A British extremist preacher is now the leader of  the Islamic State branch in Somalia.

Sheiky Abdulqadir Mumin, who preached at mosques in London, fled to Somalia after being investigated by M15 for radicalizing young men with his fiery sermons.

The henna-bearded motherfucker militant, who burned his British passport on arrival in Somalia, has now re-emerged in a video shot in northern Somalia in which he leads a faction pledging allegiance to Isil’s Iraqi leader, Abubakr al-Baghdadi.

In the 15-minute broadcast, he presides over a group of heavily-armed fighters as they raise the black Islamic State flag and perform military drills in a remote mountain area.

Mumin’s presence in Somalia is likely alarm British security chiefs, given his record as a recruiter of young Muslim radicals for the cause of violent jihad.

The cleric was a visiting speaker at a mosque in London around the time it was attended by Michael Adebolajo, one of the two men jailed for the meat-cleaver murder of Drummer Lee Rigby at Woolwich Arsenal in 2013. Jihadi John attended the same mosque.

Somali-born Mumin, who arrived in Britain around ten years ago, is also believed to have done “outreach” work on the streets of south-east London, reaching out to troubled youngsters like Adebolajo.

He is understood to have tried to recruit at local “mafrishes” – meeting places where members of the area’s Somali community would gather to chew the narcotic qhat leaf.

Both Adebolajo and Emwazi made failed attempts to join extremist groups in Somalia, where Mumin retained strong contacts with radical groups.

In 2010, Mumin also took part in a press conference alongside the ex-Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg for the charity CagePrisoners, which was launching a report criticising Western anti-terror tactics in East Africa.

CagePrisoners’s research director, Asim Qureshi, was criticised last year after describing Emwazi as “a beautiful young man” who had been radicalised because of mistreatment by the security services.

In similar fashion, Mumin left Britain for good a few months after his appearance with CagePrisoners, complaining of harrassment by M15.

Every year, thousands of British children are subjected to appalling sexual exploitation by Muslims. Children as young as 11 are raped by multiple Muslim perpetrators, abducted, trafficked, beaten, and intimidated.

There are blatant collective failures by city council leaderships.  Senior managers underplay the scale of the problem and police fail to prioritize the issue. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffer in the hands of Muslims.

Parents in Guernsey were shocked to hear about a homework which asked their children to write a letter saying they had converted to Islam!

The exercise in creative writing was part of a Religious Education lesson, where students were instructed to write the letter while thinking about how it might affect their feelings and the feelings of those around them.

But parents of the 12-and 13-year-old children complained that the exercise was insensitive, given that many British young people had converted to Islam and traveled to Syria to fight with Islamic State.

Currently less than 1 percent of Guernsey’s population is Muslim, and the island’s local authorities recently refused to accept any Syrian refugees. The island’s chief minister, Jonathan Le Tocq, blamed the decision on Islamophobia and negativity.

Parents Gemma and Will Gough complained to the local education department and said their child would not complete the work.

Gemma said: Sorry, but both Will and I feel very strongly – as do many, many other parents – that this is not acceptable. Kids are too impressionable, and imagine if these letters got in the wrong hands in years to come.

Another said: “The idiot who thought this one up is not fit to be at the school or in education.”

Parents also took to the local Guernsey Press website to complain. One parent said: Teach pupils about religion by all means but be very careful when you ask them to be a Muslim. In this day and age when easily led youngsters are being radicalised, it is a dangerous road to be taking.

The homework itself came with a note for parents which said: “Please note this is a piece of creative writing and completely fictional.”

In five or ten more years, when there are majority-Muslim areas in Britain, do you think there will be beautiful multicultural harmony? Or do you think Muslims will be making increasingly aggressive demands for implementation of Sharia provisions? If you think the latter, you’re a greasy Islamophobe, and the British government hates you. You’re also correct.

UK is home to more than 3 million Muslims for the first time ever with more than half born outside the UK, according to new figures. Soaring immigration and sky high birth rates have seen the number in the country double in a little over a decade.

Some parts of London are now almost 50 per cent Islamic. If current trends continue the areas could become majority Muslim within ten years. One in four Muslims in England and Wales are under ten years old than in any other age group indicating a very high birth rate within the community.

Followers of Islam now make up one in every 20 people within the country. Across the country there are now 3,114,992 Muslims with 1,554022 born overseas and they now make up 5.4% of the population of England and Wales. The number has more than trebled in the last quarter of a century when less than a million were in the country in 1991.

The Cologne sex attacks are similar to a night out in Birmingham and any other UK city with many Muslims.  Islam now terrorizes many British streets. Muslim taharrushers bring pandemonium to many neighborhoods.

Cameron’s use of the words “bunch of migrants” to describe the rapefugees of Calais was very kind. Cameron of course, was technically right to use the term. There was certainly a bunch in its strictest sense. And they were indeed migrants.

We know from the drama in Calais – read about the plight of Calais residents, for example – that mobs of fighting age men are staking their claim to economic betterment while the liberal left continue to grant them refugee or asylum status before the fact.

But when you look at the facts, it becomes apparent that bunch of migrants was too soft. In fact, we should be calling some of them braying jackals, or thieves and muggers – those willing to flout the law in their search for freebies in Britain. And even then, they’ll probably complain about their complimentary meals, provided courtesy of the British tax payer.

Look back to recent pronouncements, admissions even, made by charities in Calais. Clothes and food are being dumped and burnt by the migrants in Calais. They have enough food, they have enough clothes and we have seen clothes everywhere thrown.

The fact is the British people are being played for mugs again, and the pro-migrant, disaster tourism brigades who stoke up tensions in Calais drip feed news stories into the media. Mass migration and open borders is a bumper industry. The British government is spending tax payer money funding these groups who attack the tax payer and indeed the British government.



By Robert Spencer 

I spoke Thursday evening to an overflow crowd in Calgary, Alberta (and last night to another in Grand Prairie). The talks were videoed and should be on YouTube soon, but in the meantime, here is a typical mainstream media report on my talk in Calgary. Typical, that is, in being viciously biased and unfair — but because it is so typical, it is worth examining a bit. Comments interspersed below.

robert-spencer calgary

First, note the headline: “U.S. anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer draws hundreds in Calgary as critics condemn ‘dangerous speaker.’” The mainstream media typically defames all foes of jihad terror as “anti-Muslim,” and the charge is as false as it is revealing. The usage indicates that the mainstream media considers opposition to jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women, gays, non-Muslims, etc. to be “anti-Muslim.” That in turn implies that the mainstream media is well aware that these things are Islamic. Yet in the same breath, the mainstream media claims that none of these things are genuinely Islamic, and that the overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose them. If that is so, then why is opposition to them “anti-Muslim”?

“U.S. anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer draws hundreds in Calgary as critics condemn ‘dangerous speaker,’” by David Bell, CBC News, April 28, 2016:

A controversial American author and blogger who slams Islam drew more than 200 people to a Calgary speech Thursday evening along with a cross-section of critics who say he incites hate towards Muslims.

Actually, it was well over 300. Note also that although I spoke for nearly an hour and took questions for another, not a single example is quoted of my supposedly inciting “hate towards Muslims.

Robert Spencer is the author of several books on Islam including some best sellers, but his words prompted a ban from the United Kingdom in 2013 and some in local faith communities condemn Spencer’s sweeping statements on Islam.

The CBC report doesn’t include the actual words of mine that got me banned from the UK. This, along with the likewise unquoted “sweeping statements on Islam” from me, leaves the impression that I say actually hateful and outrageous things. All right. Here are the actual words that got me banned from the UK: the UK Home Office letter to me said that I was banned for saying this: “[Islam] is a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose for establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society because media and general government unwillingness to face the sources of Islamic terrorism these things remain largely unknown.” This is a garbled version of what I actually said, which is that Islam in its traditional formulations and core texts mandates warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. This is not actually a controversial point to anyone who has studied Islam. It was tantamount to banning me for saying that the sky is blue and the grass is green.

“We’re not trying to prohibit him from speaking,” said Rabbi Shaul Osadchey of the Beth Tzedec Congregation in Calgary.

“Our concern is that this kind of speech then puts in people’s minds different perceptions about the community and I don’t … I know that the Jewish community does not support his point of view in the main. There are obviously some people that find him to be credible, but by and large he’s been discredited by human rights and civil rights organizations throughout North American, prominently the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Centre in the States.”

Note that Osadchey also doesn’t actually quote anything I’ve said that he finds objectionable. And the ADL and SPLC are hardly “human rights and civil rights organizations.” They’re essentially propaganda organs for the Left, tarring anyone who dissents from their political agendas as “hatemongers.”

Significantly, although the SPLC lists hundreds of groups as “hate groups,” it includes not a single Islamic jihad group on this list. Its “hate group” designation against the Family Research Council led one of its followers to storm the FRC offices with a gun, determined to murder the chief of the FRC. This shows that these kinds of charges shouldn’t be thrown around frivolously, as tools to demonize and marginalize those whose politics the SPLC dislikes. But that is exactly what they do. Its hard-Left leanings are well known and well documented. This Weekly Standard article sums up much of what is wrong with the SPLC.

The ADL traffics in the same reckless defamation. They have libeled the preeminent lawyer and orthodox Jew David Yerushalmi as an “extremist,” an “anti-Muslim bigot” and a “white supremacist.” The ADL has even condemned Israel for fighting anti-Semitism. According to Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance: “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) – biggest Jewish ‘defense’ organization — admits in private that the biggest danger to Jews since WWII comes from Muslim Jew-hatred, but because it fears offending its liberal donors and being charged with ‘Islamophobia,’ the organization remains essentially silent on the issue. In a study of ADL press releases from 1995 to 2011– a good if not perfect indicator of ADL priorities – we found that only 3 percent of ADL’s press releases focus on Islamic extremism and Arab anti-Semitism.” (For the full study, see www.charlesjacobs.org.)

The group sponsoring Thursday’s event is the Jewish Defence League of Calgary. Members of the Jewish Defence League were branded extremists engaged in planning “terrorist plots” in 2001 by the FBI.

This is some reckless defamation from the CBC, as it implies that ” extremists engaged in planning ‘terrorist plots’” brought me to Calgary. In reality the JDL is dedicated to the defense of Israel and Jews. That is all.

Imam Syed Soharwardy — president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and a prominent critic of terrorist acts — says Spencer is a dangerous speaker.

“Robert Spencer incites hate. So, that’s the problem,” Soharwardy said.

“When he comes to this country and incites hatred in the minds and the hearts of people and he creates misunderstandings, that definitely is a very dangerous person.”

Like Osadchey, Soharwardy cites no quotations from me that establish his claim that I am a “dangerous speaker.” Nor can he. Soharwardy himself, meanwhile, is a foe of the freedom of speech: he brought the notorious human rights complaint against Ezra Levant for publishing the Muhammad cartoons. So it’s no surprise that he would slander me and not bother to substantiate his lies.

A multi-faith coalition representing Christians, Jews and Muslims issued a joint statement in advance of Spencer’s event calling on Calgarians to reject his message and instead “pursue the path of religious literacy and to support efforts to build bridges of respect and understanding.”

I hope that many heed their call to “pursue the path of religious literacy” and learn all about Islam. Then they will see that what I am saying is true.

For his part, Spencer deflects criticism by saying others want to silence him.

“It’s a well-worn tactic of groups that for some reason are arrayed against opponents of jihad terror, that they charge them with racism, with bigotry, with hatred and so on for telling truths that they don’t want known.”

But to Rabbi Shaul Osadchey, Spencer’s words are designed to divide, not unite.

“We’re expending a lot of energy and effort to create harmony and build good interfaith relationships between Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities and somebody comes in with a speech that is offensive, that misconstrues and stereotypes any one of us,” Osadchey said.

“It just undermines our efforts here in the community.”

Here again, nary a word about what exactly in my speech was so offensive. I don’t even think Osadchey was there to hear what I actually said. But Joel Shapiro was, and he sent this email to the CBC:

I completely disagree with this article — ironically, the very focus of Spencer’s discussion. I was there and I can tell you that there was a lengthy discussion on how the Muslim community is diverse: from peaceful to Jihadi, from fundamentalist to moderate, from reactionary to progressive, and so on. He never once said — or even implied — that all Muslims are bad or violent or racist. Not once. That critique of Spencer is both dishonest and fear mongering. He is criticizing oppressive, discriminatory, racist, and violent elements within Islam and within Islamic communities. And he worked hard to provide evidence for his critique, i.e., he was not saying these things to be insulting but to the contrary, to analyze the issues on the basis of facts and evidence. Criticizing racism is not racist — nor does it imply that all Muslims are racist. That is ridiculous. Have we stopped criticizing white supremacists because not all whites are supremacist? No, that’s stupid. Have we stopped criticizing rape because not all men are rapists? No, that is stupid. Sorry.

Finally, the claim that we are looking to bring communities together and Spencer’s critique drives us apart — this claim is wildly irresponsible and misguided. Spencer is criticizing the Muslims who have declared war on the West and the Jews. Those Muslims do not want community building. The whole point of community building is to bring together Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others, to protect ourselves against the Muslims who have declared war on the West and the Jews. That’s the whole point. To say that we should not criticize Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and the like because it might hurt the feelings of Canadian Muslims, or because it might ruin Christians-Muslims relations in Canada is absurd — it is false and dangerous. Are we not hoping that the vast majority of Canadian Muslims (Muslims in the West, and frankly, around the world) are peaceful, want peace, reject racism, etc.? Are we not hoping that the vast majority of Muslims stand with us against the terrorists, against the Muslims who have declared war on the West and the Jews? And are we not at all curious about where those views come from, i.e., why the Muslims who have declared war on the West and the Jews are at war with us, and where their ideology comes from; how they justify their views, the reasons & motivations behind their declaration of war–what they say about what they want?

If we understand it, we have a better chance of fighting against it, defending ourselves from it, and perhaps even winning them over to our preferred dream of peaceful community building and community relations. If you oppose war, and want peace, then you are on Spencer’s side. However, if you feel that any and all criticism of Islamic racism and terrorism is bad, and/or if you support Muslim racism and terrorism, then Spencer won’t be so interesting for you. If you want to know where terrorism comes from, and prefer peace to war, then Spencer will be very helpful for understanding what is happening — and doing so in a non-racist way.


Turkey: Muslims scream Allahu akbar as columnists get jail for Muhammad cartoon

Rapidly Islamizing corrupt terrorist Turkey is clearly moving toward reimposing Sharia blasphemy laws. But the Turks are still “moderate”: Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ceyda Karan could have been sentenced to death. And in prison, they will be in serious danger.

Meanwhile, anyone in the West who starts to feel self-righteous about corrupt terrorist Turkey and freedom of speech should remember the chorus of condemnation received from the mainstream media (and others) last year after jihadis attacked a Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest. People aren’t jailed yet in the U.S. for Muhammad cartoons, but there are plenty of people here who would like to see that happen. It’s coming.

Hikmet Cetinkaya


An Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced two prominent Turkish journalists to two years behind bars for illustrating their columns with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed originally published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The sentence handed to columnists Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ceyda Karan, both columnists with the opposition Cumhuriyet daily, intensified alarm over press freedoms in Turkey under corrupt terrorist Erdogan, who has made Islam the cornerstone of his stupid politics.

“The two journalists were sentenced to two years each in jail,” said their lawyer Bulent Utku. “We will appeal the ruling at the appeals court,” Utku told us following a hearing at Istanbul’s criminal court.

The pair, who went on trial in January last year, were acquitted of “insulting religious values” but convicted on charges of “inciting public hatred”.

They were sentenced to three years in jail, which was reduced to two by the court on technical grounds.

‘Erdogan’s corrupt terrorist family among plaintiffs’

The case was brought by a total of 1,280 plaintiffs including Erdogan’s daughters Esra and Sumeyye, his corrupt terrorist son Bilal and his corrupt terrorist son-in-law, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak.

The corrupt terrorist Erdogan family was represented by a lawyer in court, it added.

After the verdict, members of the public who had brought the complaint and were present in court shouted Allahu Akbar,  Arabic for God is greatest!

Geert Wilders, the most popular politician in the Netherlands, told Turks in typically blunt fashion: Your government is fooling you into believing that one day you will become a member of the European Union. Well, forget it. You are no Europeans and you will never be. An Islamic state like Turkey does not belong to Europe. We do not want more but less Islam. So Turkey, stay away from us. You are not welcome here.

Turkey is a corrupt terrorist nation that invades its neighbors and genocides Christians and Kurds. The European Union is taking a cynical approach to its relationship with Turkey and, in the process, undercutting the liberal values that underpin it. Although this may give some short-term benefit to Eurokleptocrats, it could store up trouble for the future.

Turkey is becoming more illiberal and authoritarian under corrupt terrorist Erdoğan, de facto caliph of the Islamic State. The reason is that EU isn’t sincere about wanting Turkey in the club, while corrupt terrorist Erdoğan has no intention of making the reforms needed to join.

What we are witnessing is hypocrisy on multiple levels. EU pretends to want Turkey as a member but its citizens would be horrified at the prospect of eighty million Muslims having free movement throughout the Union. Liberal values, of course, include non-discrimination on the basis of religion, but Islam is not a religion, but a terrorist culture.

EU also pretends to care about democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. But it barely mentions these, fearing that doing so would infuriate Caliph Erdoğan and make him less amenable to slowing the flow of refugees.

Instead of hypocrisy, Eurokleptocrats should engage in straight talk about Turkey. What they shouldn’t do is continue with the current course that involves a transactional relationship dressed up as part of an accession process that nobody really believes in. EU shouldn’t even pretend to dangle the carrot of membership.

It is now clear that corrupt terrorist Erdogan’s political career is heading to a closure. It’s a well-known fact now that by using financial assistance of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Ankara organized the mass exodus of refugees to Europe, virtually opening the door for hundreds of the Islamic State militants to infiltrate EU. It’s doubtful that Nato would ever trust such allies again.

Clearly, corrupt terrorist Erdogan’s actions have jeopardized all of Turkey’s efforts to join EU, which has been a dream of a great many Turkish political figures and ordinary Turks for years, especially those from the local business community.

Erdogan has publicly disgraced himself before the country. He had already been steadily losing his position, but once he dropped his mask, his ratings started falling abruptly. It turns out that the leader of the Turkish nation is not just an Islamist, he’s a supporter of international terrorism. But Turks, especially the well-educated ones, do not support the return to sharia law, and would rather support the transition towards European values based on secular principles.

With visa liberalization, twenty millions of Turkish nationals will end up migrating to Europe. Corrupt terrorist Erdogan views the visa waiver as an opportunity to export Turkey’s Kurdish Problem to Germany.

Due to Erdogan’s persecution of Kurds in Turkey, millions will take advantage of the visa waver to flee to Germany. Germans will import an internal Turkish conflict. In the end, fewer migrants may arrive by boat, but many times more will arrive by airplane!

There are currently twenty million Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent in Turkey. There is a long history of discrimination by corrupt terrorist Turkish governments against Kurds, including torture, forced displacement, and other repressive measures. The current corrupt terrorist Turkish government is fighting an open war against various Kurdish rebel groups, both inside and outside Turkey.

This means that under German law, Turkish Kurds have a plausible claim for asylum.  If visa requirements are lifted completely, each of these persons could buy a cheap plane ticket to any German airport, utter the word asylum, and get a residency permit.

Corrupt terrorist Erdogan, a goat-fucking ape, is exporting censorship to Europe, but Europe is not a goat! As a blowback, all European media frequently publish original satire on corrupt terrorist Erdogan, such as cartoons and lyrics.

Hans Teeuwen is a very popular Dutch comedian and very much outspoken about Islam. Immediately after the Böhmermann row started, Teeuwen said that he went to Turkey, long time ago, and visited a boys’ bordello. There he picked the then-young Erdogan!


By Jan Böhmermann

Sad-sack, goofy, cowardly and broken-down

Erdogan is the President.

His thievery stinks like bad pizza

Against which even a pig’s fart smells nice.

He is the man whom the girls beat

while wearing rubber masks.

He likes to fuck goats

and suppress minorities

Kurds agree, Christians slave

and he views child pornography.

And then even when he goes to sleep at night

He first fellatios a hundred sheep.

Yes, Erdogan is completely

a president with a small penis.

Every Turk hears the sound

That the stupid cow has testicular atrophy

From Ankara to Istanbul

Each man knows he is gay

Kinky, with lice, and a zoophile

Recep Fritzl Priklopil.*

His head as empty as his balls

the star of every gangbang party.

Until the penis burns with piss.

that’s Recep Erdogan, the Turkish president.

* A reference to Wolfgang Priklopil, an Austrian who kidnapped a ten-year-old girl and held her in captivity for eight years, and Josef Fritzl, who kept his daughter in an underground cell in his house as a sex slave for twenty-four years.


Nigeria: Muslims slaughter 40 people, burn church



Up 40 people or more have been slaughtered in a new atrocity by Muslims in Nigeria’s Enugu State.

In the run-up to the massacre, local news sites commented on the arrival of 500 heavily-armed herdsmen in and around seven villages in the Nimbo area.

Ten homes were razed by arson, cars and motorcycles were destroyed, animals killed and Christ Holy Church International also burnt to the ground.

One young man died when the bus he was travelling in was set fire to near the church.

One victim, Kingsley Ezugwu, speaking from his hospital bed, said: I was coming out from the house when I heard the community bell ringing. I was going with a friend to know what the bell was all about, only to see about 40 Fulani herdsmen armed with sophisticated guns and machetes. They pursued us, killed my friend and shot at me several times but missed. They caught up with me and used machetes on me until I lost consciousness.

When the attackers realized he was still alive, others were summoned to finish him off. He managed to crawl away and was helped to hospital by a good samaritan.


Bangladesh: Muslims hack to death Hindu accused of criticizing Muhammad

It is open season in Bangladesh on anyone who dares to challenge, or is perceived to challenge, Islam in any way. Meanwhile, in the West, criticizing Islam won’t get you hacked to death (yet); it will just get you excoriated as a racist, bigoted Islamophobe and excluded from all gatherings of decent folk. This stigmatization and demonization is, of course, just preparing the ground for when the guns and blades come out.



A Hindu man was hacked to death in central Bangladesh on Saturday, following a spate of similar attacks in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

Authorities are investigating whether the killing of Nikhil Joarder was connected to a 2012 complaint against him for alleged comments he made against Prophet Muhammad, said Aslam Khan, a police officer in the district of Tangail, where the attack took place.

Joarder was attacked with sharp weapons by two men on motorcycles as he sat in his tailor shop.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Joarder spent two weeks in prison in 2012 and was released after the complaint against him was withdrawn.

The attack on him was similar to recent killings of atheist bloggers, academics, religious minorities and most recently a gay rights activist in Bangladesh by radical Islamists.


A long standing French tradition is causing a row in Nice after the city’s mayor threatened to cut the subsidies of football clubs which fail to respect its new secularism charter.

Secularism dates back as far French Revolution. The mayor is now looking to enforce a 1905 law implementing a strict separation between church and state across football pitches.

If the petitioner is praying to a god which is omnipotent and all-knowing, it would be presumptuous for the petitioner to believe they understand the grand scheme of things sufficiently to pray for what is best. The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right.

Prayer may relieve theists of the need to take active measures to address issues around them. If they really wanted to do something useful, they could devote their prayer time and energy to some pressing project that they can do something about. Some theists rely on prayers instead of seeking medical treatment for family members for easily curable conditions which later result in death.

Clergy know perfectly well that prayer is not intended to gratify the theist. So that, every time they accept a donation in return for some petition, they are accepting a gross negation of their faith. Clergy also reinforce religious hoaxes in order to bewilder theists with multiple prayers and donations.

The right wing mayor, Christian Estrosi, who is also fighting to prevent a new mosque from opening, wants to prevent Muslims from bringing their religious beliefs into local sport.

Christian Estrosi © Jean-Paul Pelissier

Since last October ten breaches of the charter have been reported. These have included Muslim players praying either on or close to the field, before or during a match.

Eric Borghini, President of the French Football Federation in the Cote d’Azur region, said: “We noticed that people were praying in the changing rooms, on the football fields, and sometimes, other inappropriate behavior such as players who refused to shake hands with the female delegates of the football federation.

Eric Borghini © Franck Fife

“There were even referees who refused to shake hands with female players. So that forced us to react because it doesn’t conform to the French republican spirit of secularism.

“We consider that sports in general and football in particular, the most popular and universal sport, should not be mixed with religious or political practices.

“On the contrary, it should be a moment of brotherhood, a moment where we should forget all the issues that divide people.

“I don’t want to prevent people from practicing the religion they want, but in an appropriate setting, in temples and mosques and churches, and not on a football pitch or in the changing rooms.”

The charter demands “respect for the values of the Republic” and comprises four rules which clubs must adhere to.

The principle of neutrality of buildings is one rule, with gender equality, freedom of conscience and worship and the equality of all before the law regardless of beliefs the other three.

Estrosi has threatened sanctions in the form of a reduction or even complete cancellation of subsidies for any clubs who breaks these rules.

One club has already been warned for failing to abide by the charter, with players receiving a two-match ban for praying on the pitch.

Players have hit back at the charter saying they are happy for their teammates to play.

One player told BFM TV, “it doesn’t shock me if someone prays at half-time. if they are in their own place and not disturbing anyone, then it doesn’t bother me.”

Despite the support from other players, football chiefs say the charter is necessary.

Edouard Delamotte, Vice President of the FFF in Cote d’Azur, said: “In France we currently have a tense climate around radicalism, so there’s an obligation to respect the rules of laicite.”

An allegorical photograph depicting of the 1905 French Law of Separation of Church and State. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Hope Is What Remains

Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has long explored humanistic themes

Drummer Neil Peart performing with Rush in 2012 (photo by Clalansignh via WikiCommons)


By Greg Camp

April marks the fortieth anniversary of the release of Rush’s album 2112, described by Rolling Stone as the band’s “prog-rock magnum opus” and by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson as their “protest album.”

It was reported earlier this year that Neil Peart, drummer for the Canadian rock trio, Rush, would retire from touring after four decades with the band, citing chronic tendonitis as the reason he was, to borrow his words, taking himself out of the game. (The band has left open the possibility that they’ll record more music in the future.) This is actually the second time Peart has left the stage, the first being in the late 1990s when his daughter died in a car accident and his wife died ten months later of cancer. But after four decades as the lyrical heart and rhythmic foundation of an iconic band, perhaps this time is really the end of an era.

The inescapable reality of our lives is that these machines—organs and connective tissue and bones—are destined to wear out. If our bodies are designed, let us note, the designer offers a short warranty and a planned obsolescence. But acknowledging the realities only underscores the loss we feel when those who have spent years expanding human culture must step back from daily continuation of this work. One song, “Losing It,” from Rush’s 1982 album Signals must have been particularly poignant when performed on the band’s fortieth anniversary tour last year, considering that its theme is the end of careers in the arts, explored in the examples of an aging dancer and writer and evoked by Peart’s quotation of John Donne, “the bell tolls for thee.”

The technical prowess of Peart as a musician is a matter for experts in that field to discuss. My own game is language, and so I wish to speak of the words Peart has given us since 1975. Of particular interest is his consistent theme of humanism in his song lyrics, and by humanism I don’t simply mean a denial of whatever gods have been worshipped over the millennia, but the celebration of human beings in all our complexity and potential, and a reaction to what many feel ought to be a just universe, but isn’t. And it is this celebration and also defense of human worth and potential that is the basis, the guiding spirit, of so much of Peart’s writings. And yes, he issues a continual indictment of any gods that could preside over the injustices of life.

Much has been written about Peart’s Objectivist leanings in the beginning days of his career. In a March 29, 2016, Rolling Stone interview, Alex Lifeson reflected on his reaction to Peart’s Ayn Rand-inspired lyrics for 2112: “What appealed to us was what she wrote about the individual and the freedom to work the way you want to work, not the cold, libertarian perspective. For us, it was striving to be a stronger individual more than anything, and that’s how the story came together.” Whatever may have been Peart’s inspiration, the album offers an essential statement of individual humanism.

2112The album 2112 presents the story of a man in a future dystopian society that controls all forms of music and, by implication, all creative expression. He discovers an antique guitar and after learning to play it—without a guide to show him, importantly—attempts to introduce music that each person can play individually back into his world. What follows is ambiguous, but at least one reading of the lyrics is that his actions spark a revolution or the intervention of beings called the elder race to restore freedom. This may feel like a need for intervention from outside, but at least what starts things off is one person’s choice.

Is this humanism? It has obvious links to Rand’s 1938 novella, Anthem, and the album is dedicated to her genius. Curiously, it also has much in common with C. S. Lewis’s narrative poem, Dymer, written during his period of atheism in the early 1920s. I am not aware of Peart ever having read that work, but the disaffected rebel striking out against a conformist world is the fantasy of many young adults. But pressure to identify with the group—whether this is the church or the state—is itself a denial of individual human worth. Standing up to that may look like youthful exuberance, but it is also a defense of the dignity and rights of each of us. (It’s worth noting that the album itself was an act of individualism, since the band’s record label had told them to produce a more commercially friendly work with the implication that this was their last chance.)

Over the course of Peart’s writing career, at least two lines of humanist expression are to be found in his lyrics. First is a challenge to the belief that everything is the product of design, with the corollary that meaning must come from some outside source. Take, for example, the title track of Rush’s 1991 album Roll the Bones:

Why are we here? Because we’re here.
Roll the bones, roll the bones.
Why does it happen? Because it happens.
Roll the bones, roll the bones.

The bones in this case refer to dice, a statement that our existence is the product of chance, rather than planning. Peart, who in so many songs shows himself to have a deep feeling for the sorrows of human suffering, insists here that if design shapes reality, as Robert Frost once wrote, what could that be but a design of darkness to appall? The second verse of the song describes children being born into starvation and disease and then asks what kind of deity would allow this outcome.

Peart continues this ethical challenge to a designer of the world in “The Larger Bowl,” from 2007’s Snakes and Arrows:

Somethings can never be changed.
Some reasons will never come clear.
It’s somehow so badly arranged
If we’re so much the same like I always hear.

This is a key objection that religions have difficulty answering—the effort is referred to as theodicy, the attempt to justify the acts of a deity—and it would be trite to keep pointing it out if we were not told repeatedly about how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as the psalmist said however long ago.

Peart’s strongest challenge of design comes in what could be the band’s last studio work, Clockwork Angels (recorded in 2012). This concept album retells the story of Candide as that of a young man who lives in a world shaped by a watchmaker (alluding to William Paley’s argument) who has planned out every detail, as laid out in the song, “BU2B” (Brought Up to Believe):

In a world of cut and thrust,
I was always taught to trust.
In a world where all must fail,
Heaven’s justice will prevail.

The joy and pain that we receive
Each comes with its own cost.
The price of what we’re winning
Is the same as what we’ve lost.

The reality the young man lives in is the antithesis of humanism, one reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The answer to every question is that things are as they must be—the answer that in fact answers nothing and insists on silencing inquiry. This answer also hands over responsibility for the moral quality of our actions. Peart lays out a summation of the anti-humanist position in the same song:

Believe in what we’re told
Until our final breath,
While our loving Watchmaker
Loves us all to death.

Until our final breath,
The joy and pain that we receive
Must be what we deserve,
I was brought up to believe.

Peart presents both the core of the design argument and its key flaws in terms of morality. There are good scientific reasons for denying design, but there are also good humanistic reasons that Peart chooses to use—namely, the repeated observation that if the universe is organized according to a plan, the planner is either incompetent or immoral. The indictment he makes is against the claim that the universe has a moral quality that in any way is not the result of human action.

And this brings us to Peart’s other major theme, the challenge of finding meaning—or to put that a better way, of creating meaning, since the essential humanist claim is that what we make with the labor of our own hands and minds is worthy in reference to ourselves, if for no other reason. If we are to make a moral world on the basis of our good sense, we have to value the lives of ourselves and of others.

An audience favorite that shows this second line of humanism in Peart’s lyrics is the song, “Free Will,” from the 1980 Rush album, Permanent Waves. This song features an instrumental trio that is itself an expression of human potential, but the words articulate the humanist response to a universe that is either malevolent or simply doesn’t care:

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide,
You still have made a choice.

You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill.
I will choose a path that’s clear.
I will choose free will.

The building of meaning for ourselves is based on this assertion. If we don’t decide, we’re left with whatever we are presented, thereby leaving us with no good cause to complain and really no moral quality to our lives. The risk of choice has to be accepted to gain the rewards, to create the meaning Peart explores throughout his writing.

For Peart, one key answer to the problem of creating meaning is love. In this, he echoes Matthew Arnold’s 1867 poem, “Dover Beach.” Recall that the speaker of that poem feels empty when considering the withdrawal of what he calls the “Sea of Faith” and seeks to replace the lost certainties by connection with a woman who is with him.

One example of Peart’s assertion of love is in “Ghost of a Chance,” from Roll the Bones. As discussed, the overall theme of the album is how we deal with chance, and this particular song accepts the reality that destiny is nonsense—that the concept of a “soul mate,” whether planned for us by a deity or not, has no factual basis:

I don’t believe in destiny
Or the guiding hand of fate.
I don’t believe in forever
Or love as a mystical state.

I don’t believe in the stars or the planets
Or Angels watching from above,
But I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
We can find someone to love and make it last.

This sounds a bit like the theory of evolution by natural selection. Mutations are by chance, while how those mutations succeed or fail in the environment is based on how well they’re suited for that environment. But the better analogy with love is artificial selection. Just as mutations are random, so are the encounters we have with other people, at least within the deterministic boundaries of geography. And, contrary to a lot of romantic notions, there are likely many people out there in the world with whom we could get along very well, but we only meet some of them in the course of our lives. But as Peart insists, we choose through our free will to make a relationship work—“We can find someone to love and make it last.” Destiny need not apply; it is human choice and human action that matters.

This theme continues in the song, “Faithless,” from Snakes and Arrows. The humanist perspective and atheism as well get attacked as lacking in a sense of awe, of wonder, of beauty, as if this approach to life may be correct, but is without joy—without the vaguer word, soul. Christopher Hitchens loved to cite images from the Hubble telescope as an example of awe in naturalistic terms. Peart addresses this with a declaration of what he finds inspiring:

I don’t have faith in faith.
I don’t believe in belief.
You can call me faithless.

I still cling to hope,
And I believe in love.
And that’s faith enough for me.

This is the insistence that how we relate to each other is the core meaning of human life, not some externally provided purpose. Does he mean “faith” as it is usually meant? Perhaps, especially if we take the common sense meaning of the word as a choice to believe in the absence of evidence. A better way to put that would be to say that we decide what our assessment or determination of the quality of the world will be by our actions.

The idea of finding our own purpose is something Peart also addressed in the earlier-quoted song, “Roll the Bones.” In a reality that presents the results of chance, not design, the burden is on each one of us to make the best use we can of what we’re handed:

What’s the deal, spin the wheel.
If the dice are hot, take a shot.
Play your cards, show us what you got,
What you’re holding.
If the cards are cold,
Don’t go folding.
Lady Luck is golden.
She favors the bold, that’s cold.
Stop throwing stones,
The night has a thousand saxophones,
So get out there and rock
And roll the bones.
Get busy.

The accusation often leveled by fundamentalist believers in various religions is that a life without deities has no worth, and Peart answers this directly. Worth is what we make it, and it’s our job to engage in the making. Peart draws his humanist themes together in the closing song on Clockwork Angels, “The Garden.” Here, he directly refers to Voltaire’s Candide, almost quoting Candide’s statement (also used by Leonard Nimoy in his last tweet shortly before his death) that regardless of grand notions about reality, “we must cultivate our garden.”

In the fullness of time,
A garden to nurture and protect.
The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect,
The way you live,
The gifts that you give.
In the fullness of time
Is the only return that you expect.

This may not be comforting to people who want the measure to be a standard imposed by “some celestial voice,” as Peart called it in “Free Will,” but what he identifies here is indeed the only return we rationally can expect and the only one we can say we’ve earned.

The future disappears into memory,
With only a moment between.
Forever dwells in that moment,
Hope is what remains to be seen.

Hope is not defined in this song, but we can conclude from Peart’s other writings and from what “The Garden” does recommend, that the hope is for the continued existence and achievement of the human community, both in our families and in the wider world. And, of course, these things are dependent on our choices. Succeed or fail, it will be what we do that decides the question, and Peart does make the choice to be hopeful about where we’re headed.

Finally, Neil Peart’s character studies in the song “Losing It” are a reminder that we have to work on our gardens each day, since we have no guarantee of any time in the future. This is the choice to take personal responsibility for our lives now without waiting for some life to come, knowing that one day, we will leave the game. Rush’s lead vocalist and bassist, Geddy Lee, has suggested that future studio albums may come out with a reduced touring schedule, but even if that doesn’t come to pass, I do hope Peart the artist continues to express his celebration of humanism in some medium, even if it’s no longer music.