Monday, January 12, 2009

epithets and officers

There's been a big debate in Great Britain right now about a three-year-old video made by Prince Harry (the Queen's younger grandson) in which he refers to a colleague from Pakistan, Ahmed Raza Khan, as "our little Paki friend".

Things are getting out of hand. For example, one agitated caller to today's Jeremy Vine Show, who said he was a Pakistani living in the UK, said that the term "Paki" was charged with much more negative emotion than the term "Brit" or "Yank".

That's where the fellow lost my sympathy. I suspect he's never been in a quondam Glasgow to watch columns of IRA supporters marching down the street shouting "Brits out!" and, British citizens (mostly) themselves, baying for the blood of "Brits" in the Army stationed in Northern Ireland. As for the term "Yank", if he addressed this to somebody from the Southern States of the US - as I once did out of ignorance many years ago - he might not get the response he expected.

When "Paki" and other terms based on unalterable characteristics are used aggressively as insults or abuse, there's no excuse. But having watched the News of the World video embedded in the Telegraph report linked to in the first paragraph, the term doesn't come across as Greg Dyke - pot calling the kettle blackinsulting or abusive. Certainly the reaction in this country to a friendly gibe made in an Army environment doesn't bear any resemblance to the "British tolerance" which Gordon Brown assured the Indian people of when he visited to the sound of riots over the prolonged racist treatment of Shilpa Shetty in Celebrity Big Brother; and I certainly don't recall any Pakistani voice raised in protest when Greg Dyke, former Director General of the BBC, called the corporation "hideously white". I wouldn't be surprised if much of the present furore is coming from Brits who are as hideous and as white as the IRA supporters.

The then-cadet, who received the élite award of the Sword of Honour from the Queen at his passing-out parade and is now a Captain in the Pakistani army, has not made any complaint in the three years since the home-video was made. But his father, also an officer in the Pakistani army, has complained bitterly.

I rather think the father is more culturally Pakistani than the son, in the sense of being closer to the concept of Pakistan as an ethnocentric theocracy. One of Pakistan's founding fathers was Mawlana Abul A'la Mawdudi (1903-1979), who stated that Islam is

a revolutionary concept and ideology which seeks to change and revolutionise the world social order and reshape it according to its own concept and ideals.
I qReverend Mahboob Masih - victim of Islamic ethnocentricity (with thanks to the Telegraph and epicscotland)uote the above because of another story involving somebody born in Pakistan that broke on Sunday - and in my home town - showing that people from that country can definitely be genuine victims of discrimination. Reverend Mahboob Masih of Awaz FM, which serves the Asian communities of Glasgow, was debating the views of Zakir Naik, who states that Jesus is not the only person who is the "way, the truth and the life".

This may be a fair comment for a Muslim to make in the context of Islam, but Naik, who has been criticized by Muslims in his native India for issuing fatwas (sharia rulings) with no authority to do so, demands that Christians recognise Mohammed with the equal reverence that they afford to Jesus. Rev'd Masih defended Christianity, and found himself sacked by Awaz FM, which claims in its mission statement to be "the voice of Glasgow’s ethnic communities and their respective faiths" (my italics). The Telegraph's Andrew Alderson reports that the minister has "reluctantly" apologised in order to calm things down, but has refused the station's demands that he apologise in person at the city's Central Mosque, on the reasonable grounds of fears for his safety.

I don't think those fears are overstated. The Pakistani caller to Jeremy Vine's show atrequiescat in pace - Shabana (with thanks to the Telegraph)tempted to show how downtrodden Muslims were in Britain by stating that it was unacceptable to insult Georgina Bailley, but not to insult a Pakistani. I think he said more than he realised - namely, that in Islam, women are viewed as being worth something less than men. Case in point: today's Telegraph reports the murder of one of Pakistan's famous dancing girls called Shabana by the Taliban because the terrorist organisation considered her dance too erotic. Given that Georgina Baillie is a burlesque dancer, I hope the remark wasn't meant to be as sinister as it sounded.

I hope also that Prince Harry gets what he deserves - a bollocking directed at stopping him from putting daft remarks on tape, especially when that tape might fall into the hands of papers owned by the anti-monarchist Rupert Murdoch.

You can take that as the authentic ethnic view of an honest Jock. (I changed a washer today...does that make me Jock the Plumber?)

jock the plumber?

The Jeremy Vine show referred to in the second paragraph can be accessed until Sunday 18 January 2009 - click here


  1. If Jesus is not "the only One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life", then that makes Him a liar. Because He said He was. He also said, "NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me." He said, many times, that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Sometimes He refused to say it (such as to the pharisees, because they wouldn't believe, and His time had not yet come, and to His disciples, because He didn't want people making a king of Him, but to come to Him based on their own faith), but He said it to others, throughout the scriptures, and especially to the High Priest the night He was crucified, because it was time. I hate that argument the Muslims use, because it shows complete ignorance of Christ, and they patently refuse to learn. As Frank Sheed says in his book "To Know Christ Jesus", if Jesus is not the Son of God, then He is NOT a "holy man" but rather either a liar or a madman.

  2. I agree - I read another book which had as its title CS Lewis's paraphrase of something St Thomas More said - "Mad, Bad or God".

    In the Koran, when Adam and Eve ask for forgiveness, Allah restores them to their former state, so the history of Salvation's out the window, as is the need for Baptism (Islam is inherited at birth).

    Muslims don't have the Old Testament of sacrifice through animals - although some "folk Islam" traditions in, eg, Iran and Bangladesh say that the sacrifices of chickens will help them be saved, but you just can't go anywhere theologically with that - so there's no understanding of Jesus as the "Lamb of God". They don't believe that somebody can bear somebody (or everybody) else's sins, so the Atonement is out. Allah is a distant figure with whom Muslim's don't see themselves as having a personal relationship, hance the title of Bilquis Sheikh's book on her conversion from Islam to Christianity, "I dared to call Him Father".

    As you indicate, the ignorance of many Muslims towards Christ is often of the wilful variety. When people say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, they've got a bit of the truth (eg one ex-Muslim said that his conversion to Christianity was like changing a black-and-white TV for a colour one), but they're sweeping an awful lot under the carpet.

  3. I kinda think, from talking to them, that some Muslims worship the same God as Christianity professes, but it looks to me like some of them worship a spirit of a different ilk. I'm not sure which is the true Muslim faith.

  4. Neither am I. Some Westerners say that we shouldn't classify Muslims as radicals, and some Muslims say that moderate Islam is a contradiction in terms. So who do you believe?

  5. It is the Westerner who does not think we should call the Muslim radical, because of our constant montra of "tolerence". How can we tolerate a radical after all? So we soften the edges to make it all acceptable.
    The basic tenants of Islam are quite radical. Their goal is not 'justification', as that is obtained at birth into Islam. The goal is to create a world of Islam, with no other belief system acceptable. THAT is radical.
    They worship the same God, because there is only one God. However, the interpretation they have of God is twisted and molded into their story. The One True God became Man-- Jesus Christ. They do not recognise that, so... they do not see God as He truly is.

  6. Linda, I hear you and no mistake. What so-called multiculturalists don't realise is that the recipients of our tolerance aren't always tolerant themselves. There's a bridge in Cambridge with a fresco that says "diversity and respect in our community". In my opinion it's almost right, except that the "and" should be changed to an "or".

  7. I only questioned whether it was the same god as ours because some civilizations' "gods" were not gods at all, but, if anything, demons. More than a twisted perception....
    Just wanted to clear that up.

  8. I see what you mean - like the gods of the Etruscans fed the demonology of the Romans who succeeded them, etc and so on.

    The gods some pagans think they worship seem rather demonic - the three-faced mother goddess and her consort, the horned god. They say it's the "old religion", but in truth we have no idea of what constituted pre-enlightenment paganism, as most of its practitioners were illiterate, and the Enlightenment stamped that particular belief out in a not very enlightened way.

  9. We have a pretty good idea of what constituted Mayan paganism. (They were not illiterate.) I remember that an expert in the field (don't remember her name) protested against the "bad rap" that Aztec and Mayan civilizations got, saying that they weren't a bunch of barbarians, but highly civilized peoples. Unfortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive conditions. Live human sacraments were an integral part of their religion - and the victims were non-consenting.

  10. I take your point - I didn't make it clear I was referring to the so-called "old religion" as it is now practiced in Europe, with, for example, large helpings of a paganized version of the Jewish Caballah, which you'd have to be very literate to understand.


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