Posts Tagged ‘jihad watch’

Empire of Fear

June 21, 2013

Robert Spencer has some interesting things to say about the Muslim family at Jihad Watch and PJMedia.

Earlier this month, Islamic member nations of the United Nations Human Rights Council rejected as un-Islamic a resolution condemning violence against women. The Kuwait News Agency reported that “the rejections include the paragraph, which gives women ‘the right to control matters concerning their sexual lives as well as their reproductive health without coercion, discrimination or violence.’”

It is likely that this rejection had as much or more to do with the idea that women should be protected from coercion and violence as it may have had to do with any pro-life concerns. After all, the Qur’an directs men to beat disobedient women (4:34), while Islamic law allows for abortion at least early in the pregnancy. The Muslim scholar Sayyid Sabiq explains that,

abortion is not allowed after four months have passed since conception because at that time it is akin to taking a life, an act that entails penalty in this world and in the Hereafter. As regards the matter of abortion before this period elapses, it is considered allowed if necessary.

The idea that it is un-Islamic for women to have the right to be free from coercion and violence is revealing of the mindset underlying the entire Islamic understanding of morality. Muslims and non-Muslims often tell us that Muslims hate the West for its decadence, its immorality, its lasciviousness, which they contrast unfavorably with the supposed morality and uprightness of the Islamic world. Often this boils down to a Muslim critique of Western “freedom,” especially as Bush and Obama pursued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ostensibly to bring Western-style freedom to those countries.

In line with that, the mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali, once complained that “Australian law guarantees freedoms up to a crazy level.” Yet genuine freedom is an indispensable prerequisite for any cultivation of real virtue.

Even the post-Christian West makes it more possible to be virtuous than the apparently much more straitlaced Islamic world. With its stonings, amputations, and death penalties for an array of offenses including apostasy, Islam has created – even in the family itself — not a framework in which people can become genuinely good, but an empire of fear. People don’t dare step out of line, not out of an authentic understanding that the path of moral and ethical uprightness is preferable to the alternative, much less out of love for God or a real desire to please him, but because they are afraid of what would happen to them if they did depart from Islam’s vision of morality.

He has more to say. With all that in mind, I think it might be interesting to consider how the subtle differences between the Judeo-Christian and the Islamic view of God ties into the question of freedom and virtue.

In Christian and Jewish theology, God is considered to be not only omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful), but also omni-benevolent (entirely good). As God is wholly good and has no evil in Him, God cannot commit an evil act. To do so would be contrary to His nature. An Islamic theologian cannot say that. It is not that Muslims believe that God is evil or indifferent. Islam is, as C. S. Lewis said of Christianity, a fighting religion with a God who takes sides. The problem that Muslims have with saying that God cannot commit an evil act lies in their conception of God as all-powerful.

All three Abrahamic religions believe God to be omnipotent. Islam, however, emphasizes divine omnipotence quite a lot more than the other two religions. Muslims, therefore, are uncomfortable with any concept that seems to put a limit on God’s absolute sovereignty and divine freedom. Saying that God cannot do a thing or has any limits seems to be blasphemy. God cannot be constrained in any way or by any thing, not even by natural laws or logic. God may be good but there is no reason why He could not command something evil, arbitrary, or even irrational. Islam also teaches the unknowability of God by mere humans. No human being can know anything about God or His nature. This means that such statements as the apostle John is fond of using such as God is love or God is Light, or identifying God with the Logos or Reason are meaningless to the Muslim and, again, may even be blasphemous. We cannot know God. We can only know His will for us. Islamic theologians have not spent much time debating the nature of God, as Christians have with their disputes over the trinity and how Jesus can be both God and man. Islamic theology is more focused on legal matters and regulations for the believer.

These concepts might be the reason that Islamic political history is largely a history of despotism. If God is absolute with no constraints on His authority, then it stands to reason that rulers, God’s representatives, should also have absolute authority. There is, as far as I know, no Magna Carta in Islam, and certainly no Declaration of Independence with its inalienable rights. Muslims believe that humans are the slaves of God, while Christians believe that we are His Sons. Sons have rights. Slaves do not.

This also puts an interesting twist on the Euthyphro dilemma. Euthypho is a character in Plato’s dialog of that name. Socrates and Euthypho meet each other at a law court while they each are waiting for the court to hear their cases, in Socrates’s case the trial that would cost him his life. Since Euthypho is presented as an expert theologian who knows all about the gods, Socrates asks to define piety or holiness and the two begin the dialog. During the discussion Socrates asks whether the gods love pious acts because they are pious or are things pious because the gods love them. In other words, and moving to monotheism, does God command us to do good things because they are good, or are good actions good because God commands them. For instance, one of the ten commandments that God gave to Moses was, “Thou shalt not kill”. Did God forbid killing because killing is inherently evil, or is killing evil because God forbade it.

You may see the dilemma here. If the things that God wishes us to do are good in themselves, then does that not imply that there is some source of morality higher than God? On the other hand if good actions are good simply because those are the actions God happens to approve of, then the ideas of good and evil become arbitrary. God could just as easily told Moses, “Thou shalt kill”.

There have been a number of ways that both Christians and Jews have attempted to resolve this dilemma. I think that, in general, Christians and Jews tend to favor the first answer, that God’s commands are good in themselves and that for God to command or commit an evil act would be contrary to His nature. God can no more do evil than a triangle could have four sides. Islamic theology compels a Muslim to favor the second answer. Thus, there is a tendency to believe that God’s commands are somewhat arbitrary and subject to change. Indeed in the Koran, later commands replace or abrogate earlier commands.

I gone somewhat far afield, so perhaps I should try to tie in what I have written with Robert Spencer’s argument. If you consider the ultimate source of morality is not some abstract concept of justice but the somewhat arbitrary commands of the supreme deity then wouldn’t it stand to reason that you might adopt a sort of  “might makes right” and “ends justify the means” sort of moral code? And, wouldn’t you come to believe that virtue is something that must be imposed from outside, rather than something that each person must develop from within? That is something to consider.

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Not So Merry Christmas For Many

December 25, 2012

I hope everyone who is reading this is having a very, merry Christmas and that you are all having a wonderful time with your families. As you celebrate this joyous holiday, keep in mind that Christmas is a time of fear for Christians in the Middle East. There are a couple of articles at Jihad Watch that I think are worth sharing.

First, Christmas in Pakistan. This article is from Deutches Wille.

Christians celebrate Christmas amid growing fear of persecution and rampant economic and social discrimination in Muslim-majority Pakistan. The year 2012 was one of the worst years for them in the country.

In many parts of the world, Christmas means a time of celebration. But for Christians in Pakistan, who live under constant fear of persecution by the state and majority Sunni Muslims, there is not much to celebrate.

Christians make up about two percent of the 180 million people living in Pakistan. Rights organizations say that like any other religious minority, they face legal and cultural discrimination in the Islamic Republic.

Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where 97 percent of the population is Muslim. Controversial blasphemy laws introduced by the Islamic military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s make life for Christians more difficult. Activists say the laws have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes and personal vendettas; they say the Christians are thereby often victimized.

Before the rise of Islamic extremism and religious intolerance in Pakistan, Christians celebrated Christmas with much enthusiasm. They would put stars on their houses and decorate their towns with lights and flags. But many now worry about the risk of being conspicuous.

“We are scared. We are frightened. We cannot sit together, we cannot speak loudly, we cannot celebrate openly. We receive threats,” Ashraf Masih, a street sweeper, told AFP. “If we sit together and talk, all of a sudden the Muslim owner of the house will come and ask ‘Why are you here, what are you talking about?'”

Qadri was celebrated by extremists for the murder of a governor critical of blasphemy laws

Aslam Masih, a 37-year-old gardener, told AFP in an interview that previously they used to celebrate Christmas in the town church but now it it had been closed.

Here is Robert Spencer’s piece at PJ Media on the jihad against Christmas.

Armed guards are patrolling outside churches in Nigeria. Christians in Pakistan and Indonesia are cowering in fear. Why? Because it’s Christmastime.

Many Muslims take a dim view of Christmas at best, and at worst actively menace Christians celebrating it. This is a worldwide phenomenon. Sheikh Yahya Safi, the head imam of Australia’s largest mosque, summed up an all-too-common view when he warned in a fatwa Saturday that “disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path,” and that “a Muslim is neither allowed to celebrate the Christmas Day nor is he allowed to congratulate them.”

Likewise the chairman of Indonesia’s top organization of Muslim clerics declared: “It’s better if they don’t say ‘Merry Christmas.’ It’s still up for debate whether it’s halal or haram, so better steer clear of it. But you can say ‘Happy New Year.’”

Muslim intimidation and violence against Christians around Christmas is only an extension of the intimidation and violence Chrisitans increasingly suffer throughout the year. Yet these incidents have received only scant attention in the mainstream media. And not only the international media, but also the human rights establishment and the United Nations continue to take virtually no notice. In their conceptual framework only Westerners can do evil and Christians cannot possibly play the role of victim. The chimera of “Islamophobia” consumes their time, attention, and resources; after being so consumed with this fiction, what can be left over for the actual persecution of Christians?

And so for the all-too-real Christian victims of Muslim fanaticism and hatred in Islamic lands, it’s yet another quiet, hushed, precarious Christmas.

And last, Christianity began in the Middle East yet the religion is close to being extinct there. Centuries of discrimination and intimidation ave decimated the oldest Christian communities in the world. Jihad Watch has an article from the Telegraph on this.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.

And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.

The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.

“A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”

It cites estimates that 200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”

“Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood,” says the author, Rupert Shortt, a journalist and visiting fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.

He adds: “The blind spot displayed by governments and other influential players is causing them to squander a broader opportunity. Religious freedom is the canary in the mine for human rights generally.”

And yet Islamophobia is supposed to be a major problem of our time. If you are not afraid of the most violent and intolerant religion in the world than you are not paying attention to what is going on.

Merry Christmas to all. Hopefully Christmas will be a time of joy for everyone sometime soon.

 

 

Saudi Arabia Arrests Colombian Soccer Player

October 14, 2011

I read this story in Jihad Watch and Colombia Reports.

A Colombian soccer player was arrested in Saudi Arabia Monday for displaying religious tattoos.

Colombian-born Juan Pablo Pino was arrested by the Saudi moral police after customers in a Riyadh shopping mall expressed outrage over the sports player’s religious tattoos, which included the face of Jesus of Nazareth on his arm.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the Muslim world, and according to one of the country’s most respected clerics, Nayimi Sheik Mohammed, Saudi law prohibits tattoos, no matter what their form, and every player has to abide with these rules.

The cleric went on to stress the importance of respecting the status of “Sharia” (Islamic law) and that the tattoos must be covered at all times.

Pino, who plays in the Saudi league, has expressed “deep sorrow” for his actions and said he respects the laws of the country. He was released from custody when a team delegate arrived and discussed the matter with the police.

A similar event occurred in Saudi Arabia last year when a Romanian player kissed the tattoo of a cross he had on his arm after scoring a goal, which also caused public outrage.

Now, you see what happens when you are a raging islamophobe. If only people would show the proper tolerance and respect for Islam by never showing the symbols of any other religion in public. We really need to start acting like proper dhimmis. Then, they would have no reason to fear us and there would be no need for the practitioners of the Religion of Peace to resort to terrorism.

Chinese Korans

September 1, 2011

Although China has become one of the great exporting powerhouses and generally imports made in China are of decent quality, the Chinese have had occasional trouble with defective or tainted products. Nothing made in China could cause as much controversy as defective Korans, as this article from Jihad Watch relates.

Allan commands you to spray the unbelievers: Iran furious at cheap Chinese-made Qur’ans said to be riddled with typos

On second thought, maybe that’s where all this “misunderstanding” of Islam is coming from! Now, Islamic interest groups can blame bad Chinese reprints. “Iran says cheap “Made in China” Qurans full of typos,” by Patrick Winn for Global Post, August 31:

Iran’s Organization of the Holy Quran is scolding Iranian publishers who’ve outsourced production of the holy book to Chinese printers.

There is officially a cheap Chinese knockoff of everything.

Apparently, their copies of the Quran are riddled with typos, according to the Tehran Times.

“These tableaus are made quite cheaply in China but are sold for much more than they are really worth to make that much more profit,” said an official with the organization who monitors and evaluates Qurans available in Iran.

The official even urged importers to halt future Quran shipments from China, the Times reported….

They should look on the bright side. I doubt if the Chinese Korans tell people “Thou shalt commit adultery” like the Wicked Bible does.
Who is “Allan” anyway?

Jury to Decide if Pastor Can Protest at Dearborn Mosque

April 24, 2011

I hadn’t intended to blog very much today because it is Easter, but this is an old story and not getting any fresher.

Dearborn— A jury on Friday will weigh whether a Quran-burning pastor can legally carry out plans that day to protest at the Islamic Center of America mosque.

Florida Pastor Terry Jones expressed frustration over the prospect this afternoon, telling 19th District Judge Mark Somers that “it will be a problem” if the trial stretches on so long that he can’t carry out the 5 p.m. demonstration against radical Islam. The trial before Somers is to begin about 8 a.m.

He impaneled the jury of four woman and three men from a pool of 30 this afternoon after ruling that Jones’ protest could endanger the public and would have to pay an unspecified peace bond to demonstrate on a small median outside the Ford Road mosque. The jury includes six members and one alternate.

Jones refused to pay the bond and opted for the trial, which initially was believed to occur this afternoon.

The ruling puts into question Jones’ demonstration, which has sparked arguments about the line between free speech and public safety. Prosecutors have sought the unspecified bond — Jones said it was up to $100,000 — for extra police in fear of a riot.

The hearing comes a day after Dearborn city officials denied Jones a permit to protest on public land near the mosque citing public safety concerns. They say he could face arrest if he carries through the protest. Before the hearing, Jones — who wore a leather jacket and jeans — said he planned to proceed with the demonstration despite the permitting issues or peace bond.

It seems to me that if anyone should have to pay a “peace bond” it should be the mosque, if they cannot guarantee that their members will not act violently towards a peaceful protest.

And then there is this, which is more than a little chilling:

The city of Dearborn has told him he can protest at other, “free speech” zones in the city. They and prosecutors argued that the proximity of nearby churches and a school could compromise safety if Jones demonstrated at the mosque.

“Free speech zones”?? Whatever happened to the first amendment. The whole country is or should be a free speech zone.

But, at least for once the ACLU is on the right side:

The issue is also being watched very closely by the ACLU of Michigan, which planned to have a representative in the courtroom today. The organization wants to make sure Jones’ First Amendment rights are not being violated, said ACLU of Michigan spokeswoman Rana Elmir.

Thanks to the Detroit News and Jihad Watch for reporting on this.


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