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Saturday, August 06, 2005


exactly the wrong response

in response to the london bombings, the labor government under tony blair has announced its intentions to persecute muslims, effectively repeating the mistakes of religious persecution which sent many protestant sectarians fleeing britain in the 17th and 18th c for the new world.

The government announced on Friday plans to deport foreign nationals who glorify acts of terror, bar radicals from entering Britain, close mosques linked with extremism, ban certain Islamic groups and, if necessary amend human rights laws. The measures appear to have cracked the spirit of consensus.

The Islamic Forum Europe, a British Muslim group, warned the measures could jeopardize national unity in Britain.

"If these proposed measures are allowed to see the light of day, they will increase tensions and alienate communities. The measures are counterproductive and will encourage more radicalization," said forum president, Musleh Faradhi. "Many Muslims will perceive our prime minister as playing into the hands of the terrorists."

He criticized the government's plans to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir — the radical Islamic group that calls for the formation of an Islamic caliphate and is banned in several central Asian countries. Supporters insist it is a nonviolent group persecuted by corrupt governments.

"Proscribing it will be counterproductive," said Faradhi. "It will give a green light to despotic leaders in the Muslim world to silence political dissenters."
we apparently have lost our own principles of civilization even in the very heart of the west. it was once assumed that liberty within law was good, that communication was good, that religious toleration was good. no longer. fear has replaced them all. perhaps we have forgotten why these ideals were good in the first place.

what westerners must come to understand is that ideas -- islamist ideas -- do not arise in a vacuum. they are a response to a challenge. it is up to government -- nay, up to us as a continuum of western peoples represented by our institutions not to violently repress ideas, but to diagnose the challenges that they arise in response to -- and, if those challenges are found embarassing or destructive, change them.

as with the global insurgency represented by al-qaeda, these british muslims are responding to material problems in the west which we can address. this is the productive, creative path to take. we can not only redress the concerns of muslims in britain and the world peacefully, but we can improve our own moral condition in doing so.

however, if we insist on continuing in our denial and repression of ideas, if we insist on refusing to make the moral changes in ourselves which could fundamentally alter the condition from which malevolence arises, we will find out exactly why our ideals of lawful human liberty and tolerance are good -- why, in fact, they are our only hope.

Two points.
First, the type of exodus that you imply is exactly what is desired. It would not break the hearts of Blair and his co-horts if every Muslim up and left the country. That is the desired outcome. Granted, to keep the illusion of tolerance those exact words will not be espoused. Only the "extremists" will be persecuted.
Secondly, why is this a duty only of the west? Why is it not the responsibility of every individual on this planet? Riddle me that, Batman.

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it isn't, mr ozymandiaz, in my view. why should it be?

i would be the first to say that the islamic society is deeply mired in its own troubles.

however, we don't control that and cannot. we can control (or try to control) and make moral the actions of ourselves. harping on muslims for the problems of their society serves only to anger -- as we clearly overstep the bounds of our moral authority in doing so -- and as a menas of denying that we as westerners have manifold issues that ontribute to the problem as well.

the only viable course of action, i feel, is to set our own house in order -- then let that example produce an attractive challenge to the islamic society to do the same.

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But what access to cheap oil?

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I concur, Gaius, I misinterpreted your post somewhat. I did not mean to say we are without responsibility. I believe, though, that some ideas need to be suppressed and even eliminated. The material problems you speak of are but symptoms and excuses. This is a conflict of ideology. I don’t mean Muslim vs. Christian. I know these groups (terrorists) are referred to as fundamentalist but there is nothing fundamental about them. The fundamentals of all religion I have ever studied are that of peace. These groups preach abhorrent religion based on a biased hierarchy. They are power struggles with simple minds used as destructive pawns. They build religion around them that must be destroyed. Not just in Islam. The ideology exists in the west also. It is an arrogant ideology of hatred. It needs to be gone.

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Didnt know where else to post this. Not sure if you are still following the track of the H5N1 "bird flu" virus, but reports have it increasingly common in Russia now.

The link, however is to Bush's summer reading list, included is the history of salt and the history of the 1918 influenza outbreak (I read both of these so was surprised to see them on Bush's list).

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you can always, anon, append it to the comments of the original h5n1 post. i get emails when a post is put up, so i can take a look.

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