Tag: Muslim

How China deploys Android malware at its borders

Saturday, 6 July, 2019

The Chinese authorities are are conducting a huge campaign of surveillance and oppression against the Muslim population of the Xinjiang region and foreigners crossing certain border checkpoints are being forced to install a piece of Android malware on their phones that gives all of their text messages as well as other data to the regime. Vice has the story. Snippet:

“The Android malware, which is installed by a border guard when they physically seize the phone, also scans the tourist or traveller’s device for a specific set of files, according to multiple expert analyses of the software. The files authorities are looking for include Islamic extremist content, but also innocuous Islamic material, academic books on Islam by leading researchers, and even music from a Japanese metal band.”

One of the most repulsive supporters of the awful Beijing regime is Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. It was published in August 2016 but the resistance in Hong Kong has exposed the shabbiness of his world view.


On the road to Mandalay?

Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

What are the ethical issues involved in visiting a country whose government has been accused of committing atrocities against its own people? We’re not talking China here, although its persecution of the Uighurs is outrageous. Then, there’s Myanmar.

In 2016, ten international travel companies offered sailings on the Irrawaddy, which flows north to south through the heart of Myanmar, from its source in the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean. The cruises were running at close to full capacity but the boom didn’t last long. Unrest involving a Muslim-minority group, the Rohingya, erupted in a region called Rakhine and more than 500,000 Rohingya have since fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. Terms such as “ethnic cleansing” were used to describe the alleged atrocities committed by Myanmar’s military and the country became a political pariah. As for the Burmese people, they’re said to among the most welcoming in Asia and street crime is almost non-existent in Myanmar. Each traveller must make in informed decision before visiting Myanmar, or China, for that matter.


FinTech WOTD: Tokenization

Tuesday, 19 July, 2016 0 Comments

FinTech? It’s a portmanteau word created from “Financial Technology.” It’s hot because it threatens to grab some power from the bloated banks and give the the entire byzantine money business a much-needed shakeup. Heard of Bitcoin? It’s the most popular FinTech cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency? It’s a form of digital currency that uses cryptography for regulation and security. No one is really sure who “mined” it, but the open-source software underpinning it has a shady history. Heard about the Blockchain? It’s where cryptocurrency transactions get recorded. It operates like a public ledger and once data has been entered, it cannot be altered.

All this brings us to our FinTech WOTD (Word of the Day): Tokenization.

Tokenization replaces sensitive data with unique symbols. These “tokens” enable users to retain essential information about their credit cards and transactions without compromising security. Tokenization also turns complex information into short, useful codes.

If you’re still not convinced about the power of FinTech to do good, don’t forget that its advocates say it may help the underbanked to become, well, more banked. Win win.

Language note: There’s tokenization and then there’s tokenism. The latter is the policy and practice of making a superficial gesture towards members of minority groups. Adding a token employee to a workforce usually is intended to create the appearance of diversity — racial, religious, sexual — and so avert accusations of discrimination. Following the Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, Channel 4 was accused of tokenism by putting the hijab-wearing Muslim Fatima Manji in the anchor’s chair.


Ben Bernanke blogs

Monday, 30 March, 2015 0 Comments

Andrew’s Burnt Out? Blogs Are, Too” wrote Ana Marie Cox on 29 January, when it emerged that Andrew Sullivan was given up blogging. Sullivan’s Dish had persisted in various forms over 13 years and THE END was seen as the final blow to a self-centered, self-publishing activity encrusted with billions of unread words. But wait: “Blogging is very much alive – we just call it something else now,” responded Mathew Ingram of GigOm two days later. The irony of this is that GigOm itself expired on 9 March.

Actually, despite the headlines, blogging continues and a new name has been added to the blogroll: Ben Bernanke, who served two terms as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the US central bank. His first post is titled “Inaugurating a new blog” and it contains this piece of modest wisdom: “I hope to educate, and I hope to learn something as well.” That’s the blogging spirit, Ben. Question: Why are interest rates so low?

Ben Bernanke blog

UPDATE: Reuters informs us that blogging, in some parts of the world, is a deadly dangerous expression of freedom: “A blogger was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Monday, the second attack in five weeks on a critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.”


Christopher Hitchens on Charlie Hebdo

Friday, 9 January, 2015 1 Comment

In February 2006, the late, much lamented Christopher Hitchens addressed the “international Muslim pogrom against the free press”. In light of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, his words are need re-reading today:

“When Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses in 1988, he did so in the hope of forwarding a discussion that was already opening in the Muslim world, between extreme Quranic literalists and those who hoped that the text could be interpreted. We know what his own reward was, and we sometimes forget that the fatwa was directed not just against him but against ‘all those involved in its publication,’ which led to the murder of the book’s Japanese translator and the near-deaths of another translator and one publisher. I went on Crossfire at one point, to debate some spokesman for outraged faith, and said that we on our side would happily debate the propriety of using holy writ for literary and artistic purposes. But that we would not exchange a word until the person on the other side of the podium had put away his gun.”


The silence of the imams

Tuesday, 10 September, 2013 1 Comment

Students of contemporary barbarism should take note of what happened to customers at the Village restaurant in Mogadishu on Saturday. Here’s the BBC report: “The Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it bombed a popular restaurant in the capital Mogadishu, killing 15 people… Run by Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who returned to the country from the UK in 2008, it was targeted by two suicide bombers last September in attacks that killed 14 people.”

As word of this appalling crime seeped out, Pope Francis was holding a “Syria peace vigil” in Rome attended by 100,000 people. “May the noise of weapons cease!” he said. “War always marks the failure of peace — it is always a defeat for humanity.” He didn’t mention the murdered Mogadishu diners directly, but he cannot be faulted for this because no imam did, either. These authority figures in the Islamic world are usually vociferous when it comes to condemning the decadence and crimes of the “West”, but they tend to be very shy about the horrific crimes being committed in the name of their own faith. And the body count from those faith killings is shocking.

In Iraq, some 4,000 people have been killed by rival Sunni and Shi’a gangs so far this year. The pot of sectarian hatred is being stirred by the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is also heavily involved in the savage Syrian civil war. It has invested heavily in the notion of an embattled Alawite regime led by Assad battling a radicalized Sunni opposition of al-Qaida terrorists because this legitimizes Teheran’s interference. Meanwhile, Turkey’s government is adding fuel to the sectarian fire, as rumors circulate that Ankara is pressing for a Sunni majority Syrian government if Assad falls. One does not need a vivid imagination to picture the butchery that would follow, should this ever be the case.

Forgotten in this gruesomeness is that fact that the Taliban have killed more than 1,300 men, women and children so far this year with car bombs, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As if that wasn’t enough, Muslims are also murdering Muslims in Pakistan, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt and the silence of the imams and mullahs regarding this carnage is deafening. Finally, there’s Yemen: “Kuwaitis have called for stringent action against a family in Yemen after their eight-year-old daughter died of internal injuries on the first night of her arranged marriage to a man more than five times her age.”

A mosque


Michael Adebolajo: The enthusiastic fundamentalist

Thursday, 23 May, 2013 0 Comments

On Saturday, 3 November 2001, the Al-Jazeera network, without demur, broadcast a rallying cry to the Muslim world that had just been issued by Osama bin Laden. “This war is fundamentally religious,” he declared. “The people of the East are Muslims. They sympathized with Muslims against the people of the West, who are the crusaders.” As the leader of al-Qaeda rambled on, alert listeners were struck by the attention he devoted to the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia. Quote:

“Let us examine the stand of the West and the United Nations in the developments in Indonesia when they moved to divide the largest country in the Islamic world in terms of population.

This criminal, Kofi Annan, was speaking publicly and putting pressure on the Indonesian government, telling it: You have 24 hours to divide and separate East Timor from Indonesia.

Otherwise, we will be forced to send in military forces to separate it by force.

The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores, and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world.”

East Timor, which is Portuguese-speaking and overwhelmingly Catholic, is no more part of the Islamic world than is Ireland, but bin Laden saw its independence as a challenge to his notion of a global Muslim state under a revived caliphate so his disciples responded on 12 October 2002 by killing 202 people (including 88 Australians) in a bombing on the island of Bali. On 19 August 2003, al-Qaeda killed UN diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello, along with 20 other members of his staff, in a hotel bombing in Baghdad. His crime? He had negotiated the independence of East Timor.

The perverted moral of the story was that if you dared challenge bin Laden’s umma, the price was indiscriminate slaughter on a grand scale.

Michael Adebolajo: The enthusiastic fundamentalist In his 3 November 2001 tour d’horizon, the psychopathic leader of al-Qaeda mentioned a country that is now very much at the centre of the investigation into the barbarity displayed yesterday in London by Michael Adebolajo. Referring to the West’s plan to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, he said, “Mass demonstrations have spread from the farthest point in the eastern part of the Islamic world to the farthest point in the western part of the Islamic world, and from Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan to the Arab world and Nigeria and Mauritania.”

And there it is: Nigeria. One of those who hacked Drummer Lee Rigby to death on a London street yesterday is Michael Adebolajo, a British citizen of Nigerian descent who became infatuated with Islamic extremism as a schoolboy. “This war is fundamentally religious,” said Osama bin Laden in 2001. The monster would be proud of his blood-stained, cleaver-wielding enthusiastic fundamentalist.


Spy Wednesday

Wednesday, 27 March, 2013 0 Comments

Today, the Wednesday before Easter, is known as “Spy Wednesday“, indicating it’s the day Judas Iscariot conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus for 30 silver coins. An ideal day, then, for an espionage thriller and our recommendation is Rip Tide by Dame Stella Rimington, the former Director General of the British security service MI5. […]

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Mentioning the “c” word

Friday, 21 September, 2012

As security forces in many Muslim countries are gearing up for a day of protests against the amateur film, Innocence of Muslims, the government of Pakistan has declared a “special day of love” for the Prophet Muhammad, and Pakistani TV is showing President Barack Obama condemning the film in ads paid for by Washington. Time […]

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No saying the unsayable in India and beyond

Friday, 3 February, 2012

Freedom of speech has changed from being a hallmark of democracy to a threat to society, at least in India, writes Kenan Malik in an essay titled To Name the Unnamable, which was prompted by the Muslim threats that prevented Salman Rushdiee from attending the recent Jaipur Literary Festival. Malik is particularly critical of the […]

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