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abby4ever On December - 29 - 2009

Most, if not all, of us here are familiar with the argument some terrorists give in defence of their attacks upon the West. It’s our foreign policy. And you can’t deny that our foreign policy, especially of the last 8 years, has been a disaster. (‘Disaster’ is a strong word, but when you think about GWB’s foreign policy, even a word like ‘disaster’ underdescribes it.) By ‘our’ I refer to the foreign policy of both America and the UK.

That said, I believe that some, even many, terrorists leap on that as an excuse to blow things and people to smithereens. I believe that even if our foreign policy had been different, some of them would still be planning and plotting (and mixing lethal chemicals), because of something they don’t have, that they want.  The question is: what is it?

Here is one possible answer. Over here in the UK and about 3 years ago, the Muslim Council of Britain convinced Tony Blair that if he would just change his foreign policy, he would not have to worry anymore about big bombings in London. They worked on him for a long time, and the early withdrawal from Basra is thought by many to be an example of Tony Blair heeding that advice and modifying his foreign policy. Not as much as the MCB would have liked, but it was a start.

But lo and behold, he had no sooner satisfied the Muslim Council of Britain on that, than they suddenly decided that our domestic policy needed a do-over. Yes indeed. And the upshot of that , is this: we now have 85 Shariah law courts in the UK and just over 2000 Madrassas. (You can find more on this by simply Googling things like ‘Shariah law in the UK’ and ‘Madrassas in the UK’, etc. You will find many articles, most of them alarming.)

You can imagine what it’s like trying to have two conflicting systems of justice, in one country.

Not to put too fine a point on it: it just doesn’t work.

The Madrassas do work, unfortunately: little children are taught that jihad is a good thing and killing Jews is an even better thing. Not in all of them, mind you, but in some. About a month ago the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was taken to task in the House of Commons for providing funding (out of British taxpayer money) to a certain Madrassa, without so much as investigating what was being taught there. At the same time, he was taken to task for not putting an extremist Islamic group, called Islam4UK, on the ban list. It is true that the person taking him to task was the leader of the opposition, David Cameron; but it is equally true that neither Gordon Brown nor any of his cabinet ministers ( a few appeared on the BBC and Sky that very night), denied it. They could not, because it was true.

My point, in giving a possible answer as to what they want, is that some of these terrorists and those radicals that support them, want to subsume our culture under theirs. (Holland is another example of this kind of thing.) They are not interested in living side by side with another, differing culture. They want power. The more they get, the more they want….and, sadly, with both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, it would seem that the more they want, the more they get.

It’s called appeasement. Anything, anything at all, to prevent another big terror attack…or another ‘spectacular’ as some say these terrorists like to call them.

I am sorry about the foreign policy that may have exacerbated the situation, but I am just as sorry that political cowardice, on the part of the New Labour, has led to the UK becoming, in some areas, anyway, almost unrecognizable as it continuously gives in, and gives ground, to the demands of over-enthusiastic Muslims. (I think I put that last rather kindly. I’d have preferred a different adjective, but never mind.)

Negotiation is one thing, but ‘peace at any price’, appeasement, is not the answer. I am hoping that President Obama does not go down this road, no matter what may happen. It’s not a road you can easily turn around on.

Categories: News & Politics, Terrorism

Written by abby4ever

To all my friends at Planet: I care passionately about 'all creatures great and small' throughout the world. In honor of them, I'd like to cite these two quotations: "The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of sin." (A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) and "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But: can they suffer?" (Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) abby January 6, 2010

160 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:

    Here’s an interesting read from a site about terrorism.
    A lot of good questions asked about the Bush Admin and their releasing of 2 terrorists back to SA.
    Also, a lot of good comparisons to the underpants bomber and the shoe bomber.
    What do you think?


  2. AlphaBitch says:

    Now for a light hearted look at life….there are two boys in my kitchen, making dinner for my husband and I. They are hard at work, preparing a dish (sounds like “Boolani”) from leeks, potatoes and bread. It smells delicious, although the kitchen LOOKS a little like a war zone at present!

    Thanks for the article. I believe in facing issues head on. I”ve read a lot about it, but there is always something new to learn.

    I’m hoping to get the guys to blog, but we are working on surgery for one of them, and the other is waiting for his host family to return tomorrow so he can go spend time with them. I’m not sure it will work this week, but we will do this soon (with or without this same group).

    I’ve called four people about the site; most are wanting to come aboard, but not until after New Years. Sillies……

  3. javaz says:

    Did anyone else know that Tom Tancredo introduced a ‘Jihad Protection Act’?



  4. Emerald1943 says:

    Kudos to all here! I am reading some amazing comments from all of you! Excellent discussion! I am learning so much from just hanging out on the Planet! :-)

    I’m just sayin’…..

  5. Scheherazade says:

    Fantastic article, Abby! I found it highly informative, and sobering to say the least.

    I realize that what we often think of as the terrorism of the Middle East is not simply religious but also political. Bernard explained this beautifully. Yet, I still think that the mixing of politics and religion will ultimately have disasterous effects. Either side will always feel that whatever accommodations are made don’t go far enough. If memory serves Queen Elizabeth was viewed by the Puritans as not being Protestant enough, and their activities which were technically illegal continued on even to this day, but it isn’t nearly as prevalent as it once was; at least that’s my understanding of it.

    This is one reason why I am proudly atheist. I do believe that religion can do good works and often does, but extremeism is always a concern. That extremism leads to things like the murder of Dr. Tiller.

    I am sure that throughout our history humankind has looked to the heavens and wondered what made things like the sun move, the lightning flash, the trees grow, and sickness occur to name just a few examples. I’m certain that patterns were obviously looked for, and in the hopes of achieving some control over the world around us we tried to use divine understanding to explain things. At least that is the way I think of it. Yet, much like Jung points out there are certain elements that are common within all cultural mythologies, and these archetypes speak to us all.

    Sadly, fanaticism is ultimately a deadly thing. It’s that fanaticism that scares me.

    I don’t agree with the idea of accomadating seperate rules of law over secular laws. This ultimately leads to anarchy because then any law can supercede a previous one and become dominant. Thus, all that is opinion will become legally binding in some way. I don’t see that we can observe everyone’s civil libertes by granting particularly dangerous accomadations to a select few without applying those laws more broadly. If I made the rules I would never allow for an “honor killing,” but I would never say that one cannot practice a traditional religion.

    Yet, then there are things like $cientology. I’m passionately against that “faith” because of the way in which it has destroyed so many people’s lives. Indeed, I know what it was born out of it, and that makes me all the more concerned.

    Years ago, before I declared myself to be an “athiest,” I studied under a number of spiritual systems. The Golden Dawn being one of them. Knowing that Crowley’s student hooked up with Hubbard so many years ago, and thus gave him some of his ideas bothers me immensly.

    So where does one draw the line? I feel that religion and politics must remain separate and never allowed to intertwine. We’ve seen what can result by observing the GOP. They’ve actually conned Christians into believing they will get Roe vs Wade overturned, but they never do this. Indeed that’s one reason so many became disillusioned with Reagan.

    Forgive me for my long winded response, but upon these matters I have many feelings.

    In the end we cannot expect that terrorism will ever go away. It will remain with us in some for or fashion for as long as there are people who are willing to use violence to fight the establishments with which they differ. Nevertheless, we must maintain a consistent separation of religion and secular laws. Otherwise extremism will prevail over us. This is the case whether it’s religion or political extremism. It seems that religion can be abused to justify almost anything.

    • nellie says:

      We may want to separate religion from politics, but religion is part of people’s lives. And that’s not going to change any time soon. When you have a society, you are dealing with people and the aspects of their lives.

      I don’t believe religious doctrine should be the foundation of our legal system. But I do think our legal system should respect people’s religious practices, as long as those practices are not abusive. And, as I’ve said before, striking the right balance is the key. If it does not hurt my business to allow a valuable staff member to leave work to get home before sundown on Fridays, I’m going to do that. You might be surprised how common a practice this is.

      Culture is an important part of identity. And religion is an important part of culture for many, if not most, people. That’s a reality.

    • Khirad says:

      We spell $cientiology the same! Sometimes I use $

    • PepeLepew says:

      I blame Reagan

      • Scheherazade says:

        ME TOO! In fact I blame him for far more than I even blame Bush. That is a statement.

      • SueInCa says:

        You can directly relate most of Reagans, Bush’s, Palins, Sanford’s speeches and their use of words back to the family and the 7 mountains. there is no doubt they have been influenced by these people.

        • PepeLepew says:

          I’m in the middle of Republican Gomorrah right now. Have you read that? Creepy stuff.

          • SueInCa says:

            No yet, I will get it. I saw you reference it in an earlier post and wrote it down as a must read. See the influence you have? Now, I really must go get some things done, this place is addictive. LOL, in a really good way.

            • PepeLepew says:

              I just now got back from the bookstore because I got a gift certificate for Christmas I hadn’t used yet. I got “True Compass,” which is a biography of Ted Kennedy, and “K2” by Ed Viesturs.

            • PepeLepew says:

              I dunno when I’m going to get to it. K2 looks fantastic, too. I have a terrible habit of trying to read four or five books at once. Right now, I’m reading a 2,000-page graphic novel I got for Christmas of Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” 7-novel series. Deep stuff. Especially for Stephen King.

            • bitohistory says:

              Pepe, I really enjoyed True Compass”. Parts I cried like a baby. Joy and sadness others I had a good chuckle. Good read and thoughtful.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Pepe, I bought that when it was published last fall. Loved it! What an amazing man! I just hope the Senate will remember all his work when they are busy stripping down the health care bill!

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Excellent comment, scher! Good to see you today! :-)

  6. Tiger99 says:

    Hopefully for this will help people gain a better understanding…

    Like most of our historical policies that have come back to haunt the USA our policies and presence in the Middle East was driven by the “Cold War”… There was a time in recent history when it was actually was Us or Commies as far as our foreign policy was concerned… But it wasn’t only “US”, it was the “Free World” that wanted “US” to shoulder these burdens… So yes we made big mistakes but at the time the alternative was, does Russia Control the Worlds main supplies of Oil or does the “Free World”? Deals were struck with Dictators and Despots and we can’t change that bit of our history… We didn’t promote our ideals in exchange for some resemblance of ” Continual Flow Of Oil” security… For most of us we now find ourselves desiring to be free of oil dependency with alternative energy sources and look to a Foreign Policy that is a bit more “Isolationist” in securing our freedom from said dependency…

    If you desire to learn what motivates Al-Qaeda(Bin Laden) then you have to become familiar with the life and teachings of
    Sayyid Qutb… His teachings and believes laid the groundwork for what was to become Al-Qaeda and the motivations of Bin Laden…
    Sayyid Qutb despised the ideals of the Free West(Democracy, Freedom and Secularism) and his believe that the only true way of Islam was to return to the 1st generation of believers and Sharia Law in all matters including political ones( There can be no separation of state in Qutbism). This believe was what was established and enforced by the Taliban in Afghanistan…
    We should remember that Bin Laden declared war on our ideals of Democracy, Freedom and Secularism first, later he found it politically expedient to gain notoriety and support for his cause to use “Palestine” and the presence of the west on “sacred lands” to justify terror… As long as we represent Democracy, Freedom and Secularism we will be a target…

    We in The USA may not be dealing with what the British/Europe are at the moment but it is slowly gaining some momentum…

    Here are some links to Britain, the info is out there if just research it…




    I would like to close in saying that by taking the time to learn more about “radical islam” I also learned more about Islamic culture,history and people of all walks of life… It is always worth the effort…

    • AlphaBitch says:

      Hi Tiger. Have you read “The Looming Tower -- the Path to 9/11” by Lawrence Wright? It is an excellent book -- maybe even won a Pulitzer. He lives in Austin, and I took three of my Afghans last year to meet with him; he spent hours showing them the massive amount of research done for the book. He covered al-Qutb there extensively, and had photos and interviews with those who knew him. It’s a fascinating book, and I think you would enjoy it.

    • Khirad says:

      Fortunately we aren’t. But there is the ghost of Qutb to contend with (if there is a policy argument to be made, it is that his time in jail formed his theory, but that doesn’t excuse the crap he wrote about America, having studied there). And in this we can see well-educated and affluent Muslims like we’ve seen time and time again take action. Fortunately, though, and I’d like a European to counter me on this if I am mistaken, we’ve integrated them better for whatever reason. There still are the problems of poor neighborhoods -- though, to be sure, this could be said of other non-Muslim immigrant communities, as well.

      For every Muslim cheering there are still examples of Muslims who are scared every time this happens. It reminds me of the Chris Rock bit about him watching the news: ‘please don’t be a brotha, please don’t be a brotha, -- gawdamm! -- not again!’

      Not to deflect a real concern and something which does turn my stomach, but to keep perspective:

      Chris Matthews interviewing someone from CAIR after the Nidal Hassan shootings:

      Sure, that last guy wasn’t stellar, to be sure. I like this group better than CAIR anyway:


      I also wish I could find the op-ed of a Muslim who went to the FT. Hood mosque with Nidal. They all thought he was wrong and got into arguments with him.

      My only point is that it is as much a Muslim problem as it is a World problem. And every Muslim person who speaks out against extremists should get more attention.

      I would end by saying that, even solving the Palestinian issue wouldn’t be sufficient, as long as Israel exists. And in the imaginary world where it didn’t, they’d still find some other issue -- like Chechnya -- to cynically exploit.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Heh heh! I liked your reference to Chris Rock…

        Every time a new sex scandal breaks in Washington, I always pray, “Please don’t let it be a Democrat, please…”

        Most times, it isn’t! :-)

      • Tiger99 says:

        CAIR has their own problems to deal with now that the FBI has cut ties with them and seized all the documents from the Courts concerning the Muslim Mafia book…

        I live in Oklahoma and I don’t want to sound like “The Muslims Are Coming!!! The Muslims Are Coming!!!”… But because I live in a State that was taken over politically by fundamentalists I try and stay aware and at least somewhat knowledgeable of any threat to Democracy, Freedom and Secularism…

        I wonder if abby had any inkling that her post would create such a great and diverse dialogue …

        • Khirad says:

          Yeah, that’s why I said I like MPAC better, but people still go to CAIR, and my point was the anxiety these acts by radicalized Muslims produce in the broader community.

          As it concerns fundamentalism taking root and threats to our democracy, for purely demographic reasons, I still fear the Christian variety more as it regards the US.

    • bitohistory says:

      From what little I know about radical Islam (from a Imam and a doctor of theology) the basis of it comes from the teachings of the Wahhabi, and their self-appointed role of the keepers of the “purity of the faith.” Only they have the ability to decide what is pure and that the taking of life is not an obstacle. They have been warring against many sects of Islam for centuries.
      You point about the West being their object of hate for introducing “modernity” to their realm, is well taken.
      I wish I could find the materials and booklet from his lecture, or remember his name.~~

      • Tiger99 says:

        I think if you do some research and reading on Sayyid Qutb you will find that the “West” isn’t the only target… This is a good start… You can do several serches from the info provided there and it opens up a world of history to you…


        • Khirad says:

          Here’s the bit from BBC’s “Power of Nightmares” on Qutb, too:

        • bitohistory says:

          Tiger, I stated that they have been “purifying the faith” for centuries. Is Sayyid Qutb even considered pure by the Wahhabi? Did he not have “other” writings not considered “pure?”

          • Khirad says:

            They’re like some conservatives in America. They have this romanticized version of what the original Ummah was like, a perfect community during the Prophet Muhammad’s time, and want to return to it.

            Wahhabism and Salafism can get tricky to peg down though and the terms are often used too freely.

          • Tiger99 says:

            No it is not… But thanks I am learning more about Wahhabi teachings
            and they are quite similar… There is a connection to The Muslim Brotherhood…

            • bitohistory says:

              Tiger, I don’t even pretend to understand the sects,sub-sects or any depth in any of their teachings. Hell, I can’t figure out Inhoff and Corburn,or my Senators McCain and Kyl. 😛

    • SueInCa says:

      Tiger99, thanks for the Babylon link you provided. It will be helpful in putting toggether an article.

  7. Emerald1943 says:

    Breaking news….a suspicious vehicle parked in Times Square. Police are investigating and people being evacuated from the area!!

  8. Emerald1943 says:

    Thank you, abby, for your article! Excellent!

    I do have a question though. I have no knowledge whatsoever of modern British law. Do you have a “free speech” provision, or anything like our Constitution guaranteeing rights to the individual? I’m sure there must be something like it as many of our laws came directly from English law. I’m just curious.

    I am surprised, however, that British courts would allow a second system to exist. I may be in the minority, but I believe that the religious laws should take second place to the secular law of the land, if only for the preservation of society. I cannot imagine us having “honor killings” in this country and allowing the men to walk free because some ancient religious law says that it’s okay to commit the crime.

    Good going there! I look forward to more of your posts!

    • SueInCa says:

      Em, actually our basic laws, bill of rights and the initiation of police forces in this country came directly from the Magna Carta. It was the significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today in the English speaking world. The Magna Carta influenced the development of common law and many constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.

      Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects (the barons) in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded by the 1100 Charter of Liberties in which King Henry I voluntarily stated what his own powers were under the law.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Thanks there, sweetie. I do remember this from my history courses waaaay back when! Thanks for jogging my too-slow gray matter! :-)

        • SueInCa says:

          Believe me, my gray matter is just as bad, it just so happens I just finished my semester in a course on Administration of Justice. And as a framework for understanding our judicial system, we covered the Magna Carta and its influence in our democracy.

  9. TheRarestPatriot says:

    For as long as I can remember, I have thought about this matter as it relates to religion as a business. And make no mistake, religion is even more lucrative, clever and profitable than the 2nd most exploited endeavor, porn. Just look on about every street corner in America and witness religion’s power as that new Worship Hall or Fellowship Temple or Mosque gets built. Now consider how many people are without homes, stuck in poverty or at the mercy of the give to the poor, but not enough to actually help them UP, but keep them dependent on the religious machine. This is prevalent in ALL religions across the globe with few exceptions. This exploitation has existed since religion was introduced to bring order (and profit) from chaos. Once you convince others of your superiority over them, you can rule the world. (Jedi mind tricks work great on weak minded)
    Also, America with her profound ability to proclaim HER superiority globally has pissed off a ton of folks wondering where we get off. This is especially true in 2nd and 3rd world countries where we send missionaries and preach conversion. Aren’t we wonderful? Yes, there are good things created by our presence abroad, yet for the most part, we simply infuriate other societies by demanding they convert to western philosophy and ways as these ways are the ONLY way to live their collective lives and their culture, history and beliefs be damned….literally. Is it any wonder they take up arms against us? The days of Imperialism were supposed to have ended with Britain relinquishing their hold on India, etc. Of course, America hides behind wars and aide to extend our reach.
    I think the mindset of the American right-wingers is actually MORE extremist than the Islamic militants trying to get their point across in very horrific and unpardonable acts. Our literal holier-than-thou attitude towards most of the rest of the world is disgusting and more provocative than the Right seem to want to understand. Might makes right. My god can beat up your god, etc….The lack of respect and understanding of a large part of the world is further isolating this nation and all the while the Conservatives seem to think people like Sarah Palin are attractive and viable candidates to run this Republic…(that thought just made my stomach queasy) Can you imagine our global image if that happened? When countries like Yemen are burning Obama in effigy, (happened yesterday) I’m quite sure the extremist jihad machine would go into full tilt production when the X’ian Right get back into power here. 2010 will be the beginning.
    Our Conservatives are like other family members’ belligerent children we educated and mature family members are ashamed of and have to apologize for. This process has been repeating itself since we came down out of the trees to cross the savannah grasslands.
    How we move forward for this moment in history is still up in the air. But there will be new, more vicious attacks from the extremists….especially from the cold, unmanned, Predator drones….

    • SueInCa says:

      TRP, I am glad to see others that see this, sometimes I think I am obsessed with this whole issue.

    • Scheherazade says:

      You have echoed many of my thoughts perfectly.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Hi TRP! Hope you are well! This is a little off topic to the article itself, but is pertinent to your comment, I think.

      I have been really interested in Jeff Sharlett’s work on “the Family”, the notorious C Street gang in Washington. These people make the regular religious right-wingers look silly!

      The people involved are way far right of the Right and believe that our government (as well as those of other countries) should be overthrown. They want to establish a theocracy in place of our current system. They also believe that they have been chosen by “God” to rule over the rest of us, and any acts committed by their members are okay because they have been “ordained by God” and therefore, cannot make errors. It has also been reported that they admire Hitler for his “leadership”.

      The recent sex scandals involving Ensign, Sanford, and other members have let a little air out of their balloon, but they persist. The most disturbing fact is that some of these men sit in the Houses of Congress and make our laws.

      It has also been reported that some of them travel to other countries, negotiating on behalf of the US government…WITHOUT the approval from the US State Department. These are some of the worst bible-thumpers and should be, IMHO, investigated fully. They are exceedingly dangerous for what they advocate. It certainly borders on treason!

      • TheRarestPatriot says:

        You’re right, of course, …I was a little off-topic but was feeling a rant building. Haha~
        I am quite familiar with the whole C Street gang and stories swirling around it. It sickens me and terrifies me in many other ways. As I’ve mentioned before in my posts, whenever there is a governmental, administrative or secular problem or issue, whatever the story is being told publicly, multiply that story by 100 times worse and you’ll be closer to the truth. This is sad, but this is the world we live in. Today the word ‘lie’ and the concept of it, has been reduced to the concept of ‘spin’.
        It reminds me of a quote from Orsen Welles; spoken just before going to stage with his actors and artists on the radio production of War of the Worlds…he turned to them and said…”…now let’s go lie our asses off!…”.

        I feel cynical in saying that that’s how I feel when I hear just about any GOP’er say just about anything. LOL~

        • Emerald1943 says:

          No, TPR…I didn’t mean you were off topic. I meant that I was. Your post was certainly pertinent. This is a very broad subject that brings up so much of “our culture” vs. “their culture” and the religious fanaticism by some on both sides. :-)

  10. javaz says:

    Currently in Phoenix, there is a man in jail waiting trial for killing his daughter.
    He drove his SUV over her in an honor killing, and when interviewed on local news, the young woman’s brothers showed no remorse, but rather said their sister had been disrespectful to their father.

    Also in Phoenix, an eight year old little girl was raped by a group of boys ages 10 to 14, and the girl’s parents disowned her because she was dirty.
    Child Protective Services has the child under their care and it’s hard to imagine the trauma the child must be enduring due to being brutally raped and sodomized, and then thrown out of her family.
    In that case, the boys are in custody, but no charges have been brought against the parents for child neglect.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      My Dog, that’s horrible, javaz! What is wrong with these people? With all our struggles for the rights of women and the progress made in this country, we sometimes forget that women are nothing but chattel in other cultures. My heart goes out to the little girl in Phoenix! Let us hope that justice will come to those who brutalized this child, including her parents!

    • nellie says:

      And this is what I’m questioning about the British situation. People may try to bring these customs to another country, but whether the legal system condones this behavior is another story. I’m curious to know exactly what legal issues are now outside of the jurisdiction of the British courts.

      Similar issues have arisen here with the Hasidic community, in cases that have gone to the Supreme Court: http://www.jlaw.com/Briefs/kiryas6.html

      I fear that when Muslims are involved in any matter, there is an automatic negative reaction. That concerns me. And that’s why I’d like to know — specifically — what laws have been deferred.

      • Khirad says:

        Thanks, I was going to bring up the same point about the Hasidic community. I think there’s a double-standard when it comes to Muslims, where shari’a is painted with such a broad brush. There are different interpretations and applications of shari’a -- though I know it’s entered our Western lexicon as a buzzword to recoil from in knee-jerk fashion. I still have problems with it, but all shari’a interpretations are not the same. These guys in the UK are among the worst, and only help legitimate BNP types.

      • javaz says:

        It would be interesting if there are Canadians on PPOV to chime in, because Canada has special provisions in their laws for Muslims.
        I’m not sure if we have the same provisions here, but I do know that employers in Canada must grant Muslims breaks throughout the day for them to pray.
        I understand the Muslim employees have their prayer mats at work and I don’t know how often they must pray per day, but some Canadians who work with Muslims are unhappy with the practice because the work stops during prayer and the person cannot be interrupted.
        Also, there are cases whereby Muslim cabdrivers refuse to pickup women if they are dressed inappropriately.
        Can you imagine if a Christian cabdriver refused to pick up a woman because of her dress?
        There are double standards.

        • Khirad says:

          For what it’s worth, a Shi’a wouldn’t have to be accommodated. They can make up their prayers at any time before the next day. If the canteen served pork, there’d still be a problem, but that would apply to a Hindu as well, and I never seem to hear such fuss (at least not as often as with Muslims) about those issues. Not sure how this is pertinent, but I think it’s important, and I know Abby tried to do this as well, not to generalize a whole broad and diverse religion.

        • Tiger99 says:

          Are you familiar with the walkouts and subsequent firings of 100’s of muslims in the Swift Meat Plants in Greely Colorado? It revolves around “prayer times” that would have shut down production lines… They wanted lunch to be move from 9:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.
          When this wasn’t accomodated by the plant they all walked out…

        • nellie says:

          Well, we certainly close everything down for Christmas. And Joe Lieberman does not work on Friday nights.

          It’s very complicated. There is such a thing as “accommodation,” which we value in this country. But we also need to recognize that there are requirements — for living under our civil codes, even for fulfilling a job description.

          I guess this is where our courts come in.

          This is what Rehnquist said in his dissent in the Hasidic case (just to illustrate that there are two legal arguments to be made):

          … governmental assistance which does not have the effect of inducing religious belief, but instead merely accommodates or implements an independent religious choice does not impermissibly involve the government in religious choice and therefore does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

          • javaz says:

            But we don’t close everything down on Christmas or Easter for that matter, at least not where I live.
            Restaurants, gas stations, fast food places and grocery stores are open Christmas Day, and the same goes for Easter, except on Easter the malls and stores are open all day.
            Same for Good Friday.
            It used to be years ago that certain places, such as banks, would close on Good Friday between the hours of noon to three o’clock, but that practice has been eliminated.
            It is complicated, on that we agree.

            • nellie says:

              My point is mainly that we do make accommodations. As you say, everything — but everything — used to shut down in this country on certain days. On Sundays, we were closed because of the Blue Lawss. Same w Christmas — everything used to be closed.

              So the concept of accommodation is one we follow. We just struggle to reach the right balance.

            • nellie says:

              Again, my point is that in this culture, we make accommodations. We let people leave early from work on Fridays, we respect time off for Ash Wednesday, we have bilingual programs, we print ballots in different languages, we build ramps. I think we’re sidestepping the issue when we start trying to decide why stores have started opening on Christmas.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Good point, nellie. But is opening stores on certain days a matter of “accommodation” of the non-Christians in our society, or is it simply homage to the almighty dollar? I cannot imagine Walmart NOT being open seven days per week! Did I miss the point?

      • KQuark says:

        It’s so difficult to discern reality in matters where religion and ethnicity are factors because they both add such an emotional element. The only thing you can do is try to get as much info as possible and decide for yourself. In this case I have far too little info to make any kind of informed opinion on this matter. I just know there are pitfalls to be avoided when only hearing one side of the issue.

  11. KQuark says:

    Abby I wish I had more understanding of what was going on in the UK right now and I appreciate your perspective. The only thing I would be cautious about is trying to discern if entities like these Maddrasas are real threats or are just being used as political pawns to drive conservative politics. If you listened to conservative mouthpieces in this country the community organization ACORN is worse than most terrorist groups as a threat to democracy. Of course the whole right wing construct to delegitimize ACORN has much more to do with politics than reality.

    In America we still are so far removed from most of the world that even after 911 most Americans feel terrorism as a small threat to our individual safety. I think more and more people like myself are more fearful of domestic terrorism from right wing groups than anything else. Obviously we have a group of little frightened people we know as Republicans that thrive off of fostering fear.

    So I believe myself and your average American does not understand the threats you feel in the UK on a daily basis.

  12. KQuark says:

    Abby, excellent post and topic.

    Like usual the Republicans bastardized the definition of appeasement to try and make political gains.

    Negotiating with your enemies and some give and take in those negotiations is not appeasement. The nonsense propagated by the neocons that all of a sudden diplomacy was a bad thing set our foreign policy back decades.

    The ironic part is even the Bush administration, save for Cheney, realized you have to negotiate with your enemies to bring about a solution to any conflict. You can argue that when Bush paid off the Sunnis he crossed the line to appease the very people that were instrumental in starting the insurgency in Iraq.

    President Obama faces a similar challenge in Afghanistan since we have to negotiate in some way with elements of the Taliban if we want to be successful. Some say the Taliban cannot be negotiated with and while some of the hard core, mostly foreign jihadist Taliban cannot be negotiated with, some tribal leaders that are cooperating with the Taliban for pragmatic reasons can be more reasonable.

    Al Qaeda and the individual terrorist cells cannot be negotiated with, especially at this time.

    It’s a much more complicated situation when you have groups like Hamas that grew from hard core terrorist movements who are now political entities that must be negotiated with to further peace.

    The bottom line is I believe President Obama is going down the road of using smart diplomacy so far. The best part is that his diplomatic team is being even handed, especially when negotiating with Israel and the Palestinians. For too long the US has not been a fair dealer with the Muslim world but that is changing significantly.

  13. whatsthatsound says:

    Abby, your post makes me think that we have entered a realm that could be considered “opportunistic terrorism”. Insurgency, and asymmetrical warfare, have been a part of human conflict since nations began conquering and occupying other nations. Had he chosen to, George III might have referred to the American Revolution as a “war on terror” waged by the British empire on “evildoers”. To the victor go the semantics, after all.
    But with the media such a constant in modern lives, and tragedies that in fact, for all their horrors, involve only a handful of people having the power to strike fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions, the stakes have been raised considerably. The threat of terrorism can now be used, as you describe it, as a means to power that would otherwise not be attainable. The shariah punks you refer to in your article are like entrepreneurs who have devised a new use for a very old practice. You have shed light on something really unsettling.

  14. KevenSeven says:

    I’ve seen video of Stephen Fry and Christoper Hitchens discussing this nonsense.

    What utter bullshit this is. Most Islamic countries are quite moderate. This Shia law crap represents the more extremist end of the religion. It is as if Robertson and Fallwell had been permitted to set up a parallel legal system and a tax funded school system.

    The ugly part? Once that damned camel gets its nose in the tent, you will have a hell of a time getting him out.

    A lesson for Americans: tolerate absolutely NO lowering of the wall between church and state.

    • Kalima says:

      A song for you K7, not in a bad way, believe me.

    • abby4ever says:

      THIS camel has got more than its nose in THIS tent, let me tell you. All that’s left to come in, is the hind quarters…and right behind that, Bedlam.

      As one Muslim cleric, a radical, once said (preached): he will never rest until he sees the flag of Islam flying above 10 Downing Street. Sorry I can’t recall his name but I can find out if you’re interested. As I recall, he is one of the radicals who happens to be living on state benefits over here.

      Yes, we sure know how to treat our radicals! (sark)

      • Marion says:

        Hey Abby, I live in the UK too, as an expat married to a Brit. I remember the guy who said that, although -- like you -- I can’t remember his name. He wasn’t a cleric, but a British-born Muslim who’d been -- surprise surprise -- radicalised.

        The UK has trouble dealing with culture diversity. In the US, basically we are one big melting pot and -- until Buscho -- you left whatever religion you practiced (or didn’t) at the door. But in the UK, basically in a cynical attempt to buy votes, Labour invited loads of immigrants from the old Empire to enter the country and work, on the promise that they could keep their customs etc. I’ve seen women who’ve lived in Britain for 40 years and who have British passports, who can’t speak a word of English.

        You forgot also to mention the Religious Hate Law, which prohibits anyone from criticizing Islam, but does nothing to protect anyone insulting Judaism or Christianity in anyway. Or Birimingham banning the mention of Christmas, instead renaming it ‘Winterval’.

        How about the British schoolgirl who petitioned the European Court of Human Rights about not being allowed to wear the full hijab etc instead of her school uniform? Her rights were being violated, and Cherie Blair, as a lawyer, defended her?

        Because of this so-called appeasement here, many of the hard-core traditional Labour supporters in the northern cities are turning to the BNP, who are FASCISTS. That’s scary.

        And as much as I hate to say it (him being Conservative), David Cameron is a mensch. Get Osborne out of the equation and you’ll have a good Prime Minister in the boy David.

        • abby4ever says:

          Marion: thanks for your really thoughtful post. No, I didn’t forget the Inciting Religious Hatred law or the British schoolgirl either; but if I’d mentioned everything that is going on over here, the article would have been 100 pages long.

          I didn’t forget the little schoolboy who was suspended because he wouldn’t kneel on a Muslim prayer mat for a Muslim teacher supposedly trying to ‘expand the child’s understanding of different faiths’, or the little girl from the same class who went home crying because the teacher had made her say ‘Allah’ rather than ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ (the little girl was a Christian).

          As for the guy who wants to see the flag of Islam flying above 10 Downing Street, I am positive a radical cleric said it; it must be, given your post, that a noncleric has said it too. I imagine hundreds have said it.

          I may do another article on it, one more detailed. Or I may not, simply because sometimes it’s too depressing for words. It’s having a very negative psychological effect on nonMuslims in the UK, on the national psyche, as you well know. It’s hard for people in America to understand, it sounds incredible to them.

          Yet Tiger99 says it is starting to happen over there too.

          On a lighter note, I wish you a really fine New Year.

      • nellie says:

        I’m curious to know what legal differences have been allowed. What issues are allowed to be deferred to a separate jurisdiction?

        • abby4ever says:

          Nellie: please be patient while I gather some articles for you, there are hundreds of them on every facet of this matter, plus I don’t know what sources you will not tolerate. Tell me which newspapers you positively will not read from, that will save me time and you some irritation.

          I assume you are ok with BBC stuff?

          In the meantime, my understanding is that the Shariah law courts deal mostly with family matters and, now, marriage and divorce matters…and those last two collide with the same in British Law. At first when they asked for Shariah law, they said they just wanted it for settling business disputes. Small matters. Then, somehow, it moved to marriage and divorce. Then it came out that some Muslim businessmen were not having to pay tax here because it was against Sharia law. This caused an uproar when it came out, did it ever.

          The biggest uproar was when we found out that (1) there were any of these courts in the UK, (2) how many there were, (3) how they were dotted all over the place, in almost every county, and last but certainly not least (4) that New Labour had forgotten to mention that there were ANY ANYWHERE. They knew how we would react.

          With the Muslim Council of Britain, it always starts out small, innocuous…and then grows like a snowball going downhill at top speed. Or, going back to a different metaphor I used in another post to you, it is a creeping kind of thing. As I’ve said, they can’t do murder cases yet and everyone says that will never happen…but then everyone said we’d never never have Shariah law in this country.

          One problem, the biggest, if they were allowed to try murder cases, is what are called honor killings. Currently, they are tried under British law. (But then so was divorce up until about two years ago.) These honor killings are so tied to family matters and family matters are so UNDER Shariah law jurisdiction, I don’t know how long it can last. They keep throwing up their religion which they say governs every part of their lives, every single part. (Taxes too, apparently. That came out of nowhere.)

          The treatment of women alone under Shariah law, should have stopped New Labour from ever allowing these courts.

          • Tiger99 says:

            The Shariah Law courts here in the States deal mainly with Civil matters, although one case in The Texas Public Courts a Judge allowed/’upheld Sharia Law to decide a non-payment of “Dowry” in a marriage…

            You are pointing out several things that most Liberals ignore occurring here in the States… I am appalled that “Honor Killings” here are ignored not only by the MSM but women’s rights organizations too…

            As I posted earlier this State has loans that are “muslim only” loans provided with tax dollars based on Sharia Law…

            Britain is also having to deal with the imposition of muslim dress codes in public pools on non-muslims …

            British Links


            • AlphaBitch says:

              Tiger: Was this in a Sharia court??? Or was the law as interpreted in Sharia law used to argue the case in a Texas court? I am unaware -- but want to know as soon as possible -- which case applies. I can see using some arguments -- and if they are in accord with US law (we don’t have dowries, so ruling against paying such a thing would be in accordance with our own system)- to help decide a case. Please clarify. Thanks.

            • Tiger99 says:

              No it was in a Texas Court of Appeals and the Judge to my understanding enforced the Dowery…


            • nellie says:

              Honor killings are NOT ignored in this country. I give you one example:

              ‘Honor’ killing comes to the US

            • abby4ever says:

              Tiger99: thank you very much for your post.

              I didn’t know the same thing was going on in the States. Didn’t know you have honor killings over there.

              I thought some here would think I am either daft or hysterical to even worry that murder will ever be ripped out from under British law and put under Shariah law jursidiction. It may never happen…and yet if it did I would not die of shock, given what else has happened. (I’d die of grief, maybe, grief over what is happening to the UK, but not shock.)

              Over here we are being pursued by an extremely aggressive form of Islam, with our own culture seeming to fade slowly away, bit by bit. And now you tell me you have this same kind of thing over there.

              I have no quarrel with those who embrace peaceful Islam, with those who respect the law of the country they come to and want to settle in. I do have a big quarrel with those who, as I’ve said, want to subsume our culture under theirs. And an even bigger problem with a gov’t that would ever let them even attempt it, let alone accomodate it.

              Thank you for the links.

            • Marion says:

              Also, a council in East London now requires that all non-Muslim employees observe Ramadan. So imagine having to work all day without food or drink.

              Islam is a proselytising religion. Like fundamentalist Christianity, it seeks to convert. Anyone not drinking its koolaid is an infidel and fair game. Continental European countries, like Holland, Switzerland and Italy, are beginning to bite back at their encroachments. And Sarko in France has banned all religious symbols from school and is trying to get the burkha banned from public.

    • Bernard Marx says:

      “tolerate absolutely NO lowering of the wall between church and state.”

      Hear hear!

      Religion may not poison everything, but it certainly poisons politics.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        And the reverse is so true as well. Politics turns “religion” into a caricature of itself, every time. A person’s spiritual path should never be controlled or limited by a coterie of self serving “elders” who are nothing more than politicians in robes.

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