Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The religion of peace has been busy in Thailand and in Pakistan

Various misunderstanders and out-of-context speakers (as well as bombers and shooters) of the religion of peace have been so active lately that I have no chance of keeping up with writing about them.

On Sunday, the Chinese New Year, 28 bombs exploded in southern Thailand. Hotels, karaoke bars, power grids and business owned by Buddhist and/or ethnic Chinese were attacked. At least 9 people were killed and 40 injured. Thailand's current leader Sonthi Boonyaratglin admitted that he knew about the attacks in advance but failed to prevent them. He has some kind of "hearts and minds" campaign going on, and apparenly not of the kind where you actually remove the terrorists' hearts and brains. It does not appear to be going very well.

As an aside - isn't it funny that pretty much the only really peaceful Muslim politician we hear about on the news is the head of Thailand's military junta? Go figure...

Isn't it a bit excessive to kill so many people in southern Thailand on a fairly regular basis as a protest against Israel's treatment of Palestinians, American war in Iraq, Danish cartoons, Britain's failure to let Omar Bakri Muhammed back into the country and Helsinki's failure to build a really nice new mosque in the center of the city? The people who kill other people and blow things up in southern Thailand don't really demand anything. Thailand calls them separatists but they do not in fact try to separate in any way.

Usually separatist terrorists have a terrorist wing and a political wing. The terrorists terrorize and demand some kinds of concessions and advantages for the political wing. The politicians condemn terror, claim to have had nothing to do with it, and happily use said concessions and advantages, and so the peace process usually goes, though not necessarily in the direction of peace. But these guys don't have any demands or politicians. Maybe they just think that killing Buddhists is fun.

In other news, Mohammad Sarwar, a guy who thought Allah disapproves of women's involvement in politics shot Punjab's social welfare minister Zil-e-Huma, who happened to be a woman. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat told Reuters the gunman had been implicated in six previous murder cases but had never been convicted because of a lack of evidence.

In 2003 the state of Kano in Nigeria suspended polio vaccinations when local Muslim leaders said that the whole vaccination thing was a Western conspiracy to sterilize Muslim children. Somebody should have sent them a team that would explain about the future sexual market value of their children and the detrimental effect of being paralyzed thereon, but either nobody did, or the concept was too complicated for them. Anyway, by 2004 12 neighboring countries were reinfected, two thirds of the world's polio cases were in Nigeria and about 1500 children were paralyzed. Saudis and some other Middle Eastern Muslims even dispatched a team of imams to Kano to tell them that Allah is not against polio vaccinations and even the Prophet himself would have considered the polio vaccine totally halal, and eventually they relented.

Anyways, now the same stupidity appeared in Pakistan, in places that are politely called "tribal regions", because "festering shitholes" does not sound good in official documents. Local religious leaders said - guess what - that the whole vaccination thing was a Western conspiracy to sterilize Muslim children. To make their point a bit more forceful, they blew up Dr. Abdul Ghani Marwat, the senior health official in charge of the vaccinations, and injured his three bodyguards.

The other health workers honestly said thay they are scared shitless and decided to boycott the whole polio vaccination thing after that, and who can blame them?

In Britain the head of the Islamic medical association, Dr. Abdul Majid Katme, is urging British Muslims not to vaccinate their children against disease because vaccines are haram (not halal). He says: "If you breastfeed your child for two years - as the Koran says - and you eat Koranic food like olives and black seed, and you do ablution each time you pray, then you will have a strong defence system".

OK. I wanna see the people who gave Dr. Katme his medical license. I mean, he is a psychiatrist clearly in need of some help from his colleagues, but still... One wonders if he, being a psychiatrist, also recommends conversion to Islam as a treatment to the most violent of his patients. This would certainly explain both Richard Reid and Abu Izzadeen.

One thing I've been wondering about: maybe one explanation of why all these people are acting like they are insane is that they are in fact insane? I mean, from the experience of several friends dealing with Finnish mental health care I figured that it's pretty bad even here, and Finland is after all a developed industrial nation with almost-universal coverage. Imagine the state of mental health care in Pakistan. Especially in the tribal regions.

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