Archive for the “Islam” Category

Muslims and their religion

Siege of Damascus, second crusadeThe militant Christofascists at the American Family Association continue their crusade to force the entire planet to worship their Christianist religion, their way. One of this group’s leading lights, Bryan Fischer, has declared that First Amendment protections do not apply to Muslims in the US (WebCite cached article):

The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity.

That’s a curious claim, because the words of that Amendment say nothing of the sort. In fact, its words apply to any and all religions. It’s true that the various Christian denominations were pretty much the only religions in the infant United States, but if the Founders’ had intended to protect only Christianity and no other religion, they certainly could have written it that way. Instead, they referred simply to “establishment[s] of religion,” which they must have been aware could include religions other than Christianity. Note also that the relevant portion of the First Amendment is known as “the Establishment Clause,” not “the Christian Clause.”

Not content with this asinine claim, though, the Neocrusading Fischer thunders on:

Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy.

Fischer goes on to complain about what he snidely calls “the Religion of Peace,” but proves himself a poor ambassador of “the Religion of Love.” Way to go, guy. Keep it up. Continue to live down to all my expectations of militant Christian fundamentalists.

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Flagellants. From a fifteenth century woodcut.In what is sure to become fodder for anti-shari’a Neocrusaders here in the US, a 14-year-old Bangladeshi rape victim was killed because she’d been raped. CNN reports on this stunning victory for primitive barbarism (WebCite cached article):

Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.

Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.

I can only assume there’s something wrong with me; something that makes my brain deficient; because I haven’t yet figured out the rational reason why anyone would want to kill a crime victim for having been the victim of a crime. I guess that’s because I’m a skeptical, cynical, godless agnostic heathen who actually thinks about things, now and again.

At any rate, as I said, the Christofascists who want Muslims removed from the US likely view this as wonderful news that supports their poor opinion of shari’a. What’s ironic is that most of them would love to see an Old Testament Judges-era style government implemented in the US … because the roots of Islamic shari’a law lie, at least partly, in the Old Testament. Precisely all of the things they complain about in shari’a law, would also apply under the Christian Reconstruction system they would like to set up. In a dominionist US, people would be slaughtered for crimes as meager as working on Sundays … and yes, even women who are raped but who don’t scream loudly enough while the attack is underway.

In other words, this case points out the barbarity not only of shari’a law, but of the Old Testament world which helped inspire it. In turn, it points out the fatal flaw in the Christian Reconstructionists’ scheme.

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The Stupid It Burns / plognarkIn an effort to appeal to his militant Christianist “peeps,” the former speaker of the US house — and raging hypocrite — Newt Gingrich recently spewed an idiotic, and demonstrably false, claim about the future of the US. Politico reports on something he said at Pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX (WebCite cached article):

“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

In his furious effort to conflate the two great enemies of his militant Christofascism, the Newtster equated “secular atheists” with “radical Islamists.” The problem here is that the two cannot be the same, and that’s by definition: “Secular atheists” are all areligious (or irreligious), while “radical Islamists” are all decidedly religious. Radical Islamists, in fact, hate “secular atheists” as much as militant Christians do.

What a fucking moron.

The article also mentions that Gingrich is now Roman Catholic, which makes his appearance at Pastor Hagee’s church strange indeed, since Hagee hasn’t had much good to say about Catholics or Catholicism — at least, that’s what Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, has said (cached).

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Muslim Brotherhood EmblemAccording to Franklin Graham, son of the world-famous preacher Billy Graham, the Obama administration is in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood and has saturated the US government with its vile Islam-loving and Christian-hating agents. We know this is true, because … well, he says so, and because his media outlet of choice, Newsmax, is reporting it (WebCite cached article):

The Muslim Brotherhood, with the complicity of the Obama administration, has infiltrated the U.S. government at the highest levels and is influencing American policy that leaves the world’s Christians in grave danger, warns internationally known evangelist Franklin Graham.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong and active here in our country,” Graham tells Newsmax. “We have these people advising our military and State Department. We’ve brought in Muslims to tell us how to make policy toward Muslim countries.

Note that this isn’t really a new allegation; the American Family Association made a similar claim about a year ago — about the US military — after the Pentagon disinvited the younger Graham from its National Day of Prayer event.

Graham’s “evidence” for this, is the following:

A new report from the Roman Catholic aid agency Aid to the Church in Need supports Graham’s contention that the persecution of Christians world­wide has worsened exponentially in the past few years.

According to the report, Christians face increased suffering in 22 countries around the world, with Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Nigeria being among the worst countries to be a Christian in today.

Even if this report were true, it still does not prove that Barack Obama has allowed a cabal of Muslim Brotherhood adherents to infiltrate the US government and ceded control to them. What I can say is that Christians are guilty of no small amount of persecution, themselves, so Graham hardly has the “moral high ground” to stand on.

Generally speaking, I find paranoid conspiracy theories like this one amusing … if only because so many people buy into them, in spite of such little evidence that they’re true. In some cases the lack of evidence is, perversely, viewed as being evidence itself; i.e. “If this conspiracy existed, of course, they’d make sure no evidence of it was available, so a lack of evidence is precisely what we’d expect!” The illogic of this just shows how abysmally ignorant people are. It’s as though they walked around with neon signs that say “Idiot”!

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.

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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?

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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.

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