Linux, politics, and other interesting things
I recently wasted a bit of time reading some right-wing blogs. One thing I noted was the repeated references to news reports about young women from an Islamic background being beaten (and in some cases killed) by their fathers (and other male relatives) for not conforming to some weird cultural ideas that some people associate with Islam. These are spun as examples of Islam being bad and therefore opposing immigration policies that allow Muslims into countries identified as “Christendom” or “The West” (never mind the fact that the vast majority of the population in “Christendom” don’t even attend church twice a year and the fact that Australia is directly south of China, Russia, and North Korea).
It seems to me that when young people follow the cultural standards of the country where they live rather than the standards of the country that their parents came from then it’s evidence of “multiculturalism” working. When young Muslim women are beaten by their fathers whether it’s considered an example of Muslims being bad (and who therefore should be excluded) or an example of Muslims as victims who should be protected is a matter of interpretation. It’s not as if there is any shortage of domestic violence cases from any religious or cultural group.
It’s often claimed that fundamentalist Muslims hate our culture, strangely the same people seem to claim that our culture will be destroyed by radical Islam. These two ideas seem to conflict, if our culture (the pro-science, free-speech, few inhibitions on clothing standards, do what you want but don’t hurt others culture that most readers of my blog enjoy) can be destroyed by radical Islam then they wouldn’t hate it. I think that the reason why fundamentalist religious people (Christians and Muslims) dislike our culture is because it is so strong. Our culture offers a way of life that is simply better than that which fundamentalist religious groups offer. Any religious person can choose to take a liberal approach to their religion (emphasising the positive aspects of giving to charity, being nice to others, etc) and enjoy our culture. Our culture is based around wide-spread communication, mass media, mobile phones, the Internet, custom clothing design, etc. It can do to religions what the sea does to rocks.
It seems that the strongest efforts at attacking our culture come from Christian groups. For example the Exclusive Bretheren  runs a high school in my area, according to a local paper it distinguishes itself by having no students enter a university course! The Exclusive Bretheren (and some other radical Christian groups) have a deliberate policy of keeping children stupid with the idea that people who think may decide to change their religion.
Some time ago I had a taxi driver start an unsolicited discussion of religion by telling me how much he hated Muslims. I pointed out the fact that there are Muslims of all races and asked why he thought that I was not a Muslim. After that the rest of the journey was very quiet.
The mainstream media would have us believe that Muslims have some sort of monopoly on terrorism. Noam Chomsky’s paper “Terror and Just Response”  is one of many that he has written on this issue. I realise that many people don’t want to acknowledge the involvement of the US government (and it’s allies such as Australia) in international terrorism. But please read Noam’s position (which is compelling) or read his wikipedia page which lists his extensive accomplishments  (if it’s the background of an author that impresses you).