Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sheik al-Zindani - The father of "Rational Islam"

Take a good look at the avuncular, smiling face above. It belongs to a man who might justifiably claim to be the most influential Muslim alive. Never heard of him? Let me enlighten you.
Abdul Majeed al-Zindani is, inter alia, founder of the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah, based in Saudi Arabia. As such, al-Zidani should interest all those who wonder at the recent rise in numbers of apparently intelligent and well-educated Westerners "reverting" to Islam. Many such Westerners have been persuaded that logic, reason and science can be used to "prove" the Qur'an is the word of God. People like Cat Stevens. Poor sod. And my friend, "Kevin" (or Tarek as we shall call him now - since that is his real name and he has agreed that I refer to him as such)
These unfortunate souls have fallen prey to what amounts to nothing less than a sophisticated and hugely well-financed con trick.
In 1984, Zindani approached the Saudi government's largest charity, the Muslim World League, to establish the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah. The Saudis were, of course, delighted to offer their (considerable) financial support. Such initiatives fitted their Wahhabi vision of domination of the Islamic world - or petro-Islam as it has become known in some cynical circles (According to observers, such as Gilles Kepel, Wahhabism gained considerable influence in the Islamic world following a tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974-1980 period. The Saudi government began to spend tens of billions of dollars throughout the Islamic world to promote Wahhabism According to the documentary called The Qur'an aired in the UK, presenter Antony Thomas suggested the figure may be "upward of $100 billion". Its largess funded an estimated "90% of the expenses of the entire faith", throughout the Muslim world, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.)
The Commission describes its mission as "showing, verifying and publishing Scientific Signs" found in the Quran and Sunna, an endeavor that has also been described as attempting to prove that "the Qur'an prophesied the Big Bang theory, space travel and other contemporary scientific breakthroughs," This is also known as Bucailleism which I have discussed at length in previous posts.
In 2002 The Wall Street Journal published a now famous article in which several non-Muslim scientists spoke of questionable practices used by the Commission to coax statements from them, such as hard-sell interviews by Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, and false promises to be “completely neutral.”
Together with Maurice Bucaille's ridiculous book, The Bible The Quran and Science, the Commission on Signs set in motion a trend that was to dominate Islam for the next three decades. Henceforth traditional scholars would be side-lined as the Science-in-the-Qur'an bandwagon gathered speed and swept all before it. Muslims the world over swallowed the new paradigm, and websites and media-junky imams and experts such as Zakir Naik and Ahmed Deedat  set out to convert the world to Rational Islam. Muzaffar Iqbal was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal article, “All over the Arab world, in the universities, you will find people who hold onto this line of thought more and more. It has more credence there than creationism has here. In the Muslim world, there is no organized opposition to it.”
And yet the man behind this New Islam is hardly one to inspire confidence in the breast of your typical sophisticated Western "revert". In domestic politics, Zindani’s views are quite simply barking. He has, for example, led a campaign against a law that would prevent adult men from marrying children. He claims to have invented a cure for HIV/AIDS. And best of all, he says has scientific proof that women cannot speak and remember at the same time — an assertion that justifies excluding women from testifying as sole witnesses in a court of law.
Sheikh Zindani founded the controversial al-Iman University, a religious college in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. The university was briefly closed by authorities after September 11, in a crackdown on fundamentalism. The university was again suspended last year, according to the Yemen Times, which reported its admission requirement to recite five parts of the Koran were found by officials to be inadequate. I'll just run that past you again. His University will accept you if you can recite a few bits of the Qur'an.
Internationally Zidani also has a worrying reputation. Many experts attest to his shared history with some notorious Islamic militants of the past three decades. The U.S. claims that he served as a spiritual guide for Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and, more recently, Zindani was said to be affiliated with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Yemeni-American cleric who preached to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, and Nidal Hassan, the man accused of killing 13 people in Fort Hood. And on February 24, 2004, the US Treasury Department identified Zindani as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist".
And yet none of this appears to bother those who espouse Rational Islam. Do they not know, not care or are they so brain-washed that nothing can convince them that there might, perhaps, be something a little fishy going on?
How ironic that a religion which succeeds in gaining converts by denying the need for faith in its apparent espousal of science and logic should have at its very heart a medieval, misogynistic, lunatic terrorist who wouldn't know a scientific theory if it shoved a pipette up his fundament.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Immam to be expelled from France for anti-semitism as Mehdi Hasan writes in the Times of his shame at Muslim attitudes to the Holocaust.

Mohammed Hammami le 23 septembre 2010. Ce jour-là, l'imam faisait partie des représentants du culte musulman reçus à l'Élysée.

We read in today's Le Figaro newspaper in France of an Immam about to be expelled from France for inciting hatred. Here's the very clear law under which Mohammed Hammami, Immam in the Tabligh Omar Mosque in Paris (XIe) will be chucked out : l'article L 521-3 du Code d'entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d'asile which specifically bans

 «des actes de provocation explicite et délibérée à la discrimination, à la haine ou à la violence contre une personne déterminée ou un groupe de personnes».
Now take a wild guess at the groupe de personnes against which Hammami has been explicitly and deliberately provoking hatred and violence...

Apart from his nasty anti-semitic rants, this holy man has a nice line in misogyny such as calling for adulterous wives to be beaten to death and for female circumcision to be made law.

Oh and let's not forget that traditional favourite of the loony hate-mongers of Islam: gay-bashing. Or as Hammani would have it, gay killing: Quand vous trouvez deux hommes en train de commettre le péché de loth, mettez-les à mort.

Just another Immam who has sadly misunderstood the inspiring and beautiful words of the most merciful Allah.

(What a coincidence that The Times should choose today to publish a superb and long over-due article by Muslim, Mehdi Hasan, entitled I am am ashamed by Muslim attitudes to the Holocaust. This is a searingly honest and powerful indictment of the anti-Semitism that is rife in the Muslim community.
Here's a taste:
In the Middle East Holocaust denial is rife...In 2006 a Channel 4 poll found that a quarter of British Muslims didn't know what the Holocaust was and only one in three believed it had occurred ...We British Muslims prefer to wallow in vicarious victimhood. Only "our" tragedies matter: Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan...roll off our tongues. But none of these surpasses the Holocaust's barbarism.
 It is the elephant in the room of community relations and it is wonderful to see a brave Muslim tackle this issue.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Muslim anti-gay leaflets in Derby

Five Muslim men have gone on trial for distributing anti-gay leaflets demanding homosexuals be given the death penalty. One leaflet called for gays to "Turn or Burn" and another suggested that GAY stood for God Abhors You.
Leaving aside that such reactionary anti-intellectual bigots are familiar with the word abhor, there is nothing, per se, to be surprised at in the second of these statements: the Muslim God, if one goes by the teachings of the Qur'an and more worryingly the sayings and actions of the Prophet, certainly does seem to hate gays.
These poor deluded cretins were simply following the teachings of their hate-filled and hate-fuelled religious texts and the equally ludicrous interpretations thereof by foolish old men. As Kabir Ahmed, one of the five accused, said in a police interview, he didn't feel that the views expressed in The Death Penalty? leaflet – which suggested three different ways to murder homosexuals – were wrong and simply expressed what Islam says about homosexuality, and it was his duty as a Muslim to condemn it.
Those who would like to examine more closely what the Qur'an and hadith (saying and actions of the Mohammad) have to say on the topic of homosexuality and what the glorious most merciful Allah has planned for practising gays, please see here.
In the meantime, let's remember that none of the Abrahamic religions has a great track record on this one.
Why can't all the priests and imams - not to put too fine a point on it - just f*ck off and leave those of us who value people above imaginary men in the sky to live in peace.

(see also Peter Tatchell's excellent 1995 article Muslim fundamentalists are a growing threat to gay human rights in Britain)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Carol Tavris explains cognitive dissonance

"What happens when we are able to shed the protective cocoon of righteousness..."
Now look at Buccailleism in the light of confirmation bias...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

9-11 conspiracy fraud (Building 7) - last word

Kevin remained convinced Building 7 was the key to proving that Muslims weren't responsible for 9-11 and instead the US government had murdered over 2000 of their own citizens for their own nefarious purposes..
This was my final mail on the subject...

Let's get Building 7 out the way once and for all. There was MASSIVE damage. Please read the interviews below. (my bolding)

Captain Chris Boyle
Engine 94 - 18 years
Boyle: ...on the north and east side of 7 it didn't look like there was any damage at all, but then you looked on the south side of 7 there had to be a hole 20 stories tall in the building, with fire on several floors. Debris was falling down on the building and it didn't look good.
Firehouse: When you looked at the south side, how close were you to the base of that side?
Boyle: I was standing right next to the building, probably right next to it.
Firehouse: When you had fire on the 20 floors, was it in one window or many?
Boyle: There was a huge gaping hole and it was scattered throughout there. It was a huge hole. I would say it was probably about a third of it, right in the middle of it. And so after Visconti came down and said nobody goes in 7, we said all right, we'll head back to the command post. We lost touch with him. I never saw him again that day.
Other Fire Department officials thought collapse was almost certain:
"...Captain Varriale told Chief Coloe and myself that 7 World Trade Center was badly damaged on the south side and definitely in danger of collapse. Chief Coloe said we were going to evacuate the collapse zone around 7 World Trade Center, which we did."[18]
"The biggest decision we had to make was to clear the area and create a collapse zone around the severely damaged [WTC Building 7]. A number of fire officers and companies assessed the damage to the building. The appraisals indicated that the building's integrity was in serious doubt."
More firemen reported that the damage progressed as the day continued:
...also we were pretty sure that 7 World Trade Center would collapse. Early on, we saw a bulge in the southwest corner between floors 10 and 13, and we had put a transit on that and we were pretty sure she was going to collapse. You actually could see there was a visible bulge, it ran up about three floors. It came down about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, but by about 2 o'clock in the afternoon we realized this thing was going to collapse.
Firehouse: Was there heavy fire in there right away?
Hayden: No, not right away, and that's probably why it stood for so long because it took a while for that fire to develop. It was a heavy body of fire in there and then we didn't make any attempt to fight it. That was just one of those wars we were just going to lose. We were concerned about the collapse of a 47-story building there. We were worried about additional collapse there of what was remaining standing of the towers and the Marriott, so we started pulling the people back after a couple of hours of surface removal and searches along the surface of the debris. We started to pull guys back because we were concerned for their safety.
Do you still maintain building 7 is a mystery? Still wonder why broadcasters had heard early it was going to collapse? Still think the BBC announcing the collapse before it happened is a weird coincidence worthy of thousands of videos on youtube? Oh hang on - these interviews were obviously faked...Or perhaps you could check and research their names and find these interviews to reassure yourself. Now ask how and why so many people still labour under the mistaken belief there is a spooky mystery about Building 7. Surely that is a far more interesting line of enquiry.

You said: On this particular topic, scientific motives are surely a safer ground than ideological ones when conducting an investigation. er...YES!!!
And the two students responsible for Loose Change were...?
Ah, but I forgot - you directed me to the film just for the eye-witness interviews...with people who were traumatised and then asked to remember exactly what they'd witnessed on the most horrific day of their lives. Scientific. Hmm.
So what about your few hundred or so architects and engineers? Whilst apparently nearly 50% of the general population reject the official explanation, only 0.25% (250 out of over 100,000) of US architects whom you've deemed "expert" feel strongly enough to have signed Gage's document. Scientific. Hmm.
So if you don't believe it's all a "sinister Zionist conspiracy", what is your explanation for the "planned demolition" and the government murdering over 2,000 of their own citizens? You seemed fairly convinced the Jewish businessman who owned the buildings was in some way involved or WHY MENTION HIM? If you reject the official and most obvious explanation (obvious in the sense that the person accused actually claimed responsibility, had threatened to carry out an attack on the US shortly before and also had a record for carrying out similar if less dramatic atrocities) surely you have a your own idea as to who carried it out and why. Otherwise you seem to be accepting an incredibly unlikely scenario for no reason at all. Which, I say again, seems to me to be an extreme position to take.
Bit like religion, really.
End of discussion. Believe what you like. I'm sure you will. But please, please check everything that you're told.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Islam and 9-11 - conspiracy bollocks

Conspiracy theorists claim this photo "proves" the 9/11 attacks were a U.S. military operation. (Photograph by Rob Howard)

Recently had dinner with Kevin and a few other old school friends. Inevitably the conversation got round to Islam and Kevin happened to mention that the official explanation of the 9-11 terrorist outrages were bunkum. The whole thing was very suspicious, apparently. He mentioned the BBC reporter who said Building 7 had collapsed before it actually was seen to do so. He also suggested that the buildings fell because of controlled demolition.
So shocked were we that our old school friend should have travelled so far down the Yellow Brick Road, that someone at the table misinterpreted what Kevin was saying and suggested that it was amazing what people swallowed nowadays...Anyway, this has started another protracted debate in which Kevin asked me to watch Loose Change, the conspiracy film which claims that Bush et al deliberately killed their own citizens in some sort of bizarre false flag operation. Here's my response:
Hope you've had time to read my first response. Herewith the 2nd instalment. It's a bit long but I trust you'll find the time to read it all. I think it important you see there is a rational explanation for all of the unexplained happenings, coincidences and specious arguments with which you appear to be obsessed and which seem to feed your belief that the Islamic world is the innocent victim of some sinister, Zionist led, conspiracy.

You claim your views on 9-11 are not extreme by suggesting that they are shared by a large minority. A large minority of Americans believe that aliens have contacted their government (and a slightly smaller but still significant minority believe they've been abducted and anally probed) but that doesn’t make their ideas any less wacko ...does it? The majority of South African whites supported apartheid, but I’d call that policy pretty extreme. A large proportion of Germans thought the idea of the Third Reich dominating Europe for a thousand years was something worth fighting for. You get the idea.

Anyway, I looked up Loose Change and researched their claims.
I found out that it's now pretty much a by-word for sloppy, amateurish journalism. The two students who put it together (originally as a piece of fiction) have since distanced themselves from a lot of its content.
Try visiting this site  for a point by point rebuttal of all the "facts" contained in it.
Or, you might like to try this site that examines all three Loose Change films and systematically debunks every single misunderstanding, half-truth and lie.
Or you may prefer this critique since it is by a member of the 9-11 Truth Movement itself:  In other words, the film you asked me to watch and which has apparently convinced you that Islamist terrorists were not responsible for the death of thousands of innocents on 9-11 is now seen as an embarrassment by the very people who think there's something fishy about the official explanation.

Perhaps you'll concede that Loose Change is now pretty much discredited but maintain there are still questions to answer. I suggest you look at this site:  It's from Popular Mechanics magazine - not renowned for having any particular axe to grind but apparently does have a very solid reputation for good technical journalism. Not a reputation it would risk, presumably, unless it was pretty sure of its facts. It very calmly and dispassionately debunks all the major Truther points.

Finally, you could, for comparative purposes, visit this Islamic site. Note the title: It wasn’t Muslims... . Have a look at the bottom link. The one labeled International Jewry.
Is there, perhaps, a leitmotif emerging here?

But to save you time I’ll let George Monbiot, the Guardian journalist not known for being a great supporter of the US or Zionists, give us a summary of the first film:
The Pentagon, the film maintains, was not hit by a commercial airliner. There was “no discernable trace” of a plane found in the wreckage, and the entrance and exit holes in the building were far too small. It was hit by a Cruise missile. The twin towers were brought down by means of “a carefully planned controlled demolition”. You can see the small puffs of smoke caused by explosives just below the cascading sections. All other hypotheses are implausible: the fire was not hot enough to melt steel and the towers fell too quickly. Building 7 was destroyed by the same means a few hours later.Flight 93 did not crash, but was redirected to Cleveland Airport, where the passengers were taken into a NASA building and never seen again. Their voices had been cloned by the Los Alamos laboratories and used to make fake calls to their relatives. The footage of Osama Bin Laden, claiming responsibility for the attacks, was faked. The US government carried out this great crime for four reasons: to help Larry Silverstein, who leased the towers, to collect his insurance money; to assist insider traders betting on falling airline stocks; to steal the gold in the basement; and to grant George Bush new executive powers, so that he could carry out his plans for world domination.
Are you sure you're comfortable to be among the “sizable minority” that subscribes to this nonsense?

Interestingly Monbiot wrote another article two weeks later on the same topic after receiving a record number of comments. Here's an extract:

I believe that George Bush is surrounded by some of the most scheming, devious, ruthless men to have found their way into government since the days of the Borgias. I believe that they were criminally negligent in failing to respond to intelligence about a potential attack by Al Qaeda, and that they have sought to disguise their incompetence by classifying crucial documents. I believe, too, that the Bush government seized the opportunity provided by the attacks to pursue a long-standing plan to invade Iraq and reshape the Middle East, knowing full well that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Bush deliberately misled the American people about the links between 9/11 and Iraq and about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. He is responsible for the murder of many tens of thousands of Iraqis.
But none of this is sufficient. To qualify as a true opponent of the Bush regime, you must also now believe that it is capable of magic. It could blast the Pentagon with a cruise missile, while persuading hundreds of onlookers that they saw a plane. It could wire every floor of the Twin Towers with explosives without attracting attention, and prime the charges (though planes had ploughed through the middle of the sequence) to drop each tower in a perfectly-timed collapse. It could make Flight 93 disappear into thin air, and somehow ensure that the relatives of the passengers collaborated with the deception. It could recruit tens of thousands of conspirators to participate in these great crimes, and induce them all to kept their mouths shut, for ever.
In other words, you must believe that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their pals are all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful, despite the fact that they were incapable of faking either weapons of mass destruction or any evidence at Ground Zero that Saddam Hussein was responsible. You must believe that the impression of cackhandedness and incompetence they have managed to project since taking office is a front. Otherwise you are a traitor and a spy.
[...] Like the millenarian fantasies which helped to destroy the Levellers as a political force in the mid-17th century, this crazy distraction presents a mortal danger to popular oppositional movements. If I were Bush or Blair, nothing would please me more than to see my opponents making idiots of themselves, while devoting their lives to chasing a phantom. But as a controlled asset of the New World Order, I would say that, wouldn’t I? It’s all part of the plot.

I couldn't have put it better myself.

(I also remember you being convinced Building 7's collapse was somehow suspicious as there was "little damage". Please see here for a clear explanation as to how and why it collapsed and how in fact there was a huge amount of damage.)

In conclusion, many Muslims the world-over praised the mastermind behind the terrorist attack on New York in 2011. They obviously believed and were proud of the fact that Islamists were responsible. Other, more moderate and educated Muslims like yourself, rather than accepting that there were some lunatic fringe elements in their religion who needed to be sought out and dealt with, instead denied that their religion could possibly be involved and started to blame...who else but the pesky Jews.

Is there anything in that summary you can disagree with?

So why do so many Muslims not accept the obvious explanation that 9/11 was collateral damage in a civil war within the world of political Islam? On one side there are those, like Bin Laden, who wanted to install Taliban-style theocracies from Indonesia to Morocco. On the other side there is a silent majority of Muslims who are prepared to deal with the West, who do not see the Taliban as a workable model for modern Islamic states, and who reject violence. Bin Laden adopted a war against “the far enemy” in order to hasten the demise of the “near enemy” regimes in the middle east. And he used 9/11 to advance that cause.

Why look for conspiracies? Why not accept that bin Laden and his fundamentalist Muslim cronies did it? Searching for excuses and scapegoats doesn't help anyone.

Looking forward to your response.

PS One final question on the controlled demolition theory - You notice how the towers collapsed from the top ... from the point of impact. So how did those clever FBI/CIA/Mossad boffins know to plant their explosives at exactly the place where the planes were going to impact...?