Entries from January 2008 ↓

Backpeddling on the Siege of Liverpool Hospital

So the UK Daily Telegraph’s Damian “Latin Mass Debate” Thompson who published the claim that Muslim hordes had laid siege to Liverpool Hospital has subsequently recanted. He writes:

Actually, Islamic radicalism is growing in Australia – but that doesn’t make the Dhimmi Watch story true. Why have no doctors, nurses or patients from the hospital come forward with eyewitness accounts?

Come on, Damian. Don’t give up so easily. You have to do better than that if you want to be taken seriously as one of the brave bloggers confronting the “global campaign of fundamentalist Muslims”. Why not try something like this:

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Muslims “lay siege” to Liverpool Hospital?

Reader Thabet writes to point out that Damian Thompson of The Telegraph blog has posted an allegation that a Muslim horde “lay siege” last year to Liverpool Hospital in Sydney. Thompson, who somewhat ironically cites an interest in “conspiracy theories” and “fake history”, writes:

After the death of a young Muslim man in a car crash in Sydney last month, an Islamic crowd invaded a hospital in order to stop medical tests being carried out on the body in contravention of Sharia law, according to the Dhimmi Watch website.

If the report is true, then this is another example of a global campaign by fundamentalist Muslims to replace civil law by Sharia – a process that has already taken root in British cities.

The anonymous report on this supposed siege begins:

The antecedent to the Muslim incursion on the Hospital came about on Monday the 17 December last, when a young Muslim male was airlifted to the Liverpool Hospital’s emergency ward by helicopter. The 19-year-old had been in a serious car accident, his car left the road and crashed into a tree … he died of his injuries, and it seems he and his hijab-wearing girl friend had been celebrating the end of Ramadan.

If the victim and his “hijab-wearing girl friend” were, as the anonymous author claims, celebrating the end of Ramdan when they had a serious car accident, why did this obviously critically injured young man wait two months before he was admitted into a hospital?

In 2007, Eid ul-Fitr (the celebration marking the end of Ramadan) was on the 11th of October. This man was supposedly admitted into Liverpool Hospital on 17th December, 2007.

We know that waiting lists at Liverpool Hospital are long, but that long?

UPDATE: Damian Thompson has seen the error of his ways and concedes he did the wrong thing by promoting an unsubstantiated rumour on the Daily Telegraph website.

Islam’s forgotten geniuses

The Telegraph writes of what they are calling “Islam’s forgotten geniuses”:

Next year, we will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and the 150th of the publication of his On The Origin of Species, which revolutionised our understanding of biology.

But what if Darwin was beaten to the punch? Approximately 1,000 years before the British naturalist published his theory of evolution, a scientist working in Baghdad was thinking along similar lines.

In the Book of Animals, abu Uthman al-Jahith (781-869), an intellectual of East African descent, was the first to speculate on the influence of the environment on species. He wrote: “Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring.”

George W. Bush versus Mohammad ibn Tughluq

David Friedman on George W. Bush versus Mohammad ibn Tughluq, a Turco-Indian sultan who lived in the 14th century:

Ibn Battuta, the famous 14th c. world traveler, spent some time as a judge in the service of Mohammed ibn Tugluq, the fabulously wealthy Sultan of Delhi. At the end of his description of that part of his life, he has two summary sections, one listing good things about his boss, one bad things.

One of the good things involved an incident where the Sultan slapped a young man under circumstances where he had no legal right to do so. The young man went to law. Mohammed ibn Tugluq made no attempt to block the legal procedings. The court found in the plaintiff’s favor, ruling that he had the right either to monetary compensation from the Sultan or to repay slap for slap. He took the second option, slapped the Sultan and, Ibn Battuta tells us, he himself saw the Sultan’s turban come off and fall to the ground.

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The Return of the Dead Parrot

The Australian is reporting that some Muslim identities are calling for a return of the ill-fated Muslim Community Reference Group (MCRG).

…Aziza Abdel-Halim yesterday stressed the importance of forming another government-backed Islamic body to shield Australia’s almost 350,000 Muslims from being racially and religiously targeted by opponents of Islam.

The last MCRG didn’t do much to shield Australian Muslims from being ‘targeted’. In fact, the group of “professional Muslims” (as opposed to Muslim professionals) didn’t seem to do much at all except perhaps provide the media with a nice source of embarrassing quotes and antics.

So when members of the MCRG stress that the answer to all our many problems is another reference group, one can’t help but recall the shopkeeper in Monty Python’s famous “dead parrot” skit (see below).

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Three Little Pigs: Offensive to Muslims?

The BBC is reporting:

A story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale has been turned by a government agency’s awards panel as the subject matter could offend Muslims.

The digital book, re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges who warned that “the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.

Is the humanisation of pigs in the popular culture really so offensive to Muslims?

After years of passive exposure to Porky the Pig, Miss Piggy, Piglet, Orwell’s Napoleon and Snowball and, of course, Wilbur of Charlotte’s Web I may have become desensitised to the insidious threat that such characters pose. However, it does seem like something of an overreaction. In fact, it’s seems just the sort of overreaction by a government body that I’m sure others will cite as evidence of the “Islamifascistification of Britain”, “Eurabisation” or whatever the latest idiotic buzzword is.

But it’s not just Muslims whose feelings they are hoping to protect. It’s also that other much maligned, highly sensitive minority group — commonly known as the “building trade” — who may face “cultural issues” if not protected from this literature.

They also warned that the story might “alienate parts of the workforce (building trade)”.

The judges criticised the stereotyping in the story of the unfortunate pigs: “Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?”

A World Without Islam

In the January/February 2008 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, Graham E. Fuller, former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council of the CIA, engages in an interesting thought experiment.

Imagine, if you will, a world without Islam—admittedly an almost inconceivable state of affairs given its charged centrality in our daily news headlines. Islam seems to lie behind a broad range of international disorders: suicide attacks, car bombings, military occupations, resistance struggles, riots, fatwas, jihads, guerrilla warfare, threatening videos, and 9/11 itself. Why are these things taking place? “Islam” seems to offer an instant and uncomplicated analytical touchstone, enabling us to make sense of today’s convulsive world. Indeed, for some neoconservatives, “Islamofascism” is now our sworn foe in a looming “World War III.”

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Who is Sheikh Haron?

It seems the mysterious “Sheikh Haron”, who rose to prominence after sending letters to the family of a dead Australian soldier, is someone [pdf] called Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi.

Sheikh Haron is Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi. He was born in Boroujerd. He is the son of Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammad Hossein Manteghi Boroujerdi who was the student of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Boroujerdi (marja-e-Taqlid). The Grand Ayatollah who established cordial relation with Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar. These two Muslim clerics established the “House for Bringing Muslim Sects Nearer” in Cairo, Egypt for the unity of Muslims. Sheikh Mohammad Hossein Manteghi Boroujerdi first studied in Hawzah Elmiyyah in Boroujerd and then in Hawzah Elmiyyah in Qom and later in Hawzah Elmiyyah in Najaf (Iraq)……

The ABC’s Religion Report has an interview with him when he was apparently living in a tent on the steps of State Parliament in NSW:

People in Sydney walking past the State Parliament buildings on Macquarie Street in recent weeks might have noticed a tall Muslim cleric who has taken up residence in a tent on the footpath outside. He is Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi, a liberal cleric who fled Iran four years ago after being very critical of the Iranian regime. Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s wife and two daughters are now under house arrest in Iran, and he’s hoping the Howard government will put pressure on the regime there to let his family join him here in Australia.

The Hidden Effects of Global Warming

Most things — religious extremism, the migration of cockroaches, unexplained woodlice deaths, improved Icelandic beer, increased aggressiveness amongst polar bears, the well-known shortage of maple syrup, the British banana boom, and much more — can be attributed to global warming.

But, according to this report from the BBC last week, global warming is also responsible for a rise in demand for the services of prostitutes in Bangladesh:

One unexpected consequence of the rising water levels in Bangladesh is that river erosion has reduced the number of operable ferry berths, so men wait longer to cross, which in turn increases the demand for prostitution.

Blogging Hiatus

Due to some unfortunate personal circumstances, I am not going to be able to maintain this site for some time.  I don’t know when normal posting will resume so please subscribe to the site using RSS in order to be notified when I’m back.  It could be soon, or it could be after some time.