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By what standard

An article appeared several hours ago that brings forth questions. The Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/03/saudi-execution-call-for-west-to-condemn-killing-of-shia-cleric), gives several causes for concern. The first one is in the title ‘Saudi execution: call for west to condemn killing of Shia cleric‘, why? The subtitle ‘UK Treasury minister describes the killing of Nimr al-Nimr as a ‘worrying development’ as tensions escalate‘ is cause for additional concern. In my (simplistic) viewpoint, why is David Gauke, financial secretary to the Treasury speaking here (read: quoted)? Why is this not voiced by the UK foreign office (and the Home office for that matter)? THEY are spokespeople in this case, well the Foreign Office more than the Home Office in this case, but the home office would be voicing the ‘home front’ feelings. No, it is the financial secretary to the Treasury, whose voice does not count in this situation that is the view that is voiced.

You see, Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation where the use of capital punishment is based on Shari’ah (or Islamic law). I did not study Shari’ah Law and as such I cannot answer the legality in this, but Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation with its own set of laws and it is time for people to start understanding that other cultures have other rules and laws. For me, I am still amazed on how capital punishment is not in existence in Commonwealth Law, in addition, I am amazed how targeted killing is still not a legal option, an absence I still believe is more an act of cowardice than anything else (I will address this part later in this article).

So Saudi Arabia has the death penalty, this is not new, it is a given. Yet, what people seem to forget is that when you look deeper into Islamic Banking and Finance that this system is not greed driven, that what is regarded as Sharia compliant finance. It approached the view where Sharia prohibits acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money, whether the payment is fixed or floating, which as I understand it implies any excess compensation without due consideration (absent of time value of money), which implies (without deeper investigation, cannot be stated as for certain by me) that the hedge funds nightmare that Wall Street bestowed upon the world would never have happened under Shari’ah Law, I will let you contemplate that thought by yourself!

Let’s get back to capital punishment! When we look at an article by Elizabeth Peiffer (at http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1132&context=wmjowl), we see the following on page 508 (page 3 of the article), “The harsh punishments required for hudud crimes are intended to deter those who might commit crimes that are dangerous to an Islamic society“, in additional support there is something I should add from the Catholic Education Resource Center (at http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/social-justice/catholicism-amp-capital-punishment.html), where we see “At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die” (Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10, referring to Exodus 2l:17; cf. Leviticus 20:9)“, in addition I offer “The last case of an execution by the Catholic Church was that of the schoolmaster Cayetano Ripoll, accused of deism by the waning Spanish Inquisition and hanged to death 26 July 1826 in Valencia after a two-year trial” (at http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/805877-196/daily-twip—the-spanish-inquisition-executes.html).

We seem to impose ‘our’ values on every nation, yet we do not take responsibility or repair the damage we allow others to make under either a Christian or atheist guise, how just is that?

Let’s get back to the issue that started all this, you see Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was sentenced to death. The BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29627766) gives us “he was found guilty of seeking “foreign meddling” in the kingdom, “disobeying” its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces“, ‘taking up arms against the security forces’ could be seen as insurrection at best and treason at worst, when I point back to the issue shown in the article by Elizabeth Peiffer we get ‘intended to deter those who might commit crimes that are dangerous to an Islamic society’, is that not the case for both insurrection and treason? Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was himself a cleric, so how was the consequence a surprise? Because he was regarded as ‘popular among youth’? The sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia has a set of laws, this is known, so again, why do we read that David Gauke sees this as a ‘worrying development’? Shouldn’t the man be playing with an abacus and solving the UK economy issues (the UK has plenty of those)? In addition, he represents South West Hertfordshire, which is part of Hertfordshire, where less than 1% is Muslim, a county where 90% is either Christian or has no religion (27.3%), so again, what gives, personal interest or unofficial messenger?

The blunt cold issue is that a cleric went against the established order and Shari’ah Law intervened directly and definitively, which I admit is my rather simplistic view on the matter.

In an age where culling over 30% of the planets population could solve food issues, housing issues and several other issues, we seem to embrace the solution that does not get us anywhere. Now it is time to get back to an earlier statement and explain my reasoning. In our day and age, capital punishment should not be seen as a bad thing, we should see this as the ultimate form of accountability. Consider the News in Brisbane where “Cole Miller, 18, was allegedly struck in the head from behind as he walked with a friend through the Chinatown Mall about 3.35am yesterday (AEST)” (at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/01/03/07/16/young-man-randomly-king-hit-while-walking-through-brisbane-mall-overnight). Why not ‘reward’ Armstrong Renata and Daniel Maxwell with the death penalty for such a cowardly attack? I feel certain that after a few of these executions teens will get hit in the head from behind a lot less. Why was he attacked in the first place? That is still for a court to decide, but too often and for too long the victim and its family gets to suffer whilst the courts ‘go soft’ too often on the transgressors and it is not because there are so many jobs or there are so many apartments available. As stated, it is for a court to decide and there is of course the need for evidence, because we know how it ended, but how did it get started? I do not have the facts, but that is an important element in Common Law, I am just no longer willing to see that the abolishment of capital punishment is a good idea.

I also mentioned cowardice earlier, for this I need to address the issue of targeted killing. You see, the law as is seems to revere ‘non-permanent’ solutions. In all that people are faced with dangers and risks. Consider that 70% lives in a legal way, no crimes committed, now we get 29.9991% that does have a criminal side, for that we have the law, I do not oppose this, they are criminals of all kinds, from pickpockets, to robbers to murderers, for those we have the law. There is a very small group, 0.0009%, this group is so malignant, so violent (read: extremely fanatic or terrorist), that their presence is a direct threat to the people and to our way of life. In all this, we ‘hide’ behind Common Law and its settings, like it is a Golden Calf (I am referring here to Exodus 32:1–6), how dare we revere a book to that level whilst knowingly endangering the people we swore to protect, are those victims in that same view not degraded to simple human sacrifices for the existence of a book of rules? How can we sacrifice those lives and are we not willing to take the lives who are knowingly and intentionally threatening those innocent (and some less innocent) lives? Are we not bound to protect the people in any accountable way we possibly can? It is the word accountable that should have opened the door to targeted killing a long time ago, I am not referring to 9/11; I am referring to events even before that. To the days of Baader Meinhoff and the Rote Armee Fraktion. Italy had the Red Brigade, Japan the Red Army and that list goes on for a while. We seem to focus on Islamic groups, yet we forget that the Ku Klux Klan, White Power groups as Christian groups and most other religions have their terrorist organisations, groups with members focused on extreme violence against a specific group or a nation in general, as such, when that government has a direct responsibility to keep its citizens safe, where is the logic to not pursue these extremists with all options, including terminal ones?

So by what standard are we judging?

We seem to push our standards onto others, whilst in most western European nations we have only succeeded in making a bigger mess, whilst not holding anyone accountable for anything, as I see it, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr decided on a course of action, here (Australia, UK, Canada, sometimes the US too) we all believe in freedom of speech, yet In Islamic nations there seems to be an interpretation that ‘crimes that are dangerous to an Islamic society‘ are strictly dealt with by holding that person accountable. Please consider that I am voicing a view based on the ‘facts’ as I see it published, I am not stating on the ruling of the specific court case of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr as I do not have all the facts on that case. And consider again, why is the voice of David Gauke quoted and not from the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP? In this case it is his voice as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs that sets the tone of how we as a Commonwealth (read: United Kingdom) shall deal with our allies, our connected nations and our enemies, not David Gauke. In Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated today that the Australian government is deeply disturbed by Saudi Arabia’s mass execution of 47 people that same approach was taken by Canada where Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion condemns Saudis over Mass Execution (including the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr). So why did the article by Martin Chulov not mention the big names from Canada and Australia within that article? OK, in all fairness, the response from Julie Bishop was only voiced a few hours ago, but the Canadian voice was given yesterday, plenty of time to include that one, it seems to me that the article is about careful ‘voicing’ what does not really matter for the political field that becomes a lot less maneuverable over the coming year, another fact conveniently ignored.

All this regarding the standard a sovereign nations holds. We might not agree and we can voice that, but we must equally accept that every nation has its own rights in dealing with transgressors, even if we are too unwilling to do this ourselves. Consider that hypocrisy is knowingly not practicing what you tell others to do (like having just laws against crime and for victims), now consider that Irony is becoming a judge after illustrating the failure of law.

So is this a mere case of Hypocritical Irony?

 

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Comprehension

Yesterday has been a weird day for France, unlike here in Sydney; they had their dealings with terrorists. You see, I remain in the mindset that what happened in martin Place last month was a crazy person with a gun, the fact that he was a Muslim makes little difference. He was a mental health case with deadly intent, it got him killed, but only after he killed some of his victims. France is an entirely different kettle of fish. Here is the YouTube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBGVwZyXYlQ (in French with English subtitles), I normally would not add something like this, but it is important to see the difference. This is not some hostage situation asking for a flag, this is almost military precision, it is direct, clean (pardon the expression), kill and get out! A policeman was on the scene and was executed without any consideration.

Here you see directly what Israel has faced on a daily basis; this is what the direct hatred of Jews looks like. Even though this is against a satirical cartoonist, the hatred of these extremists’ remains the same. The Guardian has an article by Jonathan Freedland that covers several parts of what bothers me. The article ‘Charlie Hebdo: first they came for the cartoonists, then they came for the Jews‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/09/charlie-hebdo-cartoonists-paris-killers-fascist-death-cult) gives us a few views. The quote: “They hated the cartoons, we say. Free speech was the target, we declare. They wanted to silence satire and gag dissent“, this was not unlike my view. I find satire enjoyable, but when you touch religion (any religion), some people tend to get a little off the balanced sane side. Some get abusive, some get a little violent, yet as far as I know, none will act to this degree (although opposites in the India – Pakistan debates might not agree with me). No matter what I think or believe, Charlie Hebdo was in a place with free speech and he was entitled to it. The best comparison I heard was from an American Journalist describing Charlie Hebdo as the French version of ‘the Onion’.

When we see the following two quotes we get to the real stuff: “Then on Friday, a siege at a kosher supermarket, four hostages confirmed dead, the murderers apparently linked to those behind Wednesday’s carnage” and “Perhaps the murderers are bent on killing people not only for what they do, but for who they are“, this is at the centre of a lot of issues behind the objections against allowing Palestine into the UN and other places. I and many others have no hatred for Palestinians however, we will not accept Hamas to be allowed at any table for the terrorist organisation that they are. And so long as Palestine will not disavow Hamas and as long as Hamas calls the shots, there is no future for Palestine as I see it. This is at the heart of the matter, so when you think of these poor poor Palestinians, watch the uncensored shooting in Paris and now realise that this is what Israel faced for many years now, with added rockets and nail bombs!

The next part is actually at the centre to what we tend to feel and also how our civilised minds should be feeling. “For Muslims, that has meant spelling out that these killers speak only for themselves. Note the speed with which a delegation of 20 imams visited the Charlie Hebdo offices, branding the gunmen “criminals, barbarians, satans” and, crucially, “not Muslims”“, this makes sense in regards to the next part “Of course they should not have to do it. The finger-wagging demand that Muslims condemn acts of terror committed by jihadist cultists is odious: it tacitly assumes that Muslims support such horror unless they explicitly say otherwise“, this makes sense. Perhaps we all remember the atrocities of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and white power groups against African Americans. We distance ourselves as Christians, because their acts are not those of Christians at all. They are at the centre of some agenda of hate that the boggles the usual civilised mind. Some cannot grasp the small mindedness of it. Yes, we all hate at times and we hate enough to kill, maim or harm, but that comes in defence of a rational against us, or our family when it is harmed. To blatantly hate is not within our power (it should not be), I will go one further, children when they are born do not have the capacity to hate; it is the one dark side that gets taught to us, which makes it so inexplicable to some.

Now we get to the parts that I do not completely agree with (even though what is stated is not wrong) “Wednesday’s deaths brought a loud chorus insisting that Charlie Hebdo was vulnerable because it had been left out on a limb. That was down, they said, to the cowardice of the rest of the press, lacking the guts to do what the French magazine had done“. The press has been many things (cowardly to some extent as well), when the press (globally generically speaking) started to cater to advertisers and circulation, many papers started to cater to the emotional reader “Flight MH370 ‘suicide mission’” (The Daily Telegraph, March 2014) and “Death Cult CBD Attack” (The Daily Telegraph, December 2014). It is only one of several papers, the public gets misinformed too often, too much innuendo. “Andrew and the under-age ‘sex slave’” from The Daily Mail, implying the Duke of York is just the most recent of revenue claiming headlines. When you rely on income in this way, we see the newspapers as they no longer are, they are no longer informing the people, hopefully setting their minds to a more informed stable position, we are left with groups of people getting angry on implied innuendo. It makes for revenue (but becomes non-informative). So how about we make it a little more clear? How about tax offices change that glossy magazines are not tax deductible as they do not qualify as ‘researchable materials’? The ATO states “Newspapers and magazines, you can claim a deduction for that part of the cost of newspapers and magazines that relates to your using them in researching a topic as an employee journalist“. When we remove glossy magazines and add the Daily Telegraph and sort minded groups on that list, perhaps they will clean up their act?

So as non-violent Muslims fear repercussions for emotional responses, we in general have a duty to shield them, but in my mind we have an equal need to hunt down these extremists. We need to become a lot less tolerant of hate crimes like we are seeing in Paris this week, but they must be held against the real threat, not the threat that some papers perceive to instil. So this is where my view slightly differed from Jonathan Freedland. The French issue should wake us up in other ways too. Not only should we regard the hate attacks Israel has been under for a long time, we need to notice that walk softly and ‘try to reason’ will not work. The policeman had little option but to talk the man into not shooting him, it did not work! I feel for his family, and for the family of other victims, but you all need to wake up now, terrorists are real, they are not some deranged Sheik with delusions of grandeur wanting a ‘Shadada’ flag in a chocolate shop. They are people with guns, with a tactical mind that tells them to kill that what they hate without hesitation or remorse, so as you keep on crying on ‘your’ privacy, whilst posting your ‘nightly’ achievements on Facebook, remember that limiting those who hunt these extremists, might get you or someone you know killed at some point.

Yet Jonathan’s gem is at the very end “Theirs is a dirty little war, a handful of wicked fanatics against the rest of us. And they must lose“, I could not have said it better myself, but with that comprehension comes a change to all our minds, not to our hearts! Our hearts must never embrace the acts and the violence needed; our minds must however accept that some need to do what they do to stop these people, preferably before innocent lives are lost. It must happen everywhere and it needed to start yesterday. So, as you ponder these ‘lost souls’ as they go Jihad in Syria, then also quickly realise that these people come back with the skill, the intent and the reasoning of the extremists that you saw in the YouTube video, so if you are a parent and you wave your hand to your little boy or girl as they go to school, you should realise that they might leave the house the last time that day. What are you willing to do to keep them safe?

I am not trying to quell you into emotion like the press so often does; I need you to comprehend what must be done by professionals to keep you and your family safe. Think it through and cast your vote! You need not act, you are not trained and not qualified to suddenly emotionally react to these extremists. Only the calm mind will know what to do and they must be given the option to win and to make sure that extremists lose, or we lose it all!

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