Unanswered questions

After yesterday’s programme Viola’s comment on the blog (“I would have liked to hear someone actually answer a question instead of simply expounding on a position.”) has me thinking. I can only agree with Viola – certainly it wasn’t as much of a conversation as we’d hoped, but some questions did get answered. But are there more? Did we get into the current situation enough? Did Egypt get too easy a ride? Does it in general?

There are of course other stories around: John Hogan has been found not guilty of murder after throwing his son off a balcony – should insanity excuse taking a life?

A Dutch politician has declared that his country is “governed by fear of Islam” after he delayed the screening of his film attacking the Islamic faith. Does your country feel like that?

In (slightly) related Islamic news, rejected for a government-backed award after judges became concerned it would offend Muslims.

In Afghanistan, a student journalist has been sentenced to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that allegedly blasphemed Islam. I have no question here, except maybe “are you surprised?” It doesn’t feel shocking to me, sadly.

Another story (this one getting a lot more coverage) is the 4.9bn euro fraud at Societe Generale. It’s an awful lot of money – and I am surprised that a bank could be so careless – but who is affected? I can’t imagine it’s good news for the credit crunch in the banking sector in general.

And to finish, a few slow-burners: First the discussion about Iran and sanctions started by Akbar on the blog a few days ago – it’s making pretty interesting reading. Second, the politics of power supplies – is energy the ultimate currency in international relations? Israel shut down Gaza’s power station (but continued to supply electricity from Israel; Russia has tightened its control of Europe’s gas supplies;

9 Responses to “Unanswered questions”

  1. 1 George
    January 24, 2008 at 11:26

    1. Unanswered questions-

    Perhaps it is a start.

    Speaking directly causes people to think about their discussion, it may lead to more people thinking critically about the issue with reason.

    2. Should insanity be an excuse for taking a life?

    No. And that applies to terrorists as well.

    3. Walking on egg shells for Islam-

    The Dutch fear of a film and death sentence for a Journalist fit together.

    Islam is playing the Bully in the world today.

    If Islam is going to threaten every person on earth with death if we do not become Muslim,

    It is incompatible with life.

    No one can be nice to a bully.

    4. Lost 5 billion?

    No sweat, our officials in the USA do it all the time.

    Steal a candy bar- you go to jail.

    Steal a billion- you are above the law.

    5. Akbar’s discussion is “A Christmas Carole”.

    Like the Charles Dickens story, dire warnings to change your ways are offered.

    Every Iranian should read his discussion.

    Read Akbar’s discussion, read the Dickens story, draw your conclusion.

  2. January 24, 2008 at 12:12

    Any one who respect and love his/her religion , would not even need to think of why Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh was sentenced to prison.He should be imprisoned for life,minimumly that is more than being a terrorist to your own people and belief, what if your hard a journalist or any other person in Rome passing a message claiming that “the Pop is the most insane character humanity has ever experieced” you you will stories of that man missin , you won’t even read it in papers just a street talk in Italy.We must start learning on how to say “You are this and that to the right persons”

  3. 3 steve
    January 24, 2008 at 12:35


    Interesting read. I also heard on NPR, that 40% of British muslims want Sharia in the UK. Maybe you’ll be able to transport your breweries to the US or Canada before this happens.

  4. 4 Brett
    January 24, 2008 at 12:46

    2. Should insanity be an excuse for taking a life?
    -I will agree with George on this one… Absolutely not.

    3. governed by the fear of Islam –
    – Again, I agree with George. While many Islamists are peaceful, a small minority are not, just as with almost any religion. I find it appalling though that a court would still sentance someone to death in the name of religion. That is playing God’s role and therefore direct blasphemy in the name of your ‘God’. But what can you expect? Organized religions have been killing people in the name of God since the begining of time. All of the death as a result of religion or with relgion as an excuse makes me sick!

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  5. 5 John D. Anthony
    January 24, 2008 at 13:18

    I’d say there were more unasked questions than unanswered ones, things like, “What do think you both have in common?” or “If you were in that person’s position what do you think would be fair?”. What we got was a pit fight.

    Insanity as a defense would be a good topic.

    Let’s chill on the “fear of Islam” thing for a while, okay? It doesn’t help.

  6. 6 VictorK
    January 24, 2008 at 14:07

    How muslims choose to run a muslim country is nobody’s concern but theirs. If they want to execute someone for blasphemy that’s absolutely fine with me. I may regard it as a barbaric, primitive and excessive response, but so what? Muslims are sovereign in their lands and are entitled to treat each other badly (and non-muslims worse). Let the Afghans get on with it. In passing: a person would have to be supremely naive and abysmally ignorant, and to have spent the last 20 years in a Rip Van Winkle-like sleep to be surprised or shocked by the proposed execution. What else do we expect from Islam, kindness and tolerance?

    I take a very different view when it comes to the activities of muslims in non-musdlim countries. The Dutch story was representative for the entire Western world. The reason for this general fear of offending Islam is not because muslims are bullies (they are, but they must be the weakest and most insignificant bullies in the history of bullying) but because the leadership in every major Western country is uniformly spineless (you’d think they were all conforming to some diktat from Brussels). Here in Britain experience has taught those who are not blind and deaf that our muslim population is largely unassimilable, has almost no attachment or loyalty to the country, is generally hostile to British values, will to a man (the women don’t really count) side with any muslim country that’s in conflict with Britain, regardless of the reasons for the conflict, sympathises with and are apologists for muslim terrorists, and will only be happy when they see Britain completely sharia-ised. And yet who would guess any of this if they were to believe what our political leaderrs have to say about the matter: Islam is a religion of peace; unlike the unicorn, moderate muslims really do exist and will win the day, muslims are really just like anybody else and no one ought to go in fear of them, etc. It took the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq to speak the truth after he visited a mosque in the north of England. He came away from his vist horrified. Here is a man who needs no lessons about extremists. He knows one when he sees one and he knows that they have to be dealt with before they shed innocent blood. His view was that Britain’s muslims were some of the most extreme he’d ever come across and many of the statements he heard from them would be illegal back in Iraq! No mainstream British politician has ever said anything like this or would dare to say it, even though it is nothing more than the plain truth. Yet when the leader of a fringe rightist party expressed similarl sentiments about muslims and Islam he became the victim of a politically-driven show trial in which our heavily politicised police force anticipated the wishes of their masters in government, and tried (unsuccessfully) to imprison a man for the crime of using free speech to speak the truth..

    I would love to hear a discussion on the super-indulgent attitude towards muslims and towards Islam and the violence and terror it inspires by Western governments. It’s an issue worth addressing, I think, because the gap between the government and the governed on this subject is dangerously wide and continues to widen.

  7. 7 steve
    January 24, 2008 at 14:23

    John D. Anthony:


    I’m sure ignoring a problem will comfort the civilians targetted in the UK by insane religious fanatics. Will you volunteer to apologize?

  8. 8 Jon
    January 24, 2008 at 19:23

    Western nations are definitely influenced by the fear of Islam. Any Western discussion, within academic circles, regarding how to peacefully coexist with Muslim nations is unaccountably dismissive of the role of Islam in the process of integration. Islam is the root of the West’s dillema with the muslim world whether the West acknowledges this reality or not.

    Islam creates fear in two ways: First, the radical expression of muslim beliefs through acts of unaccountable violence raises general concerns over security. Second, the fact that radical Muslim factions use western tolerance as a strategic asset in their assault on the west makes western societies leary of Islam in any form. The confluence of these two concerns has a paralyzing effect on the development of coherent policy to address Islamic extremism. The west does not want to fight against a religion but the challenge of respecting religious affiliation while maintaining security in the face of religious extremism is a fundamental dillema for Western society.

    The extreme acts of violence are the only source of moral authority the west needs to engage radical Muslim factions while maintaining our own commitment to tolerance.Thus, the only way the West can balance religious tolerance and security issues is to fight a reactive war against extremist elements. This is an uncomfortable place to be as a culture, but discomfort can quickly become real danger if the West allows itself to be paralyzed by its own, assailed virtue.

  9. 9 HR
    March 14, 2008 at 09:39

    Greetings from me to all, dear brothers and sisters islam is a religion of peace, and protection.
    in islam peace is obtained by following allah’s (god’s) will and command, and from allah’s command is following his book which he revealed to his prophet, and from his command is to follow whatever his prophet tells them to do… For verily the Quran states : “and whatever your prophet commands you with so follow it, and whatever he prohibits you from so stay away from”. So by obeying the prophet we are obeying allah and if we obey allah he will love us and through his love we will attain peace in everything.
    In islam protection is obtained by following the laws of allah related to sentences and punishments. And there are 6 venues to be protected through 6 sentences in islam:
    1, Protection of the religion itself, and to protect this the law is anyone who forsakes his religion should be killed.
    2, Protection of the souls, the human, the people, and to protect this the law is revenge. If anyone kills anyone he will be killed in his place. Or if anyone injures anyone he will be taken revenge of.
    3, Protection of the intellect of a person, and to protect this the law is that anyone who drinks wine or takes drugs which over power his intellect he will be given 80 lashes.
    4, Protection of the wealth of the people… And to protect this the law is that anyone who steals or robs his hands will be cut off.
    5, Protection of the linage and progeny of a person, and for this protection the law is 80 lashes for anyone who commits adultery and is not married. And if he is married and commits adultery he will be stoned to death.
    6, Protection of the honour and respect of the people, and for this protection the law is that whoever accuses anyone without any proof he will be given 80 lashes.
    So by practising all the above laws, every individual is protected from all sides, and if every individual is protected a whole family is protected, and if every family is protected a whole tribe is protected, and if every tribe and nation and race is protected than the whole world is protected.

    This is the true religion of islam. So do not judge islam by what you see the muslims doing.

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