A Love Letter to Scotland For The Union

IMG_2055.JPG

My first experience of Scotland was a Haggis hunt with the fuzzbuzzes. To the uninitiated, the fuzzbuzzes were created as stories to help children with phonetic sound and reading issues. I will forever be grateful that while at infant school I was singled out for special funding. The extra tuition included using these story books, while taught one to one. Without this support, I doubt I would be able to read, let alone blog.

One slight draw back – I really did think Haggis was a two legged creature that was hunted in the Glen. I can quite understand people of Scotland feeling that the English are similarly naive about their desires and wants for an Independent Scotland.

I have no say over your future. Rightly so. The decision is for Scotland alone. All I can tell you is that my love for Scotland started when my love for reading was kindled as a little boy in Hampshire.

Finding out Haggis really did not have legs, was an offal experience. However, it led me to the poetry of Robert Burns. The different sound of the Scottish dialect when reading aloud the poems. There was a joy in the language. Also, that my birthday is the day before Burns Night. It fired my imagination – and my love for Scotland went from a fictionalised world to the real one.

At sixth form studying economics there was a chance to meet another Scottish hero. One, unlike Burns, that believed wholeheartedly in the Union. Adam Smith – the father of economics and moral philosopher. I combined those two elements by reading Economics and Politics at University. Which taught me among other things:

IMG_2050.PNG

At university I discovered David Hume, and the significance of the Scottish Enlightenment and the English Enlightenment to the United Kingdom and beyond. Never was synergy in thought more apparent in the day to day actions of human activity. The reverberations are still felt around the world.

Skip forward to now, and what the United Kingdom does still impacts on the world. In a globalised community, perhaps there has never been a better time to go it alone. The British Empire is rightly no more.

Yet a world with more borders, where common bonds of humanity are broken down, should give pause to think again. Fellow citizens becoming neighbours. Neighbours becoming competitors. Kin becoming strangers. A shared heritage becoming estranged.

IMG_2056.JPG

Going to back to Junior school I remember a simulation about protecting Osprey on the old Acorn computers (showing my age now). Using funds in such a way to maximise the number born.

Nearly thirty years later they are still an Amber List species due both to low breeding numbers and illegal killings. This fishing bird of prey truly is an awesome sight to behold in action. It inspired this poem by Jeremy Wyatt:

Old stones weep in the rain
their darkling gaze unblinking
Glowering with ancient pain
of distant glories thinking

Preening Lords arrogant in imagined might
would quail could they perceive
The majesty of osprey flight
True rulers still of Threave

If you wanted to understand why we need no more borders – poetry and birds never should have barriers – read his description how he came to write the poem:

Written two years ago after a dreamy day at Threave Castle viewing a Welsh osprey who moved to Scotland (via Africa) [Source: Poem called "Osprey Flight"]

There are no borders for a flying bird of prey. The land is one. Such lines are a human invention, a tribal longing for terroritry, to allow distinctions. To make narrower ties at the expense of making others forlorn strangers. Nationalism is glorified as a patriotic form of sectarianism.

We have shared an identity, our heritage and way of life for so long. That is what is at stake tomorrow. I hope that we can work together to make this island better for us all. Rather than start to look at each other as foreigners, and prevent other children growing up to care and love each other.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

Leave a comment

Filed under British Politics, British Society, Culture, Poetry and Music, World

ISIS and Fighting Clerical Fascism

The need to fight fascism and prevent genocide are as close to self evident truths as humanity might wish to invent. When both present themselves in the form of ISIS the question is how, rather than why, they must be destroyed.

Yet those siren voices are calling: the west must not get involved. Iraq and Afghanistan are painted as strategic failures. We need to point out not intervening in Syria gave the space and time for ISIS to emerge.

That non intervention made it too easy for Islamists to paint a narrative: the west were not getting involved because spilt Muslim blood means nothing compared to the flow of oil. Assad was slaughtering his people, even using Chemical weapons and air strikes on the civilian population.

You can imagine the videos, too disturbing for mainstream media, used to recruit people to fight back. The world community was found wanting. As too often it is when massacres and appalling suffering happen.

That was the draw – the reality is crucifying, beheading, and sexual slavery. Still, you get your rent paid, canned goods and free health care. Welcome to the theological fascist military outfit that is ISIS.

A military power that controls territory about the size of England, spread over two countries. Controlling sufficient oil supplies it can create an effective internal market to keep the finance coming. Let alone hard currency from oil smuggled out. Money on the side kidnapping.

Mehdi Hasan said we should not call them a military power – they don’t have a navy among other things (nothing gets past Mehdi). But “bunch of thugs” as he prefers really does not explain them. This is a death cult of well led fascist fanatics.

They have routed larger armies. Such is the terror and effective command structure brought in by previous military Baathists that were kicked out with the fall of Saddam. Deny people a stake in the new order, they have no allegiance.

The death squads roaming Iraq, and the sectarian violence presented the opportunity for ISIS to launch their attack on a disintegrating state. Coming as liberators, promising Islam as in the golden age. Dealing out justice to the foes of the faith, by The Book.

The secular Muslim heritage, the mysticism of Sufis, a spiritual Caliphate – they are forgotten on this rampage. Universal human rights are absent. This is total war as they enlarge their territory. Imposing clerical fascism. The Art of War with Jihad coupled with modern tactics. Announcing they were now a geographical Caliphate was a message.

A message for political Islamists that envisage a unified Islamic empire that can defend and promote one theological Islam to the world: we have done it join us. Even now, some ask if the territory can be kept intact with the defeat of ISIS.

Those siren voices again. To use the murder, pillaging and atrocities of ISIS for the realisation of an Islamic caliphate that might undo the old colonial powers. As if ISIS were an eraser for the lines that western imperialists drew on the map as they carved up territory.

So of course you will have the likes of Anjem Choudary belittling the carnage, and Dilly Hussain saying Yazidi were fleeing tax dodgers, and Mo Ansar saying this could give birth to a good Islamic state. Islamists hope that people will rally up against their incompetent and dictatorial rulers for an Arab Winter to freeze the whole of the Middle East and South Asia into a theological ice block of uniformity. Even some Islamists that are against ISIS hope a thaw sees a different set of theocrats in charge one day.

Political Islam has laid the ground work for a caliphate to be seen as a requirement for Muslims. The misrule by secular despots and incompetent clerics has made many buy into this vision.

How many have to die for theological hedgemony? As many as it takes. So the question then becomes why antagonise the US and UK by beheading their citizens?

The risk is ISIS want a final confrontation. A battle to end all battles. Set up the theological state, Allah is meant to be the Ace in the Hole. They believe Muslims will flock to their banner to finally rid the infidel once and for all. At last the unity of Muslim people, and the final victory of ISIS. The Caliphate remains.

We can and must denounce fascism in all it’s gory forms. Theological fascism should be no exception. Not only denouncing ISIS but the caliphate they wish to create. Too many people, Muslim and non Muslim, have died because of this nightmare.

People have to decide their own governments and way of living. That cannot be done while living under the shadow of a sword. Fascism always rises when a vacuum is created. You know it when you see it; totalitarianism, military conquest and complete obedience to the state. If the alternative is anarchy or a status quo that crushes them, people will flock to the banner.

Make no mistake. People like Russell Brand will say terrorist attacks increase if we drop bombs on Muslims, and we will keep having the same problem unless we leave well alone. Others will claim this is about war profits for the US military industrial complex. Those siren voices will say this is not our fight, we will make the situation worse. They will even try to tell you this is not about religion – no matter how many times ISIS say it is.

If all we do is drop bombs we will not defeat ISIS. The ideology of Islamism has to be shown for what it is. It needs to be challenged – a counter theological narrative so Secular Muslim heritage can reassert itself. Where we have failed is in challenging political Islam throughout the world. By our governments not standing up for the oppressed people in allied Muslim majority nations, we have lost the moral high ground.

Too often we went with what was expedient. Siding with bloody dictators. John Kerry is doing the same again with Egypt. We wonder why the Islamist narrative appeals to people when we ourselves shake the bloodied hands of mass murderers, while calling them a friend.

This is not going to be easy. There is no quick fix, and this is not the starting point we would wish. Muslims and non Muslims have to work together to defeat political Islamists. As a coalition is built to deal with ISIS, we need one that tackles theocrats, mad mullahs, and extremism.

If you care about human rights, sexual equality, democracy, pluralism, the separation of religion and state – it is time to saddle up for the battle of ideas. Do not let clerical fascists claim religion as a cover for their insidious actions in the public space.

Religious freedom must not be a gateway for a bunch of thugs to abuse.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

1 Comment

Filed under Religion, secular, World

The Extremists Of God

IMG_5296.JPG

“We must rebel. Blood and bullets are the only two things that will change this world, short of divine action.”

Regarding religion as the truth leaves no room for doubt and uncertainty. An open minded believer will say it is a matter of faith, and that makes it right for them but it is a personal choice. Regard as truth for everyone, in the world, throughout the cosmos and the thing is what stops you imposing it on others.

Take it further. You see yourself as an agent of God to impose his will on others. With a mission: to change the world. By force of arms.

“ looking for absolute Freedom by doing the Will of God.”

Is a madman above using religion to achieve their political rather than theological ends by death, or does belief pushed to its limit make people believe they are the right hand of Allah?

——

Accept the quotes above are not from an Islamic terrorist using social media. Welcome instead to the rantings of Talbot, a white male 38 year old Christian, investigated by the FBI

Christian? Going by how he identifies himself and his motives. Which incidentally is applying the same standard to judge ISIS by. Imposing theocracy on others by bloody force and vengeance.

Talbot posted on Facebook that he had gone to four Bank of America branches to “play observation.” Talbot allegedly urged “anyone who robs these banks to kill everyone working for the ‘banking Cartels’ during the heist.”

Talbot’s Facebook post continued: “That is exactly what I will have my men do during the heist. Same goes with the Muslims. Mosques are to be a blast! With three of my guys with FA [full automatic] AK’s [AK-47 semi-automatic rifles], we will send that white house worthless piece of dirt and his Muslim brotherhood a message they will never forget.”[Southern Poverty Law Center]

The story (from March) came up on twitter today as an example that non Islamic extremism did not hit the headlines the same way Islamic extremism does.

As Robert James Talbot Jr. mentioned in one of his last Facebook posts before his arrest:

“In a few weeks me and my team are going active for Operation Liberty. I will not be able to post no more. We will be the revolution, things will happen nationwide or in the states. They will call us many names and spin things around on media. Just remember we fight to stop Marxism, liberalism, Central banking Cartels and the New World Order.”

Free thinking must be about promoting the civic virtues of free speech, free religion and freedom from religion. That democracy requires the free association of people to function without threat or hindrance.

These values are needed to challenge extremisim. Mr Amin, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dudley North in the UK, was quoted on Islamic extremism. It applies however to all society:

“We must not be afraid to ask the difficult questions and to thoroughly cleanse our ghettoised communities from feeling so distant from the ideals of what it means to live in a free society where you can choose to practise faith or not to, where you can live alongside every faith and none, where your rights are protected under law and you are an equal citizen. These are noble values, yet in Muslim communities I have almost never heard these being discussed with young people in inner-city areas.”

These nobel values need to be the air we breathe. On the street, each mosque, every home, all schools, everywhere. For a living breathing civil society.

Extremism in all it’s forms – whether the far right or theocratic – must concern us all if we value freedom. It cannot exist if it does not apply to all.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

Leave a comment

Filed under America, British Society, Religion, secular, World

Dead To You and God – Shunning By Jehovah’s Witnesses

How Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught to treat the disfellowshipped as if dead by God, but publicly play this down.

Imagine you gave a gift to your grandfather, but wrapped it in such a way it displeased him. So much so that he kills you, and your brother who is with you.

Your father is then told that his sons dishonoured their grandfather. While his nephews take their deceased cousins (ie you) for burial, the father and surviving siblings are told not to mourn. Grandfather will be angry if they do. Obey him, or else the community will suffer, this is the law they are told.

This is fictitious – unless you read Leviticus Chapter Ten as literal. The father is Aaron, the high priest. Moses is laying down the law, and the particular homicidal grandfather is the loving creator Jehovah. The gift was burning incense.

I burn with indignation that such horror stories are used to endear people to God. In a recent Watchtower magazine this above story is used to encourage Jehovah’s Witnesses to treat the disfellowshipped as … dead.

A heartrending experience for Aaron’s family is recorded at Leviticus 10: 1-11. They must have been devastated when fire from heaven consumed Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu at the tabernacle. What a test of faith it was for Aaron and his family not to mourn their dead relatives! Are you personally proving yourself holy with regard to not associating with family members or others who have been disfellowshipped? —Read 1 Corinthians 5:11 ~ The Watchtower November 15 2014, p.14]

The bible quote at the end is part of “The Expel The Immoral Brother” passage. It reads:

11) But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler– not even to eat with such a one.

This is not a new thing – the practice of shunning even family members where you would not even say “Hello” to them. For example how to react to your son having sex, but he lives under your roof:

“Suppose, for example, that the only son of an exemplary Christian couple leaves the truth. Preferring “the temporary enjoyment of sin” to a personal relationship with Jehovah and with his godly parents, the young man is disfellowshipped. … the Bible says “to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator. … They also realise that the word “anyone” in this verse includes family members not living under their roof. … Our hearts go out to those parents. After all, their son had a choice, and he chose to pursue his unchristian lifestyle rather than to continue to enjoy close association with his parents and other fellow believers. The parents, on the other hand, had no say in the matter. … But what will those dear parents do? Will they obey Jehovah’s clear direction? Or will they rationalize that they can have regular association with the disfellowshipped son and call it, “necessary family business”? In making their decision, they must not fail to consider how Jehovah feels about what they are doing. … Today, Jehovah does not immediately execute those who violate his laws. He lovingly gives them an opportunity to repent from their unrighteous works. How would Jehovah feel, though, if the parents of an unrepentant wrongdoer kept putting Him to the test by having unnecessary association with their disfellowshipped son or daughter?” ~ The Watchtower 2011 July 15 p.31, p.32 [my emphasis]

Jehovah does not immediately execute those that displease him now. What a mercy. But he still gets angry if you say hello to those disfellowshipped by congregation elders. Probably wants to kill you, every word you say testing his divine patience. Jehovah comes first, not your child – especially if fornicating.

What if the son is a minor living at home, but becomes disfellowshipped?

If the child is a minor and is living at home, you will naturally continue to take care of his physical needs. He also requires moral training and discipline, and you have the responsibility to provide these. (Proverbs 1:8-18; 6:20-22; 29:17) You may want to conduct a Bible study with him, involving his direct participation. You can draw his attention to various scriptures and to the publications provided by the faithful and discreet slave. (Matthew 24:45) You can also take the child with you to Christian meetings and have him sit with you. All of this can be done in hopes that he will take Scriptural counsel to heart.

The situation is different if the disfellowshipped one is not a minor and is living away from home. The apostle Paul admonished Christians in ancient Corinth: Quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. (1Corinthians 5:11) While caring for necessary family matters may require some contact with the disfellowshipped person, a Christian parent should strive to avoid needless association.

When an erring child is disciplined by Christian shepherds, it would be unwise if you were to reject or minimize their Bible-based action. Siding with your rebellious child would not be providing any real protection from the Devil. Actually, you would be endangering your own spiritual health. On the other hand, by supporting the efforts of the shepherds, you will remain solid in the faith and will provide the best help for your child.” ~ The Watchtower 2007 Jan 15 p.20 [my emphasis]

You see the devil is at work on the disfellowshipped. Also via apostates like myself, and indeed non believers.

Try to square the above magazine excerpts from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, with their website FAQ on the subject:

Those who were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses but no longer preach to others, perhaps even drifting away from association with fellow believers, are not shunned. In fact, we reach out to them and try to rekindle their spiritual interest.

We do not automatically disfellowship someone who commits a serious sin. If, however, a baptized Witness makes a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral code and does not repent, he or she will be shunned or disfellowshipped. The Bible clearly states: “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”—1 Corinthians 5:13.

What of a man who is disfellowshipped but whose wife and children are still Jehovah’s Witnesses? The religious ties he had with his family change, but blood ties remain. The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings continue.

Disfellowshipped individuals may attend our religious services. If they wish, they may also receive spiritual counsel from congregation elders. The goal is to help each individual once more to qualify to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Disfellowshipped people who reject improper conduct and demonstrate a sincere desire to live by the Bible’s standards are always welcome to become members of the congregation again.

This is not the experience – just one example from a thread discussing:

I have a similar problem with my nana. She raised me for the most part, I left the religion when I was 18 and we remained close until this past year when they forced her to first only see me for business reasons so shed make up trips she needed my help with to see me then to I can’t even speak to her and my kids can’t either. Im 25 and my older son who is 5 asks about his nana all the time and im at a loss what to say. I cry about it a lot. I feel helpless because those awful fools have taken my only real family member I cared about. They are cracking down apparently on people with disfellowshipped family members, though I willingly disassociated and was not disfellowshipped they’re saying it’s no different now. If only I’d never gotten baptized, it was my ultimate mistake and cost me dearly.

This is about control, punishment and preventing challenge to the organisation. But it is also about demanding God is put before family. This is what you would be expected to do if you became baptized. Separating loved ones from each other because they lose their faith is cult like behaviour. It is abuse done in the name of the creator, sanctioned by the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I will always be grateful that before my life could be ruined as a child we left. That story can be read here.

Would like to acknowledge excerpts linked to above coming from JWFacts.com and Hemant Mehta “Friendly Atheist” site for bringing up the November 2014 Watchtower excerpt that started this post.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

3 Comments

Filed under Jehovah's Witnesses, Religion

Eric Pickles Is A Blot On The Political Landscape

A politician with half the intellect of Eric Pickles should be able to articulate religious hatred and prejudice is bad, liberty and religious freedom is good. When you are at heart a christian nationalist intellectual rigor does not matter. You are preaching a vision of utopia. Facts and reality spoil the narrative. It is a public service to provide them when a Government Minister spouts such drivel as in his article “The fight against intolerance begins at home

Some History

Eric Pickles claims England was increasingly a religious tolerant country in the 17th century by accepting French Protestants and protecting non conformists, via Christian values. He neglects these points:

Charles II (1660-1685) was not particularly religious but as far as he had any religion he secretly leaned to Roman Catholicism.

 

Meanwhile parliament was determined to crack down on the many independent churches that had sprung up during the interregnum (the period between 1649 and 1660 when England was without a king) and make Anglicanism the state religion again.

 

They passed a series of acts called the Clarendon code, a series of laws to persecute non-conformists (Protestants who did not belong to the Church of England). The Corporation Act of 1661 said that all officials in towns must be members of the Church of England.

 

The Act of Uniformity 1662 said that all clergy must use the Book of Common Prayer. About 2,000 clergy who disagreed resigned. Furthermore the Conventicle Act of 1664 forbade unauthorized religious meetings of more than 5 people unless they were all of the same household.

 

Finally the Five Mile Act of 1665 forbade non-Anglican ministers to come within 5 miles of incorporated towns. (Towns with a mayor and corporation). [Source]

The King’s son deposed later, the Bill of Rights 1689 made catholic succession to the throne or marriage to a catholic illegal. In another contradiction of words, the Toleration Act 1689 prevented non-Anglicans to hold public office or attend university. You could at least legally now pray in your own house of worship for things to change. Unsurprisingly Mr Pickles stresses that last part only in his article. The persecution of Catholics by the English State by the end of the 17th century was alive and well.

Even if these historical details – let alone the English Civil War and Thirty Years War – are sketchy for some it should be obvious the Huguenots were welcomed not because of religious tolerance but out of sectarian solidarity.

Of course Eric Pickles does this to suggest that Christianity has for many centuries helped make the English state a religiously tolerant nation. If truth matters, we need to point out in English history it was not the aggressive secularists that were terrorizing the populace. It was the religious. Subverting the liberties then that Mr Pickles claims to uphold now.

The Church of England is a symbol of such intolerance in our nation’s history – not the historical origins of our liberty. The freedoms we enjoy now were undoing the harm that religious sectarianism did to this nation. Not through our Christian values as Pickles claims. As Bertrand Russell explains:

The results of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, in the intellectual sphere, were at first wholly bad, but ultimately beneficial. The Thirty Years War persuaded everybody that neither Protestants nor Catholics could be completely victorious; it became necessary to abandon the medieval hope of doctrinal unity and this increased men’s freedom to think for themselves, even about fundamentals. The diversity of creeds in different countries made it possible to escape persecution by living abroad. Disgust with theological warfare turned the attention of able men increasingly to secular learning, especially mathematics and science. (History of Western Philosophy, p.424)

We can only hope that theological conflicts will give way to such secular learning and free thinking in the 21st century soon in the Middle East and South Asia.

Aggressive Secularists

Being outspoken that the sate should not appoint bishops in the legislative body as this is an affront to democracy, that the head of state has the same liberty to choose their faith as anyone else, that in the public space religion should neither favour or discriminate against you as a citizen, is apparently being too vocal for Eric Pickles:

The common theme is the politics of division and hate: attitudes and mantras that seek to divide rather than unite. Aggressive secularists would advocate the suppression of religion in the public sphere. Yet this would only perpetuate the message of intolerance towards others. Religion is the not the problem – political and religious extremism is.

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand in hand – but both should operate within the law. Britain has a broad and generous vision of citizenship. It is important that we all take responsibility for defending it. The first is by standing up to the overt and noisy bullies. Second is constant vigilance against the sly pedlars of hatred whose crude prejudices masquerade as religious piety. Jesus recognised this risk when he warned us to “watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” One of the foundations of the Church of England was its “via media” – or middle way between religious hotheads. These guiding principles of the English Reformation should help us as we grapple with the religious politics and tensions of the 21st century.

Mr Pickles, where were you when people were advocating men and women being separated during public meetings at our universities? Where was your concern when our schools were being  used to impose religious extremist views on our children? That religious freedom means a prayer should be a private matter before a public meeting and not part of the local government agenda dictated as a Christian prayer? When we called on religious hate preachers to be prevented from entering the country?

Removing Anglican privilege from the public sphere is about ending religious discrimination. Rejecting the notion of this country as a Christian Nation because national identity should never be fused with creed. The establishment of the Church of England heralded misery, oppression and bloodshed as a new channel for religious zealotry. It is not an institution to be proud of, created at the whim of a philandering and whimsically theologically tyrannical King.

We cannot hope to confront the theological nightmare that is ISIS if we are dishonest about our own theological sectarian history. Religion is a problem when we see the breathtaking ignorance expounded on it by the windbag that is Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, including responsibility for faith.

There are many problems in politics and political institutions. Religion has always been one of them. Secularists from faith and non faith backgrounds will continue to point that out vocally whatever smears and insinuations Eric Pickles continues to make about us. This is not about suppressing the religious, but preventing creed and dogma denying the liberties and freedom we would all have otherwise.

When it comes to a discussion of such issues, Eric Pickles is a blot on the political landscape.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

Leave a comment

Filed under British Politics, British Society, secular

The Damnation of Pakistan’s Second Amendment and Imran Khan

Four million people are discriminated against in a land of 180 million. The Second Amendment of the constitution is devoted to enshrining the legal basis to do so. The second; a religious ruling as constitutional law. It reads:

1- Short title and commencement.

(1) This Act may be called the CONSTITUTION (SECOND AMENDMENT) ACT, 1974

(2) It shall come into force at once.
2- Amendment of Article 106 of the Constitution.

In the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to as the Constitution in Article 106, in clause (3) after the words “communities” the words and brackets “and persons of Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’)” shall be inserted.

3- Amendment of Article 260 of the Constitution.
In the Constitution, in Article 260, after clause (2) the following new clause shall be added, namely–

(3) A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.”

The consequence of this is the state has a religious test if you want to vote or have a passport:

Ahmadi Muslims are forced to make a decision if they choose to vote—either register as a non-Mus- lim or sign a document declaring the founder of their community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to be an apostate and a liar.161 In other words, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community must either denounce their faith, denounce their Community’s Founder, or be forbidden from voting. The July-December 2010 UN International Religious Freedom Report on Pakistan explains:

“The government [of Pakistan] designated religious affili- ation on passports and requested religious information in national identity card applications. A citizen must have a national identity card to vote. Those wishing to be listed as Muslims must swear their belief that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet and denounce the Ahmadiyya movement’s founder [Mirza Ghulam Ahmad] as a false prophet and his followers as non-Mus- lims, a provision designed to discriminate against Ahmadis. As a result Ahmadis continued to boycott elections.” [Source]

The form you have to fill in for a passport:

IMG_2026.PNG

The hypocrisy the Pakistan Government forces on its citzens, when it is a universal human right to choose your religion or none. That it is no business of government telling it’s citizens what to believe. That it is risible to demand public statements of faith. That it is an abomination to deny what is a citizen’s by birth alone. Not by bits of paper issued by theocratic bureaucrats.

For forty years Pakistan has played the charade of a modern nation state when it cannot even get this fundamental thing right. Far longer some may argue. So long, some friends are leaving you. While others I know lament the failure of their state, and the lie they must give to have the rights that are theirs by birth alone.

The reason I write this post is this Facebook post calling attention to this:

IMG_2027.PNG

The Ahmadi rise up, not with protests or placards. Rather, they try to do so by their deeds. Whilst raising consciousness by articles, social media and books – the political process is staked against them as a means. They are four million in a land of 180 million that goes along with the discrimination the constitution allows in an Islamic country.

Imran Khan will not take up their cause. As he stated:

“PTI totally subscribes to the article in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the Ahmadis. It is not part of the PTI agenda to seek amendment of the said article in the Constitution.”

There is no mass protest on the streets of Pakistan. There may never be. Even the Muslim Council of Britain cannot bring itself to condemn the sectarianism against them. The world has to give voice, it must tip it’s denouncement in the scales of justice.

The Ahmadi are denied access to shops, to vote, to travel. They are murdered in the light of day, and their murderers at liberty to sleep at night while their loved ones mourn crying out for justice beyond the new break of day. Many have claimed less of a reason for Londoner’s to take up arms with ISIS.

The Ahmadi instead take up alms. The sorrow continues, yet as more learn of the injustice inflicted based on religious fatwa, the fractured state that is Pakistan might be understood.

You may yet join the chorus demanding change. Nothing less than solidarity with the Ahmadi can be expected of the secular community, let alone humanity.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

Leave a comment

Filed under Religion, secular, World

The World According To Dilly Hussain

IMG_1999.JPG

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:

IMG_1994.PNG

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

IMG_1995.PNG

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

IMG_1996.PNG

Plus the added one if you are a woman:

IMG_2001.PNG

[More on this twitter exchange can be read here]

Still, he claims to be going places:

IMG_1997.PNG

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.

IMG_1998.PNG

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

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

7 Comments

Filed under British Politics, British Society, Culture, Religion, secular, Uncategorized, World