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THM: Questions that were never asked

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, February 14th, 2013 - 89 comments
Categories: blogs, feminism, human rights, nz first - Tags: , , ,

Thanks to stargazer at The Hand Mirror for permission to reprint this piece


questions that were never asked

since there’s no avoiding it, i thought i may as well do a post about a certain mr prosser. contrary to what it might, my post of yesterday at my own blog wasn’t actually about him. but having listened to various media interviews over the last couple of days, i’m surprised that there are a whole range of questions nobody is asking mr prosser.

given that he wrote this:

“I will not stand by while their [his daughters’] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”

i thought some of the following questions might be appropriate:

– if you are concerned about your daughters’ rights & freedoms, do you support pay equity legislation, and do you commit to bringing back the pay equity unit that was housed in the former department of labour? and what other policies will you actively pursue to reduce the gender pay gap?

– what actions have you taken to promote women’s leadership, and in particular, the very small numbers of women appointed to the boards of directors in nz private sector companies? what would you do to improve women’s participation in governance and leadership in all sectors of nz society?

– do you support greater gender balance in parliament and in cabinet? and if so, can you point to any past statements you’ve made to indicate such support?

– women’s refuge have struggled with funding in the past few years, to the extent that were relying on a donation from a pizza chain in order to function. since you’ve become an MP, what steps have you taken to increase the level of funding to providers of support services for women who are abused in their own homes?

– rape crisis centres and other services for victims of sexual violence and abuse have struggled even more in the past couple of decades. what effort are you making to ensure that sufficient funding is provided so the those who suffer from sexual violence and abuse are able to get the support they need in a timely fashion/

– did you make any public statements when ACC introduced new procedures that severely restricted the provision of services to victims of sexual violence and abuse? surely you were outraged at the huge drop in the numbers of women able to access the counselling they needed, and you would have had plenty to say about it?

– what are you views about women having the right to make decisions about their reproductive health? are you prepared to advocate for women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies?

– what changes to the justice system have you advocated to ensure greater access to justice for victims of sexual violence and abuse? more than that, how have you worked to change to our current culture which blames victims of violence for the crimes against them and where actively seeking consent is seen as being a boner-killer or akin to asking for a signed contract prior to any sexual activity? in fact, have you ever, even once, talked about rape culture and it’s destructive effects?

– how do intend to improve women’s participation in non-traditional subjects like computer programming, engineering and the like? at many high schools today, it is still common to only have 2 girls out of a class of 20 for subjects like IT programming. and one of the reasons i’ve commonly heard from young women who chose not to take them is that they don’t want to be in a class of mostly boys. a related question: how will you make the trades more accessible as a profession for women, and a safer environment for them to work in?

– have you ever used the words “feminazi”, “sisterhood” or other derogatory terms, or ever complained about the feminisation of society, particularly when writing for investigate magazine? how is it, if you care about the rights and freedoms of women, that you can bear to be published in a publication where such statements are common?

so, ok, these are just some things off the top of my head. i’m sure some of you can come up with other and better questions. but you get my point. the basic question is this: if you are concerned about the rights and freedoms of women, where is the evidence that you have in any way advocated for women’s rights and freedoms in this country? because if that is one of your basic values, then you should be widely known for it (your public advocacy that is), without anyone having to go looking.

ETA: i forgot that i also wanted to link to this piece, which says a lot of things very well. thanks to soraiya for pointing me towrards it.

89 comments on “THM: Questions that were never asked ”

  1. BLiP 1

    .

    But, but but . . . Mr Prosser has already answered all those questions, and more. Have you not read his tome “Uncommon Dissent”? In there you will find this piece of wisdowm:

    . . . New Zealand society, Western society in general, has been hijacked by a conspiracy of Silly Little Girls . . .

    . . . that is Mr Prosser’s contribution to the rights and freedom of women. Wattaguy.

    • stargazer 1.1

      yup, absolutely. julie wrote about that last year: http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2012/01/mcp-watch-richard-prosser-mp.html

      i really wish kathryn ryan had that quote when she interviewed him yesterday, though the interview was awkward enough as it was.

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 1.2

      Thanks Blip for that choice quote!

      • BLiP 1.2.1

        .

        No worries – there are many more such quotes and all provide a startling glimpse into Mr Prosser’s ability to reason. I think he might be an idiot savant satarist. One-on-one socially I imagine he’s remarkably entertaining, the first few times. Not sure if he’s read any Janet Frame or takes pride in Kate Sheppard but I don’t think he hates women as much as he likes to say outlandish things. Reminds me a lot of John Key . . . I mean, c’mon, ladies, you could at least make the effort to look a little like Liz Hurley. Just try it.

  2. karol 2

    Excellent post. Read it earlier on THM and was meaning to comment on it on open mike.

    There’s a long history of anti-feminist types suddenly pulling the gender equality card out of the hat when being critical of Muslims. I think Bush Jr and his team did it quite a bit, too.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Fundamentalists of any religion are always misogynist bastards. Islam has gone through a rather bad period of it over the last several hundred years and because of this most Westerners have a very narrow view of the religion itself. This is hardly just Prosser’s fault.

    You have to recall that in the period roughly from 700 to at least 1300 AD the Islamic Empire was the model of a liberal, enlightened and tolerant society … within the context of the era. While the Christian world was riven with ignorance and violence. Anyone want to forget the burning of witches?

    The problem is not Islam, but a power-hungry clergy who has distorted the religion for their own purposes. Combined with a wide-spread, pre-existing Middle-Eastern ‘honour culture’, fundamentalist Islam has proven a perverse and toxic cocktail. Most especially for women.

    I think it’s quite fair to state this. The values of the Taliban are not those we can in any shape or form endorse or even tolerate.

    The problem is of course when ill-informed characters like Prosser wade into this debate as he did … all he does is stir up more confusion and enmity. He was wrong and I’ll give him a little credit for making a full retraction and apology. (I’ll leave it to others to judge whether you think it was a sincere one or not.)

    There is a complex story here; and I’m uncomfortable seeing it told in simplistic shades of black and white.

    • stargazer 3.1

      you’re missing the point of the post RL. if a person holds himself out to be someone that cares about the rights of women (as mr prosser did yet again on radio yesterday), then surely he should care about the rights of all women? and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask about his actions and published words. especially when, given the quote in comments above, it appears he’s not so concerned about rights of women in the west, and even seems to think they have too many rights.

      that’s the point of this post.

      • One Tāne Huna 3.1.1

        +1

        Prosser’s crocodile tears for Muslim women further expose his bad faith.

      • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 3.1.2

        It doesn’t hurt for fervent womens righters to think around the subject of women and Islam. Understanding of the background to it all can only be of advantage. Knowledge is power, certainly women need to have wide knowledge and understanding. Being narrowly focussed only on one point of view isn’t the point of feminism.

    • Dr Terry 3.2

      RedLogix. Please update yourself on rather recent Taliban positions and statements. Leader, Mullah Omar, has very clearly endorsed the intention of making good provision for women and providing quality education for members of both sexes. But I will leave it for you to do the research (which I have done),

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Now that’s interesting. Funny how the US is quite OK with the Saudi treatment of women…

      • Psycho Milt 3.2.2

        Leader, Mullah Omar, has very clearly endorsed the intention of making good provision for women and providing quality education for members of both sexes.

        You bet the vile, murderous, anti-civilisation piece of shit has said that and a bunch of other platitudes intended as negotiation fodder. If he gets a chance to have his brave lads return Afghanistan to the 8th Century again, you’ll get to see just how much those endorsements are worth.

      • RedLogix 3.2.3

        Dr Terry,

        If Mulla Omar’s words translate into a liberal transformation of Islamic world then I will the first to welcome them.

        In the meantime they do have a rather appalling track record to overcome ….

    • Rogue Trooper 3.3

      well, i like RL’s “point” better

  4. Vinscreen Viper 4

    “Merchants, teachers and workers say that two men tried to kill a young schoolgirl on a bus in the middle of the day. Their target was Malala Yousufzai. During the Taliban’s rule, the 14-year-old girl had written a blog about the horrors of everyday life under the extremists for the BBC’s website. Since then, she has publicly championed girls’ right to education. Yousufzai was shot in the head and shoulder. Two other passengers on the bus were wounded, one severely.

    A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban “told reporters that Yousufzai is a “symbol of Western culture” and was propagating it in a Pashtun area. “She is against Islam and spreads secular thoughts,” he said. He also added that, if she survives, she will remain a target for assassination — as well as her family and, in particular, her father, who runs a private school in the Swat Valley. “According to Islamic law,” he said, “whoever acts against Islam must be killed.” The girl’s shooting, he said, is a “warning to all young people involved in similar activities that they will likewise become targets if they don’t stop.”

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/attack-on-schoolgirl-in-pakistan-sparks-fears-of-resurgent-taliban-a-861055.html

    Prosser – ““I will not stand by while their [his daughters’] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”

    No, you would have done better to have stood by and kept your head down like the rest of us.

    • Vinscreen Viper 4.1

      ““According to Islamic law,” he said, “whoever acts against Islam must be killed.”

      Don’t believe this? From the Qur’an,

      Surah 5.33

      The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,

      Surah 5.34

      Except those who repent before you have them in your power; so know that Allah is Forgiving, “

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Exodus 35:2

        Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day it shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever does work on it shall be put to death.

        Hope you’ve never worked through a Saturday night or Sunday before, any Christians you know are going to put you in for the chop.

      • just saying 4.1.2

        Interesting handle VW.
        I remember when you were discussing it on open-mike.
        I mention it, because I’ve found you to be worthy of respect in the past, but I’m wondering about the ethics of how you are conducting yourself in this conversation.

    • stargazer 4.2

      you quote the taliban and yet you conveniently forget to mention the vigils held by muslims across the globe for her; the expressions of sadness and anger; the importance of education for girls and women emphasised by many muslim leaders and scholars. you can’t even be bothered to mention the huge level of support she has received in pakistan, both from the general population and her government.

      thanx for doing exactly what mr prosser did. it doesn’t reflect well on you, and yes, you would have been better to keep your head down rather than displaying your ignorance like this.

      • Vinscreen Viper 4.2.1

        I am very aware of the vigils held and the very genuine support for her in the Islamic world. I chose not to mention them as I assumed everyone was aware of it, and because it is not relevant to my central argument.

        Islam is a legal system, its laws set out in the Qur’an and its commentaries. I have had as little to do with it as possible yet I have been unable to escape some exposure to it. As such it is my understanding that even NoseViper’s average town muslim cannot decide for himself what those laws are, any more than you and I can decide for ourselves what the laws set out in New Zealand Statutes mean. ‘Interpretation’ of the Qur’an and its meaning is a matter for Mullahs and Imams, and if the particular Mullah or Imam leading your community decides that advocating education for girls amounts to ‘making mischief in the land’ you are not only free to murder any young girl doing so, you are required to by your faith. If you don’t like it you have to live with it, or try to find another community with a Mullah or Imam who takes a different interpretation. Be aware, though, that expressing a different interpretation of the Qur’an from your local Mullah could very easily be regarded as apostasy, for which the penalty is death – Surah II. 214. (It’s this ‘law’ that underlies the appallingly vicious and merciless warfare between Shi’a and Sunni, with each regarding the other as apostate.)

        And another of those laws is Surah 5.33.

        To misquote Malvolio: “Some people are born stupid, some achieve stupidity and some have stupidity thrust upon them.” To my mind Creationists and Christian fundamentalists – unless born stupid – have achieved stupidity and I have little time or respect for them. Similarly I take the view that anyone who believes a rambling set of laws appropriate to a c.7th Middle Eastern nomadic society is the verbatim and untouchable word of God dictated to a camel-driver applicable to all times and all places and all peoples has achieved stupidity, and I will not have that stupidity thrust upon me. Yet even such stupidities as the wanton destruction of the Buddhas of Banyan or the attempted destruction of the library in Timbuktu (and the very real destruction of Alexandria’s libraries by the Christians) does thrust their stupidity on me – as does the fact that I now have to submit at airports to full-body scans which display me naked, interrogation, pat-downs, early arrival and the inconvenience of not being able to take most of what I want and need for the flight onto an aircraft with me.

        Neither will I sit back and say that my modern liberal tolerance of other people’s faiths require me to smile condescendingly at the horrors these Muslims – and they are Muslims just as the Crusaders who slaughtered tens of thousands in the cities they took or the Questioners of the Spanish Inquisition were devout Christians – are inflicting on their societies.

        • stargazer 4.2.1.1

          please stop with the “you and i”. i’m a muslim. a muslim woman no less. you might have had as little to do as possible with islam, which makes the idea that you think you can educate me about my own religion – which i have had plenty to do with over a lifetime – is just a little bit of a joke, don’t you think?

          the number of things you are wrong about in this one comment is quite an amazing achievement on your part. but i expect you’re not actually interested in anything i have to say, being so firmly convinced that you you have so much to tell us all.

          • Vinscreen Viper 4.2.1.1.1

            I use ‘I’ because these are my views and mine alone.

            The ‘You’ I used in my initial reply was intended to be a rhetorical reply to Mr. Prosser’s written statement.

            Where I am wrong please educate me.

            • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.1.1

              You cannot pour more water into a cup which is already full.

            • stargazer 4.2.1.1.1.2

              well said CV 🙂

              VV, given that i have a limited number of hours to my day, i have to choose carefully how i spend them. i could have spent it trying to educate you, but i would rather spend it writing a post on the disestablishment of the position of race relations commissioner. so i did that instead.

              but really, i’m bemused that someone who fully admits to not knowing much about a subject has so very many words to say on it in such an authoritative and demanding tone, and as if you are some kind of expert. no, you continue with your disdain sir, and continue to ignore the substance of my post. while you have been very vocal about muslims around the world, you have had very little to say (actually, nothing at all) about the very real issues faced by women living in this country. as i said to you above, very much like mr prosser.

              • Colonial Viper

                stargazer 🙂

                Interesting how the Zen way has correlations with the Islamic approach of looking at things.

                And certainly quite different from the way modern intellectual materialism approaches the world.

              • Hey Stargazer

                Funny how you had plenty of time to respond to all these positive comments agreeing with you, but the moment somebody posts something critical, hey, suddenly there’s this big letter to the Race Relations Commissioner you’ve got to write.

                Sorry in advance if I don’t comment further in this thread today, I’m off being a human shield in Gaza. CAN YOU SAY THE SAME?!?!?!?!

                • stargazer

                  really? i’ve responded to every single positive comment, and i’ve not responded at all to a single negative comment in this thread? excuse me while i pick myself off the floor from laughing.

                  also, lucky for me that i don’t need your approval regarding how i choose to spend my time.

          • Rogue Trooper 4.2.1.1.2

            😉

  5. Dr Terry 5

    I much fear that we (Westerners) continue to take isolated incidents by which to condemn the entirety of Islamic belief and culture. Suggestion: refer speech by President Hamid Karzai made quite recently at a conference in Cairo, Egypt. Karzai is far from an “ideal” for Islam or for Afghanistan, but he is no fool. This speech deserves to be read thoughtfully by everybody outside of the Islamic way of life.

    • Vinscreen Viper 5.1

      Just as those who took ‘isolated incidents’ such as Kristallnacht in 1938 Germany as a warning of what was brewing, and were shouted down as condemning the entirety of German belief and culture because of the actions of a few extremists. Well maybe they were, but a whole nation of good Germans were sufficiently intimidated by it to remain silent and keep their heads down, with consequences we all know.

      Until I learn that “Islamic belief and culture” has unequivocably and universally declared Surah 5.33 to be anathema and replaced it with something more tolerant I will hold there to be something rotten at the core of it. Something most Moslems might not like, might be able to ignore and manoeuvre around the way Christians turn a blind eye to some of the more repulsive exhortations of their own Holy Book, but a spot of rot at the heart of it with the potential to spread corruption none the less.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Be careful not to become the agent of hate you claim to abhor

      • McFlock 5.1.2

        Funnily enough, I doubt the vast majority of christians believe they should avoid shrimp and stone witches, or that they have the right to kill disobedient kids. But show me where christianity has unequivocally and universally declared exodus and leviticus to be bunk?

        • Psycho Milt 5.1.2.1

          True – but then, the vast majority of Christians don’t believe those instructions were personally dictated to Jesus by God as literal commands for everybody on the planet to follow.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1.1

            Neither the vast majority of the Christians – or of the Muslims for that matter – are the problem here.

      • Instauration 5.1.3

        What was brewing was a demand for a “Sorting Hat” endeavour that would qualify those claimants of the Balfour decreed Right of Return against an equation of “racial purity” and demonstrable worth of Patriation to the “Promised Land” – else “Work will set you free”
        The Zionist whim!

    • I don’t buy into Prosser’s blanket stereotyping of Muslims as hateful autocrats, but I have to say that Dr Karzai actually is a hateful autocrat, who just happens to be a Muslim.

  6. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 6

    vinscreen viper 4

    No, you would have done better to have stood by and kept your head down like the rest of us.

    Don’t include me in your inclusive package of NZs thinking that all Muslims deserve derision and Prosser’s comments. Like Paul Holmes with his ‘cheeky darkie’ comment, the Prosser tosser wants to say what he likes, and it suits him to appear to be defending western woman’s rights..

    The Muslims in the villages in Pakistan and in other countries, tend to be harsh on controlling women, very strict and often arbitrary in applying their own versions of the Law. They do not behave the same as the average town Muslim. It is very hard for women to progress since the west has been involved in their society though because of the hostility to the west’s invasion of the country and the culture.

    Dr Terry I think that anything the head of the Taliban says about what he and the heads of their religion are going to allow girls and women to do, is likely to be seen only in the towns.

  7. Vinscreen Viper 7

    ” tend to be harsh on controlling women” – NoseViper

    ?

    Read:

    http://home.mtholyoke.edu/~mvcarmac/women2.html

    if you haven’t had your tea yet.

    These things are done in the name of Islam – and if you choose to read the Qur’an in a certain way are all proper and authorised down to shooting 14-year-old girls in the head on buses because they think girls should have an education.

    But hey – it’s only ignorant country Muslims doing this so that’s OK.

    I wouldn’t say what Prosser said, but that’s only because I have a better vocabularly and perhaps a higher IQ, but I agree wholeheartedly with the gist of what he said.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      You may have a higher IQ, but not so high that you have a problem with tarring 1.5B muslims with the same terrorist brush. It seems ignorance comes in many forms.

      • Vinscreen Viper 7.1.1

        I do not believe 1.5 Billion Muslims are terrorists.

        I do believe that if 1.4999 Billion Muslims said, “Hey, maybe Surah 5.33, and Surah II. 214 should be reconsidered and recast into something more in line with modern thinking about people’s personal beliefs,” quite a lot of the horror currently going on the the world would become history.

        Unfortunately Islam also teaches that the Qur’an is an infallible text, one that is certainly true and is something that can be safely relied on. Hence to change Surah 5.33 and Surah II. 214 would be to destroy the entire edifice overnight and is therefore not going to happen.

        Was the average German shopkeeper in Berlin responsible for what went on in Bergen-Belsen? Is the average Muslim responsible for what is going on in Talibanland?

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 7.2

      VV
      I repeat what CV said at 6 1 1
      Be careful not to become the agent of hate you claim to abhor

      Self-righteous anger is an indulgence. What must restrain us is to remember that we are part of the human race and we know from history (recorded) that terrible things are done by humans, we have the potential to go along with cruelty even if we don’t commit it. So self-righteousness can lead to an excess of punitive behaviour to the offender. Then the balance of righteousness tips away from you. Be aware of your own faults and temper your judgment and anger.

  8. Murray Olsen 8

    I’ve supervised two female Muslim students for their MSc degrees, one from Iran and one from Saudi Arabia. The Iranian one was far more “western” in her outlook, taking pretty much the same view of the Koran as many Christians take of the Bible. The Saudi one, while she was required to cover her face at home, uncovered it here because she said covering it made more people look at her. She also didn’t want to learn to drive because she said her husband would just send her out shopping more if she drove. Both of them said their families and friends supported their becoming more educated, and both had scholarships from their governments.

    If I were to believe half of what I read about Muslim women in the western press, these two would have been figments of my imagination. I also have male Muslim friends who treat women as equals, or at least as much as most Kiwi males do. I think a lot of the misogyny and ill treatment of women comes from tribal cultures that predate Islam. As with all religions, those who do what we consider wrong can always find excuses for it in their scriptures. I don’t know where our members of parliament get their excuses from, maybe Prosser and Tamihere could enlighten us.

    • gobsmacked 8.1

      Ditto, Murray.

      I’ve taught hundreds of Muslim students over the years. The vast majority were a delight to teach. A handful were tossers, like the handful of Maori/Pakeha/Chinese etc tossers (mind you, the tossers of all races and religions were nearly always male, so maybe that’s the real problem – oops, I’ve gone all feminist – Prosser will be pleased!).

      Let’s face it, the best way to be prejudiced against Muslims is not to connect with them, except as telly tropes. Some obviously like that ignorance, it’s comforting and undemanding.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Prosser/Vinscreen (and a fair few others on Kiwiblog etc) are classic cases of conveniently defining “other” to suit their prejudices.

    Crimes committed against Muslims are never committed by Us. But crimes committed by Muslims are always committed by Them.

    So the mass murder of Muslims at Srebrenica wasn’t by Our Lot, nor was every other atrocity from the Crusades to drones, from centuries of Christian history to Iraq and Afghanistan today. It was done by Some Other Lot, who we don’t want to get lumped in with. We’ll call them extremists, not like Us. Convenient, eh?

    But any and every crime committed “in the name of Islam” is by Muslims – and all of them can share the stigma.

    This is the logic of the bigot.

    • Instauartion 9.1

      Like the Western “wrong side of History” sanctions imposed on Iraq in Aug 1990. They persisted for + twelve years, and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents.

  10. Vinscreen Viper 10

    Gobsmacked

    “But any and every crime committed “in the name of Islam” is by Muslims – and all of them can share the stigma. This is the logic of the bigot.”

    No. It’s the question I posed above regarding the Berlin shopkeeper’s responsibility for Bergen-Belsen – a question with far wider ramifications and fundamental to ethics.

    No single German shopkeeper could have stopped Bergen-Belsen. Every single German shopkeeper could have. So part of the blame for Bergen-Belsen rests with every single German shopkeeper?

    “The abuse of Māori by past governments is well documented involving not only land theft and illegal confiscations but numerous human rights abuses including racial discrimination, murder, armed aggression, and illegal incarceration. If reconciliation between Māori and Pākehā is an important part of nation building then an apology would seem to be in order.”

    “But any and every crime committed [against Maori] is by [Pakeha] – and all of them can share the stigma. This is the logic of the bigot.”

    I stated above that I believe the Muslim Community – not individual Moslems but all of them – could put a stop to the Taliban and “Islamic Fundamentalism” horrors like Mali &tc. by repudiating the parts of the Qur’an that enable them. I also stated above why I believe the Muslim Community won’t do that. If you have the power to do something to stop evil but do not exercise that power are you not also evil?

    • Instauartion 10.1

      And the Western Community can “put a stop” to the Western horrors imposed upon Muslims. Those Westerners who can contribute to the prevention of these horrors – but don’t, are Evil.

      • Vinscreen Viper 10.1.1

        That is the logical sequitur. And I do what little I can to prevent those horrors, by voting for political parties that don’t support ‘foreign adventures’, by supporting in a small way those charities who do what they can do clean up the mess – when they are allowed to by, ah well, we won’t go into that – and adding my little voice to organisations that take such a stand.

        On the other hand, of course, the West’s intervention in Afghanistan – and France’s intervention into Mali – was at least ostensibly to free the citizens of those benighted countries from the horrors of the Taliban and Islamic Fundamentalism which raises yet more fascinating moral questions.

        And let it not be overlooked that a substantial conribution to the horror that was Iraq was the ensuing conflict between Shi’a and Sunni which the West’s intervention enabled.

  11. Instauration 11

    Iraq sanctions do really put the concerns of 11/09/2001 into perspective, “911” was big – but the impact of the sanctions were horrendously bigger!

    • the pigman 11.1

      Whilst I sympathise with where you’re coming from, please don’t be so casual about causally linking the impact of sanctions on Iraq to the acts of 11/09/2001. It’s a little flippant.

      • Instauration 11.1.1

        Respectfully – Mr Pigman
        Me be Flippant or Cognitively Dissonant ? – rather the former/

  12. Lloyd 12

    Stone age religion?

    Where did Damascus steel come from?

    • Vinscreen Viper 12.1

      And is what is currently happening in Damascus the West’s fault?

      You could ask where the concept of zero came from, but I’m not quite sure what the point is you’re trying to make. If it’s that Islam at one time allowed free scientific enquiry I won’t argue, but so did Ancient Greece with its Pantheon of Nature Gods. China under its peculiar eclectic collection of religions contrived to invent gunpowder, the compass, paper and printing. An oppressively Christianised Britain managed to invent the steam engine and kick off the Industrial Revolution. Galileo might have some interesting views on religion and science as might John Thomas Scopes but by and large religion and science have managed to ignore each other reasonably well.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Sounds like you accept that Islam has been a leading light of social enlightenment and scientific inquiry in the recent past (last 1000 years).

        • Vinscreen Viper 12.1.1.1

          I would prefer to say that, unlike Roman Catholicism, Islam hasn’t been too much of a hindrance to scientific enquiry, nor indeed social enlightenment unless you happen to be a woman.

          • tracey 12.1.1.1.1

            which is about half the population 😉

            This is about people’s (some) inability to judge a person by their action alone. The need to label people and put them in a box is diversive and ignorant.

            Mr Prosser (rhymes with…) thought he was above the law regarding banned objects on planes. He was called on it. The fact they let him get away with it numerous times before simply means he was being treated exceptionally and unlike the average person. To be so (sadly) attached to a knife is scary. To react this way because he was subject to the law of the land is scary. It makes me wonder how much of every day he is walking around tight as a screw restraining himself from letting his usual thoughts out?

            Given he is an MP with the attendant perks, I am surprised he ever needs to use his knife when away from home.

            Almost worse than the carefully written article (carefully, as in considered and not spur of the moment) is the excuses he is now peddling.

            That the political journalists and fellow MPs dont think this is a sackable offensive speaks volumes about their collective ethics also. Sacking him does not remove his right to speak freely. Let him speak freely but not from the tax payer funded platform he is now using.

            • Vinscreen Viper 12.1.1.1.1.1

              “This is about people’s (some) inability to judge a person by their action alone.” – Tracey.

              I prefer to say ‘this’ (in the sense of the subject of the thread) is about rights of free speech.

              “The need to label people and put them in a box is diversive and ignorant.”

              In my opinion people who subscribe to organised religions put themselves in a box with a lable.

              “Mr Prosser (…) thought he was above the law regarding banned objects on planes.”

              I’m not sure he saw himself as being above the law. What I’ve heard and read of his complaint is that he resents the fact that the actions of a very few resulted in the imposition of inconvenient and largely unnecessary laws restricting the rights and freedoms of the many.

              “It makes me wonder how much of every day he is walking around tight as a screw restraining himself from letting his usual thoughts out?”

              And do we not wonder if there might be a disconnect between what John Key says and what he thinks? Except when he is having a cup of tea. And not only John Key, of course.

              “That the political journalists and fellow MPs dont think this is a sackable offensive speaks volumes about their collective ethics also.”

              You are right. This is a matter of ethics. Perhaps political journalists and fellow MPs still hold to the idea that “I might not agree with what you say but (unless it’s actually illegal) I will defend your right to say it.” Or is that one of these Western, secular concepts 14-year-old girls deserve to be shot in the head for having.

              “Let him speak freely but not from the tax payer funded platform he is now using.”

              He did not make his comments from a taxpayer funded platform. He was yesterday denied to right to speak to explain himself and his views in that very taxpayer funded platform which declared: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.” (s.14 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990)

              • Colonial Viper

                Sorry mate hate speech against religious groups doesn’t count.

                • Vinscreen Viper

                  Closing down the right of free speech is something you need to be very, very careful about.

                  Yes, in his column in the “Enquirer”, which I haven’t read, Prosser appears to have been deliberately offensive in his terminolgy. Do you believe what he wrote sufficient to found a prosecution under s.25 Race Relations Act 1971? If you do bring a private prosecution. Personally I don’t believe you would be successful on a number of grounds, amongst which is the fact that religious belief is quite deliberately excluded from s25 as a subject for “inciting hostility..” etc. – probably because there are religions which will respond quite violently to what most rational people would regard as no more than mild criticism, but also because while New Zealand respects a person’s right to believe what he wants, it also requires that person to repect the rights of others to challenge it.

                  For myself I would accept that what Prosser wrote was just a poor journalist’s attempt at gaining attention by ‘shocking’ his readership, and letting off a little spleen along the way. He clearly misjudged the response he would get, but it falls a long way short of a deliberate attempt to incite hatred. In short I would attribute it to idiocy rather than malice.

                  In any case do you really think the feelings of a bunch of characters who think nothing a flogging a woman with 100 lashes simply for walking beside a man she was not related to, burying homosexuals alive and lopping the hands of thieves would be hurt by the inane comments of hack journalist in a New Zealand Magazine?

                  I might not agree with what Prosser said but as I believe it was not actually illegal I will defend his right to say it – a right I believe in anyway but enshrined in the Bill of Rights. You, though, refuse him that right because you don’t agree with him – as did Parliament yesterday. I believe Parliament was wrong and mob-led where it is the duty of Parliament to protect minorities, even minorities of one, and respect the rights it has granted.

                  Moreover I am disappointed to come across this ‘shut him him up because I don’t agree with him’ attitude on a Left Wing blog.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I appreciate you being such a stalwart constitutional defender of racists with bad judgement, as I’m sure they do too.

                    Now, why don’t you put some effort into protecting the wellbeing and freedom from oppression of the thousands of NZ muslims living in this country.

                    • Vinscreen Viper

                      “I appreciate you being such a stalwart constitutional defender of racists…” – CV

                      “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
                      Because I was not a Socialist.

                      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
                      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

                      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
                      Because I was not a Jew.

                      Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”

                      -Martin Niemoller.

                      “Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.” – Hamlet

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      Quoting Pastor Niemöller is the last refuge of a scoundrel. No, wait…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hi VV

                      Do you even know who was being persecuted here?

                      Lemme clue you in: Prosser is not the fucking victim in this scenario, he’s the perp

                    • Vinscreen viper

                      Let me get this straight CV.

                      Prosser gratuitously and clumsily insults a gang of thugs who use religion as an excuse for the most sickening barbarities and we label him a racist, send him to Coventry, deny him his legally enshrined right to speak to the matter, refuse to let him apologise, demand his resignation, insult him with obscenities and generally act like gang of bullies. Right?

                      Remind me. Who was it who told me to: “Be careful not to become the agent of hate you claim to abhor”?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      yeah I guess?

                      Because if you were serious about the problem of militant islamic radicalisation you’d denounce Prosser too, for setting any serious discussion on the topic well backwards.

                    • McFlock

                      Prosser gratuitously and clumsily insults a gang of thugs who use religion as an excuse for the most sickening barbarities and we label him a racist,

                      Nope.
                      He insulted everyone who shared a religion or came from the Middle East based on a very small percentage of either population.. That’s what makes him a racist.

                      As opposed to people who want HIM to answer for HIS statements, statements that bring his employer (the entire nation of New Zealand) ) into disrepute.

                    • Daveosaurus

                      … The irony of quoting Niemoller to justify your support of Prosser’s bigoted ravings is overwhelming. Maybe if, eighty to a hundred years ago, more people had been willing to administer a rhetorical kicking to the Prossers of this world, Niemoller wouldn’t have had to try to articulate his wrestling with his conscience on account of six million dead “Other”.

                      I personally do not intend to be put in the spot of having to start off such a statement with “First they came for the Muslims…”; and if Prosser’s career and reputation is collateral damage for doing so, then so be it.

          • stargazer 12.1.1.1.2

            “Islam hasn’t been too much of a hindrance to scientific enquiry, nor indeed social enlightenment unless you happen to be a woman.”

            and you thereby erase the work of millions of muslim women around the world in the past and the present. you erase the achievements of nobel prize winners shirin ebadi and tawakkul karman. you erase the existence of women leaders such as benazir bhutto (prime minister of pakistan) and khaleda zia (prime minister of bangladesh. you ignore the efforts of fawzia koofi, presidential candidate in afghanistan for the second time running. you’re denying the existence and influence of muslim women leaders in history, such as razia sultan and the empress nur jahan. you erase the exitence of the multitude of muslim scientists working across the globe both in the east and the west. and the muslim women activists who are putting their well-being on the line every to day to, for example, fight against female genital cutting in northern africa or fight for the right to drive in saudi arabia.

            you have erased the existence and achievements of all of these millions of wonderful muslim just as effectively as any backward mullah would have. congratualations for sounding pretty much like the people who you claim to despise.

            and i have to wonder yet again why you have so many words to say on a topic about which you are so clearly ignorant.

            • Vinscreen Viper 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Like ColonialViper you seem unable to grasp the possibility that I can hate cancer while loving a friend who is dying of it. I loath Roman Catholicism while being perfectly well able to be friends and have relationships with Roman Catholics. I would find it abhorrent to vote for the National Party, but am quite happy to share a drink and a joke and work of various local projects – and even discuss politics – with those I know do.

              I loath Islam, but have nothing against Moslems* unless they prove themselves loathsome by, for example, creating societies which require ” muslim women activists who are putting their well-being on the line every to day to, for example, fight against female genital cutting in northern africa or fight for the right to drive in saudi arabia.” Or who are preapred to kill of 14-year-old girls – and all their family – just because they want to have an education.

              Women like Benazir Bhutto and Malala Yousufzai are astonishing. That says nothing to me about Islam. To claim as you seem to be doing that many Muslem woman are astonishing because they risk their lives standing up against the oppression of women, ‘female circumcision’, for the right to drive and all the rest – and let me add the them the women of the Kabul Knitting Circle – says a huge amount to me about the courage and fortitude of Moslem women. But it also says a lot to me about the religion that requires that courage and fortitude of them.

              *Qualification. I could wish they would think themselves free of it, but unless they wanted to talk with me about it would never seek to ‘unevanglise’ them as it’s none of my business.

              • RedLogix

                You’re making a common mistake. The literal interpretation of scripture is almost always the least significant meaning of the text. The prime domain of religion is the abstract, figurative and philosophic. At the very core of religion lies an unknowable essence our minds cannot grasp, paradoxes we can never definitely answer.

                Yet a religious community exists in this world, and in order to function it needs laws, institutions, leaders and customs. These are solely a matter of contingency.

                For this reason all religions have two aspects; the external and non-essential and the inner eternal core of truth.

                Fundamentalists centre their understanding of the religion on the outward, literal and non-essential aspects of religion. Which is why for instance they get stuck on laws, rituals and customs which have long, long outlived their original meaning or purpose.

                • NoseViper (The Nose knows)

                  RedLogix
                  +1

                • Vinscreen Viper

                  I came across the following comment:

                  “Religion universally breaks into three levels: an elite level that is concerned with the nature of reality and similar questions of truth, a popular level usually following a figurehead teaching a moral and social code, and a folk level concerned with ritual, prayer, spells, etc.”

                  I would agree with this in regard to many Eastern traditions and, in the West, as to the popular and folk levels. The elite-level observation is appropriate to Christianity, except that the Christian elite seems intent on pursuing the nature of reality and truth independently of any input from science, despite its doing exactly the same. I do not know if such an elite level still exists in Islam, although it clearly once did.

                  RedLogix, I’m not sure of your point, and what you regard as ‘my common mistake’. If you are saying that I shouldn’t blame ‘Islam” for what a small minority do in its name because they’ve misunderstood or misread it or are taking it too literally, I can’t agree. Fortunately Christianity no-longer burns witches and heretics but Islam has defined itself as the infallable, unchallengeable words of God and if those words can legalistically be twisted to permit the murder of anyone for offending some ordinance any murder done under the cover of that interpretation can to my mind be attributed to the word of God.

                  Yes, you can argue that “wage war against Allah and his Messenger” in Surah 5.33 only refers to formal military aggression as per a Crusade, but if the Mullah down the road declares that it includes putting up a web-site challenging the authenticity of the Qur’an, who is right? I have no idea what “making mischief in the land” is in the original Arabic let alone what a 7th Century Arab would have understood by it, but it would appear to me to be able to made to cover whatever sin you like.

                  NoseViper, I don’t know what stargazer wants me to say. The only thing I would disagree with her over is any suggestion that Moslem women are better than the women of any other religion just because they’re Moslem, but I don’t think she’s saying that.

                  • RedLogix

                    Fortunately Christianity no-longer burns witches and heretics but Islam has defined itself as the infallable, unchallengeable words of God and if those words can legalistically be twisted to permit the murder of anyone for offending some ordinance any murder done under the cover of that interpretation can to my mind be attributed to the word of God.

                    True … but for much of it’s history Christianity did. As did Judaism.

                    My point is simple. All religion go through phases, some of them markedly more fundamentalist and literal than others. Only extremist fundamentalist, orthodox adherents take every word of the Bible literally these days. Unfortunately, and on this I agree with you, a large portion of the Islamic population does take the Koran literally.

                    That’s not because of Islam, but because of the politics of the religion. I think it very worthwhile and useful to make the distinction.

                    • Vinscreen Viper

                      “That’s not because of Islam, but because of the politics of the religion.”

                      To my mind that’s a distinction without a difference

                      But I take your broader point and concur.

                • Rogue Trooper

                  Yep!

  13. oh really VV. and yet you are prepared to make throwaway comments that erase the work of muslim women, who are not “astonishing” but just every day women around the world who continue doing their thing with very little acknowledgement and very much casual contempt in the narratives spread around by people like you. it is only after my comment above yours that you could even be bothered to admit that we exist, we have agency and we contribute in a vast number of ways. in fact you haven’t even managed to do the latter two points at all – you haven’t yet been able to bring yourself to acknowledge the women scientists, engineers, philosophers, artists, and so on. you haven’t yet been able to acknowledge our existance as whole human beings, as just people. nor have you been able to acknowledge that for a large number of muslim women, our contributions are made because of our religious faith, not inspite of it. it is because of my faith that i am involved in the various NGOs i work with in this country, working to improve the lives of muslims and non-muslims, women and men, and society as a whole.

    and i’m done wasting my time with you. i know there’s nothing i’m going to say that will change your thinking, and i’m sure i’ve done enough to show clearly just arrogant, patronising and condescending your views are. and just remember, we muslim women don’t need people like you white-knighting for us. we are capable and much stronger than you’re willing to admit, and no, that’s not just the few i’ve named, and no, it’s not in any way astonishing.

  14. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 14

    More heat than light you arguers. Probably if you stopped and looked you would find you agree generally, differing on the emphasis on certain points.

  15. well, this should certainly make mr prosser and any supporters of his happy: http://newsok.com/cair-officials-man-sentenced-to-life-without-air-travel/article/3754641

    i believe this is exactly what he was wanting, so be at peace sir. your wish has been granted, in this one case at least. no doubt there are other such cases.

  16. Huginn 16

    Meanwhile, from a Muslim man:

    “Everyone plays a role in society. Seventy per cent of graduates are women, 65 per cent of women are part of the government, and 30 per cent are leaders already.

    “Women work hard and achieve more, they have a brighter future. We have plans for women, and the men should watch out, for the women will take their positions.”

    Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cheering on the role of Emirati women earlier this week

  17. Instauration 17

    Crikey!
    No wonder those who worshipped the Crusaders felt the ground shake beneath them.

  18. Instauration 18

    Does Pakistan have a representative Sporting team (maybe cricket) called the “Jihadists” ?

  19. Instauration 19

    Crikey;
    No wonder – those who worshipped the “Crusaders” felt the ground shake beneath them!

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