Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not only (some) Christians are nuts...

Heard this sort of thing before?

...the subtle and not so subtle magic that opposes our deen and corrupts our communities is often overlooked due to its fictional classification. In addition, it shows the importance of guardianship, being concerned with our children’s time, their books, games etc. Finally, it exposes the evil contained in the Potter series, this lecture was prompted by the fascination of young Muslims in the community with Harry Potter, loving him, admiring him and wanting to be like him – all under the eyes of their parents, unaware or uninterested in what our beloved Muslim children are reading and watching.

It seems some Muslims, like certain US "charismatic" Christians, posting their videos onto the internet, are not comfortable with poor old Harry and his chums waving their wands in their kids' faces. So much so that there's an uproar building here.

Thank "god" there are no wars, famine, energy crisis, global warming or despotic regimes to worry about out there...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Paedophiles' brains 'different'

An utterly fascinating story popped up on the BBC website this morning. Apparently a new study has revealed that sexual abusers have different levels of brain activity to "normal" people.

A Yale University team found activity in parts of paedophiles' brains were lower than in other volunteers when shown adult, erotic material.

The journal Biological Psychiatry said this was the first real-time evidence of differences in thought patterns. And this raises the possibility of future drug treatments.

There is increasing evidence that problems in certain areas of the brain may contribute to feelings of sexual attraction to children.

In a few cases, patients with a brain tumour in a particular part of the brain have developed such feelings, only for them to go away when the tumour was removed.

A decade ago I carried out a series of investigations into abusers and those who have survived abuse. It is an incredibly difficult story to present: traumatic for those involved, and with much of society still ignorant that the majority of abuse takes place in the home environment, with carers, friends, uncles, babysitters and even siblings.

Many of us, the media and those twisting such issues for their own aim (such as the BNP, which ironically has had several abusers in its own ranks!) like to present abusers are foul-smelling men in macs, waiting in the park to ambush children. Far more likely to be a pillar of the community, unsuspected, hidden. And sadly such attitudes only serve to drive away abusers into the shadows, and force the model treatment programmes and centres to close down.

Let us hope this new research brings the light of hope into a very, very dark corner of humanity.

Fel Deeds - new fantasy story

Just part of one of my new fantasy short stories, possible book (fiction) material in the future.

Jungle. The constant croak of life, and decay. An eternal war of undergrowth and beast, insect and flesh.

Some said the mighty Attul began here. Others that it was a mere myth to frighten children. Empires lost and fallen, then risen again, 'ere the sun was young.

The figures paused. One spat, hawking a gob onto soil which sprang life wherever you trod. He flicked away a giant mosquito. His two companions' ghostly steeds snickered and pawed at the cloying air, unnerved even in death by what lay beyond.

They had fought and skulked their way north. Slain two of the wooded ones. Now their prey was near.

"To the tower, men," ordered the black-clad leader, sweltering inside his assassin's garb. "It is there my ... love awaits."

"And it's there she and her kind shall really learn what the Order means," smirked his comrade, a scarred undead shadow.

"Ahahaha, indeed she shall," agreed his other companion, shifting her robes and mask. She set spur to dead flesh. "Come, master keen-eye, let us be done with this filthy business."

"Aye ... cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war ..."


The ancient bridge rattled beneath the hooves. The leader gritted his teeth beneath his mask, and clung tighter to the dead beast, the juddering of bone grinding through his arse cheeks.

"That fucking whore," he whispered. "She'll pay for putting me through this ..."

Making their way cautiously through the creeping gloom of Ashtongue, leaving the jungle far behind, they scouted and moved beyond the patrols. His assassin colleagues slotted one or two over-curious guards, the grunts of surprise quickly silenced by a knife across the windpipe.

Breathless, they emerged from the dark forest. There, ahead, the tower emerged from the mists.

"Put on your disguise, my comrades. She knows I travel with mercenaries and will not be surprised. We do not want this wench knowing of the Doctor’s connection to tonight's fel deeds."

He signaled the dismount.


"It is I, Lar, Maiisha my love... do not be startled."

His words were whispered honey with acid menace.

"Come closer, my dear, come to your dear old lover boy ... that's right, don't worry about my friends here, you recognise the staunch and loyal comrades of the Order when you see them?"

She sensed, if not saw, the grin stretch uncomfortably wider behind his mask. It looked like Lar, it sounded like him. Her legs trembled in anticipation. Like a schoolgirl she felt – he had really returned!

"Oh Lar, Lar..." she wept, starting to move forward.

He opened his arms and embraced her. His leathers smelled of damp and mildew, of rot.

“Ouch! That hurts,” she giggled. “But I like it, you little tease!” She flicked his nose with her finger, looking up into the brooding one-eyed face. What she saw there was cold, hard. She reached up to touch his scar.

“Lar? My love? Is anything the matter? I came here as soon as I received word. I knew - just knew - you didn’t really love Sie. It was hard losing you, and Laertes, to the new Order. But now ... now we can be together again? Yes? Surely now ...” she whispered, leaning in close to his ear and breathing hot.

“Get away from me you foul thing!”

Lar shoved her roughly aside. She stumbled and struggled to keep her balance. Her cat growled and above, a bird rose in alarm. A soft “swoosh” moved past her.

“B-beloved? Why do you push me aside?” she cried, a tear trembling down her cheek. Furiously she wiped it away with a soft hand, adjusting the expensive silks she donned for this special occasion. Thank the gods her clan had no idea of this meeting – she’d be punished if they did. Bah! Let them, she thought. Shoving doubts aside she moved in closer to the Nil’Hume again.

“Lar, Lar, my brave bladesman,” she crooned. “I know you’re upset at the changes ... but I forgive you. I know you did what you had to do ... only following orders from Laer-”

“Shut up bitch!”

Something heavy crashed into the back of her skull. Blinding, furious pain flashed through her eyes and she thought she’d be sick there and then. She hung, woozy like a punch-drunk boxer, trying to stay on her feet. She heard breathing close by...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Celebrities Reply to You-Ask

We have nothing to fear from an Islamic caliphate...

... at least according to the leading spokesman for radical Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in many countries (though curiously not in the UK).

That is just one of the several answers that have come back from a recent debate I've helped to host on Muslims in the UK.

Some of you may know that I've been contributing to the intriguing new "You-Ask" (Yoosk) website. It's a place where those of us minnows of the world can ask questions, directly, of those in positions of power and influence.

It's been a learning curve - Ken Livingstone's people insisting his name and image is removed from any debates, for example (odd) - but also a success for the first of my debates, which as noted was held on Muslims in the UK.

We've had responses in from right-wing columnist Peter Hitchens, from the Respect Party councillor and Birmingham mosque spokesperson Salma Yaqoob, and Jamal Harwood who speaks for the Hizb (responses to come in from the head of the UK's largest Islamic group next).

Yoosk is asking for more opinions, more suggestions for debates, more feedback and more questions for celebrities, politicians and those in power and influence. Head over and check it out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fear and the Eagle

My friend Deepa posts some interesting thoughts in her latest blog - how, in the aftermath of September 11, America sacrificed itself to a fear it never held during the Cold War days.

How did America remain steady during the Iron Curtain threat? How did it continue to prosper and expand, send a man to the Moon, launch countless advances ... yet now spends ridiculously huge sums on a "war on terror" that as yet shows little sign of end. Or, indeed, success.

Iraq remains ungovernable after the shambles of post-invasion planning and corruption (both within the US CPA and the government since), and Afghanistan is witnessing a Taliban resurgence.

I think Deepa might have simplified the message about how ordinary Americans felt in the '50 and 60s/70s - what about Korea, Vietnam, also Cuba '63? - and I would argue that that "fear" mindset has been present in America long before the war even. Back to the isolationist days. Now with its new global role, the US has a responsibility to exercise power for the entire world community ... lest it face the very punishment it fears once other nations begin surpassing it.

Deepa Kandaswamy's blog

Monday, September 10, 2007

Neo-Nazis caught in Israel

Almost unbelievable.

The major news networks are carrying a story this week that tells of a Neo-Nazi gang operating inside Israel. Eight Russian emigrés videoed attacks on drug addicts, synagogues and religious Jews, with the 19-year-old leader telling police:

"I won't ever give up. I was a Nazi and will stay a Nazi, until we kill them all I will not rest."

He even said he would never have children, because his grandfather "was a half Jewboy".

The irony is that an Arab Israeli member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) has said Israeli laws allow much more extensive rights to Russians - often with little connection to Israel, other than a desire for economic migration - than it did to Arabs who had been living in the country for generations.

The case is being commented on around the world, not least for the shock and outrage it has raised among Jews both inside and outside Israel.

Read the BBC account here.