• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Rival Protests Planned for Birmingham on Saturday

Also: Casuals United leader charged with affray

From Unite Against Fascism:

Unite Against Fascism supporters in the West Midlands will be joining the local Muslim community in Birmingham city centre on Saturday 8 August to protest against an “anti-Muslim demonstration” planned that day by right-wing thugs linked to the fascist BNP and promoted on openly Nazi internet sites such as Stormfront.

The racist demo is planned by a group of football hooligans operating under the names “Casuals United” and the “English Defence League”. There was a spate of Nazi and BNP graffiti in the local area after their last outing in Birmingham on 4 July.

The site links to a blog post by me, in which I investigated crossovers between the EDL and the BNP – although I should add that I have never drawn wider inferences from the instances I noted.

Meanwhile, Jeff Marsh (whom I blogged here, and who does not have any far-right links) complains of police harrassment on the Casuals United website:

As you probably know, the powers that be decided to lift me from  outside a pub where a scuffle was occuring which was nothing to do with me, arrest me for nothing, then when they got me to police station they advised me that I was being arrested for incitement to religious hatred in reference to some videos I had on youtube.

They held me for 24hrs wouldnt let me speak to my wife at all, pulled my house to bits, damaging a lot of books in the process and have now bailed me after charging me with this ridiculous affray charge.

Marsh’s YouTube channel is now closed, and he has “dropped out of organising [the protest] due to police betrayal”. Instead, he has handed over the event to a young man named Wayne King, who has been involved with protests in Luton. He adds that

if everyone who says they are coming turns up we should have close to a thousand people, including many football lads, and normal people of all races will be present. After this the loony left will find it nigh on impossible to keep calling us nazis, or even racist. Job done. The sooner these apologists for terrorism shut up the better.

Further down, we are assured that

 Casuals United and the Defence Leagues are non political, non racist, non violent protest groups, and anyone is welcome to get involved.

Anti-extremist Muslims, though, might be put off by the “Infidel” baseball caps (available for 15 quid); the old “Casuals United” Facebook page carried the slogan “We are the Infidels”. Further, the group takes the view that most immigrants are terrorists:

the traitor Alan Johnson wants to keep letting immigrants, most of them terrorists or sympathisers into this country…British people must make a stand and the scum that have allowed our country to get in this state need to be told.

We have no chance of removing islam with rodents like this in power. This man is in charge of immigration control and openly states that he doesnt care how many people come here. No, well he wont be on the train when the next bomb goes off, so why should he care?

The main “Casuals United” Facebook page has now gone, and instead around 30 new pages have been established, named for various football clubs and identified by their banners. The blurbs contain statements that include “Nazis go to HELL, BNP GO TO HELL and NF go to HELL”. However, as I blogged here, some far-right elements have apparently promised to show up, welcome or not.

By the way: if the Portsmouth banner is unfurled on the protest, I fear that some unhappy confusion may ensue…

Portsmouth Crescent

WND Pushes Islamic Anti-Christ Theory Again

WorldNetDaily returns to the theme of a Muslim anti-Christ:

Meet “The Islamic Antichrist,” a book almost certain to be greeted in the Muslim world with the same enthusiasm as Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses.” The author, Joel Richardson, is prepared. He has written the book under a pseudonym to protect himself and his family.

In fact, the book is a follow-up to Richardson’s Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, which was published last year, and which – as I noted at the time – is just the latest in a long line of fundamentalist tomes in which the Bible supposedly reveals an underlying spiritual dimension to conflicts that involve the USA. Both books carry endorsements from Robert Spencer, who is not known to be particularly religious but who doubtless sees such works as having populist uses [UPDATE: Actually, it turns out that Spencer is a Catholic deacon in a Greek Melkite diocese].

In fact “the Muslim world” has ignored Richardson’s “Islamic Antichrist” views; just recently Richardson was in Turkey to have a chat with none other than Harun Yahya, and he returned home in one piece. WND editor Joseph Farah previously promised riots following the publication of Richardson’s Why We Left Islam – again, there was no reaction from “the Muslim world”, although Ibrahim Hooper made a snarky comment which Farah tried to spin into some kind of incitement to violence.

WND continues:

Richardson believes the key error of many previous prophecy scholars involves the misinterpretation of a prediction by Daniel to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel describes the rise and fall of empires of the future, leading to the endtimes. Western Christians have viewed one of those empires as Rome, when, claims Richardson, Rome never actually conquered Babylon and was thus disqualified as a possibility.

It had to be another empire that rose and fell and rose again that would lead to rule of this “man of sin,” described in the Bible. That empire, he says, is the Islamic Empire, which did conquer Babylon and, in fact, rules over it even today.

As ever, this is voodoo scholarship. The Book of Daniel belongs to an “Apocalpytic” genre of the second century BCE, and, like the other books of the Bible, it was written with a contemporary audience in mind; it does not contain secrets that make sense only thousands of years later. The various empires that concern the author end with that of his own time and location: the Hellenistic kingdoms of the post-Alexander period. The author is not interested in Rome, and shows no knowledge of any kind of “Islamic Empire” hundreds of years in the future.  Babylon as a city had already lost much of its historical significance by the time the book was composed, and by the Islamic period the town itself was largely a ruin. Babylon was never destroyed in any sort of disaster, despite the promise in Isaiah 13; instead, the site eventually became uninhabited after a millennium of natural decline.

However, Christian fundamentalists have another perspective: for them, the book of Daniel was written hundreds of years earlier, during the Exile, and it contains supernatural divination of the future course of history. Babylon may be a ruin today, but the physical location remains central to the events of the “Last Days”. Thus there was excitement in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein tried to “restore” the archaeological site in his own image, and the apocalpytic Left Behind novels feature the United Nations relocating to the site. Recently, the announcement of US funding to protect the site (a mere $700,000 was quoted) created a hysteria.

Joel Richardson’s blog can be seen here.

 

Richardson Islamic Antichrist

UPDATE: In a follow-up article (also reposted on Richardson’s blog), WND finds a way to bring Obama into the picture:

Obama Antichrist WND Yet Again

Richardson explains:

Under the guise of “fairness” and “equity,” Americans are getting their share of government-coerced wealth redistribution under the leadership of Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress, but it’s only a foreshadowing of what the whole world will witness under the rule of a coming world leader known as “the Beast,” says the author of a controversial new book, “The Islamic Antichrist.”

Author Joel Richardson is quick to point out he does not believe Obama is that future global leader – one many evangelical Christians hold will be satanically inspired. But his messianic appeal and some of his policies do foreshadow the dreaded “man of sin,” says Richardson.

“Obama’s populist message, his appeal to class envy and his overt move toward wealth redistribution find some very clear and dark echoes in the pages of the Bible,” he explains.

Richardson says the Book of Daniel reveals the Antichrist will invade the wealthy nation of Israel specifically to plunder and gain control of its commodities and wealth.

“But what is so interesting is the Bible tells us his reason for seizing this wealth is to give it away to his followers,” says the author. “While slightly more violent than Obama’s tax plan, it is no less populist in its methodology of radical wealth redistribution.”

Once again, Richardson reads into the Bible want he wants to see there. He’s refering to Daniel Chapter 11:

He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honour of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue…When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses— but only for a time…His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.

The person described here is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Seleucid king hated in the Jewish tradition for his enforcement of Hellenistic culture and religious forms on Judea. Christian fundamentalists accept this historical context, but see it as some kind of “foreshadowing” of events still to come – which the text itself does not warrant. Of course, one of the main attractions of war historically has been the plunder victors can enjoy; the above cannot seriously be compared to “Obama’s tax plan” unless one is suffering from a paranoid monomania.

And besides, the Bible does not disapprove of plunder being doled out among supporters; here’s Numbers 31:

So Moses said to the people, Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out the LORD’s vengeance on them…They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man…The LORD said to Moses, You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured…Divide the spoils between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community…

Back in August 2008, Richardson claimed that a podium used as staging for Obama’s nomination acceptance speech was designed as a copy of the Pergamon Altar, a significant piece of Classical architecture described as the “throne of Satan” in the Book of Revelation. When I pointed out why this was nonsense, he responded congenially but with the complaint that “either you have no sense of humor or you just like to act as though you don’t”.

WND recently ran an article exploring a claim that Jesus stated that Barack Obama is Satan.