Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholics’

More On Trumps Cynicism and Exploitation of Veterans and Christians from The Young Turks

February 2, 2016

Okay, I realise that I’ve already posted three blogs in a row about Trump, and this is a further piece to the one I’ve already written about his cynical and exploitative attitude to veterans. But this stuff just keeps coming, and Trump’s still out there.

Trump organised a special event on the 28th January, a few days ago, for US veterans, and has been very loudly proclaiming that he’s raising funds for them. But when it comes to paying out, the reality seems to be somewhat different. A year or so ago, a charity for homeless ex-soldiers, Veterans in Command, wrote to The Donald asking for a donation. They finally got their reply last week. It was a bumper sticker, come through the post, with a handwritten note saying that he wasn’t going to make a donation.

The piece’s anchors, Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, point out that this isn’t the first time Trump’s done something like this. In 1991 and 2004 he tried to get the food stand run by veterans cleared off the street in Fifth Avenue. The stands had been there for over a century, and had been expressly set up to give former soldiers jobs. But Trump wanted them to go, as they gave the area ‘the wrong image’.

Of the five million or so Trump’s fund for veterans has actually spent, only 73,000 came from Trump’s own pocket. So, he’s not exactly generous with his own money when it actually comes to supporting America’s wounded and poverty-stricken ex-warriors.

He’s also trying the same trick with the Christians in Iowa. There’s no evidence that Trump’s religious or has ever been a Christian, or gone to church. Someone wrote to the evangelical churches in NYC, and none of them had record of Trump attending. But he’s trying to pass himself off as a devout believer. He attended church in Iowa. When the communion plate was being passed around for the bread and wine of Holy Communion, Trump thought it was the collection plate and placed a wad of notes there. Uygur himself states he’s not a Christian, and wasn’t raised a Christian. He’s an atheist, who was raised a Muslim, and so he jokes that he doesn’t know what goes on in church services. But he does know that Trump is precisely the kind of person Christ threw out of the Temple. Exactly. Christ in the Gospels attacks the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, and the way they made much of their own piety and lavish donations to the synagogue, while all the while having absolute contempt for the genuinely pious, but not socially respectable poor. Again, this reflects the social situation of the time. The Pharisees did indeed look down on the poorer classes, particularly in Galilee, as the ‘amma ha-aretz, or People of the Land. One of them even declared, ‘Galilee, Galilee, thou hatest the Torah’. And the Prophet Amos centuries earlier in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Old Testament, attacked the rich, who gave lavishly to the temple, provided rich sacrifices, but who did not really observe the spirit of the Law of Moses, and who had nothing but contempt for the poor. There’s even a special sin – simony – named after Simon Magus in the Acts of the Apostles – for people who try to buy positions in the church, almost like Trump has tried to buy Christian support.

Uygur states that it’s a problem why Evangelical Christians, who claim religion is at the centre of their lives, support Trump, considering he’s not a Christian and just seems to be posing as such to get their support. He believes it’s just simple racism. They share his hatred of Mexicans and Muslims, and are voting for him because of this. I think it’s a fair point, although I would not care to say that this was true of all American Evangelicals. A book written a few years ago, The Truth about Evangelicals, actually said that about half of all theologically conservative Christians were political left-wing, and some even more so than American Roman Catholics. But it is very true of the type that listen to Pat Robertson and the rest of the televangelists that suddenly appeared during the Reagan era. It’s these people Trump’s trying to impress.

Well, Trump and the Republicans actually don’t give two hoots about the real problems faced by working class people in America, including Christians. There’s an entire chapter in the book on Neo-Conservatism, Confronting the New Conservatism, on how the Republicans and Neo-Cons cynically exploit these people’s religious fears, while giving them nothing in return. They make a lot of noise about sex and violence on TV and the cinema, the teaching of evolution, gay rights and so on, but this is generally just verbiage to describe their true agenda: cutting welfare programmes, and giving the rich massive tax cuts. Both believing Christians and old soldiers – who in many cases are no doubt one and the same, pilgrims – could do worse than face, front, stand square, and show this fraud the door.

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Young Turks’ Item on Pentagon Censoring Internal Reports Showing War Not Working in Iraq & Syria

November 25, 2015

This is another video from The Young Turks, which is as relevant over this side of the Atlantic as it is in America. A group of intelligence analysts at the Pentagon have made a complaint to the Inspector General complaining that their superiors in CentCom – Central Command – are censoring and altering their reports. The analysts’ report make clear that there is no easy military solution in Iraq and Syria, due to the deep political and religious divisions in those nations’ societies. This, however, has been altered and edited out.

Other items, which have also been altered, have been rewritten to disguise what is obviously a military defeat, if not an utter debacle. Remember when the insurgents in Iraq routed the Iraqi army so thoroughly, that the troopers left the uniforms in the street as they fled for their lives? This was altered so that the Iraqi army didn’t retreat. It ‘redeployed’.

Other parts of the report that have also been altered include those on the effect of bombing in Iraq. Air strikes by the allied forces were supposed to weaken the insurgents’ resistance and allow us to take the cities more easily. But we lost them instead, and had to retake them using ground troops. Now we’re being told that a new bombing campaign will somehow allow us to defeat ISIS and the other Islamist butchers again.

This report is now being supported by the Republicans, as it appears to show the duplicity and tactical incompetence of the Obama administration. But the Turks comment on the Repugs’ hypocrisy on this matter. The analysts’ complaints today are very much like those they made a decade ago under George Dubya. They complained then that Dubya had made all these plans to invade Iraq with a small force, but had no idea of how to administer the country or keep the peace afterwards.

The Turks also warn that in a little while, the Republicans will start to go quiet on these reports of military failings and the falsification of intelligence on the orders of their paymasters in the American defence industry. War is good business for them, and they will tell their paid mouthpieces in Congress and the Senate to stop criticising the war and its conduct, and present a more upbeat, optimistic view of the West’s chances of winning.

Here’s the video:

Part of the reason I’m reblogging this, is that it actually bears out what Mike has been saying about Corbyn’s cautious approach to the war and the bombing of Iraq and Syria. Mike has written several article over at Vox Political stating that Corbyn’s entirely correct, and what is most important is to break the cycle of hate.

Of course, this has got right up the noses of the Conservatives and their media shills, who are all crying out that Corbyn is some kind of anti-British quisling traitor, and demanding that we bomb the people of Iraq and Syria back into the stone age. Our country’s own experience during the Second World War should tell us that bombing civilians will not make the Iraqi or Syrian people more inclined to support us, or weaken support for ISIS. Rather, it is likely to do the opposite.

Hitler thought that he would break British resistance during the Blitz, when the Luftwaffe deliberately targeted cities that had no military function or value. The opposite was true: the British people were outraged at the slaughter of civilians by the Nazis, and so became even more determined to resist the jackboot. And I don’t doubt for a second that it was the same in Germany when the RAF hit civilians, rather than military centres. Such attacks might have had far more effect in stiffening German resistance than Nazi propaganda. After all, one of the underground jokes told during the Third Reich was a rather Nerdish one likening Goebbels’ propaganda to a scientific unit: ‘The Goeb is the minimum amount of energy required to turn off 100,000 radio sets.’ So much for Nazi propaganda posters showing wholesome German families dutifully listening in raptures to the Fuehrer’s broadcasts. The opposite was no doubt true. Many of them were probably listening to the other side to the terrible decadent, corrupting music of ‘Negro’ jazz from the American networks.

Bombing also had the opposite effect on British morale during the IRA’s long campaign in Britain. Instead of weakening the British public’s resolve to hold on to Northern Ireland, the killing of unarmed civilians in bomb outrages and assassinations actually strengthened the determination of the British public not only to keep Ulster British, but to crush the IRA. In doing so they also marginalised those on the British Left that were sympathetic to the real plight of Roman Catholics in Ulster. I can remember talking to people in the 1980s, who despised ‘loony left’ Labour because so many of its politicians appeared to support the IRA or Sinn Fein. Part of Maggie’s popularity was that she projected a belligerent image than reassured the British public that she would crush the IRA and related terrorists, while secretly holding peace negotiations with them.

As for Putin and his bombing campaign, my guess is that this will also increase support amongst ordinary Syrians and Iraqis for the Islamists, and further alienate western Muslims. One of the reasons for the prolonged terrorist campaign in the Caucasus was the bitterness left over from Putin’s war in Chechnya. The country had gained its independence from Moscow had successfully fighting off Russian attempts to maintain absolute control over that former province of the Soviet Empire. Resentment at this defeat festered, and when Islamist terrorists led by ‘the Black Arab’, a Saudi, committed atrocities in neighbouring South Ossetia after crossing over the border from Chechnya, Putin seized the opportunity to use it as a pretext for a new invasion. The resulting war saw a series of extremely bloody massacres, such as that of the civilian population of the town of Grozny. There have also been reports of the horrendous torture and human rights violations of Chechen prisoners by Russian troops, including being sodomised with broom handles. One American journalist interviewing a Chechen Islamist leader was told flatly that the Chechens would continue fighting, especially after such extreme humiliation, as they could not live with themselves after being so raped.

The same author also interviewed Russian troopers and generals, some of whom had developed severe alcohol problems because of the pressures and horrors of the war. These included a senior Russian officer, who had done everything he could to make sure his son was posted away from the conflict. When questioned, he stated quite clearly that ‘Nobody wanted the war.’

Our media and the Tories are baying for renewed bombing in Iraq and Syria after the Paris atrocity. They’re right, in that ISIS deserves to be hit, and hit hard. They’re an offence to human, and specifically Islamic civilisation. But there is no easy military solution. So far the West has spent just about the last decade and a half fighting wars in the Middle East, and there seems to be no end in sight. It looks like the bombings the Tories are demanding, and which the French and Putin have already begun, will just prolong it even further.

Corbyn is right. We must break the cycle of hate, if we are to have peace.

UKIP and Unionist Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland

March 28, 2015

I’ve blogged before about the links between UKIP and Protestant sectarianism north of the border and across the briny in Ulster. It was one of the reasons a Scots-based surgeon resigned from UKIP, citing, amongst other reasons, racism and sectarianism in the Scottish party. The head of the Scots party, Arthur Misty Thackeray, himself made racist comments, including a sneer at Glasgow City Council. The acronym GCC, Thackeray claimed, really stood for Glasgow Celtic Council for Muslims, Communists, Roman Catholics and queers.

Hope Not Hate reported in their article, UKIP Headhunter ?, that when Farage made his visit to Northern Ireland to meet members of the party there, one of those was Brian Higginson. Higginson was the party’s spokesman for the Lagan Valley branch. He was a member of the Lisburn Marching Bands Forum. He was also a football fan supporting Chelsea. Unfortunately, he also supported the Chelsea Headhunters, a squad of violent hooligans with connections to the racist groups Combat 18 and the NF, and Ulster Protestant paramilitary groups The Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Volunteer Force.

You can read the report of the meeting at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/ukip/ukip-headhunter-2856.

Rachel Maddow on the Republican’s ‘Southern Strategy’ and Fox’s Demonisation of Blacks

March 27, 2015

Rachael Maddow is an American left-wing news anchor and political commentator on American television. I found this extremely interesting video from her show on Youtube. In it, she talks about the Republicans’ ‘Southern Strategy’. This was formulated in 1970s by Kevin Phillips. Phillips believed that after desegregation, the Republicans would get no more than 10 to 20 per cent of the Black vote. He advised the party that this should not concern them, and that they shouldn’t even try. Instead, they should target White voters, playing on their fears of Blacks and that they would be disadvantaged and discriminated against in their favour.

She shows a 1990s Republican party political broadcast which featured a pair of white hands clenched in rage and despair over a job rejection letter. The White man in the broadcast had been turned down for the job because of ethnic quotas introduced to give more jobs to Blacks and supported by a named politician. The job then urges Whites opposed to this new form of discrimination and fearing their own displacement and victimisation to vote for the Republican candidate. She then goes on to discuss Kevin Philips’ invention of the strategy before moving on to report its latest manifestation in Fox News.

She gives for examples of the way Murdoch’s American network deliberately demonised and played on White fears about individual Black politicians and organisations in order to get White votes. Fox News boasts, and has even copyrighted, the slogan ‘fair and balanced reporting’. It’s anything but. In the four cases she discusses, the broadcaster actually lies to smear its victims.

It attacked Obama’s czar on renewable energy, Van Jones, claiming that he had been jailed for waving a club around during the Rodney King riots. He hadn’t. She talks about how it presented ACORN, a scheme which promoted mostly ethnic minority causes, as one long festering morass of corruption. The scheme has long since collapsed, but in other videos she shows how the Republicans were still mentioning it in order to scare and drum up support from White voters long after its demise.

They also attempted to create political capital out of the New Black Panther Party shouting at and haranguing voters at a local polling station. This was presented as a new form of Black militancy targeting and intimidating White voters. In fact, they weren’t. Maddow herself states that far from being a new, terrifying political force, the New Black Panther Party was ‘a couple of whackjobs’. They certainly look aggressive and extremely intimidating in the footage Fox showed of them. The federal authorities investigated them, however, and found that they weren’t. The other news agencies didn’t bother with this non-story. Fox was one of the exceptions.

And then there was the supposed case of a Black federal official, Sheren Sherad (sp?), who supposedly was found guilty of discriminating against White farmers. That was another lie.

Among the faces repeating these barefaced lies and propaganda were the usual offenders against truth, decency and a genuinely moral, civil society: Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin and the original, archetypal swivel-eye loon himself, Glen Beck.

Maddow concludes by saying that this isn’t about the victimisation of Black per se, it is about the use of the fears of the supposed threat from Black to get Whites to vote Republican. Here’s the video.

I’ve posted it here, as although it deals with American history and political issues, this tactic has cross the Atlantic. Anti-racist legislation here in Britain and the fact that we don’t have a written constitution defending freedom of speech means that such blatant fear-mongering is simply impossible over here. Nevertheless, the Tories and Farage’s UKIP have tried something very similar. Despite it’s claims to be a non-racist, non-sectarian party, UKIP is full of racists, Islamophobes and, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, bigots with a bitter hatred of Roman Catholics. It has the full backing of groups like Britain First, and its members also support other far right organisation like the BNP and EDL. It is a party, which is founded on White fears of Blacks and Asians, and particularly Islam. It is also fiercely misogynistic and homophobic. As for playing on White fears, remember the poster they put up showing a builder in hardhat and high-visibility clothing? This was put up on hoardings up and down the country with a slogan about how British people were being laid off in order to employ cheap immigrant labour. It’s a line that goes all the way back to the British Brothers’ League and the fears about Jewish immigration just before the First World War.

And the Tories very definitely are no better. I’ve blogged before about how they too have used an approach very similar to the ‘Southern Strategy’, but of necessity less overt. The Daily Mail has been running pieces attacking ‘affirmative action’, positive discrimination quotas and other forms of ‘political correctness’, since these first appeared in the 1980s. Other Tory papers and magazines have also repeated this line. In 2004 the Spectator published a piece that stated that the only section of the demographic not welcome in London were White males. It also ran a piece ‘Blackened Whites’, attacking the way anti-racism campaigns portrayed Whites as evil and racist. It’s the same approach the Repugs ran under Dubya attempting to play on the fears and hatred of ‘angry White men’. And it’s significant that for all the more liberal verbiage with which Farage comes out, he attended the CPAC Republican convention.

Maddow shows what’s going on in America. But it’s also only the most extreme and overt manifestation of what Cameron, Farage, and their media friends, like the Dirty Digger and Richard Desmond, are doing over here.

Misty Thackeray, Racism and Sectarianism in Scottish UKIP

March 21, 2015

Yesterday and Thursday I blogged on the resignation of the Scottish-based surgeon, Mr Jonathan Stanley, from UKIP. Among his reasons for leaving were displeasure at the party’s refusal to publish material he’d written about the deaths of eleven children and a mother at the Morecombe Bay NHS Trust. He also found Furhage’s plans to exclude migrant children from state education and medicine unconscionable.

He also complained of the Scots party using the language of English nationalism, and a poisonous culture of sectarianism and bullying within the party. The blog Angry Meditation’s piece, Your definitive guide to UKIP’s racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, paedophiles, animal abusers, and violent bullies. provides further light on this accusation by citing some of the bigoted and extremely sectarian remarks uttered by Misty Thackeray, UKIP’s Scottish chair. According to the site, Thackeray

•Liked Facebook group which thinks “paedophilia is part of Islamic tradition”
•Posted “real Catholicism and Real Islamism are far from antagonists with both having an outwardly benign image but inwardly sharing a fascist ideology of extreme submissive conservatism and imperialism”
•Described Glasgow council as a place for “gays, Catholics and Communists”
•Appeared on a leaked list of English Defence League activists.

It’s clear from this that the Scots party’s culture of Islamophobia and sectarian anti-Roman Catholicism, along with homophobia, come from and is endorsed by the leadership itself.

With this poisonous culture, Mr Stanley was right to leave.

UKIP Candidate for Westmoreland Resigns Citing Racism, Bullying and Sectarianism

March 19, 2015

The Westmoreland Gazette has this story, Ukip candidate resigns: Jonathan Stanley leaves party citing ‘open racism and bullying’. Jonathan Stanley is a Scotland-based surgeon, who managed to stick it out as UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Westmoreland and Lonsdale before finally resigning. He explained his decision as due to the racism and sectarianism within the Scottish party. He said

“I have given my full resignation to the party because of issues happening in Scotland: open racism and sanctimonious bullying within the party. This sectarian racist filth in Scotland needs cleaning up. it is a great threat to the Eurosceptic cause and civil society.”

He also cited other reasons for his resignation. These were the general levels of motivation in MEPs for the north west, and health issues. He had been dismayed by the party’s decision not to publish documents he had written about the Kirkup Report, which condemned the hospitals in the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust after the deaths of eleven babies and one mother.

The article’s at http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/11868250.Ukip_candidate_resigns__Jonathan_Stanley_leaves_party_citing__open_racism_and_bullying_/?ref=twtrec.

Reading this, it seems that not only is UKIP in Scotland racist – no surprise there! – but also beset with the sectarian hatreds between Protestant and Roman Catholic. I can’t say I’m surprised at that either, as when Farage crossed the briny to speak in Ulster, the party organisers over there seemed to have very strong connections to Protestant paramilitary groups.

As for the comments about motivation, it suggests that the Kippers in the north-west simply can’t be bother about that part of the world.

Chaos on the Airwaves: Wannabe Fascist Dictator Phones into LBC

March 18, 2015

More from the Fascist trainwreck that is Joshua Bonehill, the would-be great dictator. EDL News has this piece, Joshua Bonehill calls LBC to discuss anal sex and it ends badly , reporting the appearance of Bonehill on a late night show when he phoned into discuss the above topic with the programme’s host, Christo. In the words of Derek Fender’s article

Predictably it did not go well for him. The Yeovil based oddball ranted about gays, jews blacks, cultural marxism, white genocide whilst LBC host, Christo, could barely contain his laughter.

It ended with Christo asking Bonehill if he had a girlfriend which seems to be a very touchy subject. Christo then went on to ask Bonehill to meet him for a cosy dinner date in Old Compton Street which lead to him slamming the phone down.

Amongst other offensive, ludicrous and potentially dangerous comments, Bonehill claimed that AIDS was nature’s way of correcting homosexuality, which was unnatural. And the Jews were responsible for encouraging homosexuality as part of their plan for world domination by destroying the White race.

Cristo raised the obvious point that homosexuality was hardly unnatural, as it was found in nature. That’s a fact that has only really been established scientifically within the last 20 years. I’ve a book on genetics published in the 1990s that states that while pseudo-homosexuality exists in nature, homosexuality proper doesn’t. It was Plato, who first argued that homosexuality was unnatural, and this view has now been completely refuted. Channel 4 even broadcast a programme about it, The Truth About Gay Animals. There was also an article about it a decade or so ago in the Fortean Times.

As for being spread by homosexuality, I was of the impression that the disease first crossed the species barrier from apes and monkeys to humans through people eating infected monkeys. And in Africa one of the ways the disease is spread is through long distance truckers catching the disease through prostitutes, whom they infect in turn, and then their wives and families when they return to them. If there’s a lesson about danger there, it’s probably that there are pockets of disease in Africa into which the human population is increasingly coming in contact. And also the grinding poverty and lack of economic opportunities that forces women onto the streets.

There’s also a problem with sexual ignorance and a number of superstitions that have grown up about the disease. One is that it can be cured through having sex with virgins. This has led to previously uninfected women being exposed to the disease. Some of this is through rape, and there are horrendous reports of young girls being attacked.

Bonehill doesn’t really respond to Christo’s argument, instead getting a bit shirty, and trying to change the subject slightly by moving on to argue that the Jews were deliberately promoting gayness. This is not only bilge, it’s pure projection. I don’t know, but I think the origins of the gay rights movement go back to the end of the 19th century and the beginnings of academic sexology with Havelock Ellis and E. Krafft-Ebing. From the 1930s onwards there were increasingly sensitive literary treatments of it, with Radcliffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, which dealt with lesbianism. Radcliffe Hall came from a very respectable British middle class background. It was also part of the sexual revolution that started in the ’60s with the Kinsey Report, the Stonewall Riots in America, and the formation of Gay Liberation over here. One of those, who campaigned for the legalisation of homosexuality in the 1960s was the musician and cartoonist, Gerhard Hofnung. Hofnung was of foreign extraction – he came originally from Germany. He was, however, Quaker and not Jewish. His reasons for advocating its legalisation was due to his humanitarian concern as part of his Quaker faith. This isn’t to say that there weren’t Jews involved with movement. I’ve no doubt there probably were, along with people from Roman Catholic, Protestant, and purely secular backgrounds. It’s just that it can’t be seriously claimed that the campaign to legalise homosexuality, and demand equal rights for gay people originated solely with the Jews, or is part of some weird secret plot.

And it is a piece of projection. Certain parts of European Fascism were strongly supportive of homosexuality. Ernst Rohm of the SA, the ‘socialist’ section of the Nazi party, was gay and it’s been claimed that so were 3/4 of that organisation’s members.

In Italy, the Futurists advocated as part of their programme of artist and social modernism ‘scorn for women’, and attacked the family and traditional sexual morality. They were in favour of free love, and also advocated homosexuality.

This does not mean that Fascism as a whole supported homosexuality or treated homosexuals with anything other than absolute contempt. In Nazi Germany, gay men were sent to the concentration camps, where they were identified with a pink triangle.

The Nazis did, however, encourage homosexuality amongst Jews as a way of trying to prevent them from having children. It was part of a deliberate policy aimed at their extinction. Bonehill’s statement that the Jews are doing this to prevent Whites from propagating their race is pure projection.

The LBC show is weirdly funny, however, as Christo really can’t believe how bonkers Bonehill actually is. Apart from his guffaws, he asks several times if it is a wind-up. At one point he asks if people really still believe the rubbish Bonehill has been uttering.

The EDL article is at http://edlnews.co.uk/2015/03/01/joshua-bonehill-calls-lbc-to-discuss-anal-sex-and-it-ends-badly/. It’s got a 25 minute recording of Bonehill’s inane spoutings. As an example of pure right-wing drivel, it is utterly hilarious.

Christo is right in that some of Bonehill’s antic are so weird and bizarre that you wonder if he is entirely serious, or just playing a very tasteless and offensive game. If he is serious, then you also wonder about his mental health. According to the SlatFascist site, not so long ago Bonehill was trying to promote himself through some extremely dodgy pseudo-mysticism. He claimed that he was the White messiah prophesied by one Aryanus. This is too close ‘Hairy Anus’ to my mind to be taken at all seriously, quite apart from the fact that Aryanus was obviously someone Bonehill made up.

UKIP Candidate: Licence Islamic Clergy and Mosques

February 17, 2015

I found this piece on the Ham & High site through Hope Not Hate’s news column. Entitled, Hampstead and Kilburn Ukip candidate: ‘My great aim is to licence the mosques’ it reports the highly controversial views on Islam by Magnus Nielsen, the UKIP candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn. It describes Nielsen’s background and career, including his reasons for joining UKIP in 1993. He seems to feel that the EU is about to collapse, and that UKIP has the necessary policies for getting the country ‘back on track’ when it does.

However, the article begins with his highly controversial attitude towards Islam. It notes that he got into the news last year for describing Islam as ‘organised crime under religious camouflage,’ and that it’s founder, the Prophet Muhammad, ‘was a gang leader of criminals’.

He now declares that his ‘great aim is to licence the mosques and licence the clergy’.

“So that if the clergy are preaching doctrine that is in contravention of UK law and human rights then they lose their licences.

“If the mosque can’t find a licensed imam, they have to close down until they can.”

When asked if the same should apply to other religions, whose preaching he could find offensive, such as Roman Catholic priests or Jewish rabbis, Nielsen shrugged it off with the reply “I don’t think the other religions would present the same sort of problem”.

The interviews at http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/politics/hampstead_and_kilburn_ukip_candidate_my_great_aim_is_to_licence_the_mosques_1_3956520.

Now Nielsen should be entitled to express his view of Islam and its founder, no matter how bigoted and offensive others may find it, without fearing for his life in attacks like those against Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish supermarket in France, and Lars Vilks and a local synagogue in Copenhagen this weekend.

Nielsen’s anti-Islam Comments close to Hate Speech

His attitude to Islam is, however, extreme and some would consider that they border on the illegal. His description of the religion as ‘organised crime’ seems to me to come very close, if not actually into, hate speech. It suggests that all Muslims are criminals, or criminal sympathisers, simply because of their religion. It is illegal in Britain to make comments designed to stir up racial or religious hatred. While anti-Islam bigots like Geert Wilders are generally very careful to argue that they’re aren’t racists, because Islam is not a religion, it certainly comes close to what they act would consider as provoking religious hatred.

Licencing and the Erosion of Freedom of Belief

As for his plans to licence Islam and the mosques, this is a profoundly dangerous and deeply counterproductive policy. Firstly, gives the state the power to regulate and interfere with citizens’ private religious beliefs. While there should be limits to what is legally acceptable, such as the promotion of terrorism, this gives the state too much power to decide what their citizens may or may not believe. It brings the country close to having the same highly authoritarian attitudes towards religion, like China, where only government approved religious groups are officially tolerated. The result of this has been the vicious persecution of Falun Gong, as well as those Christians, who do not wish to submit to official government control. And this is after the vicious persecution of all religions, including Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity, by an aggressively atheist form of Communism during Mao’s bloody ‘Cultural Revolution’. If such laws are applied to one religion, it could quite easily be applied to another, or stretched to include a secular philosophy that, in the view of the authorities, presented a similar danger. It isn’t hard to see how an intolerant, fiercely nationalist regime could move from licencing and banning Islam as potentially terrorist, to prosecuting conscientious objectors and anti-War activists amongst other religions or secular Humanists for being ‘insufficiently patriotic’, or harmful to morale in wartime.

The Libertarian Alliance’s Attack on Charities for Political Liberalism

The threat presented by such legislation isn’t an exaggeration. In the 1980s what became the Libertarian Alliance carried out a long campaign to have various charities and international aid organisations deprived of their charitable status. These charities’ campaigns against hunger and poverty in the Developing World were, they argued, political. And hence they attacked respectable charities like the Roman Catholic organisation, CAFOD. And this is quite apart from the concerns American liberals had about the sweeping provisions of Bush’s Patriot Act, and the powers granted to the authorities to investigate perceived anti-American individuals and groups. Among those placed under suspicion were even Quaker anti-war protest groups.

Official, Reforming Islam vs. the Islamist Counterculture

It’s also useless and counterproductive. The Egyptian-German scholar, Bassam Tibi, in his book Islam and the Cultural Accommodation of Social Change, points out that the mosques in Egypt are already strictly controlled by the state. Furthermore, the country’s westernisation and modernisation movement came from its Islamic leaders in the 19th century. These were members of the ulema – Muslim clergy – who were impressed by the great advances in the natural sciences and engineering that the West had made. They wished to introduce these to the Egypt and the Islamic world so that their people could also enjoy the benefits.

The radical Islamism of the terrorist extremists comes from outside this official milieu. It’s an underground movement that has been formed in opposition to the official, liberal Islam of the 19th century reformers and their 20th and 21st century successors. Despite the close supervision of the mosques in Egypt, and the proscription and persecution of the extremists, these groups still emerged to become a powerful, destructive force. I can’t see that licencing the mosques over here would have any effect in stamping out extremism. Most of the domestic terrorists appear to have been radicalised outside the mosques, often on-line. This form of propaganda by the extremists would continue, and it is probably that an underground Muslim counterculture would emerge, parallel but outside and beyond official, tolerated Islam.

Licensing Islam Would Drive Moderates Away

It may even have a negative effect. Lobster’s columnist, Corinne DeSouza, has written about the failure of the British intelligence agencies, particularly in Iraq. She notes that since Bush and Blair’s invasion of Iraq, far fewer Iraqis have offered their services to British intelligence. It’s not hard to see why. While some would be prepared to pass sensitive information on to a sympathetic foreign power in the hope of overthrowing an oppressive dictatorship, far fewer would want to take the step of becoming an active collaborator with a foreign occupying force. Similarly, if the mosques and their clergy were licenced, it would possibly drive away liberal Muslims and actively discourage them from passing on information about terrorism or extremist preaching to the authorities. Licensing the mosques would be a sign that, as far as the British authorities were concerned, Muslims did not really have a place in British society and were barely tolerated. Few Muslims would wish to co-operate with authorities in a regime that automatically viewed all Muslims, regardless of sect or shade of belief, as potential terrorists and traitors. Any Muslim that did so could easily find themselves reviled as a ‘chocolate Muslim’ – an Islamic ‘Uncle Tom’.

Bigots Also Unpopular in British Islam

There is a problem in this country with preachers of hate. Finsbury Park mosque was closed because it was a centre promoting terrorism. I also recall a number of other scandals with other extremist preachers, like Kalim Saddiqui. He was actually filmed by the Beeb back in the 1990s telling his congregation that ‘British society is a massive killing machine, and killing Muslims comes very easily to them.’ Saddiqui was one of the most notorious of the bigots, and there were demonstrations and protests against him by moderate Muslims. One of the complaints of the moderates is that you don’t hear enough of the counterdemonstrations, only of the protests and ranting of the militant firebrands.

Stress Common Britishness; Treat All Extremists with Same Rights and Contempt

Much more positive is an even-handed approach to tackling extremism, to show that it’s not Islam that is under suspicion or attack, but simply those, who would preach murder, hate and death in its name. And that those prosecuted for such offences will be treated exactly the same as their non-Muslim counterparts, demanding death and horror in the name of whatever they believe in.

Farage: NI Peace Process ‘Loathsome’, ‘Surrender to the Wrong ‘Uns’

February 16, 2015

There’s a piece in today’s Guardian on a video that has emerged, dating from c. 2007, in which the Kipperfuhrer gives his opinion on the Northern Ireland peace agreement. He is extremely scathing about it, stating

“That is not what I call a peace process. That is what I call surrender to the wrong ’uns. You know both from the Protestant and the Catholic side and so I am sickened by the whole thing. I am very surprised that Paisley has been prepared to go into government with Sinn Féin, IRA. I really am very surprised by that.”

He especially objected to the release of hundreds of terrorists, pointing out that some had only served 18 months in prison for their crimes.

The report also contains a quote rebutting Farage’s views from the Tory MP, Conor Burns. Burns says that the peace process entailed some compromises that were extremely difficult to stomach, but that they were needed to create the much more peaceful and secure situation that Ulster now enjoys. Burns said:

“But the reality is that a child in today’s Northern Ireland grows up in a place incomparably better than the dark, violent and divided society I was born into. For someone who leads a party aspiring to be a truly national party, not to acknowledge that is bewildering.”

Burns is absolutely right. The compromises that had to be made in the 6 counties to break the cycle of violence were and are highly controversial, and included measures that many would consider to be deeply immoral. But they were needed, if any kind of peace was to be established. However objectionable and unpalatable these decisions were, ultimately the led to the creation of much better, more peaceful and hopefully far more optimistic conditions on that side of the Irish Sea.

Now Farage’s views in the video aren’t that different from many Tories, and are arguably less sectarian. You could and can read almost the same views in the Daily Mail, with the exception that they see the ‘surrender’ less to the men of violence in general, regardless of whether they were Roman Catholic and Protestant, and more explicitly in terms of a capitulation to the IRA. Farage’s views are better than that, but not by very much.

Any truly British political has to find support throughout the UK, which means developing a sensitive approach to the intricacies of the situation in Ulster. Farage claims he has branches across the UK, but his comments about the situation there in 2007 show that he has a dangerously inflexible attitude to Ulster and its problems, that could upset decades of delicate negotiations and plunge Northern Ireland, and the rest of the UK, back into violence and sectarian civil war.

The Guardian’s piece is called Nigel Farage called Northern Ireland peace process ‘utterly loathsome’, and it’s at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/16/nigel-farage-called-northern-ireland-peace-process-utterly-loathsome. It also contains the video. Go and read it and judge for yourself.