Sunday, 2 August 2015

Secular groups write to Nigerian President over blasphemy death sentences

Cross-post from the National Secular Society

Secular groups write to Nigerian President over blasphemy death sentences

The National Secular Society has joined other secularist organisations in calling for a full pardon and civil protection for nine people recently sentenced to death by a Sharia court in Nigeria.

The letter, organised by the Secular Policy Institute, expresses deep concerns over the death sentences handed out for blasphemy and appeals to the Nigerian President, Governor, and Ambassador to ensure the preservation of the individuals' rights of free conscience and religious expression.

The so-called 'Kano Nine' were sentenced to death by a sharia court in the Nigerian state of Kano after what the BBC described as a "speedily done" and "secret" trial.

The charges centred around claims that the nine accused said that Niasse, the founder of the Tijaniya sect, was "bigger than [the] Prophet Muhammad".

The nine are alleged to have made the comment at a religious gathering held to honour Niasse, in a venue which was burnt down by a mob before the nine (eight men and one woman) were arrested by police over the accusations.

The head of the religious police in Kano told the BBC: "We quickly put them on trial to avoid bloodshed because people were very angry and trying to take law into their hands."

There were reports of celebrations across parts of the city when the death sentences were announced.

The Secular Policy Institute note that "comments by local-authorities expressing relief at stemming further vigilante acts" give the impression that the verdicts were the result of "political expedience rather than a fair administration of justice."

The 'Kano Nine' are "being sacrificed to pacify a mob", the signatories write.

There was extreme secrecy around the trial, and even the names of all of the accused are not known.

Nigeria operates two countervailing jurisprudences – Customary and Sharia. The Customary Criminal code would call for a maximum two-year sentence for purported violation, with the Sharia code specifying a death sentence.

The letter argues that at the very least the State should uphold civil over religious law.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Pastors, Hate Preachers and Islamic Student Societies

A man who described the ISIS controlled city of Mosal as the "most peaceful city in the world", a certain Dr Raied Al-Wazzan of the Belfast Islamic Centre is to be the main prosecution witness against a Christian preacher who described Islam as "satanic" and "a doctrine spawned in hell" on charges relating to sending an electronically offensive message.

Pastor McConnells views may not be to everyones taste but since he did not advocate violence I find the decision to prosecute somewhat suspect. Another example of the politically correct establishment putting free speech at risk. This is particularly disturbing when you read further reports about the complainant in the Belfast Telegraph:

In his statement to the PSNI, Dr Al-Wazzan denounces the pastor's "terrible comments" and describes his "general sweeping statements" as "offensive and disgusting".

In January Dr Al-Wazzan himself was embroiled in controversy when he said that Islamic State, which has carried out mass executions and forced millions of people to flee their homes, had been a positive force in Mosul, his home city in Iraq.

"Since the Islamic State took over, it has become the most peaceful city in the world," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback.

"Yes, there are other things going wrong there... they are murdering people, I agree, but you can go from east to west of the city without fear."

This would be where the slightest infringement of whatever ISIS feels is Islamic for the day is met with violence and death. A gangster run community where slavery of Christian women and their subsequent rape and abuse is allowed in the name of their so-called prophet.

I would not use the term satanic to describe ISIS (as much as it is tempting) since I no more believe in the Devil than I do God. Evil is the word I would describe these people with. Islamic Nazi's would be quite accurate.

The Belfast Telegraph continues:

His comments provoked public outrage and Dr Al-Wazzan later withdrew them and apologised.

In his statement to the PSNI about Pastor McConnell, Dr Al-Wazzan claims that many Muslims in Northern Ireland are professionals while the pastor's congregation "may include impressionable, uneducated people".

Just because the Dr Al-Wazzan "withdrew them" doesn't actually mean much since he clearly meant what he said in the first place. And given his pathetic defence of ISIS he is in no position to call anyone names. If I were one of Pastor McDonnell's congregation I would certainly be offended.

Why the CPS is pursuing this case is beyond me. But then the "offence" is to criticise "Islam" whatever that is these days. Some say it's a "religion of peace" whilst others call for the death of us "Kufir". They both read the same theological texts so who knows.

At the same time we hear of the disturbing activities of "Islamic Student Societies" in our universities. According to The Times (no link£) my old college (then known as the Polytechnic of Central London):

The London university attended by the Islamic State murderer Mohamed Emwazi has hosted the highest number of extremist or intolerant speakers over the past three years.

The University of Westminster where the terrorist known as "Jihadi John gained a computer programme degree offered a platform on 25 occasions between 2012 and 2014.

The "safe spaces" "Trigger warning" crowd in the student movement seem to be silent on this. Ban secularists but allow Hate Preachers. can't offend the "religion of Islam".

This included a so called Palestinian "scholar" (so-called because these people are no such thing and make up their hate as they go along) allegedly called homosexuality a "criminal act" according to the Times.

Would Dr Wazeen like to elucidate his views on ISIS throwing gays off of tall buildings? I'd like to hear what he has to say.

The prosecution of Pastor McConnell is not in the public interest at all. More to the point it is a threat to free speech and his persecutor knows it.

NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans said: "This baffling decision to persist with the prosecution of Pastor McConnell represents a reckless and grievous encroachment upon his - and everybody else's - fundamental right to free expression.

"In our view Pastor McConnell was well within his rights to refuse a warning that would have remained on his criminal record for a year, particularly given that he clearly did not incite violence in his sermon and the PPS do not even appear to claim that he did. Given that, the PPS's behaviour seems even more extraordinary.

"Whatever the outcome of this case, the actions of the Public Prosecution Service are likely to have a chilling effect on everyone's freedom to speak openly about their beliefs.

"In an open and free society, we should all feel able to express our beliefs and opinions without fear of criminal sanction - regardless of how unpalatable others may find them.

"The weapon of 'offense' is increasingly being used to stifle free expression. The desire to live in a harmonious and tolerant society is a noble one, but will not be achieved by the suppression of fundamental freedoms.

Free speech is under threat. 

Our Human Rights come well before any ones ideological or theological beliefs. Nothing is beyond criticism and that includes the Islamic faith.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Unaffiliated PCS extremists infiltrate Labour Party for Corbyn

The continuing concerns being raised about hard left groups and activists joining the Labour Party through the ill-advised £3 "supporter" scheme continues to backfire. Whilst the tiny Communist Party of Great Britain with it's 35 or so deranged cadres may be of little consequence there are efforts being made by likes of the Marxist McCluskey to influence the outcome in Corbyns favour.

Now the man who wrecked the PCS Union, General Secretary of PCS has entered the fray. Austin Harney, a hard left activist writes on the PCS Activate Face Book page:

If we are serious about fighting for our pay, terms, conditions, and most of all, our jobs in the Civil Service, I encourage as many PCS members to sign up for £3 as registered supporters for Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Mark Serwotka, the General Secretary of PCS, made the same encouragement in his speech to everybody at the anti - austerity rally.

Already, the two largest Trade Unions, UNITE and UNISON have nominated Jeremy Corbyn as leadership candidate

I am, currently, a member of the national committee for the LRC (Labour Representation Committee and the most Left Wing faction of the Labour Party) and a campaigner for PCS against the cuts in the Public Sector within the Labour Party.

Let us build this campaign in PCS for Jeremy Corbyn's contest as leader of the Labour Party who has promised to end austerity, once and for all!

Whilst Harney might be a long term Labour Party member regardless of his political views, Serwotka isn't. More to the point Serwotka has joined in every hair brained scheme to replace and destroy the Labour Party, ranging from his involvement with the SWP and George Galloway in Respect to his latest allies the Socialist Party (Militant Tendency) in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Thing is PCS is not affiliated to the Labour Party and much of conference is dominated by anti-Labour speeches from the assortment of trotskyist types that fill the ranks of the hall.

PCS is also a fine example of being run by people who oppose austerity but are unable to run their own union efficiently and are implementing cuts to staff and membership services, selling off their one major asset (the headquarters building in Clapham Junction) and are still going cap in hand to Len McCluskey for Unite to simply absorb their sinking ship.

Hardly an example to set when opposing austerity.

Serwotka's leadership has been a disaster for the PCS union which has faced splits and the loss of thousands of members. There are lessons for the Labour Party to learn from all this.

Corbyn, like Serwotka is a gift to the Tories.

With men like this leading the Labour and Trade Union movement we might as well just hand the keys to Downing Street and the demise of our rights to the Tories now.

A vote for Corbyn is a vote for Cameron. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Comedy Interlude: Dudley Moore plays Colonel Bogey Beethoven style!

It's been a depressing day news wise so here's a little something to cheer us all up from the late, great Dudley Moore!


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Is Hope not Hate losing the plot? (Updated)

Over the years Hope not Hate has done a lot of good work in fighting the extreme (Nazi) far right and has rightly earned the respect of many activists. However sometimes and seemingly more often these days they seem to be getting things wrong. Only now can I see why they split from Searchlight who remain focused on the Nazi threat both here and abroad.

Hope not Hate has been expanding it's remit into other areas such as taking on Hate preachers like Anjem Choudary (though it has to be said not much else in that particular field), UKIP and the "Counter Jihadists.

One of the campaigns they ran was to prevent Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer  coming to the UK. At the time I posted the HnH material on this blog, but later came to realise that this was a mistake and have subsequently removed the old post. I may sometimes find their views a little unpalatable but the right of free speech has to be upheld and the campaign to ban them was in stark contrast to the continued arrival of many clerical fascists from the Middle East upon which the usual suspects of the anti-imperialist left of course remained silent.

The decision of HnH supporters to widen their campaign to include UKIP was something I felt very uncomfortable about  at the time as whilst they are right wing and nationalistic, they are not in the same league as the BNP. Having concerns about immigration and Europe does not automatically make someone beyond the pale. Yes there were a number of rogues found in UKIP, but these kinds of people can be found in lots of other places

And not just on the right...

It is their latest "report" that concerns me. It's a bit on a non event as far as I can see. Very little evidence to suggest anything that would justify such an effort on the part of Nick Lowles & Co.

They have published a pamphlet attacking amongst others Anne Marie Waters a well known secularist activist for "having a discussion" about the possible dangers inherent in holding an exhibition exhibiting cartoons of the so-called "Prophet". The left in this country was very cowardly when the journalists of Charlie Hebdoe were massacred.

The need for a robust defence of freedom of speech and expression has never been greater.

The possibility or inevitability of violence as a result of the clash of freedom with  Islamic extremists is hardly new. The danger of these fanatics launching attacks on our free society is an ever present danger. We all know this.

But some think we have to curb our rights to try and prevent this.

Unless you follow Islam(ism) of any description. Then any limitation of their rights is just so-called "Islamophobia.

Trouble is the far left discuss "revolutionary violence" and its' "inevitability (in Marxist terms) year in year out. Anyone who has ever been in any kind of Marxist/Leninist organisation knows the comrades have discussed this on ever since the publication of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engles.

Somehow for them it is respectable and not a matter for concern.

Except it isn't.

There are double standards at work here and certainly Hope not Hate is now losing the plot going in a direction that will only confuse and divide it's potential supporters. They were ill advised to write this report which frankly is much ado about nothing.

It'll appeal to the usual suspects of the anti-imperialist brigade who's chilling chants of death to Israel and worse has been coming from their lips for years.

There is a conflict with Islamism and the basic theology of Islam is whether the comrades like it or not a problem. The medieval mindset that is imposed through fear of communal pressure, isolation and the threats aimed at apostates is very real. This has to be confronted and a reformation of Islam implemented. There will be those who resist and I suspect as experience shows it is unlikely to be peaceful.

However I remain convinced that in time with a vigorous defence of a secular and democratic society that respects human rights before religious rights that a process of integration can begin.

In the meantime we must remain vigilant to the threat that exists within our midst from those who would use violence for their "prophet".

Update: Anne Marie Waters has published  a response:

Monday, 27 July 2015

A message to Turkey: Leave the Kurds alone!

The campaign launched by the Turkish forces against ISIS is long overdue. However there has been much speculation and suspicion that Erdogan is more concerned with the establishment of an independent Kurdish state on his borders than fighting the criminal fascists of the so-called Caliphate.

The decision to include attacks on the Kurdish PKK at a time when the Kurds have been the most effective force on the ground fighting the Islamist threat is a disgrace.

John McCain has issued the following statement which the coalition against ISIS should put pressure on the Turkish President to cease all attacks on the Kurdish people immediately.

"Turkey’s decision to assist the fight against ISIL is a positive step in the right direction. The use of Turkish bases for U.S. fighter aircraft will improve response times and increase the opportunity to collect intelligence in Syria. The establishment of a humanitarian zone to protect the moderate Syrian opposition as well as ethnic and religious minorities such as the Kurds against Assad, ISIL, al Nusrah, and other violent extremists is consistent with what we have been advocating for over three years.

“However, I am concerned about reports of Turkish forces shelling Kurdish villages inside Syria. As the United States and Turkey enhance our cooperation against ISIL, I believe these mutual efforts will be most effective in collaboration with local forces on the ground, including the Kurds.

“With Turkey’s help, I urge the President to finally come up with a coordinated regional strategy to put an end to the war on the Syrian people being waged by ISIL and the Assad regime. Our ineffective approach to Syria and Iraq continues to allow mayhem and violence to spread across the region, putting our allies in greater danger and fostering the conditions for an attack on the United States.”

Original statement published here:

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Labour opens Pandora's box

The Sunday Times published an article today in which they noticed the Communist Party of Great Britain was encouraging activists to join the Labour Party through the supporters scheme and help get Jeremy Corbyn elected. Trouble is of all the targets The Sunday Times could have chosen, the self-proclaimed CPGB is the least of Labour's worries.

The CPGB has less than 50 members (believed to be around 35) and despite it's highly sectarian paper being quite widely read (on-line), it's not a "political lead" that readers seek. It's the internal gossip of the far-left that the paper usually covers quite well.

Nevertheless there is a serious point to the concerns that were raised both in the front page article and their editorial. There are large numbers of people being signed up who are anti-Labour. Take Liz Davies of the new and still born Left Unity "party". She's "come back" to the fold as Labour is making a left turn. One Newcastle party meeting had 13 new members turn up to vote in the nomination process, none of whom had been seen in the general election.

Unite the union is signing up it's members, thousands of whom will now get votes. Of course McCluskey can't guarantee they'll all vote for Corbyn, but the Unite propaganda machine will be in full swing to ensure their "boy" gets favourable publicity.

We are told "the young" are turning to the pensioner Corbyn on the basis of the experience of Syrzia and Podemos, despite their obvious failures. In any we live in an age of political apathy where the vast majority of people have no confidence in politics at all. The young included.

The rise of the dinosaurs of the Labour left is already damaging the party's prospects at the next election. The kind of full bloodied "socialism" as these people claim they stand for is not wanted by the vast majority of voters in this country.

When examined the far-lefts policies do not stand up to scrutiny. There can be less harsh cuts and reductions made over a longer period to try and alleviate some of the social problems that arise from them, but a policy of "no cuts" is fiscally impossible. The deficit and financial crisis remain very real.

And the antics of Syrzia could have made it worse and still can. The comrades should also remember that Syrzia is only in power as a result of being in a coalition with a right wing party that makes UKIP look positvely "liberal".

Then there's international affairs these unilateral disarmament enthusiasts would leave us defenceless in a world where the rise of Islamism, Russian Nationalism and China as a superpower puts the democratic West at severe risk.

The decision of Labour to open the election to all comers was a disaster in the making. The "morons" who helped Corbyn get on the ballot paper are now openly regretting their decision. They didn't open up a debate, they opened Pandora's box and helped bring about the demise of the Labour Party just like the left did in the seventies and eighties.

If Corbyn wins and the left rises in the Labour Party there will be an internal civil war. The rise of a new "militant tendency" will only lead to decades of Tory rule.

The consequences are too dire to imagine, but the left do not care. Just like all fundamentalists only ideology or theology matters.

Socialism has always failed.

The need for a modern Labour movement has never been greater. The left must be pushed back now or only ordinary people will suffer.