There is understandable uproar in the Egyptian blogosphere about… well, I’ll let the Sandmonkey explain:

The story is as follows for the those of you who didn’t hear about it: It was the first day of Eid, and a new film was opening downtown. Mobs of males gatherd trying to get in, but when the show was sold out, they decided they will destroy the box office. After accomplishing that, they went on what can only be described as a sexual frenxy: They ran around grabbing any and every girl in sight, whether a niqabi, a Hijabi or uncoverd. Whether egyptian or foreigner. Even pregnant ones. They grabbed them, molested them, tried to rip their cloths off and rape them, all in front of the police, who didn’t do shit. The good people of downtown tried their best to protect the girls. Shop owners would let the girls in and lock the doors, while the mobs tried to break in. Taxi drivers put the girls in the cars while the mobs were trying to break the glass and grab the girls out. It was a disgusting pandamonium of sexual assaults that lasted for 5 houres from 7:30 PM to 12:30 am, and it truns my stomach just to think about it.

What was unusual was the silence of the press. Nobody was mentioning it. Nobody was bringing it up. It seemed like there was some consensus of just not reporting it and maybe it will just go away. What at first seemed like a conspiracy got later on confirmed by my sources in the news media. Al Jazeera had taped the incidents but were forbidden to air it at the request of the egyptian authorities. The new editor at the Daily Star refused to touch it with a 6 foot pole. This was going to be one of those incidents that only the blogsphere would talk about, while the mainstream media ignored.

Until Nawarah Negm blew the whole thing wide open on live television on the Dream Channel.

She was brought in as a writer to be part of a fluffy segment on Mona Al Shazly show talking about the Ramadan TV shows, and the girl’s first response to the question was: “What Television shows do you want to discuss, when egyptian girls are assaulted on the streets of Cairo while the police watched and did nothing?” When Mona counterd that she never heard of it before, Nawarah told her all about it, in details and how it’s all over the internet.

And one of the victims gives an account:

I am one of the females who got sexually harassed on downtown streets, more specifically on Talaat Harb street starting from Metro Cinema until the beginning of Sabry Abu Alam street.

There were two other friends with me, a female and her male.

We felt like we were in a war–I had my self defense spray was emptied on the endless number of guys who surrounded us and yet still wasn’t enough.

We, girls, had our butts, breasts, and every inch in our bodies grabbed. I end up slipping into a car that was parking on the road side when I tried to catch one of the guys who insisted and never gave up on grabbing my butt. I end up with a deep cut in my right hand palm and another one on my thumb of the same hand as I slipped into the cars head light that broke and cut my hand. 6 stitches on my hand palm cut and 3 on my thumb–still my anger is pretty fresh in the deep inside of me that wants me to put all Egyptian men on fire right now for what they have caused. What the fuck mother fuckers? Don’t you have sisters who can also face the same thing as we did? How the fuck would you feel about this knowing your sister’s butt and breasts got grabbed by the guys on the street?

I think you better act cold towards that since you might be one of the assholes who grab other girls asses. But let me tell you this: It’s NOT and NEVER the girl to blame you sons of a bitches, it’s NEVER the girl, NEVER! It’s you to blame for doing such things to girls who you could consider them sisters and try to protect them not fucking grab them and show the world the worst picture of how Muslim men are who say and insist on how good people they are, but to tell you the truth, Muslim men are the worst human being on the entire planet and they just don’t know it. Oh no, they don’t even deserve to be called human beings, they are ANIMALS–DIRTY PIGS! Mother fuckers, You’re putting Islam in the worst image ever in front of the world, so don’t be so surprised when the westerners call you TERRORISTS which I simply agree with them! Think about it, assholes, think about it!

If you haven’t read any blogs from the Arab world yet, please follow the links. Don’t comment here about “Muslims” being rapists. These are Muslim commentators, female and male, outraged and enraged about what was done to Muslim victims by Muslim perpetrators. This ain’t a “Muslim” thing, in any simple sense.

Basically, religion is no fucking excuse. Religion deserves no special treatment. The Muslim world has got into a serious mess right now, but we’re heading down the same path with our “faith” schools and our media pandering to any superstitious maniac who has the wit to pull a Diana face when challenged.

The voices you hear when you read the Muslim blogosphere are those of people who deserve to see our hands outstretched towards them, not the doors slamming shut in their faces.

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I’m cross-posting this from the CaFE forum, where people were discussing the defense of Western values:

I’m going to make myself even more unpopular. It seems to me that to talk of defending Western values, culture or civilisation is both factually inaccurate and tactically misguided.

I have the impression that most people who think of Western civilisation believe it to have been built on two pillars – the Bible, and Classical Greek civilisation. Both of those were Eastern in mentality and outlook. When Alexander the Great set out to conquer the known world, he headed east and carried on in that direction, taking in much of what is now the Arab world, including parts of North Africa, through Persia until he passed through Afghanistan to reach India. That was the world as he knew it, and for the Greeks, the strange northern barbarians were just curiosities in tales like Jason and the Argonauts.

Classical Greek culture was formed through centuries of contact, and conflict, with that, Eastern, world where writing, arithmetic and mathematics were developing long before literacy came to the north.

The Bible, especially the Old Testament (before the Romans made them look West as well), was equally the product of a non-European world: Egypt, Iraq, Persia were the neighbours of the Jews and the influences of those cultures can be seen as early as the Book of Genesis.

It is absolutely true that the traditions of democracy and Christianity took better root, eventually, in Europe but to seek to divorce these things from their Eastern antecedents seems wrong in fact.

It’s also tactically inadvisable, because nothing could be more certain to eliminate the possibility of a worldwide enlightened movement than the dividing of the world into a civilised West, and a barbaric “other”.

The great advantage we have, of course, was the miracle of the Enlightenment and the Reformation – roughly contemporary movements that liberated human inventiveness from the shackles of theocratic suppression. And others in the world want to benefit from this. It’s worth browsing Memri’s website from time to time to see, in addition to the horrors we associate with the Muslim media, the voices of sane, cultured, rational people striving under circumstances much less congenial than our own to liberate themselves from oppression.

If we describe ourselves – define ourselves – in opposition to them – West versus East, North versus South – then we reduce the possibilities of joining with them to build free and open democratic societies everywhere.

Muriel Grey has today defined something she calls “enlightenism”. It’s worth reading and considering. At the very least, I think you’ll enjoy some of her language:

Read Grey’s argument here

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Tim Worstall’s Sunday Evening Thought:

In English law ‘time immemorial’ is defined as 1189. So we’ve actually had people making and passing laws since then, adding all the time.

817 years and counting. When do you think they will get the job finished so that the politicians will all go home?

I’m cross posting the comment I made there:

Henry II came to the throne in 1154, when there was still Trial by Ordeal. When he died, in 1189*, there were circuit judges, juries, the King’s Bench, the law of tort and so on. Henry II repays investigation, and W.L. Warren’s eponymous book is a good place to start.

P.J. O’Rourke asked the “Are they through yet” question in his book Parliament of Whores, at least a decade ago (I can’t be bothered to look up the publication date).

The answer still seems to be “no”.

Interesting to reflect, in passing, that the rights of jury trial and habeas corpus that were initiated and codified by a mediaeval monarch are being eroded by a bunch of elected tyrants. The Republican case is now made most strongly not by any discontent with the way the monarch carries out her role, or by opposition to the hereditary principle, but rather by the reflection that these bastards are not fit to wield the Royal Prerogative. Parliament should only have limited powers, not essentially those of an absolute monarch.

*I actually wrote 1190, but think the above date is correct. If I remember, he died at Christmas and Richard I wasn’t crowned until 1190, which is why I put this as the date of HII’s death.

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While Scotland On Sunday tells us that:

THE leaders of the Catholic Church in Scotland have descended into an extraordinary public spat over claims by a “rogue bishop” that they do not speak out enough against homosexuality.

In an unprecedented move, the Church’s two most senior clerics, Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Mario Conti, have moved publicly to rebuff a third bishop, Joseph Devine of Motherwell, after he claimed the Church was embarking on “a policy of appeasement”.

We learn from The Observer that:

Secularism is suddenly hip, at least in the publishing world. A glut of popular science books making a trenchant case against religion have soared up the bestseller lists both here and in America. The phenomenon represents a backlash against a perceived rise in religious fundamentalism and recent crazes for ‘spirituality’ by way of books such as The Da Vinci Code. Secularists are now eager to show that the empiricism of science can debunk the claims of believers.

I wonder whether those two stories are in some way related.

However, the absolute must-read comes from Muriel Grey in the Sunday Herald:

GIVEN the uniformly alarmist nature of the news, leaving the country for the half-term holiday felt good this year. Choking in the wake of our carbon emissions was a nutcase Britain utterly obsessed with religion. People were threatening Jack Straw with violence; some woman (we think – for all we know it could have been Paul Gascoigne under that niquab) was claiming her right to mumble lessons at children while wearing a bag over her head, and the pope had made the hilariously Monty-Python esque declaration that he was “considering” abolishing limbo for unbaptised babies, no doubt making intelligent Catholics squirm with embarrassment at the screaming silliness of heavenly admission by human whim.

But on our return, sadly, there is no let up. Some senior Australian cleric declares that women without hijabs are uncovered meat inviting rape, and now we have arguments over faith school quotas and whether or not 25% of pupils admitted should come from other faiths, including no faith. If I tell you that I am sick, sick, sick, way beyond the back teeth, of all this dark ages, loony tunes, divisive religious garbage then I am making an understatement. The worst thing is that although for the most part all the nonsense can be ignored, when it gets political it simply cannot, and there is nothing more political than how we educate the next generation of British citizens.

Let’s start with vocabulary. Let’s stop describing these tax-funded establishments as faith schools. They are superstition schools, for that is what they teach. Alongside hard facts, innocent children are hoodwinked into accepting as real the mythology of virgin births, gods who regard women with bare heads as wicked harlots, that Noah’s Ark was real and that Darwin was wrong. It’s clear that, given the rising tide of superstition sweeping our country, no politician will help end this state-funded child abuse, and so it is time to try and fight back. The difficulty with people who think as I do is that we are always described in the negative as atheists. The word, although it simply means not believing in a deity, is mostly used in the pejorative to imply a lack of belief in anything, when nothing could be further from the truth. We are not a group who are seen as a “community”, who are organised in our desires, or who can bring political pressure to bear on our government in the way herds of men in frocks seem to do with the sweep of a cassock or twitch of a beard.

So let’s get organised. Someone tried a group called “The Brights”, but the name is so smug and pretentious that it’s not surprising it was a damp squib. Why not take instead The Enlightenment as the inspiration? Enlightenmentists is a bit of a mouthful, so let’s try Enlightenists.

Here’s what I believe as an Enlightenist. Atheism is not a driving concern, since belief in God is of little consequence. After all, if there is an interventionist God then there would be continuing demonstrable evidence of such, which there most certainly is not, and if there is a creator God who is non-interventionist then he neither requires nor merits worship, and if there is no God at all then so be it. Therefore you could happily suspect that there might be a non-interventionist God of sorts that could eventually be discovered scientifically and still be an Enlightenist. Since no action needs to be taken until such an unlikely discovery, it doesn’t matter. Now let’s move on.

Enlightenists believe in the awe-inspiring, wonder, beauty and complexity of the universe, and aspire to unpick its mysteries by reason, constant questioning, observation, experiment, and analysis of evidence. The bedrock of our morality is empathy, from which logically springs love, forgiveness, tolerance and a profound desire to make a just, egalitarian society and reduce suffering. The more knowledge a person has, the more they question and understand the real world, and the more they are required to analyse what is true then the greater the increase in empathy. Enlightenists care and wish to do good not because a vengeful God tells them to, but because intelligence suggests it is the only and the right thing to do.

It’s hard to cull quotes from this piece – it deserves to be read in full.

Muriel Grey alone makes a subscription to the Sunday Herald worthwhile.

Links shamelessly culled from the ever-excellent Butterflies and Wheels

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I just watched a repeat of the best top ten lists of great top fifty comedy films. Top of the listing was… Life of Brian. I remember when it came out. There was a bussing system, because some local councils – including some that didn’t even have cinemas – banned it and people from those areas took organised coach trips to see it. The Bishop of Southwark and Malcolm Muggeridge argued against it on a television programme , during which John Cleese pointed out that if the Pythons had made it 400 years earlier they’d have been burned to death. That means, he said, we’ve made some progress. I watched that programme with my parents and was heartened, even then, to see how much the audience sided with the Pythons and how the Bishop’s secret weapon line about 30 pieces of silver was received completely unsympathetically as the contrived piece of bullshit it was.

If they made it now, or more to the point if they made a Life of Mohammed, they’d be hunted by Islamic Supremacists. Nobody would make such a film nowadays.

That is regress. Let’s roll it back, folks, to a better time. It’s the moment to get the old – and I do mean old – cameras out…

But let’s remember this: people voted it the best comedy. There is a huge majority against this religious intolerance revival. Time to make our presence felt.

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In other news:

Arshad Misbahi of the Manchester Central Mosque confirmed his views in a conversation to John Casson, a local psychotherapist.

Casson said: “I asked him if the execution of gay Muslims in Iran and Iraq was an acceptable punishment in Sharia law, or the result of culture, not religion.

“He told me that in a true Islamic state, such punishments were part of Islam: If the person had had a trial, at which four witnesses testified that they had seen the actual homosexual acts.”

“I asked him what would be the British Muslim view? He repeated that in an Islamic state these punishments were justified. They might result in the deaths of thousands but if this deterred millions from having sex, and spreading disease, then it was worthwhile to protect the wider community.”

“I checked again that this was not a matter of tradition, culture or local prejudice. ‘No,’ he said, ‘It is part of the central tenets of Islam: that sex outside marriage is forbidden; this is stated in the Koran and the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had stated that these punishments were due to such behaviours.'”

Peter Tatchell is quoted as saying:

Muslim and gay people know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should be working together to challenge homophobia and Islamophobia

Well, yes they should. But of course, Tatchell’s stance has caused him to be accused of Islamophobia, and to be targetted by the Workers’ Revolutionary Party front, Islamophobia Watch.

One of the more honourable reasons why the hard left has been unable to deal with Islamist hate speech is their wish to continue with the sort of analysis of the world they maintained up to the end of the Cold War. This is a dialogue of power and powerless, wealth and poverty, minority and majority.

Yet many evil movements come from the powerless and poor; the BNP’s membership isn’t drawn, on the whole, from the class of suave and accomplished boomers, but rather from the anonymous ranks of the unsuccessful and the poor. Nazism rose during a period of national shame at the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

This blinkered vision has in fact rendered the labour movement powerless in the face of the current wave of Islamic supremacist aggression. It remains to be seen how much damage this will have caused. But when the media gets over its reluctance to show pictures of Hitler-saluting Hezbollah, while RESPECT marches in their support, the damage could be vast, and long-lasting.

First, though, we need a realignment in the media. It might be coming sooner than you think.

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Mr Meat himself, Sheik Taj al-Din Al Hilaly, has been linked with terrorist groups for twenty years, according to Australian media reports:

ASIO warned authorities 20 years ago that Sheik Taj al-Din Al-hilaly could inflame communal violence in Australia.
Court judgments show ASIO initially believed the controversial mufti posed a risk to the community because of his alleged propensity to cause or promote violence.

Shortly after his arrival in Australia as the new imam of Lakemba Mosque in 1982, Sheik Hilaly was also linked with a shadowy terrorist group, Soldiers of God, which is thought to have been involved in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Sheik Hilaly was also alleged to have endorsed suicide bombing, verbally attacked women and preached a highly political message of extremism.

The Sunday Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman writes today that a former intelligence officer said Sheik Hilaly’s name first surfaced in a report by one of Australia’s most senior intelligence assets in Cairo. The claimed the sheik spent a number of years training in Libya and was sent to Australia to train extremists.

The Sheik is Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric. The BBC’s Nick Bryant described him on Thursday as a:

softly-spoken man, who clearly commands both enormous respect and affection within his community

and suggested that Hilaly is being criticised for reasons of cynical political partisanship:

Pru Goward, the country’s outgoing Sex Discrimination Commissioner, also weighed in, calling for the cleric to either be deported or prosecuted for incitement to rape.

A leading light in the Liberal Party, Ms Goward is a parliamentary candidate and is said to harbour prime ministerial ambitions of her own.

She will not have done her chances any harm by speaking out so forcefully on this issue.

While yesterday, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty blamed the media for negative perceptions of Islam:

“You hear more and more stories of treatment of the Islamic community that really is substandard by members of our own wider community,” he said at a lunch hosted by the South Australian Press Club. “It is vilification, picking them out of the crowd because they dress differently or they speak differently.

“If we are not careful we risk raising a generation of Australians who will have a bias against Islam.”

Meanwhile, Abduljalil Sajid of the Muslim Council of Britain backed up the Sheik:

saying that “loose women like prostitutes” encouraged men to be immoral. Dr Sajid, visiting Australia, said that Sheikh al-Hilali was attacking immodesty and loose dress, or “standing in the streets, inviting men to do these bad acts”.

Although the Australian cleric did not use the word prostitute, but appeared to be attacking women wearing revealing clothes, Dr Sajid said that the sermon had been taken out of context. Referring to the thrust of the Sheikh’s argument, he said: “So what is wrong in it? Who will object to that?”

Who indeed?

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I have been posting about a change in the attitude of the Labour Party to their white working class bedrock who, I have suggested, are shown by private polling to be deserting the Labour cause. That’s speculation, based on observations of the statements and policies we have been hearing recently, not on inside knowledge.

Now Iain Dale has weighed in, quoting an article in The Economist (paid link omitted):

Apart from election campaigns, when rising support for far-right political parties in areas such as Dagenham causes alarm, the traditional working class is largely overlooked. When politicians say that some communities are failing to integrate with mainstream society, they mean Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. When campaigners complain that schools are failing some children, they often cite black boys. Yet the nation’s most troubled group, in both absolute and relative terms, is poor, white and British-born.

Iain’s conclusions are:

none of the three main parties seem willing to accept what is happening under their very noses. Social Justice has to mean bringing opportunity and hope to ALL parts of the community, not just those which appear to be politically correct. The question is, is it too late? Are people in the poorer white communities so disconnected from the political process that they are out of reach of mainstream politicians? This is why it’s so important that the Conservatives get back into the Cities for the long term.

While Cameron’s ‘hug a hoodie’ approach was derided by many, perhaps he had cottoned on to (wittingly or not) the fact that it is this group of kids who are the ones in real need of attention.

I had missed the significance of the “hug a hoodie” speech. The Tories were quicker to understand and react to this situation than Labour.

This change is just beginning.

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