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.

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