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“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Benjamin Franklin

Monday, 22 December 2014

An 'unexpected' Christmas.

Christmas time brings with it a message of hope to a world weary of conflict and the slaughter of innocents.  A hope that through divine intervention we might be able to live differently.

Announced beforehand by the prophets, revealed to shepherds, and ultimately rejected by his people, Jesus birth was both anticipated, yet unexpected.

Who better to explain this mystery than the children of St Paul’s Church in Auckland.  May you also have an ‘unexpected’ Christmas, and a prosperous new year.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Forgive my unbelief.

A recent trend in the reporting of young Muslim men and women who desire to travel to Syria and Iraq to engage in holy Jihad is the narrative coming from their Muslim parents.  They always have ‘no idea’ that their children had become radicalized.

Yusra Hussien, 15 - Female (Bristol UK)

Yusra left home in September but instead of going to class went to Heathrow where she caught a flight to Turkey.  She boarded a plane with a 17-year-old British girl Samya Dirie, who she met online and the two are now believed to be in Syria, and may have married jihadist fighters. “Her family, who had no idea she had extremist views.”

Amin Mohamed 23 - Male (Kiwi)

Amin is charged with four counts of preparing to enter a foreign state to engage in hostile activities.  “Mohamed's family told the Herald on Sunday in October they were in the dark about his alleged extremism.”

Aqsa Mahmood, 20 - Female (Scotland)

So far we know of around 60 young women who have been persuaded to join their ranks through radicalisation, including girls such as Aqsa Mahmood, 20 - who had a private education, wanted to be a doctor and had never shown any signs of extremism. Naturally, when she abandoned her life here to go to Syria, “her parents were devastated”.

Four brothers aged 17, 23, 25, 28 – (Australia)

A Sydney mother has been devastated by the news that her four sons aged 17, 23, 25 and 28 — have been lost to the barbaric jihadist group.  Muslim community leader and friend of the family Jamal Rifi said “they had no idea their sons had been radicalized”.

Salma and Zahra Halane, both aged 16 – female (Chorlton UK)

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police said: “It’s terribly important parents understand the risks. It’s difficult to balance how much they should intrude, particularly Muslim families. “This particular family had no idea what was going on.”

Samya Dirie, 17 – female (Stockton UK)

Relatives have described Samya as a “moderate Muslim” with “no sign” she had been radicalised. Mohammed Ahmed, of Lambeth Somali Community Association in Stockwell, said he believes Samya has friends in Syria. He added: “I know the family and the mother is in shock. Her mother cried for days. “The family just do not understand how this has happened.”

This is just a sample of those parents from the UK, Australia and New Zealand who had ‘no idea’ that their children were becoming Muslim jihadists in their own home.  No doubt the story is the same throughout Europe but I have only searched a sample of English language news reports.

Now it is possible, just remotely possible that these Muslim parents had no idea that their children were reading the Koran in their bedrooms under the blankets by torch light, or listening to ‘radical’ preachers who were explaining those ahem, more violent passages of their Scriptures to them via the internet…. But…. These parents are Muslims, they would have trained their children in the precepts of Islam, taken them to Friday prayers, had them taught by Imam’s, possibly educated at Islamic schools, and now they are upset that they have become ‘good Muslims’ and followed the example of their prophet?

What did they hope for, that they would become nominal Muslims and embrace secular materialism?

This feels very much like the same old narrative of Muslim victimhood being played out all over again.  These parents raised their children to become good Muslims, and when they live out the teaching of Islam and engage in Jihad, they pull the victim card out and say they had ‘no idea’ how this happened.

Forgive my unbelief. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

I don't know about you, but three days of mourning feels more appropriate.

It’s been a difficult week for Muslims living in Australia, although perhaps not as difficult for those Muslims living Germany or even in Peshawar city Pakistan where 132 school children died today at the hands of the Taliban.

“They are not Muslims” said the Pakistan Association president of New Zealand Athar Awan, referring to the Taliban.  Well, perhaps.

Wikipedia describes the Taliban as: an Islamic fundamentalist political movement with diplomatic recognition in only three nations, one of which is Pakistan. 

Meanwhile, following the recent slaughter of innocents in Sydney by an ISIS supporter, we in the west are beginning to tire of the ‘nothing to do with Islam’ narrative religiously trotted out by our politicians and the main stream media.  

So too it seems are the Germans who have had to put up with Islamic initiated violence and dysfunction for a lot longer than we have.  There have been a series of large ‘anti-Islam’ demonstrations in that country, surprisingly unreported in our media, the most recent in Dresden where 15,000 residents took to the street to protest at the Islamiziation of their country.

Danish State television, a typically left wing institution very much like the BBC, described the march as being attended by ‘thousands of ordinary Germans – it was the German middle classes who demonstrated today’.

It would appear that the #illridewithyou hash tag is failing to make an impression on the Islamoweary Germans.  Perhaps because they have cause to see it for the foolish idealism it represents, however well intentioned. I also doubt the hashtag will be widely embraced in Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan or any other Islamic hell hole, with Muslims queuing up to ride with Christians or the Yatzy people to protect them from their fellow Muslims.

Who would have thought that little over sixty years on from WWII that so many inhabitants of Australia and New Zealand would naively embrace those who support a religious supremacist ideology that is committed to the overthrow of western civilization, and the establishment of a 7th century theocratic legal and justice system?

A religious and political system that is demonstrably opposed to tolerance of ‘the other’ that #illridewithyou seeks to exemplify.  No doubt the Germans started out with equal enthusiasm to demonstrate their multicultural credentials.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan has announced a period of three days mourning following the slaughter of their school children by Islamists.  By way of contrast the political leadership in Australia has been at pains to avoid dwelling upon the slaughter of innocents by a Muslim terrorist, encouraging a ‘business as usual’ approach by its citizens.

I don’t know about you, but three days of mourning feels more appropriate. 

The price to maintain our multiculturalist credentials is too high.

Following the murder of two Australians, Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson by the Muslim terrorist and self proclaimed sheik Haron Monis during the hostage siege in Sydney this week, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key thinks it might be time for us to ‘review the threshold for detaining people’.

Prime Minister John Key said the Sydney siege gunman highlighted the conundrum for authorities over protecting citizens against potential terrorism and over-stepping their powers.

"I suspect they were on lists of people that could present a threat," Mr Key said. "But the threshold the authorities have to meet before they can detain someone is very high and for very good reason.

"That is the conundrum that the authorities face between over-using or over-exercising their power but on the other side is the declared desire the public will have to be protected."

Sydney gunman Man Haron Monis was known to security authorities. So too was the Muslim convert in Canada who deliberately killed a Canadian soldier with his car in October, and the two men convicted of hacking British soldier Lee Rigby to death in London last year. 

It is reasonable to conclude that the present threshold for detaining Muslims who are known by authorities to be ‘hot for jihad’ is way too high. Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson would still be alive today if Islamist Haron Monis was in detention. 

And just for the record, Monis second wife, a Muslim Amirah Droudis, aged 35, and murder suspect, has previously posted a series of hate-filled videos in which she describes herself as a terrorist and expressed happiness at the 9/11 and 2002 Bali terror attacks, and the Holocaust.

She is still free to walk the streets of Sydney.

As Mark Steyn stated in his post on the Sydney siege:

“The price of incubating, nurturing and growing Islam in the west is too high. Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson did not deserve to die for going to a coffee shop. And, beyond the folly of Sheikh Haron's bail eligibility, the two Sydney victims were sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalist delusion.”

For the Australian security agencies to allow Haron and his wife Droudis, and others like them to freely walk the streets of Sydney is a muliticultrualist delusion.  And so it is in New Zealand.  When speaking in reference to the 30 or 40 ‘New Zealanders’ who are on our security agencies watch list, Prime Minister Key said:

"There are people that have not identical but similar characteristics to the gunman in Australia, and all I can say is that we do everything we can to monitor those situations and make sure we are as prepared as we can be."

For Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson ‘monitoring’ and being ‘prepared’ fell way short of what was needed to prevent them from being murdered at the hands of a Muslim Jihadist in Sydney.

Having a well rehursed plan for washing the victims blood off the streets ‘after the event’ does not meet a government’s duty of care to protect its citizens.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of New Zealanders would applaud any Government with the common sense to detain these people who represent a clear and present threat to their safety and security.  Yes, there would need to be an evidential threshold that would need to be met. However given the recent spate of murderous jihadist attacks by what are farcically named ‘loan wolves’, that threshold does not need to be high in order to ensure public safety.

Yesterday, I heard a security ‘expert’ interviewed on the radio saying that these jihadist attacks cannot be stopped, and we are just going to have to get used to them.

Not on my watch.

Living with 300 road deaths each year in New Zealand is the price we pay for the benefits of motor vehicle transport, albeit these deaths are accidents.

I doubt that any New Zealander would accept one or two deaths at the hands of Muslim Jihadists as the price we must pay to maintain our international multiculturalist credentials.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A political act?

Sydney’s Martin Place siege is over and the gunman, a 50 year old Muslim immigrant Haron Monis is dead, along with two others, presumably both hostages, but one may possibly be a member of the police – we have not yet been told. Two other hostages are injured.

Apparently Monis was well known to authorities, having been responsible for sending hateful letters to the families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan, and for the potential murder of his wife.  He was as they say, a ‘self proclaimed’ cleric.

A political act

Tony Abbott has told Australia and the world that this was a ‘political act’ by Monis.  What led him to that conclusion?  Did Monis make demands for the release of political prisoners somewhere in the world, was he protesting at the Chinese occupation of Tibet or the Australian troop presence in Iraq?

We are not told.

What we do know is that Monis was a Muslim refuge who came to Australia in 1997.  We know that the one item he took with him into the café besides his shotgun, was a black Islamic flag, proclaiming there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.  Hostages were forced to hold this flag up against the café windows during the siege.

Other than wanting to talk to the Prime Minister live on radio, he made no ‘political’ demands that we are aware of.

The police commissioner

Watching the interview with the NSW Police commissioner last night, I was struck by the language he used in order to minimize the significance of this event.  At no time did he use the world ‘hostages’. He spoke of people being ‘trapped’ in the building, as though they had chosen to work late and the lift broke down as they attempted to leave.

He knew that Monis was a violent man with a criminal history holding hostages captive with a shotgun under the banner of an Islamic supremacist flag.

While I don’t expect him to reveal operational details, I also don’t expect him to use language intended to trivialize the seriousness of what was taking place, or the risks that both the hostages and the police were facing. 

A terrorist or criminal act?

One of the features of western leaders political response to violent acts by Islamic supremacists on home soil is a deliberate attempt to frame them as isolated criminal actions by ‘lone wolves’.  This narrative is supported by statements to the effect that the perpetrator had ‘no known links to foreign terrorist organizations’.

What were the authorities looking for, an Islamic State passport in their duffle bag?  Written instructions from Al Qaeda leadership?

In the end what difference does it make if a member of the Islamic State directly instructed them, or if they simply took their queues from a shared hatred of the Infidel?

Poverty causes despair causes anger, causes…

Again watching the events live on Australian Sky news last night, I witnessed a series of experts explain to us the motivation of these lone wolves.  Typically, we are told, it is poverty and political oppression combined with foreign military involvement in the region. 

Personally, I accept that it is foolish for us to intervene militarily in the Middle East, but Osama Ben Laden was a multimillionaire who wanted to strike at the heart of the infidel.   The poverty narrative doesn’t fit, and frankly never has.  Vietnamese and Cambodians are poor, but their refugees are not murdering hostages in the Sydney CBD.

Australia is at War

Australia is at war in the Middle East. Its fighter planes are bombing Sunni Muslims, and its military advisors are on the ground in Iraq training Shia Muslim troops and militia. 

Back in the days when the western world had enemies rather than just ‘friends we hadn’t yet met’ people with a track record like Monis would have been interned for everyone’s protection.

Today, we are too stupid politically correct to take the most basic and obvious steps to protect our citizens from potential enemy combatants like Monis, who are living amongst us.

Meanwhile, the Australian Prime Minister has gone out of his way to assure Muslims living in Australia, that just because his Government is bombing and killing Muslims in the Middle East, they have nothing to fear – they are part of ‘team Australia’.

Clearly not all of them feel that way.

The elephant in the room

The one thing that cannot be discussed under any circumstances is the part that Islam may play in the motivation of people like Monis, and others who have been taken into custody on terrorism charges by the Abbott government.

Yet Islam is the single common denominator that unites every Muslim terrorist the world over, from Monis in Sydney to the Islamic State in Iraq, and Boko Haram in Nigeria.  Not forgetting the Boston bombers, Bali bombers, London 7/7 bombers, the recent murders of military personnel by Muslims Canada, the axe attacks on NYC police and the murder of drummer Rigby on the streets of London.

Yet the religion of Islam has been placed beyond honest critique or reasoned criticism by Western politicians and the mainstream media.

In part I believe it is simply laziness.  All religions are essentially peaceful and besides they are all the same aren’t they?  We live in a time of almost complete theological illiteracy, and it is now beginning to cost us.

Secondly in places like Britain and parts of Europe it has become almost impossible politically to critique Islam without offending large sections of the electorate, upon whom politicians increasingly depend for their patronage.  As the Danish cartoonists can tell you, this is one demographic you don't want to offend.

100 year war with radical Islam

If the former head of Australia’s Army, Peter Leahy is correct, we are at the beginning of a 100 year war with Islam.  He did use the world ‘radical’ in reference to Islam, but we could be forgiven for wondering if there is any other kind.

Yes, there are moderate Muslims, thank God, but moderate Islam?  Perhaps we are best to leave the last word on Islam with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan who said : “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

The local Muslim community

The time has passed to debate the wisdom of historical immigration from Islamic countries.  In New Zealand our Muslim community is small, albeit more than 40 are under surveillance by our security services, according to our Prime Minister.  Presumably any one of them could be a Haron Monis in waiting.  In Sydney and other parts of Australia, there are much larger Muslim communities.

There is still a debate to be had about continued Islamic immigration, but the larger question is what responsibility, should local Muslim communities have in reporting to authorities those members who may represent a risk to public safety.  No doubt some reporting is taking place now, but is it comprehensive?

At the end of the day, it comes down to an individual sense of personal identity.  If people identify as Muslims first and Australian or New Zealand citizens second, it would be understandable if they were reluctant to report fellow Muslims who identify with ISIS.  While we might call them ‘radicals’ the Muslim community could easily view them as patriots or freedom fighters, or more significantly, on a God given mission to establish Islamic supremacy throughout the world.

Islam has global  aspirations, and all true Muslims must ultimately believe in a global caliphate.  Islam is a complex mix of both theological and political ambition.  Politically we are a long way from grasping these issues, let alone formulating a strategy to deal with them.

Monday, 15 December 2014

We need to recognize that ‘lone wolves’ have not been raised or radicalized in a vacuum.

As I write the hostage drama in Sydney CBD’s, Lindt Chocolate Café continues.   Thankfully at this time five hostages have either been released or have escaped unharmed.  That’s something to be very thankful for.

The media have been careful in the way they have framed this incident. While pointing out the presence of a black Islamic flag, apparently not that of the Islamic State, but rather one that confirms the Islamic statement of faith, they have called it a ‘political’ incident.

A ‘political’ incident perhaps, but what is the underlying motivation?  Could they be a climate change protester frustrated at the lack of progress at the recent talks in Peru?  Or a right wing activist protesting increased taxes?  Or a left wing activist protesting budget cuts at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation?

Muslim leaders in Australia have condemned the hostage taking and released a statement saying:

“The Grand Mufti and the Australian National Imams Council condemn this criminal act unequivocally and reiterate that such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam,” Professor Ibrahim Abu Mohamed said in a statement.

“We along the wide Australian society await the results of the investigation about the identity of the perpetrators and their underlying motivations behind this criminal act…”

It’s all so very reassuring. 

I note the Grand Mufti did not reference any verses in the Koran or other Islamic scriptures to support his claim, so we will just have to take him at his word.  No doubt he was equally appalled at the recent attempted murder of two policemen in Australia by a knife wielding Muslim youth, and also at the arrest of a 25 year old Muslim man in Sydney this morning on terror related charges.

So much tragic misunderstanding of Islam by its followers.

As I stated earlier this year, it has been reduced to a numbers game.  The larger your local Muslim community the higher the probability of home grown terrorism plots, and threats to the lives and safety of residents in our towns and cities.

Sooner or later we will lose.  I pray it’s not this time, or the next time, or ever, but in all probability lives will eventually be lost to these people.

The choices facing politicians like Tony Abbott are stark.  At present he is channeling David Cameron and being very careful not to implicate the Islamic community, albeit it is out of this community that these terrorists emerge.

Clearly he does not wish to condemn the innocent with the guilty.  I understand and respect that.  However who is guilty here?  Is it just the man with the gun holding hostages, with all indications pointing to him being a Muslim, or is it his parents for raising him in this barbaric ideology, or his Imam for instructing him in its precepts, or the prophet Mohammad whose example of aggression against infidels that he is following?

Or should we blame the Islamic State, or Al Qaeda, Boko Harem, or any one of a hundred militant Islamic groups around the planet?

It’s a problem that needs a grim and determined response.  Israel after years of provocation has eventually taken to demolishing the homes of those who are proven to have committed acts of terrorism on their soil. 

The message is simple.  Aiding and supporting terrorists even indirectly, risks incurring a personal cost.

We are not there yet, but we need to recognize that ‘lone wolves’ have not been raised or radicalized in a vacuum.  We will not be successful in reducing or eliminating these attacks until we begin to address the problem at source.

Sending troops to the Middle East is not going to do it. 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

What has the Dalai Lama done to be thrown under the Papal bus of political expediency?

Was it a mistake by the Pope to refuse a request for a meeting by the Dalai Lama in Rome?  Yes, on a number of levels, particularly if the ‘obvious reasons’ implied by the Pope were not to cause offense to the Chinese communist government.

First of all based upon Jesus example alone, he should have welcomed a visit from The Dalai Lama.  The Apostle John tells us that Jesus said: “I will not send away anyone who comes to me” (John 3:37).

Second, the Dalai Lama from what I can see is a man of peace.  There are no reports of him encouraging his followers to take up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet, yet he and the Tibetan people are clearly the victims of Chinese occupation and oppression in their homeland.

The Prophet Isaiah 58:6 Said: "The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free.” Is it not therefore the responsibility of all Christians and particularly those in leadership to stand with those who are oppressed, to loose their chains and to speak out against the injustice being perpetrated against them, condemning their oppressors?

I find it shocking that on this occasion the Pope has preferred to appease the Chinese Government oppressor rather than to welcome the oppressed.

Does he really believe that his refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama will buy favour for him and for the Catholic Church in China?  Does he not realise that this regime and its predecessors has consistently persecuted Chinese Christians, and cares little for the opinion of Roman Popes or western politicians when it comes to human rights and religious freedoms?

Yet this is a Pope who has become known for speaking his mind when it suits him.  Certainly those of us engaged in the commercial world, generating wealth, providing employment and working for profit have felt the chill wind of his implied disapproval.

To be fair, he did speak out publically against the Mafia, which was a brave move, and he also appears to be addressing some of the less desirable aspects of life in the Vatican.  However, I’m not sure what the Tibetan people, and the Dalai Lama in particular have done to deserve being thrown under the Papal bus of political expediency.  Other Pope’s have meet with him on several occasions, no doubt to highlight the injustices being perpetrated by the Chinese communists in Tibet.

This Pope, as we are learning - is different. 

Friday, 12 December 2014

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

There are times when you encounter words and imagery that are both intense and poignant.  This 1939 video of French troops celebrating mass to the sound of Christmas carol ‘Oh Holy Night’ is one of them.  Faced with the specter of war with German so soon after the ‘war to end all wars’, knowing something of the bitterness they must face, yet not knowing the full devastation that awaits, they celebrate the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace.

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, 

It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth. 

Long lay the world in sin and error pining. 

Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth. 

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, 

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! 

O night divine, the night when Christ was born; 

O night, O Holy Night , O night divine! 

O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, 

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. 

O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming, 

Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land. 

The King of kings lay thus lowly manger; 

In all our trials born to be our friend. 

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger, 

Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! 

Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! 

Truly He taught us to love one another, 

His law is love and His gospel is peace. 

Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. 

And in his name all oppression shall cease. 

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 

With all our hearts we praise His holy name. 

Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, 

His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

BBC reports - Jihadist violence 'killed 5,000 in November'

When the politically correct liberal establishment known as the BBC begins to highlight the barbarity of Islamic Jihadist violence you can be sure it has risen above the level of background noise.

Jihadist violence 'killed 5,000 in November' reports the BBC:

The four worst-affected countries were Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Syria, accounting for 80% of all deaths. The investigation - coordinated with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) - recorded a total of 664 attacks in 14 countries.

The investigation showed that nearly seven people died every hour in November as a result of violence attributed to al-Qaeda, its offshoots and groups that subscribe to a similar ideology.

The study recorded a daily average of 22 such attacks and 168 fatalities. Islamic State (IS) militants - operating in Iraq and Syria - were responsible for more than 2,000 deaths.

Of the 5,042 people killed in total, a majority - 2,079 - were civilians. Military personnel made up 1,723 deaths. Nearly 1,000 jihadis were reported killed during attacks.

The single deadliest attack in November was a bomb attack on the Grand Mosque in the Nigerian city of Kano that killed 120 people.

Bombings accounted for the most deaths overall. Many people also died as a result of gun attacks, shelling and beheadings.

"The overall picture is that of an increasingly ambitious, complex, sophisticated and far-reaching movement."

And this movement that resulted in 664 attacks in 14 countries would be called…. Islam?