Is Jihadism Becoming Accepted?

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During this process of Islamisation, a good way of gauging the will to resist in the general population is to monitor the speed of recovery after each individual Muslim outrage; that is, how long it takes for the public to resume its usual apathetic mood after being shocked anew by a terror attack or comparable scandal involving Muslims.

Let’s consider a brief history:

The events of 9/11 – an attack that introduced the concept of Islamic terror to the apolitical everyman – made a particularly lasting imprint on the popular consciousness. Little else was discussed for months afterward, and the resonance of the tragedy lasted for many years.

After that, the Madrid and London bombings, which first highlighted the vulnerability of European states to the foreign elements in their own domestic population, elicited a similar level of shock and anger. Newspapers reported the story for weeks and sections of the public reacted with the ‘Still not scared’ meme on social networks. At the longest estimate though, the tragedy maintained the public’s attention for several months.

When Drummer Lee Rigby was run-over and then savagely beheaded in a South London street by two African Muslim converts, a uniquely intense wave of popular fury shook the United Kingdom. Marches were held, speeches were made; political parties made strident and inspiring statements. It then died away in a matter of weeks.

And over the past few days, two outrages in swift succession: first, the Canadian parliament – the beating heart of an important, first-world country – was attacked by a Jihadist gunman; then, in New York – capital city of the modern West – a Muslim attempted to kill a Police Officer with an axe. Though it’s still too early to say for sure, attention to these latest attacks seems to have lasted barely a few days.

The pattern here is obvious: Years, then months, then weeks, then days… Jihadism – it seems – is becoming assimilated into everyday Western life. This is potentially devastating and for several reasons.

Most of all it is because shock and anger are integral to the psychology of human resistance. Without the thunder of disgust prompted by lynchings (for example), there would have been no popular backlash against the KKK. Without the My Lai massacre, the anti-Vietnam war movement would not have been able to marshal the same energy, and so on.

‘Anger’, Malcom X correctly observed, ‘..is a gift’. It is a gift from the enemy that makes his defeat possible. Without it, we have none of the motivation necessary to launch a counter-blast against those who have wronged us.

‘Islamophobia’ then is less a measure of sentiment than of the Western immune system. When stirred to life, it presents a sign that the body of our culture wants to reject something foreign and destructive to it. And that is the system that is becoming degraded and tired out with time.

The immune system of the Islamic world – by contrast – is still fighting fit. As to why it remains as such – my guess would be that there have not been enough Post-Modern Arab or Persian philosophers to introduce the ‘benefits’ of weakness to it. Here in the West – with our Baudrillards, Derridas and Lacans – many of our brightest minds have been hypnotised into believing the most absurd Orwellian principles; Ignorance is strength, diversity is enrichment etc…

And in believing such things, we forgot how merciless truth can be to those who belittle her.

D, LDN.

Our Friends in the North.

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A man writes in books of condolences to fallen Canadian soldiers, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, during a vigil in Montreal

A fashionable opinion about Canada holds that the country is a haven of mono-cultural peace; a place for Europeans and Americans to envy in the same way as they do Australia and New Zealand. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have read a comment like the following:

“Britain is becoming a third-world dump and I’ve had enough of it. I am going to apply for a Canadian Visa. At least the Canadian government still puts its own people first.”

On the 22nd of October, this delusion took a well-deserved knock.

In a bungled act of psychotic cruelty, 32 year old Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed a Canadian soldier before storming the national parliament.

It’s unclear what the objectives of the attack were, but if it was to provoke shock and fear in Canadian society, its success will be rather short-lived. I say this because Canada is currently blessed with a forthright and punchy executive in the shape of Stephen Harper, and his response to the attack has been predictably resolute and inspiring.

A woman stands at makeshift memorial in honour of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo outside of The Lieutenant-Colonel John Weir Foote Armoury in Hamilton

Nevertheless, the puncturing of the Canadian monoculture delusion is necessary and attacks like this serve only to accelerate that process. Canada, to repeat the point, is not a monoculture any more than Britain. Let’s look at some statistics…

The European (‘White’) population of Canada makes up just 76% of the total (compared to the UK at 84%). 3.2% of the Canadian population self-identify as Muslim, below the UK (4.7%), but higher than in Spain (1.9%), the United States (0.9%), Portugal (0.4%) and even Denmark (3%).

There are over 500,000 people from Muslim Arab states in the country, mostly concentrated in the larger cities, but also in smaller towns and urbanities. There are Mosques in every major population centre. According to the website Euro-Islam:

“Muslims in Canada constitute the fastest growing (national) population. The percentage of population increase from 1991 to 2001 is one of the country’s most significant: a 128.9% increase (topped only by Pagans who represent only 0.1% of the population). Statistics Canada predicts that by 2017, this population will increase by approximately 160%…”

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True to form, this growth in the Muslim population has led naturally to an increase in the numbers of attempted terror attacks in Canada. According to David Frum:

“Since 2006, Canadian security has thwarted many localized plots—two in 2013 alone. At a July 1 Canada Day celebration in front of the British Columbia legislature, two Canadian-born converts to Islam intended to detonate homemade pressure-cooker bombs, police charge. Two non-citizens—one Palestinian, one Tunisian—were arrested in April 2013 for allegedly plotting to derail a passenger train.”

Canada’s level of multiculturalism therefore is more comparable to an EU state than to those in the Western hemisphere. The country to which Canada is erroneously (and often positively) compared – Australia – has a Muslim contingent of just 2.2%.

Any Englishman who believes that by deporting himself to Canada he will escape Muslim enrichment is sorely mistaken, and most likely has Canada mixed up with its southern neighbour.

But that Southern neighbour is also why all is not yet lost for our friends in the north. Unlike the UK, Canada is in the national security domain of a freedom-loving superpower. Even if the Canadian government no longer respects the concerns of its own population, perhaps the American voice will prove more convincing. The US would never allow an Islamic base on its own continent or at least not without massive resistance. If Jihadist plots against the US increasingly lead back to a Canadian source, there will be substantial pressure on Ottawa to regain its proper orientation.

Alas, the UK has no such big brother to keep us on the straight and narrow.

D, LDN.

Notes on the Islamisation of London IV

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I remember walking a couple of months ago down the long, grey length of Whitehall to meet a family member who was going to show me the Churchill War Rooms complex near the Palace of Westminster.

Before I got as far as our arranged meeting spot, I came upon a small demonstration at the side of the road. You can tell a demonstration in London from quite some distance by the fluorescent police jackets that swarm around them like a protective blur of lasers. (Ever since the student riots of a few years back, protest has been disgracefully restricted in the capital).

As I got closer, that familiar, idiotic word ‘Islamophobia’ emerged in bold type on the cardboard placards held by those gathered. The symbology of the Socialist Workers Party was also apparent, with issues of its newspaper stacked for sale on the stalls. Interested by all this, I took a couple of the leaflets being handed out. Slickly designed and rich in detail, they demanded that Britain end the “media persecution of Muslims”, informed us that “Muslims have feelings too”, and suggested that the government “Sanction Burma” (Note: there has been a long-standing confrontation in Burma between the Buddhist majority and the Islamic minority. I don’t know enough about Burmese politics to say who is at fault there. Either way, it’s hard to imagine how we could sanction Burma any more than we do at present.)

Most of the demonstrators were White. Some were Whites in headscarves (and try and think of a more depressing sight than that). All had the skinny, malnourished look Leftists always tend to present as if preparing for a socialist famine.

Not having much time to hang around and scoff at this nonsense, I walked on to meet my Auntie and spent a pleasurable and informative afternoon wandering through the underground bunkers. This complex is a very inspiring one and if your imagination is powerful enough, you can strongly recall the dramatic feel of the period. I thanked my auntie and she returned to rural Kent.

Before I travelled back to Putney, I decided to go and see Piccadilly Circus; not to do anything but just to see it, magnified in neon against the black evening. This little spot in London has been a favourite of mine ever since I came to visit with my dad as a child. I used to like standing in front of the giant TDK corner display and imagining myself in an American city. It seemed like the most modern part of the capital until I discovered Canary Wharf.

Anyway, the most direct route to Piccadilly on foot involved passing through the district of Soho – a much-exaggerated den of vice and sinfulness in West Central London. This area contains many of London’s sex clubs, brothels, drug dens, strip-clubs, Jazz bars and gay establishments. In particular, a narrow parade called Old Compton Street provides the central focus for LGBT life in the capital and England more broadly.

As you can appreciate, it was something of a shock in this environment to hear voices of the urban style, and even more surprising to find those voices to be the emanations of a group of bearded Asians. There were three men, about mid-twenties at a guesstimate; crooked noses and skinny jeans. As soon as I appreciated what they were saying, the mystery of their presence dissipated. They had wandered in the area to make a religious point.

“That’s a gay shop!” one barked in a nasal tone in reference to a store selling fetish underwear. “That means they must be gay! Queers! Fucking Queers!”, to which his fellow hyenas giggled madly.

The long lines of homosexuals arrayed outside the Admiral Duncan pub and other nearby bars stared at the Asians in nervous silence. Some wore expressions of shock, others of anger.

The manner of these chaps suggested alcoholic intoxication. Though it might be a shock to some, this isn’t untypical, I’m afraid. There have been many reported cases of Islamists partaking in that which they forbid others and while we’re near the subject, not just alcohol…

They soon wandered off towards Chinatown, leaving the street to recover its debauched enthusiasm.

I found it odd then and odd now that there is such a disconnect between the Left on issues like this. The Leftists on Whitehall would have embraced the Muslims who went on to harass innocent people in the evening, and even at that later scene would have apologised for them rather than let people draw their rational conclusions.

In this respect, they remind me of nothing so much as the underclass owner of a mad-tempered pit-bull. The pit-bull terrorises the neighbourhood, attacks children and barks all night long, and yet the owner, having no community spirit, assures those concerned that he “isn’t always like this” and warns them away from generalising.

I should add that as regards the politics of homosexuality, I am stubbornly agnostic. I have known gay men and women in my life and have never felt the twitch of homophobia. I appreciate the concerns of the majority on the subject, but I’ll let other people argue those points in detail.

But whatever may be said about homosexuality and the UK gay community in particular, they are part and parcel of the city I live in and I will always stand with them (or any other community for that matter) when they are faced with such a hideous and uncivilised enemy.

D, LDN.

ISIS and the SS

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Ever since ISIS/Islamic State began rapping at the doors of Baghdad and its beheadings first blackened the pages of Western print, media commentators have inevitably been searching for a way to describe the organisation to the common, apolitical everyman. It now seems they have settled on the following unconvincing and unpoetic summary:

“Like al-Qaeda, but worse.”

While faintly accurate, this really doesn’t get at the truth about ISIS. Nor (for that matter) does my own article ‘ISIS: al-Qaeda on Steroids’. The comparison with Bin Laden’s organisation I now believe to be generally misleading.

ISIS is something altogether new and its methods and aims almost unprecedented. Perhaps the only way to describe it appropriately is to use the well-worn example of the Nazis.

I would posit that the Nazi Wehrmacht – the Germany army under Nazi command – is roughly analogous to al-Qaeda, whilst ISIS is closer in spirit and practice to the Schutzstaffel or SS.

There are many reasons for this but one in particular. Put simply, al-Qaeda – like the Wehrmacht – fought for conventional, semi-rational goals. al-Qaeda sought to expel Western militaries from the Muslim world. The Wehrmacht fought to defend and enlarge the Nazi empire. Neither of these objectives are beyond comprehension to the outside observer and neither give any hint of madness in those who formulated them.

The SS meanwhile was a completely different beast. Himmler transformed the SS from an unremarkable bodyguard division into a secretive spiritual order charged with a unique, historic destiny. It became an elite racial cult, replete with rituals, codes and quirks of initiation. The SS considered themselves the appointed and rightful rulers of the European meta-race and the last hope it had against the ‘Asiatic hordes’ of Russia.

These objectives are plainly not reasonable or rooted in a rational interpretation of the world.

As with the SS, so it is with ISIS. The fighters of Islamic State believe themselves to be divinely ordained agents of the apocalypse. Their flag – the Black Banner – plays a central role in the eschatological drama of the Islamic end-times.

The Hadith most quoted in relation to the Black Banner (or ‘Black Standard’) is the following:

“Our Prophet (saas) told; “Black banners of Ibn Abbas appear from the East.” That is to say, among the Arabs those with black banners appear. After they proceed for a while, again this time a smaller group with black banners appear from the East (the Middle East). They fight against a man from the descend of Abu Sufyan and come under the obedience of Hazrat Mahdi (note: the promised saviour of Islam).”

The ‘Black Flags’ prophecy is the primary motivation of the ISIS leadership. The activities they endorse (unlike those of al-Qaeda) have nothing to do with removing the House of Saud from power or punishing America for its acts of imperialism. They are telescopically aimed at bringing on the end of the world and the mystical victory of Islam over rival religions and sects.

The Jihadis with Black flags believe they possess a divine mandate to cause chaos across the world – the bloodier and more random the better- in order to bring on the final Day of Judgement.

Irrational beliefs pave the way for acts of astonishing cruelty. The SS shot men, women and children into ditches without a moment’s reflection. Today it was reported that a phone seized from a dead ISIS fighter had photos of a beheaded baby. I’ll repeat that: a beheaded baby.

The historians have mourned for decades that we (the allied nations) did not have the knowledge of what was occurring in the Eastern territories. Had we known all the details at the time, the consensus claims, we could have (and perhaps would have) taken out the machinery of the Holocaust from the sky.

We have no such excuses today, as bearded Einsatzgruppen stalk their way through Kurdish villages and towns.

D, LDN.

Intimidation Reconsidered.

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Last year, it was reported in the media that groups of Muslims were patrolling the streets of North and East London with a view to deterring what they considered ‘un-Islamic’ behaviours. These so-called ‘Muslim patrols’ were said to harass local people for such crimes as openly carrying alcohol or looking as if one had consumed it, eating pork, or (as regards women) dressing in a manner unsuited to the expectations of Sharia.

Whilst these patrols have since faded from the news headlines, the response they provoked remains very much alive. For many months now, ‘Christian patrols’ have walked the same areas of London at night ready to oppose acts of Muslim intimidation. Many – if not all – of these demonstrations are organised by nationalist organisations like Britain First, and most of the volunteers are former or current members of the EDL.

Now, while as a Londoner I like very much the idea of direct action, I feel rather ambivalent about some of the details here. One has to wonder whether a ‘Christian patrol’ has within it a different, corrosive potential.

I’ve said before that the answer to Radical Islam is not Radical Christianity. We don’t want to become the kind of crusader civilisation the blockheads of ISIS imagine we already are. A state run along theocratic lines would be as undesirable with blue-eyed, Dutch enforcers as with enforcers of any other kind. The dark age in the West was every bit as savage and untenable as that which envelopes the Muslim world today.

Still, (and here I suppose I flirt with ‘hate-speech’) one must be honest and say that intimidation (as an idea) is not something to necessarily throw out with the bathwater.

It is (in my opinion) only appropriate that a Muslim feel the same discomfort walking down a Western high street in a burka as I would feel walking down a Saudi high street with a hot dog. I don’t belong there and they don’t belong here. Everything they stand for, we oppose. Everything they oppose, we embrace. This is the most straightforward clash of cultures since the British army faced the Zulu.

We must make Muslims uncomfortable and also make them understand beyond any doubt that their acts of violence can be repaid in kind at short notice. Even in London, we still retain the numerical advantage. If they amass against us, how much more convincingly can we amass against them?

The valuable minorities of London are far from wedded to their current alliance with the Muslims. The Black community understands deep-down that Islam would outlaw many of their cultural (and subcultural) practices and that they could only ever be second-class soldiers in any future alliance with it. The most rational interests of the Jews and Hindus are likewise inclined to our cause.

So let’s upgrade the concept of a Christian Patrol to something more universal; a Western Patrol, primed and ready to defend our rights and pleasures by all means.

I’m not a completely literary animal. I am a young man and physical confrontation, with its bruises, shocks of pain and thrilling pulse, is something I rather enjoy. We can’t possibly shy away from it. If we do, our streets will fall to those who do not.

D, LDN.

Have You Read the Qur’an?

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Last week, a commenter on this blog stressed how important it was for those concerned with the resurgence of Islam to read the Qur’an in its complete form. He was correct to do so, and his recommendation is sound.

I bought a Qur’an many years ago – the Penguin translation by NJ Dawood – and read most of the Suras in a random order. This was before I started writing about Islam, and my only motivation in visiting the text was to see how intolerant it was against Women. As you’ll know, there is a notorious Sura titled ‘Women’, and this contains most of the references to sexual equality in the whole work. The most famous passage from this chapter is undoubtedly verse 4:34 –

“Men have authority over women because God has made one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them”.

It’s strange to think that it was 1400 years ago that some gentleman in the Arabian desert wrote these words, and yet every detail in his articulation now affects over a billion living citizens of the world. The sentence “They guard their unseen parts…” has by-itself chosen the dress for a massive portion of female humanity. That person in the desert, scraping these words onto the bones of an animal, or onto papyrus or stone tablets, decided then what a Muslim woman in Leicester will wear today. Such are the giddying quantum mechanics of history.

As for examples of the promotion of violence, we are rather spoilt for choice. The anti-Islam writer Daniel Pipes collected the following excerpts:

“Regarding infidels (unbelievers), they are the Muslim’s “inveterate enemies” (Sura 4:101). Muslims are to “arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere” (Sura 9:5) for them. They are to “seize them and put them to death wherever you find them, kill them wherever you find them, seek out the enemies of Islam relentlessly” (Sura 4:90). “Fight them until Islam reigns supreme” (Sura 2:193). “Cut off their heads, and cut off the tips of their fingers” (Sura 8:12).

I’ve no longer got my copy of the Penguin translation. I think I gave it to Age Concern just before I left for University. I will re-order the same volume and would strongly advise anyone concerned about Islam to order a copy too. It is hugely irritating to have one’s Islamophobia returned with the remark “You don’t know anything about Islam”. That was never true. I discovered as much as I need to about the Islamic religious system many years ago.

Nevertheless, a good knowledge of Qur’anic quotation is vital to successfully conduct a live argument with the faithful. A Muslim does not consider this text as Christians consider the New Testament. Muslims devoutly believe that God wrote the Qur’an and that every sentence must be the absolute truth. Given its purported author, Muslims also hold that it cannot be argued with or re-interpreted. It must be followed without question. This makes Qur’anic criticism by far the most effective means of confronting Islam as a manner of life and thought.

D, LDN.

Malala: A Question of Credibility.

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So, the world’s favourite teenager Malala Yousafzai can now add a Nobel Peace Prize to the Taliban bullet as things she has famously received and which qualify her as a global political sage. Does her talent for passively receiving things ever end?

Perhaps Yousafzai might next get run down by a lorry driven by a White Supremacist and immediately become spokesperson for Western race-relations.

I don’t enjoy having to use this silly tone to speak of someone so young. I must use it though because feelings are being demanded of me that I don’t have. I am being ordered to feel awe for someone who hasn’t achieved anything and who is being fattened by book-deals and political funds.

The institution responsible for the latest cheque in Yousafzai’s swelling bank account comes as no great shock. The Nobel Peace Prize committee has suffered for many years now from a dire lack of credibility. Ever since the awarding of the honour to (the then virginal) President Barack Obama, the honour has had a light, floaty, cosmetic feel to it – almost as if it was a means of political expression rather than of reward.

The choice of Yousafzai belongs undoubtedly to the same downward trend.

I should clarify that I don’t have anything personal against Malala. Or at least no more than I have against professional psychics, internet healers or astrologers. She is the kindly target of a storm of stupid emotion. That’s all. It’s not something I can either encourage or endorse.

Nevertheless, it has been uncomfortable to witness people I respect (friends among them) fall for Yousafzai’s sweet-smelling hypnotic. There have even been arguments put to me that I am somehow ‘jealous’ of the political starlet, or that I resent her for other base motivations. That is the purest nonsense. Malala is obviously cashing in at a furious pace, but this is no more offensive to me than the success of any other celebrity. What does miff me is that while Victoria Beckham or Miley Cyrus do not (rightly) enjoy either moral respect or political credit, Malala receives them by the bucketload. And for what?

If Yousafzai truly wanted to earn the respect and power she already possesses, she would leave Britain and return to her native Pakistan. She would stand as a Pakistani MP or set up a local organisation dedicated to the right of children to attend school there.

What possible use can she be to her professed cause in Birmingham or New York? The West is in no need of being lectured on the right of education. We already have that in place and have for some time.

Perhaps behind all the public virtues presented by Ms Yousefzai there is just a normal girl growing steadily accustomed to the pleasures of money, silk curtains and chauffer driven limousines.

D, LDN.

Delayed Thoughts on Osama Bin Laden.

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Those who read the child-killer Anders Behring Breivik’s manifesto following his misadventure in Oslo were understandably quick to accuse the murderer of hypocrisy for his stated admiration of Osama bin Laden. How could a man so virulently anti-Islam and willing to confront Islamism speak in a positive voice about the leader of al-Qaeda?

It actually makes sense the more you think about it. Indeed, I think I also feel a twinge of respect for the 9/11 ringleader (as hideous as that sounds). You only have to read his notorious ‘Fatwa against America and Israel’ to realise the wildcat millionaire was by-and-large on the money about Western-Islamic relations.

Bin Laden recognised, long before most, that Islam and modernity were (and are) incompatible and that (eventually) one must make way for the other. He knew that the only way Islam could reassert itself as an alternative to modern living was through huge waves of violence; that Islam will have to outdo the modern world in savagery if it cannot (and it cannot) compete in terms of economic growth or cultural vibrancy. Most importantly, he also knew that there is a dark place in human nature that respects violence, even of the most horrid and savage kind and that this respect can sometimes overcome the rational part of the mind that values banks, music stores and coffee shops. It is out of ignorance of this that we are shocked by the pampered London Muslims who abandon Kensington, iPhones and PlayStations for Syria and Iraq. Bin Laden understood only too well the ancient, occult lure of the primitive and all its apparent ‘purity’.

I suppose bin Laden was also (though we are loathe to admit it) something of a freedom fighter. It’s not pleasant to acknowledge, but bin Laden was exactly correct about American policy in the Gulf. It was (and is) deeply hypocritical of America to posture about democratisation in the Middle East whilst at the same time maintain a relationship with a hand-severing despotism in Riyadh. And to be sure, were bin Laden’s aims limited to the liberation of his homeland from the House of Saud, it wouldn’t have been crazy for liberals to have supported him.

He was not limited to such noble aims of course, despite what the Left occasionally argues. He wanted an Islamic superpower under his direct command, primed to target and bully the free world for outlandish demands. Those who replace him maintain those aims, but lack entirely the reason he undeniably possessed.

It serves all the while to remember this though. Bin Laden was a monster, but the sleep of reason that gave birth to him was our own.

D, LDN.

Gay Marriage in Saudi Arabia: Prospects and Obstacles.

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As I write, the passage of the Gay Marriage bill in Saudi Arabia still hangs tensely in the balance. Opposition from the religious establishment shows no sign of relenting with peaceful protests held overnight in Jeddah and Riyadh.

Meanwhile, supporters of the bill have delivered a petition with over a million signatures to the office of domestic affairs in Jeddah. The government has promised to consider both sides carefully.

Divisions between the two sides have been civil but impassioned and both feel strongly that they are on the brink of triumph.

Abu-Majid, a prominent advocate of gay liberties and executive of Saudi Gay Empowerment Committee (SGEC), said to reporters:

“This is obviously very tense. It’s also hugely exciting. The vote could go either way but I have faith it will be in the right direction: Forward. This is a chance to show the world the true progressive spirit of the Saudi people. Our values can help to lead the world.”

Meanwhile, across the ideological barricades, Sheikh Mohammad Sulayyil claimed his camp was the better placed to succeed.

“We represent the conservative majority in this country” he said “.. the silent majority, who oppose the desecration of marriage but are too polite to make their voices heard. We are a progressive, friendly society, but this is one step too far.”

Asked whether he harboured any hostility toward homosexuals (a frequent allegation by the SGEC), Sulayyil responded resolutely; “Of course we don’t. You cannot hate anyone in Islam. We love and care for homosexuals. We wish only that they respect our believes as well as their own.”

Despite observers predicting a close result, the ‘yes’ faction has easily been the most high-profile to date, with celebrities from throughout the Kingdom lining up to demonstrate their support for the bill. The 30 year old Lesbian actress Aafreeda Aftab has spoken at rallies up and down the country, accompanied by such LGBT superstars as Mohammad Badaidah, Abdul Laqiya and Osama Bin Haroum.

Some events in support of the bill have more dramatic than others. Laqiya and Haroum courted controversy by French-kissing in Medina during the Hajj season. Some clerics deemed this to be inappropriate behaviour and letters of complaint were written to various elected officials. Both actors may face a small fine if officials concur with the motion.

Within religious circles the debate has been particularly profound, with liberal and female imams taking a cautious stand in favour of tolerance and hard-line clerics stating frank opposition.

One thing is clear. Whichever way the result goes, the bill threatens to redefine the traditional identity of this gilded Kingdom and cause waves through the settled political landscape.

D, LDN

(That my satire here is almost see-through exposes how alien the Saudi world is to the one we inhabit).

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