The Banning of Halal and Kosher…

March 18, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I’m not sure if it’s just me being good at ignoring things or whether there’s been a genuine upturn in chatter on this subject, but either way I’ve seen a lot more calls to ban the practice of halal and kosher slaughter in the UK. I do have to say that I’d be all for a blanket ban on these slaughter practices if the following conditions were met:

  1. If the pro-banning campaigners demonstrated a genuine care for animal rights, which would in turn lead to;
  2. A complete ban of all animal slaughter in the UK at the same time.

So yes, if both conditions were met, of course I’d support any ban of Halal and Kosher slaughter. Of course that’s not going to happen, given that in January 2014 alone approximately 90 million live poultry were slaughtered (see here for data), that’s not even getting in to the number of pigs, cows, lamb, sheep, goats and ahem horses were slaughtered for our human consumption. I think at this point I should probably stress that I am by no means a vegetarian or vegan, but on the other hand I’m certainly not a rampant carnivore either.

This entire debate around Halal/Kosher doesn’t stem from genuine animal rights concerns at all and, whilst many will be tempted to do this, I don’t even think I could attribute it to Islamophobia either. What it boils down to is a mixture of the misplaced fear that Islam wants to conquer the United Kingdom, enforce ‘our rules’ (whatever they are) upon the native population and enslave them into ‘our way of life’ (again, not sure what that is) and protectionism from Vets and Farmers who delight in eating meat but want some form of ban to placate animal rights activists . The fact that Kosher has been brought in to this debate, and I’ve never, ever seen anyone do this until very recently, seems to be a cynical attempt to legitimise the campaign and give it the appearance of an animal welfare one.

If it were a serious campaign with deep-rooted animal welfare concerns attached to it, surely the campaign would also seek to tackle ‘non-halal/kosher’ slaughter too, given that there isn’t really a humane way to kill any animal for its meat. Besides, given that there about 3 million declared Muslims and Jews living in Britain, leaving about 57 million non-Muslims/Jews, it should become fairly clear that the overwhelming majority of meat available for consumption in the UK is not ‘sacrificed’ by religious methods at all.

Couple that with the fact that scientists just can’t agree on which method of slaughter is more or less humane than the other, you must begin to see that arguments against Halal and Kosher are paper-thin and constructed upon a destructive concoction of fear, hatred and misinformation. The standard method of slaughter is often overlooked, do you know how your meat is killed? It is done using a bolt-gun and the method is described in some detail here. To take a little passage from that:

 ”The stunner uses a pointed bolt which is propelled by pressurized air or a blank cartridge. The bolt penetrates the skull of the animal, enters the cranium, and catastrophically damages the cerebrum and part of the cerebellum. Due to concussion, destruction of vital centres of brain and an increase in intracranial pressure, the animal loses consciousness. This method is currently the most effective type of stunning, since it physically destroys brain matter (increasing the probability of a successful stun), while also leaving the brain stem intact (thus ensuring the heart continues to beat during the bleed. This however has no bearing on the efficacy or speed of the bleed, as cardiac output requires a venous return, as venous supply is severed, this does not occur. The bleed hence relies on gravity and not a heartbeat). One disadvantage of this method is that brain matter is allowed to enter the blood stream, possibly contaminating other tissue with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, colloquially known as mad cow disease).”

Forgive me, but if one is to argue that halal and kosher slaughter is inhumane, how can one simultaneously argue that bolt-guns aren’t?

I don’t know an awful lot about Shechita (Jewish method), but I do know a fair bit about Dhabiha (Islamic Method) and if the rules are followed correctly, the entire lifetime of an animal being reared for slaughter is far, far better. For instance, if one is genuinely concerned about animal welfare, why then do conventional slaughterhouses allow animals to see other animals being slaughtered? For Dhabiha to be considered Halal, the animal has to be cared for during the process, it cannot see the blade until the very last moment, must not be under the impression it’s about to be killed and must be kept calm at all times. When the cut is delivered, it is a single incision to the carotid artery, preventing blood from reaching the brain.

Perhaps why this might seem humane is the fact that you can hear and see the blood gushing out of the animal, it’s a sickening and disgusting image, whereas the conventional method used smashes through the skull of the animal and tears the brain to pieces so you can’t really see much and it doesn’t look quite so disgusting. But appearances aren’t everything, and whilst scientists are not in agreement over which is more or less humane, to call for a ban to one and not the other is the epitome of hypocrisy.

Far-Right Extremist Laments Far-Right Extremist Group Being Too Far Right & Extreme

October 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Tommy Robinson today announced that he’s quitting the English Defence League as he wants to “Counter Islamist Ideology” though “Not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”

Describing Tommy as an enigma is probably being a little generous. Usually enigmatic people are quite deliberately difficult to fathom but Tommy seems to be either accidentally difficult or just internally conflicted. Either way he’s led the increasingly violent, increasingly stupid and increasingly racist EDL for four years now. He’s been given a fair bit more air-time over that period than the genuinely baffling Nick Griffin, and four years later I still can’t quite figure out what his point actually is. Or was.

I do remember watching a documentary about him and Saiful Islam in Luton, and I remember thinking at the time that Tommy probably isn’t as racist, nasty or as anti-Islam as he likes to make out. That in fact it looks as though he and Saiful were the equally dominant and equally opposing forces at the same secondary school and that the two of them don’t genuinely believe what they’re saying. It almost looked like the EDL and Saiful’s little gang of backward followers was just a wild escalation to this playground duel that may well have began with one looking at the other’s girlfriend the wrong way.

He had a bit of a strange interaction with an Asian security guard during that programme, where he called him a ‘Smelly paki’ and told him to ‘go home’. The guard didn’t bite and Tommy just said ‘Nah, I’m only kidding mate, you’re all right.’ And weirdly enough, I saw a small little boy with a desire to be liked, or to be well known or famous. And perhaps that’s why he started the EDL. Maybe he was talking to his mate Kev (Carroll, his deputy leader of the EDL who also quit), talking about fame and they both reached the conclusion that he wasn’t particularly good at anything apart from his innate  ability to start  fights in empty rooms and shout a lot. And thus, the EDL was born.

With every passing pub-crawl or – to use EDL terminology – march, the group seemed to grow in violence and genuine confusion. It would have been fantastic if the various police forces that have had to deal with these drunken farces had kept some stats, as I’m sure they probably hurt more of their own than anyone else. As well as increasing in violence, Tommy himself ventured further away from criticising ‘Political Islam’ as he calls it (not sure what that actually is) and more towards criticising everyday Muslims. I could list a few of his more famous insults aimed in the general direction of Muslims, not extremists, but it’d be too easy.

My thoughts on the move he’s made today aren’t too deep, they’re pretty straightforward actually. His quitting of the leadership of the EDL does not mean that overnight he becomes less violent, more inclusive of Muslims or less Islamophobic. Tomorrow he will wake up the same person with the same ideas floating around in his head. But on the other hand I don’t think we should assume that he’ll never change or that he doesn’t want to.

I still think a lot of the things he’s done and said in the past are deplorable, despicable and in cases outright disgusting, but it isn’t for me or anyone else to judge him as a write-off or a lost cause. At this moment in time it’s probably safe to assume that Tommy probably harbours a strong disliking for Islam and Muslims, and by not at least giving him a chance to repent Muslims will only be proving him right. Of course we don’t need to prove anything to him at all, but if we were take a look at our own Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasalaam) and the trials he faced in his lifetime, we will see for ourselves that he forgave much worse people who committed much more oppressive, much more disgusting acts than Tommy Robinson ever has.

So while it may look slightly comical that a Far-right extremist has left the far-right extremist group that he himself started up for being too far right and too extreme, we should at least give the man a chance to redeem himself. He might just prove himself to be a good guy after all. On the other hand he might not, but we will be much better off as Muslims if we at least give him that chance.

What Are Whites Doing to Combat White Crime?

October 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Wow, some things never change. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was writing this. And since then not really a lot’s changed, today the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live show asked the question that seems to be in vogue at the moment: ‘Do Muslims do enough to combat extremism?‘ It’s a ludicrous and infuriating question that actually hints at the possibility that Muslims at worst agree with extremist viewpoints or at best tolerate them. I won’t go over old ground too much, but there isn’t a great deal we can do about it. These extremist types are incredibly aware of the unpopularity and sensitivity of their own viewpoints, so generally only share their thoughts with like-minded individuals.

Also I noticed via this tweet from Mohammad Ansar, a story on the Quilliam Foundation:

 

The article talks about a forthcoming report from the Quilliam Foundation (set up by two ex-extremists interestingly enough) that pretty much decries all ‘mainstream’ Muslim organisations as Extremist apologists. It seems clear that Quilliam is smearing other organisations in an attempt to retain its Government funding, but this little episode does raise a difficult question for News and Television editors: ‘Which Muslims should we invite comment from?’

Unfortunately, it seems the balance at the moment is tipped in favour of those Muslims who think Islam and Muslims should drastically change to meet the demands of the West. Muslims who think that Islam and the West don’t really need wholesale changes to co-exist are largely ignored, how many can you name? On the whole is Islam is poorly represented in the mainstream press, possibly because the opinions of ex-Muslims, ‘Secular’ Muslims or ‘Moderate’ Muslims sell more copy as they are likely to pander to white audiences. I don’t often see ‘Muslim’ Muslims on TV, you know the ordinary Muslim who is interested in clean living, clean earning, worship, family and equality for all. If you do see ‘Muslim’ Muslims on TV, I tend to find it’s either teenagers who, like any teen, are a bit under-developed with their ideas or nervous to be on TV, or it’s nice people like Myriam Francois-Cerrah who seems to get rapturous applause on their rare appearances.

Of course I think representation of Muslims and Islam on the tellybox is more than just a little unfair but that’s nothing new and is highly unlikely to change any time soon. Islamophobia does play a big part in this, but I think we as Muslims must also accept that another aspect of this is the general negativity of Western Media. Negativity sells copy, media outlets are in fierce competition in an increasingly shrinking marketplace so as unfortunate and unfair as it is, Muslims just aren’t going to get much good press (unless we run 5,000m faster than anyone else). That doesn’t mean to say that we should lie down and accept it, we just need to understand that isn’t necessarily all about hatred of Islam.

That hatred does exist though, and it doesn’t always manifest itself in an obvious or direct manner. We only have to look at how often the ‘Do Muslims do enough to…’ question pops up in comparison to the ‘Do Whites do enough to…’. I have never seen any news outlet ever question the efforts of white people, despite the fact that as of June 2013 73.8% of prisoners are white. So 73.8% of all convicted prisoners currently serving are white. That kind of statistic really does beg the question:

What are White People doing to combat this?”

The answer of course is nothing in particular, but why is this question never asked? I’m white, so according to the logic of the BBC and other mainstream outlets, should I be out on the streets campaigning against White Crime? Maybe I could have a little niche of my own and go out campaigning against White Muslim crime, maybe I should cast a judging eye over every white person I see and if they look like they might commit a crime, ask them how they are? After all, it’s my duty as a white person to help combat the ever-increasing scourge of British society: White Crime.

Or maybe it’s my duty as a white person to pressurise minority groups into action over their criminals instead? After all, I pay my taxes and as a result am an asset to society. They don’t and they aren’t. Right?

Muslims Need to do More…

June 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm

For a good while now, every negative news story involving either a Muslim, a group of Muslims or even a person with a vaguely ‘Muslim-looking’ face or a ‘Muslim-sounding’ name is swiftly followed by one sentence of immense stupidity:

Muslim communities need to do more to root out (insert crime here).

‘Why is this such an immensely stupid statement?’ I hear you ask.

When a white Briton commits the very same crime, and they do (quite often as it happens), do we see media outlets ask the same question of white British communities? Never. Do white British communities do enough to root out Paedophilia? It’s a ridiculous question to ask. Is it a cultural thing that means Paedophilia within white Britons is more likely than other communities? Of course it isn’t. Do white people need to apologise for every white Paedophile or rapist? Don’t be absurd.

So why do we see that minority communities in Britain face these very same questions? Muslims in particular face the pathetic accusation that we ‘Don’t do enough to root out terrorism and extremists in our midst’. If the accuser would stop for just a moment to allow the brain-mouth link to function correctly they may begin to understand why it is so ludicrous.

I’ve been to a great many mosques over the past five years. I’ve been to Pakistani mosques, Indian mosques, Somali mosques, Bengali mosques, Libyan mosques, Iraqi mosques, mixed mosques, Arab mosques, revert mosques, university mosques, multi-million pound mosques, garden shed mosques, multi-storey mosques, mosques in India, Nepal, Egypt, UAE, Palestine, Turkey and Britain. Not one of them had a dark little hideaway labelled ‘Terrorist Corner’.

What you must understand before asking whether Muslims ‘do enough’, or just outright declare that we don’t, is that terrorists or extremists in our midst don’t exactly shout their opinions from the rooftops. They probably don’t even discuss their views within the mosque itself and there’s actually a damned good reason for that too: It isn’t Islam. It isn’t welcome in our mosques, it isn’t welcome in our communities and it definitely isn’t welcome in our name. Our imams don’t preach hatred or talk of commandeering these isles in the name of Islam or of enforcing ‘Sharia Law’ on the native white population. They preach love and tolerance, equality and peace.

I often wander around inside mosques, casually eavesdropping on conversations and surprisingly enough I’ve never encountered any hushed groups of four to five angry, bearded, robed men sat around the blueprints of a major landmark discussing strategically placed plastic models of TNT. Usually they’re talking about the beauty of the Qur’an, talking about it’s pronunciation or meaning, talking about the Almighty or his Messenger. Mosques are not sinister breeding grounds for extremism and misogyny.

Consider this: how many ‘Dawn raids’ do police carry out on mosques on Counter-Terrorism grounds? None. The raids are always on houses, usually belonging to another seemingly mundane member of the local community. Usually the inhabitants eat, sleep, shower and s**t in that house. Often, they actually leave the house to buy food or talk to people about sport, news, the weather or family. Sometimes they invite people into that house, other times they’ll visit other people’s houses. They seem to be ordinary people. In fact some of them don’t even live within a ‘Muslim Neighbourhood’, some have the audacity to live next to White British people.

The problem then for the Muslim community then becomes a little more apparent don’t you think? In Islam, we believe in many miracles. Sadly mind-reading is not one of them. So tell me: What should Muslims be doing exactly? And what are you doing about Paedophiles, Rapists and Murderers?

The Blair Issue

June 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Late on Saturday night I had the misfortune of reading Tony Blair’s latest offensive on Islam. The MailOnline website had posted an article just before 1am talking of Blair’s ‘Most powerful political intervention since leaving Downing Street’. An interesting description, presumably the Mail correspondent believes Blair has been next to useless in his role as Peace Envoy to the Middle East too?

An hour later the full article was published. The extreme arrogance with which he wrote sickened me to the core. In it he claims he has ‘first-hand experience of what is going on in the Middle East’ and will make his ’100th visit to the Middle East’ this month. He claims to know of Bashar al-Assad’s plan to split Syria in two and is ‘using chemical weapons on a small but deadly scale’, he claims that ‘Al Qaeda is back causing carnage in Iraq’, and ‘Iran continues it’s gruesome meddling’ whilst also ‘Still exporting terror to West’ and are ‘Still intent on getting a Nuclear weapon’.

All of this is exceedingly wonderful insight into the Middle East (and his psyche), but beneath it all lies the inescapable fact that the West has either caused or played a significant role in the general instability over there. All of this insight ignores the fact that it comes from the mind of the man who took us to ‘War’ in Iraq solely on the premise that they had WMDs. Whether Tony lied about WMDs or just plain got it wrong is actually irrelevant for the purposes of my article. Saddam didn’t possess any WMDs, Tony Blair’s credibility in international politics dwindled with each new day of fruitless searches whether he lied or got it wrong.

His opinion on the Middle East is therefore worthless, he has proved he is either incompetent or a liar. He has made almost 100 visits to the Middle East in 6 years of his heart-crushing role of Peace Envoy and what has he achieved? All we know is that he’s developed a fine career advising questionable regimes and giving speeches to questionable corporations. But achieving peace in the Middle East will never appear on his CV.

Tony Blair has the classic White Supremacist ideology coursing through his veins, he is incapable of listening to the people on the ground affected by his reckless politics. Remember how many turned up for the ‘Stop the War’ protests in 2003? Did he listen? No. Tony Blair is single minded in that he is always right. He has never expressed even a modicum of regret on the Iraqi invasion, he still believes it was the right thing to do, he still thinks Iraq is a safer place to live now than it was then. How many civilians died in Iraq last week Tony?

Not only does he refuse to acknowledge his error of judgement, in his article today he refuses to acknowledge the role of the West in causing this instability we currently see in the Middle East. He makes no mention of The USA’s gruesome meddling in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Yemen etcetera etcetera. He chooses to ignore western support for totalitarian dictatorships, he refuses to acknowledge that the majority of the current ‘villains’ were at one point funded by us! In fact he claims the Taliban was borne out of the Russian Occupation of Afghanistan but fails completely to mention the role of the Americans.

Tony states that there is a ‘Problem within Islam’ but ‘not with Islam itself’ and I find myself actually agreeing with this up to a point. I would suggest that Islam is a peaceful religion, its adherents struggle to achieve the same goals as any westerners: to provide for their families, to better themselves, to practice their faith freely. The ‘problem within Islam’ he talks of is accurate to some extent, there are people who act in brutish, thuggish, disgusting ways who claim to do so in the name of Islam, in the name of Allah. But let me assure you they are not acting in the name of Islam Tony, they act purely in retaliation and revenge against the west merely using Islam as a cover to legitimise their acts and attract support. These people were created by you, they were created by your predecessors, and their predecessors too.

There are too many people in this world willing to kill and to die doing what they believe to be right. The overwhelming majority of these people make no claims to be Muslim, they wear camouflaged clothing, carry expensive weaponry and drive around in armoured vehicles. They are convinced that what they are doing is right by people like Tony: pen-pushing, money-grabbing, attention-seeking, credit-hogging, self-indulgent, corrupt autocrats.

Tony says that beneath all the troubles in the Middle East and North Africa lies a common thread, he asks us ‘Are we going to continue to ignore this?’ He’s right. There is a common thread: Western Intervention. And this fact has been ignored far too long.

Tony also says ‘The ideology behind the murder of Lee Rigby is profound and dangerous, why don’t we admit it?’

I respond with a question:

When will the West pull our bloodied hands from behind our backs?

It is our ideology that is profound and dangerous. We think we have done no wrong. A casual glance through history would suggest otherwise.

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