Sunday, January 21, 2007
CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS -full postI have given an overview of the seminar and the course of events , darius gives an indepth analysis of Livingstone "multiculturalism
The clash of civilizations
I met urban11, anton, derius and Bjorn a Canadian man who had come to witness this event on Saturday morning, none of us knew what to expect.
We made our way to the venue and took our place in the large queue, we eventually got in, I must admit I was annoyed at having to go through security checks to get in but thanks to our Islamic population we all have to go through these procedures now.
The Brief for the Conference was as follows:
“Some argue that the world is going into an era of conflict and war driven by a 'clash of civilisations'. The Mayor of London's policies are based on the exact opposite idea - that the multicultural city is part of creating a new concept of world civilisation that corresponds to a globalised world.”
Gavin Esler, BBC Newsnight presenter, chaired the main debate between Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, and Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum, an American think tank that advises US policymakers on the Middle East, on these contrasting approaches and their implications for Londoners.
Other speakers included :
* * David Aaronovitch, Times columnist and author
* * Tariq Ali, Writer
* * Dr. Abdul Bari, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
* * Martin Bright, Political Editor, New Statesman
* * Alistair Crooke, Director, Conflicts Forum
* * Doudou Diène, UN Special Rapporteur on Racism and Xenophobia
* * Professor Danny Dorling, specialist in Human Geography
* * Gavin Esler, BBC's Newsnight Presenter
* * Jonathan Freedland, Journalist
* * Professor Conor Gearty, Rausing Director, Centre for the Study of Human Rights
* * Kirsten Hearne, REGARD
* * Andrés Izarra, Venezuela's TeleSur TV
* * Doug Jewell, Liberty
* * Oliver Kamm, Times columnist and author
* * Mejindarpal Kaur, Director, United Sikhs
* * Bruce Kent, Peace Campaigner
* * Antony Lerman, Executive Director, Institute for Jewish Policy Research
* * Douglas Murray
* * Susan Nathan, Writer
* * Cristina Odone, Columnist
* * Alasdair Palmer, Telegraph
* * Agnès Poirier, political and cultural commentator
* * Professor Tariq Ramadan, Senior Research fellow at St Antony's College (Oxford)
* * Councillor Salma Yaqoob
Gavin Esler opened the debate by introducing all of the speakers
Professor Daniel Pipes spoke first, I am not going to quote all of what he said in his address but give you what I understood his words to mean.
Dr Pipes challenged the words, clash of civilizations, he did not see any such clash, he saw a battle between the civilized and barbarianism, the “barbarianism clearly referring to Islam.
Dr Pipes went on to say what the hallmarks of being civilized were such as having a democratic process for solving conflicts where ever possible, tolerance of difference and how Islam and its tenets were clearly the opposite of this.
Dr Pipes referred to the tensions between Islam and the west as a war and that he was looking for a victory in that war, victory he said comes when the other side gives up.
He went on to demonstrate this point citing the US defeat in Vietnam, the Americans were not defeated because of lack of personnel or equipment, they gave up.
It is my understanding from this analogy that Dr Pipes will see a victory when Islam gives up.
In short, it is my opinion that Dr Pipes sees this conflict as one between civilized countries and the barbarian, not a clash of civilizations because purely because they are civilized , doctrines such as Islam and its inherent barbarity would not arise.
Dr Pipes commended people such as Hirsi Ali and many others for their stance against Islam and it tenets, this brought the audience to its feet applauding long and loud.
Dr Pipes went on to say how the UK was now the biggest terror threat to the US because of Muslims in the UK he cited Richard Reid and the UK connections in the 9/11 atrocity, this brought a standing ovation from the supporters of Dr Pipes because they recognised the damage that was being done to UK-US relations because of the presence of these people in the UK.
Maybe I have taken a rather simplistic view and in interpretation of what Dr Pipes said, I do not think for one minute that Dr Pipes is suggesting that we all sit back and wait for Islam to give up, Islam has to be made to give up and that, in my opinion is the message that Dr Pipes was giving.
Mr Livingstone was the next speaker.
Mr Livingstone extolled the wonders of London, praised the fact that large percentages of the people who lived in this city were born “outside” of the UK
He praised the “enormous” contribution that the Muslim population has made to the city and how London was a better place for that.
He held London up as a model for a global community
Mr Livingstone went on to say that one of the main reasons London got the 2012 Olympics was because more languages were spoken in London than any other major city in the world.
He held this up as the “success” of multiculturalism,.
Mr Livingstone also referred to the 7/7 bombings and how Londoners did not go on the rampage targeting Muslims, he said, if I remember correctly that there was only one incident where a Muslim was injured in an attack after the 7/7 atrocity.
Mr Livingstone then went on to the subject of America, the UK and the “cold war”
In this part of his address he vilified America and the UK in how they treated the Soviet bloc.
Mr Livingstone wants a multicultural state where all are equal this includes the Barbarism that Dr Pipes spoke of, he wants a multicultural state where people like Dr Qaradawi are allowed full and free reign.
Dr Qaradawi was hailed by MR Livingstone as the “moderate voice of Islam” and that he Mr Livingstone would continue to involve such people in his efforts to achieve a true multicultural state, Dr Qaradawi holds these views amongst many others, he is by no means “moderate”
Salma Yacoob came to the rostrum
I have to say it, the usual victim role of Islam was trailed out, she claimed that 9/11 , 7/7 and others were reprial attacks because of what America and the UK had and still are doing in the muslim world, “ do you expect us not to fight back” she said.
Listing the Palestine conflict and Britains role in that she agreed that all people have to have a country but there was no right to give Arab land away in Palestine, Ms Yacoob could not bring herself to say the word “Israel”, a member of the audience actually challenged her on this point, she would not say the word Israel.
She is a supporter of the introduction of Sharia law.
As for Iraq, she said the Coalition forces are invaders and likened them to the Crusades, and that America only invaded because of Oil.
Dr Pipes corrected her on this point and she did not reply to his statement.
This ladies attitude was venomous and hateful and I am certain that I was not the only one that picked up on that.
Douglas Murray took the rostrum.
He came out all guns blazing, he was not looking for prisoners, he cited many instances of Islamic atrocities and the actions of Islam in Darfur, the way Islam is behaving in the UK.
He directly challenged Salma Yacoob on her assertion that 9/11 an 7/7 were acts of reprisal, reprisal for what, Israel has a right to exist (she did not acknowledge this)
And the Iraq war happened after 9/11 ,( it is at this point that a member of the audience who had lost a member of their family in the7/7 atrocity directly challenged Salma Yacoob on her “reprisal” assertion, Ms Yacoob did not respond)
Douglas Murray came out with many , many, match winning points I cannot remember all of them, he was superb and also got standing ovations . I do not wish to detract anything from his performance by trying to remember and probably misquoting him, suffice it to say:
He took no prisoners and in my humble opinion Dr Pipes and Douglas Murray certainly won the day
derius posted this view of Mr Livingstones idea of multiculturalism, thank you derius
Ken Livingstone and Multiculturalism
It was with some trepidation that I attended the “Clash of Civilisations or Civilisation versus Barbarism conference” in London. One of my main reasons for doing so was that a number of seminars were to discuss multiculturalism, and whether it is working in this country today. My views on the subject seem to be distant from the general opinion of its validity.
Multiculturalism is in essence the ideology that all cultures and all belief systems associated with those cultures are of equal worth, and therefore no cross cultural judgements can be made. It is the child of moral relativism, and has a strong following with the academic elite and politicians in the West today. Ken Livingstone, in particular, seems particularly keen to push forward his vision of a multicultural London, and it was he who had organised the conference I was attending.
As all cultures are considered of equal worth, it makes any positive judgement towards a culture incorrect by definition, as all cultures are equal. Therefore, under multiculturalism, Western Values concerning freedom of speech and religion are apparently no better or worse than Islamic teachings, which state that blasphemy and apostasy (leaving Islam) should be punishable by death. This is why I believe multiculturalism to be morally bankrupt.
Multiculturalism also states that no cross cultural judgements should be made, as all cultures are equal, and yet deciding that all cultures are equal is in itself a cross cultural judgement. Therefore, multiculturalism actually contradicts itself. Multiculturalism is also dangerous as it does not state the belief that all cultures are equal, but instead states that it is a fact that all cultures are equal. Therefore, if you disagree, you are wrong by definition. There is therefore no room for discussion, or to agree to disagree, and so, if you challenge multiculturalism, you are seen as a cultural bigot. This is why I believe multiculturalism to also be intellectually bankrupt.
However, in Ken Livingstone’s own speech at the conference, he specifically stated that multiculturalism did not allow all cultural practices to be practised. Therefore, he was in fact saying that Western values should supersede other values in certain areas, which actually goes against multiculturalism. As much as I was happy with this statement, it then became clear to me that Ken was a little confused, as he was supposed to be defending multiculturalism and not dismissing it. It then occurred to me that perhaps Ken has another definition of “multiculturalism”, so I expected him to go on and define what he considered “multiculturalism” to be. Not surprisingly, he never actually defined it, and nor did any other speaker at the conference, so it was certainly the first conference that I have attended where nobody actually knew what exactly was being discussed.
I therefore had to listen intently to what Ken Livingstone said that would highlight his vision to me. Two statements stood out. The first was words to the effect that “everybody wants the same things in life”, and the other was the idea that we should all base our society on our shared values. I will address these things in turn.
Mohammad Atta, to name one of many examples, wanted to martyr himself in the cause of Allah. Does everybody therefore want to be martyred in the cause of Allah? I certainly don’t, but apparently I do if you believe that everybody wants the same things in life. Does every adult want female children to be circumcised by that particularly unpleasant form of genital mutilation? Some clearly do, otherwise why does this practice occur in the first place? Does that therefore mean that all adults believe in this practice? Of course not. Therefore, Mr Livingstone’s first statement was in fact probably the most ridiculous statement I heard at the conference, with the exception of his assertion that the Cold War was the fault of the West, and nothing to do with Stalin, Communism or the fact that the USSR invaded half of Europe.
As for his statement that we should base our society on our shared values, well what values would they be? What values do I share with those that believe that the Sharia should be installed in this country? And if I do happen to share any values with them, whatever they may be, how could they be enough to decide on all political decisions that need to be made? Whose values should take precedence when there is a conflict? It was simply more half baked ideas that had only been quarter way thought out.
Still Ken at least realises that if an argument is inherently flawed but it is repeated enough times, then people will begin to believe it. Another two hour seminar on multiculturalism at the conference that was put on later in the day had all three panelists speaking in favour of multiculturalism, and none against. Clearly the tactic of indoctrination that Communists have used in the past is deemed acceptable by Communist Ken.
Another seminar I attended at the conference discussed the question “Is there an Islamic Threat?” I was rather expecting the debate to evolve around how serious the threat was rather than a complete denial that there was one in the first place, but even this meagre expectation wasn’t met. Tariq “Taquiyya” Ramadan and Salma Yaqoob were of the opinion that the Islamic threat is non existent, and any attacks that occur are the result of aggressive Western foreign policy. Well, what about the attacks on Buddhists in southern Thailand, the Jihad being waged against Christians in Darfur, the destruction of churches in Indonesia or the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, to name a few, all committed by Muslims? How exactly the Hindus in Bangladesh or the other groups I have just mentioned are linked to Western foreign policy was not made in any way clear.
The caption “We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go” was repeatedly flashed on the screen. Whether this was an attempt at subliminal messaging is not clear, but in any case it had the opposite effect on me. I instead began to wonder exactly where we were going, and whether we have actually got a long way to go before we reach it. I then thought of Lebanon, which forty years ago, had a liberal government and a Christian majority, and a society that is similar to our own. I then thought about how Lebanon is now, after forty years of widespread Islamic immigration. How many Christians there now are celebrating their country’s diversity, and do not instead wish that they could turn back the clock and have things as they were back in the 1960’s? I then realised that we were heading towards a situation similar to Lebanon’s, and we don’t have very far to go before we get there.
Ken Livingstone was clearly hoping that the arguments presented at the conference would be enough to make any rational British citizen want to forget our Western cultural heritage, our values and our achievements, and instead embrace his vision of an undefined multicultural nation.