Sweden has decided that flying the black flag of Jihad as used by the Islamic State, is not any kind of Hate Speech. Apparently this is because, unlike the hateful Swastika, the black flag symbolises hate of everyone. Because they hate everyone, that means they don't hate any particular group more than others. So that's OK. (Read the article yourself - as best as I can manage that seems to be the gist of the "logic").
In Ireland the Crusaders Athletic Club has decided to drop the cross from its crest due to threats of violence. This has prompted a wider discussion within the Club on the advisability of it using such an archaic and potentially offensive name. Like many, they have forgotten what the Crusades actually were and are now embarrassed by the association.
Meanwhile Malaysia's Parliament is debating whether the northern State of Kelantan can have Islamic Sharia hudud ordinances like Pakistan has. These involve all the usual Sharia compliant punishments such as stonings and amputations. This article states:
Kelantan’s state capital Kota Bahru is deeply religious and many of its citizens live by a strict adherence to Islam. At shops and supermarkets there are separate queues for males and females, while signs advising women to cover up are common outside offices and government buildings.
Hang on - I thought Malaysia was a moderate and modern pearl of Islamic tolerance? How did they so misunderstand their peaceful religion? This is a large Muslim majority nation and the other side of the planet from those nasty Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia who, we are regularly informed, are pushing an intolerant, distorted version of Islam on the world. (It's probably not coincidental either that this state borders Thailand and Kelantan's push for closer adherence to Sharia may reflect a similar devoutness in those performing bombings in the "restive" Muslim areas in south Thailand.)
In Canada a Muslim activist working among Muslim youth for the cause of Dawa (advancing the faith through preaching, conversion and social change) states that it is possible and desirable to implement Sharia gradually in North America. (This would be the same Sharia being promoted by the learned Malaysian scholars and leaders would it?)
To sum it all up, Germany's Home Secretary has declared that "We have underestimated the role of religion". Refugee shelters are still unsafe places for non-Muslims, with a recently arrived refugee was confronted with these words written on the wall in his refugee shelter: “The time has come to cut off the heads of all non-believers!”
You've underestimated the role of religion you say? That is rather an understatement. The single greatest issue facing the West today - among many - is that we no longer understand religion. We assume that all religions are basically the same (and that those with any sense will slowly outgrow the need for religion anyway). We then extrapolate that any opposition to Sharia must therefore be an expression of blatant racism and/or ignorance.
But how long are we going to ignore news reports like those above? Several different contexts, races, languages and cultures - all being attacked by the Sharia Law ideology. It will come to New Zealand. Hints of it already have, but a lack of numbers means that proponents of Sharia are keeping their heads down. For the moment.
I really think it would be useful to discuss all this while it's relatively easy to do so.