Posts Tagged ‘fundamentalism’

Tony Blair attacks Islam to absolve his wars from any responsibility for the Woolwich killing

June 4, 2013

Humility is supposed to be a Christian virtue, but it is one that has always evaded Tony Blair. Even so it was something of a shock to see his latest venture into print in the Mail on Sunday this week over the question of the Woolwich murder and Islam.

This article, judging by the comments beneath it, was too much for even the Mail’s conservative readers to stomach. Blair’s arrogant and pompous self-justification allows no element of regret for the wars into which he plunged millions of people, or for the instability in much of the Middle East and south Asia that his policies have helped create.

Blair’s thesis is that ‘there is a problem within Islam — from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it.’

He continues, ‘I’m afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.’

The world of the Middle East according to Blair is divided into two sorts of Muslims:

‘On the one side, there are Islamists who have this exclusivist and reactionary world view. They are a significant minority, loud and well organised. On the other are the modern-minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and who hate the new oppression by religious fanatics.’

To unpack this: Blair is saying that there are fanatical and extremist Muslims, who are driven to commit acts like the murder of Lee Rigby through ideological hatred of ‘western values’, and who are given support and succour from much larger groups of Muslims who really should know better and who should embrace pluralistic and liberal values as exemplified by…Tony Blair.

Except that isn’t how it looks to millions of people. The people of the Middle East and Afghanistan might be forgiven for asking which pluralistic and liberal values brought them the torture at Abu Ghraib, the use of depleted uranium in Iraq, the bombing of women and children in Afghanistan. They might wonder why when they ‘hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators’ they received no backing from the open minded Tony Blair or his fellow warmongers.

They might even wonder whether the spreading of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not an example of Jewish extremism, the whole Project for the New American century an example of Christian fundamentalism, or the massacres of Muslims Rohinga in Burma an example of Buddhist extremism?

Above all, we are all entitled to wonder just what deficiency in Blair’s mental image of the world allows him to consider that he has anything to contribute on this question? He has launched two major wars that are generally acknowledged to have been failures in their own terms and to have increased the likelihood of terrorism around the world. He lied in order to go to war in Iraq and will be the subject of criticism when the long delayed Chilcot report comes out.

The war was illegal under international law and in any fair society he would now be facing trial at The Hague, not posing as envoy for peace in the Middle East.

Rather than acknowledge any of this Blair’s brass neck leads him to advocate further wars, now against Syria and Iran, and to pose any opposition to him and his policies in terms of a ‘clash of civilisations’.

He talks about ideology driving terrorist attacks, but ignores his own dangerous ideology: the promotion of neo liberal free markets, the support for wars which protect those markets, and the defence of growing levels of inequality and misery caused by these policies.

The wars that he has done so much to promote have fuelled attacks on Muslims and a wave of Islamophobia, recently exacerbated by the events in Woolwich. Blair’s response? To attack Islam as a means of absolving his wars from any connection or responsibility. How much worse can he get?

— Lindsey German

Published by Stop the War Coalition.

We should never forget Stop the War Coalition is a Trotskyist front organisation, and in recent years has been hijacked by and become an apologist for Muslim fundamentalists. Nevertheless, that does not mean to say Tony Blair did not write a load of stomach churning garbage.

Contrary to what Lindsey German writes, there is a problem with Islamic extremists, Islamic fundamentalism does pose a threat, you only have to ask Nigerians what it is doing to their country, but a threat that is exacerbated by polices of US and UK and their support for Israel.

The ideology behind Lee Rigby’s murder is profound and dangerous. Why don’t we admit it?: Tony Blair launches a brave assault on Muslim extremism after Woolwich attack

June 3, 2013

There is only one view of the murder of Lee Rigby: horrific. But there are two views of its significance.

One is that it is the act of crazy people, motivated in this case by a perverted idea about Islam, but of no broader significance.

Crazy people do crazy things. So don’t overreact.

The other view is that this act was indeed horrible; and that the ideology which inspired it is profound and dangerous.

I am of this latter view.

So of course we shouldn’t overreact. We didn’t after July 7, 2005. But we did act. And we were right to. The actions by our security services will undoubtedly have prevented other serious attacks.

The ‘Prevent’ programme in local communities was sensible. The new measures of the Government seem reasonable and proportionate.

However, we are deluding ourselves if we believe that we can protect this country simply by what we do here. The ideology is out there. It isn’t diminishing.

Consider the Middle East. As of now, Syria is in a state of accelerating disintegration. President Assad is brutally pulverising communities hostile to his regime. At least 80,000 have died. The refugees now total more than one million. The internally displaced are more than four million.

Many in the region believe that the Assad intention is to ethnically cleanse the Sunni from the areas dominated by his regime and then form a separate state around Lebanon. There would then be a de facto Sunni state in the rest of Syria, cut off from the wealth of the country or the sea.

The Syrian opposition is made up of many groups. The fighters are increasingly the Al Qaeda- affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra. They are winning support, and arms and money from outside the country.

So I understand the desire to look at this world and explain it by reference to local grievances, economic alienation and of course ‘crazy people’. But are we really going to examine it and find no common thread, nothing that joins these dots, no sense of an ideology driving or at least exacerbating it all?

There is not a problem with Islam. For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature. There is not a problem with Muslims in general. Most in Britain will be horrified at Lee Rigby’s murder.

But there is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it.

Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones. But I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.

At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it. This has two effects. First, those with that view think we are weak and that gives them strength.

Second, those within Islam – and the good news is there are many – who actually know this problem exists and want to do something about it, lose heart. All over the Middle East and beyond there is a struggle being played out.

On the one side, there are Islamists who have this exclusivist and reactionary world view. They are a significant minority, loud and well organised. On the other are the modern-minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and who hate the new oppression by religious fanatics. They are potentially the majority, but unfortunately they are badly organised.

The seeds of future fanaticism and terror, possibly even major conflict, are being sown. We have to help sow seeds of reconciliation and peace. But clearing the ground for peace is not always peaceful.

The long and hard conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have made us wary of any interventions abroad. But we should never forget why they were long and hard. We allowed failed states to come into being.

Saddam was responsible for two major wars, in which hundreds of thousands died, many by chemical weapons. He killed similar numbers of his own people.

The Taliban grew out of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and made the country into a training ground for terror. Once these regimes were removed, both countries have struggled against the same forces promoting violence and terror in the name of religion everywhere.

Not every engagement need be military; or where military, involve troops. But disengaging from this struggle won’t bring us peace.

Neither will security alone. We resisted revolutionary communism by being resolute on security; but we defeated it by a better idea: Freedom. We can do the same with this.

The better idea is a modern view of religion and its place in society and politics. There has to be respect and equality between people of different faiths. Religion must have a voice in the political system but not govern it.

We have to start with how to educate children about faith, here and abroad. That is why I started a foundation whose specific purpose is to educate children of different faiths across the world to learn about each other and live with each other.

We are now in 20 countries and the programmes work. But it is a drop in the ocean compared with the flood of intolerance taught to so many. Now, more than ever, we have to be strong and we have to be strategic.

— Tony Blair

This self-justifying stomach churning garbage from war criminal Tony Blair was originally published in The Mail on Sunday. From the comments on-line, it was more than even Mail readers could stomach.

The Woolich killings can be see in two different lights. Either a senseless killing on the streets, no different apart from its brutality to other street killings, or an act of terrorism.

It was treated as the latter by David Cameron, which has the downside of elevating the killers to martyrs. Though if David Cameron had not reacted as he did, and it was the start of a wave of killings, he would have been rightly criticised.

How does a war criminal become a Middle East Envoy? One only has to look at Iraq today, to see the legacy of Tony Blair.

The Blair article is riddled with errors.

Do many in the Middle East believe the aim of Butcher Assad is to cleanse the region of Sunni Muslims? Yes, it has descended into sectarian violence, as has Iraq (the Blair legacy), but that is not how it started. It started with Assad gunning down peaceful protesters. Only later did the opponents of this repressive regime take up arms to defend themselves. And shame on Putin for supporting Assad.

Blair claims Assad has used chemical weapons. What is his evidence? The UN says there is suspicion, but have not been allowed in to collect evidence.

Blair claims he sees at first hand what is happening in the Middle East, and specifically Israeli occupied Palestine. He sees, does he, Israeli settlers destroying olive trees, of occupying land that is not theirs?

Blair claims the ‘Taliban grew out of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and made the country into a training ground for terror’. This is to completely rewrite history. The Americans provoked the then USSR to invade Afghanistan to create their own Vietnam. It was the CIA and MI6 and Pakistani ISI, with the help of Saudi money that created the Mujahideen to fight the Soviets, that morphed into the Taliban. Bin-Laden was our creation. The extreme form of Islam in Afghanistan was exported from Saudi Arabia, but still we arm the Saudis.

Blair claims Afghanistan was a terrorist training ground. It was not, but it is now, as is Iraq and many other parts of the world. The Taliban were willing to hand over Bin Laden, were they given the evidence to justify doing so. Afghanistan is now a major poppy producer, bogged down in corruption, women have no rights.

Blair mentions Pakistan, but does not mention the drone strikes by the Americans, and now the British, and the impact that is having. He does not mention the rampant corruption and cronyism in Pakistan.

There is a problem with Muslim extremism, that is not rooted in the Koran, with ignorant preachers of hate who should be kicked out of the country.

Young men are being fed poison in the Mosques, but what is then ignored by both the media and the mainstream political class, not just Blair, is self-brainwashing. Young men are fed poison in the Mosques, but they do not then have to watch videos on the net (though there are many to watch), they simply watch the mainstream news. They see the drone strikes in Pakistan, they see the ethnic cleansing and genocide committed by Israel against Palestinians, a few like the Glasgow car bombing, the 7/7 London Bombings, the brutal killing on the streets of Woolwich, are spurred to act, to attack what they see as the enemy slaughtering fellow innocent Muslims.

For nearly a decade, the British security services have been warning governments about the growth of terrorism as a result of disaffection in relation to the Afghan and Iraq wars. Former head of MI5 Dame Eliza Manningham Buller told the Chilcot inquiry that she had given such a warning to Tony Blair’s government over Iraq. We have evidence from these latest attackers and from those previously charged with terrorist offences that the wars are one of their major grievances.

Our wars, have destabilised large parts of the world, turning them into terrorist training grounds, into which head brainwashed angry young men, who came back primed and loaded as killing machines.

Publication in Iran of I Hate Paulo Coelho

January 15, 2012
Aleph in Farsi

Aleph in Farsi

Haters are confused admirers waiting for an excuse to say “I love you”. — Paulo Coelho

We hate that which we often fear. — William Shakespeare

It is becoming ludicrous the attacks on Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho by the evil Ayatollahs and Mullahs in Iran.

First they banned his books, then an attack by the Iran Book News Agency, now the promotion of a book, if not actually commissioned, I Hate Paulo Coelho.

A novel in Persian (Farsi): I Hate Paulo Coelho by Hamdreza Omidi Sarvi published by Amout Publications.

IBNA: “I Hate Paulo Coelho” relates a love story in social context. The main character of the novel named Reza is a pessimist writer with a number of failures. Reza-in-love encounters new people and situations that moves the story to new spaces.

The novel is written in a simple and colloquial language mostly related in internal monologues. The writer in this book tries to probe into the minds and lives of different social classes through a romance – social classes that each demand different things and have different dreams.

The story goes as “Qazal had read the ‘Alchemist’ and was influenced by it so much that she believed the book had saved her life in a period of mental crisis. At that moment it had not crossed my mind that ‘You Fool! When someone asks your opinion on something in the very first date, it means that she really cares for that and your opinion does matter….”

“I Hate Paulo Coelho” is published in 400 pages and 1650 copies by Amout Publications.

Hamidreza Omidi Sarvar is a mechanical engineering graduate with publications on film criticism.

It is easy to see why Paulo Coelho is hated by the regime, his books banned. He writes on mysticism, he encourages people to think, he stands up for the rights of women, all of which must be an anathema to the evil regime in Iran. He is also a very strong critic of religious fundamentalism.

The attacks on Paulo Coelho should also been seen within the context of the whipping up of anti-Western hate and hysteria in Iran and the development of nuclear weapons with which to attack the West and Israel and threats to close international shipping lanes through which a large amount of the world’s oil passes.

Paulo Coelho is very popular in Iran, which must upset the corrupt Ayatollahs and Mullahs, religious extremists who bastardise the people of Iran, especially the women. A pity the revolution of a few years ago failed to overthrow them.

The Zahir was first published in Iran. Copies to then be promptly seized by the Thought Police.

It was Paulo Coelho who brought to world attention the brutal killing of Neda, the face of the revolution, during the failed revolution.

Paulo Coelho has made his books available for free download in Farsi. Spread the word to all your Iranian friends.

Less we forget, the Mullahs and Ayatollahs not only shed blood in Iran, they are one of the principle agents of the sectarian violence and shedding of blood in Iraq.

Coelho’s thought rhyming with false mysticism
Aleph in Farsi
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books
The persecution of Hoder
Change in Iran
Arash Hejazi Interview for BBC
The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

Crass stupidity by Christian fundamentalists leads to persecution and massacre of Christians in the Middle East

December 7, 2011
Armageddon

Armageddon

Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shall not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land. — Holy Bible

Political correctness = Church in the Dark Ages. If you don’t follow the rules they burn you. — Paulo Coelho

Yes, I believe the words of the Lord to Mary Magdalene to be his most radical utterance. We are family – all of us. We belong in God’s family. There are no outsiders. All are insiders. — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among evangelic Christians are these: the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace to other people. — David Seamands

Jesus said: I tell my mysteries to people worthy of my mysteries. — Gospel of Thomas

Yesterday I came across a tweet which I cannot now find of Christians bragging of several converts from Islam to Christianity.

Do these imbeciles really think this is something to be proud of, to brag about?

Do they think it earns them a few brownie points in heaven? That God is someone to be impressed: Look, we have brought along a few more converts. It is probably completely lost on them that their converts recognised the same God before and after conversion.

The Koran says to recognise all religions, especially those of Abraham.

Do these imbeciles who brag about converts not understand they are putting lives at risk in the Middle East, where memories of the Crusades are as if they happened yesterday? The First Crusade was launched to wipe Muslim contamination off the face of the Holy Land. Knights sought salvation in the blood of slaughtered Muslims.

Christianity A History: The Crusades

Like modern-day carpet baggers, Christian fundamentalists rode in on the coat tails of the US-UK illegal invasion of Iraq. Christians in Iraq have suffered the consequences ever since. Many have fled Iraq, many have been slaughtered, their homes and businesses destroyed. Christians who had been at peace with their neighbours.

The violence has spread to Egypt from where many Coptic Christians have now fled.

Jesus was a Jew. His early followers were Jews. He was the leader of a Jewish sect, one of many at the time. It welcomed all, Jews and Gentiles. Slowly, slowly, over the next century, it diverged from its Jewish roots to become a separate religion.

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

St George’s in Baghdad welcomes all. Not just Christians of all denominations, but Jews and Muslims too are also welcome. Inclusive not exclusive, the same God, respect for each other. A place of peace and tranquillity surrounded by razor wire. A place where angels appear.

We have people like Canon Andrew White who work tirelessly at Peace and Reconciliation in the Middle East. His work is undermined, his life and the lives of those around him are put at risk by these imbeciles who far from doing God’s work are doing the Devil’s work.

Canon Andrew White at the Boiler Room

In one year, Canon Andrew White had his entire Church leadership killed, his head of security was also killed.

Will these Christian fundamentalists not be happy until the Middle East is emptied of Christians? Or maybe, as indeed some are, trying to trigger Armageddon as they think it will force the Second Coming. They of course being self-appointed as the chosen few who will be saved.

Top story The Digital Mission Daily (Wednesday 7 November 2011)!

Love Wins
What is wrong with the church?
God and real life
What a Rabbi Learns from Muhammad

A lack of grace

March 2, 2011

These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. — Jesus

What is it with Christian Evangelists, or maybe I should say some, for whom a more apt description would be Christian fundamentalists? They get up ones nose. I would not say I hate them, but they certainly disgust me.

Yesterday I was outside Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia en la Plaza de Iglesia en Puerto de la Cruz en Tenerife and overheard three people saying the church was closed. I politely interrupted them and said no it was not closed, it was open. What was apparently the mother and father walked off saying they would be back later leaving their son to look in the church.

He asked was I a Christian. I said it was not necessary to be a Christian to look in a church.

He must have thought this was a sign I needed ´saving´ as he reached in his bag to hand me some leaflets he thought or maybe insisted I should read and asked if I knew of Our Lord, that He had died on the cross to save sinners like me.

I beat him to it. I said I possibly knew more than he and showed him the first stanza of ´The Hound of Heaven´, and suggested that he read Why I Am a Christian by John Stott.

I told him God prodded and goaded.

This was a sign for him to offer to read to me from the Old Testament. He asked whether I knew a particular psalm, which I did, but I said I did not know the Old Testament well and preferred the New.

He told me both were the same God, to which I replied as was the Koran and cited the path to salvation was to believe in the one God and to do good.

This immediately put me beyond the pale. No it was nothing to do with doing good and Muslims were different and did not recognise Jesus.

I patiently explained this was not the case and was the ignorance of Christians who did not know the Koran. I explained the importance of Jesus in the Koran, and at the End of Days (in Mathew) Jesus would sit in Judgement, the sheep from the goats, ask why you did not give me a drink when I thirst, food when hungry, shelter when needed. But I did not see you my Lord. Was I not the beggar?

At this point I was not considered worthy of talking to and he walked off in a huff into the church.

In the meantime his parents had walked back and said they would see him at St Telmo.

I looked in the church a few minutes later, but he had gone.

I then found him looking out to sea looking very lost. I told him his parents had gone to St Telmo and I would take him there. I was probably the last person whose help he sought, but he had no choice. I could have just pointed it out, but I thought no, I would make the point of escorting him there.

I showed him a copy of The Big Question, but all I got was a gruff not interested.

We walked along in silence. It must have got to him as he asked me did I know Puerto de la Cruz and how long was I there? I told him yes, that I was there for three weeks, was then in England for a few days before going to Istanbul for a St Joseph´s Day party.

Istanbul?

He was now totally confused and perplexed.

I asked him did he know when this was?

No, he did not, so I told him 19 March. I then explained why I was there, as a guest of devout Catholic writer Paulo Coelho. Who of course he had never heard of.

I explained who Paulo Coelho was, that The Alchemist had sold over 40 million copies worldwide, but that Paulo Coelho was little known in England.

He then said I must be someone very important!

We by then had reached St Telmo.

I was tempted to hand him over to his parents with the comment, here is your ungracious son, but I resisted the temptation.

I did not tell him that in Istanbul we hope to attend Friday prayers!

Why do people behave like this? Do they not realise the damage they do? They are ego-tripping, believing they are doing good.

Archbishop William Temple spoke of the sin of self, self-centredness, that salvation was the freedom from self.

The favourite definition of a sinner of Martin Luther was homo in se incurvatus, ie man curved in on himself.

Jesus did not force people to adopt His faith. Indeed, He resisted the Temptation offered by the Devil.

Paulo Coelho in The Valkeryies and Philip Yancey in The Jesus I Never Knew, both tell the same story of a Grand Inquisitor telling Jesus they were having to undo the harm He had caused by giving people free will, they had to be forced to believe for their own salvation. [see The Grand Inquisitor]

Jesus did not demand, He did not pump out propaganda, He issued a humble invitation (Matthew 11:28):

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Why do people lack the grace of Coelho and Yancey?

But some good of this encounter. I had told this rather ungracious young man that I had never found St Telmo open. To my surprise I found it open.

Top story in El Religion Diario (Friday 4 March 2011).