Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

Islam and the West

Old 05-17-08, 07:37 AM
  #26  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 33,145
Received 39 Likes on 19 Posts
Originally Posted by kvrdave
Not sure I follow your point. Is it that our radicals are pussies compared to Islamic radicals, or what?
No, my point was just that the thought that 9/11 was some sort of moral retribution isn't one exclusive to a specific religion. So, while the 36% figure is shocking, it also worries me that we have people of prominence in our own country, Christian leaders, who harbor similar bizarre, outlandish, deranged, and antisocial attitudes.
wendersfan is online now  
Old 05-17-08, 08:08 AM
  #27  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by wendersfan
....it also worries me that we have people of prominence in our own country, Christian leaders, who harbor similar bizarre, outlandish, deranged, and antisocial attitudes.

I think that's a very legitimate worry. The point I'm arguing in all these Islam threads is that the best way for society to minimize that danger is for writers, artists, cartoonists, musicians, academics, politicians, etc. to have the freedom to critically broach these subjects publicly and without fear of legal or violent repercussion. And conversely, if you were to have the state ally itself with the most ideologically conservative Christians, to declare Christianophobia as a dangerous hate-ideology and a major threat to public safety, and to send in police to arrest cartoonists guilty of these crimes, then you'd actually be empowering the more extreme Christians.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 05-31-08, 09:09 AM
  #28  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Here's some selected bits from what I thought was a great piece by the Bishop of Rochester:


Breaking Faith With Britain

MICHAEL NAZIR-AL

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/85

June 2008


The rapid fragmentation of society, the emergence of isolated communities with only tenuous links to their wider context, and the impact of home-grown terrorism have all led even hard-bitten, pragmatist politicians to ask questions about “Britishness”: what is at the core of British identity; how can it be reclaimed, passed on and owned by more and more people?


The answers to these questions cannot be only in terms of the “thin” values, such as respect, tolerance and good behaviour, which are usually served up by those scratching around for something to say. In fact, the answer can only be given after rigorous investigation into the history of nationhood and of the institutions, laws, customs and values which have arisen to sustain and to enhance it. In this connection, as with the rest of Europe, it cannot be gainsaid that the very idea of a unified people under God living in a “golden chain” of social harmony has everything to do with the arrival and flourishing of Christianity in these parts. It is impossible to imagine how else a rabble of mutually hostile tribes, fiefdoms and kingdoms could have become a nation conscious of its identity and able to make an impact on the world. In England, particularly, this consciousness goes back a long way and is reflected, for example, in a national network of care for the poor that was locally based in the parishes and was already in place in the 16th century.

[...]


Sociologists of religion have been telling us that the process of secularisation has been a very long one and, indeed, they locate its origin precisely in the Enlightenment’s rejection of heteronomous authority and its affirmation of autonomy. Historians, on the other hand, point out that faith flourished in industrial Britain in the 19th century and in the first part of the last century. Indeed, it is possible to say that it continued to prosper well into the 1950s. Was it long-term decline, then, or sudden demise? In fact, there are elements of truth in both approaches. It seems to be the case, however, that something momentous happened in the 1960s which has materially altered the scene: Christ*ianity began to be more and more marginal to the “public doctrine” by which the nation ordered itself, and this state of affairs has continued to the present day.


Many reasons have been given for this situation. Callum Brown has argued that it was the cultural revolution of the 1960s which brought Christianity’s role in society to an abrupt and catastrophic end. He notes, particularly, the part played by women in upholding piety and in passing on the faith in the home. It was the loss of this faith and piety among women which caused the steep decline in Christian observance in all sections of society. Peter Mullen and others, similarly, have traced the situation to the student unrest of the 1960s which they claim was inspired by Marxism of one sort or another. The aim was to overturn what I have called the Evangelical-Enlightenment consensus so that revolution might be possible. One of the ingredients in their tactics was to encourage a social and sexual revolution so that a political one would, in due course, come about. Mullen points out that instead of the Churches resisting this phenomenon, liberal theologians and Church leaders all but capitulated to the intellectual and cultural forces of the time.


It is this situation that has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves. While the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place. Happily Marxism, in its various forms, has been shown to be the philosophical, historical and economic nonsense that it always was. But we are now confronted by another equally serious ideo*logy, that of radical Islamism, which also claims to be comprehensive in scope. What resources do we have to face yet another ideological battle?


The scrambling and scratching around of politicians and of elements in the media for “values” which would provide ammunition in this battle are to be seen in this light. As we have seen, however, this is extremely thin gruel and hardly adequate for the task before us. Our investigation has shown us the deep and varied ways in which the beliefs, values and virtues of Great Britain have been formed by the Christian faith. The consequences of the loss of this discourse are there for all to see: the destruction of the family because of the alleged parity of different forms of life together; the loss of a father figure, especially for boys, because the role of fathers is deemed otiose; the abuse of substances (including alcohol); the loss of respect for the human person leading to horrendous and mindless attacks on people; the increasing communications gap between generations and social classes.The list is very long.

Is it possible to restore such discourse to the heart of our common life? Some would say it is not possible. Matters have gone too far in one direction and we cannot retrace our steps. Others would be hostile to the very idea. They have constructed their lives and philosophies around the demise of Christianity as an element in public life, and they would be very inconvenienced if it were to put in an appearance again. It remains the case, however, that many of the beliefs and values which we need to deal with the present situation are rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Are we to receive these as a gift, in our present circumstances, or, once again, turn our backs on them?


In the context of public discussion, and even in the case of legislation, crude utilitarianism, public approbation or revulsion (the so-called yuck factor) or the counting of heads are being found increasingly unsatisfactory, especially when an estimate of the human person is involved. Nor are the “thin” values of respect, decency and fairness enough. We need something more robust. In such situations, we often find overt or covert appeals to transcendental principles enshrined in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.


[...]

One final value which deserves to be mentioned is that of hospitality. It is indeed ironic that Britain had to cope with large numbers of people from other faiths and cultures arriving at exactly the time when there was a catastrophic loss of Christian discourse. Thus Christian hospitality, which should have welcomed the new arrivals on the basis of Britain’s Christian heritage, to which they would be welcome to contribute, was replaced by the newfangled and insecurely founded doctrine of multiculturalism. This offered “tolerance” rather than hospitality, in some cases benign neglect rather than engagement, and an emphasis on cultural and religious distinctiveness rather than integration. As a succession of social commentators — Lord Ouseley, Trevor Phillips and Ted Cantle come to mind — have pointed out, the result has been segregated communities and parallel lives, rather than an awareness of belonging together and a common citizenship which foster integration and respect for fundamental freedoms for all.


It may be worth saying here that integration does not mean assimilation. It is quite possible for people to be engaged with wider society, to be aware of common values, to speak English and to have a sense of citizenship while also maintaining cultural and religious practices in terms of language, food, dress, worship and so on. The example of the Jewish and Huguenot communities, and of many more recent arrivals, gives us hope that integration and distinctiveness are not incommensurable qualities.


While some acknowledge the debt which Britain owes to the *Judaeo-Christian tradition, they claim also that the values derived from it are now free-standing and that they can also be derived from other world-views. As to them being free-standing, the danger, rather, is that we are living on past capital which is showing increasing signs of being exhausted. Values and virtues by which we live require what Bishop Lesslie Newbigin called “plausibility structures” for their continuing credibility. They cannot indefinitely exist in a vacuum.


Nor can we be too sanguine that other world-views or traditions will necessarily produce the same values or put the same emphasis on them. Radical Islamism, for example, will emphasise the solidarity of the umma (worldwide community of the Muslim faithful) against the freedom of the individual. Some will give more importance to public piety — in fasting and feasting, calling to prayer and observing prayer time — than others who may wish to stress the interior aspects of the spiritual. There will be different attitudes to the balance between social institutions and personal freedom, and even on how communities should be governed. Instead of the Christian virtues of humility, service and sacrifice, there may be honour, piety and the importance of “saving face”.


The assumptions and values by which we live have been formed in the crucible of the Christian faith and its aftermath, the Enlightenment. This is the result of a quite specific history, and it is not at all necessary that such beliefs and values should arise in or survive in quite different contexts. To argue for the continuing importance of these is not necessarily to argue for the privileging of any Church. It is quite possible to imagine a situation where there is no established Church, but where Christian discourse remains important for public life. For better or for worse, the United States is a good example of such a situation.



[....]

**************************************************

To me, these two ideas:

While some acknowledge the debt which Britain owes to the Judaeo-Christian tradition, they claim also that the values derived from it are now free-standing and that they can also be derived from other world-views.


vs.

The assumptions and values by which we live have been formed in the crucible of the Christian faith and its aftermath, the Enlightenment. This is the result of a quite specific history, and it is not at all necessary that such beliefs and values should arise in or survive in quite different contexts.


are really the fault line of Western civilization. Certainly in the UK and the rest of Europe, the first statement has triumphed, and is held by virtually all of the people in power---it's the underlying philosophy of the new Europe. In the US, I would say it's more of a 50/50 split between views 1 and 2. I would say this is the fundamental issue for Western civilazation in the 21st century, and Europe is going to be the canary in the coal mine. Time will tell as to which of those views is more astute.

Last edited by Ky-Fi; 05-31-08 at 09:12 AM.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 05-31-08, 10:11 AM
  #29  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Well, I guess I can't keep rolling my eyes at Europe when the Bush administration is doing exactly the same thing:


Agency urges caution with terrorist language


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Government officials should depict terrorists "as the dangerous cult leaders they are" and avoid words that aggrandize them, like "jihadists," "Islamic terrorists," "Islamists" and "holy warriors," the Department of Homeland Security says in a paper released Friday.


A study says Muslims in America prefer the designation "mainstream" over "moderate."

"Words matter," the agency says in the paper, which also suggests avoiding the term "moderate Muslims," a characterization that annoys many Muslims because it implies that they are tepid in the practice of their faith.

"Mainstream," "ordinary" and "traditional" better reflect the broader Muslim American community, it says.

Dan Sutherland, head of the agency's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and author of the paper, said the paper is a recognition that words can help the government achieve its strategic goals.

Sutherland said he is starting to see results, with government officials using the term "mainstream Muslims" in meetings.

Sutherland's nine-page paper says the government should be careful not to demonize all Muslims or the Islamic faith or depict the United States as being at war with Islam.

"The terminology the [government] uses should convey the magnitude of the threat we face, but also avoid inflating the religious bases and glamorous appeal of the extremists' ideology," the paper says.

The paper emphasizes that the recommendations do not constitute official government policy. Instead, they represent guidance from influential Muslim leaders who met with Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff in May 2007 to discuss ways that the Muslim community can help the department prevent the violent radicalization of Muslims.

The paper suggests that government officials may want to avoid using theological terminology altogether.

"Islamic law and terms come with a particular context, which may not always be apparent," the paper says. "It is one thing for a Muslim leader to use a particular term; an American official may simply not have the religious authority to be taken seriously, even when using terms appropriately."

**************

That's a great strategy. If reality conflicts with our world view...well then....let's come up with different words for reality!

Certainly the US is not at war with Islam. And certainly it's only a tiny percentage of Muslims who are actively engaged in violence. But to pretend that there's no religious motivation for the Muslim radicals, and to dismiss the fact that, if not their methods, then at least their goals are shared by millions of people, and that's why they have a lot of popular support and subsequent funding---this is just a panicky, cowardly retreat from reality, and it's endangering our national security. At some point or another we've got to come to grips with the fact that Hamas has a lot of popular support. Hezbollah has a lot of popular support. High percentages of Muslims in Europe want western law replaced with Sharia. Bin Laden is a hero in much of the Muslim world. Liberal western democracies with subsequent liberal values do not exist anywhere there is a Muslim majority.

I most certainly DON'T believe this means we have to be at war with Islam, or view all Muslims as dangerous---but it IS reality, and you have to deal with reality if you're going to prevail in any type of conflict.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 05-31-08, 12:46 PM
  #30  
bhk
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Right of Atilla The Hun
Posts: 19,749
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's a great strategy. If reality conflicts with our world view...well then....let's come up with different words for reality!
But you know, all this talk of "Islam is a religion of peace" after 9/11 by our political leaders, I felt was just propaganda to placate the muslims that weren't radicalized already. As long as the govt. continues killing the radicalized ones and hinders their financing and infiltrates them, it doesn't matter too much. I do agree that for Europe, the political elite actually do believe in political correctness so much that they just can't believe the evidence of their own eyes. At some point there, the people will get fed up and there will be the rise of another Charles Martel and when it happens, it isn't going to be pretty.
bhk is offline  
Old 05-31-08, 02:03 PM
  #31  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 31,009
Received 112 Likes on 84 Posts
Originally Posted by Ky-Fi

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Government officials should depict terrorists "as the dangerous cult leaders they are" and avoid words that aggrandize them, like "jihadists," "Islamic terrorists," "Islamists" and "holy warriors," the Department of Homeland Security says in a paper released Friday.
That's just silly, well except for "Islamists" wich makes me go huh? Makes about as much sense as "Christianists". "Islamic extremists", "Islamic fundamentalists", "Islamic radicals" well yeah.

A study says Muslims in America prefer the designation "mainstream" over "moderate."
Now that makes sense.

Last edited by eXcentris; 05-31-08 at 02:06 PM.
eXcentris is offline  
Old 06-01-08, 10:39 AM
  #32  
bhk
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Right of Atilla The Hun
Posts: 19,749
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's just silly, well except for "Islamists" wich makes me go huh? Makes about as much sense as "Christianists". "Islamic extremists", "Islamic fundamentalists", "Islamic radicals" well yeah.
In the new liberal "Euro-speak" Islamic radicals are to be described as "anti-Islamic radicals."
bhk is offline  
Old 06-06-08, 04:15 PM
  #33  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
And here's another heart-warming tale of Western leftists uniting with fundamentalist Muslims to destroy Western liberal values:


Show Trial

By David Warren

June 05, 2008

The writings of Canada's most talented journalist, Mark Steyn, went on trial in Vancouver on Monday, in a case designed to challenge freedom of the press. It is a show trial, under the arbitrary powers given to Canada's obscene "human rights" commissions, by Section 13 of our Human Rights Act.

I wrote "obscene" advisedly. Before Canada's "human rights" tribunals, a respondent has none of the defences formerly guaranteed in common law. The truth is no defence, reasonable intention is no defence, nor material harmlessness, there are no rules of evidence, no precedents, nor case law of any kind. The commissars running the tribunals need have no legal training, exhibit none, and owe their appointments to networking among leftwing activists.

I wrote "show trial" advisedly, for there has been a 100 percent conviction rate in cases brought to "human rights" tribunals under Section 13.


Take this in:

A group of Islamist fanatics, claiming to speak for every Muslim in Canada, charged Maclean's magazine with "spreading hatred against Muslims" for having printed a lucid and reasonable (if controversial) excerpt from Steyn's bestselling book, America Alone. This is a news story that should be on the front page of every newspaper in Canada, every day until it is resolved.

Everything about this case stinks to high heaven. It was brought before three different "human rights" tribunals simultaneously. The British Columbian venue was openly "jurisdiction shopped" because the province's human rights tribunals have an especially egregious record for ignoring respondents' most basic charter rights. The charges were brought more than a year after the article appeared. There was an open attempt at extortion, when representatives of the complainant called a press conference in which an offer was made to retract the charges for unspecified considerations. And so on: a layering of affronts to the most elementary standards of justice and decency.

The case is the more ludicrous because the allegations brought are semi-literate (for instance, Steyn's quotations of lunatic Islamist imams are confused with Steyn's own assertions). The remedies sought keep changing; the arguments keep changing; the explanation of why the complainant has brought the case and what he hopes to gain from it has kept changing. And now the show trial has begun, the prosecution is presenting a parade of entirely irrelevant testimony. (Has Steyn properly understood the Koran? Etc.)

A farce, but a farce that has huge consequences for Canada: for by such methods free speech and free press are being snuffed out. The Left may think they have found the ideal method to silence anyone who challenges their insane, "politically correct" ideas, but have instead created a monster that can as easily eat them next.

This is a disaster also for Canada's Muslims, for the views of fanatical Islamists are being presented as representative of them all. No single person has done so much to advance contempt for Islam in this country as Mohamed Elmasry, president of the "Canadian Islamic Congress," the complainant in this case -- whose public assertions have included e.g. the view that every Israeli citizen is a valid target for Palestinian hitmen.

The bland acceptance of this jackass, by mainstream Canadian media, as the definitive spokesman for Muslim interests in Canada, cannot be blamed on the Muslim community. Innumerable Muslims have disavowed him, and yet are entirely ignored. Indeed: Mark Steyn has been among the few journalists distinguishing between camps. He would be: for he has plenty of Muslim supporters.

There is some good news. It appears the Harper government has finally been goaded into calling a public inquiry into proceedings of at least the federal "human rights" commission. Some good may come from public confirmation of the outrageous, often sick behaviour of its members and hangers-on -- which Canada's leading bloggers have been documenting.

But the problem is at once more urgent and much broader than any carefully-focused inquiry can present. For what radical activists have achieved through "human rights" commissions is now endemic, in all kinds of "star chamber" and "kangaroo court" operations, in everything from the tax system to provisions of family law.

Another crucial point:

While media attention to Mark Steyn's show trial is inadequate (it is getting more attention in the United States than up here), it is nevertheless the best publicized case ever to come before our "human rights" bureaucracies. Most of the victims of these neo-Maoist tribunals have been "little people," with nothing like the resources Maclean's magazine has put in play to defend itself and Steyn, and no media reporting whatever. They have been persecuted, stripped of their livelihoods and savings, demonized among their neighbours, made to endure humiliating "re-education" programmes -- without lawyers, without assistance of any kind -- all for exercising rights that any Canadian would have taken for granted a mere generation ago.

I want justice for Mark Steyn. But I also want justice for all these little people, who have been crushed under the jackboot of "political correction."

[email protected]
© Ottawa Citizen

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/art...how_trial.html

Last edited by Ky-Fi; 06-06-08 at 04:18 PM.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 06-06-08, 05:46 PM
  #34  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: gloucester, uk
Posts: 2,154
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bhk
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/...t-Arrested.php


Our future in a more "liberal" and politically correct west.
holland isn't a very representative slice of europe you know. it's actually pretty right wing, regardless of the permissive alure given off by the more relaxed drug laws. though trying to group all the nations of europe together under one political banner and label them as some multicultural mass is both pointless and silly.

as to the overall thesis of islam being a dangerous religion (which appears to be the underlying theme being generated by the op) there is certainly some cause for concern with some of the doctrines extolled by the more extreme clerics, and there are issues regarding longterm easy dovetailing between "western" and "islamic" values. But that's a long way from seeing rivers of blood in our future.

look carefully at the actual damage caused by this conflict over the last couple of decades. look at the actual losses, not the hype and fear, or the potential losses. the death rate is actually very low. why would we look to agrandise these pathetic little cult leaders into adversaries genuinely worthy of our fear and attention?
Burnt Thru is offline  
Old 06-06-08, 06:04 PM
  #35  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 33,145
Received 39 Likes on 19 Posts
Originally Posted by Burnt Thru
holland isn't a very representative slice of europe you know. it's actually pretty right wing, regardless of the permissive alure given off by the more relaxed drug laws. though trying to group all the nations of europe together under one political banner and label them as some multicultural mass is both pointless and silly.

[deletia]
It's refreshing to see new viewpoints in this thread (and this subforum).

wendersfan is online now  
Old 06-06-08, 07:31 PM
  #36  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Burnt Thru
look carefully at the actual damage caused by this conflict over the last couple of decades. look at the actual losses, not the hype and fear, or the potential losses. the death rate is actually very low. why would we look to agrandise these pathetic little cult leaders into adversaries genuinely worthy of our fear and attention?
Why? In regards to Europe, I think the big issue is demographics. I think Daniel Pipes gives a pretty good analysis:

Muslim Europe

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
May 11, 2004

"Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam." So declares Oriana Fallaci in her new book, La Forza della Ragione, or, "The Force of Reason." And the famed Italian journalist is right: Christianity's ancient stronghold of Europe is rapidly giving way to Islam.

Two factors mainly contribute to this world-shaking development.

The hollowing out of Christianity. Europe is increasingly a post-Christian society, one with a diminishing connection to its tradition and its historic values. The numbers of believing, observant Christians has collapsed in the past two generations to the point that some observers call it the "new dark continent." Already, analysts estimate Britain's mosques host more worshippers each week than does the Church of England.

An anemic birth rate. Indigenous Europeans are dying out. Sustaining a population requires each woman on average to bear 2.1 children; in the European Union, the overall rate is one-third short, at 1.5 a woman, and falling. One study finds that, should current population trends continue and immigration cease, today's population of 375 million could decline to 275 million by 2075.To keep its working population even, the E.U. needs 1.6 million immigrants a year; to sustain the present workers-to-retirees ratio requires an astonishing 13.5 million immigrants annually.

Into the void are coming Islam and Muslims. As Christianity falters, Islam is robust, assertive, and ambitious. As Europeans underreproduce at advanced ages, Muslims do so in large numbers while young.

Some 5% of the E.U., or nearly 20 million persons, presently identify themselves as Muslims; should current trends continue, that number will reach 10% by 2020. If non-Muslims flee the new Islamic order, as seems likely, the continent could be majority-Muslim within decades.

When that happens, grand cathedrals will appear as vestiges of a prior civilization — at least until a Saudi style regime transforms them into mosques or a Taliban-like regime blows them up. The great national cultures — Italian, French, English, and others — will likely wither, replaced by a new transnational Muslim identity that merges North African, Turkish, subcontinental, and other elements.

This prediction is hardly new. In 1968, the British politician Enoch Powell gave his famed "rivers of blood" speech in which he warned that in allowing excessive immigration, the United Kingdom was "heaping up its own funeral pyre." (Those words stalled a hitherto promising career.) In 1973, the French writer Jean Raspail published Camp of the Saints, a novel that portrays Europe falling to massive, uncontrolled immigration from the Indian subcontinent. The peaceable transformation of a region from one major civilization to another, now under way, has no precedent in human history, making it easy to ignore such voices.

There is still a chance for the transformation not to play itself out, but the prospects diminish with time. Here are several possible ways it might be stopped:

Changes in Europe that lead to a resurgence of Christian faith, an increase in childbearing, or the cultural assimilation of immigrants; such developments can theoretically occur but what would cause them is hard to imagine.

Muslim modernization. For reasons no one has quite figured out (education of women? abortion on demand? adults too self-absorbed to have children?), modernity leads to a drastic reduction in the birth rate. Also, were the Muslim world to modernize, the attraction of moving to Europe would diminish.

Immigration from other sources. Latin Americans, being Christian, would more or less permit Europe to keep its historic identity. Hindus and Chinese would increase the diversity of cultures, making it less likely that Islam would dominate.

Current trends suggest Islamization will happen, for Europeans seem to find it too strenuous to have children, stop illegal immigration, or even diversify their sources of immigrants. Instead, they prefer to settle unhappily into civilizational senility.

Europe has simultaneously reached unprecedented heights of prosperity and peacefulness and shown a unique inability to sustain itself. One demographer, Wolfgang Lutz, notes, "Negative momentum has not been experienced on so large a scale in world history."

Is it inevitable that the most brilliantly successful society also will be the first in danger of collapse due to a lack of cultural confidence and offspring? Ironically, creating a hugely desirable place to live would seem also to be a recipe for suicide. The human comedy continues.

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1796
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 06-06-08, 08:54 PM
  #37  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Where the sky is always Carolina Blue! (Currently VA - again...)
Posts: 5,167
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Burnt Thru
holland isn't a very representative slice of europe you know. it's actually pretty right wing, regardless of the permissive alure given off by the more relaxed drug laws. though trying to group all the nations of europe together under one political banner and label them as some multicultural mass is both pointless and silly.

as to the overall thesis of islam being a dangerous religion (which appears to be the underlying theme being generated by the op) there is certainly some cause for concern with some of the doctrines extolled by the more extreme clerics, and there are issues regarding longterm easy dovetailing between "western" and "islamic" values. But that's a long way from seeing rivers of blood in our future.

look carefully at the actual damage caused by this conflict over the last couple of decades. look at the actual losses, not the hype and fear, or the potential losses. the death rate is actually very low. why would we look to agrandise these pathetic little cult leaders into adversaries genuinely worthy of our fear and attention?
Ummm, if you actually start reading the Koran and accompanying Hadith, commentaries, etc - the "extremists" are actually pretty mainstream. They're just saying out loud to the west what's been (and still is) regularly accepted Islamic beliefs/law/etc. Real "extremists" are the "moderates" [re: heretics] who sound nice on CNN but have no actual pull or respectable weight behind their beliefs according to Islamic tradition - and hence no following.
Tuan Jim is offline  
Old 06-07-08, 07:03 AM
  #38  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: gloucester, uk
Posts: 2,154
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by wendersfan
It's refreshing to see new viewpoints in this thread (and this subforum).
thanks.

Originally Posted by Ky-Fi
Why? In regards to Europe, I think the big issue is demographics. I think Daniel Pipes gives a pretty good analysis:

Muslim Europe


Two factors mainly contribute to this world-shaking development.

The hollowing out of Christianity. Europe is increasingly a post-Christian society, one with a diminishing connection to its tradition and its historic values. The numbers of believing, observant Christians has collapsed in the past two generations to the point that some observers call it the "new dark continent." Already, analysts estimate Britain's mosques host more worshippers each week than does the Church of England.

An anemic birth rate. Indigenous Europeans are dying out. Sustaining a population requires each woman on average to bear 2.1 children; in the European Union, the overall rate is one-third short, at 1.5 a woman, and falling. One study finds that, should current population trends continue and immigration cease, today's population of 375 million could decline to 275 million by 2075.To keep its working population even, the E.U. needs 1.6 million immigrants a year; to sustain the present workers-to-retirees ratio requires an astonishing 13.5 million immigrants annually.
those are interesting points, and certainly factually correct. however, his extrapolation of future trends from current ones seems highly unlikely, as does his interpretation of these facts.

the first point, that most european (not greece) nations are no longer particularly christian, is certainly true. church attendance has plummeted over the last few decades, as people have exchanged the traditional opiate of the masses for tv, sport, and alcohol. the church has lost it's power to institute it's superstitions into the lives of many europeans. quite how this is a good or bad thing is not entirely clear. certainly morality is not a quality which is imposed from without, but a character trait found within, and as such does not depend upon an overseeing religeous authority. tradition, culture, and shared values can and do exist seperately from a religeous framework. i suspect that this spliting of secular morality and values from religeous values is exactly what confuses some external religously motivated observers. far from being a "dark continent" many here would, i suspect, consider other more religeous nations of being a little backward in still clinging to their enabling doctrines.

the second factoid, that of birth rates, is also not necessarily a problem along the lines that the author supposes. european nations have nearly always enjoyed a heavy influx of imigrant labour (as has the us, incidentally). back around the turn of the pervious century it was russian immigrants who were portrayed in the tabloids as the encroaching evil. in the '50's it was the turn of black imigrants from the caribean. more recently we are told that romanian gypsies and albanians are going to swamp us if they maintain their current level of influx. the only problem is that these influxes never last. there are good reasons behind that, which have to do with equilibrium possitions regarding job allocation, community tollerance, and financial incentive. this is along the same lines as believing that the world will starve to death if it continues to grow at it's current rate. it won't. there will be a ballence at a certain level where the level of food can no longer sustain more people and growth will level off. the same sorts of leveling off have always happened with imigrant influxes, from jews to blacks to chinese to indians. what makes anyone suspect it will be different this time?

Originally Posted by Tuan Jim
Ummm, if you actually start reading the Koran and accompanying Hadith, commentaries, etc - the "extremists" are actually pretty mainstream. They're just saying out loud to the west what's been (and still is) regularly accepted Islamic beliefs/law/etc. Real "extremists" are the "moderates" [re: heretics] who sound nice on CNN but have no actual pull or respectable weight behind their beliefs according to Islamic tradition - and hence no following.
the koran and the bible are both replete with inconsistencies, and are open to the interpretation of the individual using them. in other words, you can pick and chose the passages to support the possition you are looking to adopt. the bible (particularly old testament) is far more extreme than many seem to be aware.
Burnt Thru is offline  
Old 06-07-08, 08:15 AM
  #39  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Burnt Thru


those are interesting points, and certainly factually correct. however, his extrapolation of future trends from current ones seems highly unlikely, as does his interpretation of these facts.

the first point, that most european (not greece) nations are no longer particularly christian, is certainly true. church attendance has plummeted over the last few decades, as people have exchanged the traditional opiate of the masses for tv, sport, and alcohol. the church has lost it's power to institute it's superstitions into the lives of many europeans. quite how this is a good or bad thing is not entirely clear. certainly morality is not a quality which is imposed from without, but a character trait found within, and as such does not depend upon an overseeing religeous authority. tradition, culture, and shared values can and do exist seperately from a religeous framework. i suspect that this spliting of secular morality and values from religeous values is exactly what confuses some external religously motivated observers. far from being a "dark continent" many here would, i suspect, consider other more religeous nations of being a little backward in still clinging to their enabling doctrines.
Back in post #28 I posted the Bishop of Rochester's piece on this very subject. I see your point, but as I said, I think this issue is really a major fault line in the West. I'm on the side of the Bishop, as I agree with his belief that the Western liberal values that we take for granted grew out of a SPECIFIC cultural history of Christianity and the Enlightenment, and that it's very questionable to assume that these values should arise, or survive, in a different cultural context.


Originally Posted by Burnt Thru
the second factoid, that of birth rates, is also not necessarily a problem along the lines that the author supposes. european nations have nearly always enjoyed a heavy influx of imigrant labour (as has the us, incidentally). back around the turn of the pervious century it was russian immigrants who were portrayed in the tabloids as the encroaching evil. in the '50's it was the turn of black imigrants from the caribean. more recently we are told that romanian gypsies and albanians are going to swamp us if they maintain their current level of influx. the only problem is that these influxes never last. there are good reasons behind that, which have to do with equilibrium possitions regarding job allocation, community tollerance, and financial incentive. this is along the same lines as believing that the world will starve to death if it continues to grow at it's current rate. it won't. there will be a ballence at a certain level where the level of food can no longer sustain more people and growth will level off. the same sorts of leveling off have always happened with imigrant influxes, from jews to blacks to chinese to indians. what makes anyone suspect it will be different this time?
I agree with you that (in most Western countries) there's always been an alarmist/racist/xenophobic strain that has demonized "the other" when it came to immigration. But all that means is that those arguments were not in accord with the facts at the time. But what the ideological left has done is to go way overboard in the other direction and instead now posit that it's IMPOSSIBLE that immigration could drastically change a society for the worse. The numbers now are not comparable with European immigrants of the past. Some of the largest cities in the Netherlands are set to become MAJORITY Muslim in the next couple decades. That's not a flux that's going to abate---that's permanent population replacement. And cities like Malmo and Marseille are not far behind. The numbers now are overwhelming:

In Le Figaro daily dated Feb 1, 2002, Lucienne Bui Trong, a criminologist working for the French government's Renseignements Generaux (General Intelligence — a mix of FBI and secret service), complains that the survey system she had created for accurately denumbering the Muslim no-go zones was dismantled by the government. She wrote: 'From 106 hot points in 1991, we went to 818 sensitive areas in 1999. That's for the whole country. These data were not politically correct.' Since she comes from a Vietnamese background, Ms. Bui Trong cannot be suspected of racism, of course, otherwise she wouldn't have been able to start this survey in the first place.

The term she uses, 'sensitive area,' is the PC euphemism for these places where anything representing a Western institution (post office truck, firemen, even mail order delivery firms, and of course cops) is routinely ambushed with Molotov cocktails, and where war weapons imported from the Muslim part of Yugoslavia are routinely found.

The number 818 is from 2002. I'd go out on a limb and venture that it hasn't decreased in two years.


http://www.nationalreview.com/derbys...0409300813.asp

*************

I look at Europe like this---in the US, we've had huge problems living fairly and peacefully with our black population. We've had slavery, a civil war with hundreds of thousands killed, segregation, discrimination, civil rights protests, federal troops involved, violence, debates, assassinations, sweeping legislation, etc. And, we still have problems, even if we've made progress. And blacks and whites in the US spoke the same language, followed the same religion, and the demographic balances were largely stable---and the vast majority of blacks fully accepted the legitimacy of US legal and constitutional system (they didn't have an alternate African value system that they preferred)---they just wanted to integrate into the US system and and be treated fairly within it. NONE of that is true in regards to the relationship of Europe and it's Muslim population. So, IMO, the idea that it will all "just work out" in Europe is dangerously wishful thinking. I don't think Europe has faced anything like this before.

Originally Posted by Burnt Thru
the koran and the bible are both replete with inconsistencies, and are open to the interpretation of the individual using them. in other words, you can pick and chose the passages to support the possition you are looking to adopt. the bible (particularly old testament) is far more extreme than many seem to be aware.
This is a common argument, but one that really doesn't have any legs. Sure, I could read the Bible and say "Everyone's interpreting it wrong. I declare myself a REAL Catholic priest, and I'm starting a church where we will enforce Leviticus literally!". I'm guessing that I won't have a lot of people leaving the established Catholic church to follow me. Religions don't just consist of someone reading the holy texts and coming up with their own interpretation. They come from centuries-old tradition of exegesis, scholarship, debate and consensus by the authorities and communities in the religion to interpret the texts. Now I'm not Catholic, but the Catholic church represents over half of the world's Christians. The book of Leviticus stipulates all kinds of things like executing gays and adulterers, etc. Now, the Catholic church officially opposes the death penalty, not just for these offenses, but for ALL offenses. And many protestant churches are more liberal than that.

If your analogy between the Bible and the Koran is indeed legitimate, then surely you won't have any problem pointing me to a similar branch of Islam that has a comparable level of popularity as the Catholic church, and which demands a similarly liberal reading of the Koran?
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 06-07-08, 02:34 PM
  #40  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 9,673
Received 21 Likes on 11 Posts
Originally Posted by Ky-Fi
This is a common argument, but one that really doesn't have any legs. Sure, I could read the Bible and say "Everyone's interpreting it wrong. I declare myself a REAL Catholic priest, and I'm starting a church where we will enforce Leviticus literally!". I'm guessing that I won't have a lot of people leaving the established Catholic church to follow me. Religions don't just consist of someone reading the holy texts and coming up with their own interpretation. They come from centuries-old tradition of exegesis, scholarship, debate and consensus by the authorities and communities in the religion to interpret the texts. Now I'm not Catholic, but the Catholic church represents over half of the world's Christians. The book of Leviticus stipulates all kinds of things like executing gays and adulterers, etc. Now, the Catholic church officially opposes the death penalty, not just for these offenses, but for ALL offenses. And many protestant churches are more liberal than that.
Great post.

I've not read the Koran, but it is my understanding that it is not written in story-form like the Bible. Also I was under the impression the peaceful-sounding passages are from an earlier time before Mohammad's revelations where rejected, later on the Koran becomes more militant and combative. Is that somewhat accurate?
Artman is offline  
Old 06-07-08, 02:54 PM
  #41  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Artman
Great post.

I've not read the Koran, but it is my understanding that it is not written in story-form like the Bible. Also I was under the impression the peaceful-sounding passages are from an earlier time before Mohammad's revelations where rejected, later on the Koran becomes more militant and combative. Is that somewhat accurate?
I'm not an expert, but I believe that is accurate. Here's a good scholarly piece that goes into that a bit, and outlines the difficulty that Islamic reformers have faced:

http://www.meforum.org/article/1000
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 06-07-08, 07:42 PM
  #42  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 31,009
Received 112 Likes on 84 Posts
Originally Posted by Burnt Thru
...though trying to group all the nations of europe together under one political banner and label them as some multicultural mass is both pointless and silly.
Good luck with that one on this forum, I've been saying that for years.

-----------------------------------

"The writings of Canada's most talented journalist, Mark Steyn..."
Thanks to whoever wrote that article for saving me the time because that's where I stopped reading.

-----------------------------------

Also, Pipes makes relevant points, but as our friend from the UK reminded us, this can't be applied across Europe with a broad brush implying that said Europe is a monolithic block. Furthermore, that analysis is now a tad outdated. For example, since that article was written, several European nations have seen their birth rates steadily rise, and parts of Europe are actually becoming MORE religious (and I don't mean Islam ), not less.

Last edited by eXcentris; 06-08-08 at 01:43 AM.
eXcentris is offline  
Old 06-07-08, 08:07 PM
  #43  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 31,009
Received 112 Likes on 84 Posts
Originally Posted by Ky-Fi
In Le Figaro daily dated Feb 1, 2002, Lucienne Bui Trong, a criminologist working for the French government's Renseignements Generaux (General Intelligence — a mix of FBI and secret service), complains that the survey system she had created for accurately denumbering the Muslim no-go zones was dismantled by the government. She wrote: 'From 106 hot points in 1991, we went to 818 sensitive areas in 1999. That's for the whole country. These data were not politically correct.' Since she comes from a Vietnamese background, Ms. Bui Trong cannot be suspected of racism, of course, otherwise she wouldn't have been able to start this survey in the first place.

The term she uses, 'sensitive area,' is the PC euphemism for these places where anything representing a Western institution (post office truck, firemen, even mail order delivery firms, and of course cops) is routinely ambushed with Molotov cocktails, and where war weapons imported from the Muslim part of Yugoslavia are routinely found.

The number 818 is from 2002. I'd go out on a limb and venture that it hasn't decreased in two years.


http://www.nationalreview.com/derbys...0409300813.asp
The reason her survey system was dismantled is because her methodology was crap. For example, according to her "grid", a bunch of Arabs gathering in a stairway constituted a "sensitive area". She also admitted that the police was (directly or indirectly) responsible for one third of the 341 riots compiled by her services between 1991 and 2000. She wrote a book on this subject. It's interesting in terms of it's insight into police procedures but most analysts have concluded that her methodology and the conclusions she draws are severely flawed. Furthermore, and again, Arab violence in France has invariably little to do with religion.

Bad example.
eXcentris is offline  
Old 06-08-08, 11:37 AM
  #44  
bhk
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Right of Atilla The Hun
Posts: 19,749
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Artman
Great post.

I've not read the Koran, but it is my understanding that it is not written in story-form like the Bible. Also I was under the impression the peaceful-sounding passages are from an earlier time before Mohammad's revelations where rejected, later on the Koran becomes more militant and combative. Is that somewhat accurate?
Fairly accurate. And many of the Hadiths are supposedly taken from Muhammed himself "verbatim". Therefore as he is viewed as infallible, there is no real "wiggle" room as far as interpretation of them.
bhk is offline  
Old 06-08-08, 01:21 PM
  #45  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by eXcentris
The reason her survey system was dismantled is because her methodology was crap. For example, according to her "grid", a bunch of Arabs gathering in a stairway constituted a "sensitive area". She also admitted that the police was (directly or indirectly) responsible for one third of the 341 riots compiled by her services between 1991 and 2000. She wrote a book on this subject. It's interesting in terms of it's insight into police procedures but most analysts have concluded that her methodology and the conclusions she draws are severely flawed. Furthermore, and again, Arab violence in France has invariably little to do with religion.

Bad example.
Be that as it may, I think the point still stands that there are ZUS's in France, and there's a good deal more now than there was 15 or 20 years ago.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 06-08-08, 01:39 PM
  #46  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by eXcentris
Also, Pipes makes relevant points, but as our friend from the UK reminded us, this can't be applied across Europe with a broad brush implying that said Europe is a monolithic block.
I would say that most of the countries in Western Europe share native birthrates that are below replacement levels, and large numbers of Muslim immigrants who have significantly higher birthrates and aren't integrating particularly well into the native culture. No, I don't hold that Europe is a monolithic bloc--I know Pipes has said that France is in better shape than other European countries given its strong sense of national identity. But the fact that different countries are approaching things differently butresses my point as to the scope of the problem. Even given the differences between the multicultural approach of the Netherlands and the UK, or the very different approach of France---none of them are working very well in regards to integration of the Muslim populations. So that suggests that it's not just one country with a dumb policy that can be easily changed to fix things.

Originally Posted by eXcentris
Furthermore, that analysis is now a tad outdated. For example, since that article was written, several European nations have seen their birth rates steadily rise, and parts of Europe are actually becoming MORE religious (and I don't mean Islam ), not less.
True, and some countries are tightening their immigration laws, as well. But yeah, there will definitely be a response to this issue on the part of the native Europeans. Whether that will involve them having more children and becoming more relgious, or coming up more forceful democratic means of integrating Muslims and asserting Western liberal values, or adopting Islamic values to "get along", or turning to violent, racist far-right movements....only time will tell.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 09:15 PM
  #47  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Where the sky is always Carolina Blue! (Currently VA - again...)
Posts: 5,167
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This thread's as good a place as any for this I figure.

Very funny clip.

<object width="450" height="370"><param name="movie" value="http://www.liveleak.com/e/946_1213470762"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.liveleak.com/e/946_1213470762" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="450" height="370"></embed></object>
Tuan Jim is offline  
Old 06-16-08, 04:56 PM
  #48  
bhk
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Right of Atilla The Hun
Posts: 19,749
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles...2-012044A95444

Free Speech on Trial
By Jacob Laksin
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, June 16, 2008

Earlier this month, the columnist Mark Steyn went on trial for being mean. Steyn’s offense was to have published, in the fall of 2006, an excerpt from his book, America Alone, in the Canadian newsweekly Maclean’s. In it, Steyn advanced the provocative but by no means untenable argument that plunging birthrates in Europe would precipitate a demographic decline, forcing Continental countries to reach an “accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots.” Europe’s future, Steyn suggested, “belongs to Islam.”

Islamic radicals, one might think, would be heartened by the backhanded vote of confidence. Instead, led by a group called the Canadian Islamic Congress, they elected to take offense. Had they limited their remonstration to an angrily worded letter to the editor or a rebuttal in another magazine, they would have been unobjectionably within their rights. But several of the group’s more aggrieved members decided to press things further. First, they demanded that Maclean’s publish an equal-length rejoinder to Steyn’s article – a crude attempt to dictate content no independent publication would accept. Failing to hijack the magazine’s pages, Steyn’s disgruntled detractors did the next best thing: they took the author and the publication to court.

The resulting case brings into bold relief the outsize power that political correctness and its more ardent executors wield in Canada. In the United States, a suit purporting to seek justice for a perceived slight involving nothing more than a difference of opinion would be laughed out the docket. But tolerance for legal frivolity seems to increase above the 49th parallel. A subsection of Canada's Human Rights Act defines hate speech as speech “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” By that impossibly opaque standard, Steyn’s article – or, indeed, any article – could theoretically be considered hate speech. In practice, as well, that has been the case. The Canadian Human Rights Commission, which enforces the act, has a record of conviction that recalls the awful efficiency of Soviet courts: In over three decades of existence, the commission has yet to find someone innocent.

Undoubtedly mindful of the fact, the Canadian Islamic Congress turned to the Human Rights Commission to adjudicate its case against Maclean’s. Shopping around for a friendly forum, the group initially took up their complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. They met with partial success. Although the commission declined to hear the CIC’s complaint, it did so on narrowly technical grounds. And, lest anyone doubt what the verdict would have been, the commission issued a censorious ruling effectively finding in the CIC’s favor. Reproaching both Steyn and Maclean’s, the commission wrote that it “strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims” they had supposedly published. Never mind that neither Steyn not Maclean’s were afforded the opportunity to contest the charges against them. In the commission’s crypto-totalitarian calculus, Steyn’s article had offended someone. Ergo: hate crime.

Even more fulsomely accommodating was the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, the complainants’ next choice of venue. Between June 2 and June 6, the tribunal heard the case against Steyn and Maclean’s. In keeping with historical precedent, one might have expected the “trial” to be farce on a grand scale. According to those in the audience, it was that and more.

“You didn’t have to be a lawyer to see how it ridiculous it was,” says Ezra Levant, who attended the tribunal. Levant is no stranger to such proceedings. A former publisher of Canada’s Western Standard magazine, he was hauled before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for publishing the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Even so, Levant was shocked by what he saw at the recent hearing.

Most striking, Levant said, was the incompetence of the tribunal’s three judges. “You had a room full of professionals – the two top lawyers in the country [for the defense], journalists, including from the New York Times – presided over by three crackpots,” Levant recalled. “It was a weird juxtaposition between people living in the real world and a kangaroo court with three radical, Marxist clowns.”

Just how about was it? Levant noted that on one occasion, the accusers produced blog posts – some from the U.S., some from Belgium, and none written by Steyn – that they submitted as incriminating evidence. It is a commentary on the benthic standards of such tribunals that some of this “evidence” literally had been printed out the day before. “There are so many reasons why that evidence would be inadmissible,” Levant, himself a lawyer, observes. “But the tribunal said, ‘Sure, we’ll look at it.’ None of the judges knew how to run a trial.”

If the judges were inept, the prosecution was scarcely more competent. Attempting to prove Steyn’s “Islamophobic” views, the prosecution’s lawyers summoned Andrew Rippin, an expert on Islam and a professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. At issue was Steyn’s use of the word “Mohammedan” to describe Muslims. The prosecution charged that this was insulting, possibly even hateful. Only, their star witness disagreed. Professor Rippin pointed out that just as Christians adopted the name of Christ, Muslims in various parts of the world referred to themselves as followers of the prophet Mohammed. “The prosecution was so stupid that their own expert witness made the case for Steyn,” Levant says.

Similarly wince-inducing moments were a regular feature of the five-day hearing. All the more so if one happened to be a supporter of free speech. One such moment came when Faisal Joseph, the lawyer for the complainants, accused Steyn of failing to provide alternative points of view in his article. In a trial about hate speech, it was the equivalent of saying that all journalism that didn’t meet Joseph’s specifications was punishable as hate. Equally revealing was a comment from Dean Steacy, an investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. When asked what value he gives to free speech in his investigations, Steacy breezily dismissed the question. “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value,” he said.

With the tribunal thus revealed as a travesty of justice, Steyn and Maclean’s wisely decided to focus their attention on the absurdity of the proceedings. Maclean’s lawyers refused to provide any witnesses. Meanwhile, Steyn said that he would be happy to loose, if only to demonstrate how far the Human Rights Commission had gone in trampling on freedom of speech and the liberty of the press in Canada. As he put it to one interviewer: “We want to lose so we can take it to a real court and if necessary up to the Supreme Court of Canada and we can get the ancient liberties of free-born Canadian citizens that have been taken away from them by tribunals like this.”

Supporters applaud that strategy. “Six months ago it would have been unrealistic for any politician to tackle the human rights commission. It would have been like going after apple pie,” says Ezra Levant. “But a year from now, their reputation will be so tarnished that politicians can act. The first step to reform is to publicize its insanity.” In that sense, it may be said that even if Steyn and Maclean’s lose, Canadians have already won.
I have to laugh at the prosecution's star witness disagreeing with the prosecution.
bhk is offline  
Old 06-16-08, 05:21 PM
  #49  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 27
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Replace the word muslim with the word jew and you most people would have a hard time telling the difference between some of the positions here with those of the nazis
frezzi is offline  
Old 06-16-08, 06:30 PM
  #50  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
The scary thing is how many people in the West DON'T really support the idea of free speech, and are quite sympathetic to the idea of banning politically incorrect speech:

Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech


By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: June 12, 2008

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.


The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will soon rule on whether the cover story of the October 23, 2006, issue of Maclean’s magazine violated a provincial hate speech law.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their “dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean’s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

“It’s hate speech!” yelled one man.

“It’s free speech!” yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence.

The Maclean’s article, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called “America Alone” (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

“In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one’s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,” Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called “The Exceptional First Amendment.”

“But in the United States,” Professor Schauer continued, “all such speech remains constitutionally protected.”

Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.

By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.

Six years later, a state court judge in New York dismissed a libel case brought by several Puerto Rican groups against a business executive who had called food stamps “basically a Puerto Rican program.” The First Amendment, Justice Eve M. Preminger wrote, does not allow even false statements about racial or ethnic groups to be suppressed or punished just because they may increase “the general level of prejudice.”

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

“It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,” Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, “when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”

Professor Waldron was reviewing “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment” by Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist. Mr. Lewis has been critical of efforts to use the law to limit hate speech.

But even Mr. Lewis, a liberal, wrote in his book that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections “in an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.” In particular, he called for a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s insistence that there is only one justification for making incitement a criminal offense: the likelihood of imminent violence.

The imminence requirement sets a high hurdle. Mere advocacy of violence, terrorism or the overthrow of the government is not enough; the words must be meant to and be likely to produce violence or lawlessness right away. A fiery speech urging an angry mob to immediately assault a black man in its midst probably qualifies as incitement under the First Amendment. A magazine article — or any publication — intended to stir up racial hatred surely does not.

Mr. Lewis wrote that there was “genuinely dangerous” speech that did not meet the imminence requirement.

“I think we should be able to punish speech that urges terrorist violence to an audience, some of whose members are ready to act on the urging,” Mr. Lewis wrote. “That is imminence enough.”

Harvey A. Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer in Cambridge, Mass., disagreed. “When times are tough,” he said, “there seems to be a tendency to say there is too much freedom.”

“Free speech matters because it works,” Mr. Silverglate continued. Scrutiny and debate are more effective ways of combating hate speech than censorship, he said, and all the more so in the post-Sept. 11 era.

“The world didn’t suffer because too many people read ‘Mein Kampf,’ ” Mr. Silverglate said. “Sending Hitler on a speaking tour of the United States would have been quite a good idea.”

Mr. Silverglate seemed to be echoing the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., whose 1919 dissent in Abrams v. United States eventually formed the basis for modern First Amendment law.

“The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market,” Justice Holmes wrote.

“I think that we should be eternally vigilant,” he added, “against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death.”


The First Amendment is not, of course, absolute. The Supreme Court has said that the government may ban fighting words or threats. Punishments may be enhanced for violent crimes prompted by racial hatred. And private institutions, including universities and employers, are not subject to the First Amendment, which restricts only government activities.

But merely saying hateful things about minorities, even with the intent to cause their members distress and to generate contempt and loathing, is protected by the First Amendment.

In 1969, for instance, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of a leader of a Ku Klux Klan group under an Ohio statute that banned the advocacy of terrorism. The Klan leader, Clarence Brandenburg, had urged his followers at a rally to “send the Jews back to Israel,” to “bury” blacks, though he did not call them that, and to consider “revengeance” against politicians and judges who were unsympathetic to whites.

Only Klan members and journalists were present. Because Mr. Brandenburg’s words fell short of calling for immediate violence in a setting where such violence was likely, the Supreme Court ruled that he could not be prosecuted for incitement.

In his opening statement in the Canadian magazine case, a lawyer representing the Muslim plaintiffs aggrieved by the Maclean’s article pleaded with a three-member panel of the tribunal to declare that the article subjected his clients to “hatred and ridicule” and to force the magazine to publish a response.

“You are the only thing between racist, hateful, contemptuous Islamophobic and irresponsible journalism, and law-abiding Canadian citizens,” the lawyer, Faisal Joseph, told the tribunal.

In response, the lawyer for Maclean’s, Roger D. McConchie, all but called the proceeding a sham.

“Innocent intent is not a defense,” Mr. McConchie said in a bitter criticism of the British Columbia law on hate speech. “Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense.”


Jason Gratl, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Journalists, which have intervened in the case in support of the magazine, was measured in his criticism of the law.

“Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech,” Mr. Gratl said in a telephone interview. “We don’t subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.”

Many foreign courts have respectfully considered the American approach — and then rejected it.

A 1990 decision from the Canadian Supreme Court, for instance, upheld the criminal conviction of James Keegstra for “unlawfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group by communicating anti-Semitic statements.” Mr. Keegstra, a teacher, had told his students that Jews were “money loving,” “power hungry” and “treacherous.”

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Brian Dickson said there was an issue “crucial to the disposition of this appeal: the relationship between Canadian and American approaches to the constitutional protection of free expression, most notably in the realm of hate propaganda.”

Chief Justice Dickson said “there is much to be learned from First Amendment jurisprudence.” But he concluded that “the international commitment to eradicate hate propaganda and, most importantly, the special role given equality and multiculturalism in the Canadian Constitution necessitate a departure from the view, reasonably prevalent in America at present, that the suppression of hate propaganda is incompatible with the guarantee of free expression.”

The United States’ distinctive approach to free speech, legal scholars say, has many causes. It is partly rooted in an individualistic view of the world. Fear of allowing the government to decide what speech is acceptable plays a role. So does history.

“It would be really hard to criticize Israel, Austria, Germany and South Africa, given their histories,” for laws banning hate speech, Professor Schauer said in an interview.

In Canada, however, laws banning hate speech seem to stem from a desire to promote societal harmony. While the Ontario Human Rights Commission dismissed a complaint against Maclean’s, it still condemned the article.

“In Canada, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute, nor should it be,” the commission’s statement said. “By portraying Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics, including being a threat to ‘the West,’ this explicit expression of Islamophobia further perpetuates and promotes prejudice toward Muslims and others.”

A separate federal complaint against Maclean’s is pending.

Mr. Steyn, the author of the article, said the Canadian proceedings had illustrated some important distinctions. “The problem with so-called hate speech laws is that they’re not about facts,” he said in a telephone interview. “They’re about feelings.”

“What we’re learning here is really the bedrock difference between the United States and the countries that are in a broad sense its legal cousins,” Mr. Steyn added. “Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/12/us...pagewanted=all
Ky-Fi is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.