When a supposedly apolitical pundit allegedly condones religious hatred

ordinary muslimsThe story so far

This post is not disappearing and has not been taken down, as the main premise still remains. However, in the light of further information from Iceland Review itself, there are elements which do alter it, particularly now the editorial policy on comments and how they work has been explained.

Below therefore is the rewritten post in the light of these developments.

Iceland Review

IR is a fine journal which, in the words of its publisher, Benedikt Jóhannesson, covers:

Iceland’s nature, culture, society, politics and business as well as photographs …

As a writer heavily involved in British and global political commentary, I’ve always seen IR as a blessed relief, a welcome break from the issues bedevilling the world at this time.

For example, my first published post was about Iceland, it’s gone on from there and you’ll note that my attitude to IR is friendly and supportive. I count Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir as a friend and we have corresponded now and then.

I’m perfectly happy to keep my politics away from iceland Review as long as they stick to their editorial policy on outside political ideologies.

IR has certainly written about politics before – Icelandic politics – and it’s been interesting seeing who is in favour, who is not, who is resigning or being ejected, plus the articles on Icesave were also interesting.

All is well, yes?

Well actually no.

Unfortunately, there is a more recent columnist named Júlíana Björnsdóttir who, though she writes excellent articles about the country, the life, the weather, the cost of living and so on – hence she was my favourite columnist for a time – saw fit, twice, to make political statements which had nothing to do with Iceland.  In fact she chose two topics and one side of those topics which are hot potatoes in the world today.

As I pointed out to her the first time, by making such statements at a site readers have always seen as non-political, she risks alienating the half of the readers who disagree with her.

For that statement, I was blocked.  I stated that it was her who had blocked me, as it is on any political blog but it was apparently another who remains nameless.

Now we come to today’s issue

Júlíana wrote:

Iceland is not excluded. Anti-Islam proponents will use these series of attacks as an excuse to spread their hatred. How fiercely will Iceland as a nation fight the voice of hatred?

Hatred only breeds more hatred.

If she had stopped at condemning the killings in Paris, it would have been fine but she did not stop there, she then directly defamed those who oppose Islamic violence, calling us haters.  Hence this post.  if she’s going to do that, then she is going to be answered.

Her article is called “A Bad Start” and yet  there was no mention at all of the Boko Haram atrocity in Baga this month in which an estimated 2000 people were slaughtered.

Her selective vision is amazing – ignoring atrocities all over the world in order to try to defend Islam in Paris and in the Charlie Hebdo killings, she is presenting a skewed view of what is going on and who is to blame.

For example, this is the finance trail of Boko Haram:

Kidnappings, robbery and extortion

Boko Haram gets funding from bank robberies and kidnapping ransoms.[108][177] As an example, in the spring of 2013 gunmen from Boko Haram kidnapped a family of seven French tourists on vacation in Cameroon. Two months later, the kidnappers released the hostages along with 16 others in exchange for a ransom of $3.15 million.[178]

Any funding they may have received in the past from al-Qaeda affiliates is insignificant compared to the estimated $1 million ransom for each wealthy Nigerian or foreigner kidnapped. Cash is moved around by couriers, making it impossible to track, and communication is conducted face-to-face. Their mode of operation, which is thought to include paying local youths to track army movements, is such that little funding is required to carry out attacks.[179] Equipment captured from fleeing soldiers keeps the group constantly well-supplied.[180] The group also extorts local governments. A spokesman of Boko Haram claimed that Kano state governor Ibrahim Shekarau and Bauchi state governor Isa Yuguda had paid them monthly.[181][182]

Donations from Islamist sympathizers

After Boko Haram was founded, it received most of its funds from local donors who supported its goal of imposing Islamic law while ridding Nigeria of Western influences. In more recent times, Boko Haram has broadened its funding by drawing on foreign donors, and other ventures such as fake charity organizations.[178] In February 2012, recently arrested officials revealed that while the organization initially relied on donations from members, its links with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb opened it up to funding from groups in Saudi Arabia and the UK.[183][184]

Boko Haram cloaks its sources of finance through the use of a highly decentralized distribution network. The group employs an Islamic model of money transfer called hawala, which is based on an honor system and a global network of agents that makes the financing difficult to track.[178] In the past, Nigerian officials have been criticized for being unable to trace much of the funding that Boko Haram has received.[185]

Drug trafficking, smuggling and poaching

Boko Haram has occasionally been connected in media reports with cocaine trafficking;[186][187] according to some there appears to be a lack of evidence regarding this means of funding. James Cockayne, formerly Co-Director of the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation and Senior Fellow at the International Peace Institute, wrote in 2012,[188][189]

“Given their appreciation of the contested nature of much African governance, it comes as something of a surprise that Carrier and Klantschnig [Review of Africa and the War on Drugs, 2012] fiercely downplay the impact that cocaine trafficking is having on West African governance. On the basis of just three case studies (Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho and Nigeria) the authors conclude that ‘state complicity’ in the African drug trade is ‘rare’, and the dominant paradigm is ‘repression’. As a result, they radically understate the close involvement of political and military actors in drug trafficking – particularly in West African cocaine trafficking – and overlook the growing power of drug money in African electoral politics, local and traditional governance, and security.”

According to Loretta Napoleoni, an expert on terrorist finance, Boko Haram funds itself by trafficking drugs from drug cartels in Latin America. “Nobody wants to admit that cocaine reaches Europe via West Africa,” says Napoleoni, “This kind of business is a type of business where Islamic terrorist organizations are very much involved.”[178]

Boko Haram also engages in other forms of smuggling. According to a report from the Animal Protection Institute, the group has joined other criminal groups in Africa in the billion-dollar rhino and elephant poaching industry.[178]

Ties to other designated terrorist groups

Evidence going back to 2002 or earlier ties Boko Haram to al-Qaida and its regional affiliates. According to E.J Hogendoorn, author of a report on Boko Haram for the International Crisis Group, Osama bin Laden himself sent $3 million in seed money to Nigeria to fund the spreading of his ideologies, and some of this money was used to help start the Boko Haram group. This information came from a Nigerian researcher’s interview with a member of Boko Haram “who was very knowledgeable about the origins of the group.” It also appears that bin Laden provided strategic direction to the Nigerians. In 2011, Coorespondance between bin Laden and Boko Haram was found in bin Laden’s compound after the raid that killed him.[190]

Gary Brecher, in his study on Algeria, writes about the very collusion of the people themselves.  Though he writes here of Algeria, the same is true of Nigeria and the western countries where they have exported this violence:

But even if there are some secret motives, you can’t say the Algerian massacres are just the result of a few “bad apples” or part of some conspiracy theory. There are too many people doing the killings for that. Let’s face up to a couple of depressing facts here:

First: Islam DOES glorify violence. When groups like the GIA say they’re doing Allah’s will by killing people who ain’t following the right path, they’ve got the Qu’ran on their side.

The Qu’ran is absolutely in favor of violence against everybody who’s not already a Muslim. Anybody who tells you different is a liar. Speaking as a recovered Pentecostal, I’d say all religions are crap-but Islam is way, way the sickest and most violent of all.

Second: the GIA is not just a few loonies. It’d be nice to believe that, but it’s just not true. The GIA has at least 15,000 soldiers. You can’t feed and supply that many men without cooperation from the civilian population.

The news people like to tell you the GIA terrorizes the poor villagers, but that’s bull. The GIA is recruited from those very villagers, supported by them, fed and sheltered and hidden by them. If the GIA is sick, it’s because a whole lot of Algerians like it that way.

Here is a more recent study of the profile of the jihadi convert.

This is on Islam as the religion of peace.

What is apparent is that yes, as Juliana states, there are peaceful nominal Muslims who wish to escape all the violence which goes with Islam but there are also so many who are not.  Three further examples of this are:

1.  911, when ordinary “peaceful” Muslims around the world cheered the massacre of the people at the WTC;

2.  Charlie Hebdo when the same happened and supposedly peaceful Muslims were quoted as saying the dead had it coming;

3.  Even today where dozens of churches have been torched in response  to the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo.

This was not done by “an isolated few”.  I do not appreciate being called a “hater” for calling out Muslims on this matter – the only hater in the matter is both those Muslims responsible for the carnage plus those condoning them, e.g. Ms Björnsdóttir.



7 comments for “When a supposedly apolitical pundit allegedly condones religious hatred

  1. James Strong
    January 19, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Fair enough to take on her arguments, but I can’t see why it’s any of your business which writers the Icelandic Review chooses to give space to, unless you are a shareholder.
    If you are just a reader or subscriber you can stop paying.
    If I stated to you, and in public, that you shouldn’t have wiggia’s posts on your blog and inflict his/her views on us then what would your response be?
    An appropriate response would be that made famous in the case of Arkell v Pressdram.

    • January 19, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      In the same way that the post needed to be rewritten in the light of further information, this comment does too.

      The issue was:

      1. A site with an apolitical history and an editorial policy which does not touch on highly controversial issues of world scope saw one of its recent staff go against that and in the process, defamed a section of the population obviously including me;

      2. I had no right of reply because I’d been blocked.

      As I now know who blocked me [not the lady herself], this does indeed alter the picture to an extent – hence the rewrite.

      What it does not alter is the original grievance. To any libertarian – and we’ve been discussing limits of late, no [?] – how far can one be defamed and have no right of reply?

      Meanwhile, today, here are those “peaceful” local Muslims at it again:

      Dozens of churches have been torched in Niger in a protest over Charlie Hebdo’s front cover http://trib.al/Aiv6Y2f

      Plus firther support for the contention about the “religion of peace”:


      • Viscount Rectum
        January 20, 2015 at 7:10 am

        I have read, Islam is an interlectual void.

  2. January 19, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    She is clearly a misguided and ignorant individual, and for her to make comments such as these about a subject on which she has clearly not educated herself is a disgrace and she should be taken to take for her ignorance.
    My knowledge of Iceland is limited, but my partner loves Iceland and would love to live there, he describes it as a quite country with little knowledge of outside influence and fairly untouched by the kind of mainstream media we tolerate and political correctness we are subjected to here. That is possibly because there Muslim population is estimated at 0.1% so they have no real knowledge of the struggles we have against the force of this minority.
    This is no excuse for her ignorance because she needs to equate herself with the facts, I always , as I hope a responsible blogger try to check all my facts and to know what I am posting about, if I don’t or cant educate myself sufficiently I refrain from comment, because to me that is the reasonable and responsible thing to do, and if anything I say is just my personal opinion I always make this clear and accept there may well be inaccuracies in my “views” and am always open to being educated by others. To me that is the correct way to approach blogging and commenting publicly on blogs.

  3. mona
    January 19, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I have a book called “Hearts of Darkness”, the first paragraph of the Preface goes as follows–Africa will always be Africa of the Victorian atlas, the blank unexplored continent the shape of the human heart; the African heart described by Graham Greene a quired a new layer of meaning when Conrad potrayed the Congo under King Leopold as a heart of darkness, a place where barbarism triumphs over humanity, nature over technology, biology over culture,id over superego.

  4. January 19, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I did leave a comment with regards to this subject earlier however for some reason it didn’t post so I will try again.
    This young lady clearly is not au fait with the facts, and there is no excuse for that, anyone blogging should be responsible and check their facts, know the subject and be prepared to provide evidence for what they say.
    Clearly this lady has not done this and that is negligent.
    When I blog I try my best to educate myself and if something is just my opinion I say so, I am always open to correction and debate and fair exchange of views, because that is responsible blogging.
    Yes there are occasions where personal experiences colour judgements however one has to remove personal preference and bias and just stick to facts.
    Of course this is not always easy and for me Domestic abuse is a mine field , hence why I always delay my domestic abuse posts for a good 24 hours I write and save, then leave it and re-read once the emotion of the situation has left me, in order to be objective and fair.
    For me that is sensible because I would hate to be classed as an irresponsible uneducated blogger.
    I know little of Iceland, but my partner is a huge lover of Iceland and as they only have 0.01% Muslims population they are very blinkered as to the ways of Islam, he tells me they also have a very narrow view of world politics because they tend to keep themselves to themselves and are not well versed in foreign politics.
    My point if you don’t know don’t comment and sure as hell don’t rant on about it unknowing of the facts.
    Something this woman is clearly not capable of doing.

  5. January 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Essentially, the application of reason and heeding the evidence is becoming a more rare commodity s time goes on.

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