Culture, politics, science, philosophy.
General manifesto *****
The deep Crisis of the West
Racism: the charge against which there is no defense
29.05.2009. Thus begins Theodore Dalrymple his article in City Journal:
Men may be created equal, but not all murders are equal. Some are quickly forgotten, except by those immediately affected by them, while others—by no means always political assassinations—have a lasting political impact. Among the politically significant kind was the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a young black man, in a London suburb on the evening of April 22, 1993. Five or six white youths set upon Lawrence and a friend, Duwayne Brooks. One of the attackers supposedly shouted, “What, what, nigger?” immediately before Lawrence was stabbed to death. Brooks managed to evade the attackers, who ran away.
Despite considerable circumstantial evidence against several suspects, the perpetrators escaped conviction. The police investigation into the murder was a model of incompetence of the kind that every Briton now expects of our boys in blue. Over the investigation there also hung a pall of suspected corruption, for one suspect was the son of a rich drug trafficker who, on a previous occasion when his son stood accused of a stabbing, had tried (unsuccessfully) to bribe and threaten the victim into altering his evidence.
But the Lawrence murder took on a wide social significance because of its racial overtones. The botched investigation became a cause célèbre—the presumption being that racism alone could explain the police’s failure to bring the perpetrators to justice—and the government launched an official inquiry to “identify the lessons to be learned for the investigation and prosecution of racially motivated crimes.” There followed a festival of political and emotional correctness the likes of which have rarely been equaled. It would be impossible, at less than book length, to plumb the depths of intellectual confusion and moral cowardice to which the inquiry plunged. In 1999, it released a report of its findings that won almost universal praise despite its risible shortcomings.
This year, on the tenth anniversary of the report, the press and professional criminologists are celebrating it for, as one put it, bringing about a “paradigm shift” in the sensitivities of British police about “diversity”—police now think about race all the time, it seems. The report’s real effect, however, was to demoralize further an already demoralized police force, which, immediately after the report appeared, retreated from stopping or searching people behaving suspiciously and watched street robberies increase 50 percent.
Read the entire article in City Journal.
Sotomayor: A case of unapologetic racism - Strong ties to La Raza, the Latino answer to the KKK
29.05.2009. Thus begins an article by Paul Williams in Canada Free Press:
Sure, President Obama’s appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is blatantly racist. Few dispute this fact, even members of the Hispanic community. The smiling senorita was chosen simply because she is a Latina. If Sotomayor had been a lily-white Methodist from Minnesota, she would not have received the slightest chance for consideration. Her gender also serves to affirm the patronizing nature of Obama’s appointment.
Strange to say, the mass media is applauding the president’s appointment not because of Sotomayor’s judicial acumen, let alone her rather abysmal courtroom record, but rather because of the fact that she is brown and from the Bronx barrio.
Few commentators note that 60% of Sotomayor’s rulings were overturned by the Supreme Court - - a fact, as Wendy Wright, president of the Concerned Women for America, notes that should cause legislators to “pause and take a good look at her record.” But a good look at her judicial record is secondary to the good look at her Puerto-Rican ancestry. Sonia’s supporters, however, are quick to point out that she pulled herself up by the proverbial bootstraps - - that she went from a housing project to Princeton University.
Few note that Ms. Sotomayor received her education in the heyday of affirmative action - - a time when functional illiterates were entry to the hallowed halls of ivy for the sake of diversity - - a time when standardized test scores, including law board examinations, were adjusted to compensate for “cultural disadvantages.”
Race remains a concern in the Sotomayor appointment - - particularly because of her strong ties to La Raza, the Latino answer to the KKK.
Read the whole article at canadafreepress.com.
With a Supreme Court justice like this ...
27.05.2009. Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's pick to become the newest Supreme Court justice, is on the record with some controversial remarks about 'diversity,' 'judicial activism' and female judges vs. male judges. For example, the New York Times reported that in 2001, at the annual Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture, Sotomayor had this to say:
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said later, regarding non-white, female judges, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”
Continue reading at Newsmax.
Important book by Cochran and Harpending
The book's cover illustration.
22.05.2009 (updated at 1548). I've just completed reading this book, and I enthusiastically recommend it. The official culturist dogma in most Western countries is that "there's been no biological change in humans for 40,000 or 50,000 years" (Stephen Jay Gould, quoted in The Wall Street Journal's review of Cochran & Harpending). This dogma, however, cannot possibly be true. As John Derbyshire explains (emphasis added):
The culturist dogma is in any case false. We knew this a priori, once 19th-century biologists had established the basic principles of evolution. If you take some population of a uniform species, divide it in two, and arrange matters so that the two sub-populations don’t interbreed—for example by putting one sub-population over here and the other one far away over there—and if you then run the clock for a few hundred generations, the two populations will diverge. That’s biology 101. If you run the clock for tens of thousands of generations, the two groups will diverge so far, they won’t be able to interbreed — and that is the origin of species! This is basic a priori stuff. It’s why there are different breeds of dogs. It’s why a room full of Australian Aborigines looks nothing like a room full of Hungarians.
The last line of defense for culturists is—or would be, if you could ever get them to engage in a conversation about biology—that the observable divergences among human groups are only in superficial qualities. Australian aborigines and Hungarians simply haven’t been separated for long enough to develop non-superficial differences. Your two roomfuls may not look like each other, but their thoughts, behavior, and social arrangements might be anything at all; and any behaviors or arrangements the one population might have, the other might equally well have, if appropriately trained.
This was never very plausible, and comparative analysis of the human genome proves it false. Our behavior, including our social behavior, issues from the brain; and the brain is an organ, like the liver or lungs. Populations who live at great heights for many generations—in Tibet or the Andes—develop lungs that can cope. In just the same way, a people who made the change from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a pastoral or field-agriculture lifestyle, will gradually change their personalities and ways of thinking to adapt to their new social circumstances—the higher population densities, more demanding work schedules, and more complicated social arrangements.
(After I had written about this on the internet one time, I had an email from a lady dog breeder, who said: “Duh. If I couldn’t breed for personality, I’d be out of business.” Dog breeds are not “socially constructed.” The great example here is the Russian breeder Dmitri Belyaev, who succeeded in developing a tame, domesticated breed of fox in only forty years.)
Not only is the culturist dogma false, it is also poisonous and divisive.
Well, back to Cochran and Harpending, and this latest volume of “biohistory.” The authors take us through a number of great changes in the lives of human groups, through history and prehistory. There was the encounter with Neanderthals, and the tricky question of whether there was some interbreeding. Then there was the really big one, the hydrogen bomb of human evolutionary change: the transition from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to pastoralism and settled farming — “horn and corn” cultivation. Then there is a chapter on Ashkenazi intelligence, which these authors, and a couple of others, published a much-discussed paper on a couple of years ago.
The evidence is plain, and our ongoing investigation of the human genome confirms it: our evolution did not stop dead fifty thousand years ago. The “psychic unity of mankind” is a myth. The big old paleolithic populations of humanity differ—slightly, and of course statistically, but incontrovertibly. The evidence is right there in the genome; and we could anyway deduce it a priori from the known laws of biology. Now all we have to do is convert our nation’s cultural, political, and intellectual elites to these true facts.
I’m going to start up a new space on my bookshelves for this new discipline of biohistory. My guess is, though, that there’ll be a couple of dozen books in that space before I next hear the president of any Ivy League college, or the director of any prestigious genetics lab—let alone any politician or op-ed commentator!—speak out clearly and unapologetically against the poisonous, divisive, and false culturist myth.
I completely agree with Derbyshire, and recommend that you read his review in full.
Professor Christopher F. Chabris concludes his review in The Wall Street Journal thus (emphasis added):
"The 10,000 Year Explosion" is important and fascinating but not without flaw. Messrs. Cochran and Harpending do not stop often enough to acknowledge and rebut the critics of their ideas. And though the authors cite historical sources and scientific articles in support of their thesis, they too often write in a speculative voice, qualifying claims with "possible," "likely," "might" and "probably." This voice is inevitable in any discussion of events tens of thousands of years ago. But it leads to another problem: The authors don't say enough about the developments in genetic science that allow them to make inferences about humanity's distant past. Readers will wonder, for instance, exactly how it is possible to recognize ancient Neanderthal DNA in our modern genomes. Despite all this, the provocative ideas in "The 10,000 Year Explosion" must be taken seriously by anyone who wants to understand human origins and humanity's future.
A review by TJ Kelleher concludes as follows:
The strength and sheer number of the book’s best sections, however, more than overshadow the wanness and paucity of its worst. Even with its flaws, Cochran and Harpending’s book has provided the best example to date of what E.O. Wilson would recognize as consilient history: not history done just with science in mind or even done scientifically, but history done with human biology treated as an essential cause and effect of the stories that history tells, and as a key without which history cannot make sense.
Writes Professor Steve Hsu in another review:
Cochran and Harpending's new book deserves wide attention and serious discussion.
HonestThinking comments: I strongly recommend The 10,000 year explosion. It should be considered mandatory reading for anyone who is interested in questions having to do with immigration and multiculturalism. And, in particular, this book should be mandatory reading for editors of and contributors to all sorts of anti-jihad web sites. While it is certainly the case that Islam poses challenges to the West, I believe it is a serious misunderstanding (and unfair to Muslims, too) to think that this problem domain can be reduced to questions about religious doctrine and/or culture alone.
The 10,000 year explosion is available e.g. from Amazon.
PS: See also the related posting Faster evolution means more ethnic differences.
Part 11: Mugged by Reality
18.05.2009. Yet another essay in the fascinating series by Takuan Seiyo was recently published at The Brussels Journal. Some excerpts:
The willful lying about reality, the manipulation of language and images to disguise such lies, the teaching and enforcement of the lies and the persecution of those who challenge the lies is the chief occupation of the regime of Meccania. Through lying, backed by a $750 million promo budget, a life-long socialist with a pronounced anti-white animus and no experience in managing as much as a newsstand was elected to manage the biggest capitalist economy in the world that also has a white majority. His predecessor had been elected on the promise of No Nation Building, yet would proceed to plunge his country into the Sisyphean building of two unbuildable nations, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Even the few politicians and journalists who take a principled stand against immigration lie – probably to themselves in the first place. They lie by pretending that their objection to illegal immigration is because of its illegality. But the damage is not a consequence of the illegality but of who the immigrants are. The legal immigrants cause the same social problems as the illegal ones, because they come from the Third World and, in Europe particularly, the Muslim world.
Here a second lie comes into play, for no Western politician would dare to point out that beneficial immigration can be easily separated from the harmful one not by the criterion of legality but through the shibboleth of culture.
Culture can be reliably correlated with the quartet, and only the full quartet, of race, ethnicity, religion and social class, formal education being a prime component of class in modern times. But to do that would be to commit the dreaded crime of “discrimination.” In Meccania, one cannot discriminate on pain of severe penalties. But the ultimate peril is to Meccania itself.
Reality will continue to discriminate, no matter what Body Snatchers say or do. And a clash between a reality-averse ideology and Reality has the same pre-ordained outcome as a test crash between a knockoff car and a wall. It’s only a question of the speed, acceleration, mass and distance of the lying car from the solid wall.
Perhaps the classic tale of Body Snatcher regime’s aversion to reality transpired on 11 March 2005 in Atlanta. A 5'2", 51-year-old grandmother and sheriff's deputy, Cynthia Hall, was escorting a 6’1’, 200-lbs ex-football player and career rapist, Brian Nichols, from the county jail to the Atlanta courtroom. The hiring of Grandma Hall for what an idiot would know is a big-man-only position had been a two-fer for Fulton County, for Grandma Hall was both black and female.
As soon as Officer Hall removed Nichols’s handcuffs before entering the courtroom, the big man assaulted her, inflicting critical injuries. He then seized her gun, shot to death a Superior Court judge, a court reporter and a sheriff’s deputy, escaped the courthouse, and then killed another person in the course of a carjacking.
This tale, if not the deaths involved, would make a good Keystone Cops movie. But under the circumstances, it can serve as a metaphor for the suicidal madness that causes Body Snatcher society to self-terminate.
It’s a spiraling madness too. San Francisco, as we relayed in Part 7, has one-upped Atlanta by appointing a 5’ Chinese lesbian as its Chief of Police. It’s a trifecta that shall remain unequalled until some branch of America’s law and security enforcement apparatus recruits a Samoan lesbian paraplegic to serve as the commander of its elite tactical unit.
Male-dominated societies like China and Russia aggressively threaten the West’s vital interest, and Islamic patriarchal primitives ravage it from without and within, but the West is busy feminizing itself further, confusing its genders, importing tribal aliens, pussyfooting with jihad, negotiating in good faith with masters of taquiah, enforcing gender and race quotas to elevate non-deserving and incompetent nonwhites or non-males, lying to itself outrageously about innate group differences, and generally ripping itself apart in pursuit of a profound and delusionary fraud.
Continue reading in The Brussels Journal.
Selling England's freedom by the pound
18.05.2009. Michael Savage, the number three most popular talk radio host in the US with a weekly reach of 10 million listeners, has been banned from entering the UK. Not that he wanted to visit the UK, but his name is on a list of 16 unwanted people, including radical muslim clerics, neonazi's, white supremacists, murderers and terrorists. Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, explains the decision:
"This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country."
Continue reading in The Brussels Journal. See also the related comment Gimmickry, the Last Refuge of Appeasement.
Second thoughts about becoming multi-ethnic
18.05.2009. If a country becomes too multi-ethnic, it will become dysfunctional and eventually disintegrate. Somehow our ruling elite 'forgot' to consider that possibility before they decided to throw the Western world into the largest social experiment in the history of mankind. Apparently, some Italians are now having second thoughts about the wisdom of all of this.
Quasi-religious cult emerging around Obama?
10.05.2009. Is Obama an enlightened being?
Spiritual wise ones say: This sure ain't no ordinary politician. Writes Mark Morford in SF Gate:
Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.
The unusual thing is, true Lightworkers almost never appear on such a brutal, spiritually demeaning stage as national politics. This is why Obama is so rare. And this why he is so often compared to Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., to those leaders in our culture whose stirring vibrations still resonate throughout our short history.
HonestThinking comments: So perhaps we should not dismiss the idea that some people want to turn Obama into a new Fuehrer.
Excellent article by Scruton
10.05.2009. Writes Roger Scruton in the American Spectator (emphasis added):
It is probably well known to our readers that the British government, on the advice of Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, recently prevented Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, from visiting Britain, to which country he had been invited in order to show his short film Fitna to a group of peers in the House of Lords. Fitna means “turning away” or “temptation,” and denotes the sin to which young Muslims are exposed in Western societies. The film purports to demonstrate the terroristic nature of the Koran and to give a warning against the Islamization of Europe. It has not been banned in Holland, but it is clearly a no-holds-barred attack on Islam as a creed and a social force.
Prominent among those agitating to keep Mr. Wilders out of Britain was a certain Lord Ahmed, one of those cronies of Tony Blair who were shot into the House of Lords some 12 years ago in order to turn that venerable institution into the yes-machine favored by New Labour. Lord Ahmed, who claims to be a Muslim, announced that he could muster thousands of the faithful in order to make Mr. Wilders’s visit a serious problem for the government. Rather than test this insolent remark as it demanded, the government went along with what it took to be Muslim opinion, and made no effort to defend Mr. Wilders’s right, as a member of one European parliament, to explain his views to another.
A short while later Lord Ahmed was jailed for driving his car on the motorway while drunk and sending text messages—eventually running into the back of a stationary car and killing the driver. Whether his lordship’s reputation as a voice of the faithful will survive this particular episode is anybody’s guess, but no doubt some other self-appointed representative of the Muslim minority will step forward to dictate things the next time the Koran is threatened with a public examination.
I am fairly sure that Mr. Wilders’s exposition of the Koran and its doctrines is biased. Like many non-Muslim readers of the Holy Book, I have been struck by the way in which spurts of vindictive anger punctuate a narrative that is, in itself, a heartfelt invocation of the pious life, and a profoundly serious attempt to reconcile the belief in the one God, all-seeing, all-knowing, with the moral chaos of human communities. I regret the fact that Muslims take this text to be the word of God, rather than a particular person’s attempt to give human words to a revelation that he should have sat on a little bit longer before being sure he had got it right.
Like Mr. Wilders, I find parts of the Koran disturbing in their bloodthirsty and unforgiving anger.
But I find the book of Joshua similarly disturbing from beginning to end. So what? The book of Joshua emerged from a life-and-death struggle, in which God was conscripted to the winning side. The same is true of the Koran, which is as clearly marked by a great emergency as is the book of Joshua. This is normal: only in the Gospels does God appear (to His inestimable credit) on the losing side.
All this can be said and should be said. There is no way forward for Europe if it isn’t said. Whether it is right to say it in the tone of voice of Mr. Wilders is another matter. But free speech is not about permitting only those voices of which you approve. It is about understanding your own beliefs and the beliefs of those who disagree with you. It is about creating the public space in which truth and falsehood can openly contend for their following. Free speech is critical to all the other freedoms that we enjoy, and the impulse to defend it—and in particular to defend the free speech of those with whom you disagree, of whom you disapprove, or who have been targeted by some mob or faction determined to silence them—is proof of the democratic spirit. The capitulation of our government before the hazy threats of one of its own criminal cronies is a disturbing indication of how things have changed in Britain, and how they are changing on our continent. It would not be correct to say, as it was reputedly said by our then Foreign Secretary (Sir Edward Grey) in 1914, that “the lamps are going out all over Europe.” But our governments, who have the responsibility to keep those lamps alight, have no guts for the task.
THE MAIN ARGUMENT PRODUCED BY those who censor people like Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not that their views should be silenced, but that their views should not be expressed in an inflammatory way. Even the most fervent democrat will admit that the right of free speech should not be used to stir up social confl ict or destroy the civil peace. It is not just that you don’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater. You don’t shout “Sieg heil!” in a crowded synagogue, or “God is dead!” in a crowded mosque. And by extension, you don’t make provocative films like Submission and Fitna that are bound to be taken as insults by those whose faith they criticize.
However, who is to decide what is, and what is not, a threat to the civil peace? It takes two to make a provocation, and while it is right to be provoked by some things, it is wrong to be provoked by others. If I am so constituted that any criticism in my presence of the philosophy of Hegel causes me to boil over with anger and assault the speaker, does this make criticism of Hegel into a threat to the civil peace? Surely not: it is I who am a threat to the civil peace, and a true defender of free speech would have me locked up, rather than the anti-Hegelians who so enrage me.
Of course, criticism of the Koran is not quite the same thing as criticism of Hegel. But if we allow only those who resent such criticism to define how far it can go we are in effect surrendering to intimidation. It is for the community as a whole, and the politicians who represent us, to distinguish legitimate criticism from inflammatory provocation. To allow the issue to be settled, as at present, by the ostentatious outrage of Muslims is to surrender in the face of threat.
Just where all this is leading is anyone’s guess. Nobody (other than al Qaeda) wants to change the resentments of Muslim communities in Europe into a state of open war. We are entering a situation that must be carefully managed if our legal and political inheritance is to survive. But one way of mismanaging the situation is to allow a belligerent minority to dictate terms to the rest of us. Our governments must face up to the fact that Geert Wilders was elected to the Dutch parliament, and enjoys considerable popularity, precisely because he has not been intimidated. You may not like what he says or his way of saying it, but it is people like him, and not the ones who censor them, who are defending the political order of Europe.
HonestThinking comments: If we give up on free speech, we will be in deep trouble. It's about time our politicians admit that this fundamental freedom - upon which our democracies depend - is under increasing pressure.
Faster evolution means more ethnic differences
10.05.2009. Writes Jonathan Haidt,
psychologist at the University of Virginia, in an article at Edge (emphasis and hyperlinks added by HT):
The most offensive idea in all of science for the last 40 years is the possibility that behavioral differences between racial and ethnic groups have some genetic basis. Knowing nothing but the long-term offensiveness of this idea, a betting person would have to predict that as we decode the genomes of people around the world, we're going to find deeper differences than most scientists now expect. Expectations, after all, are not based purely on current evidence; they are biased, even if only slightly, by the gut feelings of the researchers, and those gut feelings include disgust toward racism..
A wall has long protected respectable evolutionary inquiry from accusations of aiding and abetting racism. That wall is the belief that genetic change happens at such a glacial pace that there simply was not time, in the 50,000 years since humans spread out from Africa, for selection pressures to have altered the genome in anything but the most trivial way (e.g., changes in skin color and nose shape were adaptive responses to cold climates). Evolutionary psychology has therefore focused on the Pleistocene era – the period from about 1.8 million years ago to the dawn of agriculture — during which our common humanity was forged for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
But the writing is on the wall. Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide "races") adapted to local circumstances by a process known as "co-evolution" in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other. The best documented example of this process is the co-evolution of genetic mutations that maintain the ability to fully digest lactose in adulthood with the cultural innovation of keeping cattle and drinking their milk. This process has happened several times in the last 10,000 years, not to whole "races" but to tribes or larger groups that domesticated cattle.
Recent "sweeps" of the genome across human populations show that hundreds of genes have been changing during the last 5-10 millennia in response to local selection pressures. (See papers by Benjamin Voight, Scott Williamson, and Bruce Lahn). No new mental modules can be created from scratch in a few millennia, but slight tweaks to existing mechanisms can happen quickly, and small genetic changes can have big behavioral effects, as with those Russian foxes. We must therefore begin looking beyond the Pleistocene and turn our attention to the Holocene era as well – the last 10,000 years. This was the period after the spread of agriculture during which the pace of genetic change sped up in response to the enormous increase in the variety of ways that humans earned their living, formed larger coalitions, fought wars, and competed for resources and mates.
The protective "wall" is about to come crashing down, and all sorts of uncomfortable claims are going to pour in. Skin color has no moral significance, but traits that led to Darwinian success in one of the many new niches and occupations of Holocene life — traits such as collectivism, clannishness, aggressiveness, docility, or the ability to delay gratification — are often seen as virtues or vices. Virtues are acquired slowly, by practice within a cultural context, but the discovery that there might be ethnically-linked genetic variations in the ease with which people can acquire specific virtues is — and this is my prediction — going to be a "game changing" scientific event. (By "ethnic" I mean any group of people who believe they share common descent, actually do share common descent, and that descent involved at least 500 years of a sustained selection pressure, such as sheep herding, rice farming, exposure to malaria, or a caste-based social order, which favored some heritable behavioral predispositions and not others.)
I believe that the "Bell Curve" wars of the 1990s, over race differences in intelligence, will seem genteel and short-lived compared to the coming arguments over ethnic differences in moralized traits. I predict that this "war" will break out between 2012 and 2017.
There are reasons to hope that we'll ultimately reach a consensus that does not aid and abet racism. I expect that dozens or hundreds of ethnic differences will be found, so that any group — like any person — can be said to have many strengths and a few weaknesses, all of which are context-dependent. Furthermore, these cross-group differences are likely to be small when compared to the enormous variation within ethnic groups and the enormous and obvious effects of cultural learning. But whatever consensus we ultimately reach, the ways in which we now think about genes, groups, evolution and ethnicity will be radically changed by the unstoppable progress of the human genome project.
"Common position of the Islamic organisations of Germany"
06.05.2009 (updated 10.05.2009). The following manifesto is, as far as I can understand, an elaborate April's fool prank. However, it's cleverly made, and certainly thought provoking:
Cologne: This Manifest was signed by Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD) (Central Council of Muslims in Germany) and ten other Islamic oganisations in Germany. In this way the ZMD wishes to ease the dialogue ”among Muslims, with other religious societies and with the society at large”.
- Islamrat für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V.
- Centralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD)
- Türkisch-Islamische Union der Anstalt für Religion e.V. (DITIB)
- Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüs (IGMG)
- Union der Türkisch-Islamischen Kulturvereine in Europa e.V. (ATIB)
- Verband der Islamischen Kulturzentren e.V. (VIKZ)
- Islamisches Zentrum München
- Islamisches Zentrum Aachen Bilal Moschee (IZA)
- Islamisches Zentrum Hamburg Imam-Ali-Moschee
- Ahmadiyya-Muslim-Jamaat e.V.
We, the undersigning organizations, hereby publicly declare:
- to educate Muslims about dangers presented by Islamic religious texts and why Islam must be reformed
- to educate non-Muslims about the differences between moderate Muslims and Islamists (a.k.a. Islamic Religious Fanatics, Radical Muslims, Muslim Fundamentalists, Islamic Extremists or Islamofascists)
- to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Moderate Muslims are also targets of Islamic Terror.
The majority of the terrorist acts of the last three decades, including the 9/11 attacks, were perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists in the name of Islam. We, as Muslims, find it abhorrent that Islam is used to murder millions of innocent people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Inconsistencies in the Koran
Unfortunately, Islamic religious texts, including the Koran and the Hadith contain many passages, which call for Islamic domination and incite violence against non-Muslims. It is time to change that. Muslim fundamentalists believe that the Koran is the literal word of Allah. But could Allah, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate, command mass slaughter of people whose only fault is being non-Muslim?
The Koran & the Bible
Many Bible figures from Adam to Jesus (Isa) are considered to be prophets and are respected by Islam. Islamic scholars however believe that both the Old and the New Testament came from God, but that they were corrupted by the Jews and Christians over time.
Could it be possible that the Koran itself was corrupted by Muslims over the last thirteen centuries?
The need for reform
Islam, in its present form, is not compatible with principles of freedom and democracy. Twenty-first century Muslims have two options: we can continue the barbaric policies of the seventh century perpetuated by Hassan al-Banna, Abdullah Azzam, Yassir Arafat, Ruhollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, etc., leading to a global war between Dar al-Islam (Islamic World) and Dar al-Harb (non-Islamic World), or we can reform Islam to keep our rich cultural heritage and to cleanse our religion from the reviled relics of the past. We, as Muslims who desire to live in harmony with people of other religions, agnostics, and atheists choose the latter option. We can no longer allow Islamic extremists to use our religion as a weapon. We must protect future generations of Muslims from being brainwashed by the Islamic radicals. If we do not stop the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, our children will become homicidal zombies.
To start the healing process, we must acknowledge evils done by Muslims in the name of Islam and accept responsibility for those evils. We must remove evil passages from Islamic religious texts, so that future generations of Muslims will not be confused by conflicting messages. Our religious message should be loud and clear: Islam is peace; Islam is love; Islam is light. War, murder, violence, divisiveness & discrimination are not Islamic values.
Religion is the private matter of every individual. Any person should be able to freely practice any religion as long as the practice does not interfere with the local laws, and no person must be forced to practice any religion. Just as people are created equal, there is no one religion that is superior to another. Any set of beliefs that is spread by force is fundamentally immoral; it is no longer a religion, but a political ideology.
Islam is one of the many of the world’s religions. There will be no Peace and Harmony in the World if Muslims and non-Muslims do not have equal rights. Islamic supremacy doctrine is just as repulsive as Aryan supremacy doctrine. History clearly shows what happens to the society whose members consider themselves above other peoples. All moderate Muslims must repudiate the mere notion of Islamic supremacy.
Sharia Law must be abolished, because it is incompatible with norms of modern society.
Any practices that might have been acceptable in the Seventh Century; i.e., stoning, cutting off body parts, marrying and/or having sex with children or animals, must be condemned by every Muslim.
Verses that promote divisiveness and religious hatred, bigotry and discrimination. They must be either removed from the Koran or declared outdated and invalid, and marked as such.
Outdated words & phrases
Use of the following words and phrases or their variations must be prohibited during religious services:
• Infidel / Unbeliever: these terms have negative connotation and promote divisiveness and animosity; Islam is not the only religion.
• Jihad: this word is often interpreted as Holy War against non-Muslims.
• Mujaheed / Holy Warrior: no more wars in the name of Islam.
• American (Christian / Crusader / Israeli / Zionist) occupation: these terms promote bigotry; at this point in time, Muslims living in non-Muslim lands have more freedoms than Muslims living in Muslim lands.
Islam vs. violence
Islam has no place for violence. Any person calling for an act of violence in the name of Islam must be promptly excommunicated. Any grievances must be addressed by lawful authorities. It is the religious and civic duty of every Muslim to unconditionally condemn any act of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam. Any Muslim group that has ties to terrorism in any way, shape, or form, must be universally condemned by both religious and secular Muslims.
Portrayal of Prophets
While portrayal of Prophets is not an acceptable practice in Islam could be personally offensive to some Muslims, other religions do not have such restrictions. Therefore, the portrayal of the Prophets must be treated as a manifestation of free expression.
The Crusades vs. The Inquisition
While the Inquisition was a repulsive practice by Christian Fundamentalists, the Crusades were not unprovoked acts of aggression, but rather attempts to recapture formerly Christian lands controlled by Muslims.
HonestThinking comments: As stated above, this manifesto does not appear to be authentic, but rather an April's fool prank. However, rather than ignore this document, or get upset about it, I suggest Muslim scholars accept the challenges that are implicit here, and explain which portions of the manifesto they actually agree with, as well as which ones they disagree with. And why. That would be a good starting point for some true dialogue.
Must be saved from the idealists
05.05.2009. Writes Asle Toje and Barbara Kunz in Atlantic Community:
Living beyond one's means is a hazardous thing - the financial crisis has illustrated that vividly. While this point is once again accepted in financial matters, the danger of Europe living beyond its means in terms of security remains an unwelcome truth. The guarantees and the ability to meet them simply do not add up. This gap invites tragedy.
European leaders have failed to plan for the scenario that the US National Intelligence Council labels "multi-polarity without multilateralism." In layman's terms, that means bare-knuckle national interest politics with a minimum of postmodern padding. This scenario is growing increasingly likely. While international institutions struggle, Russia is in a forced military build-up. So are China and India. North Korea tests rockets, and the Iranian president upsets yet again with anti-Semitic speeches. Talk of globalization and visions of nuclear disarmament notwithstanding, the international system is about to become more competitive.
The European leaders from left to right have grown accustomed to philosophising freely about security matters as if it was the realm where one man is as much of an expert as the next, and he with the most naïve vision is the greatest expert of all.
The result is that the runway in Brussels is littered with acronyms of security initiatives that never reached take-off speed. The Afghan operation has highlighted the gap. It has debunked idealist politics, conceived with little thought to other than wildly optimistic scenarios.
Unless Europe finds a way to part with its idealists the result may be a return to history no less brutal than that seen in the financial crisis.
Asle Toje is a lecturer at BI, the Norwegian School of Management in Oslo and Barbara Kunz, is a Ph.D student at Center for Baltic and East European Studies, in Stockholm. Read their article in its entirety.
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