Debunking so-called ‘stop the war’ coalition’s ‘5 facts’

John Sargeant:

Ukraine has the potential for mass conflict. It is vital to challenge the misinformation that is out there, not least from Stop The War Coalition.

Originally posted on EUROPE'S FRINGE:

This is a brief response I wrote to debunk the ‘5 facts‘ article the so-called ‘stop the war’ coalition posted at the end of August 2014. Although it barely dignifies a response, I feel duty-bound.

For the record, I opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion and supported the work Stop the War Coalition did then, but if Putin succeeds, with the help of poorly informed UK citizens susceptible to Russia’s propaganda machine, we’ll end up with war that makes Iraq 2003 look like a playground fight.

Point 1: Countries joined NATO of their own accord. Why were countries like Poland & the Baltics so keen to join? Because they understand Russia much better than you do.

Point 2:How can an organisation that purports to be left wing prop up Russian ethno-nationalist arguments? People in Ukraine are from a variety of backgrounds but want to be Ukrainian-ethnicity is not the…

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Video: How Three Al Jazeera Journalists In Egypt Got Caught In The Middle

Mohamed Fahmy

Mohamed Fahmy

In a five minute must watch clip, one of the sentenced journalists in Egypt details how his news network, Al Jazeera, let them down in a political game between Egypt and Qatar.

In Egypt three Al Jazeera journalists have been sentenced to three years in prison. There had been hopes that at least they might have been sentenced to time already served in detention. Instead, they return to the terrorist dungeon wing of a prison as a result of a political game between Egypt and Qatar. Qatar own Al Jazeera and support the Muslim Brotherhood, who President Sisi led a coup against as an army General on his path to taking power and outlawing the Islamist organisation. One of the journalists, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, details in a must watch five minute clip below, how all this has played out just prior to being sentenced.

Al Jazeera, or those working for them, were supplying equipment and support to the Muslim Brotherhood, something Fahmy reveals in the clip. The result has been to put their journalists at risk of exactly this sort of political retaliation. One where at their initial trial, they had been accused of working with Satan.

That is about as credible as the evidence ever seemed against them.

My thanks to Roxane for sharing the video with me.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Jeremy Duns Leaves Twitter

Photo by Rebecca Duns

Jeremy Duns has left a message for why he is leaving Twitter (see below) – the author has decided to knuckle down and write some more books. I first encountered Jeremy on social media when writing about Mo Ansar on this blog. When Jeremy became involved, he took it to a whole new level. For detective work becoming a spy, his investigative standards were the ones to imitate when it came to social media. His critics called him a bully; ironic as the very people he took down were more often than not bullies themselves in trying to stop the very thing Duns would expose.

His decision to leave twitter followed an examination of antisemitism on Twitter, one which you can read more about on David Paxton’s blog here. Paxton named “Duns’ Law” as:

Someone who uses the word ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zionists’ on social media to criticize others will also have posted antisemitic material.

Seeing plagiarists challenged about their integrity and charlatans exposed for the frauds they are, all made reading his timeline compulsive viewing. Reading one of his tweets, you just had to go to his timeline to read the full story.

As he swims another lap round an island in Scandinavia, before returning to his secret writers lair, I wish him all the best.

Update:

My thanks to @moomin_kew for sharing Duns’ statement and John Matthews for letting me know in first place.

David Paxton has just told me that he did not originate Duns’ Law but is unsure who actually did. Since telling me this person has been credited

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Muslim drag queens

John Sargeant:

Sam is often sharing his blog with me via twitter. His post on #muslimdragqueens is a long overdue reblog of his writings. Post based on a documentary aired on Channel 4 last night.

Originally posted on Thoughts of a Politics student:

Late last night on twitter I saw the hashtag #Muslimdragqueens, this was something which surprised me as it would anyone at seeing the hashtag at 1 o’clock in the morning. This piqued my interest and i went on it only to see what i was sadly expecting, the level of vitriol aimed at the programme and those who identify as LGB was quite horrifying. The opinion polling on Islam and homosexuality makes for little better reading than the gargantuan amount of abuse on twitter. Gallup’s poll in 2009 found 0% of Muslims are supportive of homosexuality, the pew research centre found not dissimilar results around the world.  However there is also data which shows the opposite, Demos conducted polling which found that a large minority favoured the progressive treatment that Britain gives to its gay citizens, and in America a substantial minority support gay marriage. This polling gives hope that maybe…

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Sad news: Stirling University ends Religious Studies courses

John Sargeant:

“Religion supposedly causes so much trouble in the world, so why is the University of Stirling planning to close its religion courses?” The need to study religion has not gone away. Academic scrutiny is exactly what it needs.

Originally posted on Primate's Progress:

Looking out over Airthrey Loch towards the University’s Library and central administrative hub, the Cottrell Building. (Image by Finlay McWalter via wikipedia entry “University of Stirling”

If you are surprised to see me regretting this, you shouldn’t be. Stirling is one of the few places where religion is studied in the same critical spirit as any other major human activity, without pre-commitment to doctrine or dogma. Meantime, Heythrop College, London, where anti-theist (if I may so call him) Stephen Law rubs shoulders with Canon Theologian Keith Ward is no longer recruiting undergraduates and is scheduled to close in 2018.  If you don’t know why we need such studies, now of all times, you haven’t been paying attention.

Here, by permission, is a report on these developments by Ekklesia, the widely respected liberal Christian think-tank:

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22008

Widespread dismay at university plans to end religion courses

Researchers, teachers, students and public figures are…

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Hamza Tzortzis Denies Ashley Madison Registration

The data dump of the Ashley Madison Website “Life is short. Have an affair” has revealed some startling revelations:

There are also email addresses linked to the White House and NASA, as well as the Vatican and the United Nations. [Sky]

One name that has come up in the UK is one Hamza Tzortzis, researcher and speaker for The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA). Regular readers will remember them from the Lawrence Krauss UCL debate where segregation nearly led to the professor walking out.

Tzortzis, has spoken regularly at Hizb ut-tahrir events, advocating Islamic theocracy and the caliphate over liberal democracy. He has said:

“We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom. We see under the Khilafa (caliphate), when people used to engage in a positive way, this idea of freedom was redundant, it was unnecessary, because the society understood under the education system of the Khilafa state, and under the political framework of Islam, that people must engage with each other in a positive and productive way to produce results, as the Qur’an says, to get to know one another.”

In the last 24 hours, Tzortzis has issued a denial that he entered his details on the website. Apparently, all his movements whether public or private are accounted for, but he did not check his online credit card statement for the reacquiring fee to the Ashley Madison website. All his emails from the site went to his junk folder, which he never checked either. It took the data leak to reveal this was happening, and the police have been called.

So it is rather odd he talks about the Islamically allowed part of the site “(this includes permissible acts, for instance the endeavour to find another halal wife [who can also be a non-Muslim] who wanted to be with a married man, which is allowed in Islam)”. If he has never registered to join the site, or never used it’s services, why stress?

It is another bizarre story and denial, following on from “Zionists broke in and stole my shoe” that we had from Bukhari. I am more concerned about his stated views than whether he has committed adultery or not.

Below is his denial as posted on Facebook:

Important announcement: It has come to my attention that my details are on the Ashley Madison data leak. This includes my name, address, and bank card details.

This is an obvious case of fraud. My email address (this website doesn’t verify emails, and all the relevant emails went to junk) can be found online and so can my address, as it is linked to my business account, which is registered online. My date of birth is known from either previous lectures or Facebook. These types of online attacks are not uncommon, for example in the past year there have been multiple attempts to access my emails.

The first transaction took place last October after my trip to Hajj (pilgrimage). There have been subsequent transactions every month, not under the named site but a discrete label, which I believe is normal for such websites. I don’t check my bank statements because I have paperless statements, and it is something I haven’t made into a habit.

This is a serious matter of fraud or malice for which the bank and police have been informed. They will now pursue the matter further as a formal crime. I am not ruling anything out at the moment, including the possibility of my phone being illegally hacked. Retrospectively speaking, it has shown signs of being hacked.

It seems that the first transaction was made in Australia when I was there for lectures and courses. It could have been someone who knows me, someone who hates me, or a malicious person who found out who I was. It could be one person or two, they could be working locally, from abroad or both. At the moment I have no idea. But it is clear that they probably didn’t complete what they intended to do, as the data so far indicates that there was not much activity and/or dialogue that would have led to a meeting (although I’m getting a few people to go through the data, they haven’t given me the full details yet, so this is speculative).

My whereabouts and activities, both private and public are traceable and recorded, and there is without any doubt that I have not pursued such immoral acts that the site promotes (this includes permissible acts, for instance the endeavour to find another halal wife [who can also be a non-Muslim] who wanted to be with a married man, which is allowed in Islam). My face is recorded when I enter and leave work, and the gym (the main places I go to). My social and professional meetings are public, and with people that can honestly confirm my presence.

I’m trying to find answers to why someone would do this, and what they intended, as they seemed to have profiled me well and attempted to not be explicit about my identity. This was done maybe to expose me in the future by showing signs that I was deliberate discrete, who knows. Additionally, they obviously did not predict the leak.

Unfortunately, some people will have a field day. This is not my concern at all, there’s already a lot of slander and hate online about me. I have my suspicions and unanswered questions too. However, and most importantly, my concern is now with my family and their privacy. I would appreciate that you all respect that.

Thank you. May God bless you all and shower you all with His guidance, mercy and love.

[Update 24 August 2015: the Facebook post has since been deleted. If you want to see more on Hamza saying how nine year olds can be ready for consensual sex, and women have abortions like ice cream see The Friendly Atheist]

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Religion Is Dying To Have The Last Word – reply to Giles Fraser

Reading Giles Fraser “At a Christian funeral all are equal before God – even Cilla Black” reminds me why I want no priests doing my service. I want an exclusion zone round my service just to make sure they cannot slip a few words in.

Mentioning Cilla Black’s service:

But few mentioned the dramatic core of the service she chose – the sharing of bread and wine and the anticipation of that eternal feast to which all are called. And it was here, in this, the religious part of the service, that Cilla was not a celebrity standing before an audience, but a human being standing naked before God. There is a basic democracy in this aspect of religion that is often absent from the secular funeral.

The equality of humanity is served by being stripped naked before an all powerful believe-in-me-and-you-won’t-suffer-in-hell supreme being that is beyond questioning by us mortals why we are essentially unequal in natural abilities, health and circumstance. As Paul wrote, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”

Democracy is not present in us all being stripped naked before the one that rules us all in death. This is the apologia for the celestial dictatorship which judges against us that would dare to question their divine authority, one given to priests to lecture secularists about their memorials for the dead. The fear of death, of the undiscovered country, is the last sanctum of religion. The last roll of the dice for Pascal’s Wager, of what if there is a maker to be met?

 …The secular memorial service began as something for important statesmen and was then adopted by the increasingly Godless bourgeoisie as a way of celebrating their personal achievements. But it’s often poorly designed for those of us who are not a part of the great and the good.

Or did not want the church, which offered fees to say prayers to reduce the suffering of loved ones in purgatory or to prey on widows by suggesting how helpful for the deceased if they were to give a donation, or persecuted fellow free thinkers through the ages anywhere near their corpse. Such was the fleecing of the poor, unable to make their way in this life, to at least get a better start in the next by passing copper and silver to the clergy. Thus was “the rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate/he made them high and lowly and ordered their estate” in All Things Bright And Beautiful. Your place as celebrity or otherwise was so ordained “as a part of some cosmically wider story” that Fraser does not point out in his piece. But then again maybe God does nothing, like almost not being there at all.

Fraser mentions what if the deceased was a total shit. You cannot say anything bad about them apparently at a memorial service whilst religion is ready to say how wretched, worthless and devoid of meaning we all are without God’s forgiveness – thus celebrities are equal with their audience in the cosmic story. We are all shits really, but through Grace, Christianity offers to make of us manure that our souls will bloom out of.

When you die religion is desperate to have the last word. It is more important we have the last laugh at its pretensions, and celebrate life which is so fragile, so delicate and so short. Make it beautiful, make it count.

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