Posts Tagged “muslim”

Afghan protesters in front of Bagram Air Base during an anti-U.S. demonstration, Feb. 21, 2012. (AP)The Afghan people managed to display their hyperreligious childishness once again, and as before, this was over some burned Qur’ans. As CBS News reports, this time the Qur’an burning was unintentional, but that clearly doesn’t matter to these sanctimoniously-enraged overgrown children (WebCite cached article):

More than 2,000 angry Afghans protested outside an American air base on Tuesday after they learned that copies of the Quran (Koran), the Muslim holy book, were burned in a pile of garbage at a sprawling U.S. military base north of Kabul.

“Die, die, foreigners!” the demonstrators shouted. Some fired rifles into the air. Others threw rocks at the gate of the base.

The Qur’ans were burned amongst a pile of other garbage that Bagram staff had thrown out:

[Provincial chief Ahmad Zaki] Zahed said five Afghans working at the pit told him that the religious books were in the garbage that two soldiers with the U.S.-led coalition transported to the pit in a truck late Monday night.

I’ll give these third-world primitives a little bit of credit: At least they’re protesting Qur’ans that actually had been set ablaze; in the past they raged, rioted and looted over a Qur’an that had not actually been burned yet. So I’ll take this as an improvement. A microscopic one to be sure, but an improvement nonetheless.

As I was typing this post, I noticed another story on this matter, from the AP, which suggests the Qur’ans had been burned intentionally (cached):

A military official with knowledge of the incident told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it appeared the Qurans and other Islamic readings were being used to fuel extremism, and that detainees apparently were leaving notes for one another inside them.

If this is true, I can’t say I blame the military for burning them. They can’t have prisoners passing messages to one another — even if they’re on the pages of Qur’ans. I also have to wonder if these Afghan prisoners hadn’t themselves already desecrated these Qur’ans by having written notes to each other inside of them? If so, maybe Afghans should be blaming each other for this blasphemy, not the US or NATO.

In any case, I suggest it’s high time for people to stop using religion as an excuse to bluster, fume, rage, riot and pillage like spoiled brats throwing a temper-tantrum. It’s time for humanity — even humanity that dwells in third-world hovels — to fucking grow the hell up for once. No one is harmed by a burned Qur’an, or Bible, or any other sacred texts. Sacred texts — and really, any text at all — cannot be harmed by burning copies of them. The content and ideas they contain exist independently of any given copy of it, and they remain, forever and always. This is obvious, and it’s not rocket-science, so even Afghans should be able to comprehend it.

Photo credit: AP photo, via CBS News.

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Police are investigating a firebomb attack against the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation building and three other sites in Queens, New York. (CBS 2)Note: See the update below for an important update to this blog post!

I’ve blogged a number of times about a movement I call “the Neocrusade” — a modern effort by “Christian nationers” to eliminate Islam within the U.S. It’s mostly found in the same parts of the country as Religious Rightism, i.e. in the Bobble Bayelt (er, Bible Belt), but it can be found elsewhere too, including the New York City metropolis. As CBS News reports, there’s a chance that Neocrusading vigilantes might once again be active in the Big Apple (WebCite cached article):

Authorities are investigating four fire attacks in New York City, including one at an Islamic center and one at a house used for Hindu worship.

Police say three attacks Sunday night involved molotov cocktails. There were no injuries. Police are investigating the attacks as bias crimes.

The fact that non-Islam-related targets were hit, certainly suggests these attacks weren’t Neocrusade-motivated. But then again, Neocrusaders have been known to lash out at the wrong targets, so it can’t be ruled out quite yet.

If this is, in fact, the work of militant Christian Neocrusaders, the irony of Christianists resorting to terror and violence in their campaign against a religion they consider violent and terror-promoting, is precious.

Update: It turns out this may have not been Neocrusaders’ work, after all. The New York Times reports a suspect has been arrested, police say the fires he set all resulted from specific, personal grudges, not out of religious fervor (cached).

Photo credit: WCBS via CBS News.

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Young Saudi Arabian woman in Abha, by Walter CallensIt seems I leaped to conclusions about Saudi Arabia entering the 21st century. That country remains mired in medieval thinking, as exemplified in this ABC News report about a Saudi woman who was beheaded for having engaged in “witchcraft” and “sorcery” (WebCite cached article):

A Saudi woman was beheaded after being convicted of practicing “witchcraft and sorcery,” according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, at least the second such execution for sorcery this year.

The woman, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was executed in the northern Saudi province of al-Jawf on Monday.

The “evidence” against her?

A source close to the Saudi religious police told Arab newspaper al Hayat that authorities who searched Nassar’s home found a book about witchcraft, 35 veils and glass bottles full of “an unknown liquid used for sorcery” among her possessions. According to reports, authorities said Nassar claimed to be a healer and would sell a veil and three bottles for 1500 riyals, or about $400.

This execution received a stamp of approval from the entire Saudi court system:

According to the ministry, Nassar’s death sentence was upheld by an appeals court and the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council.

Are we quite clear, now, on how barbaric it is to kill people over mere metaphysics?

Note: Any Christians out there who are thinking how superior their religion is to Islam, in this regard, had best be careful: I’ve already blogged about Christians in Africa who’ve gone after supposed “witches.” Christians would do well to keep in mind how much harm their own religion has inflicted on people in the name of eliminating witchcraft. Christianity certainly does not have clean hands in this matter — even now.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Ruth Eglash, Jerusalem PostAt a time when the Religious Right in the US has decided to go to war against women, the misogynist kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken an opposite tack. Reuters reports that Saudi King Abdullah will grant women in his realm the right to vote and to stand for election (WebCite cached article):

Saudi Arabia will allow women to stand for election and vote, the king announced on Sunday, in a significant policy shift in the conservative Islamic kingdowm.

In a five-minute speech, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud said women will also take part in the next session of the unelected, advisory Shura Council, which vets legislation but has no binding powers. …

“Women will be able to run as candidates in the municipal election and will even have a right to vote.”

To be sure, Saudi women are still severely restricted, even with this concession, as the Reuters article explains:

The king did not address the issue of women being allowed to drive. Although there is no written law against women driving, they are not issued licences, effectively banning the practice.

Women in Saudi Arabia must also have written approval from a male guardian — a father, husband, brother or son — to leave the country, work or even undergo certain medical operations.

Despite this, women’s suffrage in Saudi Arabia is unprecedented, and is a large step forward. There are lots of misogynist Christofascists here in the US who could learn a thing or two from this.

Photo credit: Jerusalem Post / Ruth Eglash.

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The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has faced intense local opposition over plans to construct a new mosque. / CNNUpdate: There’s been some news about this mosque, which I’d missed; see below.

I already blogged about the mosque under construction in Mufreesboro, TN which was burned to the ground. And Tennessee’s Neocrusaders kept up their campaign against the project. But as CNN’s Belief Blog reports, their efforts have been for naught; the mosque is going to be built after all (locally-cached version):

It has taken months, but leaders of an embattled Murfreesboro, Tennessee, mosque say that construction of a new facility could start as soon as next month.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has existed for more than a decade. As it surpassed 1,000 worshippers, its members planned to build a new 52,000-square-foot structure with a mosque, gym, playground and cemetery.

The Neocrusaders certainly did put up a fight, though, using the aforementioned arson and vandalism, as well as lawsuits, and intimidating potential contractors:

Some contractors weren’t willing to take the job. Mosque leaders said contractors told them it had become too much of a hot-button issue and presented too much of a risk to their business and equipment. Several contractors began the bidding process but never finished.

Mosque officials said a contractor told them that he needed the work but that the leaders of his own church were against the new Islamic center.

“I had a contractor tell me, ‘I don’t want to get on bad terms with my preacher,'” said Essam Fathy, a member of the Islamic Center’s board of directors.

This isn’t surprising, since it happened in Tennessee, the state whose lieutenant governor once proudly declared that there is no freedom of religion for Muslims in the U.S.

Surely this is the Religion of Love at work, isn’t it? (That’s a little sarcasm, folks.) Way to go, people. Way to go. Your Jesus would have been so proud, I’m sure. Really.

Update (7/18/2012): Last month, local county officials — no doubt driven by Neocrusading furor — brought this project to a halt. But as The Tennessean reports, a federal judge threw a wrench in the Right’s machinery and set it back on track (cached). Not surprisingly, mosque opponents are upset, and claim they were cheated of an opportunity to try to stop the project. This is truly laughable and pathetic, given all they’ve done, for a couple of years now, to try to keep this mosque from being built. These people desperately need to fucking grow the hell up.

Photo credit: CNN Belief Blog.

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JESUS SAVESChristians are a remarkably immature bunch. They think nothing of advertising their beliefs to anyone and everyone, all the time, everywhere; they missionize, they distribute tracts, they put up signs (including bright neon signs), they hold up placards at sporting events, and more. Yet — they seem to think no other types of believers are allowed to advertise their beliefs … and they especially hate when non-believers are the ones doing the advertising (going as far as to destroy non-believers’ signs and level death threats over them).

A sterling example of Christians’ attitude about other religions advertising, can be seen in this story by the Conservative Cybercast News Service about a Muslim group’s ad campaign in Australia (WebCite cached article):

“Jesus: A prophet of Islam” states the provocative tagline in a “public awareness” advertising campaign launched by a Muslim group in Australia’s largest city.

The group, calling itself Mypeace, says its aim is to inform, not offend – but offend it has, with one Catholic bishop calling the assertion about Jesus “a direct assault on Christian beliefs.”

So advertising is “a direct assault”? Seriously? Sorry, bishop, but no. A punch in the face is “a direct assault.” Someone advertising their beliefs, is not. It is, instead, free speech. Something Christians think only they should have, and everyone else must be silent, because they can’t tolerate the idea that there might be a non-Christian lurking around somewhere, trying to destroy them or something.

Christians who think this way — and that would be nearly all of them — are not only being childish, they’re fucking hypocrites. But remarkably, Jesus Christ himself clearly, explicitly and unambiguously forbid his followers — without exception — ever to be hypocritical. His multiple condemnations of hypocrisy in all its forms are both unmistakable and unequivocal. Any offended Christians, including the quoted Julian Porteous, auxiliary bishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, need to fucking grow the hell up for the first time in their sniveling little lives, and accept that there are non-Christians in the world, and they do not, in fact, have to be silent and unseen, just to keep Christians happy.

Another note to Christians: Just because you consider Jesus Christ to have been “the Son of God,” does not mean everyone else on the planet is required to think the same thing about him. This means Muslims are free to consider him a mere “prophet” if they wish to. What right do any of you have to control what other people think about Jesus?

Photo credit: Songkran.

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Egypt sectarian violence / Christian, Muslim youths clash in Cairo / A dozen people have been killed in the clashes that occurred in the Cairo district of Imbaba (Aljazeera)Hosni Mubarak may be out of power, but all is not well in the Land of the Nile. Religious violence has become an increasing problem in Egypt and its new government is having difficulty dealing with it. Al Jazeera reports on a renewed eruption of religious strife in Cairo, in the wake of a woman’s conversion from Christianity to Islam (WebCite cached article):

Egyptian troops are out in force in central Cairo after weekend riots left 12 people dead and more than 200 injured.

Clashes between Muslims and Copts have raised fears that more sectarian strife could erupt in the country which remains under military rule three months after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power. …

The bloodshed began on Saturday evening when word spread around the Imbaba neighborhood that a Christian woman who had converted to Islam had been abducted and was being kept in the Virgin Mary Church against her will.

About 500 ultraconservative Salafi Muslims gathered at the church, calling on Christians to hand over the woman.

Both sides traded gunfire, firebombs and stones, witnesses said.

Soldiers and police fired shots in the air and used tear gas to separate the sides but stone-throwing went on into the night.

Al Jazeera offers an excellent video report, but for some reason there’s no option to embed it, so I can’t do so here.

The idea that religious conversions must be met with violence is, quite obviously, absurd. No one is required to be happy about a conversion, but to hold her in a church and then exchange gunfire and Molotovs over it, is beyond rationality. It just goes to show that Egypt has a long way to go before it matures sufficiently. That’s ironic, since her civilization is among the oldest on the planet, meaning its people have no excuse for not having grown up enough to deal with things like this.

Note that the uptick in Muslim/Christian violence predates the revolution that toppled Mubarak. On January 1 of this year, a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria was bombed, killing 21 people.

Photo credit: Snapshot from Al Jazeera video.

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