My email on the opening of the mosque, sent to friends on December 7, 2014:
- The day was fine, the occasion pleasant. I reached Taihape at 11am – well in time for the official opening of the mosque at 11.30am. I was a little surprised by the number of police in attendance, though this should not have come as a surprise as the founder of the Ad-Deen Taihape Islamic Trust, Saifudin Abu (in white, in the third photo on my website), is a local policeman. After a set of excellent posters – bought from the United States at a cost of $US600 – was put up in the prayer room, we moved in dribs and drabs to a nearby hall – the venue for the inevitable speechifying. Needless to say, all the speakers stressed the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace line (which is true, but needs to be qualified). If your Islam is a quietistic, apolitical Islam, which attempts to distance itself from all those nasty things happening overseas, you would have been completely satisfied with, even uplifted by, the proceedings. The only remark that made me raise an eyebrow came from a local councillor, who rattled off a list of New Zealand’s achievements, in the past few years, in the field of social legislation. Among these was “equality in marriage”. He didn’t elaborate on the point, which led me to assume he was referring to the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 – the legislation that opened the door to “same-sex marriage”. Not exactly the kind of law that Islam can reconcile itself with. But as I said, everything was thoroughly pleasant, with lots of praise for the initiative of Saifudin Abu, the role of the police as our impartial protector, and the big, happy family that is New Zealand.
The opening of the mosque made the national television news the next day:
Israel preparing for war against Hezbollah
It's an interesting acknowledgement of Israel's preparations for its next war, which can be expected as soon as an opportune moment arises. Ideally, of course, Israel would like the Assad regime in Syria — the link between Hezbollah and Iran in the "Axis of Resistance" — to be removed first, and replaced by some of those phantasmagoric "moderate Muslims" — in reality, plump apostates, fresh from the Christian Zionist lecture circuit, who are ever eager to do the West's bidding.
The advertisement also presents an interesting juxtaposition of the words "war" and "peace" by someone who is either unaware of its Orwellian overtones, or who is consciously committed to the New World Order's "war is peace" propaganda. Long forgotten is Operation Peace for Galilee — Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon that, far from bringing peace, simply replaced a weak enemy with a strong one (i.e. the PLO with Hezbollah).
The line that is repeatedly put to the public is, "The past is irrelevant. The next application of force will be unprecedented in its scope and severity, and will definitely do the trick." As Barack Obama said in 2009, in what might be described as the catchcry of the new millennium,"...we need to look forward [not] backwards". Presumably, the sooner we have compulsory amnesia, the better.
The "war is peace" meme can also be found, in various forms, in the corporate media, where it provides "presstitute" subeditors with an opportunity to display their flair for headline-writing. Take the following, for example:
Note, too, how the "war on terror" has morphed into a "war on extremism" in the blurb of this article, which appeared in the Manawatu Standard on September 27, 2014. Let's have no lateral thinking. Whatever the challenge — be it drugs, extremism, or violence itself — it can only be overcome by war. Any other approach is "appeasement". Yes, one of the few events of the 20th century that is still remembered is the 1938 conference between Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini that led to the Munich Agreement. More than anything else, this made "peace" a dirty word that would always be associated with spineless negotiations and contemptible backdowns (or, as during the later stages of the Vietnam War, with the posturing of vacuous "flower children").
How much more noble to put on a white hat and charge into the fray with guns blazing, without too much squeamish concern for civilian casualties. Let us remember the immortal words of our own armchair warrior, Helen Clark1, who warned us in late 2001, as the Americans started bombing Afghanistan, that Hitler would still be in his bunker in Berlin if we had been too worried about killing women and children2.
The above article, originally published in The Washington Post, provides some perfunctory expressions of respect for Islam — "it is an important part of promoting peace," Obama says — before adopting a hectoring tone and lapsing into the self-congratulatory rhetoric one expects from an American president:
"America is not the same as it was" even a decade ago, "because we address our differences in the open space of democracy with respect for the rule of law, with a place for people of every race and every religion."
"After nearly six years as president," Obama said, "I believe this promise can help light the world."
It was a powerful expression of American exceptionalism — rooted not in power but in justice — and an artful way for a man of peace to make the case for conflict.
Rooted in justice? Really? And where was the justice in the assassination of American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, aged only 16, by an American drone in Yemen on October 14, 2011?
Equally incredible is the bit about America helping to "light the world". Would that, by any chance, make it a "light unto the nations"? Hummm, now where have I heard that one before? — Editorial written on November 29, 2014
1. Prime Minister of New Zealand, 1999-2008.
2. Her exact words were: "While I don’t necessarily wish to draw analogies or parallels, we might still have Hitler sitting in Berlin if we’d been afraid of civilian casualties. It’s not meant, it is not intended, it is not targeted, but it is almost inevitable that someone will be in the wrong place at the wrong time" (as quoted by Finlay Macdonald in an editorial in the New Zealand Listener of November 17, 2001).
Corporate Cartoonist Tom Scott's cartoon of November 4, 2014, suitably annotated below. It is from Fairfax Media's The Dominion Post. Click here for earlier cartoons by Scott and others.
Photographic featuresProtest against the TPPA, Palmerston North, New Zealand, November 8, 2014
Islam Open Day Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2014
March for Gaza, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Festival of Cultures, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2014
Esplanade Day, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2014
Palmerston North Mosque
Eid al-Adha Barbecue, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2013
Islam Open Day, The Square, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2013
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