allah forgive us,” “May Allah improve him,” “We ask Allah’s forbearance,” “Praise be to Allah who has not afflicted us with visiting oppressors,” “We take refuge in Allah from evil,” “May Allah forgive us for lack of modesty,” “May Allah relent towards us,” and the like, from which the listener understands the person’s shortcomings. All of this is slander and is unlawful, just as when one says, “So-and-so is afflicted with what we all are,” or “There’s no way he can manage this,” or “We all do it.”
@R2.10 The above are but examples. Otherwise, as previously mentioned, the criterion for slander is that one gives the person being addressed to understand another’s faults.
This particular section ends where is began: with a statement to the effect that in Islam (and thus in the Muslim mind-set) anything shaming is defaming, truth and falsehood do not necessarily enter into the equation and indeed even a factual matter that is shaming falls under the definition of “slander” and should be covered up – i.e. Sitr applies.
@R2.11: Listening to Slander. Just as slander is unlawful for the one who says it, it is also unlawful for the person hearing it to listen and acquiesce to. It is obligatory whenever one hears someone begin to slander another to tell him to stop if this does not entail manifest harm to one. If it does, then one is obliged to condemn it in one’s heart and to leave the company if able. When the person who hears it is able to condemn it in words or change the subject, then he must. It is a sin for him not to. But if the hearer tells the slanderer to be silent while desiring him in his heart to continue, this, as Ghazali notes. is hypocrisy that does not lift the sin from him, for one must dislike it in one’s heart.
R2:11 implies that one should not listen to a report of “slander” – i.e. something “shaming” about a Muslim, again note that truth and falsehood do not enter into whether or not the “tale-bearer” should be heeded.
R2:12-15 are not really relevant to the elucidation of Sitr, dealing as they do with the intentions and attitudes of those who hear it, although this quote from Imam Ghazali bears mention: “If one learns of a Muslim’s mistake by undeniable proof, one should advise him about it in private and not let the Devil delude one into slandering him.” i.e. you should cover up the crime or sin.
Later in the text the Umdat refers to “permissible slander” as follows:
@R2.16: Permissible Slander. Slander, though unlawful, is sometimes permissible for a lawful purpose, the legitimating factor being that there is some aim countenanced by Sacred Law that is unattainable by other means. This may be for one of six reasons.
@R2.17: Redressing Grievances.
@R2.18: Eliminating Wrongdoing.
@R2.19: Asking for a Legal Opinion.
@R2.20: Warning Muslims of Evil (here meaning something “un-Islamic” or something that will have “bad” consequences of some sort.
@R2.21: Someone Unconcerned with Concealing their Disobedience. A fifth reason that permits slander is when the person is making no effort to conceal his corruption … such as someone who openly drinks wine…
@R2.22: Identification (of a person).
These are the six categories of “permitted slander”. I have restricted myself to quoting the section heads on the grounds that those who wish to follow up can thereby easily reference  the section and also that a modicum of thought will show that without these exemptions Muslim society would be utterly dis-functional and lawless since no cases could be brought to trial etc.
But note the fifth exemption:  Someone Unconcerned with Concealing their Disobedience. Implicit, then, is that if someone does not flaunt their “disobedience” to Sharia law/Islam, then their shameful behaviour should be covered up – at least as much as possible.
Chapter R3.0: TALEBEARING (NAMIMA) [means “gossiping negatively about someone else”]
@R3.1(Nawawi:) Having summarily mentioned that tale-bearing (namima) is unlawful, with the evidence for this and a description of its nature, we now want to add a fuller explanation of it.Imam Abu Hamid Ghazali says, “Tale-bearing is a term that is usually applied only to someone who conveys to a person what another has said about him, such as by saying, ‘So-and-so says such and such about you,’ In fact, tale-bearing is not limited to that, but rather consists of revealing anything whose disclosure is resentedwhether resented by the person who originally said it, the person to whom it is disclosed, or by a third partyIt makes no difference whether the disclosure is in word, writing, a sign, nodding, or other; whether it concerns word or deedor whether it concerns something bad or otherwiseThe reality of tale-bearing lies in divulging a secret, in revealing something confidential whose disclosure is resented. A person should not speak of anything he notices about people besides that which benefits a Muslim to relate or prevents disobedience. Anyone approached with a story, who is told, ‘So-and-so says such and such about you,’ must do six things:
-1- disbelieve it, for talebearers are corrupt, and their information unacceptable;
-2- tell the talebearer to stop, admonish him about it, and condemn the shamefulness of what he has done;
-3- hate him for the sake of Allah Most High, for he is detestable in Allah’s sight, and hating for the sake of Allah Most High is obligatory;
-4- not think badly of the person whom the words are supposedly from, for Allah Most High says, ‘Such much of surmise’ (Koran 49.12);
-5- not let what has been said prompt him to spy or investigate whether it is true, for Allah Most High says, ‘Do not spy’ (Koran 49.12);
-6- and not to do himself what he has forbidden the talebearer to do, by relating it to others.” (Ibid., 471-72)
“Tale-bearers” are not to be believed, but rather are to be considered corrupt and hated “for the sake of Allah” (according to the doctrine of al-Wara wal-Bara). Again note that truth and falsehood are not relevant: “The reality of tale-bearing lies in divulging a secret, in revealing something confidential, word or deed, whose disclosure is resented by anyone(Actually this is surprisingly reminiscent of much “hate speech” legislation – see here under “Free speech in the UK” and/or summary sections.) See also Umdat P.45.
My final quote from the Umdat is this:
*2*Chapter R5.0: INFORMING ON ANOTHER. @R5.1 The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Let none of my Companions inform me of anything another of them has said, for I wish to come out to you without disquiet in my heart.”
Here we have the cover-up stated quite baldly: Mohammed doesn’t want to hear anything “disquieting” (upsetting, insulting etc.) about his fellow Muslims (companions) in case it disturbs his sense of tranquillity.
Let me also note that @A2.4 states that the Muslim has a duty to teach his  children to avoid slander, @I1.27 relates to fasting during which slander should be avoided. These are innocuous enough – except that we have to know that “slander” means anything shaming, which is less benign. @G2.5 again notes that “if he notices something bad, it is unlawful to mention it, as this is slander (ghiba, def:r2.2)”. P50.2 condemns to hell those who attacked the reputations of others.
Whilst a superficial reading might lead to the conclusion that the Umdat is concerned with preventing the telling and retelling of falsehood, the fact that slander is defined as mentioning “anything concerning a person that he would dislike” belies this understanding of slander, indicating rather that in the Islamic view anything shaming is defaming. This would clearly include much that was a falsehood of course, but the underlying concern is honour-shame not truth-falsehood. Thus the “default position” of the Umdat is that the sinful deeds of a Muslim should be covered up (sitr) except in certain specific circumstances.
Sitr in non-Muslim Countries
How does this doctrine of the cover-up extrapolate for sins and/or crimes committed by Muslims against non-Muslims in a predominantly non-Muslim society? (The case of sins and/or crimes against non-Muslims in a Muslim majority Country is a separate issue and revolves around the concept of Dhimmitude under Sharia law.)
Does this mean, for instance, that Muslims should not cooperate with Law enforcement agencies if such cooperation would result in the revealing of a crime (which brings “shame”) committed by Muslims – and perhaps especially so if the victims are non-Muslims (who are regarded as lesser mortals in Islam)?
  1. In the US there was a brouhaha  involving CAIR in 2011 over a poster opposing cooperation with the FBI. Whilst this proved to be something of a canard (the poster wasn’t originated by CAIR), CAIR has a less than lily-white record all it’s own. CAIR’s claim of supporting law enforcement is “ludicrous,” said Steven Pomerantz, the FBI’s assistant director for counter-terrorism in the 1990s. The group has “a consistent, long history of being antagonistic toward law enforcement.” See here and here.
  2. In the UK there are the ongoing prosecutions of many Muslim child-sex grooming gangs. Their victims were predominantly white, vulnerable pre- and early teenage girls (a few non-white victims were reported, including some “Asian” girls – Sikhs, not Muslim). And there has been little to suggest any awareness on the perpetrators’ part that they were guilty of wrong-doing, indeed some are on the Court record trying to blame the victims for the crimes and otherwise trying to preserve their “honour” from the shame of exposure. (I must add that their attempts failed miserably in the wider community.)
  3. Again in the UK there have been a significant number of thwarted terror attacks. In no case of which I am aware have the terrorists been caught due to tip-offs from other Muslims. A recent (Aug.2013) internet search shows that such things do happen in the US and Canada, but not, as far as I am able to tell, the UK. (I stand to be corrected on this of course.)
  4. The presence of hate-preachers in mosques goes largely unreported. In the UK, for example, it required undercover journalism (see herehere and here) to expose it. But this is a world-wide problem. Every Country with a Muslim minority has it’s tales of hate-preachers to tell. Those that are exposed are a minority and those that are prosecuted a much smaller one.
  5. In Nigeria when Boko Haraam was attacking only Christians and Churches the country’s Muslim leaders were largely silent on the issue. Once Boko Haraam started to attack those whom it felt “weren’t Muslim enough” however the condemnations from said Muslim leaders came thick and fast.
  6. In Sept. 2013 the Muslim Women’s network UK published a report called “The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women”. PLEASE READ. The report self-confessedly stated that “…the investigation mainly focused on case studies of Muslim children and young women,..” (p.21). Over it’s 35 case studies it found that “Blackmail connected with shame and dishonour appeared to be a key and unique method of control for victims of Asian and Muslim backgrounds [because] they did not want to risk their families finding out” (p.27) and “they feared repercussions linked to honour based violence”- HBV (p.74). “There appears to be little or no understanding among families and communities about sexual exploitation and there is a tendency to blame the female victims rather than the male offenders. Girls were being regarded as “temptresses” and assumptions were made about their lifestyles.Denial about sexual exploitation was also raised as a major concern. There is a tendency to prioritise protecting the “honour” of the community over the safeguarding of vulnerable girls [and] silence in the name of avoiding shame and preserving honour, is allowing men to continue operating with impunity, therefore fueling sexual violence against girls and women further.”(p.28) Throughout the report the mantra of shame and (dis)honour repeats. p.87 even mentions “the ‘cover up’ culture” – Sitr defined! p.88 notes; “those considered ‘bad’ [Muslims] were usually the ones who did not wear the headscarf and therefore were not thought of as victims but as ‘bringing it on to themselves’.” (I included this since it speaks so strongly of  misogyny, honour/shame and Sitr within UK “Asian” – here Muslim – communities.)
None of the six pieces of information above are in any way conclusive – and in a spirit of fairness it could be argued that the UK is partly a “special case” in 3 and perhaps 4 above – but the attitude of those UK Muslims involved in child-sex grooming and the lack of concern over this within UK Muslim communities; attitudes to terrorism and terrorists and in the case of the latter the wilful blindness of friends and relations; CAIR’s reticence towards law-enforcement in the US and the willingness of the some sections of the Muslim community in non-Muslim Countries to “overlook” (i.e. protect) hate-preachers and terrorists – all are in keeping with the doctrine of Sitr.
Excursus: Sitr – Honour and Shame.
The cover-up doctrine of Sitr is tightly wound up with the concepts of honour and shame as understood in Islam. To better understand this, see this article on Guilt Cultures vs. Shame Culturesand also here under “Shame vs. Guilt”. In a shame society the drivers of society are not truth-falsehood and innocence-guilt (as they are in the West), but honour-shame. The fundamental point is that in the latter world-view what “others” think of the person (or community) is more important than what the individual (or community) thinks of him/itself.
The consequence of this is that if “honour” is impugned (in the eyes of the “victim” of the “dishonouring”) they must act in such a way to restore their honour in the wider community and denial, anger and violence, including HBV, are frequent responses.
It is well known that the majority of so-called HBV (honour based violence) takes place in Muslim societies. When the family is “dis-honoured” by the revelation of a “shaming” act, the family often feels the need to restore its honour by punishing (to the point of killing) the person who brought the shame on them. (See also herehere and here and 6 above.)
In many Muslim societies the honour of the family is bound up in the behaviour of its female members and those women/girls who transgress the honour code are the most likely victims of HBV (followed by homosexual males) which is seen as the only way that the family can remove the “stain” of its “dishonour”.
To summarise:
  • We’ve seen that a leading Muslim scholar of today (Qaradawi) speaks in support of Sitr.
  • The moderate-Muslim authored Islamweb website has fatwa rulings that declare that even very serious crimes must be covered up (Sitrif the perpetrator is Muslim.
  • Other prominent classical scholars support Sitr.
  • Sharia law, according to the Umdat as Salik also supports Sitr.
  • There is evidence that Muslims act this doctrine out both individually and in groups by being reluctant to support law-enforcement in various ways and in (sometimes literally) violent reactions to the perception of being “shamed” personally or having their religion “shamed” (note I’m referring to Muslim minorities in non-Muslim Countries here, the tendency to violence is – currently – much more pronounced in Muslim majority Countries.) and their wilful blindness to and covering-up of various criminal actions of members of their communities.
The doctrine of Sitr is all about preserving the “honour” of Islam and Muslims, the latter both individually and collectively. Muslims see themselves as being the “best community amongst mankind” (Koran 3:110) and as a consequence anything that would tarnish this asserted reputation and/or the reputation of “of Allah, of His book, of His religion, and of His Prophet” must be covered up (or denied) and the revelation of something “shaming” is often perceived as “defamatory” (in the language of the Umdat as “slander”) by the community or individual affected. (see also here .)
Consequences of the doctrine
When it comes to the illegal actions (according to Western criminal and civil, not necessarily Sharia, law) of Muslims within non-Muslim countries, are we then surprised that  Muslims are often less than fully cooperative in Police investigations into crimes committed by Muslims?
Or that they hide various crimes (such as child-sex-grooming) within their own communities through fear of “dishonour”? (And note that the victims do so out of fear of “family repercussions” including HBV.)
Or that cries of “Islamophobia” and “racism” (the latter being truly risible) on the part of the authorities prosecuting Muslims are widely heard?
Or that when charged with something “shameful” (i.e. criminal) the reaction is anger at the “defamatory” charges, and/or denial of the facts and a feeling of “victimisation” on the Muslims’ part – which only fuels their resentment of and anger towards the non-Muslims in the Countries in which they live.
This is illustrated by the attitude found amongst many Western Muslims that they get “a bad press” and that if it were people of other religions then the religion would not be remarked on. Quite how this is maintained in view of the child-abuse scandals within Christian Churches and organisations in which the faith of the perpetrators played a very prominent role would be hard to understand were it not for Sitr and the implicit assumption amongst (some) Muslims that such behaviour on the part of Muslims should be covered up. Put another way, Muslims think they get “a bad press” because they think their failings (individually or as a community) should never be made public – unlike everyone else’s.
Conclusion
Sitr is a particularly damaging and invidious doctrine: not only does it result in Muslims covering up Muslims’ crimes; it inculcates in the perpetrators a sense of victimization (which breeds resentment and anger) when they suffer the “injustice” of being caught and prosecuted – especially if the revelation of such wrong-doing is at the hands of non-Muslims and in an “illegitimate kafir court”, and Sitr also ensures that this resentment and anger is directed towards the non-Muslim society among whom they reside – with predictable results in terms of so-called “radicalization”.

Thirty Shariah Laws That Are Bad For All Societies

This list of shariah laws is intended to be read by judges, lawyers, legislators, city council members, educators, journalists, government bureaucrats, think tank fellows, TV and radio talk show hosts, and anyone else who occupies the “check points” in society; you initiate the national dialogue and shape the flow of the conversation in society. You are the decision and policy makers. As intellectuals, you believe the critics of shariah exaggerate (and maybe some are guilty of it). They’re just “Islamophobes.” Ignore them. Islam is a worldwide religion, after all. It deserves respect. You are also thorough relativists who believe in tolerance for all religions, in all their parts. At first glance, this is a commendable outlook.

You like what Thomas Jefferson said, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my legs.” It is a true that beliefs that do not harm us monetarily or physically should be tolerated. Shariah has positive aspects to it – or, rather, they do no damage in those two ways. Therefore, parts of shariah should be tolerated in a religiously diverse society like America.
The Five Pillars are examples. They are part of shariah – divine Islamic law, which traces its origins ultimately back to the Quran (or Koran) and Muhammad’s example or life, the sacred traditions, which were eventually written down in the hadith. None of those five rituals and policies picks our pockets or breaks our legs, if the five are done privately or in the mosque. Unfortunately, however, this list is not about the harmless parts in shariah, but the ones that are incompatible with the modern era. Even Thomas Jefferson had his limits. He sent the marines to take back captured American merchant sailors and to open up the trade routes that were hampered by the Muslim Barbary pirates in North Africa, who had sold the captives into slavery or demanded ransoms
.
Do the elites have any limits? In some cases, a religion does indeed pick our pockets and break our legs. Each item in the list has one or more back-up articles. Readers should click on them to find out that the thirty points come right out of original Islam and are not invented out of thin air. Each back up also has a section on modern Islam, mentioning Muslims – too few – who advocate reform. And if readers would like to see various translations of the Quran, they may go to the website quranbrowser.com and type in the references. If readers are in doubt about the meaning of a verse, they may go to the tafsir (commentary) written by Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), one of the most authoritative and highly regarded classical commentators in the Sunni world, at qtafsir.com; or the readers may search through the modern commentary by Sunni Indo-Pakistani religious scholar and politician Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi (d. 1979) at www.englishtafsir.com.
Political Islam 
Punishments Marital, Domestic, and Women’s Issues Conclusion Political Islam
1. The mosque and state are not separate. To this day, Islamic nations that are deeply rooted in shariah, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, do not adequately separate the two realms, giving a lot of power to courts and councils to ensure that legislation does not contradict the Quran (never mind whose interpretation). Most of the laws listed below come from this confusion. Back-up article: Mosque and State
2. Jihad may be waged against injustice or an unjust nation, as Islam defines the terms. Classical texts say Islam is justice, and no Islam is injustice. Therefore, a “just war” can be waged against a nation or people who do not submit to Islam. Yet we are told in the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, which is based on shariah, that humane rules must be followed (Article Three) .
Does that article offer hope that modern Islam can move past old Islam? Maybe. However, the Quran, sacred traditions, classical law, and historical Islam contradict or balance out some elements in Article Three. Would there be a conflict between the old Islam and modern Islam, if war broke out? Many Islamic clerics issue fatwas (religious rulings) to wage jihad. Back-up articles: Jihad and Qital and The Early Muslim Community and the Sword.
3. Jihad may be waged to spread Islam and force conversions – a holy war. Waging jihad to spread Islam and force conversions is a perfect description of “holy war.” See Quran 8:39, 9:5, 9:11-12,9:14, and 9:29; and then see 9:33; 61:9 and 48:28. Yet, we have been told for many years now that holy wars and forced conversions were never done in Islam.
That’s a myth imagined by Westerners. However, read those verses and click on the back-up articles: Back-up articles: Jihad and Qital, The Mission of Muhammad and the Sword, and The Early Muslim Community and the Sword.
4. A captive in jihad may be executed, enslaved, ransomed for money, exchanged for other prisoners, or released freely. Quran 47:4 and 33:25-27, 4:24 says those things (and the last option – free release – is positive). Yet we are told that in a jihad today everything must be done humanely and justly. However, the back-up article, this fourth item, and the next four items in this list balance out that claim. Would there be a conflict between old Islam and modern Islam, if war broke out?
5. A woman captive of jihad may be forced to have to sex with her captors (now owners). Quran 4:24 and especially the sacred traditions and classical law allow this. The sacred traditions say that while out on military campaigns under Muhammad’s leadership, jihadists used to practice coitus interruptus with their female captives.
Women soldiers fighting terrorists today must be forewarned of the danger.
6. Property can be destroyed or confiscated during jihad. Quran 59:2 and 59:5 discuss those rules. Sacred traditions and classical law expand on the Quranic verses. Modern Islamic law officially improves on the Quran: see Article Three of the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, which is nonetheless based on shariah, but it outlaws wanton destruction of property. Would there be any conflict between old Islam and modern Islam in a war today?
7. Jihad may be waged to collect spoils. Quran 8:1, 8:7, 8:41, and 48:20 show this clearly. Early Islam followed the old Arab custom of raiding caravans, but as its military grew, the raids were elevated to jihad. The spoils of war were coveted. Which Islam would prevail in a war today – the old one or the modern one?
8. A second-class submission tax, called the jizyah, must be imposed on Jews and Christians (and other religious minorities) living in Islamic countries. Quran 9:29 offers three options to Jews and Christians: (1) Fight and die; (2) convert to Islam; (3) or keep their religion, but pay a tribute or submission tax, the jizyah, while living under Islam.
In Islamic history, vanquished Jews and Christians became known as dhimmis. This word appears in Quran 9:8 and 9:10, meaning a “treaty” or “oath,” but it can also mean those who are “condemned” “reviled” or “reproved” (Quran 17:18, 17:22; 68:49). The word “submission” in Quran 9:29 can also be translated as “humiliation,” “utterly humbled,” “contemptible” or “vile.” It can mean “small” as opposed to “great.” Islamic nations today still seek to impose this second-class religion tax. Back-up articles: Jihad and Qital and The Quran and the Sword 9. Slavery is allowed. It is true that freeing slaves was done in original Islam (Quran 5:89 and 24:33), and the Quran says to be kind to slaves (Quran 4:36), but that is not the entire story.
In addition to those verses, Quran 4:24, 23:1-7; 33:52 allow the institution. Muhammad owned slaves, even one who was black (so says a sacred tradition). He was militarily and politically powerful during his later life in Medina, but he never abolished slavery as an institution. Officially, Islamic nations have outlawed slavery (Article 11, which is still based on shariah).
That proves Islam can reform on at least one matter. Can it reform on the other shariah laws? And we are told that “no other nation or religious group in the world treated slaves better than the Muslims did.” The back-up article and next two items in this list contradict that claim. The legacy of slavery still runs deep in Islamic countries even today.
 10. A male owner may have sex with his slave-women, even prepubescent slave-girls. See Quran 4:24 and 23:1-7; but it is classical law that permits sex with prepubescent slave girls and describes them as such.
Some Muslim religious leaders and others still advocate this practice, taking the slaves as concubines (though sex with prepubescent slave-girls is another matter).
11. Slaves may be beaten. That’s what sacred traditions and classical laws say. See Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism, and Slavery
12. Apostasy laws, including imprisonment or execution, may be imposed on anyone who leaves Islam (an apostate). Normally this is a prescribed punishment, but it is also political, since it is about freedom of religion.
Surprisingly the Quran does not cover punishing apostates down here on earth, though in the afterlife they will be punished. Does this modern Islam can reform old Islam? Quran 4:88-89, 9:73-74, and 9:123, read in that sequence, might deal with earthly punishments. Mainly, however, the sacred traditions and classical law permit harsh treatment for anyone who leaves Islam. Islamic courts and laws still impose these punishments today, or religious scholars today argue for the law.
13. Blasphemy laws, including imprisonment or execution, may be imposed on critics of Islam or Muhammad. These verses should be read in historical sequence, for they show that as Islam’s military power increased, the harsh treatment of mockers and critics also intensified, as follows: Quran 3:186, 33:57-61, 9:61-66, 9:73 and 9:123. Sacred traditions, classical laws, and historical Islam are unambiguous about the punishments, recording the people, often their names, who were assassinated for mocking Muhammad and the Quran. Islamic nations and pockets of Islam in non-Muslim countries still impose these punishments today.
14. Drinkers and gamblers may be flogged. Quran 2:219, 4:43, and 5:90-91, in that sequence, show that Islam gradually prohibited alcohol. The last passage also prohibits “gaming” of sorts. The sacred traditions and classical law discuss punishing gamblers and alcoholics. One tradition says to execute unrepentant alcoholics who do not stop. But usually drinkers were flogged forty or eighty times, with garments, palm branches, or sandals in early Islam.
Islamic countries can impose these punishments today, or religious and legal scholars still argue for it.
15. An injured plaintiff (a private citizen) has the options of forgiving or exacting legal and literal revenge – physical eye for physical eye. Categorized as qisas (like for like), Quran 5:45 is the main verse (and see 2:187-189).
Sacred traditions and classical laws spell out which punishments should be inflicted on which offenses. Islamic courts, depending on which way the plaintiff directs, today may ask a doctor to surgically remove an eye or disfigure the face or body in some other way. Currently, qisas can be applied to children in Iran. The whole purpose of courts is to remove the punishment of wrongs and injuries from the plaintiffs who are private citizens; otherwise, blood feuds and personal revenge make punishments uneven – never mind excessive.
16. The hand of a male or female thief may be cut off. Quran 5:38 imposes this punishment. The traditions and classical law clarify that the theft has to be a valuable item; or mutilation might not be inflicted during a famine, But amputation is still done today in Islamic countries and argued for by religious leaders or legal scholars to understand it as if it is still valid.
17. A highway robber may be crucified or his alternate hand and foot cut off. Quran 5:33 permit these punishments. Yes, from that verse other punishments can be inflicted, but the point here is that execution for first-degree murder with aggravated circumstances is one thing, but mutilation and crucifixion is excessive. Some Islamic nations can still impose them today, or religious and legal scholars still argue for understanding the punishments, as if they are still valid.
18. Homosexuals may be imprisoned, flogged, or executed. Surprisingly, the Quran is not all that clear on this subject, but the traditions and classical laws are. Islamic nations to this day still impose those punishments, and religious leaders still argue for harsh punishments.
19. Fornicators may be flogged. Quran 24:2 says this. The hadith and classical laws can impose additional penalties like exile of the male for a year. Modern Islamic nations still inflict this penalty, and religious or legal scholars still argue for it.
20. Adulterers may be stoned to death. The verse that says to stone adulterers to death went missing from the Quran, so says Umar, a companion of Muhammad and the second caliph (ruled 634-644). But he left no doubt that this penalty was done under Muhammad’s direction, and the sacred traditions and classical laws confirm it.
But a few rules of evidence must be followed, like confession of the adulterer or four eyewitnesses.
In some interpretations of the law, if a woman is raped, but cannot produce four just and pious men who witnessed it, then she is slandering the alleged rapist (or gang rapists) – never mind that the four just and pious eyewitnesses did nothing to stop it, but stood there and watched it. Some modern Islamic nations still do this, and religious and legal scholars argue for it.
21. False accusers of sexual crimes may be flogged eighty times. Quran 24:1-4 speak of corporal punishment for sexual sins. Verse 4 says that if an accuser cannot produce four eyewitnesses to corroborate his accusation, then he will be flogged (see Quran 24:13).
Some modern Islamic nations can still impose the penalty for slander, and religious scholars still argue for it. Back-up article: Adultery and Fornication Marital, Domestic, and Women’s Issues Quran 2:228 and 4:34 states that mankind is superior to womankind in a variety of legal and domestic contexts. Quran 2:223 says wives are fields, and their husbands can go into them whenever and however they like. How does this inferiority work out in the law and society?
22. A woman inherits half what a man does. Quran 4:11 says it, and the hadith (traditions) and classical law confirm it. Modern Islamic nations still do this, and religious leaders still argue for it.
23. A woman’s testimony in a court of law counts half of a man’s testimony, since she might “forget.” Quran 2:282 says it in the context of business law. But the hadith (traditions) explains that women’s minds are deficient; classical law expands this curtailment to other areas than business. Modern Islamic nations still do this, and religious scholars still argue for it.
24. A man may legally and irrevocably divorce his wife, outside of a court of law, by correctly pronouncing three times “you are divorced.” Quran 2:229 says this, and the traditions and classical law explain and confirm it.
A judge in a modern Islamic country will ensure that the husband did not speak from a fit of irrational rage (anger is okay) or intoxication, for example. Then the court will validate the divorce, not daring to overturn it, since the Quran says so. Sometimes this homemade and irrevocable divorce produces a lot of regret in the couple and manipulation from the husband in Islam today.
25. A wife may remarry her ex-husband if and only if she marries another man, has sex with him, and then this second man divorces her. Quran 2:230 says this, and the traditions and classical law confirm it. Supposedly, this rule is designed to prevent easy divorce (see the previous point), but it produces a lot of pain, in Muslims today.
26. Husbands may hit their wives. Quran 4:34 says it, and the traditions and classical law confirm it. There is a sequence of steps a husband follows before he can hit her, but not surprisingly this rule creates all sorts of abuse and confusion in Islamic society today.
27. A man may be polygamous with up to four wives. Quran 4:3 (and 33:50-52) allow this, but only if a man can take care of them. The traditions and classical law confirm it. Modern Muslims still push for this old marital arrangement even in the USA, and many Islamic nations still allow it. But some Muslims are fighting polygamy. The hadith (traditions) paints a picture of Muhammad’s household that was full of strife between the wives.
28. A man may simply get rid of one of his “undesirable” wives. Quran 4:128 says this. The traditions say about the verse that the wife whom Muhammad wanted to get rid of was “huge” and “fat.” She gave up her turn to his favorite girl-bride Aisha. He kept the corpulent wife. There is heartbreak in Islam today.
29. A mature man may marry a prepubescent girl. Quran 65:1-4, particularly verse 4, assumes, but does not command, the practice. The hadith says Aisha was six years old when she was engaged to Muhammad (he was in his fifties), and their marriage was consummated when she was nine. The hadith indicate she was prepubescent at nine. She never did bear him any children.
Classical law says a father may give away his prepubescent daughter, but she also has a few rights. Officially many Islamic nations have raised the legal marriage age, but pockets in the Islamic world still follow this old custom. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia okays marriage to ten-year-old girls. Work is still needed to be done for the rights of girl brides, particularly for their sexual health.
30. A woman must wear a head covering and maybe a facial veil, according to sound traditions and authoritative classical law. Quran 24:31, 33:53 and 33:59 are not as clear about the veil as one might first think. The verses say to dress modestly, but should the head be covered or just the neckline? What about the face (except the eyes)? Thus, modern Muslims are now in a big debate over the veil. However, the traditions and classical law are clearer than the Quran: the veil over the face (except the eyes).
 
 
Conclusion
Compiling this list would not have been necessary if modern Muslim religious leaders and jurists argued that all of those laws have expiration dates – back in the seventh century. Instead, they are eager to impose those archaic laws today (with the exceptions duly noted as the list went along). They believe all of the Quran is universally and timelessly good. However, most of the public, since 9/11 and the countless posts about Islam since then, are laughing at Islam behind its back.
The traditionalists, whom we have kept track of in the series, appear very foolish, when they defend the thirty rules. Do they really intend to tell us to our faces that the thirty laws should be imposed on all of humanity for its own good? Apparently so. But you traditionalists are gradually becoming a laughingstock, in the eyes of most people. Most people. Why not all? The allies of the traditionalists in the Western world and elsewhere seem oblivious to the dangers built into the laws.
Are all of these laws on the brink of being imposed on the West, by the next day? No, but many of them, especially the ones about marriage and family, can gradually be lobbied for and slowly make their way into our culture and legal system and advocated in school curricula, in the name of multiculturalism. But will modern Islam reform old Islam? Will the Western elites encourage reform, or do they believe Islam is fine the way it is? Rather than they and traditionalists defending the thirty laws and calling critics “Islamophobes,” traditionalists and their allies should work hard to reform the laws or, better yet, set them aside completely.
For example, the Quran and traditions, classical law, and Islamic history promote slavery, but modern Muslim states have outlawed it – officially (see nos. 9, 10, 11, above). This prohibition shows that modern Islam can improve on original Islam – the one that Muhammad preached and practiced. Slavery was done throughout the world in the old days; that’s the (outdated) historical context. Original Islam conformed to it.
Can modern Muslim scholars recognize that all of the other laws in this list were part of the same obsolete historical context and throw out these archaic laws? In the meantime, while we wait patiently for this Islamic Reformation and Modernization (if it happens), the Western elites may want to remember three universal rights that are self-evident, according to the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The hallmarks of those three rights are, among other things, freedom of conscience to follow a religion of one’s choice (or no religion at all) without being harassed. Freedom of speech – even the kind that criticizes the Quran and Muhammad – are signs that democracy and justice have taken root.
Equality before the law for both sexes also defines the three universal rights.
However, all of those thirty laws suppress everyone’s highest quality of life before the law and in society; they suppress our maximum liberty; and they suppress individual pursuit of happiness as he or she defines it.
Finally, a religious utopia which is imposed from the top down in Islam, which harshly punishes sins or crimes by disfigurement or mutilation or flogging, and which denies the basic human dignity of the female sex, is the wrong direction for modern society.
Over the centuries, and after many mistakes, the West has learned from its mistakes and is still learning. Islamic leaders say the West is arrogant. Maybe sometimes it is. But Islam’s refusal to learn from the West is also a sign of arrogance. Islam must bend to us, not we to it. Islam is behind the times. Tolerance of religions in their harmless aspects, like prayer, is one thing, but capitulation to their civilly and socially oppressive parts is another. Let’s preserve our cultural and legal advancements without compromise. Let’s keep religion and the state (government) separate.
Not one word, phrase, or clause of these thirty shariah laws and even the Five Pillars should ever enter our legal system, legislation, policy formulations, or school curricula. Most of all, let’s keep (or return) to our three universal and foundational rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of (individual) happiness.
This article does not compare Islam and Christianity, but the readers may be curious about it. It may also seem strange to the intellectual elite who have pretty much chucked religion out the window that people often ask about the Old Testament. Doesn’t it have severe laws? How can we talk about shariah?
Reply: no one of significance today advocates bringing those severe Old Testament laws forward to the modern era, with the possible exception of the death penalty for first-degree murder with aggravated circumstances (yet countless traditional and ultraconservative jurists and religious scholars today are eager to impose those thirty laws).
Second, in the very last endnote to each back-up article is a brief discussion of the question. Basically, Christians believe that the New Testament reinterprets the Old. See my studies How Christ Fulfills the Old Testament and How Christians Benefit from the Old Testament. And Jews today don’t read the severe old laws without the Talmudic literature. Thus, there should be no straight line between 3,400-year-old laws in the Torah of the Old Testament and the modern era, without a reinterpretation of them (can modern Islam reinterpret or throw out those thirty laws that are 1,400 year old

Women in Islam: The Tragic Story of Afzal Khan’s 63 Wives

 

Prophet Muhammad, by giving divine legitimacy to polygamy and unbounded concubinage, not only degraded the status of women, but his prohibition of remarriage of his harem-inmates–likely fearing that it would divulge his sexual impotency to other men–also set on a legacy of many tragedies for Muslim women.

 
Bijapur, the famous capital of the medieval Adil Shah dynasty (1489 to 1686), is a small city in Souther Indian state of Karnataka, whose charm lies largely in the remarkable architectural legacy of those days. Amongst its numerous architectural monuments of the Islamic past is Satth Kabar (Sixty Graves) that bears the memory of a very tragic incident in history of Muslim women.
Afzal Slew his 63 Wives
Afzal Khan was the most powerful General or Sardar (Lord) in the court of the Bijapur Sultanate. He was responsible for many victories for Adil Shah Dynasty. In 1658, Sultan Ali Adil Shah II of Bijapur was preparing to launch a military campaign against Shivaji, the indefatigable Maratha ruler. Being constantly under pressure from Auranzeb on one side and Shivaji from the other, Adil Shah depended on his generals to stall the enemies, and counted General Afzal Khan among his most trusted warriors.
Though Afzal Khan was a brave man, he had but one weakness: auguries and omens. Prior to the campaign, Khan contacted astrologers who predicted doom—his death at the hands of Maratha soldiers. At that time, Afzal Khan had 63 wives in his harem. Fearing that his wives would remarry after his death, the anxious general chose to kill all of them. Some say they were pushed into a deep well, while others say that all the 63 unfortunate wives were slain by Afzal. The astrologers proved correct; for, Khan indeed die at the hands of Shivaji at Pratapgarh.
However, his wives lie buried just 5 km from Bijapur at a place now bears titular testimony to the uxoricide: Satth Kabar. Ironically, the tomb built by the general for himself, who wanted to be close to his wives in life and in death, stands adjacent to the one-acre burial ground surrounded by jowar fields. The site has now been declared to be of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, and is under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Today, the tombstones are scarred by graffiti; people often come to the shady spot for rest.
“People need to hear the heartrending stories that cry out from these graves”, says the 65 year-old man who lives in a nearby house.
How Afzal Khan died?
Afzal Khan was aware that Shivaji was on Pratapgarh, and planned to lure him out into the open plateau of Deccan, where he could destroy his forces. Khan’s strength was his giant force. At that time he took with him a force of 12,000 soldiers, many cannons, and troops mounted on elephants, horses, and camels etc. Which was more than enough to crush the force of Shivaji’s newly established ‘Swarajya’ (Self-rule). Shivaji’s men were very few in numbers and Afzal Khan was aware of this fact too. That’s why he tried to bring Shivaji out in the open plains, where they could be destroyed quickly in an open battle.
In contrast, Shivaji’s men were masters of what is known as ‘guerilla war’, where one surprises the enemy with a sudden attack causing heavy casualties and retreat quickly. So Shivaji tried his best to avoid a direct confrontation in an open field.
To compell Shivaji to come down to the plains, Afzal Khan started demolishing the temples, the prestigious temple of Bhavani Mata. His idea was that Shivaji, a pious Hindu, would not tolerate such insult of his gods and goddesses; and immediately, he would come down to fight in an open battle. But Shivaji did not bite the bait.
Failing to lure Shivaji out into the plains, Afzal agreed to meet him at Pratapgarh, a fort near the town of Satara, a location which was strategically advantageous for Shivaji’s infantry. For the meeting, a large tent was set up at the foothills of Pratapgarh. It was agreed that the meeting would be unarmed: each side was to bring ten personal bodyguards, who would stand one arrow-shot distance away.
Both parties were, however, prepared for treachery: Afzal hid a kataar, a small and sharp dagger, in his coat. Shivaji wore armour under his clothes, and carried a weapon called bagh nakh (“tiger claws”), consisting of an iron finger-grip with four razor claws, which he concealed within his clenched fist.
As the two men entered the tent for meeting, Khan pretended to greet Shivaji with a hug, and stabbed Shivaji in the back with his hidden kataar. However Shivaji, due to the armour under his coat, was saved and opened his fist and disemboweled Khan with his bagh nakh. Afzal managed to hold his gushing entrails and hurtled outside, faint and bleeding, and threw himself into his palanquin. But Khan was decapitated by one of Shivaji’s bodyguards shortly down the slope.
Sambhaji Kawaji and Jiva Mahala, two of Shivaji’s bodyguards, were instrumental in protecting their king from Afzal’s bodyguards.
According to another version, on reaching the tent, Shivaji requested Afzal Khan to send his bodyguard Sayyad out of the place. As per the agreement, no one was to be present when Shivaji and Afzal Khan met. When Shivaji penetrated the tiger claws into Afzal Khan’s abdomen, injuring him fatally, Sayyad Khan entered the tent, running to his mater’s rescue. Just when Sayyad Khan was about to kill Shivaji, Jiva Mahal, a body guard of Shivaji, slashed Sayyad Khan, saving the life of his master.
Shivaji sped towards the fortress as his lieutenants ordered a bugle to be sounded. It was a pre-determined signal to his infantry, which had been strategically placed in the densely covered valley. All of Shivaji’s generals, including his Army Chief, Netaji Palkar, launched a surprise attack and routed Afzal Khan’s army. Afzal Khan’s son managed to escape with help from Maratha generals including Khandaji Khopade, another of many blunders committed by the Hindus against their struggle against Muslim invaders.
The severed head of Khan was sent to Rajgarh to be shown to Jijabai, Shivaji’s mother. She wanted vengeance for the murder of Shahaji, Shivaji’s father, in the captivity of Afzal Khan, and also for the death of her elder son, Sambhaji, also killed by Afzal Khan.
Ottoman Sultan Ibrahim Drowned his 280 Wives
Ibrahim I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1640 to 1648. He was the son of Sultan Ahmed I, and was unofficially called “Ibrahim the Mad” (Turkish: Deli İbrahim), due to his unstable mental condition. However, Ibrahim was one of the most famous Ottoman Sultans, succeeded his brother Murad IV in 1640. Murad had ordered his three other brothers executed. Ibrahim I was allowed to live because he was too mad to be a threat.
Ibrahim is known to have had an obsession with obese women, urging his agents to find the fattest woman possible. A candidate, weighing around 330 pounds (137.4 Kg), was tracked down in Georgia or Armenia. She was given the pet-name Sheker Pare (“Sugar Cube”). Ibrahim was so pleased with her that he gave her a government pension and (allegedly) a governorship. At that time, Ibrahim had 280 wives and concubines in his harem. But when he heard a rumor that his concubines were compromised by another man, he decided to kill them en masse. Ultimately, all the 280 members of his harem were drowned in the Bosporus Sea.
Eventually, Ibrahim was deposed in a coup led by the Grand Mufti. There is an apocryphal story to the effect that the Grand Mufti acted in response to Ibrahim’s drowning all 280 members of his harem. But there is other evidence to suggest that at least two of Ibrahim’s concubines survived the mass murder. Ibrahim was ultimately strangled to death in Istanbul.
Idi Amin of Uganda
Idi Amin Dada Oumee, commonly known as Idi Amin, was a Ugandan military dictator and the president of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin took power in a military coup in January 1971, deposing Milton Obote. His rule was characterized by human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings and the expulsion of Asians from Uganda. The number of people killed by him is unknown, but an estimate from international observers and human rights groups says that it ranged from 100,000 to 500,000. After the fall of his regime in 1979, Amin fled to Libya, and finally took political asylum in Saudi Arabia in 1981, where he died in 2003.
Idi Amin officially had 5 wives (many believe the actual number was much higher), one of which he had killed and dismembered to show her children what happens to someone, who disobeys him. He is also said to have over 34 concubines and many mistresses in his harem. Many believe that he was suffering from STDs, syphilis being one of them. He also had over 20 some children.
More importantly, Idi Amin used to refresh his harem regularly by executing the old and condemned wives for inducting new and younger ones. Many of us might have seen the heartrending reports in news papers in 1970s, how the security guards led the wailing victims to the place of execution through thousands of onlookers. But the government of Saudi Arabia, by providing asylum to such a cruel killer, has made the world understand that, Idi Amin had not committed any serious crime or insulted Islam by killing his wives. At that time, some journalists reported that Idi Amin was even a cannibal, who used to taste the flesh of his executed wives.
Conclusion
From the above discussions it becomes evident that the status of women in Muslim world is worse than domestic animals. In Arabia, during the Prophet’s times, an Arab could confine his wife in a room and kill her slowly by refusing food and water to her. Even the authors of the Arab Human Development Report 2002, have categorically mentioned that women are not considered as full citizens in the Islamic world, and that this oppression of the women is one of the major reasons for the Muslim world’s backwardness.
There is another point to be mentioned in this context. It has been said above that, Afzal Khan killed his 63 wives as he was afraid that, after his death, other people would marry his wives. There is no doubt that Prophet Muhammad was in the grip of a similar fear, because of which he forbade the remarriage of his harem-inmates after his death.

Peeling the Onion of Terrorism

e have a primary enemy: radicalized Islamic terrorists. We can try to understand them, but only after we identify them. Who are radicalized Islamists? It isn’t as easy as some might think to know this enemy; ad hoc groups of radicalized Muslims seem to appear and disappear throughout the Mideast and Europe. The only connecting link among them is Islam and that is the conundrum; not all Muslims condone terrorism, indeed most do not, and the Muslims I know are the antithesis of terrorism. The problem is complex, but maybe we can gain some insight into it.

The first insight comes from a study of Muslim immigrants in a Danish youth prison by Danish psychologist, Nicolai Sennels. Denmark was concerned that something like 70% of the inmates of their youth prisons were Muslims. Furthermore, the disproportionate propensity for crime did not abate with succeeding generations.

Dr. Sennels studied a group of 350 inmates, of which 250 were Muslim immigrant youths from Mideastern countries. As such, his study group was a particular population of Muslims in Europe and while not representative of all Muslims, were, he found, representative radicalized Muslims. Dr. Sennels learned that the Danes and the Muslim immigrants were very nearly opposites in the way they related to the world. The Muslim inmates shared many of the same antisocial characteristics found in non-Muslim inmates, but with a significant difference. The first characteristic noted by Sennels was the volatility of the Muslim inmates. Their first response to any restriction or criticism was anger and aggression. We see this as well in non-Muslim populations of insecure adolescents and especially in criminal gangs of youths growing up absent adult supervision, but there is a difference. Whereas the anger and aggression of the non-Muslim delinquents is a defense against rival gangs or controlling authority, the anger and aggression of the Muslim youths was a preemptive attack against all representations of Western culture. Moreover, their primary allegiance was to Islam and Islamic law rather than to Denmark or any other country.

The Danish problem was more a cultural conflict than a religious conflict, but it had religious overtones. Dr. Sennels found that many of the Muslim inmates were not especially pious, and yet were unequivocal in asserting that defending their prophet and Islam was their primary obligation. The significance of their life was in their Islamic culture, and that was the root of the conflict. The cultural philosophy of the Muslim inmates Sennels studied was a philosophy of victim-hood. This is almost a polar opposite of the worldview of traditional Western civilization. The philosophy of victimhood absolved radicalized Muslims of responsibility for any harm they caused others, and at the same time for any harm they suffered; it was always someone else’s fault. Whereas people in Western society ask: “What did I do wrong?” when something bad happens to them, the Muslim inmate in Sennels’ study typically asked: “Who did this to me?” Their common argument was: “It is our fault they attacked us because we provoked them.”

This sense of victimhood was consistent with having no sense of local control and responsibility. Dr. Sennels discovered that as these Muslim youths grew from childhood to adulthood their freedom to act and think independently was systematically reduced to control by higher authority, ultimately by Islamic clerics representing the command of God. This was endemic to their radicalized, Islamic culture. Corresponding to this sense of having no personal responsibility in their life, they considered the Danish government responsible for maintaining the support structure of their life according to Islam. Danish society did not make special provision for Islam and the Muslim youths responded with anger and aggression. Whereas anger is viewed in Western civilization as sign of weakness and a last resort, it was viewed as a sign of strength and honor among the Muslims Sennels studied. His study revealed this dynamic carried over as a fragile sense of ‘honour’ shielding their social structures, attitudes, and customs with pre-emptive aggression. He found that these Muslim youths had very little confidence that their culture and its religious foundation could withstand any critical enquiry. They angrily attacked any question of it, or any perception of a lack of support of them as “special people.” All of these characteristics of the Danish Muslim inmates were consistent with western experience with radicalized, jihadist Muslims.

What we see here is the anxiety of emptiness: the fear of losing what is significant in life and being left meaningless. In this case, it was the fear of being unable to answer questions or criticism, however indirect, that strike at the core of Islam and Islamic culture. If the anxious, radicalized Muslim is faced with critical questions he cannot answer, the significance of Islam is weakened for the questioner and doubly so for him. His defense against this anxiety is to forbid the questions. This is not uncommon to many cultures and religions; the distinction here is in how the questions are forbidden. In the form of Salafi Jihadist Islam in the 1980s it became the fanatic mantra of “kill the infidel,” lest he infect the believers and their ideology collapsed leaving them empty. Eventually, this kind of fanaticism consumes the fanatic, leaving them with nothing but murderous intent. We have seen this repeatedly in primitive savagery such the recent beheading of a Catholic priest before a cheering audience.

But does this characterize Islam generally? No; Islam divides on orthodoxy. We have seen and heard the term “jihadist” in reference to groups of radicalized Muslims, but we need to understand where these groups come from. These terrorist groups appear and disappear almost daily throughout the Mideast, North Africa, Europe, and North America as cells in the larger sect of Salafism. Salafism is a relatively new Islamic sect among Sunni Muslims derived from Wahhabism. Wahhabism dates from the early18th century and adheres to an orthodox doctrine of Islam based on revelation and fundamentalist interpretation of the Qu’uan and Hadith. It is effectively the national religion of Saudi Arabia and subsumes Salafism. Salafists, however, consider Wahhabism to be a weak doctrine while they are a ‘purer’ form of the original Islam with literalist, strict, and puritanical approaches to Islam as practiced by the ancient Salaf people in the 8th century.

The question now is what is it that binds the orthodox Wahhabism, Salafism, and Salafist jihadism and separates them from Judeo-Christian culture? The thesis here is that the difference is not just religion; it is a cultural divide reflecting the ethics taught by religion. Whereas Christians believe man is born vulnerable to sin, Muslims believe man is born sinless in a state of submission to God. This seemingly simple difference has profound implications. Whereas Christianity teaches that man relates to God in a kind of mentoring partnership (cf. Matthew 7:7), Islam teaches that man relates to God in a master-slave relationship to obey and serve Him (cf. Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Book of Supplications, Shaddad ibn Aws). How the Islamic relationship is interpreted distinguishes orthodox Wahhabism and Salafism from non-orthodox Islam, and yet all of Islam subscribes to it. The Wahhabist/Salafist strict, literalist, and puritanical approach to Islam interprets it into a culture of totalitarian control in a hierarchical society of dogmatic discipline further exploited by the Salafi jihadis to justify their terrorism.

We prefer to resolve conflict with reconciliation, but reconciliation is based on some common understanding of good and evil and right and wrong ways of doing things. This is a cultural connection and there seems to be little common understanding of that kind between Western culture and orthodox Islam. What are we to do? We start with what is native to the nations of Western civilization, but alien to orthodox Islam: Nationalism. Orthodox Islam does not honour the sovereignty of any nation over allegiance to Islam and the authority of Shariah law. The people of the nations in the Western world must understand the fundamental differences between the cultures and grant no quarter to orthodox Islam. Westerners must set aside their grievances and focus on their contributions to the rich heritage of Western culture in the arts, philosophy, and the sciences over the last 600 years or more. They must summon the courage of confidence to affirm themselves in the face of the jihad challenge.

Christianity Under Attack in America

 

According to information released at a May 9, 2013 press conference by the families of Navy SEALs killed in an August 2011 helicopter shoot-down in Afghanistan, “military brass prohibited any mention of a Judea-Christian G-d” and “invited a Muslim cleric to the funeral for the fallen Navy SEAL Team VI heroes who disparaged in Arabic the memory of these servicemen by damning them as infidels to Allah.” 

The accusations arose over a “ramp ceremony” held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan as flag-draped caskets of the dead soldiers were loaded onto a plane for transport back to the United States.  The shocking words of the Muslim cleric, revealed in later translations, were spoken at a memorial service meant to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  They were yet another example of the abject disrespect of Christians and Christianity endemic to the Muslim world.

Here at home, Christianity and Christian religious practices are also under attack, but in more subtle ways and under a misinterpretation of the principle of freedom of religion.  In the United States, that legal doctrine is cited to marginalize Christian prayer and traditions, while, at the same time, dramatically accommodating and even expanding Muslim religious practices.  Myriad examples exist.

During the recent government shutdown, Catholic priests were warned that they could be arrested for celebrating Mass, even if performed on a voluntary basis.  Under Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s direction and determination was that priests do not “contribute to the morale” and “well-being” of military personnel.”  Thus, offering of the sacraments was prohibited and the Eucharist placed under lock and key.  Curiously, no mention was made of curtailing religious freedom for Muslim service members or furloughing imams.

This prohibition against Christian religious practice is not limited to the military.  Police throughout the land also frequently come down hard against Christians.  In 2010, a group of students from the Arizona-based Wickenburg Christian Academy were ordered by a police officer to cease their quiet prayers on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.  The officer cited a statute that prohibits demonstrations on the steps, but no official policy bars prayer at that location.

In June of 2010, David Wood and two other Christian missionaries were arrested by Dearborn, Michigan, police at the annual Arab festival for discussing Christianity on a public sidewalk outside the event. The men, who have since been acquitted, were charged with disturbing the peace and spent the night in jail.

Contrast these incidents with a massive public display of praying Muslims during the annual Muslim Day Parade in New York City. Muslims, who are protected each year during the event by Muslim NYPD officers, are free to engage in mass prayer, even prostrating themselves on the streets of midtown Manhattan. Vehicular traffic halts and participants freely harass non-Muslims who attempt to pass through the area on foot.

Meanwhile, the ACLU has been at the forefront of an extensive effort to ban Christian prayer from public schools under the “separation of church and state” provision of the First Amendment.  This is a signature issue for the “civil rights” organization.  However, for Muslim prayers, the organization reverses its interpretation and fights for student rights to engage in prayer.

For example, when Carver Elementary School in San Diego instituted a 15-minute prayer period during class time for Muslim students in 2004, the ACLU endorsed the practice.  ACLU spokesman Kevin Keenan said the group supported Muslim prayer under the First Amendment’s prohibition against impeding religion.  In this way, the ACLU was “honouring constitutional standards for freedom of religion.”

Again in 2010, the ACLU mustered only mild to nonexistent concern when 6th-graders from a Wellesley, Massachusetts’s middle school took a field trip to a local mosque at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Centre and engaged in prayer.  Parents were told that students would learn about the architecture of the building and observe a midday prayer service.  But once at the mosque — which is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, known supporters of Islamic terrorism — students were told by a mosque official that “Allah is the only G-d” and taught how to recite the midday prayer.  After being encouraged to join the Muslim men, some of the boys prostrated themselves to Allah.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, Dearborn public schools have a policy of accommodating Muslim prayers at school during school hours, as well as ignoring unexcused absences for Muslims to leave school early for Friday prayers.  Yet, in 2009, after a Muslim organization complained about permission slips given to Christian students to attend off-site afterschool Bible study, issuance of the slips was discontinued.

In addition to police, the ACLU, and schools, U.S. courts have also sided with the Islamic religion and against Christianity.  In 2001, the Byron Union School District in Byron, California instituted a three-week unit on Islam for 7th-graders.  Students took Muslim names, recited Islamic prayers, and celebrated Ramadan.  When parents sued the school on the grounds that the course was “officially endorsing a religion,” the U.S. Supreme Court rejected their appeal, leaving intact an earlier ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that deemed that the unit did not violate the Constitution and had an “instructional purpose.” 

In 2009, the same court of appeals upheld a ban by Henry Jackson High School officials in Everett, Washington against an instrumental performance of Ave Maria at a 2006 commencement ceremony.  A student futilely challenged the school’s determination that the song was “an obvious religious piece” at a graduation that should be “strictly secular.”

Government entities also bear down on the Christian religion.  After allowing baptisms in Sinking Creek in the Ozarks for an almost uninterrupted 50-year span, the National Park Service in August notified Gladden Baptist Church in Salem, Missouri that permits would now be required in advance of baptism ceremonies in the waterway.  The requirement was later rescinded in response to the intervention of local Congressman Jason Smith.

And this month, in Ovid, Colorado, the director of a city-owned cemetery initially refused to inscribe the Ichthus or “Jesus fish” on the tombstone of a local preacher’s wife on the grounds that some people might be offended.  Despite the fact that the cemetery is filled with headstones inscribed with religious symbols and Biblical verses, city officials refused to come to the family’s aid.  The cemetery director defended his position with a logic-defying hypothetical: “What if someone wanted to put a swastika?” — thereby disrespectfully equating a representation of Christ with a symbol associated with Nazi Germany.  The city reversed itself only after public outcry and media attention.

The instances listed above make it readily apparent that the First Amendment is often conveniently misinterpreted to buttress the assault on the Christian religion and its expression, practice, and traditions.  In this way, Christianity is being insidiously expunged from public life using false legal pretences.  The legitimate interpretation of the provisions of the First Amendment, which include prohibitions against government interference in public religious expression and the establishment of a national religion, has been twisted to prohibit Christian prayer in public places and schools.  This is a false reading of “separation of church and state.” 

Yet, as the instances listed above and many others illustrate, this interpretation doesn’t apply to “mosque and state.”  Freedom of religion has come to mean no freedom for the practice of Christianity but ample freedom to practice Islam.  If the war on Christianity in America isn’t halted soon, Barack Obama’s statement that “[w]hatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” will certainly become a reality.

Obama’s Circle of Appeasers

On July 6, 1939 the British Foreign Office heard from the British Military Attaché in Berlin that Hitler’s Finance Minister Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk had advised a visiting British General: “Take Winston Churchill into the Cabinet. Churchill is the only Englishman Hitler is afraid of. He does not take Prime Minster Chamberlain or Halifax seriously, but he places Churchill in the same category as Roosevelt. The mere fact of giving him a leading Ministerial post would convince Hitler that we really meant to stand up to him.”

In 2013, there is no Churchill anywhere except Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is the lone prophet who is warning the world not to be fooled and misled by the new conciliatory tone of the new Iranian president Hasan Rouhani while his regime continues developing its nuclear weapons program.

There is no Roosevelt in the White House. Roosevelt did not try to meet, talk to, or negotiate with Hitler or any of his lieutenants.

Sadly, President Obama has tried repeatedly to meet and shake the hand of one of the lieutenants of the true dictator of Iran, Ali Khamenei. While Obama proudly described his 15-minute phone call with Iranian president Rouhani as an historical breakthrough which has the potential to resolve the nuclear issue through negotiations and form a new relationship with Iran, Rouhani described the phone call as the culmination of a desperate and humiliating U.S. pursuit of the Iranian president.

In the Middle East, brutal dictators only respond to the fear of a credible threat of the use of physical force. The fact that Obama has been so desperate to get to the negotiating table with a brutal repressive regime that is world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism and is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons capability sends a dangerous signal to the Iranians that Obama does not have the mettle for the use of force against the regime.

Furthermore, no one in Obama’s present cabinet could convince Khamenei that they mean to stand up to him. His present second-term national security cabinet and advisors consist of old time friends prior to his becoming president, who believe, as he does, in making friends with the Muslim world, engaging and appeasing enemies and brutal dictators, sympathizing with the Palestinians, blaming Israel for lack of peace, and pressuring an ally for dangerous concessions.

John Kerry, the Secretary of State: As a senator he was a fierce critic of Bush’s hardline stance against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and worked hard to undercut the White House sanctions against Syria by advocating a policy of engagement. He also stated in July that the core issue of instability in the Middle East and in many other parts of the world is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense: He opposed sanctions against Iran and called for direct negotiations with the Iranian regime. He also has advocated for direct talks with Hamas and Hizb’allah in the past, which the US considers to be terrorist organizations.

John Brennan, the CIA Director: As Obama’s advisor for Counter terrorism, he stated that the U.S. policy should be to “build up the more moderate elements within Hizb’allah.” He has refused to link the words” Islamic” and “terrorism” and called Jerusalem by its Arab name “Al Quds.”

Susan Rice, the National Security Adviser: Human Rights activists say that Rice has been very close and friendly with many repressive African dictators since the 90s and looked the other way when they committed atrocities. As the UN ambassador, she fought the Security Council’s attempt to raise the issue that Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, with whom she has a close relationship, supplied and financed M23, a brutal Congo rebel force that is accused of committing atrocities. Last year she gave a glowing eulogy to the late Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi who silenced political opponents, forged a single-party state, and dismantled the rule of law. She failed to speak up when Iran was elected to the UN Women’s Commission but strongly condemned Israeli settlement activity as eroding hope for peace and stability in the region.

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN: As the first head of the President’s Atrocities Prevention Board, she was silent on the violence in Syria and in South Sudan, but suggested that the US should send troops to invade Israel to impose a two-state solution.

With such a circle of friends advising him, there is no chance that Obama will  ever change his core beliefs and militarily stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capability.

The only one left to fear is Bibi Netanyahu. As the Israeli prime minister promised the UN General Assembly echoing Churchill’s words from 1940, “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone”. The U.S. Senate should do its part to help Netanyahu by immediately moving forward with a new round of economic sanctions targeting all remaining Iranian government revenue and reserves, since only an economically desperate Iran will be easier to defeat.

Jihad – the four forms and the West

 In the west we often interpret “jihad” as “waging war in the name of Allah” or “Islamic holy war”. This is not without justification, but it also annoys and upsets many Muslims who see jihad as a “supreme effort” to lead a “godly personal and social life”.

Thus Muslim scholar Mahmoud Ayoub states that “The goal of true jihad is to attain a harmony between Islam (submission), iman (faith), and ihsan (righteous living).” Again, Pakistani scholar and professor Fazlur Rahman Malik has used the term to describe the struggle to establish “a just moral-social order“.

Whilst these definitions seem utterly innocuous, it has to be remembered that in the eyes of Islam – and thus its scholars – “righteous living” and “a just moral-social order” can only be found when living in a society ordered by Shari’ah Law (or, for the really picky, a given interpretation thereof) thus for non-Muslims perhaps these definitions are not quite so harmless as they might at first appear.

Whilst many Muslim apologists would like us to believe that Jihad has only non-violent connotations, it is worth noting that from the word “Jihad” (root = jhd) we get words such as “Mujahid” and “Mujahideen” meaning (in practice at least) [Muslim] “fighter/soldier” and “band of fighters/soldiers” respectively, which rather belies the “peaceful only” interpretation of jihad.

Furthermore Muslim jurists explained that there are four kinds of jihad fi sabili Allahi (“jihad in the way of Allah”):

  • Jihad of the heart/soul (jihad bil qalb/nafs) is concerned with combating “evil” (i.e. un-Islamic) desires and the devil in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. In other words it is the “internal” jihad.

  • Jihad by the tongue/pen (jihad bil lisan/qallam) is concerned with spreading the word of Islam with one’s tongue or writing and the verbal (or written) defence of Islam.

  • Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong in Islamic terms with action, e.g. protest, demanding “special consideration” etc. Some writers see this “hand-jihad” as subsuming the sword-jihad (below{1}).

  • Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabili Allahi ([armed] fighting in the way of Allah, or holy war), this is the most common usage by Salafi and Wahhabi Muslims and the most ancient. For example, Sahih Bukhari (the pre-eminent Hadith collection of Sunni Islam) has almost 200 references to jihad and 98% (~196) of them refer to it in the sense of armed warfare against non-Muslims.

This is not the only way in which Muslim scholars have classified Jihad, but I think the above is the clearest from the non-Muslim perspective.

Thus whilst jihad is not only warfare, it most certainly encompasses warfare, as history and the Islamic sources comprehensively demonstrate and it is even reasonable to say that jihad is mostly about warfare, since the majority of references to it in both hadith and Koran refer to sword-jihad.

Indeed, within classical Islamic jurisprudence jihad is the only form of warfare permissible under Sharia law, and consists of wars against non-Muslims, apostates, rebels, dissenters renouncing the authority of Islam (i.e. Heretics) and (curiously) highway robbers. Thus all war carried out by Muslims is (or should be) jihad.

It is also worth noting that the primary aim of sword-jihad is not the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force, but the expansion of the Islamic state (K.13:41) and its defence, as is well attested in history (e.g. the Eastern Christian, now part of the Islamic, world). This fact belies the “defence only” interpretation also used by some apologists.

That jihad is not primarily intended to convert needs a little further explanation. Whenever Islam conquered territory it generally allowed its subjugated peoples three choices:

  1. To convert.

  2. To accept the third-class status of dhimmi.

  3. To face a merciless war of annihilation.

Strictly, the second choice is only available to “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians) and, according to some authorities, Zoroastrians and Sabians (these two terms may be synonyms); but where a war of annihilation was not readily practicable it was extended to other peoples (e.g. the Hindus and Buddhists of the Indian sub-continent whose numbers were too vast to be readily annihilated by the Muslim conquistadors).

Excursus:

Many Muslims will thus claim that “Islam was not spread by the sword”, but this depends on precisely what is meant. In Europe, Arabia, Persia, the Levant, Anatolia, India and Africa jihad bis saif was used to conquer the lands, and the oppressive dhimmitude system was used to gradually convert their peoples, since (generally) one could not be a citizen without being Muslim and the dhimmi lived with great uncertainty and fear. Let me state that this was not invariably so and history relates that in several periods of the Islamic hegemony non-Muslims – usually Jews or Christians – did indeed rise to prominence usually within what we would term “the civil (or public) service”. Equally, there were also periods of pogrom and active persecution, which regrettably continue to today in some parts of the Islamic world – i.e. those countries with majority Muslim populations.

Thus, in general, Islam did not “convert by the sword” in the sense of offering the choice “become Muslim or I will kill you”, but it did do so in the sense that it used the “sword” to gain territory and then set up a system that so discriminated against the non-Muslim that gradual conversion under social, economic, legal and political pressures inevitably followed, albeit with various degrees of success worldwide.

From the point of the non-Muslim it is perhaps relevant to note that of the four forms of jihad, three are aimed at non-Muslims. An amplification and (partial) exemplification of these forms follows:

  • Jihad by the tongue(jihad bil lisan) and/or jihad by the pen (jihad bil qallam). This might sound like simple proslytisation, but there is more involved in that (in essence) Islam recognises any method including lying or dissimulation (see the doctrines of Taqiyya/Muda’rat, Kitman, Tawriya and also Tayseer) to “spread Islam” either in terms of actually winning converts, or gaining acceptance for Islam within a host society, or disguising elements of Islam (hence the oft repeated statement that “Islam is a religion of peace” despite much evidence to the contrary from both its texts and its actions). It would also include attempting to silence criticism of Islam by labelling critics as “racists”, “fascists” or “Islamophobes” or any verbal/written means to promote/defend Islam and/or silence opposition and critics.

  • Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad). It is important to realise that “what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong” must be understood from the point of view of Shariah Law systems, which define “right and wrong” by law (thus what is actually defined is “lawful” or ‘halal’ and “unlawful” or ‘haram’ which stands in place of the morality of right and wrong). Shariah Law systems often define “injustice” as anything that interferes with or prevents Muslims living their lives in a fully Sharia-compliant manner and the instruments of that “injustice” it labels as “oppression”.

    Thus hand-jihad would include demands for time off work for prayer; special (Muslim-only) washing facilities; Muslim or Muslim-women-only sessions in swimming baths, libraries and other Public facilities; that women doctors be continually available to treat Muslim women throughout the Healthcare system; that Halal food be supplied by default in public institutions; that Muslims be permitted not to handle “haram” things such as pork or alcohol in shops/businesses when all other employees would be required so to do; that ‘Sharia Courts’ (in the U.K. they are officially called “Muslim arbitration Tribunals”) be set up for Muslims; that the Police show special care and consideration when entering Muslims’ houses. The above are all things which have been demanded by UK Muslims and acquiesced to by UK governments, councils and, in the case of “special treatment of Muslim homes”, the Police Authorities (ACPO guidelines). That criticism of Islam be forbidden (see “vilification of religion” – U.N. resolution, proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference or Cooperation and it’s successor document ’16/18 “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief”’ which led to the on-going – as of 2013 “Istanbul process”),or at least heavily curtailed legally. It would also include staging (violent) protests against anything giving “offence” to Muslims – from Remembrance Day and returning troops to anything derogatory about Mohammed, the Koran, or Islam in general; e.g. books, cartoons, plays, films etc. Another aspect of this is “lawfare”- legal warfare. In America this primarily takes the form where someone who makes “defamatory” comments about Islam (etc.) is sued in the Courts by Muslim advocacy groups. This always has the effect of tying them up in legal matters and may also bankrupt them. Thus the threat of lawfare adds to the pressure to silence criticism. In Europe, things may be even worse: in several European Countries the State has taken over the job of “lawfare” against its own majority population. In these cases the criticism of Islam brings, not a civil law-suit, but criminal persecution (sorry, that’s “prosecution”) by the state – even if what is said is true. Examples include Geert Wilders (Holland), Lars Hedegaard (Denmark), Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (Austria) to name but three three high-profile cases. And convictions have followed, thus proving that the truth and fact are no defence (a position perfectly consonant with Islamic Sharia, see conditions set in the “Pact of Umar”).

A further element to this could involve something as simple as the building of large mosques, preferably on high-ground so that the building (or its minaret) symbolically “dominates” the surrounding landscape thus making sure that people have to “look up to Islam”. If this last sounds ridiculous, remember that in many Muslim Countries the Christian Church (etc.) many not be higher than, nor built within a given radius of, a Mosque. Thus in Islamic Countries the relative heights of Church (or temple etc.) and Mosque are used to show the dominance of Islam.

It is worth pointing out that both the two types of Jihad referred to above are at least as effective at spreading Islam as is warfare/terrorism.

Some Western commentators refer to these forms of Jihad as “stealth Jihad”, an apt description since both lead to the gradual acceptance of elements of Shariah Law as normative within a host society, generally without any fuss (or even awareness) on the part of the larger community, amongst whom it is passed off as “religious tolerance”, see examples above.

The Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups refer to this as “civilisation jihad” because they see it as a means to adapt and ultimately convert non-Muslim civilisations to and into Muslim ones, they would also see this as a process of “civilising” the non-Muslims of course. As their own documents put it: “[civilisation jihad is] a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their own hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” Thus we can see that the aims of hand-jihad are wide-ranging, indeed globally encompassing.

  • Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif), or more simply, sword-jihad. According to Muslim Jurists this refers to “qital fee sabeeli Allahi.” This phrase means “fight[ing] in the way of Allah”. This is significant since it equates, depending on context, the Koranic phrase “jahadooona fee sabeeli Allahi” “strive [or: make jihad] in the way of Allah” with “fight [qital] in the way of Allah”.

Thus (again) jihad encompasses fighting and the “qital” verses in the Koran have to be considered in the light that to “fight in the way of Allah” is “jihad” – or (more precisely) 98% thereof.

The question that then arises is what forms of “war” are permitted. As already stated, the primary aim of sword-jihad is to expand the Islamic state. That, ergo, makes sword-jihad offensive in nature, rather than defensive and means that Muslims; or, more accurately, the Islamic state, thinks it has a god-given right to attack non-Muslim countries. Indeed, it goes beyond this: Jihad is declared an obligatory religious duty and thus the Islamic state has a duty (strictly) to attack or raid its nearest non-Muslim neighbours (K9:123, 21:43-44) – except during a period of “hudna” or truce. Another duty placed on Muslims is to wage war on “oppressors” (K4:75). Islam regards as “oppressive” and “unjust” anything that interferes with Islamic life. Thus from the Islamic point of view, any state that is not based on Shariah law interpretations is an “oppressive” state vis-a-vis any Muslim minority within its borders, no matter how liberal, tolerant and accommodating that state may in fact be.

The final element I wish to elucidate under this head is that of suicide bombing and whether or not this is permissible in Islam. On this, Islamic opinion itself is split, depending on the sources to which you refer; so the short answer is both “yes” and “no”. Those that say “yes” refer to the verse K9:5 which includes the phrase “ lie in ambush for them in every stratagem of war”, claiming that the suicide bombing is encompassed within the “every stratagem” and “ambush” of the verse. They also refer to K9:111 which contains the phrase “they fight in the way of God; they kill, and are killed” claiming this is a description of a “suicide” attack. Those that say “no” point out that in Islam suicide is forbidden (as well as offering alternative exegesis of the verses mentioned above). Thus there is no clear answer. What is clear, however, from the evidence of >20,000 terror attacks since 9/11 (as of Jan.2013) is that significant strands within Islam do believe this technique is justified, much to the sorrow of the whole world, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Although from both history and the Shariah, the primary meaning of jihad was offensive war against non-Muslims, with the advent of the western Colonial era some Muslim Theologians started to re-interpret jihad as being either a purely spiritual struggle (based primarily on Sufi teachings, from which we get the concept of “greater Jihad” here meaning a spiritual Jihad that can extend beyond “Jihad of the heart” into mysticism) or else as a defensive war (principally based on the writings of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, a 19th-century “reformist” leader in India).

This came about due to the fact that during that time Islam (and Muslims) had little or no military power, having suffered the shock of defeat by the Colonial powers and this military failure seemed like a breach of Allah’s “war covenant” with the Muslims (2:2163:139-143, 3:1954:7447:3561:10-1348:20-219:111,etc.). Thus, to explain this away, some Muslim Theologians attempted to recast Jihad as either completely non-violent or defensive only, sometimes as part of a genuine attempt at a degree of “re-thinking” of Islam led by thinkers of the ilk of Khan.

Whilst in the modern post-colonial era many strands of Islam have reverted to the more genuine definitions of jihad (if, indeed, they ever truly disregarded them), the “spiritual struggle” and “defence only” dogmas live on, primarily within Western Institutions. Indeed many University “Chairs” and Professors are keen to promote this dogma, which is based on the attitudes of a small minority of Muslim thinkers.

Whilst I think that these false limitations of jihad to the spiritual realm and/or the defensive war theory have been adequately refuted above, an interesting line in polemics has arisen as a result, one that is used by the Islamist faction as a “cover” for the primary purpose of jihad – offensive action against the Kaffir. It is a line parroted by various non-Muslim apologists who wish to make the victims of jihad (Muslim and non-Muslim, but primarily the latter) responsible for their own suffering rather than laying the responsibility with the perpetrators.

This is what may be termed the “offensive jihad as defensive war” theory, outlined below.

The polemicist starts out by making a case that Islam is (somehow) “oppressed” by the “kaffirs”(that’s non-Muslims) of the West. This is rather ironic in fact, since in many respects Muslims (especially if from a minority sect within their “home” Country) have more freedom to practice their religion in the West than they often do in their Country of origin. But nevertheless, the argument is made that since the west is not governed by the ‘god-given’ tenets of Sharia Law it is “oppressing” the Muslims within it.

 Argument 1.

They also make the claim that the west is “oppressing” Muslims by interfering in Islamic countries, though the exact nature of this interference and why it is “oppressive” is seldom elucidated – except in the manner of a conspiracy theory or argument 1. 

Argument 2

Their final polemical argument is that since the West invaded Iraq and Afghanistan the West is fighting against Islam and has killed “thousands of innocent Muslims” (I have even seen some polemicists claiming “millions” rather than thousands). 

Argument 3

Excursus:

This latter-most claim of the three is risible, since the evidence from within majority Muslim Countries is that it is overwhelmingly the Muslims themselves who are joyously slaughtering their co-religionists. Indeed the Sunni-Shia fratricide has been part and parcel of the fabric of Islamic society since its earliest days and more recently the more “extreme elements” (who would be better called the more traditional and orthodox elements, or “Islamists”) in Sunni Islam (in particular) have also turned on their more liberal “brothers”, not to mention “sisters”. In particular Wahhabi and Salafi Islam have shown great willingness to carry out terrorist atrocities against their own in, for instance, Pakistan; which in the seven years of 2003-2010 suffered (in round terms) some 10,000 terrorist attacks which killed over 12,000 persons and injured many more, the vast majority of the victims being (naturally enough) Muslim. (Source BBC)

Pakistan is a largely Muslim Country that, with the passing of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, underwent a period of rapid Islamification that accelerated under Zia ul-Haq.

Yet this Islamification has not been great enough nor fast enough for the Wahhabis in the Country and thus terror attacks are now commonplace in the Country which currently (2013) teeters on the brink of political and social collapse.

The most high-profile attack was the assassination of the Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Presidential candidate in the 2007 election. The main motive for her murder was the orthodox Islamic view that no woman may rule a Country or people, thus she gave great offence to the orthodox Muslims (and, according to them, broke god-given Laws) when she “sinned” by standing for high office. She therefore “deserved” to be killed – and was duly murdered by a bomb.

Part of this world-view is neatly elucidated by the recent (Jan.2013) intervention of French forces in Mali to repel an invasive “Islamist” force that had taken over the north of the Country. The French intervention (along with Malian and other Muslim-African troops) was in direct response to calls for aid from the Muslim Malian government. Egyptian Salafist Muhammad AlZawahiri said in response to this action: “We are here to protest the French aggression against the Muslims. We consider any aggression against Muslims to be aggression against us all. We are required by the shari’a to repel it [by sword-jihad]. France must return to its senses and withdraw [from Mali] immediately, or else there will be dire consequences. Any Arab who collaborates with France is a traitor, who has betrayed the Islamic nation and all its peoples.” Thus in Zawahiri’s view one is being aggressive “against all Muslims” if you repel an invasion by Islamic (here Islamist) forces on the territory of a sovereign (Muslim) nation, but it is not aggression for Islamic (here Islamist) forces to invade and capture (part of) a sovereign (Muslim) Country “in the name of Islam”. Part of his angst is doubtless due to it being a bunch of “Kafirs” that are relieving his compatriots of their ill-gotten gains and his ignoring the presence of other Muslim forces which would undermine his “lookit what the nasty Kafirs are doing!” narrative is not surprising, but the underlying mind-set is also clear: all war carried out in the way of Allah is defensive, the only “aggression” is to resist such attacks/raids/invasions etc. even when the resistance is ultimately coming from other Muslims (whom Zawahiri sees as “not Muslim enough”).

Thus, goes the polemicist’s argument, the “West” has the blood of Muslims on its hands, which in turn means that it has “attacked Islam” and it is also oppressing Muslims both within the dar-ul-Islam (Islamic world) and thedar-ul-harb (literally “the house of war”, meaning here the non-Islamic world) and thus it is an obligatory duty on Muslims to wage a defensive sword-jihad against the oppressors until all oppression of Muslims is stopped throughout the World and (in some views) all those involved in killing Muslims have themselves been killed (many Sharia law systems admit only the death penalty for a non-Muslim who kills a Muslim).

Hence, it follows, that Muslims have the “right” to launch attacks on the kaffir west in order to “defend” themselves from “oppression” and revenge bloodshed.

To the Western mind these arguments are irrational since, taking our polemicist’s arguments in turn:

  1. Muslims choose to immigrate to the West and no one is stopping them leave if they feel “oppressed”.

  2. The oppression of Muslims in Islamic Countries is by their own dictatorial governments, rather than the West itself, hence the recent (2011) Mid. East unrest aka “the Arab Spring” directed at those governments rather than the West, which has led (2012) to the formation of a number of Islamist governments. It will be interesting to see if these governments are any less oppressive than their predecessors, thus far (Jan. 2013) the results are not encouraging to say the least and particularly so for their non-Muslim citizens.

  3. a. The vast majority of the Muslim casualties are Muslim on Muslim killings, bombings, honour killings, etc.

b. The West had suffered terror attacks at the hands of “Islam” for nearly fifty years prior to its major (post-colonial) interventions in Muslim lands. Even the colonial period was but a century’s “blip” on the previous history of relentless Islamic expansionism. In the West this was only finally halted at the battle of Vienna in 1683.

Setting aside this rather curious and convoluted polemical argument (the only real value of which is a matter of self-justification and obfuscation as to motive in killing people) we in the West are faced with the three facets of the Jihad doctrine that are aimed squarely at the non-Muslim.

Of these three sword-jihad is the least worrisome, at least in its current “terror attack” form.

That is not to minimize the trauma of its victims and their relatives. However, its impact on society is minor in terms of overall life loss or damage to the economy. (It is worth pointing out that even in 9/11 with its ~3000 fatalities, the death-toll was less than 10% that of the annual loss of life on America’s roads according to US government figures.)

Where it is effective, however, is in creating a certain level of fear that may well facilitate the other forms of jihad (“hand” and “tongue/pen”) in terms of getting special treatment for Muslims and acceptance of elements of Sharia as normative within our non-Islamic societies.

And that is the danger.

The West, or more accurately its political leaders, have been frightened by sword-jihad (and the more public manifestations of hand-jihad) as used against the West and as a consequence are appeasing Islam in areas covered by both tongue- and hand-jihad (as illustrated above). The only effect of this is to further embolden Muslims to request more concessions to “Islamic practice” and the result is the gradual Islamification of the Countries of the West.

At present, this is a “work in progress”, but a look back over 20-30 years indicates the degree of progress that the (primarily) non-violent Jihad against the West has actually made in terms of self-censorship in the Media, “special provision” for Muslims, introduction of elements of Sharia Law interpretations, etc.

Since the game-plan of Islamist Jihad is clear – the incorporation of Kaffir territory within the Dar-ul-Islam – it should not be beyond the intellect of man (or even politician) to realize that appeasement of Islam is precisely and diametrically the wrong response; each concession simply brings in its wake the demand for the next. Whilst it might be unreasonable to draw too close a parallel to the “Islamification” of Pakistan, it still provides a salutary lesson as to the possible consequences of a “dash to Islam”. The lesson becomes even more salutary if one compares the current trajectories of India and Pakistan and/or Bangladesh (and this despite Indian “accommodations” to Indian Muslims).

Therefore to resist Jihad the West must deny all further demands for “special provision” for Muslims and indeed it must work to “roll back” those already made so that our Muslim citizens realize that they will simply be treated like anyone else – with neither fear nor favour.

I would wish to end on a positive note.

Fairly recently (2010-2011) several European politicians have made statements critical of multi-culturalism (which has been one of the disguises for much of the Islamification of the West) and the emphasis has moved to a degree towards integration and “social cohesion”.

Whilst the latter is merely a phrase, the real meaning of which (if any) is yet to be determined, an expectation that immigrants integrate is to be welcomed.

Then there are groups like the English Defence League, its European counterparts and groups like SION (the acronym is probably deliberately ironic/provocative, depending on your view), as well as a cohort of courageous speakers who publicly speak the truth about Islam. Whilst they may all be reviled in the press, even that “bad publicity” often publicizes the truth (albeit incidentally) and moves public opinion against appeasement of Islamist demands.

Thus, if this political trend continues I think that there is real hope that Islam’s Jihad against the West can be defeated.

Lan Asteslem!

(I will never submit.)

 

 

President Obama and the Phone Call That Endangered America

 

In the great game of international relations, small gestures matter greatly. It was 1813. Napoleon Bonaparte, Europe’s emperor and the most feared man on the Continent, had just suffered defeat in Russia. Having retreated to Dresden to lick his wounds and plot future action, Bonaparte agreed to a meeting with Prince Klemens von Metternich, Austria’s chancellor, architect of a developing alliance of European powers.

The exchange was tense. Toward the end Bonaparte was so frustrated, gesticulating so furiously, he accidentally dropped his hat. But it was no accident. Wily Bonaparte was measuring Metternich’s subservience. A fearful subject would bow and pick up the hat. Instead, Metternich ignored the hat and carried on as if he hadn’t even noticed. “Napoleon,” he later wrote, “seemed to me small.” Metternich’s action was more powerful than 10,000 words. His message, to Napoleon and Europe, resonated: Europe would no longer bow before Bonaparte.

In the high-stakes world of geopolitics, small gestures matter greatly.

At the Postdam Conference in 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin couldn’t agree on who should enter the main door into the meeting room first. After much debate, they finally settled on an agreeable plan: The leaders would enter the room at precisely the same time using three separate doors. It sounds childish and silly. But far more was at stake than the vanity of these men.

Each leader represented the power and place of a great nation, Britain, America and the USSR, respectively. On such an important and public occasion, the leader who entered the room first would be perceived as having precedence, a greater sense of importance, over his counterparts. By entering the room synchronously, all three had equal importance.

This is geopolitics in the age of man: infantile, embarrassing, and so often—in a shake-your-head, let-out-a-big-sigh sort of way—entertaining.

In 1946, Russia’s foreign minister stormed from a post-war victory celebration in Paris after he was seated in the second row, behind his counterparts in the first row from France, Britain and America. The man was livid! The war had ended, and Stalin had helped defeat Germany and Japan. The USSR was a first-rower now!

The history of international relations is filled with anecdotes like this.

Why bring this up? Because human nature hasn’t changed in 6,000 years, and it sure hasn’t changed over the last 70. Even today, in our age of “sophisticated” international politics, small gestures continue to carry great meaning.

Which brings us to America’s president, and his chronic habit of committing gestures of disrespect and hostility to allies—and worse, gestures of weakness and subservience to competitors. Most recently, it was Mr. Obama’s phone call to new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. This happened weeks ago and was fairly widely reported on, but have we really thought on the significance of this gesture?

 

This “the most shameful phone call that’s ever been made by a leader of this land.” The president initially wanted to meet Rouhani on the sidelines of last month’s UN General Assembly in New York. But the meeting never happened because, as Haaretz and others reported, “Iran decided a meeting [during the UN conference] would be too complicated.” Rejecting Obama’s advance was a play designed to establish dominance in the relationship. Rouhani might be a rookie among world leaders, but he plays the game like a veteran. Once jilted, Mr. Obama should have left Rouhani alone. After all, Iran is feeling the pain of economic sanctions and domestic pressure is intensifying. Instead, Mr. Obama “hurriedly” grabbed the phone and made the call.

The call that every American president since Jimmy Carter, Democrat and Republican, was smart enough not to make. It was :

  • The call to the regime that longs to destroy America, Israel and the West, and thus create the global violence and anarchy needed to usher in the Islamist’s messiah, the Mahdi..

  • The call to the regime that sustains and leads global Islamist terrorism.

  • The call to the regime most responsible for Middle East tension and instability.

  • The call to an undemocratic, radical Islamist regime that rejects every basic human right of its citizens.

  • The call that struck fear into the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States.

  • The call that punctuated the reality to Israel, yet again, that America couldn’t care less about the threats encompassing America’s most loyal friend and partner in the Middle East.

In America, the reaction to Mr. Obama’s call, especially in the mainstream media and among liberals, was largely positive. Many considered it a major breakthrough, the start of a fresh new dialogue with Iran. Meanwhile, few stopped to consider how Iranperceived the phone call. “Wow, this is fantastic,” said Armin Kay, an Iranian engineer reacting to the news. “The most important thing is that Obama took the initiative. This will go down really well with our leadership.” Rouhani boasted about it on his Twitter page, though the tweets were later removed.

Iran’s currency, the rial, rose 2 percent against the dollar on the open market following the landmark call.

Who cares what the New York Times or naive journalists think? They have no practical bearing on the end goal. What really matters is the impact of this gesture on the regime in Tehran. AND IT WAS TAKEN AS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS AND COMPROMISE!

We see gestures conveying this message regularly from Mr. Obama. Remember the now infamous photo of his bowing before Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah? Aides at the time said the president was merely leaning forward to shake the king’s hand. But that lie was exposed a few months later when he visited Japan and bowed, this time convincingly, deliberately and unapologetically, before Emperor Akihito. Like the phone call to Rouhani, this was a first in history: the first bow by a U.S. president before a foreign leader.

Mr. Obama has made gestures of equal significance to friends and allies—only on these occasions they’ve been gestures conveying disrespect and hostility. One of his first actions upon moving into the Oval Office was to get rid of a bust of Winston Churchill, a gift from the British government signifying the historic friendship between America and Britain. When Britain’s former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, died earlier this year, President Obama didn’t attend the funeral, and refused to send even a single serving member of his administration.

In 2009, when he met Israel’s prime minister for the first time, Benjamin Netanyahu was made to enter the White House through a side door and into a meeting room where press cameras were not allowed. In September last year, when Netanyahu visited New York and Washington, the president refused to see him—the first time a U.S. president refused to meet a visiting Israeli prime minister.

Each of these gestures conveyed a powerful message to the nation and leader involved, and to the world at large.

What is going on here? Why is the White House doing this? It isn’t a matter of mere inexperience or poor schooling in the symbolism of international relations. To the contrary, the precision, the attention to detail, the growing list of such gestures, reveals an astonishing malevolence for America and its role in the world. Something deeper is afoot here. One can sense it in multiple facets of the government too, not just foreign policy. What is it?

President Obama and the Phone Call That Endangered America

 

In the great game of international relations, small gestures matter greatly. It was 1813. Napoleon Bonaparte, Europe’s emperor and the most feared man on the Continent, had just suffered defeat in Russia. Having retreated to Dresden to lick his wounds and plot future action, Bonaparte agreed to a meeting with Prince Klemens von Metternich, Austria’s chancellor, architect of a developing alliance of European powers.

The exchange was tense. Toward the end Bonaparte was so frustrated, gesticulating so furiously, he accidentally dropped his hat. But it was no accident. Wily Bonaparte was measuring Metternich’s subservience. A fearful subject would bow and pick up the hat. Instead, Metternich ignored the hat and carried on as if he hadn’t even noticed. “Napoleon,” he later wrote, “seemed to me small.” Metternich’s action was more powerful than 10,000 words. His message, to Napoleon and Europe, resonated: Europe would no longer bow before Bonaparte.

In the high-stakes world of geopolitics, small gestures matter greatly.

At the Postdam Conference in 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin couldn’t agree on who should enter the main door into the meeting room first. After much debate, they finally settled on an agreeable plan: The leaders would enter the room at precisely the same time using three separate doors. It sounds childish and silly. But far more was at stake than the vanity of these men.

Each leader represented the power and place of a great nation, Britain, America and the USSR, respectively. On such an important and public occasion, the leader who entered the room first would be perceived as having precedence, a greater sense of importance, over his counterparts. By entering the room synchronously, all three had equal importance.

This is geopolitics in the age of man: infantile, embarrassing, and so often—in a shake-your-head, let-out-a-big-sigh sort of way—entertaining.

In 1946, Russia’s foreign minister stormed from a post-war victory celebration in Paris after he was seated in the second row, behind his counterparts in the first row from France, Britain and America. The man was livid! The war had ended, and Stalin had helped defeat Germany and Japan. The USSR was a first-rower now!

The history of international relations is filled with anecdotes like this.

Why bring this up? Because human nature hasn’t changed in 6,000 years, and it sure hasn’t changed over the last 70. Even today, in our age of “sophisticated” international politics, small gestures continue to carry great meaning.

Which brings us to America’s president, and his chronic habit of committing gestures of disrespect and hostility to allies—and worse, gestures of weakness and subservience to competitors. Most recently, it was Mr. Obama’s phone call to new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. This happened weeks ago and was fairly widely reported on, but have we really thought on the significance of this gesture?

 

This “the most shameful phone call that’s ever been made by a leader of this land.” The president initially wanted to meet Rouhani on the sidelines of last month’s UN General Assembly in New York. But the meeting never happened because, as Haaretz and others reported, “Iran decided a meeting [during the UN conference] would be too complicated.” Rejecting Obama’s advance was a play designed to establish dominance in the relationship. Rouhani might be a rookie among world leaders, but he plays the game like a veteran. Once jilted, Mr. Obama should have left Rouhani alone. After all, Iran is feeling the pain of economic sanctions and domestic pressure is intensifying. Instead, Mr. Obama “hurriedly” grabbed the phone and made the call.

The call that every American president since Jimmy Carter, Democrat and Republican, was smart enough not to make. It was :

  • The call to the regime that longs to destroy America, Israel and the West, and thus create the global violence and anarchy needed to usher in the Islamist’s messiah, the Mahdi..

  • The call to the regime that sustains and leads global Islamist terrorism.

  • The call to the regime most responsible for Middle East tension and instability.

  • The call to an undemocratic, radical Islamist regime that rejects every basic human right of its citizens.

  • The call that struck fear into the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States.

  • The call that punctuated the reality to Israel, yet again, that America couldn’t care less about the threats encompassing America’s most loyal friend and partner in the Middle East.

In America, the reaction to Mr. Obama’s call, especially in the mainstream media and among liberals, was largely positive. Many considered it a major breakthrough, the start of a fresh new dialogue with Iran. Meanwhile, few stopped to consider how Iranperceived the phone call. “Wow, this is fantastic,” said Armin Kay, an Iranian engineer reacting to the news. “The most important thing is that Obama took the initiative. This will go down really well with our leadership.” Rouhani boasted about it on his Twitter page, though the tweets were later removed.

Iran’s currency, the rial, rose 2 percent against the dollar on the open market following the landmark call.

Who cares what the New York Times or naive journalists think? They have no practical bearing on the end goal. What really matters is the impact of this gesture on the regime in Tehran. AND IT WAS TAKEN AS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS AND COMPROMISE!

We see gestures conveying this message regularly from Mr. Obama. Remember the now infamous photo of his bowing before Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah? Aides at the time said the president was merely leaning forward to shake the king’s hand. But that lie was exposed a few months later when he visited Japan and bowed, this time convincingly, deliberately and unapologetically, before Emperor Akihito. Like the phone call to Rouhani, this was a first in history: the first bow by a U.S. president before a foreign leader.

Mr. Obama has made gestures of equal significance to friends and allies—only on these occasions they’ve been gestures conveying disrespect and hostility. One of his first actions upon moving into the Oval Office was to get rid of a bust of Winston Churchill, a gift from the British government signifying the historic friendship between America and Britain. When Britain’s former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, died earlier this year, President Obama didn’t attend the funeral, and refused to send even a single serving member of his administration.

In 2009, when he met Israel’s prime minister for the first time, Benjamin Netanyahu was made to enter the White House through a side door and into a meeting room where press cameras were not allowed. In September last year, when Netanyahu visited New York and Washington, the president refused to see him—the first time a U.S. president refused to meet a visiting Israeli prime minister.

Each of these gestures conveyed a powerful message to the nation and leader involved, and to the world at large.

What is going on here? Why is the White House doing this? It isn’t a matter of mere inexperience or poor schooling in the symbolism of international relations. To the contrary, the precision, the attention to detail, the growing list of such gestures, reveals an astonishing malevolence for America and its role in the world. Something deeper is afoot here. One can sense it in multiple facets of the government too, not just foreign policy. What is it?

The Rot of Dynastic Indian Politics- The Revival of Feudalism

The day before hoardings appeared in Uttar Pradesh demanding that Priyanka Gandhi be given the Phulpur seat so that she could help her ‘sick’ mother and ‘overburdened’ brother I happened to be discussing dynastic democracy in the most unlikely place. I recollect the lunch in a lovely garden that sat on a cliff high above the sunlit waters of the Pacific Ocean. This lunch party was in a seaside resort two hours from Tokyo where I had gone at the invitation of a Japanese friend who had also invited some of her friends among whom was a lady whose brother, father and grandfather had all been politicians. This information was revealed when I said that one of India’s biggest political problems was dynastic democracy.

The Japanese guests at lunch, in that garden filled with sunlight and sea breezes, allowed me to expound upon my theory for several minutes before someone pointed out that ‘political families’ were very much the norm in Japan. The present Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s grandfather, Kan Abe, and father Shintaro Abe, were both in politics and his wife Yoko Kishi is the daughter of former prime minister, Nobushe Kishi. “You see,” the lady from the political family explained, “what happens is that in some political constituencies they virtually insist upon a family member taking the seat because they associate the family’s power in politics with their own. So its not always such a bad thing.”

On the drive back to Tokyo I thought about this as we passed a coastline covered in massive power plants, ports and factories and drove on a modern highway through countryside that had remained pristine despite such visible signs of 21st century infrastructure. My thoughts went back to our own dear Bharat Mata and the wretchedness and decay that is the general mood of rural India and the squalor that is the defining characteristic of our cities. Perhaps, I would have been more accepting of dynastic democracy if India had looked more like Japan and less like a country in a deep state of despair and decline. It is hard not to blame India’s backwardness on the Dynasty that has ruled for most of our years as an independent nation and yet this is not what the Congress is ever able to do.

So in their concerted efforts to combat Narendra Modi’s thunderous campaign across the country they now appear ready to offer up what some Congress politicians privately describe as their ‘brahmastra’. This ultimate weapon is none other than Priyanka Gandhi hence the hoardings in Allahabad that appeared last week carrying these words along side pictures of the Gandhi family. ‘Maiya ab rehti beemar, Bhaiya par badh gaya bhaar, Priyanka Phulpur sey baney ummedwaar.’ Here is a literal translation: mother now remains sick, brother is now carrying a heavier load so Priyanka should be the candidate from Phulpur.

For those who may have forgotten, this used to be the constituency of Jawaharlal Nehru. So is this good enough reason for his great granddaughter to now inherit it? Has Priyanka shown any sign that she is worthy of being in public life? By the standards of the Gandhi family, she most certainly has. Anyone who has seen her campaigning will vouch for the fact that she is far more comfortable in the company or ordinary Indians than her parents or brother ever were. One reason is that her Hindi is excellent and this gives her the ability to converse spontaneously – an ability her brother has yet to acquire. She has charm and charisma and this, combined with the Gandhi name (let’s forget about Vadra for now) certainly qualifies her as much as it qualified any other member of her family. But, is this enough to make her a worthy opponent for Modi? To answer this we need first to analyse why Modi has become so popular outside Gujarat.

The Congress believes that the only reason for his popularity is that he has the support of the media and that he is very skilled at using the social media to convey his message. This is less than the whole truth. The real reason why Modi has developed such a huge persona on the national stage is because he is the first political leader in a very long time who is trying to say something new. Despite the best efforts of Congress to trap him in the meaningless debate about secularism and communalism he has managed to change the agenda and make the next general election about governance and a new vision for India. This appeals to young people in villages and towns across India who are painfully aware of what it is like to live without clean water, sanitation, electricity and jobs. When Modi talks about the need for governance to become more important than government this is what they understand as the things that good governance can give them. An older generation of Indian voters were easily swayed by the charisma of the Gandhi name but it has less resonance with younger voters. This is why Modi makes such a point of addressing younger voters and especially those who will be voting in 2014 for the first time.

Can Priyanka Gandhi find a way of countering this by repackaging her family and its supposed achievements and sacrifices? Can Rahul Gandhi? Can Sonia Gandhi? These are the only questions that are now being asked in Congress circles because everyone knows that the Dynasty is all that is left of India’s oldest political party. So whatever the Japanese experience with dynastic democracy there is no question that where India is concerned it has done more harm than good. It has attracted to public life people who have not the smallest idea of serving their country or its people and a very big idea of how much fun political power can be. Dynastic democracy in an Indian context has proved to be no more than a very ugly extension of feudalism and because younger Indians seem to understand this Priyanka may not be the ‘brahmastra’ her supporters think she is

Why Marijuana Should not Legalized

Over the course of modern history marijuana has been stigmatized, associated with negative connotations and been blamed as the gateway to stronger more addictive drugs. While marijuana use has been recorded throughout history as a relaxant, mood elevator and aid for pain, it is still a drug that the government knows very little about. In the 1970’s the Food and Drug Administration conducted extensive research into the properties of cannabis and its properties at the University of Washington, exhaustive research concluded that it had such a complex structure that many more years would be needed to ascertain the true medicinal value.

As more and more baby boomers are coming of age, the cry for legalization of not just marijuana but all outlawed controlled substances has become louder. recently In an article published by the Los Angeles Times, Norm Stamper, a recently retired chief of police in Seattle Washington, said due to the billions of dollars wasted on the war against drugs, and the tens of thousands of people incarcerated for drug offenses in our prison system, these drugs should be legalized. His idea is to legalize it, charge taxes for it, and regulate it, not unlike a state liquor store. While I am sure that this right would be seriously abused, in time the abuse might taper off and we might possibly have a drastic reduction in both violent crime and theft.

I am diametrically opposed to this for several reasons. First, for several years we have been hearing what cigarette companies have been doing to their product, the addition of nearly lethal chemicals to tobacco has cost millions of people their very livelihood. I am not so jaded to believe that the tobacco companies once given the green light to commence growing operations wouldn’t conduct business any differently with marijuana than they have with tobacco.

I am in agreement that smoking marijuana can, and does cause an increased likelihood that young adults might try harder drugs. But is this due to our social structure where all people that smoke marijuana are identified with all the other drug users, putting them higher at risk through interaction with these people. I also agree that marijuana can cause serious motivational problems and can be an impediment to learning capabilities. I however cannot for any reason think of a redeeming value for the recreational use of crack cocaine, meth amphetamine, or heroin. The addictive nature of these drugs being both chronicled and substantiated, have shown that serious medical problems and eventual death is in store for these users. Not to mention open access to these drugs would create tens of thousands of new addicts. Health providers would subsidize the costs of these additional addicts onto the consumer. While in a few years the in-house treatment boom might cause a rise in employment if this legalization ever occurs, the social costs would outweigh this benefit.

What should happen is a decriminalization of marijuana, which would leave enough control to local and federal governments to go after those that pose a threat instead of the individual casual consumer. Holland and British Columbia have decriminalized marijuana with no harsh effects. Millions are attracted to Amsterdam yearly in search of legal hashish bars; Vancouver’s gas lamp district has become a Mecca for thousands in search of super-pot bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenues for the Canadian government.

The billions of dollars wasted on incarcerating tens of thousands of people for simple possession could be spent on standardizing healthcare in America. The billions of dollars spent on adjudicating these charges could be spent on eradicating our need for fossil fuels. Perhaps some of these funds could be used to address our deplorable public school systems, cure cancer or eliminate hunger in the world. Not being a proponent of legalization all I can say is I wouldn’t mind having to pay a stupidity fee if I was stupid enough to get caught smoking marijuana in public, but me being no more credible than the hundreds of other people that have championed this cause, I doubt the government will listen to me.

Marijuana has been portrayed by the drug culture, with enormous funding from George Soros and his billionaire pot-smoking buddies, as an innocuous substance when, in fact, it is insidiously and extremely dangerous. 

In the past fifteen years there have been numerous studies from all over the globe reporting on the significant role that marijuana plays in causing or exacerbating psychosis. It has become a leading reason for those seeking or assigned to drug treatment, and is a leading cause of drug-related emergency room episodes.

One well-designed and controlled study found that pilots trained on a flight simulator could not land a plane even 24 hours after smoking one 3.5% THC joint. Today’s pot is much more potent than that. And did you know that it is also a leading factor in male infertility? It causes premature apoptosis of sperm and egg cells. And the list goes on and on and on. 

Those who advocate for pot legalization insist that they can “handle” the drug. Likely most heroin addicts and meth addicts thought that they could handle the drug as well. The cost to society of their addiction, violence and crime, unemployment, under-employment, increased illness,etc., is borne by the rest of us – and it is in the hundreds of billions annually.

As for your libertarian view that this is a right, when our children were small I told them that the only time they had absolute freedom to do as they please would be if they lived alone on a desert island. If another individual came along then they would likely have to devise rules to live together in peace and safety.  And the more people that came to the island then then more rules they would have to make.  Having rules is what makes a civil society work. 

Without them you have anarchy. Surely you do not support anarchy? And  surely you would not advocate that just because a person believes themselves to be the world’s best driver they should be free to drive at whatever speed they choose whenever and wherever they want? I thought not. You are dead wrong on this one. There currently exists controversy concerning smoking

Many well-intentioned leaders and members of the public have been misled, by the well financed and organized pro-drug legalization lobby, into believing there is merit to their argument that smoking marijuana is a safe and effective medicine. A review of the scientific research, expert medical testimony and government agency findings shows this to be erroneous. There is no justification for using marijuana as medicine.

The California Narcotics Officers’ Association consists of over 7,000 criminal justice professionals who are dedicated to protecting the public from the devastating effects of substance abuse, whether cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana. We have seen firsthand the debilitating and often tragic results, both psychologically aand physically, for those who choose intoxication as part of their lifestyles. We have studied the medicinal use of marijuana issue, compiling information from medical experts to present to those we are sworn to protect. It is our firm belief that any movement that liberalizes or legalizes substance abuse laws would set us back to the days of the ’70s, when we experienced this country’s worst drug problem and the subsequent consequences. In the ’80s, through the combined and concerted efforts of law enforcement and prevention and treatment professionals, illicit drug use was reduced by 50 percent. Teenagers graduating from the class of 1992 had a 50 percent lesser chance of using drugs than did those who graduated in the class of 1979.

Substance abuse rises whenever public attitude is more tolerant towards drugs, such as when people say that they are safe and harmless. Other factors that contribute to a rise in use include increased availability, reduced risk with using or selling and lower prices. In 1993, for the first time in 12 years of steady decline, illicit drug use rose and continues to climb. A major contributing factor is a message that drugs “aren’t so bad.” To counter this “just say yes” campaign, some feel compelled to provide the facts on the use of marijuana as medicine. These well-documented facts will prove beyond a doubt that marijuana is not a medicine.

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug on the basis that is has “a high potential for abuse.” This means that the perception is that people get on marijuana, then become hooked and it begins to dominate their lives. This unquestionably happens in some cases, but is about as common as alcohol abuse. Marijuana may seem to yield considerable medical benefits for many Americans with ailments ranging from glaucoma to cancer, but these benefits have not been accepted well enough, on a national level. Medical use of marijuana remains a serious national controversy. Making marijuana legal to tax it may put us worth off economically. $14.5 billion in taxes are generated from alcohol but $185 billion are lost due to alcohol-related costs. The same with tobacco as $25 billion is collected in tax revenue, but $200 billion is lost.

Rapidly accumulating new research shows that marijuana use is associated with increases in a range of serious mental and physical problems. In a recent weekend accident survey, 8.6% tested positive for marijuana. That’s nearly four times the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 dl/dl (2.2 percent). In another study of seriously injured drivers admitted a Level-1 shock trauma center, more than a quarter of all drivers tested positive for marijuana. In Washington 12.7 % of fatally injured drivers tested positive for marijuana.

Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-inducing chemicals, which are stored in fat cells for long periods of time. Scientific research relates marijuana use to damaged bran cells and respiratory systems, decreased hormone production in both sexes, acute memory loss, lowered immune systems, and impaired motor skills. THC and marijuana smoke have been directly linked to miscarriage, in-utero fetal death, stillbirth, and infant death just after birth, along with behavioral and biological abnormalities of offspring. Also, contrary to reports concerning medical use of marijuana, there are no reliable scientific studies showing that marijuana is an effective drug for treating nausea and vomiting. Although some studies show that pure THC, one of the many chemicals in marijuana, has some effect in controlling nausea and vomiting, this chemical is available in a pharmaceutical capsule for use by the medical community.

Within minutes of taking the first drag, THC enters the bloodstream and gets down to work on a part of the brain called the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory function. Citing research from McLeanHospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, the ODEA says that regular users of marijuana “had impaired skills related to attention, memory, and learning for up to 24 hours after they last used the drug. These students had difficulty sustaining and shifting attention and in registering, organizing and using information than the control group”

Long-term cigarette smoking is bad for your lungs, but unlike for pot, there are not millions of people who believe that tobacco makes you intoxicated, lowers your IQ, and makes you slow and stupid. While studies conflict, many confirm what millions have perceived, that routine pot use leads to serious mental health issues. On the other hand, a nightly glass of red wine has the opposite reputation, of not making anyone slow or stupid, but of sustaining health and even decreasing the likelihood of dementia.

Many studies show serious problems, for example, with schizoid psychosis while smoking. Marijuana can also act as a cancer-causing carcinogen and cause DNA damage, for pot smoke contains higher levels of certain toxins than tobacco, which is why pot smokers face rapid lung destruction, with the impact on lungs from one joint equalling up to five cigarettes. Pot also opens the door for the virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma. For pregnant moms, it can harm their unborn child by impairing growth and by causing long-lasting neuro-behavioral problems. For habitual use is strongly associated with car crash injuries and smoking marijuana doubles the risk of fatal accidents.

Studies show that chemicals in marijuana cause the body to kick its production of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC’s) into overdrive. Like the United Nations of the human body, the job of these cells is to keep the rest of the immune system in check. They make sure that just enough force is used to fight off infection, but not too much. An increased amount of MDSC’s basically causes them to abuse their power so to speak and suppress the immune system to the point where it can’t effectively fight off infections. Kind of like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Researchers and scientists have had a difficult time finding a direct correlation between smoking weed and lung cancer. The reason being they have a hard time finding people who have smoked marijuana and marijuana only. Generally, weed smokers also tend to indulge in tobacco which is proven to be a leading cause of lung cancer. What scientists have been able to nail down are the similarities in tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke, and the results are surprising. A 2007 study by the American Chemical Society compared the chemical make up of tobacco smoke to marijuana smoke and revealed they share similarities in their make up including the existence of ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and nitric oxide. The startling difference was that marijuana smoke contained 20 times the levels of ammonia, and three to five times the levels of hydrogen cyanide and nitric oxide to that of tobacco smoke. A slightly more recent study in 2009 showed that since marijuana users typically tend to take longer drags and hold the smoke in for an extended period of time before exhaling, smoking 3-4 joints a day is equal to “the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day.”

To those who believe marijuana will stimulate the economy, you are wrong. Any tax revenue will be counteracted by the cost of industry regulation. Marijuana will have to meet certain quality standards. Any plant that does not meet these standards is a waste of money in terms of water, food, land, workers, electricity, screening the plant for contaminants, and the technology needed to check for certain standards, such as THC concentration. The list goes on and on because you are going to need to add the cost to regulate the substance either through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or the Food and Drug Administration, which means opening up a new division in one of the organizations and paying each agent’s salary. On top of this is the cost to revolutionize laws, making sure underage sales do not occur and establishing drug influenced driving laws and technology to enforce that law. Employers are still going to have to pay for pre-employment drug tests, as I suspect a majority would still do drug screens. This will counteract legalization from the economic standpoint because people who would otherwise buy it will choose not to out of fear of employer-mandated drug tests.

Comparing marijuana users to alcohol or tobacco users should not be done. The comparisons are of people who spent years of chain-smoking or decades of heavy drinking to moderate weed use. Also the comparisons never compensate for the number of users. 100 pot smokers are always going to cause fewer real problem cases than a million people using alcohol.

We have made significant progress in fighting drug use and drug trafficking in America. Now is not the time to abandon our efforts. The Legalization Lobby claims that the fight against drugs cannot be won. However, overall drug use is down by more than a third in the last twenty years. The amount of good that can come from legalizing marijuana is far outweighed by the amount of harm it would bring. It is time the self proclaimed, elf appointed and self anointed custodians of society stop catering to demands of addicts or would be addicts and all talk of legalizing this narcotic is stone-walled without any let or delay.

U.S. Government Shutdown Impacts Asia

Normally  the Americans tend not to see past their own noses. Right now, the government shutdown is big news. Naturally, coverage is focused on domestic concerns, such as the completely unnecessary park closures that expose the childishness and vindictive spirit of this administration.

However, there are larger ripple effects of this closure—even global ramifications—we need to pay attention to. After all, if Washington is internally paralyzed with inaction, how can it fulfill its international obligations as the world’s leading power? This is a question many leaders around the world are asking—some with concern, others with glee.

As Stratfor’s George Friedman wrote, if the nation “is both losing its internal cohesion and the capacity to govern … it would mean the United States would not be able to act in global affairs, and that in turn would mean that the international system would undergo a profound change” (October 8).

Consider what the shutdown means for Asia, particularly China, since it is the growth of China that is sending cold shivers down the spine of US mandarins. For years the balance of power in Asia has been shifting. American influence has faded; China’s has blossomed. America’s nervous Asian allies are increasingly reevaluating their dependence on the U.S. and looking for alternatives. China is doing all it can to step into that gap. It is positioning itself, quite successfully, as the powerhouse of Asia. And it views Washington’s childish infighting as a golden opportunity.

Because of the government stoppage, President Obama has canceled visits with four Asian countries and missed two regional summits. In addition, an American-Japanese military exercise scheduled for later this month in Japan was nixed. (A spokesman for Japan’s defense ministry said, “If cancellations continue on other events, the impact would be substantial.”)

This all plays beautifully into China’s hands. It validates the concerns of those who fear America’s shrinking power, particularly within Asia. As Joseph de Courcy, reporting on this trend, wrote, “The credibility of the U.S.’s pivot to Asia, like the credibility of its Middle East policies, is being openly questioned. Even the economic element of the U.S.’s Asia pivot is looking unconvincing” (Courcy’s Intelligence Brief, October 9).

As American dependability looks shakier, China looks like the picture of stability. After President Obama dropped out from the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and the East Asia Summit, Carl Thayer, professor at the Australian Defense Force Academy, said, “For countries not closely allied with the U.S., Obama’s no-show will reinforce their policy of bandwagoning with China.”

The timing of these events was even more damaging for having occurred alongside another stunning demonstration of America’s weakness: its desperate acceptance of Russia’s highly dubious and calculated offer to take care of Syria’s chemical weapons. Here the United States deferred to another Asian power in order to avoid having to take action internationally.

Meanwhile, as President Obama conspicuously canceled his trip to Asia, China was active in his absence. As Courcy reported, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, announced $30 billion worth of deals with Indonesia. He declared a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with Malaysia, including enhanced military ties. The Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, publicly noted the success of the “golden decade” of China’s partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—during which bilateral trade has increased fivefold, from $80 billion to $400 billion. He announced that China’s aim was to increase that number to $1 trillion by 2020.

Then, for good measure, Beijing took a warning shot at the U.S. On Tuesday, China’s vice foreign minister, Zhu Guangyao, said flatly that “the clock is ticking,” and the U.S. had better resolve its political disputes in order to prevent a debt default. Why? It’s America’s responsibility “to ensure the safety of Chinese investments in the United States,” he said. Remember, China is America’s biggest creditor—it is estimated to hold at least $1.3 trillion in U.S. bonds. It possesses substantially more leverage over the U.S. than the other way around. And now the U.S. is simply handing China more reasons to gloat.

From its position of weakness, America’s strategy to contain China is essentially built around its alliance with Japan. More and more, the U.S. is encouraging Japan to break from the pacifist constitution—the constitution that America and its allies created. To the consternation of neighboring nations that still remember Japan’s brutal war making in World War II (and which the U.S. has apparently long forgotten), Washington views  the rearmed Japan—possessing first-strike capacity—as its best shot at keeping China in check.

This is a fundamentally flawed strategy. In the medium-to-long term, it will do nothing to suppress China’s rise. Ultimately it will actually serve to increase the power of what is soon to emerge as a heavily militarized, united Asian superpower.

The shift of power away from the U.S. and toward China isn’t merely an outgrowth of the recent U.S. government closure—this trend has been unfolding for years. The shutdown has simply highlighted it and, to a degree yet to be seen, exacerbated it.

Now, the culmination of this trend—an Asia that operates independently of America’s influence, and is likely dominated by China (and Russia)—looks increasingly inevitable. It appears America has been checkmated.  The question facing the Americans is  would Obama still continue sleeping a  la Rip Van Winkle.

 

The Democracy at Cross-roads

In every society, those in the minority are at risk if democracy is held as the highest good. It’s so easy, to democratically violate rights. The question: how do we do that? That is a huge question for me right now. I’d say that every bit of news we get out, every person we reach, all that counts enormously. But more big breakthroughs … those would be great.

Consider the words of the Founding Fathers of US themselves, who — one after another — condemned democracy.

• Virginia’s Edmund Randolph participated in the 1787 convention. Demonstrating a clear grasp of democracy’s inherent dangers, he reminded his colleagues during the early weeks of the Constitutional Convention that the purpose for which they had gathered was “to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States laboured; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and trials of democracy….”

• John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, championed the new Constitution in his state precisely because it would not create a democracy. “Democracy never lasts long,” he noted. “It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.” He insisted, “There was never a democracy that ‘did not commit suicide.’”

• New York’s Alexander Hamilton, in a June 21, 1788 speech urging ratification of the Constitution in his state, thundered: “It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.” Earlier, at the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton stated: “We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”

• James Madison, who is rightly known as the “Father of the Constitution,” wrote in The Federalist, No. 10: “… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.” The Federalist Papers, recall, were written during the time of the ratification debate to encourage the citizens of New York to support the new Constitution.

• George Washington, who had presided over the Constitutional Convention and later accepted the honor of being chosen as the first President of the United States under its new Constitution, indicated during his inaugural address on April 30, 1789, that he would dedicate himself to “the preservation … of the republican model of government.”

• Fisher Ames served in the U.S. Congress during the eight years of George Washington’s presidency. A prominent member of the Massachusetts convention that ratified the Constitution for that state, he termed democracy “a government by the passions of the multitude, or, no less correctly, according to the vices and ambitions of their leaders.” On another occasion, he labeled democracy’s majority rule one of “the intermediate stages towards … tyranny.” He later opined: “Democracy, in its best state, is but the politics of Bedlam; while kept chained, its thoughts are frantic, but when it breaks loose, it kills the keeper, fires the building, and perishes.” And in an essay entitled The Mire of Democracy, he wrote that the framers of the Constitution “intended our government should be a republic, which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy from a despotism.”

In light of the Founders’ view on the subject of republics and democracies, it is not surprising that the Constitution does not contain the word “democracy,” but does mandate: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.”

20th Century Changes
These principles were once widely understood. In the 19th century, many of the great leaders, both in America and abroad, stood in agreement with the Founding Fathers. John Marshall, chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835 echoed the sentiments of Fisher Ames. “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos,” he wrote. American poet James Russell Lowell warned that “democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.” Lowell was joined in his disdain for democracy by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who remarked that “democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.” Across the Atlantic, British statesman Thomas Babington Macauly agreed with the Americans. “I have long been convinced,” he said, “that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.” Britons Benjamin Disraeli and Herbert Spencer would certainly agree with their countryman, Lord Acton, who wrote: “The one prevailing evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”

By the 20th century, however, the falsehoods that democracy was the epitome of good government and that the Founding Fathers had established just such a government for the United States became increasingly widespread. This misinformation was fuelled by President Woodrow Wilson’s famous 1916 appeal that our nation enter World War I “to make the world safe for democracy” — and by President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1940 exhortation that America “must be the great arsenal of democracy” by rushing to England’s aid during WWII.

One indicator of the radical transformation that took place is the contrast between the War Department’s 1928 “Training Manual No. 2000-25,” which was intended for use in citizenship training, and what followed. The 1928 U.S. government document correctly defined democracy as:

A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of “direct expression.” Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic — negating property rights. Attitude of the law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. All this rsults in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

This manual also accurately stated that the framers of the Constitution “made a very marked distinction between a republic and a democracy … and said repeatedly and emphatically that they had formed a republic.”

But by 1932, pressure against its use caused it to be withdrawn. In 1936, Senator Homer Truett Bone (D-WA) took to the floor of the Senate to call for the document’s complete repudiation. By then, even finding a copy of the manual had become almost impossible. Decades later, in an article appearing in the October 1973 issue of Military Review, Lieutenant Colonel Paul B. Parham explained that the Army ceased using the manual because of letters of protest “from private citizens.” Interestingly, Parham also noted that the word democracy “appears on one hand to be of key importance to, and holds some peculiar significance for, the Communists.”

By 1952 the U.S. Army was singing the praises of democracy, instead of warning against it, in Field Manual 21-13, entitled The Soldier’s Guide. This new manual incorrectly stated: “Because the United States is a democracy, the majority of the people decide how our Government will be organized and run….” (Emphasis in original.)

Yet important voices continued to warn against the siren song for democracy. In 1931, England’s Duke of Northumberland issued a booklet entitled The History of World Revolution in which he stated: “The adoption of Democracy as a form of Government by all European nations is fatal to good Government, to liberty, to law and order, to respect for authority, and to religion, and must eventually produce a state of chaos from which a new world tyranny will arise.”

In 1939, historians Charles and Mary Beard added their strong voices in favor of historical accuracy in their America in Midpassage: “At no time, at no place, in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word or any word lending countenance to it, except possibly the mention of ‘We, the People,’ in the preamble…. When the Constitution was framed no respectable person called himself or herself a democrat.”

During the 1950s, Clarence Manion, the dean of Notre Dame Law School, echoed and amplified what the Beards had so correctly stated. He summarized: “The honest and serious student of American history will recall that our Founding Fathers managed to write both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution without using the term ‘democracy’ even once. No part of any of the existing state Constitutions contains any reference to the word. [The men] who were most influential in the institution and formulation of our government refer to ‘democracy’ only to distinguish it sharply from the republican form of our American Constitutional system.”

On September 17 (Constitution Day), 1961, John Birch Society founder Robert Welch delivered an important speech, entitled “Republics and Democracies,” in which he proclaimed: “This is a Republic, not a Democracy. Let’s keep it that way!” The speech, which was later published and widely distributed in pamphlet form, amounted to a jolting wake-up call for many Americans. In his remarks, Welch not only presented the evidence to show that the Founding Fathers had established a republic and had condemned democracy, but he warned that the definitions had been distorted, and that powerful forces were at work to convert the American republic into a democracy, in order to bring about dictatorship.

Means to an End
Welch understood that democracy is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Eighteenth century historian Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, it is thought, argued that, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.” And as British writer G.K. Chesterton put it in the 20th century: “You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.”

Communist revolutionary Karl Marx understood this principle all too well. Which is why, in The Communist Manifesto, this enemy of freedom stated that “the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy.” For what purpose? To “abolish private property”; to “wrest, by degrees, capital from the bourgeoisie”; to “centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State”; etc.

Another champion of democracy was Communist Mao Tse-tung, who proclaimed in 1939 (a decade before consolidating control on the Chinese mainland): “Taken as a whole, the Chinese revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party embraces the two stages, i.e., the democratic and the socialist revolutions, which are essentially different revolutionary processes, and the second process can be carried through only after the first has been completed. The democratic revolution is the necessary preparation for the socialist revolution, and the socialist revolution is the inevitable sequel to the democratic revolution. The ultimate aim for which all communists strive is to bring about a socialist and communist society.”

Still another champion of democracy is Mikhail Gorbachev, who stated in his 1987 book Perestroika that, “according to Lenin, socialism and democracy are indivisible…. The essence of perestroika lies in the fact that it unites socialism with democracy [emphasis in the original] and revives the Leninist concept…. We want more socialism and, therefore, more democracy.”

This socialist revolution has been underway in America for generations. In January 1964, President Lyndon Johnson boasted in a White House address: “We are going to try to take all of the money that we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the ‘haves’ and give it to the ‘have nots’ that need it so much.” What he advocated, of course, was a Marxist, not an American, precept. (The way Marx put it was: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”) But other presidents before and after have advanced the same goal. Of course, most who support this goal do not comprehend the totalitarian consequences of constantly transferring more power to Washington. But this lack of understanding is what makes revolution by the ballot box possible.

The push for democracy has only been possible because the Constitution is being ignored, violated, and circumvented. The Constitution defines and limits the powers of the federal government. Those powers, all of which are enumerated, do not include agricultural subsidy programs, housing programs, education assistance programs, food stamps, etc. Under the Constitution, Congress is not authorized to pass any law it chooses; it is only authorized to pass laws that are constitutional. Anybody who doubts the intent of the Founders to restrict federal powers, and thereby protect the rights of the individual, should review the language in the Bill of Rights, including the opening phrase of the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law…”).

As Welch explained in his 1961 speech:

 man has certain unalienable rights which do not derive from government at all…. And those … rights cannot be abrogated by the vote of a majority any more than they can by the decree of a conqueror. The idea that the vote of a people, no matter how nearly unanimous, makes or creates or determines what is right or just becomes as absurd and unacceptable as the idea that right and justice are simply whatever a king says they are. Just as the early Greeks learned to try to have their rulers and themselves abide by the laws they had themselves established, so man has now been painfully learning that there are more permanent and lasting laws which cannot be changed by either sovereign kings or sovereign people, but which must be observed by both. And that government is merely a convenience, superimposed on Divine Commandments and on the natural laws that flow only from the Creator of man and man’s universe.

Such is the noble purpose of the constitutional republic we inherited from our Founding Fathers.

Dictatorship Through Democracy

Since the dawn of civilization, man has been making religions and attributing them to God. Democracy can be counted as one of the best of those religions, which we liked so much that we did not attribute to God; we preferred to keep this one to ourselves. Democracy is known and practiced all over the world but is more revered in the West, where people cling to it in a way that reminds us with the Muslims’ obsession with Islam.

Democracy means the rule of the people, where all eligible citizens participate directly, or through elected representatives, in law-making. This contrasts with dictatorships where the decisions are made by an individual ruler, the dictator. Democracy promises stability since it is based on the solid foundations of fairness, where all people have equal say. It also protects society from corruption that is often associated with dictatorships.

Democratic processes are not restricted to governments. They are often applied in managing professional organizations or societies of any kind or size. It is in these situations, where democracy tends to be ideally applied. Elections for a council of a professional organization, say doctors or engineers, is unlikely to be influenced by newspapers, TV channels or outsiders. The voters are well informed group of professionals who are capable of making their own free decisions.

Democratic governments

In government politics, the democratic process is based on elections, the party that gets most votes forms the government. It is fair, but its fairness depends on the fairness of the elections, or so we like to believe.

It is common in third world countries to manipulate elections in a way that the rulers get re-elected again and again. However, this is of little significance, because cheating is obvious and those countries are not recognized as democratic at all, not even by their own citizens. Western monitors are often sent to certain third world countries to make sure that the process of elections proceed fairly and to western standards, only then a government can be described as democratic. In Western standards, the principle is: free elections lead to a democratic government, which is nothing more than a delusion, as will be explained.

The election is only one step in the democratic process which starts before the election day or even the election campaign. The elections are influenced by the information that makes up the public opinion, which depends on the media; newspapers, TVs, publications…etc. It is impossible for democracy to survive in an environment where freedom of expression is not fiercely protected and the media is not free and fair. Tampering with the election often takes place before the election day and the main stream media is the usual tool.

The power of the media

In the West, the media is regulated by strict rules and guidelines to assure the public of its fairness and professionalism. For further satisfaction, and to exclude the possibility of bias, the media is usually privately owned and fully independent from the governments. Indeed, the public in the Western countries have little concerns about the freedom of their main stream media and their own freedom of expression, which is another delusion.

Being privately owned doesn’t mean being fair and free. A newspaper owned by an individual can be biased to that individual’s political affiliation just as a newspaper owned by a government can be biased to that government’s policies. Although a free newspaper aims to provide the public with unbiased news but the owner of the newspaper is not a saint and has interests in financial returns, preferably with some power, through influencing public opinion.

The potential for newspapers’ bias is unlimited, no matter how strict the rules are. Newspapers make the most of that potential for bias all the time while still work within the law and abide by the guidelines. A respected and professional newspaper may influence its readers to adopt left wing views, while another equally respected and professional newspaper may influence its readers to adopt right wing views, yet both papers are officially fair and adhere to the guidelines! The same is true with TV channels and other forms of the main stream media.

In any nation, the majority of the population are gullible and believe whatever in the news. Only a tiny minority of the society bother to research and double check. And that is the secret of the media’s immense power – they have control on that majority of the population. In the UK, Tony Blair was elected by the press well before the election day, the same was true for Obama in the United States. Those millions who went to the ballot boxes were sleep walking to do exactly what the press wanted them to do, they thought they made up their minds but their minds were already made up for them by the press.

The media’s power extends to almost all aspects of life. Even the best film may not stand a chance if the press doesn’t like it, equally true for the best book or any product. The press can decide for the public which products to buy and where to buy them. The press has that magic power to create a celebrity from nothing or bring down a celebrity to nothing. Sheikh Al Qardawi was virtually unknown before that TV program at Al Jazeera, now he is the best known and most influential Muslim scholar in the world. In fact, Al Jazeera TV was the main power behind the wave of Islamic radicalization that swept the Middle East, and then the Islamic world, in the last twenty years. Thinking of the catastrophic consequences of Islamic radicalization, it is hard to believe that a TV channel can be responsible for so much damage in the world.

I followed Al Jazeera from the day it was launched and had a feeling that the channel will have remarkable, but negative, influence on the Arabs, who were not used to this kind of western style journalism. The channel used, or rather abused, professionalism and ‘selective objectivity’ to establish itself as the best in the field. In no time it became the most popular and most trusted in the Arab world. Once in control of the Arabs’ minds, it was easy for the channel to steer those masses to follow its agenda. After his humiliating defeat in the first gulf war, Saddam Hussain’s popularity and credibility suffered a severe blow, even among his Jordanian and Palestinian fans. That steep decline in popularity coincided with the launch of Al Jazeera which managed to reverse it. From the beginning, Al Jazeera offered the Muslim Brotherhood, in all their forms and names, a free platform to gradually radicalize the Arabs. Sheikh Qardawi was an unknown imam until his regular appearance as a guest on the TV program ‘Sharia and life’, which was hosted by another member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both ‘brothers’ used the program to propagate the Muslim Brotherhood agenda.

Dictatorship Through Democracy

The democratic process in a democratic country works through political parties. It is the major parties that have a chance of winning enough seats to form a government; the small parties do not stand a chance. Very often, members of the public do not even know about those small parties, regardless of their policies. In the UK, the Conservatives and Labour parties are the two major parties that have been ruling the country for the last hundred years. They are big parties because each has supporters and donors. The Labour is supported by the trade unions and receives generous donations from them. The Conservatives receive donations from the rich companies. But both parties are happy to receive donations from those who hope their interests will be served once the party is in office. On individual level, British politicians have been known to accept financial advantages in return for asking questions in the parliament, or other services. The infamous ‘cash for questions’ scandal in the 1990s says it all. This political culture is the basis of the British adage “we have the best politicians money can buy”.

Buying a politician is not necessarily expensive; here in Britain, it may not cost more than an invitation to a dinner party. Simon Hughes, a liberal politician, accepted an invitation to attended one of those Muslim gatherings. Apparently he was so impressed that he delivered a speech, which was more of an Islamic sermon, to the bothers and sisters of his audience, as he called them. In his speech, Mr. Hughes expressed his wish to see Britain in the future being ruled by Muslims. Simon Hughes didn’t know that, being a gay, he would be one of the first to be killed in the Islamic Britain of his dreams.

Simon Hughes case was not an isolated incident, it is increasingly common to see politicians who are prepared to bend over backwards to accommodate the endless list of Muslim demands. It is a bad sign, and unfortunately an increasing number of those, who join the political parties, are ‘career politicians’, motivated only by their wish to make good living at any cost. They are keen to win the elections, not to serve their country, but to acquire power and financial gains. As I watched Simon Hughes delivering his ‘Islamic sermon’, I remembered that politics is often compared with the oldest profession (actually, politics is older than prostitution). The politicians have no principles to defend and would do whatever their paying clients ask them to do.

Unfortunately, it is common for the political parties to promise something in the election campaign but do something else once in office. Back in October 2009, Andrew Neather, an aid to the-then Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote that the labour government had encouraged immigration on purpose “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity”. Until his confession, it was believed that the flood of immigrants to the UK was a result of incompetence of the labour government, but now we know it was a result of deliberate and cynical policy of the labour government to change the face of the British society. More than ten million foreign immigrants settled in the UK as a result of that policy, which forced many millions of ethnic Britons to be squeezed out of their country. The British government was so keen to get as many Muslim immigrants from Pakistan and other Muslim countries, as quickly as possible, that their embassies in those countries distributed booklet explaining the advantages of the benefit system in the UK.

Before I settled in the UK, I spent many years in corrupt Middle Eastern countries which were ruled by corrupt dictators who were surrounded by even more corrupt politicians. Still, I do not think any of those dictators ever reached that stage of corruption to enforce a change of the demographic make up of their nations.

Of course the labour government had no mandate to enforce such a change to the society and the issue was never mentioned in the election campaign. The conservatives, who were supposed to make a big fuss of such breach of trust and abuse of power, kept very quiet about it, which means either they didn’t care or they were just as guilty. All this happened in Britain, the birthplace of democracy!

The fact that incidents like the above can happen makes a mockery of the entire concept of democracy. Democracy becomes meaningless in an environment that allows lies and dishonesty. It is more like a dictatorship in disguise where a group of politicians, with no motivation at all, other than greed and selfishness, have replaced the dictator. To be fair to dictators, some of them were motivated by a sense of patriotism and desire to serve their nations, which many did well. Many previous civilizations were built by dictatorships. On the other hand, our political parties seem to act like magnets that selectively attract the corrupts and liars with no integrity or sense of morality.

This generation of politicians love democracy and hate dictatorship, but for the wrong reason. The state is a very rich and tempting asset. Dictators, being lifelong leaders, tend to provide a lifelong protection to that asset, whether just to secure it or to keep it for themselves. Either way, the politicians do not like it. Toppling the regime and introducing a democratic system provides a chance for more politicians to alternate and share the wealth.

Freedom of expression

In the Middle Eastern, for example, there is no true democracy in any country; they are all different shades of dictatorships. The main stream media, whether privately or state owned, are under the control of the state. Newspapers may publish some constructive criticism concerning domestic policies like education, transport, health services and so on. The integrity of the leadership and the main policies of the government remain beyond criticism. The public is usually aware of this pattern of publishing and learn to look elsewhere for the ‘other news’ about the president, emir or the king.

In Western democracies, there is nothing beyond criticism, not even the head of state. The government’s policies are subjected to continuous scrutiny. Ditto members of the government and the royal family, if applicable. The public is generally satisfied that their freedom of expression is protected and their press is free, which is another delusion. You only need to send an article or a comment, with some truths about Islam, to find out!

A newspaper in a third world country may look like a propaganda tool for the state, yet may only cause little harm because, with so much bias and obvious lies, the public learn to read it with caution. This contrasts with a professional western newspaper with a reputation of objectivity which the readers trust and believe. In such papers a bias is not assumed and may go unnoticed.

In dictatorships, freedom of expression excludes the leaders who are protected from criticism. In democracies, it is Islam which is excluded from freedom of expression and is protected from criticism. I wonder which system makes more sense?

Leaders come and go and eventually they all die but Islam, if left untouched, can stay with us for centuries. Islam is a major issue in the West because it is threatening our way of life. It has already caused serious damage to our culture, social life, security, education, the legal system and more. Every day, scores of people get killed, injured, maimed or kidnapped because of Islam, yet it is the only religion that is fiercely protected and not available to the public for open discussion.

A basic human right has been abandoned to keep intolerant Muslims happy. Our politicians have no interest in listening to me and defend my rights, because they believe it is a waste of time to defend principles. Is this what we wanted to achieve by implementing democracy? Replacing dictators with more corrupt and greedy politicians? And is this the freedom of expression we aspired to? Praise Islam or stay away from the subject? There is no freedom of expression unless there is freedom to debate any religion or dogma- irrespective of its adherents. Until then claims of a free press and democracy remains a joke