כּנור דוד

Kinnor David - "a most attractive blog".

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Munich I

Steven Speilberg's Munich opens in Australia on Thursday. Professor Dershowitz's review is in the Jerusalem Post today. I am reserving judgment, but having seen his review (and others), I have to say that I am concerned about the sort of ersatz morality and playing fast and loose with the truth that Speilberg seems prepared to entertain.

Galloway Sinks to New Low?

Readers with the stomach to see Jihadi "Respect" MP George Galloway's antics in a red leotard can click on this link. His former friends in the ummah are not amused.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Abu Hamza's Defence to put Koran on Trial

Readers may remember this decision in which the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal adjudicated a complaint by the Islamic Council of Victoria under that State's new Religious Vilification legislation alleging that two Christian evangellists had incite[d] hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, Muslims on the basis of religious belief. The Tribunal held that views attributed to the Islamic faith:

...represented the views of a small group of fundamentalists, namely, Wahabbists, who are located in the Gulf states and who are a minority group, and their views bear no relationship to mainstream Muslim beliefs...

Now, a British terror-sympathizing Imam on trial for inciting hatred against (guess who!) the Jewish people, for inter alia citing the famous hadith in which the trees call out to the Muslims to kill the Jews hiding behind them, defends himself thus:

Edward Fitzgerald, QC, for the defence, said that Abu Hamza’s interpretation of the Koran was that it imposed an obligation on Muslims to do jihad and fight in the defence of their religion. He said that the Crown case against the former imam of Finsbury Park Mosque was “simplistic in the extreme”.

He added: “It is said he was preaching murder, but he was actually preaching from the Koran itself.”

Mr Fitzgerald cited two verses of the book that Abu Hamza would rely on, among many others, as theological justification for the words that had led to him being charged. They were Chapter 2, verse 216 and Chapter 9, verse 111. He said that all the great monotheistic religions had scriptures that contained “the language of blood and retribution”.

That should get the Courts turning intellectual somersaults.

Mr Fitzgerald's comments are here. His final coment about monotheistic religions is half right. Some scriptures (like the book of Joshua) contain such language in the form of history. Some, like the Christian Gospels generally reserve blood and retribution as the prerogative of the Almighty. Islamic holy texts (namely the Koran and ahadith) differ from the Jewish and Christian Bibles in that they positively encourage believers to shed blood and exact retribution. So, come and get me Islamic Council of Victoria!

In the seemingly far-off days before so-called "Human Rights" statutes, the law was simple; and the limits of free speech were comparatively clear. However, in the last 30 years, western governments, in various outrageous attempts to appease religious minorities (and it would be remiss of me to omit that in Australia, the Jewish community has used such statutes enthusiastically to deal with perpetrators of Holocaust denial and anti-semitism generally) have made a right pig's breakfast of the concepts of freedom of speech and of conscience. The UK prosecutes an Imam for preaching Jew-hatred; but if one attributes such views (which have plenty of support in the Koran and ahadith) to anything but a "minority" one is inciting hatred against Muslims, under Victorian law. Oh Allah!

Good Luck, Senator Hill

Australian Defence Minister, Senator Robert Hill recently announced his retirement from the government and is expected to be appointed Australia's next Ambassador to the UN. This blog wishes him well in his new career as our Ambassador to the usless, corrupt and positively malign of the world, and notes with interest this article in today's Weekend Australian:

He has, slowly but methodically and comprehensively, turned the defence doctrine established under Beazley and unchallenged until Hill's tenure, on its head, cementing a new paradigm of forward engagement for the Australian Defence Force.

He has also secured massive new resources for Defence, a commitment to a real increase of 3 per cent a year for all of this decade, a commitment that John Howard foreshadowed in December would be pushed out until at least 2015.

Hill towers over Howard's other defence ministers, the inconsequential Ian McLachlan, the bumbling John Moore, and Peter Reith, who, though a capable politician, made his chief mark in defence in the children overboard fiasco.

Hill has, according to Sheridan, been instrumental in saving Defence from one of the most foolish policy fads of the 1980s and 1990s:

One of his most important achievements was in breaking the straitjacket of the Beazley-era defence of Australia doctrine. This held that the ADF should be structured purely for the defence of Australia, and that this structure would allow some flexibility for token commitments abroad.

One of the many debilitating consequences of this doctrine was a shocking neglect of the army, even though it was the army that was continually deployed abroad. The crippled nature of the army was evident in East Timor, where cobbling together a force of only 5000 soldiers almost stretched the ADF to breaking point.

Hill's philosophy of defence was evident in the main equipment decisions on his watch. The turning point was the purchase of 59 Abrams main battle tanks for the army. But similarly the commitment to two huge amphibious ships to transport the troops and three air warfare destroyers to protect them from missile and air attack while they are being transported, also gave effect to Hill's strategic doctrine.

Over the years, Hill became more confident in rejecting the old paradigm, commenting that the sea-air gap to our north was not a moat behind which Australia sheltered but a highway down which we travelled.

One of Labor leader Kim Beazely's most commonly-cited positive traits is his "credibility" on defence matters. One suspects that this is only because he liked being photographed with millitary hardware and talking about the American Civil War.

Thank you, Senator Hill, and good luck for the future.