27 March 2015

Tolerant Christians vis-à-vis Evil Islam?

Harry J. Bentham

For many professed critics of Islam, the so-called Islamic State's atrocities stand as an example of the exceptional evil said to be evident in Islam and absent in other religions. And throughout the traditionally Christian sector of the world, in both the West and Russia, we have bore witness to the increasing fantasy that latter-day Christian crusaders are our deliverance from the apparent evil of Islam.

The shocking credo of the latter-day crusaders in our midst became most apparent when Anders Behring Breivik committed his terrorist attack in Norway in 2011. We can add this to the mountain of evidence that "crusader" terror is as much alive as jihadist terror, but there are still abundant conservatives in both Britain (see UKIP) and the US who see a need to politicize Christianity as part of a cultural battle with political Islam.

Christian detractors of Islam are eager to point out violence in the Qur'an. There is indeed violence in that text, but they should take a closer look at their own Holy Book. Better yet, take a look at the modern-day Christian terrorist organizations and their atrocities. The most prominent examples lie in Africa, where Joseph Kony's evangelical terrorist group, The Lord's Resistance Army, perpetrated unspeakable horrors in the name of Christianity in Uganda before moving to South Sudan.

Most Christians know about and denounce the Crusades, but the atrocities I am talking about are realities from the 1990s or newer, and they are continuing to this day. Most of the violence in the Central African Republic has been perpetrated by Christian mobs against Muslims, but that inconvenient fact never made its way past the Islamophobic line of much of the media we hear.

We have to learn that reporting on so-called "Islamic terrorism", when Christians are almost as prone to terrorism of their own and equally ignorant of their religion's pacifist teachings, is a disgrace. Take the reporting on Nigeria, for example. Nigeria has been victim to two violent insurgencies, one "Muslim" (Boko Haram) and the other "Christian" (the Movement for the Emancipation of the Nile Delta or MEND). In this case, reporters seem alarmingly eager to highlight the Islamic elements of ideology behind any terrorist attack, but constantly reluctant to mention the equal role of Christianity in the ideology of other terrorists in the very same country.

We can also examine Sri Lanka as an example of the same kind of omission, although the Buddhist faith of extremists was being omitted. In the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009), much of the ethnic violence was pressured by Sinhalese Buddhist so-called "monks", who urged the ethnic cleansing of Tamils from Sri Lanka. Only a small number of Westerners, who have studied the Sri Lankan Civil War, had much awareness of that particular detail. The Western public was never alerted to the atrocities of Buddhist extremists, much less told by pundits that Buddhism is a violent and evil religion in the way Islam is often maligned now.

Many have claimed that the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, in Iraq, has discredited Islam, and they point to its atrocities as an example of Islam in practice. But how, then, do they explain away the fact that all the forces fighting against IS and risking life and limb on the ground are themselves Muslim?

It seems strange for Islamophobes to protest the actions of IS at all, given that IS's military opponents are all Muslims and very nearly a hundred percent of IS's victims are Muslims. One could reason that there is a sectarian civil war on within Islam, but Christianity and every other religion has been plagued by the same sectarian problems in the past. So, to repeat Sam Harris' canard that Islam is inherently extreme or opposed to modernity maligns everyone involved in the campaign against IS and all the victims of IS.

No matter the arguments made against their proneness to create militants, the world's largest religions are not going to go away. We have to live with the inevitable, so we won't make ourselves more secure by painting terrorism as a religion, or a religion as terrorism. Instead, accepting diversity and reconciliation between these traditions is essential to peaceful or tolerant association.

By pairing the name of a religion with terrorism, as is all too common in reporting, Western secular states and media not only violate the parts of their constitutions requiring religion to be kept out of politics, but involve themselves in incitement to religious terrorism of their own. Anti-Islamic terrorism is equally religious as so-called Islamic terrorism, and this equally true whether it takes the form of a state-sanctioned attack on a country such as Iran or a lone-wolf attack such as Breivik's.

And what of the wars that state-approved Islamophobia already helped to create? Irrational fears have transformed Muslim civilians into military targets, and helped to motivate the doctrine that pre-emptive war is justified long before an apparent threat of terrorism can even be proven to exist. The reasoning that mosques or religious preachers therein should be targets of military action, detention or torture would be denounced, if practiced against other religious group, but Muslims are routinely accosted by states in this way.

It is also worth realizing that Islamophobes often show the same contempt for their compatriots as is demonstrated by the terrorists they claim to oppose. Their vision of the West as a pure and righteous civilization leads them see most of their own society as treasonous and impure, as Breivik did when he chose to target not Muslims but regular citizens he believed were appeasing Islam. Such behaviour has stark parallels to the way in which Islamist militants target not the West but their own communities, which they see as corrupt and impure.

Islamophobia kills, and is injurious not just to Islam but to the West. Having played a part in the warmongering that led to the Iraq War and the so-called war on terror, which was once described once by George W. Bush himself as a crusade, state-sanctioned Islamophobia is a severe extremist threat in itself. If we consider the wars and repression it has helped to incite around the globe, Islamophobia has a greater sum of blood on its own hands than it may attribute to Islam.

Harry J. Bentham

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Mont Order dissidents

The #MontOrder club

The Mont Order may only be a small informal association that acts sparingly, but it has its corner on the Internet and witnesses increasing core membership. The following are some key recent developments from within the club.

L'Ordre, a pseudonymous listed participant of the Mont Order, now disseminates spiritual blog posts through a new website called The Mont Order Digital Blessings Front. These have no connection with the actual dissident club's activities, but may help to raise publicity for the Mont Order's name as requests are posted for worshipers to pray for the Order's plans.

Thomas L. Knapp, an influential antistatist commentator most notably for the Center for a Stateless Society, is now an associate of the Mont Order and added to the Mont society's lists.

The Mont Order lists its involvement with the Transhumanist Party (Global), where it is considered as one of many available informal organs that are part of its broader network to raise awareness of transhumanist ideology. It has defined itself as vaguely as possible, even calling itself a "metaphor" that has been passed down through history by successive philosophers who described political and spiritual growth as a form of ascension to a higher truth, as epitomized by the name "Mont".

Little information has been posted to the Internet about the Mont Order's exact purpose or long term goals, if it has any, but online interest in the mysterious group has proliferated in recent years and the pluralist Beliefnet website has sustained a list of its honored participants.

The clubof.info Blog

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24 March 2015

Britain vs Russia: "By Jingo if we do"

The #LOrdre Blog

British press and government are using archaic nationalism to promote hostility against Russia, the L'Ordre blog at the Fox-owned Beliefnet website asserts.

In a post titled "Russian aggression, or a war no-one cares about?", the blog notes how the origin of the word "jingoism" came to refer to a British press filled with passion over distant and irrelevant conflicts, appealing to British national pride and honor to promote involvement in such wars. It also carries suggestions of failure with it. Britain's support for the Ottoman Empire against Russia in the previous major Black Sea dispute with Russia in history was unavailing, when the Ottomans were eventually defeated by Russia and had to give up their dominance in the Black Sea.

The war in question, which occurred in 1877-78, reversed the losses sustained by Russia at the hands of a British-Ottoman alliance in the famed Crimean War only decades earlier. Describing the climate of anti-Russian sentiment in Britain as jingoism, and comparing the current crisis in Ukraine with past crises in the Black Sea when Britain sought to contain Russian expansion, the forecast at the L'Ordre blog for British involvement in Ukraine was gloomy:
Eventually, the British public will come to realize that we just aren’t as interested in Ukraine’s future as Russia and some of the other regional players in the conflict are. In the end, the people who actually have a stake in the events in Ukraine are the ones who are going to fight it out tenaciously. This judgment stands even though Britain can proudly boast of having superior soldiers to Russia. No argument about patriotism, national honor, or the balance of power can convince the public that it is worth getting British soldiers killed on a distant and irrelevant battlefield on Russia’s doorstep, in the name of forces that have nothing to do with us and not the slightest understanding of who or what we are about.
The blog post also slammed The Guardian for its impassioned pro-Ukrainian coverage of Crimea and the pro-Russia insurgency in Ukraine. The publication has made no secret of cheerleading the British state and even pro-fascist militants in Ukraine, depicting Russia as a savage aggressor in desperate need of containment by British and American forces and Ukrainian nationalists.

Increasing criticism of The Guardian, once everyone's favorite liberal publication, and its policy of censoring comments questioning its reporting has led to a growing community at the website Offguardian, dedicated to continuing the conversations that The Guardian was afraid of.

The clubof.info Blog

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Google disables Antiwar.com's Adsense

The @ClubOfInfo Blog

The US giant digital corporation Google disabled Antiwar.com's Adsense account, for displaying images of torture perpetrated by the American state.

The move was quickly spotted by dissidents, who shamed the corporation as cowardly and subservient to the US government for its decision to side with torture and repression.

Related: Google's Treason Against the Internet

Writing at the Center for a Stateless Society, Kevin Carson said that the move towards sabotaging dissidents was unsurprising, considering "Google’s history of compliance with censorship demands by repressive regimes around the world, and the craven way that online payment and crowdfunding services colluded with the U.S. government in suppressing Wikileaks".

The antistatist activist also mocked the Obama administration's bizarre reasoning that photographs of torture somehow threatened US security:
"President Obama argued against release, saying the photos would “further inflame anti-American sentiment” and thereby endanger U.S. “national security.”"
Carson dissected this reasoning, stating that it amounts to saying "it would be bad for “national security” for the people of the world to find out just how evil [the American government] really is, because they might get mad." The arrogant regime will not survive exposure to the truth and retribution for its crimes against humanity, so it labels the truth a threat to "national security".

As explained in Carson's post, US "national security" deserves to be undermined, because this phony concept constantly endangers the American public in order to protect cowering rulers who deserve to be subverted:
"If U.S. “national security” means its ability to engage in wars of aggression and supervise the corporate looting of defeated countries around the world, "that “national security” needs to be undermined."
As Carson describes it, the US regime seems to use the unwitting American public as hostages and human shields to take all the punishment for its witless foreign policy, jeopardizing everyone's lives except its own with its terrorism. Speaking of the best solution, the antistatist suggested a two-front war to crush the US regime's censorship and terrorism, waged by resolute dissidents within the US and foreign governments and actors outside the US:
So that leaves it to a hostile American public to rein in an out of control state. And failing that, we need to fan the flames of outrage until every country in the world with a U.S. military or naval base shuts it down, along with the CIA stations in every U.S. embassy in the world.
As for how to fight Google and other US technology giants that seem to hold disproportionate influence over the Internet, Carson's analysis welcomed the idea of dividing the Internet to enable other poles of power to dominate their own portions of the Internet, to prevent the US serving as an authoritarian hub for the Internet. Google has, in the past, slammed this idea, labeling it as the "balkanization" of the Internet in its fear the US regime's influence would decline as a result. However, in the wake of the Snowden revelations of US mass surveillance via the Internet, increasing numbers of countries including Germany and Brazil have welcomed the possibility.

The clubof.info Blog

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