The British Muslim 5pillarsuk.com site published the following article by Harith Armstrong (12 Oct 2015):
Why Prevent and the Quilliam Foundation are counter-productive
The UK government’s Prevent strategy is an anti-terrorist strategy, published in 2011. The Quilliam Foundation is an anti-extremism think tank, set up by Maajid Nawaz, himself a reformed radical Islamist.
In its essence the article calls into question the basis and acitivities of both Prevent and Quilliam Foundation, somewhat justifiably at least in the former case. But it also makes some errors of its own, which bring to light the underlying reasons for Islamic extremism – a clash of value systems.
When I was a child, the word ‘retard’ was used by some kids as a term of mild, somewhat humorous abuse of other kids, and by society at large to refer to people with intellectual disabilities. It’s not a useful word for the latter (if it were, we’d use it in clinical medicine), and no sensible person today would use it for that purpose, unless of course they were a ….
Yet another article on Muslim abuse that misuses the word ‘Islamophobia’…
Let’s get one thing straight. ‘Islamophobia’ as used in the media now is a nonsense term. Phobias are unreasoned fears about things, e.g. some people have them about spiders. Islamophobia, if it means anything it means: an irrational fear of Islam. That’s quite defensible given some of the many things the term ‘Islam’ can represent today. And yet it is used instead as a surrogate for the cry of ‘Racist!’ by ignorant cultural relativists and other unconscious post-modernists.
[edit Nov 01] Originally I avoided following the obvious line of argument that fear of Islam is for many quite rational, rather than irrational, making the word ‘Islamophobia’ doubly meaningless. However, I think that the hideousness of Islamic state’s atrocities (which are simply a public version of the same thing historically conducted in more carefully controlled places) explains ‘fear’ of all kinds to be found at any point on the continuum from the rational (reasoned, informed) to the irrational (emotional).
It’s challenging to count the ways in which the UK general election 2 days ago failed miserably on objective measures of democratic health for a country. I’ve tried to pick the most egregious.
Anyone who follows the debate on fundamentalist Islamic terrorism will be familiar with Sam Harris and Reza Aslan. They usually come across as intellectually diametrically opposed, but are both clearly humanists and deep thinkers. The fact that two such intelligent students of world affairs, belief systems and geopolitics cannot find a common reference point from which to have more substantive debate is informative.
The UK election looms. A not-wholly inane (as may have been expected) 7-way leaders debate took place last week (here on YouTube), featuring leaders of the Conservatives, Lib-dems, Labour, Scottish National Party (SNP), UKIP, Plaid Cymru (Wales), and the Greens.
I joined the UK Green Party recently. There’s a lot to fix with its internal organisation, media presentation and other peripheral aspects. There are bits of policy that need serious work. But the core thinking on the ecological, economic and social levels is broadly good and coherent.
There is an internal discussion (post mortem) going on after a ‘car-crash’ interview the Greens leader, Natalie Bennett gave on LBC, a radio station this last week. I posted the following on the internal discussion about the car crash by way of reaction. It might be of interest to some readers here (note: below, ‘GP’ = Green Party, not general practitioner!).
First the harp, since I have a small clip of a wonderful musician called Diego Laverde Rojas from Columbia, who was playing in Old St Tube station last night.
Like me many of you I often just walk past buskers, even good ones, following my imagined prioritisation of things (or just being late to a meeting). But… what could be more important than standing listening to a virtuoso player in the underground on a cold night, conjuring up traditional dances of South America on the least likely instrument? Thanks Diego, you made my night, and I am sure you will make many others happy. [Of course I asked him if I could upload the video of him. He’s a lovely guy to talk to. I was so stunned by his playing I completely forget to give him a few more coins. Londoners, please help me make up for that!]
And now for the dark side.
UK democracy is in dire straits. All the evidence right now points to a failing system, and for quite different reasons than the US, a country now deemed an oligarchy by academic experts (Mike Lofgren’s book The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted is another absolute must-read on the failure of democracy in the US). But I’ll leave the US for now, since its democracy actually is dead, and concentrate on the UK’s, which is close to flat-lining.
Here, there are many causes, but it’s the outcome that is notable today: the public no longer believes in politicians. At all. They’ve lost confidence utterly in all the main parties. Here I’ll skim through the many causes I detect merely by tracking the media, and ponder if anything can be done.
This post is about how hardline militancy about potentially good ideas (eating less meat, open source software, reducing alcohol consumption) cruels rational debate, and often has the opposite effect in the real world of that intended. Militants are essentially ideologues and fascists and need to be called out for it.
Firstly, to any vegans or vegetarians reading this: I like all both of these things. In moderation:) Now read on…
Recently I accidentally become embroiled in a comments section discussion / flame war attached to an Alternet.org article called ‘Unsavory: The Problem With Angry Vegans Who Push and Preach Their Ideals‘. Most of the flaming was by other people and for other people, so I escaped with only minor charring around the edges. Continue reading