Can you separate Muslims from ISIS?

ChristiansKKK

Are all Muslims complicit with wars in the Middle East?

Are all Christians complicit with the KKK?

Are all Christians responsible for the terrible act done by James Alex Fields Jr. in Charlottesville?

Are all Christians Nazi sympathisers like Fields?

Are all white male Americans white supremacists? All white Americans?

Are all white males Nazi sympathisers?

Some people blame everyone who they think aren’t like them, or all of a group they don’t like.

Are all Muslims responsible for ISIS terrorist acts?

All 1.6 billion Muslims? Why not all 3.75 billion males? Or all 7.5 billion humans?

London Finsbury Park Mosque attack

Tensions have been raised and complicated by what is being treated as a terrorist attack with a van that hit people coming out of a mosque in London.

BBC:  ‘Major incident’ as van hits worshippers

Summary

  1. One man has died and 10 people have been injured
  2. Home Secretary Amber Rudd says it is being treated by police as a “terrorist incident”
  3. Muslim Council of Britain says van intentionally ran over worshippers
  4. A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
  5. The Metropolitan Police describe it as a “major incident”
  6. The area was busy with worshippers leaving evening prayers at Finsbury Park Mosque

Alleged attacker ‘acted alone’ – police

Asked about reports of a number of suspects running away from the van, the Met police said that was a key line of inquiry at the start of investigation.

“But from what we are seeing and what witnesses are reporting to us there was nobody else in the van, it appears that this time this attacker attacked alone,” Dep Asst Commissioner Basu said.

“This is not to say we are not investigating the full circumstances of how he came to be where he was but at this point in time there was nobody else in the van.”

Not the first terror attack against Muslims

This is not the first time that Muslims have been targeted in an apparent act of terrorism in the UK – and all the signs are that this terrible incident is nothing short of that.

The threat from extreme right-wing groups has been growing in recent years – 16% of all terror arrests in the year to March were classed as “domestic extremism”.

Those who have turned to violence have tended to go for visible Muslim targets – namely mosques.

In 2013 an extreme right-wing Ukrainian man murdered a Muslim grandfather in Birmingham and tried to bomb three mosques.

The following year saw the jailing for 10 years of a man from the north-west who was researching bomb-making and mosques to target.

And just last December the Home Secretary banned “National Action”, a group whose supporters have been investigated for planning violence.

It was probably just a matter of time before there was some sort of retaliatory attack in response to Muslim suicide attacks, but again innocent people have been targeted.

Difficult times for people in London and throughout England.

Any attack like this that targets random and innocent people must be condemned, no matter who the perpetrator is and no matter who the targets are.

 

Trump: standing up to hate and intolerance

Doing what a president needs to do – speaking against hate and intolerance, and against violence.

Politico: Trump in tweet: Portland attack ‘unacceptable’

President Donald Trump on Monday morning condemned the attacks in Portland, Oregon, where two people were killed after trying to intervene as a man delivered an anti-Muslim rant directed at two women on a train.

The tweet was sent after Trump arrived to give remarks at the Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

On Saturday, three men were allegedly attacked after they tried to stop a suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, from verbally disparaging the women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

 

Call for Islam enlightenment

There are serious problems with Islam in different parts of the world, with powerful and violent leaders and terrorist groups wreaking havoc. Most of the victims are Muslims.

Christianity has had some horrific times in history, but most of those abuses of their fundamental faith has been overcome, in large part as a result of the age on Enlightenment.

Enlightenment

The Enlightenment is the period in the history of western thought and culture, stretching roughly from the mid-decades of the seventeenth century through the eighteenth century, characterized by dramatic revolutions in science, philosophy, society and politics; these revolutions swept away the medieval world-view and ushered in our modern western world.

Since then things have been far from perfect, especially last century with major world wars, but in general many Christians and non-Christians benefit from the enlightenment in the 21st century.

Can the same revolution happen in the Islamic world? It can be difficult from ordinary Muslims to speak up for fear of violent consequences, but chance has to be pushed from the people.

Nelly has come up with this:

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Due to the suppression of speech and the risks of speaking up in Muslim countries it’s difficult to know whether this is a minority view or not, but it is worth repeating – especially by Muslims as if they are going to advance in the modern world they have to push for change within their religion.

5% Muslim myth?

I often hear claims that when the proportion of a country’s population reaches 5% (sometimes 3%) then all heel will break loose, Sharia Law will take over, praying to Mecca will become compulsory and the secular sky and Christian heaven will fall in.

I haven’t seen any substantial support of this ‘theory’. Some just state it as if it were fact, while sometimes a country with Muslim problems is cited as an example.

Muslim immigration is very contentious, and fear of terrorism is real, albeit out of proportion to the relative real threat.

There are people and groups who obsess about spreading fear of all Muslims, predicting dire consequences for any country that let’s it’s Muslim population reach 5%.

The 2013 census in New Zealand counted 46,149 Muslims, just over 1% of the population. About 7,000 of them are Maori, Pacific Island or European. The others come from a diverse range of countries including Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Fiji, with growing numbers of students from Malaysia.

Australia has about twice the proportion of Muslims, 2.2%.

The closest country to New Zealand with a Muslim population over 5% is Fiji (6-7%). Like ours their legal system is based on the British system. No Sharia. No major Muslim issues.

Just north of Australia is Indonesia, the country with the most Muslims in the world, about 87% of their total 263 million population.

While religious freedom is stipulated in the Indonesian constitution, the government officially recognises only six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

A large proportion of Indonesians—such as the Javanese abangan, Balinese Hindus, and Dayak Christians—practice a less orthodox, syncretic form of their religion, which draws on local customs and beliefs.

There are also a number of indigenous religions. These seem to coexist with Muslims.

One part of Indonesia, Aceh, applies sharia law in criminal matters. In other parts of the country it just applies to civil law (marriage, inheritance, gifts) to varying degrees, parallel with their Roman Dutch based legal system.

Other countries with large Muslim populations have varying degrees of Sharia law and varied application. Sharia law applies in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states. About 41% of the Nigerian population is Muslim.

In a number of countries with large Muslim populations sharia law plays no part in their judicial system

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The only European country with a majority Muslim population is Bosnia and Herzegovina at 51% (Christian 46%). They have a civil (not sharia) law system.

Germany (1.9% Muslim) has Sharia as part of their private law but it is limited and only applies to people with nationalities from countries using Sharia.

The United Kingdom (about 4.3%) has a voluntary dispute resolution system, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal. The tribunals have the power to rule in civil cases. They operate under Section 1 of the Arbitration Act which states that: “the parties should be free to agree how their disputes are resolved, subject only to such safeguards as are necessary in the public interest”. This operates within the English law framework and is not a separate legal system.

I am not aware of any pressure to have similar tribunals operating in New Zealand. Muslims can try to resolve civil matters through the Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand like everyone else.

An estimated 8-10%of the French population is Muslim, many of whom emigrated from French colonies in northern Africa. They have significant issues – but these may be more to do with the percentage of Muslims who live in deprivation and with high unemployment rates rather than their percentage of the population.

Each country deals with the ethnicities and religions of it’s inhabitants as they see fit.

New Zealand has long had cultural diversity, including religious diversity. We have a history of religious tolerance. Nearly half of New Zealanders identify with no religion, and many others barely practice their religion.

From Islam in New Zealand:

The first Muslims in New Zealand were an Indian family who settled in Cashmere, Christchurch, in the 1850s. The 1874 government census reported 15 Chinese gold diggers working in the Dunstan gold fields of Otago in the 1870s.

Small numbers of Muslim immigrants from South Asia and eastern Europe settled from the early 1900s until the 1960s. Large-scale Muslim immigration began in the 1970s with the arrival of Fiji Indians, followed in the 1990s by refugees from various war-torn countries.

The first Islamic centre was started in 1959 and there are now several mosques and two Islamic schools.

The majority of the Muslims are Sunni, with a large minority Shia and some Ahmadi Muslims, who run the largest mosque in the country.

Contemporary Islam:

The number of Muslims in New Zealand according to the 2013 census is 46,149, up 28% from 36,072 in the 2006 census.

That’s quite a surge but on quite small numbers. Immigration numbers from countries tend to vary a lot so it is difficult to predict trends.

The community is noted for its harmonious relations with the wider New Zealand community, with various interfaith efforts from all sides contributing to this situation. FIANZ established the Harmony Awards as part of Islam Awareness Week in 2008 to recognise the contributions of New Zealanders to improving understanding and relationships between Muslims and the wider community.

We currently don’t have any appreciable problem with Muslims in New Zealand. They tend to blend in like the many other religions, and they have diverse ethnicities like the rest of the population.

There is no way of predicting with any accuracy whether the proportion of Muslims will ever reach 3% or 5% in New Zealand, and I’m not aware of any credible evidence that those thresholds on their own would have any particular risk anywhere in the world, and especially not in New Zealand.


Note: this post is a genuine attempt to explore and understand Muslim demographics and their potential effect on New Zealand. Feel free to discuss anything related to the content.

But please do not launch into general sermons about ‘them versus us’ or general mass dissing. If you think that Muslims are an issue in New Zealand then the topic deserves decent debate, and not screes of hobby horse rehashing.

What to do about terrorism?

Terrorist attacks like yesterday’s vehicle and knife attack in London (in countries we have an affinity with, as opposed to the terrorist attacks in Nigeria) provoke understandable reactions around the world – fear, anger, sometimes hate. This is a primary aim of the attacks.

This is despite the relatively infinitesimal risk to any of us individually. We are at much greater risk of death by murder (about one a week in New Zealand), by vehicle (about one a day in New Zealand), by suicide (more than one a day). In an unknown number of cases vehicle deaths are suicides and sometimes suicide attacks.

One person’s terrorist can be another person’s ‘freedom fighter’ or allied military force. More innocent people are killed by drone attack than by the vehicle attacks that have occurred in Europe. This is a scattered asymmetric warfare.

It makes a difference if we have been where the attack has occurred. I haven’t been to London but I have been to a city in Germany that had an attack last year.

In most publicised terrorist attacks in the Western world the perpetrators turn out to be associated with Islam, and currently usually associated with ISIS.

The aim of ISIS and their followers is to spread fear as widely as possible, to create division and build hate between the Islam world and the Western world.

So far (fortunately) in New Zealand most of us have been only by perceptions, how we react feel about distant atrocities. We may fear being a victim, and we may fear what ISIS and others are trying to do in the world.

Some in New Zealand have more to contend with – they can become collateral victims.

Muslims in New Zealand must dread ISIS attacks, because it is common for people to blame not only the terrorists but also to blame all Muslims throughout the world, including New Zealand.

So New Zealand Muslims sometimes become the targets of abuse (which is contemptible), and must feel stares of unease in the streets and especially in buses and planes. This is unfortunate but it is a natural human instinct, no matter how unfounded the actual risk. And female Muslims in particular stand out by the way they dress (at least the ones that stand out do).

Not that long ago the UK had a reign of terror inflicted by close neighbours, the Irish. While they looked much the same as many others an Irish accent could cause unease.

Communists have been victimised not for being terrorists but for having a different political ideology – and perhaps for stirring up union unrest.

People of German and Japanese were ostracised and incarcerated during the Second World War.

Muslims (a very small minority of them) just happen to be the current perpetrators of terrorism.

We have to somehow deal with our feelings about terror attacks and our unease about risks to us here.

Blaming many for the actions of a few is common but doesn’t help. Driving division between all Muslims, stirring up hate and fear, this is what the terrorists are trying to achieve. They know it victimises many innocent people, that is part of their method.

We can and should condemn the sum who carry out and encourage terrorist acts.

But we have to understand smearing many innocent people is a reactive boost to what terrorists want – and it’s not fair on the targets of unfounded criticism.

If a black car crosses a white line and kills innocent travellers we don’t condemn all drivers of black cars, not all passengers in black vehicles.

If a P addict murders someone we don’t blame all pot smokers.

It makes no sense blaming a Muslim from Fiji for the actions of an Islamic terrorist from Pakistan or from Birmingham.

Terrorists aim to make many victims out of a single attack. We should resist adding to this by accusing innocent Muslims for something they have nothing to do with.

We have to hope our security and policing is vigilant and will prevent most if not all potential terrorists from attacking in New Zealand. We are lucky that the risks are relatively very small here.

We need to exercise tolerance and understanding as much as we can. We should avoid ostracising innocent people to avoid the risk of provoking one into a violent attack in reaction.

As in London we have to go about our lives as normally as possible – and allow all New Zealanders to do the same.

We have to be better than terrorists, much better, and avoid being drawn into playing their game for them. That’s our best way of winning against them.

Does NZ need better Muslim ‘assimilation’ processes?

A vocal critic of Islam has said that New Zealand needs Muslim assimilation centres, processes and policies.

Newstalk ZB: No need for ‘assimilation centres’, says Islamic Women’s Council

One of the world’s most prominent critics of Islam, Dutch-American activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, made the suggestion during an interview with Newstalk ZB yesterday.

“Before you get people in from Muslim countries, whether through the [refugee] resettlement process or through some other immigration process, you must have assimilation programmes in place,” she said.

“If free societies don’t do that, if they don’t have those assimilation policies in place, then they shouldn’t bring in people because they are only asking for instability.”

How much does she know about New Zealand? We don’t have instability here. We also don’t have assimilation processes for any other religious or ethnic groups.

However Islamic Women’s Council spokeswoman Anjum Rahman said migrants already fit on to New Zealand well.

She said New Zealand has good systems in place, and volunteers also work behind the scenes to help new migrants settle in.

“Perhaps you should visit the refugee centre in Mangere and see the programmes that are already in place in New Zealand.”

I don’t know if Ali has been to New Zealand. Stuff reports that she is due to visit next month: Controversial author Ayaan Hirsi Ali says New Zealand shouldn’t feel immune from the extremes of ‘radical Islam’

No country is immune from the extremes of radical anything.

Dr Zain Ali of Auckland University’s Islamic Studies Research Unit told the NZ Herald most NZ Muslims were either:

  • NZ-born (26 per cent)
  • or came from the Indian subcontinent (27 per cent)
  • or Fiji and other Pacific islands (21 per cent),

so they were already used to living in non-Muslim-majority countries and did not need “assimilation centres”.

That’s 74% either born here or from non-Muslim majority countries.

He suggested that schools should teach all students about “civics” including New Zealand history, culture and values.

Some Kiwi adults might also benefit from learning more about New Zealand history, culture and values.

New Zealand has a history of welcoming a diverse range of visitors and immigrants.

I wouldn’t like it for myself so I would baulk and trying to force ‘assimilation’ into Remuera culture, or Westie culture, or Otara culture, or East Coast culture, or any of the cultural variations we have here.

More brainless sheep?

In researching Labour attack ‘brainless sheep’ I came across another use of the term ‘brainless sheep’ that was used recently – at Whale Oil.

SB posted: The National Party on Immigration and the refugee quota

I contacted National, Labour, Act, The Maori Party, NZ First, the Greens, the Opportunities Party, the Conservatives and United Future to ask them all three questions. The fourth party to respond to my questions was the National Party. My questions and the Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse’s answers are published below in full and un-edited.

Question:

The perception of many of our readers is that left-of-centre political parties prefer immigrants from low socio-economic countries who are highly dependent on the state and poorly educated because immigrants like that will naturally vote for the left-of-centre parties who allowed them in. Which immigrants get priority under your party’s policy and why?

Why do many Whale Oil readers (SB doesn’t quantify or say how she knows) think “that left-of-centre political parties prefer immigrants from low socio-economic countries who are highly dependent on the state and poorly educated because immigrants like that will naturally vote for the left-of-centre parties who allowed them in”?

This poorly informed political generalisation is as brainless as Labour Tauranga.

Answer:

Majority of our immigration policies are based on skill level and the Government is constantly making changes to improve the skill level of migrants coming to New Zealand.

Perhaps SN could learn about the objectives of Immigration New Zealand and educate her WO readers:

INZ Operational Manual – Residence

a The objective of New Zealand’s residence programme is to contribute to economic grow
th through enhancing the overall level of human capability in New Zealand, encouraging enterprise andinnovation, and fostering international links, while maintaining a high level of social cohesion.

b This objective is achieved through selecting a broad mix of migrants on the basis of either their skills and experience or their family links to New Zealand.

https://www.immigration.govt.nz/documents/ops-manual/residence.pdf

Question:

Many of our readers do not trust the UN to decide which refugees we will get and are concerned that they are not being vetted properly. There is also the problem that Christian and non-Muslim refugees who are more easily able to integrate and assimilate into New Zealand are not safe inside the camps and flee them which results in an almost 100% Muslim refugee intake for New Zealand. Given that we are a Christian and secular country where does your party stand on our refugee quota?

SB seems to state as fact “an almost 100% Muslim refugee intake for New Zealand”. I would be interested to know how she knows this, and if it is accurate.

Answer:

In regards to refugees, refugees are referred by the UNHCR to New Zealand for resettlement based on need for protection and are robustly screened by NZ Government agencies.

I thought this screening process (by NZ immigration) was common knowledge.

Question:

Our readers would also like to know if your party would support putting persecuted minorities such as Christian and non-Muslim refugees at the front of the queue?

Answer:

Under international conventions, religion is not a criterion that can be used for selection.

Using a poorly informed blog like Whale Oil to determine which religions were acceptable for consideration for refugee intakes is unlikely to happen, fortunately.

The ‘brainless sheep’ reference came up in comments.

Win: The answer “Religion is not a criterion that can be used for selection” – so why are all of these so called refugees muslim?

That SB states they are does not make it fact.

Shalice: That phrase only means “if we choose Christians we will be accused of not being diverse enough and being PC is infinitely more important than the safety of NZ citizens”

deja vu: At best it’s lazy thinking – at worst cowardice.

Who’s lack of thinking is lazy?

deja vu: Actually they’re not so private agendas. Can’t be, if even we stupid brainless sheep can find out what they are. There has to be another explanation which dares not speak its name in public – surrendering to the ultimate ambitions of the NWO.

I presume NWO refers to New World Order (conspiracy theory). That went unchallenged.

Trevor Hughes appears to have some detail:

Under the 1951 UN Convention a refugee is a person with a well founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, social group or political opinion. New Zealand is free to take whichever refugees it wishes. Currently in the Middle East religious minorities like the Christians and Yazidis are the most severely persecuted groups.

Yazidism is an ancient religion in northern Mesopatamia (mainly Iraqi Kurds) and they have been persecuted by ISIS. Some of their own practices aren’t that flash either, with recent reports of stonings and ‘honour’ killings.

One of the largest Yazidi populations outside the Middle East is in Germany, something around 100,000 of them have gone their as refugees. Germany has been strongly criticised on Whale Oil for it’s immigration policies.

They have suffered unspeakable atrocities at the hands of radical Islamists and they dare not enter the UN run refugee camps which are largely muslim.

Many have suffered in the Middle East in Syria, Iraq, Yemen – mostly Muslims.

There won’t be many Muslims in the Yazidi refugee camp either. See “The first thing one notices upon entering the Yazidi refugee camp is the children. They seem to be everywhere—chasing each other between the UN tents…”.

Yet these people at present make up only about two percent of our refugee intake, the overwhelming majority of the intake being muslim.

Perhaps because most refugees currently in dire need are Muslim? Interesting he has quantified Christian and Yazidi refugees but not Muslims.

New Zealand could easily bypass UNHCR, which has a history of corruption running the camps, and work with agencies like the Barnabas Foundation to redress this travesty. Perhaps however we are afraid of upsetting our Saudi mates and the free trade deal?

Odd comment. Bypassing UNHCR and bypassing refugee camps would require a lot more work and vetting by New Zealand.

ISIS try to capitalise off Trump

This isn’t surprising – ISIS and Al Qaeda are trying to capitalise off the actions of Donald Trump in immigration and refugee restrictions targeting Muslim countries.

There was always going to be a risk of escalation.

The Independent: Isis hails Donald Trump’s Muslim immigration restrictions as a ‘blessed ban’

Al Qaeda, Isis and other jihadi groups are thrilled with US President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration targeting Muslim countries, describing it as proof that the US is at war with Islam.

The new legislation signed by Mr Trump on Friday temporarily suspends the US’ refugee programme and bans citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from entering the country on the grounds of national security.

Isis-friendly channels on the Telegram messaging service described the ban as “blessed”, echoing how the US 2003 invasion of Iraq was called a “blessed invasion” for reinvigorating anti-US sentiment in the region.

One user greeted the news of the “Muslim ban” as “the best caller to Islam”, hoping it will draw Muslim Americans to their cause.

Several posts suggested that the prediction of Anwar al-Awlaki – a US-born al Qaeda leader killed in Yemen in 2011 – that “the West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens” was coming true.

Of course this may be exactly what Trump wants – here’s a real risk he will use this as justification for strengthening his restrictions and perhaps increasing US military attacks in the Middle East.

Some in the US, and ISIS and Al Qaeda and other jihadi groups, seem to want an all out war between the West and Muslim countries.

This is a high risk game. If it does blow up big the only certainty is there will be unintended consequences, and it could get very ugly for many parts of the world.

Muslim ban askew

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