On the gradual deterioration in relations between Islamic and non-Islamic peoples.

I have published my opinions on here previously regarding the rise of Islamic influence in Britain. I justify diverting away from the chiefly musical content of these blogs by reference to the extreme dangers we all face, dangers that are far worse than any we have faced since the world-changing conflicts of two word wars, because of their clandestine nature.

The role of the USA in these matters has to be considered alongside the main issues. America has been accused of behaving as if it has a ‘divine right to police the planet’.  Is this a fair criticism? Might it be that, in the absence of global agreement on standards of behaviour, the world needs a ‘maternal’ force to guide it? With its economic and military might who better than the US? The problem here is that we all need an external force brought to bear upon us to ensure we do not stray from the ideal (whatever that might be) and, because the US would be self-appointed in this role (as, arguably, it already has been) it would inevitably lack essential constraints.

I recently wrote the following letter to the Muslim Council of Great Britain and sent copies to key figures in British politics. In it, I describe my considered opinions regarding a situation that will lead to the Apocalypse unless more people wake up to the dangers we face.

Harun Khan, Deputy Secretary
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330,
London
E1 2WJ

Copy to Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron

26 January 2015 Dear Mr. Khan

On the continuing deterioration of the relationship between Islamic and non-Islamic peoples

[These matters have nothing to do with race. The problems presently discussed are of a cultural, not racial kind, and particularly relate to those aspects of culture that stem from religious dogma.]

I have been intending to write to you for some time and was finally motivated to do so by a recent statement, in response to current government actions, that the Muslim community resented the implication that it is separate from the rest of the country. The purpose of this letter is to attempt to persuade you, not only that it is separate, but that Muslims are chiefly responsible for the division.

I also wish to focus your attention, should this be necessary, on how wide the division is, with little sign, in the foreseeable future, of significant reconciliations taking place. The problem, as I see it, will worsen unless something is done to halt the decline and it must be done as soon as possible. Unfortunately, such action may provoke increased acts of terror or, at the very least, a further deterioration in this state of affairs, the fear of which may be the most important cause of apathy to date.

In my childhood, this little country had the courage to declare war on the most efficient fighting machine the world had ever seen. It remains to be seen whether or not we can find it within ourselves to resist the expansion of Muslim ambitions which are even more sinister because of their clandestine nature.

I have made only brief sojourns into the realms of philosophy for two reasons: it will be ‘old stuff’ to you and you have clearly been unimpressed to date. Nevertheless, I felt it necessary to include these ideas, for the sake of completeness, as I attempt to convince the Muslim population that it might just be wrong in its approach to mankind’s general predicament.

I also believe that, within around 50 years, Britain will become an Islamic state. It will happen simply because, with current levels of appeasement and positive discrimination, there will be nothing to stop it from happening. Britain will then descend into an abyss of in-fighting between rival factions characteristic of Islamic countries throughout the world. I do not wish this state of affairs to take place in my country.

Please note that I did not head this article by referring to a division between, for example, Islam and Christianity (I have no interest in sectarianism) preferring, instead, to deal with the problem that followers of Islam will always experience, in my view, as they attempt to interact with those, whoever they may be, who do not happen to share their ideas. The problem, quite simply, is that it is your way or no way.

A particular cause of concern to me is the way in which Muslims, who are characteristically highly motivated, are gradually occupying key roles in society. As this tendency attains its full potential for success, Muslims will no longer need to seek to make changes because they will be making the rules.

An example of the dangers we face can be found in the case of Baroness Warsi, who resigned her cabinet position, warning that the government’s stance is counterproductive at a time of heightened national security. In other words, do it her way or face the consequences! Her position in government must be of value or it would not have been created. Her absence, before a replacement is appointed, would therefore have been damaging. I claim that it was intended to be damaging and that her actions are part of a sectarian quest to make profound changes.

Another motivation for writing is that I believe the Government acted unwisely in response to events in Iraq and Afghanistan. Attempts to force Western ideas of democracy on the region, especially when backed by armed intervention, stem from a complete failure to understand the way things really work. I stated years ago that we would fail and, in the process, make matters worse. The legality of the moves was also questionable but international law is complicated and what we really need is a set of agreed principles to govern behaviour that are truly objective and free from sectarian and cultural bias. Now we are witnessing some rather naïve attempts to salvage the mess by the use of initiatives that have the potential to embarrass all of us.

At the outset, of course, we have to establish the existence of a deity, without which these arguments become irrelevant. I do not propose to follow that avenue of thought because I believe that we will become embroiled in bottomless speculation. Nevertheless, the fact that a deity may not, in fact, exist must surely bring some sense of perspective to this issue which is in danger of becoming de-railed by conflicting presumptions about the nature of God and what various people believe, for reasons of their own, to be God’s ‘commandments’.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the tendency to align oneself with closed-system ideologies, or ‘isms’, is always a sign of intellectual mediocrity; the Universe simply doesn’t work like that. (Even the economic theory of monetarism is an example of fundamentalist thinking.) Those responsible for such folly are often highly intelligent, well educated and experienced people. Human nature is, indeed, complex.

As I see it, gods do not create men. Men create gods. The style of god invented will stem from social requirements; a wayward society needs a vengeful god, etc.

Nevertheless, we have to deal with the situation that exists where men, and the culprits are generally male, with a strong, clearly defined personal agenda, attempt to create a world that falls in line with their grand conceits. (There are biological reasons why they do this, related to the subject of procreation, but I do not intend to go into that here.) If you challenge the idea you challenge the man, who will typically become closely identified with his own beliefs and will be often deeply resentful of any challenge to them.

The problem with Islam

I claim that religion must be kept out of public life, where it has no place, and I can sum up the reason in one sentence:

It is unreasonable to make statements and to take actions, based on beliefs, that affect those who do not share those beliefs.

In other words, believe what you like, within reason, of course, but do it at home. Interestingly, secular France is the only nation that has attempted to keep religion in its proper place.

If we give the problem of world affairs due consideration, I feel sure that most people would agree that the ultimate goal for the human race is the creation of a global family of mankind and the establishment of a level playing field for all, regardless of race, colour or creed. Achieving this will require compromises to be made but this requirement takes us to the root cause of the problem; everything a Muslim does and thinks is governed by the will of God who, alone, is perfect. This is true, to a greater or lesser extent, of other religions but Islam stands alone in world history as being the most autocratic, dogmatic and unyielding faith men ever devised. How, then, can we achieve the level of compromise needed when to do so requires ‘God’s laws’ to be modified or watered down? The simple truth is that we can’t, which explains why so many have called for a separate, Muslim parliament operating Sharia law and it would not surprise me if those who guide us are foolish enough to let this happen, one day, thereby creating a nation-within-a-nation.

The ceramic pigs

I referred, above, to positive discrimination. An example occurred recently where Subway agreed to stop selling pork products in many of its stores to avoid offending Muslims. I was furious to read of this but a more significant example occurred in Leicester, a few years ago. I shall use this incident as a case-history where each claim is analysed.

The statement, below, is by Leicester Federation of Muslim Organisations spokesman Yaqub Khan. I found his remarks to be characteristically glib and facile, so much so that I could not let them pass without a challenge.

He was referring to a collection of ceramic pigs displayed in a front window, perhaps rather mischievously, by a resident. Muslims have learned how easy it is to further their cause because of the tendency to allow positive discrimination to reach unacceptable levels. Their statements are frequently cleverly worded and require analysis in order to produce a counter-argument. Our decision-makers rarely find time to do this. They also feel constrained by the fear of possible recriminations and by accusations of racism or bigotry.

A spokesman for Leicestershire Police, at the time, said it was investigating the matter and that a file would be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, which would take the final decision on whether to press charges under the Public Order Act. Compare this with the impotence shown in dealing with Muslim preachers of hate and you might understand my annoyance with Leicestershire Police (positive discrimination again). Go to Luton any day of the week, for example. A few years ago, as I walked past the Islamic stall that is always set up in the centre of town, I was followed up a flight of steps towards Luton Station by a young Muslim girl. As she walked beside me she repeatedly told me that I am evil!

The statement

Mr Kahn said that more than 1,000 worshippers attending weekly prayers at the nearby mosque passed the collection of pigs. He claimed that the resident was aware of the potential for offence to be caused (which she probably was, but it shouldn’t really matter) and explained that the pig is mentioned as being ‘unclean’ in the Koran, and is regarded as an offensive animal by Muslims, who are forbidden from eating it.

‘There are rules which, as good citizens, we have to observe. We are a multi-faith society and we, as Muslims, respect other faiths practised in this country, so I think, in return, they should respect ours. Something like this is taken very seriously by Muslims and it is a very sensitive area.’

A quote from the Koran ‘Let there be no coercion in religion’ that was displayed alongside the pigs was also seen as provocative. Mr Khan said ‘The Koran is a sacred book. If that is placed in a window where pigs have been placed then that is even more offensive. It may be a trivial matter for some sections of the community but it has to be dealt with.’

Where do we go from here?

I started as closely to the origin of this matter as I was able to venture and I decided that the existence or otherwise of a deity had to be the starting point. When ideas and principles are based on religious beliefs the existence of a deity has to be established in order for such ideas and principles to have meaning. Learned books have been written on this subject so I decided that, because both Theism and Atheism still exist, none of the previous attempts to find a solution could have been successful. I therefore decided that my own ideas would be based upon the following claim which I hold to be self-evidently true:

Because there is proof neither for nor against the existence of a deity the only satisfactory and, ultimately, productive stance to assume at the outset of any discussion on these, and related, topics is that of the agnostic.

Of course, it could be argued that, since God created the Universe, he was able to create it any way He wished and therefore who are we to question His wisdom? I cannot believe this line of thought will offer any practical usefulness since it could be used to prove any point so we have to try to find an objective approach if we are to avoid the potentially catastrophic results of basing rules for human behaviour on belief systems. (A religion is a set of sectarian propositions.)

Having decided this, I also decided, some time ago, that beliefs must be kept out of public life where they have no place. History provides so many examples of the failure of attempts to marshal our affairs by means of principles that are based on unsubstantiated beliefs.

Beliefs divide people.

Mr Kahn’s claims

‘…the pig is mentioned as being “unclean” in the Koran, and is regarded as an offensive animal by Muslims, who are forbidden from eating it.’

OK. Eating pork that has not been properly prepared, especially in a warm climate where few people owned a fridge, would have been dangerous and I wouldn’t like to live in a pigsty, either. But does this represent Muslim views in their entirety? Of course it doesn’t. Millions of intelligent, decent people eat pork every day so there can be no validity in the claim that pigs can be offensive for any reason other than the common sense reasons given above. My own claim is that, having created a religion which, in this case, has these strange ideas about pigs, surely followers of the religion choose to be offended. They cannot move on from this to inflict their ideas on others or to claim that respect for their views should automatically follow.

‘There are rules which, as good citizens, we have to observe…’

I’m not quite sure what Mr Khan’s idea of a good citizen is but it is likely that the concept would have to be framed within constraints laid down by Islam, a religion that does not have a particularly good record in this respect.

‘We are a multi-faith society and we, as Muslims, respect other faiths practised in this country, so I think, in return, they should respect ours.’

A multi-faith society? Does he refer to the situation that prevails, where different faiths grudgingly co-exist (so-called ‘multiculturalism’) or is he pointing to an ideal where different religious leaders might come together and join the best bits of all faiths into one? This is an unlikely prospect. Amalgamation often works but it won’t work here. Do Muslims really respect the views of others and, in any case, what do we mean by the word ‘view’, especially in this context?

Should I be required to respect the views of others? Not necessarily. It depends on the particular views expressed and I definitely do not respect the view that ceramic pigs should be offensive, in fact I find the idea laughable.

Everything Muslims do and think is governed by the presumed will of their God. To suggest that compromise is needed, in order that integration can take place, is to suggest that the will of God is less than perfect, otherwise, why would it require modification in order to fit with the requirements of others? It is easy to see why Muslims adopted the simpler idea that their God is, quite simply, infallible and that, therefore, we should all abide by His rules, regardless of what non-believers may think. This notion is, of course, the root cause of the troubles we are dealing with currently.

‘Think’ is a significant word. Whether we are able to adopt religious views or not it is self-evident that the only way to achieve a level playing field is by striving for solutions based upon objective reasoning. Other methods have failed. Badly.

‘The Koran is a sacred book…’

I always have trouble accepting the idea that physical objects, including the ‘graven images’ in some Christian churches, are anything more than just that. A physical object, such as a building or a book, cannot be sacred. No matter how closely we analyse them it is likely that they will still reveal themselves to be lacking in any other determinable attributes and unless we can demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that it is otherwise, we cannot impose our ideas on others and, by so doing, claim a lack of respect has been shown. Beliefs and religious notions dwell in the ‘hearts and minds’ of people, not in symbols, images or objects.

‘… It may be a trivial matter for some sections of the community but it has to be dealt with.’

It is a trivial matter. The question of eating pork or not eating pork or, equally, of possessing ceramic pigs, or not, is intrinsically inconsequential and importance can only be ascribed to the acts on the basis of man-made beliefs. If I enter a room and see someone poised, dagger in hand, ready to attack my friend it will be important to stop them. There is a difference.

I particularly dislike Mr Khan’s claim that the above problem ‘has to be dealt with’. No, it doesn’t. Muslims must modify their views into a form that is more likely to allow the integration we all hear about so often. That’s the ‘truth’ of the matter. The suggestion that even another person’s quote from the Koran is holy is totally unacceptable. The idea that there should be no coercion in religion is an idea that cannot be patented by Muslims. It is a principle we should all abide by. I believe it is fair to say that, in the real world we see and touch each day, Muslims practise the ideal far less than Christians do.

Islamophobia

The word deserves a special mention since it is taking the world by storm similarly to the way in which the expression ‘multi-tasking’ still captivates female hearts. It’s one of those glib expressions that falls from the lips far too readily.

It means ‘fear of Islam’ but changes its meaning when used by those seeking to attain a slick and easy advantage over their opponents. My advice is to be afraid. Be very, very afraid. The achievements of terrorists are being over-stated but the dangers are being underestimated. Anyone, especially those with criminal connections, can obtain an assault rifle and ammunition. It then becomes the easiest thing in the world to walk into an establishment and shoot people, especially when the perpetrators of the crime welcome their own death. But terrorism is the great Leveller. One man with a rifle can lock down a city, or even a government (as happened in Canada recently). If enough attacks are mounted against key targets, damaging communications and transport, the economy could be destroyed and civilization would rapidly descend into chaos. Enemies would exploit the confusion with consequences that seem ridiculous in the calm light of day.

There is a tendency to feel secure behind the means and prowess of modern warfare but this is an illusion. Terrorists have no intention of facing us in a straight fight because they would lose and they know it.

A ‘red-herring’

Another error is involved in the frequently heard claim that it is only a minority of Muslims who pose a threat to non-Muslims. This belief in ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims represents a ‘red herring’ for the following reasons:

1) History is not made by the moderate majority but by individuals within the wider community who possess a clearly-defined personal agenda.

2) The so-called ‘minority’ comprises an unknown number of people but will certainly be many millions strong.

3) ALL Muslims are ‘on the other side’. (They can’t forgive us for not being Muslim.)

The purpose of my last claim, 3) is to emphasise that Muslims believe what they believe more than non-Muslims believe what they believe, which has a bearing on my claim, above, that Britain will become an Islamic state.

Muslims do not play fairly

There is a serious imbalance between followers of Christianity and Islam regarding tolerance. Whereas Muslims are able to build mosques around Britain, benefiting from of a level of tolerance for which Britain is rightly famous throughout the world, Christians have little chance of being granted similar privileges in Muslim countries. Indeed, it is an offence to convert to Christianity, a crime that, in some countries, is still punishable by death.

At first sight it is praiseworthy that Britain, typically, continues to offer such tolerance in a world that is constantly under attack from the effects of Muslim dogma but this is a narrow and short-sighted point of view. In reality, such a hopeless imbalance will create a society that, ultimately, must fail. Muslims in Britain, or their forebears, came here in the first place because, for whatever reason, they preferred it to their country of origin (why else would they come?). How can it make any sense for them, having arrived here, to seek to make changes in order to create a society of which they approve?

The wider view (much wider!)

Powerful evidence now exists that mankind is not alone in the Universe which poses new challenges and new questions to be answered. Heaven would surely have to find space for every creature that has ever existed and those yet to exist in time and everywhere in space (whether infinite or not), provided, of course, they pass the ‘test’ for admittance. Would all self-aware creatures be required, ideally, to be or to become Muslim and how would all this affect Mecca? Clearly, inhabitants of spinning planets and rotating galaxies would be unable to face Mecca, even if they could locate it, so would there be other Meccas and what impact would that have on the status of our own Mecca which, by virtue of the newly-found competition, must lose some of its omnipotence?

People in various occupations often move away from problems, figuratively and literally, to obtain a clearer view. The more I move away from current disagreements and tensions that are based upon sectarian religious notions the more ridiculous it all becomes.

So there you have it. The views, not of an extremist, or someone with a grudge, but the views of an ordinary, educated, Englishman who seeks a harder response to the challenges we face before everything we have ever worked for, hoped for and fought for disappears without a trace,

yours sincerely,

John Morton.

...’Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.’

Sir Winston Churchill.

Related Scales; chord/scale relationships

The following is an extract from my FREE PDF document of scale and arpeggio exercises for jazz trombone. I am publishing part of the introductory notes here because it might be of interest to others who have posted similar articles.

FREE download of the complete file from the link at the bottom of the page at
http://www.arranging-composing.com/about.html

RELATED SCALES

An important aspect of harmony in jazz improvisation is the matter of related scales. All diatonic chords are served by the notes of the particular key or mode. The 3rd and 7th functions of a chord are most characteristic and will acquire emphasis in melodization where it is desired to reaffirm the underlying harmony. The 5th acquires significance in diminished, leading note 7th and augmented chords.

Melodization has to accommodate both the chord itself and the prevailing key, which may be in the form of the nominal key, temporary modulation or a ‘tonal cell’ (the llm7 > V7 progressions that abound in jazz and standard songs).

Modal harmony will tend to avoid using chords foreign to the scale that destroy its purity so the forms of melody/harmony correlation will be mainly diatonic, except where altered upper functions occur (e.g.♭9, #9, #11).

With chromatic chords, the related scale will generally be the one from which the chord is borrowed so that, for example, a Bb7 chord will probably be related to the scale of Eb major, in which it forms the dominant chord.

(If we play the scale of Eb beginning on Bb, which may not necessarily be the case in real music, we obtain the Mixolydian mode which is another way of viewing the subject.)

Augmented triads and the many variations of the augmented 7th chords are related to one of the two forms of the whole tone scale (exercises 41/43).

Diminished 7th chords are often melodized by a scale comprising alternating whole tones and semitones (exercise 37). String of Pearls is probably the most appropriate name for these scales. Since dim7 chords resemble ‘flattened’ ninth chords with roots omitted, the scales can be used with these chords, also. Just as there are three dim7 chords, there are three of these scales, too.

Some writers have attempted to define a related scale for all chords, no matter which. In my opinion, those who advocate extending the list of scales are rebels without a cause because we already have the option to use notes in continuity or in simultaneity. In other words, if we take the notes of a chord and spread them through time we produce a melody, or scale, and if we take the notes of melody, or a selection from the melody, and use them in simultaneity, we produce a chord. Of course, neither of the results will necessarily be acceptable in their raw state but that doesn’t alter the principle.

But, rather than dismiss the idea out of hand, let’s look at it in more detail.

Two notes in continuity or simultaneity form a melodic or harmonic interval respectively. Three or more notes of different pitch moving stepwise in the same direction are required to generate scalewise motion.

An online search using ‘related scales’ as a search term quickly reveals a bewildering number of scale/chord associations. The problem is that we may require up to 6 notes of different pitch, the exact number depending on the starting point and the number of degrees in the scale, to define a scale type (i.e. before the characteristic note or notes occur). In addition, most tunes regularly feature chord changes at the bar or half-bar, placing severe constraints on the space available to incorporate such differently identified scales in a melodic line whilst, at the same time, ensuring smooth harmonic connections  (which may already have required the insertion of unessential notes).

Tunes intended to be played at a fast tempo (e.g. Limehouse Blues) have less active harmonic changes (thereby providing more musical space) but the velocity itself will become our enemy, anyway, because rapid changes in tonality are difficult to listen to and the subtleties of the additional scale identities will become lost.

Another important fact, that’s often overlooked, is that our awareness of tonality exists both simultaneously and continuously so that the tonality of the approaching bar (or half-bar) may sometimes be anticipated (you might, for example, play a b♭ as an **unessential note over a G7 chord if the note plays a prominent part in the approaching bar). Anyone who has attempted to play jazz lines over a chord sequence will have experienced the occurrence of notes in the melodic line that contradict the harmony, and the difficulty of avoiding them without destroying melodiousness (and performing theoretical back-flips in order to justify their actions).

Because of the above considerations I concluded that the best solution was to limit the list of related scales when I produced the scales/chords document but I am open to debate.

Regarding the absence of the various minor scales: the modes, including the Aeolian (natural minor) occur during the stepwise permutations in the major scale exercises. Jazz lines are concerned with the tonality of the underlying harmonies and, when we add to that the many factors involved in playing solo lines that are musical in effect, jazz musicians will rarely avail themselves of the different forms of the minor scale in creating their music.

‘Master your instrument, master the music and then just play’ Charlie Parker.

Dear USA, we don’t deserve this!

The anti-English* sentiment in Hollywood shows no sign of abating. With depictions of cowardice on the Titanic that, curiously, only involved the English and distortions of history in the script of Braveheart that should have won a special award for ingenuity, it was, perhaps, not as shocking as it might have been when the cyber attack on Sony prompted an American observer to comment that Sony had ‘done Neville Chamberlain proud’.

Huh?! What possible justification could there be for such a vicious side-swipe? They really can’t wait, can they?

I was born just as WW2 began and spent many nights huddled below stairs or in an Anderson dug-out in the garden as the Luftwaffe attacked a nearby armaments factory. Coventry was largely destroyed and many cities over here, including London (and Buckingham Palace), were badly damaged.

The Chamberlain I remember had the courage single-handedly to declare war on the most efficient fighting machine the world had ever seen even though he knew Britain was lamentably ill-prepared. Germany had been preparing for war for years, having trained pilots at gliding schools in defiance of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. These pilots gained combat experience in the Spanish Civil War where the early Messerschmidt 109’s were also battle-tested.

By contrast, RAF pilots, some of whom were as young as 19 years of age, had around 5 hours experience each at the controls of early Spitfires before being sent to war!

Perhaps the observer could explain why we had to wait so long for American involvement if he feels so strongly about Chamberlain’s initial response to Hitler’s militarism. We should all bear in mind that Chamberlain wasn’t the only leader inclined to trust Hitler in those days. Members of our Royal Family were received as his guests. Vulgar upstart he may have been but he was very, very clever and knew exactly how to manipulate people.

Two world wars bled this little country dry and the cream of two generations of British manhood was wiped out. We still feel the ramifications of it all to this day.

* I refer to the ‘English’ (rather than to the British) since that is where most prejudice is directed.

Your help is urgently needed

[Nothing in this blog is concerned with ‘race’. Racial factors determine, for example, whether a person’s hair will be oval or round in cross-section and whether they will have a propensity to develop rickets or sickle-cell anaemia, etc. Characteristics may also be more than skin-deep with darker skinned people more likely to show an ebullient response whereas lighter skinned people are likely to be more reserved. Only scientific research can solve such problems, not rash outbursts. ‘Racism’ involves a deliberate attempt to engender disapproval of a group of people on the grounds of their ethnicity. Most so-called racial issues have little to do with race and involve cultural attitudes which, more often than not, have evolved from religious dogma.]

In recent posts I have attempted to justify my obsession with Islamic ambitions throughout the world because the opinions of my friends and colleagues is significant to me both personally and professionally. Fortuitously, three developments have come to my aid right on cue, providing an intriguing example of the idea of synchronicity in our affairs.

1) Firstly, a report from NASA reveals that, as a result of observations by the Kepler telescope during its lifetime, scientists are now able to calculate, not merely suggest, the possibility of finding sentient beings in the Universe. More than 8 billion Earth-like planets are said to exist in our own galaxy alone and spectroscopic examination of their atmospheres will search for signs of intelligent life.

The possibility has fascinating consequences for religions of all kinds and also for the idea of Heaven as being the final resting place for the virtuous. Many religions hold that places and buildings here on Earth have (by implication) universal significance. They have also taught about the eminence of man without stopping to think that beings would exist who are far more advanced than homo sapiens. If the Universe is infinite we would one day find a planet where pigs evolved to be the dominant species.

The proselytizing nature of Islam, in particular, will finally come to a dead end and Mecca will lose its essential centrality. The problem also arises regarding how beings on other planets would be able to face Mecca, anyhow, bearing in mind that planets all appear to be spinning.

2) Another report announced that a Church of England Bishop has suggested the Koran should be read at the coronation of Prince Charles because of the need to ‘embrace’ Islam. (I suppose Bishops, like the Liberal Democrats, can say what they like, within reason, because their ideas will never be put to the test.) Bearing in mind the fact that a Christian women is facing the death penalty in Pakistan because she committed blasphemy by drinking water from a cup also used by Muslims and that it is a crime for a Muslim to convert to Christianity – still punishable by death in some areas – surely Christians are entitled to look for some sign that Muslims are prepared to meet us half way (to integrate with us, in other words) before anyone, most especially a man who should know better, makes such an idiotic statement . The worrying thing is that Charles is likely to agree with the idea! It is nonsense to suggest we should embrace a religion whose adherents regard us with such disdain. Disdain always implies disapproval.

3) Closer to home, in my home town of Dudley, United Kingdom, Labour councillor Qadar Zada urged an end to “existing and future procurement of goods and services where there is a direct benefit to the State of Israel, including through the supply chain, subject to legal compliance with all relevant procurement, contractual, legislative and regulatory requirements… “.

The seven UKIP councillors in Dudley – the council’s third largest group – opposed the motion. The idea has now been dropped.

A similar motion was thrown out in Leicester.

I can’t understand how Israeli actions can be compared with the scale of Islamic atrocities. I suggest that, before judgments are made concerning Israel’s actions, consideration should be given to the fact that Israelis have lived with the daily dread of crude, home-made missiles being fired into their communities over many years. These missiles cannot be aimed or guided and those firing them have little concern for where they might land. I would like to hear opinions from my contacts in the USA regarding what the American response would have been had Canada or Mexico behaved the same way.

Returning to the title of this blog I would like to ask people to share and reblog this content, with links to Facebook and Twitter. At least we will be doing something.

The problem of closed-system ideologies

I have taken time off from the musical policy of my blog to describe my fears that the threat to world order posed by Islam is not being fully recognized. The matter is particularly important to those of us living in Britain because we live side-by-side with a problem that is being allowed to worsen because of the very tolerance for which Britain is famous throughout the world.

Prolonged and determined attempts to force the issue of a new mosque onto a reluctant majority in my home town of Dudley, United Kingdom, have caused me to ponder the wider implications of a steady, relentless, growth in Islamic influences.

Ideally, one would avoid unhelpful generalizations but, as I have described elsewhere, this cannot work.

Many people were shocked when Subway, a national chain of sandwich and snack shops, agreed to bow to pressure from Muslims to stop selling pork products and were prompted to wonder just how far such appeasement will go. Where will it stop? To further my intentions in writing this blog I would like to analyse the statement described below as a test-case. I have always regarded this statement and the incident to which it refers as being particularly worrying.

The following statement is by Leicester Federation of Muslim Organisations spokesman Yaqub Khan. He was referring to a collection of ceramic pigs displayed in a front window, perhaps rather mischievously, by a resident. Muslims have learned how easy it is to further their cause because of the prevailing tendency to emphasize tolerance and integration, a tendency that has encouraged positive discrimination to reach unacceptable levels. Their statements are frequently cleverly worded and require analysis in order to produce a counter-argument. Our decision-makers rarely have sufficient time to do this. They also feel constrained by the fear of possible recriminations and by accusations of racism or bigotry.

These matters have nothing to do with race. The problems presently discussed are of a cultural, not racial kind, and particularly relate to those aspects of culture that stem from religious dogma.

The statement

Mr Kahn said that more than 1,000 worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers at the nearby mosque passed the collection of pigs. He claimed that Mrs Bennett was aware of the potential for offence to be caused (it shouldn’t really matter) and explained that the pig is mentioned as being “unclean” in the Koran, and is regarded as an offensive animal by Muslims, who are forbidden from eating it.

“There are rules which, as good citizens, we have to observe. We are a multi-faith society and we, as Muslims, respect other faiths practised in this country, so I think, in return, they should respect ours. Something like this is taken very seriously by Muslims and it is a very sensitive area.”

A quote from the Koran “Let there be no coercion in religion” that was displayed alongside the pigs was also seen as provocative. Mr Khan said “The Koran is a sacred book. If that is placed in a window where pigs have been placed then that is even more offensive. It may be a trivial matter for some sections of the community but it has to be dealt with.”

Where do we go from here?

I decided to start as closely to the origin of this matter as I was able to venture and I decided that the existence or otherwise of a deity had to be the starting point. When ideas and principles are based on religious beliefs the existence of a deity has to be established in order for such ideas and principles to have meaning. Without such proof, beliefs become superstitions. Learned books have been written on this subject so I decided that, because both Deism and Atheism still exist, none of the previous attempts to find a solution could have been successful. I therefore decided that my own ideas would be based upon the following claim:

Because there is proof neither for nor against the existence of a deity the only satisfactory stance to assume is that of the Agnostic.

Of course, it could be argued that, since God created the Universe, he was able to create it any way He wished and therefore who are we to question His wisdom? Unfortunately, we go round and jump on again by following that line of thought so we have to try to find an objective approach if we are to avoid the potentially catastrophic results of belief systems.

Personally, I like the idea of God and the Afterlife and I would give anything to share in the instant panacea that such beliefs offer but, so far at least, I’ve been unlucky (but still open-minded). In the meantime I have to rely on my own inner strength and intelligence.

Having decided all this, I also decided, some time ago, that beliefs must be kept out of public life where they have no place. History provides so many examples of the failure of attempts to marshal our affairs by means of principles that are based on unsubstantiated beliefs. Beliefs divide people.

Mr Kahn’s claims

“…the pig is mentioned as being “unclean” in the Koran, and is regarded as an offensive animal by Muslims, who are forbidden from eating it.”

Eating pork that has not been properly prepared, especially in a warm climate where few people owned a fridge, would have been dangerous and I wouldn’t like to live in a pig sty, either. But does this represent Muslim views in their entirety? Of course it doesn’t. Billions of intelligent, ‘decent’ people eat pork every day so there can be no validity in the claim that pigs can be offensive for any reason other than the common sense reasons given above. My own claim is that, having created a religion which, in this case, has these ideas about pigs, surely followers of the religion choose to be offended. They cannot move on from this to inflict their ideas on others or to claim that respect for their views should automatically follow.

“There are rules which, as good citizens, we have to observe…”

I’m not quite sure what Mr Khan’s idea of a good citizen is but it is likely that the concept would have to be framed within constraints laid down by is Islam, a religion that does not have a particularly good record in this respect.

“We are a multi-faith society and we, as Muslims, respect other faiths practised in this country, so I think, in return, they should respect ours.”

A multi-faith society? Does he refer to the situation that prevails, where different faiths grudgingly co-exist or is he pointing to an ideal where different religious leaders might come together and join the best bits of all faiths into one? This is an unlikely prospect. In any other context it often works but not in a religious one. Do Muslims respect the views of others and, in any case, what do we mean by the word ‘view’, especially in this context? Should I be required to respect the views of others? Not necessarily. It depends on the particular views expressed.

Everything a Muslim does and thinks is governed by the presumed will of their God. To suggest that compromise is needed, in order that integration can take place, is to suggest that the will of God is less than perfect, otherwise, why would it require modification in order to fit with the requirements of others? It’s easy to see why Muslims adopted the path of claiming that their God is, quite simply, infallible and that, therefore, we should all abide by His rules, regardless of what non-believers may think. This notion is, of course, the root cause of the troubles we are dealing with currently.

‘Think’ is a significant word. Whether we are able to adopt religious views or not it is, to me, self-evident that the only way to achieve a level playing field for all, regardless of race, colour or creed, is by striving for solutions based upon objective reasoning, or as objective as we fallible beings are able to achieve. Other methods have failed. Badly.

“The Koran is a sacred book…

I always have trouble accepting the idea that physical objects, including the ‘graven images’ in some Christian churches, are anything more than that. A physical object, especially a building or a book, cannot be sacred. No matter how closely we analyse them it is likely that they will still reveal themselves to be lacking in any other determinable attributes and unless we can demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that it is otherwise, we cannot impose our ideas on others and, by so doing, claim a lack of respect has been shown. Beliefs and religious notions dwell in the ‘hearts and minds’ of people, not in symbols, images or objects.

“… It may be a trivial matter for some sections of the community but it has to be dealt with.”

It is a trivial matter. The question of eating pork or not eating pork or, equally, of possessing ceramic pigs, or not, is intrinsically inconsequential and importance can only be ascribed to the acts on the basis of beliefs. If I enter a room and see someone poised, dagger in hand, ready to attack my friend it will be important to stop them. There is a difference.

I particularly dislike Mr Khan’s claim that the above problem “has to be dealt with”. No, it doesn’t. He must modify his views into a form that is more likely to allow the integration we all hear about so often. That’s the ‘truth’ of the matter. The suggestion that even a quote from the Koran is holy is quite unacceptable. The idea that there should be no coercion in religion is an idea that cannot be patented by Muslims. It is a principle we should all abide by. I believe it is fair to say that Muslims practise the ideal less the Christians do.

Returning to the unfulfilled requirement for proof of the existence of a deity I would like to make the following comments:

There was a fascinating link on Facebook recently which claimed that extermination in the Universe is the norm not the exception. Our fragile planet faces threats from near-Earth objects and from gamma ray bursts that would fry all of us, except the creatures in the deepest parts of the ocean. A massive volcanic eruption would plunge us into another Ice Age. The point is, the article claimed, that what is true for us is also true for every civilization in the Universe. Statistically, according to physicist Enrico Fermi, there must be many hundreds in our Galaxy alone. Now why would God go to all this trouble and then fix things in such a way that it all comes tumbling down?

And the idea of Heaven has always fascinated me. If all the creatures in the Universe, in all their unimaginable varieties, who have ever lived and all those who have yet to be born are promised a seat, if they behave, of course, then it must be a strange place.

‘Ah’ you say. ‘Off you go again, applying your puny human mind to the problem. God works in ways you can’t even imagine’. I wish I could believe that such opinions could possibly be helpful.

Our prospects

A former president of Pakistan has said militants from Islamic State are already operating in his country and warned the threat they pose is a global one.

They are well-armed and expertly led and show great prowess in the tactics and strategy of conflicts. They are also well funded. As I myself warned many years ago, captured American weapons, including tanks, are being used against us as they de-stabilize the region. The border town of Kobane is particularly significant because IS is hoping to de-stabilize Turkey, also. Turkey could easily become a fundamentalist Islamic state and, not only that, but IS is cleverly exploiting divisions between the Turks and the Kurds.

Islamist terrorists are also well-established in the African countries of Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. They also have ambitions in Iraq, Lebanon and parts of Palestine and Jordan. There are more than 25.000,000 Muslims in Indonesia in the Far East, a proportionate number of whom will inevitably become enemies of Christianity.

It is easy for us to believe that IS, the most dangerous of them all, poses no direct threat to European countries, apart from isolated terrorist incidents. After all, they wouldn’t stand a chance in a straight fight but this is terrorism, the ‘great leveller’, that we are dealing with.

We have already witnessed the temporary lock-down of the government in Canada as a result of an incursion by one man. In a similar way, attacks by small groups against key installations could create sufficient panic to affect share prices and even cause unemployment. Benefit systems might collapse leading to an increase in crime as people attempt to survive. The resulting chaos would be easy to exploit.

The current film about the life of brilliant mathematician Alan Turing is causing incredulity. Imagine predicting, at that time, that homosexuality, which was then a crime, would one day be commonplace, with politicians and public figures openly ‘coming out’. Similarly, my prediction that Britain is in danger of becoming an Islamic state might seem equally ludicrous. But it could happen and, as I see it, there is little to stand in the way of further erosion.