Useful web sites

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    « Encountering the world of Goth | Main | Who do you think is right? »



    A very interesting summary, many thanks.

    One minor point though: Is the anti faith schools stance of the Secular Society really so puzzling? If you are a secularist, you would presumably believe that the absolutist nature of religions (and therefore faith schools) block freedom of expression themselves by sealing off other worldviews/philosophies for discussion. Perhaps freedom of expression also mean the freedom to be expressed to, as well as the freedom to express yourselves to others!?


    Well, in the US the pattern has been that people of all sorts of political orientations have come out to the rally. This has led to debates at the rally itself.

    Now, it may be different in the UK--I don't know. But that was the US experience.





    Ilia iacta est! Your country has clearly cast its die for bringing in Muslims.

    Having done so, people should treat their neighbors, Muslims, Hindus, Jew and Christians with courtesy and respect: as individuals. So, I am with you.

    That said, politicians remotely familiar with the history of the Muslim region would never have allowed mass immigration and expected peace between Islam and Christianity on the very same soil. And such is especially the case during this period of Islamic religious revival which looks for mimicry, the days of conquest of Mohammed and the companions. A look at the former Yugoslavia should have signified something to someone. To me, the negligence of those who permitted such immigration is too great to imagine.


    Neal, the great majority of the historic relationship of Christianity and Islam is one of peace rather than war.

    The latter is confined to some highly specific, and arguably atypical periods and circumstances. Historically, there has been just as much, if not more, conflict and bloodshed between Christians (eg Catholics and Protestants) as between Christians and Muslims.

    It's not all that long since in the UK there were those who argued that Catholics/the Irish meant war/subversion/conflict.

    The circumstances of Yugoslavia are the products of a very long history of Austro-Hungarian Christian imperialism and the decades of conflict between European fascist and marxist forces, overlaid on the ethnic divisions of that area. Those divisions are not just Christian/Muslim-- the divisions between the Croats and the Serbs, both Christians, were the source of some of the most vicious conflicts in that region.

    Until the Iranian Islamic revolution of the late 70s, Islam was not even seen as a significant political dimension in the Middle East and north Africa. The anti-colonialist and anti-Israel conflicts of the 30s-70s period were primarily fuelled by Ba'athist pan-Arab nationalism and Soviet-sponsored marxism.


    Neal: There is nothing inevitable about conflicts between peoples. In the US there is strong evidence that Muslims not only are able to integrate well into US culture but actually do better than "average Americans". (Obviously what better means and by how much depends on what you mean by "average Americans"--as two recent studies although coming to the same conclusion defined this term differently and, as a result, came to a different conclusion as to how much better.)

    Which brings me to another point. In former Yugoslavia, the Muslim-Christian relations were based on a long history of conquerors and conquered. In that they were not much different to (say) Russian-Polish relations. As a result, when the center was no longer there to hold these societies together, Poland and Russia AND Yugoslavia disintegrated into its "natural" parts.

    This is very different to relations between Muslims and Christians in the UK. Put plainly, Muslims never conquered the English and vice versa. So there is no reason (IMO) to expect a Russia-Poland or Yugoslavia type disintegration in the UK.




    If decent people of the left like yourself do not attend the rally because they fear it will be attended by only right wingers, then it will be a self fulfilling prophecy


    Is the anti faith schools stance of the Secular Society really so puzzling?

    Yes it is.

    Education in Europe originated with the Christian Church, the Grammar Schools in England were sponsored and nurtured by the Church before being destroyed by The State.

    Prussia built a State Education System because of its obsession with being "Volk im Waffen" to use a later phrase and emphasised the power of The State in what came to be the role model of Communist regimes everywhere.

    Napoleon built The Polytechnic to supply his military technocrats and the French pursued secularist education because they had stolen the Church lands and not as effectively as in England in the 1530s.

    Secular schooling has been disastrous in the US because it had rammed a "secular religion" down the throats of children. You can remove religion but then another one is created to replace it - and who can claim that US schools are not riddled with the religion of politically correct ideology.

    Remove religion and you have begun to impose your Ideology



    I am certainly not an apologist for Christianity as the record of Christians is, if anything, worse than that of the Muslims. That said, I think your assertion is simply incorrect.

    In simple terms, it is not possible to fight everyone at once. So, quite naturally, there are more internal wars among the Christians that there were with the Muslims who were, comparatively speaking, far less divided - although, clearly, the Muslims were divided as well and fought among themselves rather continuously -. Such, of course, is rather irrelevant to the almost continual warfare which existed in the form of offensive war out of the Islamic regions with the Christians and others being on the defensive.

    More specifically, there was almost non-ending war instigated by Muslims beginning in the 7th Century until the Muslims were defeated by the Khazarian forces and by Charles Martel's forces. After that, there was almost constant warfare until the Abbasids Muslim empires and their rivals began to disintegrate. (And, despite being rivals, they often fought together when it came to fighting non-Muslims.)

    If, instead of counting wars against individual countries, you examine Christiandom as a whole, you would note that the Muslim forces were on the offensive for nearly four hundred years before the Christian forces mounted a serious counterattack - the horrid Crusades, which was a plague for Jews and Christians, especially Eastern Christians -.

    Let us examine your proposition further. Within 150 years, the Muslims, almost all by war, spread from Arabia into India, throughout the Middle East, across Africa and into Italy and Iberria. It was likely the fasted expanding empire the world, up to that point, had probably ever known. After that efforts to consolidate and expand that conquest were the norm as were efforts to spread further and further into Europe as well as into Asia.

    Later, under the Ghazi Empire - Empire of the holy warriors which we call the Ottoman Empire -, the Islamic forces re-organized and re-established themselves, conquering deep into Europe including up to Poland, the Ukraine, etc., but were eventually checked at Vienna and, with war, gradually beaten back.

    Now, you could say that there was not constant war against any of France or Spain or England or Poland or Austria or Ukraine or, to add a non-Christian state into the mix, India - using modern names for these areas - but, taken together as a unit, war was constant fact of life between Christians and Muslims.

    In any event, there were, in fact, 2 great waves of conquest, lasting, altogether, multiple hundreds of years of constant fighting. The conquests were overtly conducted in the name of religion and under the banner of Jihad fi sabil Allah (i.e. Jihad in the path of Allah or, in English, offensive holy war). The tactics included, from the very beginning, many of those we see today, with the term razzias and Ghazwa being the name we call terrorism.



    You write: "In the US there is strong evidence that Muslims not only are able to integrate well into US culture but actually do better than 'average Americans'."

    The key difference, so far as I know, between Islam in the US and in Europe is that Europeans allowed ghettos to form. In the US, that has not much occurred.

    There is, on the other hand, a very serious issue forming with Muslim Americans who define themselves primarily by faith, as the religious institutions they attend are overwhelmingly dominated by Wahhabists. So, the question of peaceful Islam over the long term in the US is rather open as the same hate preachers have arrived here to teach the young just as they have arrived in Europe.

    I was struck, reading the book, The Force of Reason, by the different way European minds and American minds examine cultural activities. Fallaci - in my view, rather unfairly - has substantial objection to Muslims complaints regarding the placement of the cross in classrooms of government operated schools. And, she find troubling the dietary rites dictated by Islam regarding the slaughtering of animals. To, me she goes way overboard into the offensive. But, at the same time, she makes a number of goods points which should not be discarded, the baby which ought not be discarded with the bathwater.

    In particular, she notes that large numbers of Muslims not only do not want to become Europeans but, in fact, wish to transform Europe into a province of Islam. And, evidently, this is all out in the open - publicly proclaimed again and again and again. A far more careful scholar, Bat Ye'or, has examined this trend rather closely, noting and showing that the vanguard among Muslims do intend to transform European society into a subservient role to Arab interests, largely by agreements reached.

    In any event, I note, in response to your distinction made for Yugoslavia, that the history of Yugoslavia does come out of nationality conflicts with the dividing line being religion. That, of course, was the result of the manner of rule established by the the Ottoman Turks.

    To note: the Turks, following Shari'a law (and implimented by means of a common or public law scheme), dictated how non-Muslims under Islam could live - as a subserviant class under the Islamic overlords -. And that notion - directly from classical Islamic theology - is highly divisive. So, allowing society to be divided by religion - with large ghettos to form the dividing line - is a disaster as it leads to divisiveness and, in the end, to one side or the other winning.

    Now, your assumption is that large numbers of Muslims, placed in what are effectively ghettos, will not long perceive their role in traditional political terms is, to me, remarkable for its naivete. Consider, as Ibn Khaldun - great historian and scholar, as you may know - puts it: the universal mission of Islam is to bring the entire world under Muslim rule and Islamic law, whether by means of persuasion or war.


    Neal, We do have problems with Some Muslims but Not because they are Muslims. These are (by and large) people who have lived all their lives in the inner-cities ghettoes and have converted to Islam.

    We have had issues with these people--people whose families have been brought down so low that the slums are a "step up" for them for quite a long time. Long before you and I were born, in fact.

    Ours is not a religious problem--but you're right it is a ghetto problem and one we have been trying to solve for several decades.

    So far unsuccessfully.




    Rick writes: "Secular schooling has been disastrous in the US because it had rammed a "secular religion" down the throats of children."

    I suppose it's possible that, as the product of this disaster, I am in denial but is there any way you could explain to me:

    1. How (precisely, using concrete examples that you will then compare to schools in the UK which presumably are far better) US schools are a disaster? (Again relatively speaking.

    2. What exactly IS a "secular religion"?





    I hate to sound prejudiced but you have a problem with Muslims because the currents running in Mosques are largely Jihadist. Listen to what the imams are saying. And, this is not a call from the poor or to help the poor. It is an effort to gain power over your life.


    as the record of Christians is, if anything, worse than that of the Muslims

    Absolute twaddle. Neal you may believe this but as a matter of prejudice rather than fact.

    Inna, schools in the UK followed the US example from the 1960s and are now barely distinguishable from their Us counterparts as British society has imported the very worst aspects of US society with too few of the better aspects.

    British Comprehensive schools are modelled on US High Schools, surely the worst institution ever created in the US and the prime cause of most societal problems.

    A "secular religion" is what the SED in the GDR used to propagate, what the USSR promoted in schools, and the reason why the US exhibits characteristics more akin to the GDR than it might care to admit.

    The US is obsessed (and under the Blair-Brown regime Britain to its detriment) with multiculturalism, moral relativism, obsession with excuses for failure, pursuit of mediocrity, suppression of ability, indoctrination in New Age Cultism of Patheistic Green Issues such as "Global Warming"
    and the pursuit iof any faddism which serves the ends of the Frankfurt School Marxists


    Where is the threat to free expression coming from in the UK? For once it's not the usual suspects from the right; it's the left. The left who conflate the anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish but super-sensitive to any criticism stance of those Muslims we hear and read and view (who, we are told by their apologists, are the "extremists" not the "real" voice of "moderate" Islam in Britain and "anyway, their anger is justified") with their own anti-American, anti-globalisation, anti-capitalist agenda. Hence the rise by the "decent" as well as indecent left of, if not anti-Semitism, a carelessness in speech where Jews are concerned (cf Judy's post re Ken Livingston). I'll be there on Saturday; not because I'm anti-Muslim but because without freedom of expression all the other freedoms disappear. And if I have to rub shoulders for a couple of hours with people Judy disapproves of, so be it.

    Peter Risdon

    I only just saw this piece and, though I know you can't please everyone, found it disappointingly stupid. Perhaps I should read it as parody, because someone who blogs proudly (with justification) about their Jewish identity yet dismisses someone who emphasises their non-Jewish identity to a lesser but still discernable degree as a "right wing English nationalist" is a parody, conscious or otherwise.

    There are other examples of stupidity, of which my favourite is the criticism of the National Secular Society for advocating secular education (that's one from left field, huh? Who'd have thought it?). But, fun though it would be to fisk them all, I am more concerned to set the record straight about my blog entries.

    I quoted al-ghurabaa as an example of extremism, but the difference between myself and some other commentators is that I don't feel the need to preface and end any such remarks with a load of pious "tiny minority of extremists" qualification.

    The Churchill quotes are taken completely out of context to the extent that, assuming the writer had read the original piece, it is hard to understand in any terms other than deliberate distortion. Churchill's remarks about Muslims (from his book The River War) are widely quoted and I gave two examples of such quotation - al-ghurabaa and Thabo Mbeki speaking to the rulers of Sudan. The River War describes, inter alia, the attacks on black African Sudanese in the south of the country by their northern, Muslim compatriots more than a century ago. Plus ca change. Mbeki quoted Churchill's racism in support of his expressions of solidarity with the regime that's responsible for the massacres in Dharfur today. Al ghurabaa used them in a similar way - them versus us, and ever has it been so. And so, still, the Africans are murdered while the legacy of colonial guilt on the one hand and of colonial grievance on the other combine to obstruct and meaningful action. One million dead so far.

    I didn't colonise Africa, I reject the notion of collective or inherited guilt and I think this stinks. I think our common humanity demands that we intervene.

    I'm not worried about moderate Muslims. Muslims attended the rally and a couple spoke. I personally developed a relationship with some of the members of the Muslim Action Committee and have had private discussions with them, on the telephone and in person. I'm actually doing something to build bridges of mutual respect. We have to live together.

    But I am worried about Islamists and I'm making some noise about this.

    I'm going to continue to do so.


    How utterly absurd to suppose that state funded faith schools are a form of "freedom of expression".

    It is "freedom of expression", so you imply, to oblige taxpayers to fund religious indoctrination in an institution from which children can be excluded because their parents fail to exhibit the correct superstitions. It is the freedom to bolster one's own demonstrably irrational prejudices with other people's money. It is the freedom to ensure that certain privileged expressions of repulsive ancient bigotry are force fed to children by the government.


    As salamu alukaim Br. Marc,I love your website and what you are doing for Islamic history here in the US. My name is Tahara Akmal, one of the granddaughters of Sheikh Saeed Akmal whom Abu Usamah al-Aswad mentioned. I'm looking forward to learning more about your projects. May Allah reward you generously for your work.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    August 2015

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    9 10 11 12 13 14 15
    16 17 18 19 20 21 22
    23 24 25 26 27 28 29
    30 31          
    Blog powered by Typepad