Archive for the “Islam” Category

Muslims and their religion

Shahbaz Bhatti / Reuters via Express Tribune (PK)I blogged about the execution of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province in Pakistan over his criticism of that nation’s law against blasphemy. As it turns out, that law’s proponents weren’t finished bumping off that law’s critics. Raging, violent Islamofanatics killed another opponent of the blasphemy law, as the New York Times reports (WebCIte cached article):

The only Christian minister in the Pakistan government was shot dead on Wednesday morning as he left his home in the capital to attend a cabinet meeting, an attack strikingly similar to the killing two months ago of another senior politician holding liberal views.

Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister of minorities, was shot eight times by gunmen who ambushed him as he stepped into his car, police officials said. A pamphlet written by a group of Taliban from the province of Punjab was found near the scene in a middle-class residential neighborhood, the officials said.

Bhatti’s assassins haven’t been apprehended yet, so Pakistanis haven’t yet had a chance to shower them with flower petals. What a wonderfully enlightened country Pakistan is! Why, who wouldn’t want to move there and live in a hovel along with dozens of sanctimoniously-enraged murderers and thousands of their gleeful supporters? See how laws against blasphemy make societies want to live harmoniously together, Kum Ba Ya style?

Photo credit: Reuters via Express Tribune.

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Crusades - The Crusaders Massacre the Inhabitants of CaesareaThe Great Neocrusade proceeds relentlessly across the United States. Sanctimonious Religious Rightists are proposing laws in several states which outlaw what they call “shari’a law.” As one would expect, these bills are invariably based on erroneous assumptions about Islam and the nature of shari’a law, and based upon a prevailing fear that shari’a law is being imposed on the country by force.

First we have Tennessee state senators Bill Ketron and Judd Matheny, who want to abolish shari’a law there, as reported in the Washington Post On Faith blog (WebCite cached article):

Tennessee State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and state Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) introduced a bill last week outlawing the practice of Sharia, a complex set of religious laws that guide behavior for Muslims.

The bill, embedded below, attempts to define Sharia law and to make following it a felony punishable by 15 years in jail.

The bill in question is SB1028, available here. Of note is that Murfreesboro is where some raging Neocrusaders set fire to a mosque under construction back in October. Ketron and Matheny’s problem is that they misdefine shari’a; they further claim that Islam itself is a combined legal-military-political ideology, and imply that it’s not a religion. This mirrors what TN lieutenant governor Ron Ramsey said last summer, that Islam is a political-legal system, not a religion, and therefore not entitled to First Amendment protection. Ketron and Matheny also don’t bother to explain where, in the US, any government at any level has ever been able to force anyone to knuckle under to shari’a — even though his bill is predicated on the idea that it’s happening.

Next, we have Arizona — which appears to have become the epicenter of militant Rightism in the US — where a proposed bill (HB 2582) would outlaw all forms of religious law, including shari’a (cached):

“Religious sectarian law” means any statute, tenet or body of law evolving within and binding a specific religious sect or tribe. Religious sectarian law includes sharia law, canon law, halacha and karma but does not include any law of the united states or the individual states based on Anglo?American legal tradition and principles on which the united states was founded.

The authors of this bill have essentially gone berserk on the entire notion of “religious law,” and don’t understand what they’re talking about. First, “religious law” systems like Halakha (within Judaism) and canon law (within several Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic, Anglican and the several Orthodox churches) are — at least partly — the manner in which those religions conduct their own internal affairs, serving as a kind of administrative code. To abolish them completely would obviously run afoul of their religious freedoms. Second, karma is not a system of administration, but rather, a metaphysical principle within Hinduism and other Dharmic religions. It can’t be used in court, as far as I can see, despite the fact that it’s often referred to as a “law.” It’s no more a code of administration or justice than the so-called “Law” of Attraction.

Let me be clear: I do not favor the imposition of shari’a on anyone in the US. It’s a dangerous, metaphysically-charged, often-barbaric code which should be phased out worldwide — the sooner, the better. And I’m not in favor of the Roman Catholic Church holding its own canon law above the secular laws of the lands in which the Church operates; where criminal law and canon law collide, criminal law should prevail. However, passing laws to abolish shari’a law, or any other religious law-code, within the US is irrational, asinine, and childish. There is no way that any religious law-code can ever be imposed on Americans, due to the First Amendment, among other Constitutional protections. Bills such as these accomplish nothing useful, except to demonstrate the immaturity and ignorance of those who draft, sponsor, and support them. And the idea that karma is even a law-code that could ever be used in any kind of court to issue rulings … well, let’s just say this so obviously laughable that the authors and sponsors of AZ HB 2582 should hang their heads in shame. They’ve just shown themselves to be idiotic dolts who thoroughly deserve every bit of derision that’s going to be heaped on them over their ignorant bill.

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum, and Unreasonable Faith.

Photo credit: Michael Heilemann.

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Battle of Ascalon 1099The great Neocrusade against Islam in the US has been simmering for months; now that Religious Rightists have control of the House of Representatives, the heat is being turned up. Tellingly, we’ve reached the point where the Neocrusaders have started turning on their own. The religiofascists at World Net Daily have picked up on allegations by furious Rightist Frank Gaffney that “radical Islamists” are infiltrating the American conservative movement, and in particular, the Conservative Political Action Conference (locally cached version):

With the Conservative Political Action Conference under fire for allowing participation by a homosexual activist group called GOProud and for a financial scandal in which some $400,000 was misappropriated under the watch of current leadership, Frank Gaffney, a leader of the conservative movement for the last 30 years, charges that CPAC has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is working to bring America under Saudi-style Shariah law.

Gaffney, deputy assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, is founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and co-author of the new book “Shariah: The Threat to America.” He told WND that Islamism has infiltrated the American Conservative Union, the host of CPAC, in the person of Washington attorney and political activist Suhail Khan and a group called Muslims for America.

Like most WND articles, this one is laced with links to purchase the books it mentions. Because this is advertising and not useful reference material, I’ve chosen not to preserve them here.

Of course, it’s not just Frank Gaffney being paranoid. The equally enraged religiofacist Debbie Schlussel is also leveling accusations against Rightist darling Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey (WebCite cached article):

Are you a fan of Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a darling of the Tea Party activists? Are you planning to support him for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, for which he’s rumored to be planning a run? The conventional wisdom is that Christie’s biggest drawback is his obesity. But he’s got a much weightier problem: his big, fat love affair with HAMAS Muslims in New Jersey. …

To that end, Christie is nominating an extremist Muslim (redundant phrase), Sohail Mohammed, lawyer to assorted Islamic terrorists, to a Passaic County Superior Judgeship. Yup, Chris Christie rewarded those Muslim mobs who cheered on U.S. soil for the mass murder of 3,000 Americans with a judgeship.

Of course, Schlussel provides no evidence that Mohammad is a member of Hamas. But that’s only to be expected: Little things like “facts” and “documentation” don’t carry any weight in Schlussel’s sanctimonious universe.

Normally I’d be gratified to see the Right turning on itself in these ways … but actually I find it frightening. It’s the paranoid conspiracy theorists among the Right who are becoming most vocal, and it’s never good for any ideology when the PCTs among it become this vocal. Moreover, it’s the angriest and most religious wing of the Right which is carrying the standard of the Neocrusade; historically, anger and religiosity usually prevail, in these contests over future of the Right. So be afraid … be very afraid.

Hat tip: Talking Points Memo.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Relief Bruno Campo dei Fiori n1It’s been over a month since I last mentioned the Great Neocrusade against Islam in the United States, but that’s not because the movement has gone away. On the contrary, with the Religious Right having gained new momentum, it will continue to be a force to contend with over the next couple of years. It will now include a series of Inquisition-style show-trials in the House of Representatives, hosted by none other than Rep. Peter King, R-NY, as Politico reports (WebCite cached article):

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is vowing to hold hearings next year on what he calls the “radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism.”

The incoming chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security said he plans to examine the “disconnect” between law-abiding American Muslims and the homegrown terrorists who have plotted failed attacks in places like Times Square and Portland, Ore.

I’m not sure what King thinks he’s going to find. It goes almost without saying that there are law-abiding Muslims in the US, as well as terrorist Muslims. I’m not sure there is a “thing” standing between them, which King’s hearings are somehow going to “uncover.”

I will say that the situation is probably very similar to what one finds among members of other religions, where the more upstanding members of a religion tend to “enable” extremists. It happens even among Christians in the US. A great example of this phenomenon was seen in the reaction of “mainstream” Christians to the assassination of Dr George Tiller by vehement Christianist Scott Roeder. While lots of Christians condemned the killing — and one assumes they’d not have done it, themselves — many did say they “understood” Roeder’s motivation. This is a tacit form of support for extremism, which extremists interpret as license to do what they do.

Maybe King should hold trials looking into the matter of the information supplied to Roeder to help him in his plot to kill Dr Tiller?

I should, finally, note that Rep. King does not exactly come into the matter with what one might call “clean hands.” In the past he was an outspoken supporter of the Irish Republican Army, which — during the course of “the Troubles” — committed more than its share of terrorist acts. King, therefore, is no stranger to “radicalism” himself. That makes him worse than just being a Neocrusader … he’s a fucking hypocritical Neocrusader!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the suspected killer of a Pakistani governor, shouted to supporters as he left court on Wednesday in Islamabad. Mohammad Riazur Rehman/Associated PressIf you needed any help understanding what a cesspool of ferocious, mindless, violent religious fanaticism Pakistan is, the recent assassination of Punjab province governor Salman Taseer and its aftermath should finally make that clear. Taseer was an outspoken secularist, and had dared to campaign against Pakistan’s vicious blasphemy law. The New York Times filed this report at the time of his assassination (WebCite cached article):

[Taseer] recently took up a campaign to repeal Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy laws, which were passed under General Zia as a way to promote Islam and unite the country. The laws have been misused to convict minority Pakistanis as the Islamic forces unleashed by the general have gathered strength. The laws prescribe a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

His own security guard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, killed him for having done so:

His attacker was identified as Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, an elite-force security guard, who surrendered to the police immediately afterward and implied he had killed the governor because of his campaign to amend the blasphemy laws.

“I am a slave of the Prophet, and the punishment for one who commits blasphemy is death,” he told a television crew from Dunya TV that arrived at the scene shortly after the killing, according to Nasim Zahra, the director of news at the channel.

One would think Pakistanis might view the killing of a public official by his own security detail to be an act of treason. But no. Qadri has been lauded as a hero to Pakistan and to Islam, as the New York Times Lede blog subsequently reports (cached article):

As my colleagues Waqar Gillani and Carlotta Gall report [cached] from Pakistan, a police officer suspected of killing a prominent secular politician on Tuesday was showered with rose petals by Islamist lawyers on his way in to court in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Photographs and video show that the suspected assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, was draped in a garland of flowers by supporters before he entered the court, and emerged from the hearing still wearing it.

Even so-called “moderates” are praising Qadri for his murderous treason:

Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported [cached] that more than 500 religious leaders from what Reuters called “a relatively moderate school of Islam in Pakistan” issued a statement forbidding their followers from mourning for the murdered governor. “No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salman Taseer or even express any kind of regret or sympathy over the incident,” the scholars declared. They added: “We pay rich tributes and salute the bravery, valor and faith of Mumtaz Qadri.”

What this means is that no one can rationally argue that it’s just “the lunatic fringe” within Pakistan who praise Qadri … the country’s “middle ground” is doing so, as well.

How wonderful. What better example does one need of the danger of religiofacism?

Photo Credit: Mohammad Riazur Rehman/AP via New York Times.

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Muhammad cartoon from Jyllands-PostenIt’s been over 5 years since the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published some cartoons of Muhammad. But that doesn’t appear to have been long enough for the world’s Muslims to get over it. Agence France-Presse reports (via Google News) that a planned “imminent assault” on that paper’s offices, by angry Muslims, was narrowly averted (WebCite cached article):

Scandinavian intelligence agencies on Wednesday said they had foiled a “Mumbai-style” plot by Islamic extremists to massacre staff at a Danish newspaper which published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

Denmark’s PET intelligence service said five suspects had been arrested, preventing an imminent assault on the Copenhagen offices of the Jyllands-Posten daily in which as many staff as possible would have been killed.

Four men were arrested in Denmark while a spokeswoman for Swedish intelligence agency Saepo said a fifth was arrested in Sweden in connection with the same international plot.

“It is our sense based on intelligence that this is a militant Islamic group with links to international terrorist networks,” PET head Jakob Scharf told reporters.

They were planning an attack “within the next few days”, the agency said in a statement.

I continue Muhammad cartoon from Jyllands-Postenmy policy of displaying a couple of these cartoons, each time Muslims call attention to them, thus proving they can’t make the world forget about them by flying into rages over them. (Time for them to figure out the Streisand effect.)

Can there be any more doubt about how murderously childish religionists can be?

Photo credit (both): Assyrian International News Agency.

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Crusaders battleThe nation’s Neocrusaders continue their war against Islam within the US. They really don’t care that what they’re doing is wrong, because — according to them — the Constitutional principle of religious freedom doesn’t apply to Islam. And they’re so insanely, childishly furious about the existence of Islam, that they sometimes miss their targets. An example of this can be seen in this report filed by The Atlantic‘s Wire blog (WebCite cached article):

Some vigilant citizens in Phoenix, Arizona are up in arms over a domed church that they wrongly believe to be a mosque. The large building, still under construction along a busy interstate, is actually a nondenominational church.

That’s right, the horrific mosque that Arizona’s Neocrusaders are up in arms about, is actually a church! Said church has even taken measures to defuse the furious Neocrusaders:

The backlash has been severe enough that the church’s leaders have hung a giant banner over the dome: “IF YOU THINK DIFFERENT YOU ARE WRONG — WE ARE BUILDING A CHRISTIAN HOUSE OF WORSHIP.”

It’s not as though domed churches have never been built anywhere, but apparently, the Neocrusaders think there are none and assume any domed structure must be a mosque.

Isn’t it time for you people to grow the fuck up already?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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