Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Time to stop pretending that Islamic terror and ISIS have nothing to do with Islam

November 19, 2016

The paranoia about being considered Islamophobic now often leads to the abandonment of common sense. To be Islamophobic is not politically correct. That Islamic terrorists constitute a small number of all Muslims is obvious. But it borders on inanity to extend that to the claim that the terrorists have nothing to do with Islam. It is the concepts – sometimes medieval – contained within Islam which are currently providing the motivation and the justification for self-styled imams and “teachers” to spread the disease. They infect thousands (maybe millions) of immature and vulnerable minds and convert them into barbaric killers. To absolve – in these instances – Islam of being the source of the problem is to be naive. No doubt outdated values contained in Islam are being exploited but they are being exploited by Muslims to brainwash other Muslims. And that itself has something to say about Islam. There is no doubt either that the brainwashed  – who are also Muslims – are vulnerable and somewhat deficient in critical judgement. But that does not mean that Islam is not involved.

Anybody under 25 who claims to be a follower of any religion has of course been brainwashed into that belief as a child. Right now, among all the religions, Islam allows the creation of more terrorists than any other religion.

It is not often that I find the Archbishop of Canterbury in agreement with my views, but in this case he seems to have applied some of his common sense:

The Telegraph: Claims that the atrocities of the Islamic State have “nothing to do with Islam” are harming efforts to confront and combat extremism, the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.

Religious leaders of all varieties must “stand up and take responsibility” for the actions of extremists who profess to follow their faith, the Most Rev Justin Welby said.

He argued that unless people recognise and attempt to understand the motivation of terrorists they will never be able to combat their ideology effectively. 

It follows calls from a series of high profile figures for people to avoid using the term Islamic State – also known as Isil, Isis and Daesh – because, they say, its murderous tactics go against Islamic teaching and that using the name could help legitimise the group’s own propaganda.

But the Archbishop said that it is essential to recognise extremists’ religious motivation in order to get to grips with the problem. ……

His comments came during a lecture at the Catholic Institute of Paris, as he was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Of course the Archbishop did not say much about the fact that the vast majority of all Catholics and all Anglicans are brainwashed into following those religions as children by their parents.

I wonder what would happen if parents did not force children to follow a particular religion. Over 99% of all who claim to have a particular religious belief have been forced into that belief as children.


To get rid of the terrorist hives you have to go after the “queen-bees”

November 17, 2015

It was, I think, Lee Kwan Yew who first described Islamic terrorists and terrorism with his analogy of bee hives. He advised that terrorism could only be addressed if you went after the preachers (“the queen-bees”).

“In killing terrorists, you will only kill the worker bees. The queen bees are the preachers, who teach a deviant form of Islam in schools and Islamic centers, who capture and twist the minds of the young.” – Lee Kwan Yew, 2003 interview with Fareed Zakaria

I think the hive analogy is sound but I would put it a little differently. In an Islamic terrorist organisation, I equate the preachers with the queen-bee, the central command and the suicide bombers and kamikaze attackers with drones, and all the remaining support staff as the worker bees. The Paris attackers were drones and expected to suicide. Their support (safe-houses, chauffeurs, comfort women and the like) are the worker bees and expendable. The sick, infected queen-bee is somewhere in Syria.

Most Muslims are not terrorists. But far too many are. And they are all inspired by their own queen-bees each with its own infected version of Islam. Of course there are non-Muslim terrorists as well. In today’s world however, the majority of groups using indiscriminate terror tactics are Muslim.

Why deny the reality? Why then the leap to judgement – and it surely is based on something other than reason – to reach the conclusion that the religion of Islam should not be held responsible for the “perverted terrorists” that the religion inspires? I hear some arguing that what drives ISIS is not “true” Islam. Or that Islam is actually a “religion of peace”. There is a rush to absolve the religion and to decouple the behaviour of terrorists from their religion. This may be politically correct but it is quite irrational. The religion does generate and allow the queen-bees who provide the driving Cause. Without Islam (no matter how perverted a view or practice of Islam), there is no ISIS. And there wouldn’t be so many other such groups (al Qaida, Boko Haram, al Shabab, LeT …). I conclude that there is something fundamental and inherent in the practice of Islam which inspires, allows and glorifies terrorist behaviour by some of its practitioners . “Terrorist Islam” is as much a part of Islam today as “Militant Christianity” was of Christendom almost a thousand years ago.

All terrorists have a Cause which tips them over the edge. Breivik had his and it was a “white supremacist cause”. The IRA had their own Cause also rooted in religion. For those Muslims (mainly Sunni) who are terrorists, it is their “perverted” view of Islam which provides the Cause which is the key motivator. That “perverted” view of Islam is actually part of the reality of the Islam of today. It is that which is promoted by an army of imams and preachers in mosques and teachers in madrassas who cherry-pick sections of the Koran to underpin their adoption of jihad and their virulent world-view. These are the queen-bees. It would seem that Islam contains within itself a convenient framework, and the Koran provides suitable, appropriate and authoritative “scriptures”, which can then readily be exploited by the “queen-bees” to inspire the terrorist groups. A very great many of these “queen-bees” are Sunnis and a large number of their mosques and madrassas are funded from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. On the ground, Islam is proving to be particularly effective in generating queen-bees and providing the terrorists with a Cause.

The writings of  the Koran (or the Bible for that matter) are all just fairy stories, made up a long time ago. Their literal content is anachronistic and almost irrelevant. They can all be – and are – interpreted in a variety of ways by the queen-bees of the day. It is the interpretation of those stories today and the behaviour engendered now which is relevant. Most Muslims interpret the Koran and their religion to shun gratuitous violence. But a not insignificant number of Muslims, interpret the Koran in a “perverted” way and practice their own jihadist brand of Islam. And they do so because they can, and – more importantly – because Islam allows them to. A religion does not live in some Divine Vacuum. It is not some abstract thing which can be divorced from its current interpretations, practices and practitioners. The Christian religion which inspired the Crusades and the barbarisms of the Church Militant is now out-of-date. But is obsolete only because it is no longer practiced. The ahimsa (non-violence) principles of a romanticised Hinduism of the past (which never really existed) is not relevant when faced with the reality of the current violent practices of some Hindu fanatics. The VHP and the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha provide the Hindu queen-bees. The much vaunted non-violence of Buddhism is of no comfort when faced with rabid, rampaging Buddhist monks in Burma or Sri Lanka. These mad monks are an integral part of what Buddhism is today. The religion of Islam cannot just – by assertion – claim to be a religion of peace and ignore the reality that so many of its preachers and teachers promote terrorism. It is the religion itself which allows space for their interpretations which, in turn, give rise to the perversions (just as the Bible was, and is, perverted by some). The religion of Islam as manifested in its current practice and by its practitioners must bear its share of responsibility for the behaviour of the perverted few.

The suicide bombers and gunmen and beheaders are essentially drones – but deadly drones. Killing a drone does not get rid of the queen-bee or the hive and a further supply of idiot drones. A terrorist is not born a terrorist. No doubt genes have a say. Upbringing plays a large part but the availability of a queen-bee and a Cause is the final – and necessary – straw. Some would argue that a terrorist will always find a Cause to serve, but behaviour does not work that way. There may be some cases of psychopaths looking for any Cause to serve Generally, however, Causes look for or create their drones, not the other way around. A member of ISIS born of Muslim parents, but who was brought up instead, say as a Buddhist, or who was not polluted by some rabid imam or his proxy, would not today be beheading infidels. The potential terrorist will never finally become a terrorist without being attached to a queen-bee and indoctrinated by a Cause. That Cause has to be sufficiently strong to generate, and be manifested as, a vicious hate of something or somebody, if it is to finally tip behaviour into terrorist actions. Which is why I don’t buy the argument that just poverty or unemployment provide a Cause. They may contribute, but by themselves, don’t usually generate the level of hate required. Of course, it is not only a religion and its infected queen-bees which provide a Cause for terrorists. Politics and race can also provide the level of hate required. Every religion has had its share of queen-bees who inspire, or have inspired, its fanatic drones by providing them with a Cause directed against non-believers. In today’s world, Sunni Islam and its queen-bees inspire more terrorist groups and terrorists than any other religion. “Militant Christianity” encouraged and promoted by Christian queen-bees, was an integral part of the Christianity in the time of the Crusades. In our time, it serves no purpose to try and divorce “moderate Islam” from the queen-bees who promote the practices of “terrorist Islam”. The religion of Islam – at any time – consists of its practitioners of that time. One cannot separate Islam, as if it lived in some elevated place above the fray, from the terrorist behaviour it has inspired in so many of its adherents (Sunni and Shia).

All through history one or other of the organised religions has inspired terrorism. But it has always required rabid preachers – the queen-bees – to inspire the simple-minded drones. In today’s world that religion is Islam and the majority of the terrorist groups active are Sunni.

The simple reality is that Islam today – in some fundamental way – generates more queen-bees and inspires more terrorists with a Cause, than any other current religion or political movement. And to get rid of the terrorist hives you have to go after the queen-bees. Without the queen-bees the idiot, murderous drones and the unthinking, slave-like workers would be directionless. 

The BANŪ SĀSĀN – a fraternity of medieval Islamic poets, rogues and charlatans

August 16, 2013

It could be a tale told by Scheherazade from the 1001 nights and set in the times of the Great Abbasid Caliph Haroun al-Rashid.  A tale of the Banu Sasan. A tale of poets and rogues, of vagabonds and bandits and of charlatans and disinherited second sons.

Fraternities of criminals and outlaws have probably existed from the earliest time when “laws” were first invented and “outlaws” were banished. Of course “laws” were established by whoever was strong enough to enforce them and the label of “criminality” applied to a group only as long as the group was not dominant. (Once a gang was strong enough it became legitimate and would now be called a “political party”). Organised crime and criminal fraternities that we might recognise as “gangs” therefore date back at least to the initial formation of cities and the exclusion of people outside those early city walls. The origin of gangs probably lies in the loose cooperation between such “outsiders” and “outlaws” and probably goes back some 5,000 years. In Ancient Greece, in the 7th and 8th centuries BCE, “criminal gangs” – for want of a better term – had to be put down when the city states were established.  There are suggestions of “criminal fraternities” / rebels in the Roman Empire, in Byzantium and even among the Aztecs.

The romanticism of Robin Hood and his ilk comes later but is still alive today. The success of The Godfather would suggest that even the Mafia can be seen through romanticised eyes. Certainly modern day gangs – whether in the Balkans or in Los Angeles or in Afghanistan or in the jungles of Chattisgarh – still succeed in recruiting young members who see themselves as “freedom fighters” or rebels against an unjust society. As Kings and Vagabonds.

The Smithsonian’s Past Imperfect Blog carries the story of the Banu-Sasan.

Abbasid Caliphate at its greatest extent, c. 850: Wikipedia

Islam’s Medieval Underworld

The year is—let us say—1170, and you are the leader of a city watch in medieval Persia. Patrolling the dangerous alleyways in the small hours of the morning, you and your men chance upon two or three shady-looking characters loitering outside the home of a wealthy merchant. Suspecting that you have stumbled across a gang of housebreakers, you order them searched. From various hidden pockets in the suspects’ robes, your men produce a candle, a crowbar, stale bread, an iron spike, a drill, a bag of sand—and a live tortoise.

The reptile is, of course, the clincher. There are a hundred and one reasons why an honest man might be carrying a crowbar and a drill at three in the morning, but only a gang of experienced burglars would be abroad at such an hour equipped with a tortoise. It was a vital tool in the Persian criminals’ armory, used—after the iron spike had made a breach in a victim’s dried-mud wall—to explore the property’s interior.

We know this improbable bit of information because burglars were members of a loose fraternity of rogues, vagabonds, wandering poets and outright criminals who made up Islam’s medieval underworld. This broad group was known collectively as the Banu Sasan, and for half a dozen centuries its members might be encountered anywhere from Umayyad Spain to the Chinese border. Possessing their own tactics, tricks and slang, the Banu Sasan comprised a hidden counterpoint to the surface glories of Islam’s golden age. They were also celebrated as the subjects of a scattering of little-known but fascinating manuscripts that chronicled their lives, morals and methods..

According to Clifford Bosworth, a British historian who has made a special study of the Banu Sasan, this motley collection of burglars’ tools had some very precise uses:

The thieves who work by tunneling into houses and by murderous assaults are much tougher eggs, quite ready to kill or be killed in the course of their criminal activities. They necessarily use quite complex equipment… [The iron spike and an iron hand with claws] are used for the work of breaking through walls, and the crowbar for forcing open doors; then, once a breach is made, the burglar pokes a stick with a cloth on the end into the hole, because if he pokes his own head through the gap, [it] might well be the target for the staff, club or sword of the houseowner lurking on the other side.    

The tortoise is employed thus. The burglar has with him a flint-stone and a candle about as big as a little finger. He lights the candle and sticks it on the tortoise’s back. The tortoise is then introduced through the breach into the house, and it crawls slowly around, thereby illuminating the house and its contents. The bag of sand is used by the burglar when he has made his breach in the wall. From this bag, he throws out handfuls of sand at intervals, and if no-one stirs within the house, he then enters it and steals from it; apparently the object of the sand is either to waken anyone within the house when it is thrown down, or else to make a tell-tale crushing noise  should any of the occupants stir within it.    

Also, the burglar may have with him some crusts of dry bread and beans. If he wishes to conceal his presence, or hide any noise he is making, he gnaws and munches at these crusts and beans, so that the occupants of the house think that it is merely the cat devouring a rat or mouse.

The Iranica informs us:

BANŪ SĀSĀN, a name frequently applied in medieval Islam to beggars, rogues, charlatans, and tricksters of all kinds, allegedly so called because they stemmed from a legendary Shaikh Sāsān. A story frequently found in the sources, from Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ onward, states that Sāsān was the son of the ancient Persian ruler Bahman b. Esfandīār, but, being displaced from the succession, took to a wandering life and gathered round him other vagabonds, thus forming the “sons of Sāsān.” 

The Smithsonian continues:

Who were they, then, these criminals of Islam’s golden age? The majority, Bosworth says, seem to have been tricksters of  one sort or another,

who used the Islamic religion as a cloak for their predatory ways, well aware that the purse-strings of the faithful could easily be loosed by the eloquence of the man who claims to be an ascetic or or mystic, or a worker of miracles and wonders, to be selling relics of the Muslim martyrs and holy men, or to have undergone a spectacular conversion from the purblindness of Christianity or Judaism to the clear light of the faith of Muhammad.

Amira Bennison identifies several adaptable rogues of this type, who could “tell Christian, Jewish or Muslim tales depending on their audience, often aided by an assistant in the audience who would ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ at the right moments and collect contributions in return for a share of the profits,” and who thought nothing of singing the praises of both Ali and Abu Bakr—men whose memories were sacred to the Shia and the Sunni sects, respectively. Some members of this group would eventually adopt more legitimate professions—representatives of the Banu Sasan were among the first and greatest promoters of printing in the Islamic world—but for most, their way of life was something they took pride in. One of the best-known examples of the maqamat (popular) literature that flourished from around 900 tells the tale of Abu Dulaf al-Khazraji, the self-proclaimed king of vagabonds, …

“I am of the company of beggar lords,” Abu Dulaf boasts in one account,

the cofraternity of the outstanding ones,

One of the Banu Sasan…

And the sweetest way of life we have experienced is one spent in sexual indulgence and wine drinking.

For we are the lads, the only lads who really matter, on land and sea.

Scheme of Indo-European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BCE according to the Kurgan hypothesis.

Scheme of Indo-European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BCE according to the Kurgan hypothesis. Wikipedia

The ethnic composition of the Banu Sasan is the subject of much speculation. The nomadic Banu Sasan are said by some to have been one of the drivers of the spread of “indo-European”peoples and languages. Perhaps the Banu Sasan may have had links with the ancient Tocharians. But it is more likely that the Banu Sasan was more a fraternity of occupation(s) and not of ethnicity. There are suggestions that there may be genetic connections between those of the Banu Sasan to present-day Roma (the Boyash or the Rudari) and to Parsis and even some Jews. That of course is quite possible for no doubt these vagabond poets and beggar-lords had their share of girl-friends at every caravanserai to be found.

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