Entries from September 2006 ↓

Why We Shouldn’t Support Intervention in Darfur

Darfur, it seems, has become the ‘genocide’ of choice for luvvies and liberals anxious to advertise their humanitarian credentials to the world. However, by adopting the cause of the Darfurians and calling for UN or NATO military intervention in Sudan, such people may be prolonging the conflict longer than it need be. As Alan Kuperman wrote recently in The New York Times:

THOUSANDS of Americans who wear green wristbands and demand military intervention to stop Sudan’s Arab government from perpetrating genocide against black tribes in Darfur must be perplexed by recent developments.Without such intervention, Sudan’s government last month agreed to a peace accord pledging to disarm Arab janjaweed militias and resettle displaced civilians. By contrast, Darfur’s black rebels, who are touted by the wristband crowd as freedom fighters, rejected the deal because it did not give them full regional control. Put simply, the rebels were willing to let genocide continue against their own people rather than compromise their demand for power.

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Ramadan Roundup

Alhamdulillah, we have all lived to see another Ramadan and insha’Allah we will benefit from this month of months. As this article reminds us:

The month of Ramadan has arrived again, the month of fasting and prayer. It is the month that provides an opportunity for forgiveness from Allah and emancipation from our sins. It is the month for performing good deeds and giving in charity. It is the month when the gates of the heavens are opened and the rewards for our deeds are magnified many times over. It is the month wherein prayers are answered and the status of the worshipper is elevated. It is the month wherein sins are forgiven.

Allah bestows so many blessings upon his servants in the month of Ramadan. This is the month of fasting that is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) fasted during this month and directed his followers to do the same. He told us that whoever fasts this month with faith, seeking Allah’s reward, will have all of his past sins forgiven. He likewise informed us that whoever stands in prayer throughout this month will have all of his past sins forgiven.

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Muslim Satire

The Satirical Muslim offers an amusing take on Peter Costello’s recent comments and other current events. And whilst on the subject of using satire or comedy for good ends, Sheikh Salman al-Awdah’s site has a fatwa on the issue.

Abbott and Costello

Australian politicians, these days, are a fairly bland bunch. Think Dutch cuisine or a Jeffrey Archer novel and you have some idea as to what is on offer. There are, however, two that stand out: Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. Turnbull for his willingness to think outside of the box, such as his attempt to address the tax system in this country and Abbott for his principled stance on many issues, particularly with regards to Muslims and Islam.

For example, last week, Mr Abbott addressed a public forum in Lidcome, NSW entitled, “Towards a Cohesive Australia”. Whilst Muslims will undoubtedly disagree with some of what he has said, there is a gaping chasm between his approach and style, and the style of some of his more bellicose colleagues.

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A Terrible Nonsense is Born: When Glamour meets Altruism

Gwyneth Paltrow, beaded and adorned in clothing Africanus, looks out at us breathtakingly in the way only superstars can. It’s that sultry “bite me, you’re not this hot and successful yet still humble” look. Said look is usually accompanied by an artificial breeze.

“I am African”, declares a wind-swept Gwyneth, looking more Gucci than Ghana. Of course you are. We all are. Now, take your medication for racial dysphoria and rest a while.

To be fair, she’s not the only celebrity who took part in this monstrosity of a charity campaign, the purpose of which escapes me. All that resonates is the whiter than white faces decrying their Africanness.

While the photographs will act as little more than a reminder of how gorgeous famous people are, and just how far airbrushing has come, it thankfully provides long-lasting luvvie fodder for cynical bloggers just waiting to annihilate celebs who took the lyrics to “We are the World” literally.
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Deadbeat parents

In this age of the cult of personal proclamation of otherwise undistinguished and indistinguishable little people, it is of course heresy to suggest that occasionally they should perhaps be prepared to pull their head in for those around them. Outrageous, for example to expect that a nurse (who works in a paediatric casualty department) should cover obscene tattoos on his arms and head so as not to frighten children, otherwise how would we appreciate him as an “individual”. He might even need (heaven forbid) to distinguish himself by deeds rather than by skin mutilation.

Most people would however be sympathetic to parents reigning in their personal need for self expression, validation/proclamation/(insert Deepak Chopra phrase here), for the sake of their children. But alas this is not so, as we will sadly demonstrate.

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Sheikh Jaafar Idris’ response to the Pope

As mentioned in the previous post, Sheikh Jaafar Sheikh Idris has authored a succint reply to Pope Benedict that addresses some of the major themes in his speech.

On Sept 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XIV, delivered a lecture at the University of Regensburg. The lecture was in German but was later translated into English by the Vatican under the title, The Three Stages in the Program of Dehellenization. My reply is based on that translation.

The main theme of the Papal speech was the relationship between faith and reason, and it was mainly about the development of Western thought on this issue, especially in relation to Christianity. But for some obscure reason the Pope started off with something that does not at all seem relevant to his central topic. He began by quoting something which the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus of the fourteenth century said about Islam.

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Some Thoughts on Pope Benedict’s Speech

At some point, I hope, Muslims will come to realise that there are far more elegant and eloquent ways of responding to the charge that we follow a religion of violence than to respond with the sorts of violent expressions of misdirected rage that we have seen in recent days. Of course, to be fair, one can only imagine what those angry Muslims thought the Pope said because at the time that they started protesting, I understand that the speech had not yet been translated into English, Farsi, Arabic or Urdu.

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Multiculturalism as Government Policy: Is there another option?

Jason Soon at Catallaxy Files makes some passing but nonetheless important observations about multiculturalism:

I have long thought that classical liberalism transcends the tired old multiculturalism debate. While the idea of forced assimilation would be foreign to liberal thinking, liberals have also been critical of the idea of imposing multiculturalism from ‘top down’, implicit in the underlying vision of some of its early advocates, who were in favour of people being not just left alone to decide whether or not to choose to retain their native customs, but to be positively encouraged to do so. Indeed this form of multiculturalism is really not so different from older form of nationalism in that it sees ‘ethnic diversity’ as just another ’stock’ to be cultivated and treated as a ‘national strength’.

By contrast, while classical liberals have always been comfortable with cultural diversity they prefer that this be of the natural, unforced kind, the sort of multiculturalism that emerges from the bottom up like in the ‘melting pot’ analogy much used in the US. True multiculturalism would not need a ‘Department of Multicultural Affairs’ and the cultivation of ethnic commissars collaborating with sensitivity watchdogs. In practice I think Australia has resembled more of this melting pot ideal than what the commissars intended and that has been a good thing.

The choice, as it is often understood by Muslims, is between multiculturalism as state ideology and forced monoculturalism as state ideology. In other words, one approach allows us not only cultural freedoms but state sponsorship and protection of those cultures; and the other approach requires us to jettison our respective cultures and adopt a particular culture and set of values as defined by the state.

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The Death of Imagination

British columnist Peter Hitchens is the brother of Christopher Hitchens but, unlike Christopher, often makes a lot of sense. In his latest post on his blog, he laments what he sees as a wholesale moral and cultural decline in British society. The entire post is worth reading, but he concludes by pointing to what he sees as the most serious problem of all:

But the worst damage of all, I think, has been done by the wholesale destruction of imagination because children are nowadays never allowed to be bored, and are always able to silence their thoughts with noise or pictures. Imagination matters because it is there that we are able to picture the results of what we do before we do it.
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