catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Let's see if Mr Islam can dodge this one

with 93 comments

Keysar Trad has got his hands full this time. He’s stuck with arguing that this, said by the wonderfully thoughtful Mr Hilaly, has been ‘mistranslated’ or ‘misinterpreted’:

But when it comes to adultery, it’s 90 per cent the women’s responsibility. Why? Because a woman possesses the weapon of seduction. It is she who takes off her clothes, shortens them, flirts, puts on make-up and powder and takes to the streets, God protect us, dallying. It’s she who shortens, raises and lowers. Then it’s a look, then a smile, then a conversation, a greeting, then a conversation, then a date, then a meeting, then a crime, then Long Bay jail. (laughs). Then you get a judge, who has no mercy, and he gives you 65 years.

But when it comes to this disaster, who started it? In his literature, scholar al-Rafihi says: ‘If I came across a rape crime – kidnap and violation of honour – I would discipline the man and order that the woman be arrested and jailed for life.’ Why would you do this, Rafihi? He says because if she had not left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn’t have snatched it. If you take a kilo of meat, and you don’t put it in the fridge or in the pot or in the kitchen but you leave it on a plate in the backyard, and then you have a fight with the neighbour because his cats eat the meat, you’re crazy. Isn’t this true? If you take uncovered meat and put it on the street, on the pavement, in a garden, in a park or in the backyard, without a cover and the cats eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem. If the meat was covered, the cats wouldn’t roam around it. If the meat is inside the fridge, they won’t get it. If the meat was in the fridge and it (the cat) smelled it, it can bang its head as much as it wants, but it’s no use.

If the woman is in her boudoir, in her house and if she’s wearing the veil and if she shows modesty, disasters don’t happen. That’s why he said she owns the weapon of seduction. Satan sees women as half his soldiers. You’re my messenger to achieve my needs. Satan tells women you’re my weapon to bring down any stubborn man. There are men that I fail with. But you’re the best of my weapons. The woman was behind Satan playing a role when she disobeyed God and went out all dolled up and unveiled and made of herself palatable food that rakes and perverts would race for. She was the reason behind this sin taking place.

Here’s Keysar doing his best to arse-cover for his boss, and here’s Irfan Yusuf having to point out what should be blindingly obvious. There’s also an excellent post by Phil over at LP on the issue. Some female commentators suggested hiding in the fridge, to which others responded that it would need to be a large fridge. I suggested that some armed libertarians posted outside the fridge may be a good idea, but the offer has been politely declined.

Seriously, though, the scariest piece of information emerged in a comment by Kate, which linked to this story. Money quote:

Michael Flood, a researcher at La Trobe University and a contributor to the project, said: “Too many people believe men are uncontrollable sexual beasts and women are liars and temptresses.” Men, especially from migrant communities and those with traditional views about gender roles, were more likely to have “violence-supportive” views.

I do not buy the clash of civilisations argument. I do not think that men are uncontrollable rutting beasts (a point eloquently made by some men over at LP). What gives?

In other news: even SBS’s Arabic translator isn’t letting Hilaly off the hook – go here for details.

UPDATE: Over at LP, Naomi has suggested that

Methinks that the women marching in Reclaim the Night down in Sydney should detour past the Lakemba Mosque and chant ‘yes means yes and no means no, whatever we wear, wherever we go.’ Just like when I was a girlie.

Phil thinks – in light of the fact that Hilaly’s congregation has rallied around him – that her suggestion is a good one.

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Written by Admin

October 27, 2006 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

93 Responses

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  1. There was a period there when Keysar was all over the telly whenever something Muslim came up. Hence the ‘Mr Islam’ moniker.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 3:24 pm

  2. Good to see Trad just bought a losing ticket because his boss is such unattractive dirt bag who should never have been allowed in this country.

    The trouble is that there are more than few in the religion of peace who would actually agree with the dirtbag. He wouldn’t have made made a sermon equating women wearing dresses to whores unless he thought he’d get a sympathetic hearing from the people there. That mosque doesn’t resemble Catallaxy’s debating threads.

    I think the guy shouldn’t be muzzled, though, as I believe free speech applies to all of us. The dirtbag is here legally and hasn’t done anything wrong unless he’s picked up on some terrible law I don’t know about.

    We need the piece of shit to present what potential harm dirtbags like that can do if allowed to enter the country with resident status.

    I want to repeat again that Sheik dirtbag would never have made such a serman if he thought his listerners weren’t on side and he was only reaffirming what most think anyway.

    Trad is a malicious lying idiot in the Fydor mold by the sounds of things.

    jc

    October 27, 2006 at 4:00 pm

  3. Sparrow hunts all over the Interwebs to find some story about a ‘Purity ball’ to prove that the rest of us are as bad as Hilaly
    http://www.leftwrites.net/2006/10/27/women-rape-and-religion

    Jason Soon

    October 27, 2006 at 4:04 pm

  4. Oh dear, the joys of leftwrites.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 4:09 pm

  5. I know I shouldn’t be giving them free publicity Helen but it’s like how you can’t resist staring at a car wreck. It’s like the Bizarro world over there.

    Jason Soon

    October 27, 2006 at 4:11 pm

  6. Train wreck is more like it. Watching Keysar wriggle is pretty damn good, too.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 4:15 pm

  7. It aint what you thinks it is what the holy book says and it puts it all onto the women!

    Bring Back EP at LP

    October 27, 2006 at 4:29 pm

  8. You’d like to think that he can, erhm, get over the ugly bits in the holy book. Irfan Yusuf can. Why not this bloke?

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 4:52 pm

  9. He is an Imam.

    He teaches from the thing.
    He has to believe in it

    Bring Back EP at LP

    October 27, 2006 at 4:54 pm

  10. A comforting thought, that (not).

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 5:00 pm

  11. These primitive books of the Abrahamic religions are all full of SHIITE Homer. It’s all in the interpretation.

    Jason Soon

    October 27, 2006 at 5:02 pm

  12. pretty well hard to interpret anything else which is why there wasn’t a murmour when he first said it.

    Bring Back EP at LP

    October 27, 2006 at 5:06 pm

  13. Well kids this has been fun….but I’m off to the pub to buy some drinks for some of Satan’s little helpers (God bless ’em) and I shall (as is my habit) stgagger home later to bash my head up against the fridge door

    MEOW….MEEEEEOOOOWWW. ..MEEOWW..

    .50cal

    October 27, 2006 at 5:07 pm

  14. At this point we need Steve Edwards to rock up and compare the lot of them to Hitler. I know he got pretty warmed up on that point in the latest issue of Policy.

    Mind you, even by Islamic standards, this exercise of Hilaly’s is particularly noxious. It’s like the ‘God Hates Fags’ mob in the US, but worse because it’s clear that more Muslims as a percentage of the total population believe this kind of crap.

    I don’t recall any Christians of my acquaintance making excuses for the Westboro Baptists.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 5:08 pm

  15. i don’t want to defend the guy, or anything. But I have heard Rabbi’s making the same argument – nice Jewish women should be modest of the street and sexy at home. Unlike gentiles who are sexy on the street (and presumbably modest at home. How would a Rabbi know this?) As Jason indicates this is a Abrahamic religious issue. I don’t think the Rabbi’s would condone rape, nor should anyone else.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 5:19 pm

  16. The skeptic in me wants to agree, Sinc, and write off all religion – I don’t need it, why should anyone else? However, I do think there are degrees on this issue, and that an unwillingness to see how much nastier Islam often is than Christianity and Judaism amounts to ‘immoral equivalency’.

    It’s like leftists during the Cold War who constantly argued that the US was the Soviet Union’s equal in abuse of human rights, comission of war crimes etc. CL would do a much better job of defending his ‘side’ for want of a better word than an atheist like me, but there you go.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 5:25 pm

  17. You may be right. I really don’t know.

    To some extent, I think, this is tied up in the rape case (65 years) the Imam refers to. To my mind, the issue wasn’t that a rape occured – the issue was that individuals could claim some religious justification, and people seemed to accept it. ‘Those Christian girls were asking for it’ is just nonsense. I suspect the majorrity of the Moslem community would have been outraged by that suggestion. The Judge (correctly) rejected that argument, and threw the book at them. Everyone else should also have rejected the claim too. Yet, pollies and some community leaders didn’t. We saw a similar thing in the NT. There rape was a form of native title – to his discredit the Judge didn’t throw out that argument.

    To cut a long story short – its just crap. Rapists should not be able to claim ‘Satan made me do it’, ‘It’s god’s will’, ‘or this is the traditional way’. The fact that criminals feel they are able to forward such crap arguments constitutes a failure of community leadership.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 5:41 pm

  18. It’s unpleasantly similar to the whole ‘Son of Sam’ serial murders. Didn’t Berkowitz claim to have been ordered about by his dog?

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 5:51 pm

  19. Got me there. Don’t know the case.

    The man who murdered Hendrik Verwoerd was told to do it by a giant tapeworm who spoke to him.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 5:58 pm

  20. “These primitive books of the Abrahamic religions are all full of SHIITE Homer. It’s all in the interpretation.”

    That’s not quite right. I am not a religious scholar, so i’ll just use the current pope’s take in Islam. Christianity and Judaism believe that God spoken words were interpreted by humans, Islam believs that Gods spoken word in is the Koran and the other books used. It IS the LAST spoken word of god and it cannot be understood any other way.

    The Sheik has the right to be mortified. All he was doing was correctly interpreting the word of God according to the Koran.

    Sinclair. I tell my daughter tp clean up her act when she’s going out. Rabbis can do the same without you implying they are similar to the Sheik.

    jc

    October 27, 2006 at 5:59 pm

  21. ‘I tell my daughter tp clean up her act when she’s going out.’

    My turn’s coming. Although the youngest is a bit of a grunge – i’ll probably be telling her to smarten up.

    You point is well taken. It is one thing to say people can be more modest, and better behaved in public. This latter point could be made more often. It’s quite another to blame women for rape.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 6:03 pm

  22. ‘Modesty’ to me is not about dress. Maybe I’m showing my background, but where I grew up modesty = humility, that is not blowing your horn about your accomplishments.

    If you won a heap of trophies on sports day you didn’t rub it in to the people who didn’t win any, or if you came top of the class, you didn’t advertise it unless asked – that sort of thing.

    I’m not sure where this whole modesty in dress schtick came from. Maybe it’s specifically religious in origin.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 6:13 pm

  23. jc any set of words can be understood (or not understood) in many ways. Even among orthodox muslim scholars there is controversy about the interpretation of certain passages in the Koran. Significant portions are obscure, parochial (eg referring to events and situations that existed only in the Arab tribes while Mud was alive — is the good Muslim meant to find some message in them, or just ignore them?), and contradictory.

    To an extent I sympathise with the Sheik as I do with anyone who commits crimes against feminism. Women’s clothing and behavior can have sexual connotations which impact other people.

    Timothy Can

    October 27, 2006 at 6:16 pm

  24. As my ol grandad used to say, Tim: it’s your dick, you’re drivin it.

    The libertarian version is ‘your liberty stops where my nose starts’.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 6:18 pm

  25. Speaking of daughters – one of the newspapers (the Australian, I think) had a photo of the Imam’s daughter on their web. She was saying how well women are treated etc. But, the photo was of her kneeling, looking up into the camera. To my mind a ‘classic porn, man dominance’ photo. Although she was fully dressed, of course. I can’t find the photo now, but I did think this was a bit tacky. (Although it might just me my mind in the gutter).

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 6:18 pm

  26. The Sheik has the right to be mortified. All he was doing was correctly interpreting the word of God according to the Koran.

    JC, where in the Qu’ran or shariah does it say that rape victims should be locked up for life or that men are merely acting on irresistable forces of nature when they rape scantily-clad women?

    Islamic law classifies rape under the what is known as hiraabah or aggravated offences against person to steal some property. The punishment for that is, at the bottom end of the scale, to have their right hand chopped off and then their left foot. This is mentioned in the Qu’ran.

    Bilal Skaf and the boys should be very grateful that they didn’t appear in an Islamic court on those rape charges. They would have received a punishment that would have left them pleading for a 55 or 65 year sentence in Long Bay.

    Amir

    October 27, 2006 at 6:21 pm

  27. Most people aren’t good when a press photographer comes round to their house for the first time and wants a pic. I know I wasn’t, and I know plenty of other people who’ve had a similar experience.

    For all I know the Sheik has a great relationship with his kids. It’s the influence he has on his congregation that’s more disturbing.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 6:23 pm

  28. No offence, Amir, but that’s just as creepy. ‘Cruel and Unusual punishment’ is the expression originally used by Jefferson.

    Interesting that it’s a property crime, too.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 6:25 pm

  29. These primitive books of the Abrahamic religions are all full of SHIITE Homer. It’s all in the interpretation.

    It’s about the interpretation as far as Christians are concerned Jason. Islam allows for no such modern interpration of the Koran.

    I suspect the majorrity of the Moslem community would have been outraged by that suggestion.

    What makes you suspect that Sinclair? Why are you speaking on behalf of the muslim community? They have mouths, they could use them to speak out themselves, but didn’t.

    yobbo

    October 27, 2006 at 6:28 pm

  30. Well, I think most people — including prospective rapists — would find it a tad harsh.

    Anyway, the other point I wanted to make was that Sh Taj isn’t a leader of Australia’s Muslims, he’s the Imam of a mosque in Sydney. If he was our mufti, then it would have been more than just a coterie of Lebanese men in Sydney last night that decided whether he could keep the title. So, when he says something, people shouldn’t assume it is the view of all Muslims or even a majority of them.

    Amir

    October 27, 2006 at 6:29 pm

  31. What makes you suspect that Sinclair? Why are you speaking on behalf of the muslim community? They have mouths, they could use them to speak out themselves, but didn’t.

    That’s not true. The papers are filled with condemnation from Muslims and Muslim leaders today and the Islamic Council of Victoria even issued a letter calling for him to be sacked. There has been more condemnation over this incident than any other incident that I can remember.

    Amir

    October 27, 2006 at 6:31 pm

  32. I figured that, Amir. I wonder why he’s always written up as the ‘spiritual leader’ and such, as though he’s the Dalai Lama. More loose reporting, I suspect.

    He does seem to wield a fair bit of influence, though, at least in Sydney.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 6:31 pm

  33. What Amir said. Although I would prefer flogging, and hanging. (sl – think lord denning).

    Property crime is a good way to think about it. A woman’s modesty is her property (although maybe her father’s, husband’s, or brother’s, but let’s not dwell on that) and it has been stolen from her.

    ‘It’s the influence he has on his congregation that’s more disturbing. ‘

    Maybe. From what I read (above) there is very little that couldn’t have come from many a religious leader. (The rape stuff is in poor taste.) Maybe he’s not PC, and maybe women are not treated in the manner a western secular society would prefer, but that’s hardly unique to Islam.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 6:34 pm

  34. Apologies for a long post but here is the letter that ICV sent to him last night:

    26th October 2006

    Sheikh Taj Ul-Din El-Hilaly
    C/O Lakemba Mosque
    65-67 Wangee Road Lakemba
    NSW 2195

    Dear Sheikh Taj,

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    We refer to comments that were reported in The Australian Newspaper on 26 October 2006.

    The ICV is deeply concerned about comments you have been accused of making in which you blame women for inciting sexual assault.

    It is morally repugnant and disgraceful to blame the victim of a sexual assault for inciting the crime in any way. Sexual assault is unacceptable and there is no justification for this behaviour. It is reprehensible that you would think that a women’s attire justifies or even
    rationalises a sexual assault in any way whatsoever. Moreover it demonstrates a troubling ignorance of the nature of rape. Rape victims include elderly women who live in nursing homes and even Muslim women who wear the hijab. It has nothing to do with lust. It is a crime of violence and power.

    The victims of sexual assault bear no responsibility for this degrading and traumatising crime. It is the perpetrators of these heinous crimes that are guilty. The responsibility is theirs. It is to them that you should direct your condemnation and disgust. We are deeply concerned that your views on this matter are at odds with this basic and obvious proposition.

    The ICV also finds your suggestion that women are more responsible for adultery than men profoundly objectionable. Each bares the responsibility for their own actions. In this context, your likening of some women to uncovered
    meat which will be devoured by cat is deeply repulsive. Women are not meat, irrespective of what they wear. They have the dignity of being human beings. Worse, your comments normalise and justify the sexual immorality of men by suggesting their acts of adultery, or worse, are as natural and inevitable as an animal eating. We believe your comments in this regard violate the most basic notions of human decency.

    We condemn the comments attributed to you on these issues.

    We demand that you issue an unreserved apology to the entire Australian community for these comments. Your expressed views on these issues are unacceptable and repulsive, and are not representative of the Muslim community nor Islamic teachings.

    We further demand that you apologise to the Muslims of Australia who will be unfairly associated with your comments, when they do not endorse them. It is they who will feel the brunt of any backlash.

    For some time now the ICV has been concerned about the position of the Mufti of Australia and other comments that have been attributed to you. As you are aware, our public view on this issue is that the position of the Mufti of
    Australia should be abolished. In the interim, given the gravity of this issue, we call for your immediate resignation.

    ICV

    Yours sincerely,

    The Islamic Council of Victoria

    Amir

    October 27, 2006 at 6:34 pm

  35. That’s not true. The papers are filled with condemnation from Muslims and Muslim leaders today and the Islamic Council of Victoria even issued a letter calling for him to be sacked.

    Yes, they are now after the story has become worldwide news and made all muslims in Australia look bad.

    They didn’t make a peep when he actually made the speech a month ago.

    Sheikh Hilali sparked more controversy on Friday when, asked by reporters if he would resign, he responded: “After we clean the world of the White House first.”

    His comments, made outside his mosque in Sydney after Friday prayers, prompted a round of applause from supporters.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6090136.stm

    Does that sound like condemnation of Hilaly to you?

    yobbo

    October 27, 2006 at 6:35 pm

  36. Well if that letter from the Victorian congregation didn’t lead to a resignation, then I’m not sure what would.

    Amir, do you mind if I include this in the main body of the post?

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 6:38 pm

  37. Yobbo makes a point that I made at LP.

    Skaf and the rest proabably would have got off given the evidence from women and men according to the Koran

    Bring Back EP at LP

    October 27, 2006 at 7:44 pm

  38. My understanding is that women’s evidence only counts for half that of men under sharia law.

    Interesting.

    And it’s not modesty that women are losing in rape, Sinc. Plenty of immodest women get raped. It’s personal liberty that’s lost.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 7:47 pm

  39. Helen, what I said was this:

    “So in light of that, Naomi’s inflammatory idea may have some merit”

    Nuance, remember.

    Phil

    October 27, 2006 at 8:00 pm

  40. Why is it particularly inflammatory, Phil, except to a bunch of sexist dickheads?

    Okay, they’d need a police presence if what Paul Sheehan says about the Lakemba Lebanese is true, but apart from that, I think it’d be a good idea.

    There is a time to leave nuance behind, Phil. Maybe you don’t see that because you’re a bloke, but I do.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 8:20 pm

  41. I think that the main point is that the Sheik said that women who dress provocatively (ie strapless tops, mini skirts, tight jeans) and are raped have noone to blame but themselves and he said this to a large audience a month ago and the muslim community had not publically voiced any objection until it was blasted over the airwaves one month later.

    So one could conclude that using this community as a ‘cluster’ sample the majority if not all muslims concur with the sheik.

    rog

    October 27, 2006 at 8:28 pm

  42. I hope you’re not right, rog. I thought of cluster sampling too once I heard about the time lag. I’m hoping it’s ethnic-group specific and confined to Lakemba.

    There are times when I wish I didn’t do three statistics subjects at uni.

    Sinc? Stats view please…

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 8:33 pm

  43. ‘It’s personal liberty that’s lost.’

    yes, I agree. what we chose to call that personal liberty may change, but that is exactly what has happened – also remember rape is not (just) a tort it is a crime against the whole community. (This notion is a sub-theme in China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station).

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 8:39 pm

  44. What’s your view on rog’s cluster sample hypothesis? As I said, the thought occurred to me, too, and frankly it’s pretty creepy.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 8:46 pm

  45. ‘So one could conclude that using this community as a ‘cluster’ sample the majority if not all muslims concur with the sheik.’

    Yes, and no. There are several factors at play here. First, to what extent do the congregation pay attention to the Sheik? For many they are there to worship and may pay less attention to the sermon. Second, a substantial proportion may not speak Arabic, so the sermon may be incomprehensible. Third, congregants may pay more attention to the theme and less attention to the actual phases. The wise man (woman) avoids temptation, so the wise woman needn’t dress down to be ‘liberated’, and so on. To the extent the congregation heeds the message they may have heard similar arguments before.

    However, whenever we hear of ‘controversial’ Moslem activity, the Lekemba Mosque is involved. Assuming this isn’t media bias, the conregation there may well be radicalised and, as Rog suggests, they may support the precise wording of the sermon.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 8:49 pm

  46. Sorry, I should indicate a preference. There is selectivity bias at work here. Mosque attendance is not a random variable – even if the majority of individuals at Lekemba supported the Imams comments, this tells us nothing about the views of the majority of Moslems. All we can say, at best, is the views of the Lekemba congregation – but see my caveats in the previous post.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 8:56 pm

  47. That’s reassuring up to a point, Sinc, although the lack of condemnation from outside is still concerning.

    That said, I know when I was interviewing people for my novel, I heard some pretty offensive views get articulated when people thought they weren’t being observed. Sometimes these views (or, less commonly, actions) would be attributed to third parties, although there was often linguistic slippage indicating that the narrator had actually engaged in the activity themselves.

    There’s probably a bit of both going on here, although with any sort of luck the ‘cluster’ is focussed on Lakemba, and can be isolated.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 8:56 pm

  48. jc says — ´Christianity and Judaism believe that God spoken words were interpreted by humans´

    Not totally true. Many born-agains believe that the Bible is 100% correct and the divine words of God. I grew up in such a community. They believe the world was created 4000BC and that the history of Eygpt is a satanic plot. This is the AOG and COC mob… and by extention, Family First.

    John Humphreys

    October 27, 2006 at 9:01 pm

  49. ‘That’s reassuring up to a point, Sinc, although the lack of condemnation from outside is still concerning.’

    To what extent do the observers of any religion criticise the preacher? Do you hear any of us criticising Hayek?

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 9:04 pm

  50. Aha! Thank you for confirming my libertarianism = religion theory, Sinclair. 😉

    C.L.

    October 27, 2006 at 9:09 pm

  51. Crikey, John, when we get together we’ll have to have a mutual trip down memory lane about the Garden City Christian Church. Mind you, even they don’t come at the ‘God Hates Fags’ schtick.

    I was in a mooting team at law school once with a Sevvy who kept trying to take me on over evolution (me, an ex HS science/human sciences/HPE teacher). Eventually I exploded and completely demolished everything she stood for. It wasn’t pretty and nearly buggered the team. I did put up with her for a month though.

    I still maintain that even to equate the COC crowd with Hilaly and friends amounts to immoral equivalency, as irritating as the former may be.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 9:11 pm

  52. Libertarianism is the true faith.

    More seriously, Andrew has another take on this:
    http://andrewnorton.info/blog/2006/10/27/why-has-sheik-hilali-had-such-a-roasting/

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 9:12 pm

  53. Andrew N’s right about progressive politics legitimising attacks on an unpopular target:

    they allow opinions on Arab Muslim attitudes to be offered without accusations of racism or prejudice, since despite his usual ‘out of context’ excuse he clearly, in his capacity as a Muslim community leader, said things that go way beyond accepted Australian norms on the subject. He is a rich symbolic target. Better still for his critics, not to oppose his views would be regarded as another sin, sexism. People who want to oppose Arab Islamic views have the perfect progressive cover.

    Even so, I’m glad the attacks have been made. As I said over at LP, Hilaly and his congregation need to be called on this crap.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 9:19 pm

  54. There is nothing wrong with calling people for their bad behaviour. Fine. At what point does this become a general criticism of all religion? For all their faults (sorry CL) religion, at the margin, provides a positive force to society. Any religion that promotes hard work, prudence, respect for elders and tradition, and the like adds value.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 9:25 pm

  55. I think CL is happy to admit religion has its faults. He’s certainly done so on other threads. For the record I’m also happy to hammer religion generally and Islam in particular.

    I’m also of the view that there’s pretty strong evidence that Islam hasn’t added value at the margins in its host societies for more than 200 years, while various forms (although not all) of Christianity clearly have done so.

    For some reason I keep thinking of those barely productive fields, scrubland and meadow…

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 9:31 pm

  56. Religion going through a bad patch is not unique in history. Islamic countries at the moment have totalitarian governments and poor prospects in general. But Islam didn’t invent poor government – it didn’t even perfect poor government. Government, we can all agree, is a problem.

    Sure, miltant Islam is an international problem. Go back 1000 years and miltant Christianty was a problem, go back 2000 years and militant Judiaism was a problem. Go back 30 years and militant socialism was a problem. (Hopefully militant Libertarians will never be a problem).

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 9:39 pm

  57. Making libertarians militant would be like herding cats, Sinc. I love my dogs but I know what I resemble when it comes to being ordered about 😉

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 9:43 pm

  58. As much as I’d like to blame the fascist Howard government for taking the guns away, it was the Keating regime that prevented me from importing my gun. CZ 75, modified for combat – not that I ever carried it around, but it’s the thought that counts.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 27, 2006 at 9:46 pm

  59. Unfortunately, despite people’s expectations to the contrary, we can’t condemn what we don’t know about. Sh Taj’s comments were made on the fourth day of Ramadan after evening prayer at Lakemba mosque. They were not broadcast, published or made available on the LMA website. Even if they were, they would still not be read by the majority of Muslims in this country who, firstly, don’t see Sh Taj as their spiritual leader and are not particularly interested in what he says; and, more importantly, Arabic is not the first language of most Muslims.

    As for the cluster, not everyone attending the mosque during Ramadan would understand Arabic. Of those, only some would be paying attention. And of those. it can’t be assumed that everyone would have agreed with it or not questioned it because, quite often, Muslims hear things that we disagree with. Lastly, it is not even possible to say it is a Lakemba cluster because there is, in Lakemba alone, two other mosques offering prayer during Ramadan (both in Haldon St) and there are a number of mosques nearby that Lakemba people would also go to such as Belmore, Punchbowl, Bankstown, etc. Given it is Ramadan, Muslims would also be visiting one another and often praying in mosques other than the one they frequent regularly.

    Amir

    October 27, 2006 at 9:58 pm

  60. Ooooh very flash Sinc, and modded too. Mind you there are probably a few buried in various parts of Qld. Not everyone meekly handed their guns in for the buyback.

    I’m starting to get the impression – tossers at Leftwrites aside – that Hilaly has unintentionally woken the Great Australian Beast, and said Beast is not happy. Not sure how it will pan out, but the national conversation is certainly interesting to watch.

    One thing – I don’t think the ‘I was misunderstood’ line is working with the large numbers of young, educated Australian Muslim women who happen to speak Arabic. The excrement has just hit the rotary oscillator, methinks.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 10:03 pm

  61. I’m also of the view that there’s pretty strong evidence that Islam hasn’t added value at the margins in its host societies for more than 200 years, while various forms (although not all) of Christianity clearly have done so.

    Where can I find this strong evidence? I’d be interested in seeing it.

    Amir

    October 27, 2006 at 10:03 pm

  62. You people at Austrolabe have done a pretty good job on the parlous state of Islamic societies and economics over the last couple of hundred years, down from a high point just before the Mongol sack of Baghdad. I wanted to link to your post on the Ottoman command economy (although I suspect the rot had set in before that), but then this juicy morsel came up.

    CL has done a pretty impressive job on the links between Christianity and western power, particularly as interpreted in the United States and Britain. That said, the Christianity that become so dominant was a very particular enlightenment version of Christianity.

    R. Joseph Hoffman makes the comment in his introduction to Ibn Warraq’s Why I am not a Muslim that

    Islam’s methods of exegesis, legal reasoning and political argumentation look peculiar and retrograde to the Westerner precisely because the Westerner – whether a liberal Anglican or an Evangelical Christian – stands on the other shore of a sea that Islam has chosen not to cross.

    He goes on to note that:

    It is small consolation to those who yearn for a restoration of Christian values or biblical religion that Christianity did not mean [emphasis in original] to cross the sea of faith either, or at least had expected, in embarking on its intellectual journey during the renaissance, to find God on the other side.

    The consequences of a religion’s failure to have a positive economic impact on the lives of those who subscribe to its core tenets may be negligible or nil: after all, we are dealing (ultimately) with rewards in the afterlife.

    That said, for a faith that has an overt commitment to justice and political reform (as Islam clearly does), this lack represents a failure that cannot conveniently be ascribed to Western intervention or colonialism.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 10:27 pm

  63. I am not so sure the congregation in mosques are dozing, they seem to pounce on any little mistake the infidels make with alarming ferocity, the Pope had to make severe penance for his sins

    rog

    October 27, 2006 at 10:48 pm

  64. Islam should have a positive impact on people’s economic life but it doesn’t because what many Muslims think is Islamic economics is really just a pseudo-religious variant of socialism. e.g. command economies, confiscatory tax systems that target the ‘rich’, forced egalitarianism, nationalisation of private industry, regulated markets etc.

    The libertarian-ish Islamic think tank Minaret of Freedom Institute at http://www.minaret.org has a lot of articles describing how Islam views property rights, taxation, etc.

    Amir

    October 27, 2006 at 10:51 pm

  65. At a guess, Amir, this stuff would be hotly debated in Muslim circles; it would also be pretty difficult to peg an ancient religious text to a scholarly understanding of economics.

    Christianity has largely abandoned this field to secular economists. Unless early Islam produced a Smith, Ricardo or Mill, Islam may have to do the same.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 10:57 pm

  66. sl I don’t see the relevance of either of your remarks, though the reference to my genitalia is typically feminist.

    Timothy Can

    October 27, 2006 at 11:58 pm

  67. Tim, refer Naomi’s comment above, which I brought across from LP in my update. If what I wear impacts on you, that is your problem.

    skepticlawyer

    October 28, 2006 at 12:06 am

  68. At a guess, Amir, this stuff would be hotly debated in Muslim circles; it would also be pretty difficult to peg an ancient religious text to a scholarly understanding of economics.

    Christianity has largely abandoned this field to secular economists. Unless early Islam produced a Smith, Ricardo or Mill, Islam may have to do the same.

    Well, Islam isn’t just the Qu’ran but also the body of traditions known as the Sunnah where there is a lot said about economics and matters of trade.

    Anyway, it is indeed possible to derive “scholarly understandings” of economics from these texts as evidenced by the influence that Islamic economic ideas had on Western economists and political philosophers. For example, the Laffer Curve was ‘invented’ by Ibn Khaldoun (as Lafffer himself noted) a few centuries earlier, and John Locke reportedly adopted his natural rights philosophy after reading the writings of Ibn Tufayl al-Qaisi.

    Amir

    October 28, 2006 at 12:53 am

  69. Amir

    You can’t have a functional economy if you can’t apply interest or need to get round it for religious reasons.

    You can say shopkeepers should be allowed to set prices freely etc but you will never have a first world economy unless the cost of money is recognized. And yes I am aware that a few banks recently set up as interest free banks inswitzerland.

    jc

    October 28, 2006 at 1:08 am

  70. There seems to be two sets of rules when dealing with Islam; we are told (by our betters) that we need to show more tolerance and more understanding and that to criticise Islam is to suffer being racist, discriminatory and you are breaking the law and could be charged with inciting hatred.

    Then we have leading Islamic clerics openly contemptuous of western values and calling women “pieces of meat” who deserve to be raped.

    Some of the Islamic community may well say that they are against the cleric but the cleric remains unrepentant and well supported by the “grass roots.” This same community will use the law to prosecute non muslims who are critical of Islam whilst calling for the White House to be “cleaned from the world.”

    Islam needs to undergo a mighty reform before I can accept it as being anything but a fascism dressed as religion.

    rog

    October 28, 2006 at 7:13 am

  71. “I do not think that men are uncontrollable rutting beasts (a point eloquently made by some men over at LP). ”

    I’m not saying that I don’t agree with this. But I’m a bit troubled by the idea of taking LP types as the representative set.

    GMB

    October 28, 2006 at 9:14 am

  72. There are far too many people around here willing to give superstition an undeserved pass (even where they are harshly critical). I’m afraid the “Mufti” is being effectively let off because we are attacking him only for his repulsive auxiliary views, while leaving him untouched at the very radix of his philosophy.

    Jason forgot to link to the first part of the quote:

    “Those atheists, people of the book (Christians and Jews), where will they end up? In Surfers Paradise? On the Gold Coast? Where will they end up? In hell and not part-time, for eternity. They are the worst in God’s creation.”

    There is as much evidence that Mohammad had a direct line to “Allah” – the angry name-changing (possibly bipolar) sky-God of the Near East – as there is that Hitler is God and I am his prophet. They are both unfalsifiable propositions based entirely on a SINGLE data (I shouldn’t say “data” , so much as “cognition”) piece – the stated opinion of one guy.

    If you cannot immediately grasp that both propositions are epistemologically equal, and that Hitlerianism and Islam are thus of equal merit (in fact, Yahweh/Allah killed FAR more people than Hitler!), then you should probably give up on the 21st Century before it gets too offensive for your sensibilities.

    This point must be emphasised, reemphasised, and rubbed in the face of all angry theists everywhere, just as you rub a puppy’s nose in their urine.

    PS – anyone who disagrees with libertarianism will deservedly catch on fire for all eternity, although I can’t really explain why. If you have a problem with me saying that, you’d better get started on a VERY long list of equally culpable interlocutors. If you don’t do so, having condemned me first, then you are a spineless coward.

    Bye for now!

    Steve Edwards

    October 28, 2006 at 5:17 pm

  73. Hey, am I on mod?

    Steve Edwards

    October 28, 2006 at 5:18 pm

  74. Everyone’s first comment is always on mod, Chopper.

    Jason Soon

    October 28, 2006 at 5:19 pm

  75. hmm actually I don’t know why you were on mod that 2nd time.

    Jason Soon

    October 28, 2006 at 5:20 pm

  76. Nothing to do with me, Jason – maybe it was the ‘bipolar’ word. Has someone stuck that in the spaminator?

    skepticlawyer

    October 28, 2006 at 5:22 pm

  77. Yeah I did, because Scott was complaining about Birdy using it as a term of abuse.

    Jason Soon

    October 28, 2006 at 5:23 pm

  78. ‘I’m afraid the “Mufti” is being effectively let off because we are attacking him only for his repulsive auxiliary views, while leaving him untouched at the very radix of his philosophy.’

    That seems to be Andrew’s point too. The guys going down for a PC crime, not all the other stuff. In short, upset the lefties and you’re toast, upset the right and you’re toasted.

    Sinclair Davidson

    October 28, 2006 at 5:29 pm

  79. I’ve never gotten a single militant theist to admit that applauding the eternal immolation of people who disagree with you, on the basis of your unproveable psychobabble and nothing more, is immoral, even sociopathic.

    However, not a single person has really tried to contest my argument, as opposed to ignoring my discomforting views entirely, which really suggests they know damn well I’m onto them.

    Steve Edwards

    October 28, 2006 at 5:34 pm

  80. You need to join the skeptics, Steve. I wanted to say that earlier, but CL didn’t turn up to protect the Christians from a dose of immoral equivalency, so yours truly had to do it.

    skepticlawyer

    October 28, 2006 at 5:36 pm

  81. In case anyone still doesn’t get it – the “radix” of the Mufti’s philosophy is the shahadah:

    “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his Prophet”.

    Every Muslim with an IQ above 115 should already know the epistemological status of the above sentence. They should draw appropriate conclusions for all faith-based moral coercion (including the shariah). If they don’t, then I’m afraid they deserve to be vilified mercilessly.

    Steve Edwards

    October 28, 2006 at 5:37 pm

  82. Anyway, I’ve been called into the office. Ta ta!

    Steve Edwards

    October 28, 2006 at 5:38 pm

  83. Humphreys
    Implies that christianity is just as bad as Islam in terms of taking things a few from ancient times.
    Here he is:

    jc says — ´Christianity and Judaism believe that God spoken words were interpreted by humans´

    “Not totally true. Many born-agains believe that the Bible is 100% correct and the divine words of God. I grew up in such a community. They believe the world was created 4000BC and that the history of Eygpt is a satanic plot. This is the AOG and COC mob… and by extention, Family First. ”

    fisrt of all these people that believe in the literal translation of the Bible aren’t exactly the large majority of Christianity.

    Secondly, I don’t really see these guys referring to rape victims as carnal bait. I also haven’t seen a lot of suicide bombings from these people either.

    Humphreys, don’t give us “they’re just as bad” routine because it ain’t washing.

    jc

    October 28, 2006 at 5:48 pm

  84. No rest for the wicked, Steve 😉

    skepticlawyer

    October 28, 2006 at 5:57 pm

  85. What’s really quite interesting is that this idiot made those comments about a month ago. Now, when the cat is out of the bag our friendly worshipers of the religion of peace try on the “I’m shocked routine”…… as though we’re going to fall for it.

    It wasn’t these comments that concern me a great deal though. The prick seem to be inciting an attack on the White House by his recent comments. He obviously practices the principle of when you’re in a hole keep digging.

    This last comment could be deemed a pretty clear incitment to terrorism. I’m wondering why we don’t pick the fucker up by his ankles and swing him back to Egypt where he came from. I’m sure the welfare is pretty generous there and he could live like a real sheik.

    jc

    October 28, 2006 at 6:03 pm

  86. We can’t boot him because he’s a citizen, JC. Thanks to Keating and friends, we’re stuck with the bugger.

    skepticlawyer

    October 28, 2006 at 6:05 pm

  87. Really, He’s a citizen? I thought he was a permanent resident.

    jc

    October 28, 2006 at 6:07 pm

  88. Why did the greatest treasurer take special interst in this little creep?

    Let me guess here were tons of potential votes in Sydeneys west that needed to be locked up. Am I right?

    jc

    October 28, 2006 at 6:09 pm

  89. Yep. Go here.

    skepticlawyer

    October 28, 2006 at 6:19 pm

  90. You would think that he was as guilty of inciting hatred as pastor Danny Nalliah – who was found guilty of inciting hatred because he read from the koran.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Nalliah

    Dannys problem is that he cant stack branches for the ALP.

    rog

    October 28, 2006 at 6:41 pm

  91. This is a great issue to shame leftist protectors of islamic extremistm, but hasn’t this been a rather typical view of many men across many cultures over the centuries? I would guess that it is still held quietly by many people, although it has become so politically incorrect that even opponents of PC won’t dare associate with it.

    Timothy shocking comment is just a tip of the iceberg.

    Boris

    October 28, 2006 at 9:58 pm

  92. Malcolm Fraser speaks – do people give a shit?

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/fraser-attacked-as-an-apologist-for-extremism/2006/11/01/1162339918511.html

    Mr Fraser told the Herald that Muslims were being made pariahs as Catholics once were.

    He did not condone Sheik Hilaly’s remarks but said there were different standards being applied – such as the contrasting reaction Sheik Hilaly’s sermon received compared with a recent controversial speech by Pope Benedict which outraged Muslims.

    “The Pope’s remarks were enormously serious. Anyone had to know they would be grossly offensive to a very large number of people,” Mr Fraser said. “In relation to the Pope, the Government said he was taken out of context, misinterpreted, he’s apologised and let’s move on.

    “The Government response in relation to Sheik Hilaly has been very aggressive, no question of moving on. They want to stick on it,” he said

    Jason Soon

    November 1, 2006 at 11:36 pm

  93. What an idiot.

    C.L.

    November 1, 2006 at 11:47 pm


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