Saturday, January 2

Jihad and the Indian Home Minister

Sometimes I worry about our chattering political classes, specially about their grasp of basic funda’s relating to history, culture, politics and religion. Anyway, seems like our Indian Home Minister Chidambaram spoke (here is another report from a Muslim newspaper) at the Intelligence Bureau Centenary celebrations. The main bits which bewildered me are, and I quote:

The home minister also referred to the rise of a new kind of threat. He said, "Just as the Cold War came to an end, we witnessed the emergence of another kind of war, namely, jihad. Jihad is a war or struggle against non-believers and, currently, it is waged by a number of groups owing allegiance to Islam. Unlike the original Crusades, jihad is not fought like conventional war. Jihad employs terror as an instrument to achieve its objectives. The tactics of jihadis have been copied by militants belonging to other groups too, not excluding militants professing the Hindu faith."

There are so many things wrong with this statement (if correct, I have not been able to access a transcript of his speech). Let's see where all he went off the rails.

1. Jihad is not a war, it can only be termed as a religiously mandated observance. To confuse it with a political and military phenomena, which is the commonly known western sense of the word i.e. war, is seriously deficient and lacking. The word itself is a noun, meaning Struggle and you are supposed to struggle against your own weaknesses of the self (meaning to become better), to guard against bad or false utterances, guard against violence and the struggle with the sword. One can wage war based upon strict criteria (although these criteria can vary and this is the crux of the matter) against apostates, criminals, to defend the Islamic state, to expand the state, rebel against bad rulers, etc. etc. The wiki entry is a reasonably good overview of this topic.

2. The Crusades. Ah, another spectacular silly comment. The crusades were not war. If at all, then that was the Christian Jihad. At least as far as the religious angle is concerned. Various Christian Popes and rulers went about saying that the holy land had to be liberated and it was the Christian duty of the faithful to go about chucking out the infidels. Then the Muslims waged their Muslim Jihad on the Christian Jihad. Very confusing but war it wasn't. This was two religions having it out based upon their respective religious rulings. Here is a good site on how the Muslims viewed Crusades and this is a good book on it. Here’s a nice site from the Christian side.

3. War as we understand it is carried out between two recognised entities, and can be a civil war between two populaces, a war against something like drugs, a war against an idea like poverty or illiteracy, etc. etc. But we generally recognise wars between two countries or states, waged by armies in uniform, with a relatively formal beginning (with firing of a shot) and end (like signing a surrender or ceasefire agreement). It has force of law based upon what cannot be done rather than what its components are. The whole legal paraphernalia and edifice around war crimes (Hague, Geneva, Nuremberg, UN Tribunals and now the International Criminal Court) defines what cannot be done in terms of war. And the crusades definitely were not war, even if you want to apply current thinking to a medieval phenomena like the Crusades.

4. Terror. Again a silly formulation by the minister. Terrorism has 10.2 million definitions at the last count. By and large, they contain words like “use of violence”, “for political or religious or or or purposes”, “against a state or civilians”, etc. etc. But what actually counts on the ground is the definition as included in the Law of the various countries. See here for a good list of these laws.

5. Jihad utilising terror as an instrument. Now this is quite contentious. But if the understanding is that of #4 above, then by and large, that is not agreed upon by the majority of Muslim Jurists as shown by a very large number of jurists who have expressed their views on this. It is pretty much clear that the majority of Jurists do not think that terrorism (as defined by modern day law and usage) is allowed under Jihad.

So you might as well as ask, where on earth are these fundamentalists getting their religious justification from? Well, if one has to point to one source (and believe you me, there are tons of other sources), the original root lies in the time when the Mongols rampaged through the Middle East. A chap called as Imam Ibn Taymiyyah released his famous fatwa on Jihad. Here is the English version of the same and this fatwa, via Banna, Qutb, Maududi and others have come down to the current fundos in Al Queda, LeT and other assorted Mujahedeen’s. The main section is and I quote:

Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely [2:189, 8:39] and God’s word is uppermost [9:40], therefore, according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed, unless they actually fight with words [e.g. by propaganda] and acts [e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare]. Some [jurists] are of the opinion that all of them may be killed, on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for women and children since the constitute property for Muslims. However, the first opinion is the correct one, because we may only fight those who fight us when we want to make God’s religious victorious. God, Who is exalted, has said in this respect: "And fight in the way of God those who fight you, but transgress not: God loves not the transgressors." [The Qur’aan, 2:190]……………….

The Sharee`a [shari'a] enjoins fighting the unbelievers, but not the killing of those who have been captured. If a male unbeliever is taken captive during warfare or otherwise, e.g. as a result of a shipwreck, or because he lost his way, or as a result of a ruse, then the head of state (imam) may do whatever he deems appropriate: killing him, enslaving him, releasing him or setting him free for a ransom consisting in either property or people [freeing Muslim captives in return]. This is the view of most jurists and it is supported by the Koran and the Sunna.

As you can see, there are some exclusions and the terrorists use it to appeal to their supporters. Here’s a very good overview of how Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwa and work has fed its way down to the fundos. But there is obviously a tension between the mainstream view and the terrorists view. Here’s a good overview of this tension. And in particular, if by this time you have not fallen asleep and are still facing problems in comprehending, read this rebuttal from Zawahiri. Warning, it's a book and pretty heavy going. That said, fatwas like this can cause confusion amongst the ranks. Coming from Darul Uloom Deoband means that it is respected.

Now, not having view of the transcript, I cannot say if the minister was right or wrong, but he was speaking from the perspective of the terrorist groups, well, then from their perspective, Jihad does have elements of terror, I am afraid.

6. Finally we come to the point he is making in terms of Hindu militants copying the tactics. Now this is a bit ambivalent. Reading for example Sarvarkar’s book Hindutva (which presumably would be the closest you can get to an ideological book), he talks about Hindutva relying on geographical unity, racial unity and common culture. But while he bangs on about Hinduism, nowhere does he reference any actual religious book to bolster his arguments, thereby giving me the impression that he is talking culture rather than religion, which applies to the notion of Jihad then as well. So that’s a crucial difference but on the other hand, terrorist tactics relating to propaganda, funding, violence against civilians, for political purposes, yes, he totally brought that on board. Here’s a good overview of the ideology and tactics underlying this Hindutva business.

But his other comments were weird and for such a sensitive topic, I am surprised that he spoke so loosely.

Crisis looms: Emergency Suicide Bomber Talks Break Down In UK

I think i posted this before, but what the heck..This was hilariously funny when i received this in email. And don't forget to read the disclaimer at the bottom, which is even more funny.


Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to
in the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda management have so far failed to produce an agreement. The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death will be cut by 20% next January from 72 to only 60. The rationale for the cut was the increase in recent years of the number of suicide bombings and a subsequent shortage of virgins in the afterlife.

The suicide bombers' union, the British Organisation of Occupational Martyrs (or B.O.O.M.) responded with a statement that this was
unacceptable to its members and immediately balloted for strike action. General secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, "Our members
are literally working themselves to death in the cause of jihad. We don't ask for much in return but to be treated like this by management
is a kick in the er um ah teeth."

Mr Amir accepted the limited availability of virgins but pointed out that the cutbacks were expected to be borne entirely by the workforce
and not by management. "Last Christmas Abu Hamza alone was awarded an annual bonus of 250,000 virgins," complains Amir. "And you can be sure
they'll all be pretty ones too. How can Al Qaeda afford that for members of the management but not 72 for the people who do the real
work?" Speaking from the shed in the West Midlands where he currently resides, Al Qaeda chief executive Osama bin Laden explained, "We sympathise with our workers' concerns but Al Qaeda is simply not in a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the
realities of modern-day jihad, in a competitive marketplace. Thanks to Western depravity, there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the
afterlife. It's a straight choice between reducing expenditure and laying people off. I don't like cutting wages but I'd hate to have to
tell 3,000 of my staff that they won't be able to blow themselves up."

He defended management bonuses by claiming these were necessary to attract good fanatical clerics. "How am I supposed to attract the best
people if I can't compete with the private sector?" asked Mr. Bin-Laden. Talks broke down this morning after management's last-ditch proposal
of a virgin-sharing scheme was rejected outright after a failure to agree on orifice allocation quotas. One virgin, who refused to be named, was quoted as saying "I'll be buggered if I'm agreeing to anything like's too much of a mouthful to swallow".

Unless some sort of agreement is reached over the weekend, suicide bombers will down explosives at midday on Monday. Most branches are
supporting the strike. Only the North London branch, which has a different union, is likely to continue working. However, some members
of that branch will only be using waist-down explosives in order to express solidarity with their striking brethren.

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Thursday, December 31

Religious Restrictions in the 25 Most Populous Countries

Bloody shameful, if you ask me. What on earth are these countries doing? Think about India, not only does it have high government restrictions but the people themselves are actively hostile to other religions. Disgusting.

For that matter, the UK correspondingly has room for improvement as well. It has to reduce the amount of government restrictions and also further educate its population on being more liberal to other religions. Not good.

A Lecture on Baluchistan

Never knew quite a lot of these things. Interesting Lecture on Baluchistan by Selig Harrison. Worth Reading in full, but quoting:

I am going to start with a citation from the scripture. Scripture for me on the subject of Pakistan is an important book called the Shadow of the Great Game: the Untold Story of India’s Partition, by Narendra Singh Sarila, a retired Indian diplomat who was the ADC to Mountbatten [Viceroy of India]. He got unprecedented access to the British archives. In his book he presents detailed, definitive evidence showing that as early as march, 1945, Winston Churchill and the British general staff decided that partition was necessary for strategic reasons. They deliberately set out to create Pakistan because Jinnah had promised to provide military facilities and Nehru refused to do so. This is the key to understanding why Pakistan is so dysfunctional. It’s an artificial political entity. The British put together five ethnic groups that had never before co-existed in the same body politic historically. The Bengalis were the biggest. They outnumbered all of the other four combined—the Punjabis, the Pashtuns, the Baluch and the Sindhis. Five became four of course when Bangladesh seceded [in 1971]…..

By themselves, the Baluch are in a weak position militarily, but they are beginning to forge alliances with Sindhi factions that could become significant. What some of the Baluch and Sindhi leaders are talking about is a sovereign Baluch-Sindhi federation stretching from the Indian border to Iran. The most obvious impediment to this dream of course is the fact that Karachi is right in the middle of the area concerned with a multi-ethnic population. But the Baluch and Sindhis point out that Karachi depends on gas and water pipelines crossing through areas of the surrounding countryside under their control.

An independent Baluch-Sindhi federation would not necessarily conflict with U.S. interests because the Baluch and Sindhi areas are strongholds of secular values and moderate Islam. Most of the Sindhis are Sufis and many of the Baluch are Zikris. They reject the Wahabi and Deobandi brand of Islam pushed by the Sepa-e-Sehaba and other virulently anti-Shia Sunni groups in the Punjab. The Islamist threat is centered in the Punjab where Lashkar-e-Taiba and other hard-core jihadi groups are increasingly strong.

Tuesday, December 29

The UK Government better be afraid next year

This is deeply worrying. The cost of servicing British debt is nearing Italian levels. And not only that, next year its going to be horrible. I quote:

That leaves a market accustomed to some £40bn supply facing an expected £225.1bn of new issues. To put that in perspective, the entire outstanding stock of gilts rose by a total of £220bn between 1980 and 1997, according to analysts at Barclays Capital.

Good Heavens, good thing I am considering other locations.., sheesh.

Monday, December 28

Captain of Jewish immigrant ship the Exodus dies

This took me back to my days as a teenager when I first read Leon Uris’s The Exodus. leave aside the fact that the book is, lets say politely, historically challenged, but for a teenager, its fascinating. Reading about Dov and Ari and the Holocaust and how a nation and a country was created, pretty stirring stuff. I quote:

The skipper of the Jewish immigrant ship the Exodus, which was refused entry to British-controlled Palestine in 1947, has died at the age of 86. The Exodus was carrying over 4,000 mostly Holocaust survivors when the ship was forced to return to Germany. The incident sparked widespread sympathy for their plight. After weeks at sea, the refugees were placed in camps in Germany. After an international outcry, they were transferred to Cyprus by the British authorities, where they remained until the creation of Israel in 1948.

Pretty interesting.

Do you think he gets the irony?

A chap in a hoodie protesting against a veiled woman.

Perpetual Machine?

A Jesus Era house excavated in Nazareth

Now here’s an interesting item which caught my eye. I knew the history of Jesus of Nazareth where he grew up, but my mental image of Nazareth was always what was illustrated in Nativity Plays, Bible books, paintings and such like. Very clean, idealised village which would not be out of place in modern day Britain. Here’s an example:

here’s another painting, Nazareth by William Gale.

Anyway, you get the idea. But then this announcement popped up. I quote:

The remains of a small house that can be dated back to the time of Jesus have been found in the past days during excavation works in progress in Nazareth, guided by a team of Israeli archaeologists. According to the scientists, this is the first house from that era ever uncovered.  "The building that we found is small and modest and it is most likely typical of the dwellings in Nazareth in that period," the archaeologist added, suggesting that "Jesus and his childhood friends may have known this house".

Click on this site and this to see 2 photographs of the currently excavated site which shows the foundations of the house and the walls. The hamlet, unlike what has been portrayed in the paintings and books, was a dirt poor tiny hamlet of not more than 50 families. Interestingly enough, the archaeologists have found a water harvesting system on the roof. What a change and as the LA Times says:

…not far from the spot where the Archangel Gabriel is said to have revealed to Mary that she would give birth to the boy. Today the ornate Basilica of the Annunciation marks that spot, and Nazareth is the largest Arab city in northern Israel, with about 65,000 residents. Muslims now outnumber Christians 2 to 1 in the noisy, crowded city. The archaeological find shows how different it was 2,000 years ago: Christianity and Islam did not yet exist; the Jewish Temple stood in Jerusalem; and tiny Nazareth was near a battleground between Roman rulers and Jewish guerrillas….

There is obviously no Jewish presence now, the number of Christians is dropping precipitously in Palestine and the Jewish state is busy having fun with the Muslims. The archaeologists also found a hidden entrance to a grotto which could have been used by the Jews to escape from the Romans. And Palestine now has underground tunnels to smuggle people and goods in and out of Palestine. In certain cases, not much has changed now has it? And what also surprised me was that nobody has done any politicking on this yet as archaeology in the holy land is inextricably linked with politics down history.

But what has changed is the image of Nazareth in my mind. Instead of the bucolic, green and peaceful town that was imprinted in my mind, it has now converted into a parched, drought ridden, desperately poor, quite dirty, fearful tiny little village of no importance back then. Merry Christmas everybody.

Sunday, December 27

Artificial Virginity

On a mailing list, we started talking about Virgin Racing starting up in the UK and Rizz asked about where on earth will they find enough virgins in the UK to race? Well, I talked about how they can use the artificial virginity kits.

See what the blurb says?

"No more worry about losing your virginity. With this product, you can have your first night back anytime. Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable. Its easy to use, clinically proven non-toxic to human and has no side effects, no pain to use and no allergic reaction."

A fuller description:

No more worry about losing your virginity. With this product, you can have your first night back anytime. Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable. Its easy to use, clinically proven non-toxic to human and has no side effects, no pain to use, no allergic reaction
Artificial Virginity Hymen is created from Kyoto, Tapan at 1993. it was first introduced to the locals, then it gets famous and spread to Thailand at 1995 and now avaliable in South East Asia, South Asia and in the Middle East countries.
It is mainly made of natural albumin, medical use inflation element and water-soluble base medicinal preparation which have no side effect.
Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groan, you will pass through undetectable.
Main causes of hymen tore or break:

  • Strenuous exercise (Gymnastics, sports, martial art, horse riding, etc)
  • Premarital Sex
  • Childhood accident (Hard object)
  • Wearing a tampon for the first time

Made in Japan.
Expire: 2 years.
How to use:
  • Open the package and rub on the artificial hymen, then carefully put into the vagina. If vaginal is dry, dip the artificial hymen to water and then put it into the vagina as quickly as you can.
  • Place inside vagina 15-20 minutes before intercourse
  • Finally, cleans the vulva after having sexual intercourse.
  • The artificial hymen will melt inside the vagina so will not fall out

For $29.99, you can show off your doofus husband to be a complete and utter nincompoop and yourself as a complete idiot. And for people like, you, you can also get discounts if you order in bulk!.

Good heavens, I havent laughed out so much in days. Well, since couple of days when we had a snow day :). But can you imagine the woman who bonks about before marriage (which is absolutely no problem), but has to go about inserting this shit into her vagina and then adds some moans and groans. What the hell? What IS this? some kind of a joke? And then to top it all, she is getting married to a man who judges the character and suitability of his wife by the existence (or not) of a membrane in the vagina?

This is a great way to start the marriage. The husband coming to bed thinking the woman is a virgin (which age were you from? cretaceous?) and the wife dishonestly getting this done? Very nice. I dont blame the girl too much as she can get killed, but damn….

What really got me going was the bunch of Islamic Brothers and the assorted religious idiots in Egypt who said

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls 20 percent of the seats in Egypt's parliament, called the re-virginizing kit a "mark of shame" and expressed plans to arrest anyone who hawks it on the black market--peddlers could be charged with "banditry and punished for spreading immorality and sin," according to the LA Times

Another report said:

Sheik Sayed Askar, a member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood who is on the parliamentary committee on religious affairs, said the kit will make it easier for Egyptian women to give in to temptation. He demanded the government take responsibility for fighting the product. ... Prominent Egyptian religious scholar Abdel Moati Bayoumi said anyone who imports the artificial hymen should be punished. "This product encourages illicit sexual relations. Islamic culture forbids these relations except within the confines of marriage," Bayoumi said. ... "If this thing enters Egypt, the country is going to go to waste. God protect us," commented a reader on the Web site of Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabie.

Well, considering that the Islamic Brotherhood is a supporter of Female Genital Mutilation and finds support in the religious books, you know what they want women to be in Egypt. Veiled, pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen. Mind you, it wont help them anyway. See what happens.

In a Muslim country where the numbers of women wearing the veil are rising, and so -- by most accounts -- are incidents of groping and catcalls in the streets, the message in ads circulating anonymously in e-mails here in Egypt is clear: "A veil to protect, or eyes will molest," one warns. The words sit over two illustrations, one comparing a veiled woman, her hair and neck covered in the manner known to Muslims as hijab, to a wrapped candy, untouched and pure.

The other picture shows an unveiled woman, hair flying wildly and hip jutting, next to a candy that has had its wrapper stripped off -- and is now covered in flies. "You can't stop them, but you can protect yourself," warns another ad likening men to flies and women to sweets. Bloggers in Egypt have taken to calling such messages the "veil your lollipop" campaign.

Surprisingly, some Egyptian women say that their veils don't protect against harassment, as the lollipop ads argue, but fuel it. A survey released this summer supports the view.

So, here we are with the essential problem. The problem are the men who are like flies. You know what needs to be done with flies. You swat them. Perhaps they need to be revirginised as well. How about shoving something large up their bottoms which will make them bleed? Or perhaps they might end up liking it? Is that how male virginising will work for people like these flies or people who support FGM?

The women are somewhat to blame as well. Mind you, taking them away from fly bearing sewers such as Egypt doesnt seem to help either. See here about this practise in France. I quote:

……the woman's surgeon says he gets three to five queries and performs one to three hymenoplasties each week. Demand has been rising for the past three or four years.

Doctor Marc Abecassis, whose office is near the chic Champs Elysees, sees the rise in religion among France's five million Muslims fuelling this trend. His patients are between 18 and 45 years old, Muslim, born both in France and in North Africa.

"Many of my patients are caught between two worlds," said Abecassis. They have had sex already but are expected to be virgins at marriage according to a custom that he called "cultural and traditional, with enormous family pressure"……

Some Muslims in France have been putting much more emphasis on certain customs as a way of expressing their identity. "Today it's the two 'V's' -- veil and virginity," he said. "It's a social phenomenon."

Surprisingly, French social security reimburses some of the cost of the operation in cases of rape or trauma. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, the claim is a fraud," he added.

Esphoks on the lot of them. What a bunch of nincompoops to allow religion, tradition and stupid parental pressure to let them get to this state. Honour killings?