Yet another exciting discovery from the world of Islamic science. As you are probably aware, Islamic culture has always paid a high regard to science and Muslims will tell you proudly that they invented absolutely nothing. That is, they have provided the world with the mathematical representation of absolutely nothing, what we now know as zero. Where would we be without nothing? In the tenth century the scholar Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi decided that it would be useful to draw a little circle to signify zero if you were doing some complex calculation. He called it sifr. There is some dispute as to whether this really was the first time anyone had recognised the existence of nothing, because the Sumerians may have stumbled across the now-familiar lacuna many thousands of years before Mohammed — the other Mohammed, the really famous one whose image we must not depict for fear of instant decapitation — existed.
But it is churlish to carp and quibble, I think. They want the possession of nothing, I think we should let them keep it. Anyway, that was all a very long time ago — but still Islamic culture keeps giving and will not rest upon its laurels. Just this week, for example, the Turkish Muslim scholar and evangelist Mücahid Cihad Han announced on television that people who masturbate will end up with pregnant hands. I don’t think there is much doubt that Islamic culture is the first to come up with this discovery; I have done my research and can reveal that the Sumerians, for example, thought onanism a perfectly respectable practice and quite undeserving of censure or likely to result in appalling consequences. So this is an incontestable first, and a rather worrying discovery at that. Because let’s be honest — none of us want pregnant hands. It would be a terrible encumbrance, especially if you were trying to tie your shoelaces or endeavouring to put up a flat-pack bookshelf in the spare bedroom. You would find it awfully difficult to grip the shoelace, or the Allen Key, with your palms bulging out all over the place.
Mücahid — whose pronouncements I will in future follow with great interest — suggests that the pregnant hands will complain to God about their rights, and that self–abusers will be forced to pay for the upkeep of their hand-begotten children when, through whatever rather odd process, they emerge. Given this new information, I would strongly urge you to desist from masturbation. Take a shower or go for a brisk walk instead. Or better still, read Gordon Brown’s 2010 collection of speeches, The Change We Choose, which will dull your sexual appetite to many, many degrees below absolute zero. You will never want to fiddle with yourself again after reading that. Or indeed with anyone else.
We underestimate this culture at our peril. There is a charity in east London called Families for Survival UK which does a lot of work attempting to alleviate poverty in the Islamic state of Bangladesh. One of its directors, a lady called Asma Khanam, is accused of having taken this poverty–alleviation business a little too far. She has been arrested — along with 12 other people — for allegedly operating a scam whereby Bangladeshi migrants, holding EU passports and a whole bunch of forged documents, drop into the UK for one day in order to claim a vast amount of various welfare benefits. For themselves and their wives and their children. Hundreds and hundreds of Bangladeshis, according to the police; they swing by the UK, trouser the benefits and then skedaddle on the first available flight back to Italy — where one assumes they further alleviate their poverty by claiming the statutory benefits there.
I ought to point out that there is not the slightest suggestion that Families For Survival UK itself was involved in this criminal operation, either officially or on an ad-hoc capacity, notwithstanding the fact that its offices were searched and a lot of computers and documents taken away for examination. A total of five organisations in the London and Essex area are alleged to have provided the Bangladeshis with fraudulent documentation which would help them to obtain taxpayers’ money.
The authorities were alerted when a significant number of Bangladeshis arrived from Italy armed with letters to attend job interviews in London, the better to obtain National Insurance numbers — but with return air tickets for the same day. Some bogus wage slips were also discovered. This is supposedly the biggest scam of its kind ever discovered — and one’s first reaction is an intense annoyance, a sort of seething rage, that these people are going to be getting our money without even having to live in this increasingly absurd country. That, I would have thought, is the very least they might do as a form of recompense — share in the national misery which the rest of us are forced to endure. But not on your life: a quick visit, and off they go with the cash.
I suppose one could see these people as the sort of flip-side, negative image, of the famous non-doms — those people who are content to live here but prefer to pay their taxes in countries with a slightly lower top rate. The awful people who Ed Miliband decided to persecute in order to soar to victory with the popular support of the people on 7 May. By contrast, this lot have no intention of living here, but they are keen on our largesse. I wonder which group you would prefer to take out for dinner at The Ivy?
As it happens, I’m slightly conflicted on this story. The press has reacted with outrage that these people spend only 24 hours in Britain yet still coin it. By contrast, I am rather happy that they do not intend to live here. If we could spend a similar amount of money paying some other Muslim immigrants not to come here, I think it would be financially and socially worth our while. Bung them a few million quid and hope to Christ they stay in Italy.
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