Is Islam really worth taking seriously as a ‘Religion of Peace’?


ISIL execution of an 'apostate' in Aleppo

ISIL execution of an ‘apostate’ in Aleppo

The jihadist group that has seized swathes of Iraq in a lightning campaign has kidnapped dozens of children in Syria and plans to use them as suicide bombers, activists warned. Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have abducted 145 elementary school children of Kurdish origins in northern Syria.

“The children were kidnapped on the Aleppo-Minbej road while returning to the Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) city after completing their exams in regime-held areas of Aleppo city,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said. The activist group, which has been reliably reporting on the Syrian civil war for over three years, said the abduction took place at the end of May. SOHR said that parents were frantic that extremist militants were brainwashing their children to then send them to their deaths as suicide bombers.

Thirty-one Turkish truck drivers and 49 people who were at the Turkish consulate in Mosul when it was stormed by militants have been also taken captive by the group, which uses ransom money to fund its plan to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region. Turkey also said its embassy in Baghdad was looking into reports jihadists kidnapped 60 foreign construction workers, including some 15 Turks, near the northern city of Kirkuk.

In the latest development, Isis fighters have invaded Iraq’s biggest oil refinery in Baiji and are now controlling 75% of the facility. “Five students, who were able to flee from their kidnapers, told their parents that the Isis offered them recruitment and gave them lessons of ‘Jihad and fighting the enemies of god and apostates’,” SOHR said.

Run by jihadist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Isis was formed in Iraq shortly after the 2003 US-led invasion. The group has exploited the chaos sparked by the civil war in neighbouring Syria to carve out a safe haven from where it has launched attacks back into Iraq. Last week, Isis vowed to conquer Baghdad after it seized Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The invasion has been followed by reports of summary executions and abductions. Meanwhile, the Indian government said 40 Indian construction workers were kidnapped by Isis in the city.

Islamic terrorism will always need to be countered by developed countries


Added more to the article today – many relevant new points.

gobbledegooked

Shakir Wahiyib Shakir Wahiyib

There is a misunderstanding in Western opinion as to the cause of Islamic fundamentalism and it works in the favour of the terrorists and Jihad. The point that must be remembered about Islam is that it cannot be modernised. The prophet, Mohammed, lead a ‘perfect’ life, according to Islamic belief. Not only that, but the Qur’an teaches Muslims that it contains the ‘perfect word of god’ and that Mohammed was the final prophet to be sent by Allah, so no new covenant, meaning no possibility of dragging Islam into the 21st century. Thus their aim is the overthrow of all other theologies and ideologies. In short they will not back down, no matter what the West does.

The previous misconception was that the Iraq war was caused by nothing but a desire for oil. With each and every situation that has followed in Muslims countries, the arguments against…

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Islamic terrorism will always need to be countered by developed countries


Shakir Wahiyib

Shakir Wahiyib

There is a misunderstanding in Western opinion as to the cause of Islamic fundamentalism and it works in the favour of the terrorists and Jihad. The point that must be remembered about Islam is that it cannot be modernised. The prophet, Mohammed, lead a ‘perfect’ life, according to Islamic belief. Not only that, but the Qur’an teaches Muslims that it contains the ‘perfect word of god’ and that Mohammed was the final prophet to be sent by Allah, so no new covenant, meaning no possibility of dragging Islam into the 21st century. Thus their aim is the overthrow of all other theologies and ideologies. In short they will not back down, no matter what the West does.

The previous misconception was that the Iraq war was caused by nothing but a desire for oil. With each and every situation that has followed in Muslims countries, the arguments against any involvement at all have included the same myopic standpoint, as if its success in denigrating the Iraq war can simply be transposed to other situations, such as Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and now Iraq again. Many experts and commentators are blaming the 2003 invasion of Iraq for the insurgency, forgetting that many other Muslim countries have suffered such insurgency, such as Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Morocco and Algeria (Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb),  in Mali (Ansar Dine) and Kashmir.

Much of this happened before the 2003 invasion of Iraq and it would be quite absurd to say that the Iraq war in 2003 caused all of this. Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003,  put his own credibility at risk by saying “We are reaping what we sowed in 2003. This is not hindsight. We knew in the run-up to war that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would seriously destabilise Iraq after 24 years of his iron rule” he said in the Mail on Sunday. With the loss of key leaders, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s operations have devolved from actions that were controlled from the top-down, to actions by franchise associated groups, to actions of lone wolf operators. The entire matter of Al Qaeda is out of hand and still people argue that we should ignore it. Such inaction is nothing short of irresponsible. William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, summed it up on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme this morning (16 June) “it is possible to argue that Western intervention makes these things worse, and it’s possible to argue that the absence of Western intervention makes these things worse”. Hague was absolutely right with that judgement. Consider if you will, that the pressure put upon the UK government by Labour and the general public not to intervene in Syria would be a much more likely reason for the insurgents spilling into Iraq. It was the very reason that Al Qaeda distanced themselves from ISIS, because they were too opportunistic in the battlefield, making too many treaties with too many rebel factions.

There is a piece of research by an eminent academic, Professor Michel Chossudovsky,  a Canadian economist and professor of economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. It is his belief that the war in Afghanistan is a profit driven “resource war”. Not oil, of course, because there is no known oil field in the country, though their is a vast, untapped wealth in natural gas, lithium, cobalt, copper and suchlike. He may be right in his assertion that international companies want to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth but it is certain that there is no possibility in the foreseeable future because of the perilous instability that exists and will do so until Muslims cease to practise sectarianism and their hatred and of any ideology other than Islam. Strong words? You could argue that, except that as I write this article it is being reported that eleven Afghans had all of their fingers cut off by the Taliban for voting in a presidential run-off. That tells you what many Muslims outside of Britain, and some within the UK, think of democracy. I once asked a fellow student, a Saudi teacher on a postgraduate course in the UK, what was Islam’s position regarding democracy. His answer was chilling: “Simple” he said “it has no place in our culture”. Afghanistan was invaded because the Taliban permitted Al-Qaeda to base their terrorist training camp there, but neither the change of regime nor the passage of time have diminished the zeal of the Taliban to live in a surreal, Bronze Age purgatory and cite it’s raison d’être as following Islam. Only a wilfully careless optimist would expect that to change any time soon.

In any given geopolitical turmoil there will be people making money out of it. The first thing that ISIS did when they took Mosul and beheaded, crucified or shot innocent representatives of the Iraqi government (imagine the consternation this is having for government employees elsewhere in Iraq) was to break into the Bank of Iraq in the city and steal hundreds of millions of dollars. ISIS were in Syria fighting Assad, but because of his nature as a dictator – and supported by Putin too – Assad took to using just about any weapon he could lay his hands on: chemical warfare, barrel bombs, indiscriminate sniping and suchlike. Unable to dislodge the dictator they then moved their attention to Iraq, with the consequences that we have seen over the last week. We have to hope and pray that the alliance between the Iranian and Iraqi governments with their military capacity, succeeds in eradicating ISIS and its leader, Shakir Wahiyib, who has a strong resemblance to Sacha Baron Cohen’s Admiral General Aladeen about him. If this devotee of Bronze Age Islam gets his way, he will make Afghanistan and Iran look like a kindergarten teddy bears’ picnic. For one, ISIS, like Al-Qaeda and Saddam, are Sunnis and they consider the Shi’ites to be heretics, meaning that there would be considerable bloodshed in the aftermath of a takeover of Iraq by ISIS. Even Al-Qaeda have disowned ISIS because it it indulges in killing far too many Muslims for Ayman al-Zawahiri’s liking.

Award winning former-US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, wrote to the New York Times last week begging the US and other Western states to substantially increase the supply of arms to the moderate rebels fighting Assad. He was unequivocal about the need to be proactive: “The Free Syrian Army must have more military hardware, including mortars and rockets to pound airfields to impede regime air supply operations and, subject to reasonable safeguards, surface-to-air missiles. We don’t have good choices on Syria any more. But some are clearly worse than others. More hesitation and unwillingness to commit to enabling the moderate opposition fighters to fight more effectively both the Jihadists and the regime simply hasten the day when American forces will have to intervene against Al Qaeda in Syria.” At the time of writing this, he had little idea that ISIS would redirect its insurgents into Iraq, nor that such success would be achieved. We are in a grave position indeed.

Ignoring Islamic terrorism will simply allow ISIS, or Al-Qaeda for that matter, to take a hold of weakened states in the Middle East. The sad part about all of this is that those that have called for the United Kingdom not to get involved in Syria, they have unknowingly left ISIS to grow in strength, knowing that the West has no stomach to stop them. Chamberlain managed the same with Hitler. The Islamists will not stop. They believe that their religion is perfect and Jihad brings rewards in the (laughable) afterlife. They truly believe that they will eventually take over the world because Allah has commanded them to. Unless we assist the moderate Muslims there is no hope because, with each passing day, more and more Sunnis join the ranks of the Islamists and, like any fighting force they will become battle-hardened and more determined. Had we played an air support role to quell the problem in Iraq, against Assad and for the beleaguered civilian population being gassed and shelled by him, we might have won the loyalty of the oppressed Sunnis. What we have now is the worst of both worlds.

 

I detest the ‘gong’ culture, but I love this one …


 

Stephen Sutton and his ever-optimistic thumbs up

Stephen Sutton and his ever-optimistic thumbs up

That Stephen Sutton should have raised £4m for cancer research is quite an amazing feat, but that he did it from a hospital bed whilst in the final stages of terminal cancer is astonishing. Every young person has the potential to shine if they try, but Stephen’s shine is really dazzling, making him every inch the star that most of us would wish to be.

Stephen is not alone. Arran Tosh was another Stephen Sutton, a person that should make us all feel humble, someone that cared about others, an optimist junkie if I can put it that way.  He knew nothing of his own illness when he started fundraising for Cancer Research UK, as the brain tumour was discovered and he was diagnosed but five days before he died. At the time of his death he had raised £600, but this has now grown to more than £13,000 after this child’s hopes and dreams were shadowed by his own death.

These are the kind of people who make life special, if you care to stop and reflect on how they dealt with themselves in the most difficult circumstances. That those so young can face such circumstances and shine through in such a remarkable way is humbling indeed.

Stephen has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. I feel distinctly uncomfortable seeing the ‘great and good’ having honours bestowed on them just for doing a job that they have been handsomely paid for, but I feel nothing but joy at Stephen’s recognition by all of us that he was special.

Sadly, Arran died before he could live out his dream of raising money for Cancer Research, a task he had set himself because his aunt had cancer, making it all the more tragic that he became a victim of the very life-threatening illness that he was raising money for.

Arran has gone, sadly, and now cannot be recognised by our honours system (why not?) as such awards are not given posthumously. All is not lost, though, because there is something we can all do. Don’t raise a glass to Arran, but please use this link to donate to his cause: http://www.justgiving.com/user/47251039

Arran Tosh 2001 -2013

Arran Tosh 2001 -2014

The fall of Putin’s reputation abroad …


russian tanks invade Ukraine

The latest development in Ukraine has seen tanks supplied by Russia rolling into the rebel provinces of Ukraine. Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister, claimed that an armoured column, including three tanks, had entered Ukrainian territory from Russia and that  Ukrainian forces had attacked and destroyed some of the vehicles.

To say that the West has been largely ineffectual at preventing Putin’s territorial advances in Ukraine is a worryingly insufficient observation. Europe is implicitly granting a de facto easement to Russia each time they grab more land, with possession being nine tenths  of the law. Considering that Putin and his cabal of ex-KGB cronies are basking in the glory of enlarging Russia, does anyone seriously believe that they will relinquish these illegally acquired territories without more serious action?

Western democracies and Russia don’t often seen things the same way, for example, Russia welcomed the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus in 2012, but not so the West, who described him as the ‘last dictator in Europe’. Mr Lukashenko has ruled the ex-Soviet republic since 1994, stifling dissent. He and senior aides have been banned from travelling to the EU since the violent suppression of opposition parties in 2010. Putin is an unapologetic supporter of dictators such as Mouammar Gaddafi, Bashar Al-Assad and Ramzan Kadyrov. He should be judged by the company he keeps.

Recent events have seen the Russian President selling his stock in honest commentary about the actions of the West, and NATO in particular, preferring now to focus on his own domestic situation. When the Crimean crisis was in its early stages, Putin denied that there was any involvement of Russian paramilitaries. Then, once Crimea had been stolen from Ukraine, he agreed that Russian troops had played a part in returning Crimea to the Russian fold.

Last week Putin referred to the referendum in Donetsk and Lugansk as ‘illegal’ and urged the pro-Russian rebels to delay the vote in preference to committing themselves to dialogue. President Vladimir Putin will formulate his attitude to the referenda, held on Sunday, on the status of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, “on the strength of their results”, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told the newspaper Kommersant.When the rebels announced that they had ‘won’ the referendum, Putin announced that the West should respect the result. This is a man who has given up the talk of NATO’s ‘illegal invasions’ of states over the last twenty years. Repossessing the land that was once a Russian-dominated Soviet-bloc republic – the land of King Vlad at that – to create a new empire for Russia has seen Putin hailed a hero by many in his homeland, but has embarrassingly unmasked him as deceitful to those here in the West who hung on his every criticism of what he believed were breaches of international law on the part of Western military forces.

Putin may have enhanced his reputation in Russia, but he is now perceived as wholly untrustworthy by many of those in the West who formerly admired him.