Friday, 24 March 2017

An Islamic reformation?

Well-meaning people often seek to excuse the Islamism on show in every terror event in the West (last port of call: London) by saying that what Islam needs is a reformation. Then, the implication is, all will be sweetness and light and Islam and the West will live peacefully side by side, or even intertwined. The reference, never clearly stated, is to the Christian Reformation that occurred in the 16th century in continental Europe and the British Isles. This Reformation was a movement to recover the truths of the Bible from under the accretions of the Roman Catholic Church. It aimed to hark back to a purer form of Christianity than what prevailed at the time, which had grown in tandem with the Papacy and with widespread political power. The reference is meant to be a positive one: I mean look at how kindly Christianity has accommodated itself to the secularising world since its Reformation. Admirable! An example to be imitated! Such are the undercurrents of this stated hope for Islamic renewal.  But this is misguided, and a completely wrong interpretation of the current situation. For the reformation of Islam is before us now; it is exactly what is unfolding year in, year out in the main cities of the West. It is precisely what we try to distinguish as 'Islamism'. In many countries in the 19th and 20th centuries Islam had grown into a mellow religion with a high tolerance for secularism and for Western decadence. Islamic reformation says enough of that, thank you very much. The Al-Qaeda and Isis type of return to the Koran calls the faithful to embrace their roots in the literal origins of Islam, and rediscover its unyieldingly militaristic and terroristic DNA. When well-meaning people indulge in this reference to Christian history, they gloss over the bloodshed, violence, destruction and martyrdoms the Reformation resulted in over several decades. No doubt they can look at the ruins of any given abbey or monastery and see prettiness, rather than the desecration, despoliation and very often murder that were necessary to produce these ruins. The 21st century Jihad against the West (and indeed unreformed Muslims) is the same sort of thing. But along with subjugating the moderates within Islam itself, its stated aim is to overthrow an entire foreign civilisation, namely ours. Please let's refrain from dreaming of an Islamic reformation: we are already having it.  

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Ovaries, rosaries

Irish abortion advocates are pushing to repeal the 8th amendment which protects the rights of the unborn child. If they can do this while further weakening to influence of the Catholic Church, all the better. In the Canadian province of Québec where I come from, which also used to be very Catholic,  the push for secularism and feminism happened a few decades ago. We humans are so unoriginal in our tendencies that naturally the same sort of process is now happening in Ireland. It didn't make women happier or kinder in Québec. Greater spiritual well-being is not what happens when basic facts are suppressed or denied. Of course women are people - who is stating otherwise? But yes, we are vessels for other people. This is known as pregnancy. It's an observable fact - and an awesome one - that women have this capacity. Nothing is gained by turning it into a bogus war between the made-up opponents of people vs vessels. As for rosaries and ovaries, you would think that the rosary and the cult of Mary generally are just about the most sympathetic friends any ovary could possibly wish for, based on a woman generating the Saviour of the world and all that. But mustn't let that get in the way of a neat catchphrase or a trendy poster. 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Mighty Muir

Anyone in need of a mood boost could do worse than look up footage of GB athlete Laura Muir elegantly powering her way to European Indoor Championship gold medals this past weekend in both the 1500m and 3000m  - and almost incidentally breaking records. Also inspiring are her record-breaking performances earlier this year. The woman is on fire. And she loves animals: living an otherwise regular life, in Glasgow, studying to be a vet. You go, girl.