Given that I might end up in this situation myself, I find this rather amusing. Problem is that if I do need such a visit, I'll have forgotten what this is all about!
Saturday, 14 October 2006
Just a small addendum on the idea floated by PM B Liar that the Iraquis want us there. The poll detailed here showed that, never mind us leaving, but 60% of a sample of them polled were happy with deadly force being used against us. Sure - the government might claim they want us but only for their own selfish reasons. Most of them would disappear in a ball of smoke and fire the day after we left. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas!
I seem to have an amplitude of things buzzing around inside my; apologies if these include something not of interest to you.
There is a terrorist trial running here right now. A British man (Ugandan Asian convert to Islam in UK) admits plotting to 'kill as many innocent people as possible' in the UK and USA by targeting skyscrapers and major financial institutions in New York and Washington and setting off a dirty radioactive nuclear device in London. He is on trial with others who plead not guilty. I have sufficient experience of legal procedures to know that these claims will be amplified but right now all we are told is that plans for the operations were found on his computer. It is accepted by the prosecution that there is no evidence of any vehicles being obtained, specialist knowledge re bomb making or constituents of any such device. So, something like a Power Point on my computer as to how I might seduce Charlotte Church.
It is clear that the trial will be followed by a number of Muslims. Some of the 'peaceful' variety as well as would be fundamental activists. They may lack knowledge of how our legal system works but could have that Islamic tendency to kick off at the slightest imputation. I have to say that the way things have been reported, this Muslim is not getting a very fair crack of the whip. If this guy – even including those on trial with him – has the nous and ability to co-ordinate the attacks on two continents as he planned we should engage him in community service punishment at the Wembley Stadium project.
Jack Straw's attack on the veil still chunders on. The latest in the fall-out concerns a classroom assistant (some sort of glorified milk monitor I think) who insisted on wearing the face covering when at school.
She was involved with young children. Her employers agreed that she could wear the veil in the public areas and staff room but required her to uncover when in class on duty. She refused. Her husband confirms it is a matter of her personal choice. I suggest her suitability to be involved with young kids is clearly in question when she insists on appearing like some Trick or Treat Halloween character. She was on the radio this morning. Yes – she speaks English. It is not the sort of English I would like any child of mine to assimilate. Her pronunciation of many words was dodgy at best, emphasis and pace was quite wrong and she sounded muffled – maybe she had a blanket as a veil? To balance we had problems with English women wearing a Christian cross where it might be seen by the general public. This details treatment of TV newsreader and presenter Fiona Bruce but news is just breaking of a British Airways edict re their female staff. They have said that crosses may be worn but must be invisible. It seems that their dress code which refers to religious symbols does not ban Sikhs with turbans or the religiously significant kara bracelet. Why one may not display crosses signifying a Christian religious belief in what is still (OK maybe only nominally) a Christian country is beyond my understanding. Or acceptance. It think next time I check in with BA I'll take one of those life size crosses as carried by penitents at Easter in Spain or doing Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem. We seem to be fighting a war on terror overseas whilst the people whose aims coincide with those of the terrorists are doing so well and winning in this country. Just as bit of light relief, see this.
War on terror leads me into the CGS of the Army and his remarks about the way this Government is treating the British Army. One small section of his initial interview was given undue prominence. Doubtless, it gave the soldiers a lot of good morale 'bash the government' feeling but I just wonder what it has done for his service future and the ability to ever again draw attention to anything. He will be a marked man. There is a minority view that he was wrong. This based upon the fact that the Government is in charge and soldiers should not get involved. Erm – Cromwell anyone? It could well be that the gallant soldier (holder of Military Cross which does not come stuck to a Mars Bar) has tried to raise the matter privately and been routinely ignored. In the background is the controversy whether the Attorney General gave dodgy answers to the 'How legal is the Iraq War?' question posed by last CGS.
Friday, 13 October 2006
Reading the Financial Times (as one does!) I saw that Harvard University’s Robert Putnam, one of the world’s most influential political scientists has published new research which shows that the more diverse a community is, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone . This is a contentious finding in the current climate of concern about the benefits of immigration. Professor Putnam said he had delayed publishing until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it “would have been irresponsible to publish without that”.
The drive of the research was that, “in the presence of diversity, we hunker down”, he said. “We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.” He considers that his conclusions have validity in Europe also.
I rather welcome ethnic diversity, so long as it is legal and controlled. I totally oppose multiculturalism I deem as evil.
Thursday, 12 October 2006
If ever you should think that things in your life are getting heavy, read the blog I've guested. The human spirit is apparently indestructible. One does not have to be Muslim to gain strength from one's religion either.
TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
A brave family. Long may they remain so.
Wednesday, 11 October 2006
Writing in the Guardian guardian.co.uk/commentisfree > Michael White gave his opinions on Ruth Kelly’s suggestion that there be a re-balancing on government attitudes to those British Muslims who proclaim that they are the good guys.
[quote]For a politician treading on eggshells I thought Ruth Kelly behaved with suitable delicacy in this morning's speech inviting mainstream British Muslim organisations to accept publicly that they do pretty well here. To encourage them she plans to ''rebalance'' government support towards faith organisations that actively combat extremism in their midst - rather than merely "pay lip service" to the proposition.
But then I thought Jack Straw, who represents a lot of Muslims in Blackburn, also showed appropriate sensitivity when raising the question of the veil last week. He wasn't telling anyone what to do, merely seeking public debate. Myself, I've got used to all but the most severe veils. It's dark glasses worn indoors that spook me: you can't see their eyes. Clearly not everyone agrees. Straw's article proved divisive - even at cabinet level where such divisions can exist because there is no official policy on the veil - unlike in France where Salman Rushdie's insensitive assertion that "the veil sucks" prevails.
In today's Guardian the playwright David Edgar, raises Voltaire's standard of tolerance, rightly insisting that liberals must defend things they don't approve of while inadvertently illustrating the difficulty of sustaining consensus in practice: he catergorised pornography as "harmless". After watching this particular debate for 40 years I no longer think it is, do you?
But as ministers review the implications of last year's 7/7 bombings, carried out by British-born Islamists, it is clear that Whitehall has decided that its multicultural emphasis on tolerance rather than integration in the French sense (which has problems of its own) has failed to nurture the moderate majority in the current struggle with radical Islam.
I think that someone has overlooked the effect of tribalism. Loyalty to the tribe is everything – it over-rides family ties and all personal opinion. There will be polite lip-service to saying what we want to hear but is as if they were speaking with fingers crossed. We saw just how quickly a topic spreads amongst Muslims at the time of the Danish cartoons and the remarks of Herr Pope. Did anyone appreciate the depth of feeling and the tendency to issue murderous threats amongst “those nice people from Somalia who run the vegetable stall”?
The communities secretary's specific reference to Muslim refusals to join the marking of Holocaust Day suggests she may have the umbrella organisation, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in mind, though there will be others, struggling no doubt to maintain unity between its conservative and liberal wings - like many organisations, religious and secular.
Kelly said today "it isn't about preferential treatment, it is about equality." She cited laws and international action, Kosovo for instance, which gives the lie to claims that British foreign policy is hostile to Islam, despite Iraq. We can have differences over policy and politics, not over "non-negotiable values" like the rule of law and freedom of speech, she said.
[quote]Personally, I think Kelly's pitch a useful contribution to the debate. Knowing what Islamists are currently doing to other Muslims (much as Christians used to do to each other in Europe) there's an unanswerable case for more mainstream Muslims, living in security in the west, to speak out more openly for a less oppressive vision of their faith.
They don't have to be "on our side." Our side is strong enough to thrive on diversity and difference. But, allowing for all sorts of difficulties they must have in reconciling conflicting loyalties, they owe it to their own young generation to have the courage of their own quiet convictions.[/quote]
Yes. But how would we monitor the real feeling that is hidden inside the home or mosque? I see it as similar to the pet dog that would ‘never hurt anyone’ that suddenly and for no discernable reason, savages a kid it has grown up with.
As things are at the moment, we have all sorts of people trying to explain Islamic values. I spent some 14 years in total in Muslim countries and find it hard to recognise some of the explanations. My memory is of a gentle and counsiderate people loath to offend or condemn.
In what I see as a partial vacuum of explanation, I offer the guest blog from a Muslim woman in an Arab country. Some of the ideas are strange ("As women are not allowed to raise their voices in prayer if men are in earshot") but if they are accepted by those directly involved, why should I condemn?
TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
Maybe this is a better insight?
Tuesday, 10 October 2006
Just imagine this happening in UK! The riots would have exceeded those following the cartoons and comments made by Herr Pope
NAIVASHA, Kenya (Reuters) - A couple caught having sex in a Kenyan mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan have been sentenced to 18 months jail for what the judge called an "abominable" affront to religion.
Peter Kimani and Jennifer Wairimu pleaded guilty to the charge of having sex in a place of worship after being caught on October 3 at the Abubakar mosque in Gilgil, about 60 miles north of Nairobi. Neither is a Muslim.
A worshipper heading for evening prayers found the couple having sex after investigating what the prosecution described as strange noises emanating from a dark corner of the mosque.
Kimani and Wairimu both pleaded for clemency at Monday's hearing, saying they were too drunk to know where they were. Kimani told the court he thought he was in a lodging house.
John King'ori, senior magistrate in nearby Naivasha, dismissed their plea.
"Having sex in a mosque is a most abominable thing to religion and only a custodial sentence can add justice to this," he said.
I still cannot get over how friendly people up here in Scotland can be.
Our pharmacist set up a scheme where he will look at minor injuries or other health concerns and advise on what if anything needs to be done. Saves the aggro of making appointments and wandering of to the medical centre on the outskirts of town. One needs to register with him for this.
I went into his shop and told one of the assistants that I wanted to sign up. She trotted off - I thought to get forms. Within a couple of minutes she was back and said, "That's OK" I asked her how she knew who I was and she just laughed and said we had lived in town for three or four years.
We get our prescription medicine from the same chemist. In the package is a form to request further supplies. Drop the form into the shop, they take it to the doctors and collect the prescriptions. All we have to do is collect the drugs some two or so days later. I lost my form and had to ring the doctor's receptionist to see what had to be done. She asked what medicine I wanted and said she would deal with it. I realised I had not told her who I was and gave her that information as we were ringing off. "Yes. I know" she said.
I must really be some freak of nature to be universally recognised.