The World According To Dilly Hussain

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Mo Ansar can move over (as he retweets old media appearances in the hope someone forgets his tendency to report would be hosts to the police). There is someone else unpleasant gaining a media spotlight.

May I introduce the deputy editor of 5Pillarz, Huffington Post Blogger and according to a now deleted tweet soon to be working for The Independent newspaper. Dilly Hussain.

His first blog post for The Huffington involved the caliphate. ISIS was never mentioned, as he came up with such gems as:

Rather, it is documented in history that Caliphates were the most advanced states in the world and were in fact pioneers of modern states.

The term “Caliphs” and the subsequent statement of “fulfil allegiance to them one after the other” indicates that the governing structure post-prophethood is a Caliphate. The Prophet Muhammad is commanding Muslims to fulfil their allegiance to every Caliph.

Finally, in the study which Mehdi alluded to in his article, John L Esposito and Dalia Mogahead concluded that “Majorities in many countries remarked that they do not want religious leaders to hold direct legislative or political power”. This was based on 50,000 interviews with Muslims in more than 35 countries. To illustrate how convincing this statistic is I’d like to do some maths – 50,000 in a population of 1.6billion Muslims is 0.003125%, which carries as much weight as taking political advice from the Monster Raving Loony Party.

[The Huffington Post]

An article that at no point addresses whether ISIS as a self proclaimed Islamic State and caliphate deserves obedience. He dismisses Muslims as secularists. His inability to understand sampling and weighted polls is to promote that Muslims want religious rulers and that the Prophet Mohammed promotes a caliphate to rule only.

There is no mention of the other caliphate – the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. They do not raise banners on the streets protesting their persecution in self claimed Islamic States. Much less flags of conquest quoting the Koran, as ISIS do to bring fear into the hearts of all on their bloody genocidal rampage.

The conquest of the Ahmadiyya is the human heart – starting with their own. That by serving humanity they may show the teachings of Islam. It is a preferable way to try and win hearts and minds than a brutal fascist theocracy.

Dilly Hussain has this to say about the Ahmadiyya:

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He has a tendency to delete tweets, so I am grateful that people took screen shots. Another deleted one that demonstrates his world view:

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The old classic rebuke if you espouse liberal democratic secular views:

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Plus the added one if you are a woman:

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[More on this twitter exchange can be read here]

Still, he claims to be going places:

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Though as he deleted this tweet no idea if it is hush hush, or just the product of another fantasist who loves a platform. With dreams of everyone following Islam the same way, in an Islamic state.

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A platform for stating that the Yazidi were only up a mountain because “ISIS demanded jizya (tax for non-Muslims under an Islamic state) from the Yazidis, who refused to pay, and as a result, were forced to retreat to Mount Sinjar in western Mosul.”

Tax dodgers rather than fleeing for their life, with no supplies?

To also again make the “normative” claim regarding goal of Muslims should be a caliphate as a state with Sharia: “More recently, Muslims find themselves under pressure again due to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s (ISIS) declaration of a Caliphate. The concept and obligation to work for a unified and borderless Islamic polity, which rules by Shariah law is a mainstream belief in normative Islam whether you’re Sunni or Shia.”

Then to promote the idea of victim hood against an oppressor that destroyed Islamic civilisation – Britain: “Libraries are filled with books authored by historians and academics who described how Britain destroyed Islamic civilisation by military force, cultural infiltration and the infamous colonial strategy of ‘divide and rule’.”

That sense of colonial guilt is one reason the left give a platform to such people, rather than vigorously defend liberal secular values. Hopefully, The Independent will see this might not be the voice to raise above others.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Antisemitism

Yesterday a Sainsbury’s store in Holborn, London, removed kosher food from shelves fearing a pro Gaza anti Israel protest may destroy it, in their bid to force the supermarket chain to boycott Israeli produce.

The latest from the store:

The context is an incident which happened at a Tesco superstore in Birmingham:

[Previous article on Israel Gaza Conflict]

Indeed days ago attempts to force Tesco’s hand by consumer pressure were underway after this apparent response by them:

What has any of this to do with kosher food produced in Europe? Just change Israel Defence Forces, and State of Israel, to Jews. This is not about achieving peace. It is about retribution against anyone that goes against this kind of group think:

A mob is out there, and coming to a store near you. One that is anti-Jewish and not just appalled by the response of the Israeli military, and frustration no political settlement to improve the lives of the Palestinians has been reached. The same mob that called President Abbas out of touch last year when he said:

“No, we do not support the boycott of Israel,” the Palestinian leader told a group of South African reporters on Monday. “But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements. Because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal.

“And the Israelis should first of all stop building in our territories, should stop everything in our territories,” he stated, according to South African media outlet The Star.

“But we do not ask anyone to boycott Israel itself,” he reiterated. “We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel.” [Source]

Thuggish intimidation against Jewish people is not a political protest. It is antisemitism. We must stand against it together. Consumer boycotts are a personal choice. You may promote them. That is your democratic right. Even if they are not the answer but something that feels like a response.

We have to continue challenging antisemitism. That is something we all should be doing in the face of the mob.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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No Such Thing As A Faith Child

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Adults are extolled in the Christian tradition to be childlike in their acceptance of the faith. Jesus says: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” In the first letter of Peter “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation -“

That pure special diet is one some want their children to be exclusively fed. Proverbs reminds such parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Rather than a child free to explore the religions of this world, its cultures and philosophies so they can create their own identity, it is about a child continuing a parent’s self identity.

Children are not given the vote or expected to do jury service for a simple reason; they are children. The complexities of the big questions in society, or determining innocence or guilt in a trial would make it absurd to argue they have the competence that an adult would. There is no such thing as a Muslim child, an atheist child, let alone a Capitalist child or Marxist child, for this reason.

However, some will try and argue that children have their own faith. That complex questions as to the route to salvation, the nature of God, which religion is the true religion for this, can be answered by a child. That it is them expressing their faith when it comes to dress at school.

John Lewis is offering the hijab as part of selling school uniforms. The usual bigots and hate mongers are in hysterics in ways they are not about other expressions of faith in school. Like mandated Christian prayer at assembly, as if the state should have any right to say how we should worship. Selective outrage at children being used as an extension of parent’s beliefs so as to further the far right, need condemning.

[My article defending right to wear Niqab, let alone hijab, in public can be read here]

Parents have the household, and place of worship to teach and provide a spiritual diet for their child. A school is an academic establishment. It is not the place to be a surrogate parent in religious instruction. Ideas and values, which may challenge the religious views of parents, must not be hindered.

Children clapping, listening to music, singing happy birthday, dancing, mixed gender physical education, learning about other faiths – these are not something to exempt children from. No child would naturally do so without being told this is wrong, this is against our religion so you are forbidden.

There needs to be one place where children are free from prejudices masquerading as faith to distort their world view. Women are equal to men – there is no need to segregate them in class, or to cover your head when puberty and menstruation occurs (let alone before) as a sign of religious observance. In the classroom, you are not children of faith. Not owned by the culture or religion of your parents or a religious community, that demands you – or teachers – are adorned as such.

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Adults are independent autonomous individuals. That can make their own choices. For example, in South Africa there is a drive to increase circumcision. Men are not lining the streets for the operation. The solution proposed is to mandate new born children who cannot object or consider that using condoms would be the effective way at reducing HIV transmission.

So unless you are going to argue that out of the mouth’s of babes such permission would be forthcoming, that toddlers could vote in a referendum on Scottish independence, that a young adolescent is ready to hold high office as political views fully formed – stop claiming there is such a thing as a Muslim child, a Christian Child, or an atheist child.

Let children have a free space where they are not a proxy in culture wars, the pawns of orthodox religious views or bit players for racist propaganda. One area of their lives where they can learn in an environment that encourages them to think critically for themselves. Promoting an all round education. Schools must have that function or else children will not have their own space to develop on their own terms.

A school uniform is about identity, that they are students of an educational establishment. Not one that encourages them to be abstractions of a parent’s faith to make their children different from others. Social cohesion matters, and in a childlike way school uniforms work:

Macy Vallance, a year-eight student, says: “I like uniforms because everyone is the same and no one can be left out by the way they are dressed. Our new uniform looks smarter, which is good.”

My uniform might not be what I would wear in my own time, but it gives me a sense of belonging, takes away the pressure of what to wear and deters the bullies. School uniform isn’t fashionable, but that’s exactly why I think it should be here to stay. [The Guardian]

A sense of belonging without anyone feeling left out or different. That is the ball game, which really encourages children to grow. Segregation, in all it’s guises, must be resisted. It is the reason religious additions to school uniform must be challenged.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Video: Yazidi MP Impassioned Plea to Iraq Parliament

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Vian Dakheel Saeed Khadher MP in the Iraqi parliament pleads for action to prevent the genocide of the Yazidi in Nineveh province. The ISIS consider them “devil worshippers” and at present, in the outskirts of Shingal, people are at risk of dying slowly on the mountains as they try to escape the carnage.

ISIS now controls the lives of 6 million people, across Syria and Iraq. It has a presence in Lebanon. This, President Obama, is what happens when you let things run their course.

Kurdish forces are being defeated, and we are abandoning them.

We need to show humanitarian solidarity against genocide. It is time for previous alliances to be made anew. When we doubt our ability do do good, others will not doubt their ability to inflict evil. Doing nothing when we could do something is inexcusable.

There is no shame in being reluctant to go to war. There is a shame standing back and seeing people deliberately exterminated, terrorised and ruled over by fascist theocrats.

These are just causes for war. The US and EU needs to saddle up.

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Warsi Leaves Government

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When you have to remind your boss of the job you do in your resignation letter, usually it is a sign that leaving is the right option. Clearly you have lost their confidence. Your choice is to be ignored or to try things on the outside.

Warsi may have resigned on a point of principle and out of pique and self aggrandisement. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. A junior minister resigning due to foreign policy over Israel will not cause the government to miss a step.

With the centenary of the First World War, the resignations of several cabinet members in the build up then really were significant but did not change foreign policy. Those were also on a point of principle. Perhaps it is too rare a thing in modern politics.

Warsi was everything a rebranded Conservative Party needed. True, she was never elected an MP. However, she had drive, brains, she came from an ethnic minority and faith, and as from Yorkshire you could be sure she was all woman and much more. From the House of Lords she was given a place at the cabinet table, that her status as a junior minister did not otherwise warrant.

The problem for Government was she felt this made her an equal player at the table. The briefings before the recent reshuffle and since her resignation indicate she was not considered so. Inside government, instead of being a team player, she ran her own issue parallel platform. Challenging the government line on extremism while promoting faith initiatives at it’s heart saying it was “the most pro-faith government in the world.”

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She stressed all faith at the high table of public policy, while treating secularist concerns as from “fundamentalists”. For example in the Cambridge speech (that I wrote on here) she also said:

I was concerned with what I saw was public policy being secularised.

To the extent that Christmas was being downgraded.

Stating that:

Giving religion a voice at the top table. Not a privileged position, but an equal informer of the debate.

It is only fair to point out Islamists hated her too for not being a political Islamist. She wanted the Church of England strengthened, recognising the church’s reinforcing faith in public furthered her own views of religious pluralism involved at highest levels of public policy.

 

The result of all this – secularists, Islamists, progressives and inner Cabinet members all had grievances with her. At the reshuffle key allies of her happened to be removed. It was becoming clear with the “Trojan Horse plot” public institutions like schools were being used to enforce narrow religious views on children.

The public face of religious faith, the most prominent woman and Muslim invited to the Cabinet table was no longer the photogenic asset for the government. Other women had leapfrogged her. Not unreasonably, she might have been getting tired of playing the typecast – she had ideas and things to do. As her remit played with values Conservative voters, her behind the scenes haranguing was barely tolerated. It was better in the tent, even if she did sometimes piss people off.

So Cameron – under pressure to have more women in the Cabinet in the last reshuffle before the election – really could not dismiss her. However, there was no desire to promote her. To a position where rather than trying to influence, she might actually set the agenda. Warsi’s tragedy was not to realise the need to be a team player or to be extraordinarily competent. The result: she was never going to go higher but sacking her was too costly politically. However much pressure there was for her dismissal.

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For the insults flying around, Warsi is smart enough to realise all this. Maybe she was prepared to see it out till the General Election. She might have seen a way to try and influence the arms review supplying Israel. Still tried to shape how the education department tackled religion in state schools. If the current ceasefire holds, how a lasting political settlement for the Palestinians and Israel might be helped by foreign policy.

We all know she was not in a position to do those things. She might have been at the table, but she had not been invited to change things unless told to do so. Attending otherwise as the spectre at the feast. Eventually the appearance of power wears thin when you realise you need to change things, to stamp your mark. Yet no one lets you.

Her exit, when we may be near the end of the month long Operation Protective Edge, is late in the day, but just in time to catch the headlines. The chance for her to talk about the principles and ideas she has while in the news cycle. To build on a political career outside of government to rapturous applause for having a principle.

While some are trashing her for using Gaza as a self serving platform for herself (see cartoon) it is no less a play than the timing of Russia Today journalists suddenly finding a conscience to resign. Then being invited to talk about your views at length to fill air time for a day of two.

The illusion of power drains whether it is all about you, or you really have big ideas to change the world. What her resignation boils down to, is Warsi being accused of playing politics to further herself and her ideas. Which is a ludicrous charge to level at a politician. Of course she will, if that is the only way.

She might have wanted to be Foreign Secretary, though she did not show that competence to her boss for that. Now the world is listening to her over Gaza and Israel. I am just glad she is no longer in Government. While I doubt she will affect government policy, she could be used as a thorn in the government’s side by opponents. Rather than a wrecking ball as they will try to make her out to be.

For those talking about the impact on the government, may I just remind you of Clare Short?

Exactly.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Don’t Guilt Trip Parents Of The Disabled

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Regularly readers know that occasionally I mention my disabled brother, who I look after full-time. Blogging about other things that matter to me is my way of saying I am more than a family care giver.

[More on my being a family care giver can be read in my Huffington Post piece here].

That choice occasionally comes up. Like a surrogate twin refused by a couple because he has Down Syndrome. Naturally, another mother has written about the joy and love in their life looking after their Down Syndrome child. It is a moving article.

Thing is, it does alter your life. It will be a constant balancing act trying to live your life and helping the one you care for live their’s to the full. People will judge you all the time. You will have moments of joy and bliss. Sleep deprevation, anxiety, and a heart that regularly breaks. One you keep fixing best you can while hiding from the one that matters to you most.

My brother has a quality of life, and a gregarious personality. His joy at living is a pleasure to see. His learning difficulties will make him vulnerable and dependent on others for the rest of his life. He will never be independent.

Damn straight I would want to change that for him. I would go to hell and back to do that. Yet, there are moments where I am making that journey already just to keep his quality of life as it is. Somehow you crawl out, waiting for the moment you get sucked back in. You enjoy the rays of sunshine on your face before that happens to keep you going.

People question all the time if it is sustainable or whether I miss the life I did have before. The answer is that hopefully things can change to make things a bit easier. You never accept things as they are. Keep pushing for what you need, and the person you look after needs. Both of you are important.

Whatever decision you make, it is important you do not make yourself come last. That is too easy to happen. If you do, that is when you no longer have the network of friends you thought you had. The constant grind and routine scrapes the marrow of joy from existence. Do what you love, find the time.

A book changed my outlook on life as a child. The last page. “Danny The Champion Of The World” gave some sage advice: what a child deserves and needs is a parent that is sparky.

Not everyone is. That, in the final analysis, requires you to be honest about yourself. I will not judge you either way. You require support, not guilt tripping by anyone.

The decision is yours.

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Richard Dawkins On Mild Pedophilia And Mild Rape

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A rational mind might suspect that demonstrating logical fallacy with pedophilia and rape examples might cause a twitter frenzy.

Not Richard Dawkins, who’s clarification on both tweets he has entitled:

Response to a bizarre twitter storm

Bizarre? Well with “mild paedophilia” we mentioned the problem with such a term back in September 2013. Yet he used it again. But also went on to tweet later “mild rape”.

Pedophilia

The clarification for that tweet:

I should of course have said RELATIVELY mild. Obviously I don’t think any pedophilia is mild in an absolute sense. But I presume most victims would agree that being touched by an adult hand (though very unpleasant, as I know from my own childhood experience) is RELATIVELY speaking not SO unpleasant as being violently penetrated by an adult penis. But the logical point is, or should be, uncontroversial: no endorsement of the less bad option is implied.

Best not to say “mild pedophilia” ever then. As British Law stands the punishment is automatically more severe for rape compared to assault of a minor:

5. Rape of a child under 13

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis, and
(b)the other person is under 13.
(2)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

….

7. Sexual assault of a child under 13

(1)A person commits an offence if—

(a)he intentionally touches another person,

(b)the touching is sexual, and

(c)the other person is under 13.

(2)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years. [Sexual Offences Act 2003]

If Dawkins had said “the sexual assault of a child is bad, the rape of a child is worse” it would have made more sense.

There is a clear distinction to be made in law, despite Dawkins poor insensitive phrasing in his tweet regarding relative impact on child victims of such sexual offenses. “Obviously I don’t think any pedophilia is mild in an absolute sense” hopefully Richard realises not to use “mild pedophilia” as an expression.

Date Rape versus Stranger Rape

This is where the wheels properly came off for Dawkins, compared to the previous tweet:

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You might notice Dawkins does not in his clarification refer to that tweet but this original one:

His clarification suggests he is not ranking rapes, which the “mild rape” twitter conversation above clearly shows he is. It also misses that rape is by nature a violent crime of itself.

In both my hypothetical examples, I made the mistake of forgetting to put quotation marks around the hypothetical quotations. The second one, for instance, should be amended to

“Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse.” If you think anybody who said that would thereby be endorsing date rape, go away and learn how to think.

Actually, it’s rather plausible that some people might find date rape WORSE than being raped by a stranger (let’s leave the “at knifepoint” out of it). Think of the disillusionment, the betrayal of trust in someone you thought was a friend. But my logical point remains unchanged. It applies to any hypothetical X and Y, which could be reversed. Thus:-

“Being raped by a stranger is bad. Being raped by a formerly trusted friend is worse.” If you think that hypothetical quotation is an endorsement of rape by strangers, go away and learn how to think.

I wasn’t even saying it is RIGHT to rank one kind of rape as worse than another (that caused an immense amount of agony and a scarcely creditable level of vitriolic abuse in the Twittosphere). You may be one of those who thinks all forms of rape are EQUALLY bad, and should not, in principle be ranked at all, ever. In that case my logical point won’t be relevant to you and you don’t need to take offence (although you might have trouble being a judge who is expected to give heavier sentences for worse versions of the same crime). All I was saying is that IF you are one of those who is prepared to say that one kind of rape is worse than another (whichever particular kinds those might be), this doesn’t imply that you approve of the less bad one. It is still bad. Just not AS bad.

 

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If we go by British Law – rape is rape. What the knife does is clearly prove lack of consent. Rape by definition is violent, a forceful act. A huge issue here is suggesting that date rape is not as bad as rape generally. Placing Richard Dawkins in rather bad company when it comes to describing rape.

Dawkins was inviting us to rank different forms of rape. Unless using an imaginary scale for the pain and trauma of a rape victim is an academic exercise. Point is “mild rape” does not exist. It feels in his clarification, Dawkins is ignoring what he did actually say and discuss.

Which is disingenuous because most of the press and a lot of people on twitter were complaining about him saying “mild rape.” He ignores ever having said that. The quotation marks do not help in the tweet.

The concern is when it comes to sensitivity on two of the worst crimes against adults and children imaginable, Dawkins does not live in the real world. Assault and rape are different sexual offenses. Try not to trivialize  the real pain and suffering people go through, as being mild.

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