Back to Blogger …

Well, it looks like I might be back on Blogger faster than I had thought. Somebody appears to have cracked my website.

I tried accessing my blog today, to see if anyone had commented. Got nothing but an “Internal Server Error”. Continue reading

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Back to Blogger (for a while!)

Well, it looks like I might be back on Blogger faster than I had thought. Somebody appears to have cracked my website.

I tried accessing my blog today, to see if anyone had commented. Got nothing but an “Internal Server Error”. Continue reading

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Randhir Singh Bains: Liar

Letters pages are often full of the “usual suspects” cropping up time and time again, and when they declare who they are (as opposed to just their names), one can understand what actually gives them the capacity to speak about the subject of their letter, as opposed to just having an interesting or important angle which deserves to be aired. There are another variety, the perpetual letter-writer whose views continually get aired and we don’t find out where the letters are coming from. When I was back in Croydon, I saw two letters in the local newspaper from someone saying that the state shouldn’t be looking after the bastard children of careless mothers. He actually used the word bastard, in both letters.

I’ve written here about continual anti-Muslim letter writers before, notably a guy called Denis MacEoin who failed to declare his links to the Baha’is. Randhir Singh Bains is another example - I searched for his name on Google and found nothing except letters to newspapers. In today’s Sunday Telegraph, there is a scaremongering letter from him alleging that:

Britain’s Muslims today have separate schools, a separate parliament, a separate bank and a “separate” privilege to have their critics sacked. If this trend of separateness continues unabated, it is only a matter of time before they ask for separate laws (Sharia laws), and eventually a separate country.

The so-called “Muslim Parliament” was known in our community to be a front group for Kalim Siddiqui and his so-called Muslim Institute, a pro-Khomeini group. They don’t represent anyone but themselves. As for a separate bank, well, numerous banks and building societies have their roots in clearly declared sections of the nation: Halifax, Bradford and Bingley, Cheltenham and Gloucester, Royal Bank of Scotland, and so on. Even the Welsh cattle-drovers had their bank (the Black Ox, now known as Lloyd’s). If a town can have its own institutions (and all towns of any size do), why should this so unthinkable for a religious community? As for schools, we have only a handful of state schools, in contrast to the thousands of Christian denominational schools. As for having our critics sacked, nobody is talking of getting rid of windbags like Polly Toynbee - only about ravers like “Will Cummins”. If anyone talked of Jews the way Cummins did about us, they would probably get sacked without having their articles printed.

In this country, there is nobody seriously advocating enforcing Sharia here, because it’s not going to happen any time soon. Nobody is talking about having critics of Islam silenced by law, because Muslims moved to this country knowing that this does not happen. And nobody has asked for a separate country (where?). We do not even expect, as some Jews appear to, that the media always support “our” faction where they are right and where they are wrong. (We don’t always support the people they identify as the “Muslim” faction ourselves.) What we want is an end to the scaremongering and flagrant lying.

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MPAC on backbiting …

I’m not sure if the people at MPAC UK read the letter I sent them last night, but today an article has appeared on their site about the subject of backbiting. It seems that even if they read my email, even if they wrote this article in response to it, they have not taken any notice of it. Continue reading

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High death toll after Beslan siege

The BBC reports that at least 200 people have died at the school in Russia which was occupied by suspected Chechen separatists earlier this week. This is, of course, the second time the Russian security forces have ended a terrorist occupation with enormous loss of life.

It shouldn’t need to be said (though there are some that won’t believe this anyway) that this action had no justification in Islam, and that we disassociate ourselves from it. In fact, even the leader of the mainstream Chechen separatist movement, Aslan Maskhadov, has condemned it and denied any involvement. Once again, the actions of ignorant people have cast a bad light over the rest of our community - like the kidnappings of the journalists by those idiots in Iraq, demanding an end to the headscarf ban in France, which in fact led to protests against it being cancelled. When will these people learn that they cannot win anything by amoral methods?

(By the way, for anyone who thinks we don’t care about innocent civilians being killed unless they are Muslims, see the entry on Shaikh Qaradawi (3rd Sept). For most Muslims, it’s a complete myth.)

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Further to “The Two Sides of Yusuf Qaradawi”

Note to Al-Muhajabah: the new trackback is because of the new blog.

Al-Muhajabah, in her blog “veiled4allah” links to an article by anti-Bush blogger Juan Cole attacking Yusuf al-Qaradawi for endorsing attacks on Americans, whether civilians or military, in Iraq. She calls him “a man of many faces”, on account of his condeming atrocities like 9/11 and the Bali bombing while endorsing suicide bombing in Palestine. Continue reading

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Abortion sob story in “Mother Jones”

The September/October 2004 edition of Mother Jones has hit the shelves of Borders here in the UK (I don’t know how many other outlets stock it), and on page 50 there’s a story by Eleanor Cooney about how she had a back street abortion in the 1960s after carelessly getting pregnant. The article is basically a defence of Roe v Wade - the “if you ban abortion, women will just go to the back streets and get hideously injured like they did in the 1960s” argument, and it includes the account of how she was prepared to go to any lengths to get rid of her baby:

“From the moment I started looking for an abortion, not once did I even consider going through with the pregnancy. Not for one second. It simply was not going to happen. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to stop me, and it could have cost me my life.”

Now, yesterday (Thursday), I picked up in Foyle’s a book called What’s the Matter With America by Thomas Frank (Secker & Warburg, 2004) about why Americans in historically liberal, even radical, parts of the USA increasingly turn to pro-business Republicans whose policies threaten to destroy their way of life, and the answer, very often, is abortion. A lot of “liberals” fail to grasp that the methods used in abortion, if used on anyone outside the womb, would be considered most heinous. While they regularly allege that pro-lifers care only about unborn babies and forget about people once born, they themselves take the exact opposite stance, holding the dignity of grown women above the life-and-limb rights of babies. When the issue is not life-threatening injuries to the mother, but merely a stupid young woman like Cooney trying to get rid of the “consequences” of her stupidity, you can understand why people are unsympathetic!

Incidentally, it also stands out that the people who would oppose the death penalty for convicted murderers, on the grounds that the death penalty is itself murder (as opposed to the possibility of executing innocent people because of police or judicial malpractice), often agree with the death penalty for unwanted babies. This is an obviously morally inconsistent position! The fact that some religious people have some absurd positions of their own (like the Catholic church’s demand that people treat sex as merely a method for procreation, and that even married couples abstain from it otherwise) does not justify the absurdity and inconsistency of their own stance.

So the question has to be asked why American liberals are more concerned for the welfare of foolish women than for defenceless babies, and for America itself, which they see collapse around them because people are too disgusted by their stance on abortion to vote for people whose policies might be good for them.

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How “switched on” are these organisations?

I’ve long been dismayed by the material issued by certain organisations which purport to defend Muslims. Some of them are very vigorous in attacking “apathetic” Muslims, but their writings demonstrate that they are short on literacy. Continue reading

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Of Africa, ex-colonials and ex-slaves …

George Monbiot has an article in today’s Guardian (link is now to his site) about why there might be suspicion about the British government’s recent moves to get involved in the Darfur situation - the reality of an old colonial set which regards the continent as their personal fiefdom. The “hoo-ray Henry” lingo in the piece is as hilarious as it might be offensive, and the article points to connections between the ongoing saga of the Zimbabwe mercenary trial and the Darfur disaster. Continue reading

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I’m going off tech blogs

The last year or so, my web surfing habits have changed somewhat. Before, the first place I went, usually, on starting up my computer was to head over to the Yahoo groups I subscribe to: al-Zawiya, Bewleyupdates, New Muslim Project, and a few others. Then I discovered blogging,and I started my own blog, and I now use it as a starting point. Most of my favourite sites are linked off it, including of course my favourite blogs, especially Muslim blogs. Continue reading

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Bullying is in the news again

The British charity Childline, which runs a helpline for children in need, has reported a 42% increase in bullying-related calls this year over last. An increasing number are from children 11 years old or younger; about half of the calls are about name-calling and other verbal abuse, and a third of it is about physical abuse. Today the BBC put up a “Have Your Say” page on the subject “How can bullying be stopped?”. The replies range from “you can’t stop it” and “it’s just part of growing up” to tales of meeting the bullies later in life and seeing their miserable state and of children being withdrawn due to bullying and the inaction of the teachers. There have been numerous reports of bullying-related suicides and of quite extreme violence, such as children’s hair being set on fire. Continue reading

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Microsoft warned over anti-Linux ads

Microsoft, an American company which makes an office package for the Mac and also a useless “operating” system for the PC, has been reprimanded for the British Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for a misleading advert in which it claimed that the “Total Cost of Ownership” for Linux was higher than that for its offering, Windows XP (also known as Windoze). The advert, under the banner “Get the Facts”, claimed that Linux could be ten times as expensive as Windows - but the comparison was based on vastly different hardware, as the Windows figure was based on PC hardware (albeit high-end hardware, a twin Xeon) while the Linux figure was based on top-end IBM mainframe hardware. In fact, Linux was developed on a 386 PC, and most people who run Linux run it on Pentium-type PCs. Continue reading

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“Exclusively” for me?

I got an email this afternoon from Apple Store (I’m a Mac user), headed “Priority information exclusively for you from the Apple Store”. Now, this email was not sent explicitly to my email address - the “To:” field read “email@euro.apple.com”, which suggests that this was sent to a whole group of users in Europe. It advertises Apple portables from ?1,149 (that’s probably about $2,000), their “back to school shopping guide”, the iPod, and the Apple Expo in “Paris, France” (obviously written by an American, because Europeans automatically assume Paris means the capital of France unless otherwise stated - and if the person writing this lived in Europe, he or she would know this). I just wonder if it is legal to label something “exclusively” for the recipient when it very clearly is not?

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Here are some real terrorists

When people in Britain these days think of terrorism, they usually mean so-called Islamic terrorism, specifically al-Qa’ida, or Palestinians attacking Israelis. In this country, a real terrorist campaign has been going on, in which animal rights fanatics carry out campaigns of intimidation against people connected to vivisection companies like Huntingdon Life Sciences, even where the vivisection is for medical research and not for things like cosmetics. They vandalise people’s cars, they attack people’s houses in the middle of the night, and they attack anyone even remotely related to the suppliers, and their families. They also write scurrilous letters calling people paedophiles, among other things. Continue reading

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Hey, is this a good idea?

There’s a report on the BBC news site that an “online school” is being set up in a small village in Wales, which will be a full school, with real lessons from real teachers over the net! It would cost 165 pounds per month (1980 pounds per year, which at current exchange rates is $3581.62 per year). The school, says the report, “would cater for students who are being schooled at home, whether through parental or personal choice, students who have been bullied, excluded, are disabled or are living overseas”. Continue reading

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Othman the Italian resurfaces

A few years ago a book was published called Ian Dallas: The Shaykh Who Has No Clothes, which purported to expose the leader of the Murabitun movement as a fraud. The author set up a website and posted details about it to the Usenet newsgroup soc.religion.islam. This resulted in a response from Abdul-Rahman Lomax who was then a regular on this group. This was in 1997 which was a year before I embraced Islam. I never managed to get my own copy of Othman’s book, however, but I did have my own experience with the Murabitun and heard much about them from other Muslims, and most of it was not good. Continue reading

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New “Ecologist” magazine out

The latest edition of The Ecologist (no prizes for guessing what it’s about) has recently come out. It’s a special feature on supermarkets:

  • How they drive local business out of business
  • How other local businesses (like accountants) lose business because of this
  • How they kill communities
  • How they kill decent jobs and replace them with banal jobs with bad conditions
  • The low quality of the food they sell (even if it looks good)
  • How they rip people off while pretending to save us money
  • How they drive farmers to the wall

… and much more.

This struck a chord with me because last week, on the way back from a trip “up country”, I stopped on the edge of a small town called Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, about 40 miles from London. Biggleswade is a pretty small place, but there is a big Sainsbury’s store on the outskirts which really must make any other food store in that town unnecessary. Besides which, at least two of the major supermarkets in the UK are known investors in Israel - see here for more details.

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What’s all this about “middle-lane hoggers”?

The BBC reports that “up to a third of motorway capacity is being wasted by drivers’ poor lane discipline, according to research by the RAC Foundation” (the RAC is the Royal Automobile Club, a rival to the British AA which provides breakdown assistance and insurance). As a professional driver, I can tell you all why people “hog” the middle lane on the motorway, which is because of slow moving vehicles in the inside lane. Most trucks (except 7.5 tonne trucks) have devices which prevent them going any faster than 56mph, and the speed limit for them is 60 anyway. A lot of older cars, particularly those with small engines and four-speed gearboxes (like my Nissan), can’t go much faster than 60 either. People who want to do 70mph, the actual speed limit, are not going to use the inside lane because it makes it likely that they will end up stuck behind a slow mover. It’s even more ridiculous that they are talking about police pulling people over for this.

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Polly Toynbee and the “Islamophobia awards”

Polly Toynbee, an anti-religious liberal who writes regularly in the Guardian, mentioned today that she had been labelled the “Most Islamophobic Media Personality” of 2004 by the Islamic Human Rights Commission. I had not heard that this organisation gave such awards, let alone with a ceremony (in London’s Shi’ite mosque in Maida Vale), and I’m quite surprised by some of the people chosen for them. George W Bush gets the “Islamophobe of the Year” in preference to Melanie Phillips, and Chirac and Sharon are preferred over “Islam” Karimov. I’m sure Nick Griffin would consider the award a compliment, but Toynbee doesn’t like being lumped in with such people. Her point is that “whichever way they turn, they find themselves at risk of alliances with undesirables of every nasty hue”. Continue reading

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Keep taking the tablets

Elizabeth Thompson-Khan, the woman who has been sending out anti-English racist email spams every few weeks, has been more prolific of late - two in the space of as many weeks. I blogged in July about her earlier emails and how I came to be one of her targets. Her messages are obnoxious and offensive in their content, but they can also be rather amusing as they demonstrate amply their author’s ignorance and detachment from reality. Continue reading

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