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  • Summary: 

    As a former Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare and current Secretary to the Animal Welfare All Party Parliamentary Group, I have long felt that the refusal of certain religious groups to stun animals prior to slaughter is a cold, brutal and inhumane practice and I have recently expressed my support for Mr Blackwell’s statement.

    My reason for this is quite simple:  Reports from several different organisations have demonstrated that animals which are not stunned prior to slaughter feel considerable pain before death.  The European Dialrel Project, for instance, which sought to encourage dialogue on religious slaughter, found that “pain, suffering and distress” during the throat cut was disturbingly commonplace in the 200 references it considered, while a report from the U.K. Farm Animal Welfare Council and another published in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal have reached similar conclusions.

  • Summary: 

    As news of fresh Islamist plots hit the newspapers over the weekend, we should remember when, last month, the Prime Minister made British values central to the fight against extremism.He didn’t refer to the abstract values liberals love to promote such as ‘respect’ and ‘tolerance’ that are so vague as to be of limited value. Instead he clearly articulated historically rooted British values:

    • democracy
    • the rule of law,
    • freedom of speech,
    • freedom of the press
    • freedom of worship

    He also insisted that these apply to all regardless of their race, sex, sexuality or faith i.e. in this county we have equality before the law and one law for all, not shari’a for some and British law for others. This of course is not something new: these are historic British values because they have emerged over the centuries and become embedded in our institutions. In that sense they are deeply rooted. But too be honest, we have often lost sight of them.

  • Summary: 

    Since the decline of Socialism, the major ideological fault line in British politics, insofar as there has been one, has been between, on the one hand, conservativism and, on the other, various forms of liberalism – espoused bynot just the Liberal Democrats, but also in large measure by the Labour Party.

    This ideological divide is of critical importance in the fight against Islamism. I say this because there is a myth that has been propagated by liberals that the only answer to Islamism is liberalism. However, liberalism not only lacks the capacity to counter Islamism and has significantly failed to do so, but is seen by many Islamists as part of the back door by which they can take over and impose Islamic law and government on western society.The reasons for this are not hard to find:

      • Liberalism promotes diversity rather than cohesion. The essence of Liberalism is that diversity is ‘good’, and so should not just be tolerated but actively promoted. The active promotion of diversity by the last government led to various forms of support for Islamist groups that were seeking to pull people away from traditional British values such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. In other words, it was doing exactly the opposite to community cohesion, which any right-thinking person would understand as encouraging people to adhere to the values that we have historically developed and learned as a nation to cherish – such as democracy, the equality of everyone before the law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and so forth. All of these are significantly diminished by sharia, which in various aspects treats men and women, Muslims and non Muslims differently. Liberalism’s politically correct promotion of groups perceived to have been historically disadvantaged has led to the strange combination of liberals advocating ,for example, partial implementation of sharia in Britain, while at the same time supporting legislation that diminishes historic rights such as freedom of religion for other groups that political correctness regards less favourably. This was vividly illustrated during the time of the last Labour Government, when the Home Secretary went on the Today programme to argue for freedom of speech for Islamists, while only a few hours later sought to pass legislation restricting the same freedom of speech for Christians.
    1. Summary: 

      At its simplest, my view is that if the 7/7 bombers had believed that carrying out the bombings was guaranteed to result in them spending all of eternity in Hell, they would not have carried out the bombings. It is one thing to sacrifice your life in a noble cause, as they clearly believed they were doing. It is something quite different to kill yourself doing something for which you believe God will punish you for all eternity.

    2. Summary: 

      Condemning terrorism is easy and no Muslim organisation need fear any criticism from Muslims (or others) if all it does is to condemn terrorist acts. However, condemning terrorism is not enough if you are unwilling to acknowledge its causes. If you deny its causes, you cannot put forward a meaningful vision of the way forward.

      The terrorists’ religious beliefs matter fundamentally

      I am utterly fed up with hearing people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, argue that the religious views of the terrorists are irrelevant.

    3. Summary: 

       it was clear that, despite the widely presumed promise of the Arab spring, 2011 had been a year in which sharia enforcement has both spread and intensified both in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. This is part of a longer term pattern of increasing Islamisation that has been happening since the late 1970s and which has continued in 2012.

      The enforcement of sharia happens at a number of levels. The ultimate aim of Islamists is that sharia becomes the only system of law and government, with both Muslims and non Muslims alike subject to it.

    4. Summary: 

      What is happening is not a random unconnected series of events. They have historical precedent in the medieval interpretations of Islam that are termed classical Islam, which envisions the enforcement of Islamic government and sharia, if necessary by means of force, on Muslim and non Muslim alike.

      ...

      Crucial to achieving these will be combatting the spread of sharia enforcement across the world. It is in Britain’s national interest that this becomes a central feature of British foreign policy:

      The enforcement of sharia and Islamic government around the world is the central aim of Islamists – including violent Islamists. As I have demonstrated , the aims of Islamists who use the ballot box differ only in their method, not their long term aims from those of violent Islamists, as can be seen where Islamists in countries affected by the Arab Spring have used democracy as a route to power. Although how long those countries remain democratic once Islamists gain power remains to be seen.

      Once sharia is enforced lobbying by western governments is largely ineffective as it becomes almost impossible to dislodge it, as can be seen from this year’s assassination of two liberal Pakistani politicians who called for reform of the country’s blasphemy laws.

      Equally, where sharia is enforced it does not assuage the demands of Islamists as some on the liberal-left seem to assume. Rather, it gives them bridgehead from which to seek to expand sharia enforcement further afield, as can be seen from what is happening in Nigeria.

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