Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rogue IDF Command Strikes Again

It was only a couple of nights ago that it was reported that Abbas and Hamas were close to agreeing on a unity Palestinian government aimed to ease the suffering of the Western economic blockade on the long-suffering people of Palestine.

After a military operation of considerable intensity, in which upwards of 50 Palestinians were killed, including unarmed women, the IDF, which had withdrawn from the Northern Gaza strip, including the town of Beit Hanoun, shelled a civilian compound there, killing 18 members of a family killing a mainly women and children.

As could be expected, the unity government talks have been postponed, while Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal called-off the truth with Israel and seemed to instruct his followers to attack American targets.

It is clear, through this action, and past one such as the Qana bombing, that there exists a powerful contingent within the Israeli military which does not want a cessation of hostilities between Israel, the Palestinians and its neighbours and seems willing to engage in military terrorism to destroy the prospects of peace.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dawkins and Religion

Richard Dawkins, the renowned evolutionatry biologist and atheist was on the CBC last night for a big discussion about his anti-faith documentary: "The Root of All Evil." The guest audience of Muslims, atheists, Christians, Jews, secularists, and philosophers were prodded and queried about Dawkins film by host Avi Lewis. They also got to put questions to Dawkins directly as he was connected to the show by satellite link.

To be honest, Dawkins came accross as erudite, knowledgeable, rational, and well-prepared. Unfortunately for the people of faith, they were roundly beaten by Dawkins and his ally in the crowd, a U of T philosophy professor. Even at weak points where, for example, one of the recurrent atheist slurs against religion was presented; that the catholic church is responsible for AIDS deaths in Africa, the response of the faithful was sadly inadequate.

One of the scenes in Dawkins film is of an interview between him and a Muslim man. I'm sure this brother was chosen to portray Muslims as "fundamentalist" and irrational as he was shown in an angry diatribe against the Western world's "slutty" women.

Alia Hogben, notable anti-Sharia campaigner as the president of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women agreed with many of Dawkins points vis-a-vis "fundamentalism." The anti-fundamentalist brigade was bolstered by a contingent of new-age, gay-marriage advocating body of "moderate faith," individuals, whose leader kept repeating the silly "God is Love" mantra whenever she got close to the mic.

Also in the audience, Ali Hindi, the notorious Canadian imam. He responded to Dawkins very good point about the need for evidence and proof in determining the existence of anything, such as the theory evolution or the existence of God. Hindi responded as well as he could, considering his halting English, that the reason people believed in Jesus, and hence God, was the Jesus character, his life, and the miracles that he performed. Hindi's delivery was lacking, but he was getting to the crux of the matter. What proof is there that God exists?

Let me play the atheists advocate for a moment and engage in a little gedanken experiment. Let's assume that God does not exist. We will limit our system to life on earth, to make things a little easier. In terms of life, evolution takes God's place. It is responsible for creating our forms, our appearance, our behaviour and shaping society. Humans, therefore, have developed religion as a natural evolutionary response to our environment. It appears that we need it to survive just as we need to apply violence in the pursuit of food, protection, and the propagation of the species.

So in a way, "fundamentalist" Islam is very useful in a evolutionary perspective. There are 1.2 billion Muslims on this planet. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Muslims have the highest population growth rate of just about any people around. Muslims have the lowest rate of AIDS and other STD's. These are facts. Its obvious evolution is doing its job and Muslim DNA is the beneficiary. Maybe evolution is the root of all evil!

Back to faith: Dawkins uses quite a funny analogy to describe belief in God. He invents a myth of a teapot in space. Everyone is told that there is a teacup in space, and that it must be worshipped. Eventually, as the generations pass, everyone believes that this teapot is real, and people that doubt this are ridiculed. What he is saying is that God is a myth, much like the teapot, and like a number of other gods which we no longer believe in or worship. Fair argument.

What proof is there that God does in fact exist? For me, the proof abounds, though it is not scientific in nature. In Islam, these proofs are termed Ayat. They include Prophecy (i.e. correctly predicting the future), Revelation (The Holy Scriptures, the Qur'an, etc.), human history, and current events.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), predicted many things about the future 1400 years ago, including the current conflicts between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Qur'an, a miracle in itself, lyrically and numerically coded, asks its reader to observe scientific phenomenon that could not have been observed at the time of its revelation (i.e. underwater waves and multidimensional space).

It is also interesting to note that most of the major geopolitical events of the current decade are a direct and indirect consqequences of the 9/11 attacks. I doubt Dawkins program would ever have been made if it weren't for Bin Laden. The simplistic view and ensuing conclusions of that event was that religion is bad and Muslims are bad. However, it did manage to get everyone talking about religion, and it did get us talking about God. On one of the Bin Laden tapes, he remarked to his buddy the stories of people who came to him of dreams of the attack, months and years before it took place (eg. Prophecy).

Maybe God is not as loving as people say. Perhaps He is capable of love as well as hate, unity as well as divisiveness, creativity as well as destruction. Maybe He is the God of the Old Testament, Allah in the Qur'an. He can reward as well as punish. If God is real, why should we try and define him and limit him? Why do we pick and choose what we want to believe in and follow, like the Christian leader on the CBC program. Life is full of shades of gray, but God, and the concept of God, is absolute. You either believe in Him, His revelations and commandments, fully, thoroughly, and without prejudice, or you don't believe at all. God is a black and white concept. Most people characterize this type of thinking as "fundamentalist," but in reality, it is just logic.

In the end, Dawkins is somewhat right, the proof is in the pudding. The ultimate proof will come when we die. The penultimate proof is what happens in this life. Will the prophecies come true or will science trump religion? Will Jesus return? Will the temple be rebuilt? Will Armageddon take place? Will Muslims conquer Rome? It seems to me, that the answers to these questions are close at hand. God Willing, we shall see...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Pope and the Last Crusade?

Well, in a move widely expected by "God's rottweiler," the leader of the world's billion strong Catholic community has called our Prophet, Muhammad (SAWS), "evil and inhuman." This speech, echoing the musings of an 14th century priest critical of Islam.

Germany's seemingly Islamophobic strongwoman, the leader of the ruling party Christian Democrats, and herself the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, has jumped up to defend the Pope's views. All of this talk has upset the hypersensitive Muslim masses, including the leading cleric and prime minister of Turkey, who has asked for the Pope's full apology ahead of his planned visit to the country.

Pope Ratzinger, together with Chancellor Merkel, have been hostile to the idea of Turkey's membership in the EU. The Turkophobicity of Europe is a well-known fact, especially in the Eastern states whose people came under Ottoman rule in the previous millenium. At least now we know where the Pope really stands, despite apologies given.

Some Muslims have urged calm in light of the slurs which have been characterized as "old as Islam itself." Muslims have been pictured with placards deploring Christianity's "hyprocrisy." It is often interesting how non-Muslims often remark that Islam was "spread by the sword," and that religion should never be a justification for violence (Merkel), yet completely ignoring the Christian and Western world's bloody and conquest-filled history.

So, if we follow their logic, Muslims are cruel and inhuman for defending their religion and land from invaders. Meanwhile, German forces are marching with guns to disarm the inhabitants of Lebanon and NATO forces are killing Afghans in the name of democracy. Right.

The problem with these two particular Germans is that they lack the sneaky British tact of statesman as Tony Blair. While Blair hopes to co-opt Muslims stealthily, by bringing nations such as Turkey into the EU club and keeping his enemies close, Merkel and Ratzinger just cannot keep their contempt for Islam and Muslims to themselves. Way to go guys ;-)

So, it is as the Prophet predicted it: Christians and Muslims are at war again. Perhaps, this crusade will be the last. I surely hope and pray it is. I urge our Iranian brothers and sisters to prepare for the Christian onslaught. Peace be upon you all.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Scottish Girl Abducted For Arranged Marriage in Pakistan?

According to the British media and her Scottish mum, poor little Molly Campbell had been abducted by her father's faily for an arranged marriage in Pakistan:
The mother of a 12-year-old schoolgirl appealed yesterday for the return of her "lovable little girl" after she was abducted and flown to Pakistan, where relatives fear that she could be forced to become a child bride.

But we found out today, it was another case of ugly anti-Muslim hysteria, magnified by racist stereotypes and willful exaggeration:
A 12-year-old girl from the Western Isles who is at the centre of abduction allegations said today that it was her "own choice" to go to Pakistan with her father.

A police operation was launched last Friday after Molly Campbell, also known as Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, flew to Lahore with her father and 18-year-old sister Tahmina, without the knowledge of her mother, Louise.

Ms Campbell, 38, made an emotional plea for Molly's return earlier this week and there were fears that the 12-year-old was being forced into a marriage in Pakistan.

Today, Molly appeared at a press conference in Lahore after she and her father met with family friend Mohammad Sarwar, a Scottish MP, who arrived there this morning. Mr Sarwar said there was "no question" of forced marriage and that Molly had now spoken by phone to her mother in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis.

Sitting between Tahmina and her father, Sajad Ahmed Rana, Molly told reporters: "It was my own choice. I asked my sister if I could go with her. I went with my sister. I would like to stay in Pakistan with my father and my name isn't Molly, it is Misbah.

"I knew that my mum would miss me, but I miss my family. It was hard to not see my family and I had to live with my mum and I wanted to live with my family. I thought I could live with my dad and I could still see my mum."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Woman To Lead Islamic Society of North America

The first woman president of the largest Muslim group in North America says that she's proud of her community for electing her.
Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian convert to Islam and an Islamic law scholar at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, was chosen to lead the Islamic Society of North America just ahead of its annual convention, which starts Friday in Rosemont, Ill.
I'm not sure what the arch-conservative Muslims think about this, but the progressives and the "we are the world" types are probably happy to have an attractive, educated, white convert to Islam as the face of the North America's largest Muslim association.

Have they appointed Dr. Mattson for political optics? We shall see how she performs. But considering the negative perception of Muslims around the world, I doubt the organization was looking for a swarthy-complexioned, fully-bearded, one-eyed, hook-handed, periplegic sheikh to take the reins. Just a guess...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Romans Return To Middle East

The Romans are on the Middle East comeback trail. Things are about to get interesting...

Monday, August 14, 2006


After over a month of fighting, a ceasefire has taken hold in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Despite the wanton destruction and nearly 1000 deaths on the Lebanese side, it appears that the loser is Israel. Why?

For starters, hardly any of Israel's strategic goals were obtained. Hezbollah was not defeated, its captured soldiers have not been freed, and the disarmament of the militant Shi'ite militia is not assured. What's more, nearly 150 Israeli's were killed, most of them soldiers, deflating the myth of Israeli military superiority over its arab neighbours and altering the psychological dimensions of Israel's strategic balance.

The political fallout in Israel, and even in the US, will become apparent before year's end. Sniping at Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has already begun. The coalition government will show signs of strain as Avigdor Lieberman and Bibi Netanyahu look to score political points. In the States, the Bush administration is coming under rhetorical fire from the neoconservatives for supporting such a "one-sided" UN resolution.

All of this could have been avoided if the Israeli leadership was humble and wise enough to accede to the reasonable prospect of a prisoner swap between Israel and Hezbollah and Hamas. If they had returned the prisoners, the disputed territory, and normalized relations, Israel could have claimed the high-ground in any future attack coming from their neighbours territory and would be justified in an overwhelming response.

Instead, Israel's moral, political, and military standings have taken serious blows. Ariel Sharon continues to ail with his legacy crumbling. Meanwhile, the Romans (UN-EU) are resolved to return to the region, threatening the sovereignty of the Jewish state once more. In Israel's case at least, not negotiating with "terrorists" has proven an unwise policy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rogue IDF Commanders Behind Qana Bombing

Since my last post about the bombing of the UN post in south Lebanon, the second round of US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's diplomatic efforts to lebanon has been cancelled following the bombing in Qana (echoing a previous Israeli bombing in 1996) that killed 50 civilians, a majority of them children.

Again, I strongly suspect the culprit is a rogue element within the Israeli defence command that wants to sabotage any attempts at a cessation of hostilities. This unit aims to press the campaign in Lebanon, prevent UN troops from arriving in the area, and drive a wedge between Israel and the so-called "international community."

By all appearances, the plan seems to be working. The UN headquarters were ransacked by enraged protestors demonstrating the latest Israeli war crime and confusion has broken out in diplomatic and Western ranks as Jack Straw is leading a rebellion against the Blair-Bush-Harper "measured response" position.

It's not all-out war yet, but God-willing, it will get there. Over the next couple of months, keep your eye out for the Iranian nuclear issue causing big problems, and over the next couple of years, monitor the situation at Al-Aqsa...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why UN Post Was Bombed By Israel

As Reuters reports, despite vehement denials by Israeli officials, Kofi Annan believes the attack on a UN observer post that killed 4 UN observers was "apparently deliberate."

Why would the Israelis want to attack the very organization which they hope will deploy peacekeepers and implent resolution 1559 which calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah?

It is no secret that Israel has a love-hate relationship with the UN and the "international community." On the one hand, Israel completely ignores UN resolutions which condemn its actions and its supporters attack the legitimacy of the organization whenever it does so.

On the other hand, it was the UN that recognized Israel 50 years ago and resolutions which are congruent to its interests are always given the utmost attention by all those on its side.

Nevertheless, the Israeli polity, despite claims to the contrary, is not a homogenous body. Israel is made up of a large centre, with peaceniks flanking on the left, and ultranationalists, zionists, and religious extremists on the right. Due to the fact that virtually all of Israeli society passes through the ranks of the IDF, with the exception of Orthodox Jews, its obvious that the ideologies that make up the mosaic of Israeli political thought are also represented in its cadres.

Though most of the erudite and well-spoken Israeli political elite including Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would like nothing more than to earn the sympathy and support of the UN and the world for their policies, surely there exist extreme reactionaries, zealots and xenophobes with Israel which see not only "Islamic terror" as Israel's enemy, but also the gentiles that make up the rest of the world (Christians included).

My supposition is that exteme rogue elements within the Israeli military command organized and supported the attack for the purpose of torpedoing the plan to establish foreign troops in a buffer zone between Israel and Hezbollah. Perhaps they perceived a deployment of foreign troops as an infringement of their sovereignty and an unwelcome curtailment of the free hand with which they have pummeled the Arabs since the state's inception.

Maybe extreme zionist elements fear a UN deployment would prelude an eventual UN occupation of not only Lebanon, but of Israel as well. The Romans occupied ancient Israel and the zealots rose up in response. It could be that modern neo-zealots within the IDF are trying to prevent foreign occupation from happening again, despite the assertions of Biblical Prophecy suggesting just that.

Israel's military has a history of attacking its supposed allies in incidents such as the deadly targetting of the USS Liberty in the six-days war in 1967. There are other incidents such as the bombing of the King David Hotel by militant zionists and apparent plans by such groups as the
Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement
, whose leader was once an IDF commander, to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque in hopes of rebuilding the temple.

If history is any guide, this war, taking on religious tones and dimensions, will get worse before it gets better. There are people on both sides who will go to any lengths to achieve their goals. The bombing of the UN post was no mistake, but a deliberate strike by a minority splinter within the Israeli military establishment to drive a wedge between Israel and the rest of the world.

Double Standards

Great little post from Maya's Blog:

Rule # 1 : In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it’s always Israel who defends itself. This is called “retaliation”.

Rule # 2: The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called “terrorism”/

Rule # 3: Israel has the right to kill Arab civilians, this is called “self-defense”, or these days “collateral damage”.

Rule # 4: When Israel kills too many civilians. The Western world calls for restraint. This is called the “reaction of the international community”.

Rule # 5: Palestinians and Lebanese do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even a limited number, not even 1 or 2.

Rule # 6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (Palestinians: around 10000 to date, 300 of which are children, Lebanese: 1000s to date, being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: “terrorism”

Rule # 7: When you say “Hezbollah”, always be sure to add “supported by Syria and Iran”

Rule # 8: When you say “Israel”, never say “supported by the USA, the UK and other European countries”, for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

Rule # 9: When it comes to Israel, don’t mention the words “occupied territories”, “UN resolutions”, “Geneva conventions”. This could distress the audience of Fox.

Rule # 10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is called “neutral journalism”.

Rule # 11: If you don’t agree with these rules or if you favor the Arab side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion (isn’t democracy wonderful?)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lebanon War: Where are the Christians?

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan blames Christians for not speaking out about the Israeli destruction of Lebanon by Israel:
Let it be said: Israel has a right to defend herself, a right to counter-attack against Hezbollah and Hamas, a right to clean out bases from which Katyusha or Qassam rockets are being fired and a right to occupy land from which attacks are mounted on her people.

But what Israel is doing is imposing deliberate suffering on civilians, collective punishment on innocent people, to force them to do something they are powerless to do: disarm the gunmen among them. Such a policy violates international law and comports neither with our values nor our interests. It is un-American and un-Christian.

But where are the Christians? Why is Pope Benedict virtually alone among Christian leaders to have spoken out against what is being done to Lebanese Christians and Muslims?
As usual, American public opinion is against him and firmly with Israel and the killing of civilians in the name of self defence. Of course, "terrorist" groups are notoriously difficult to destroy (Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Kashmiri seperatists) and seem to thrive under the most dire conditions.

There are a myriad reasons why Americans are with Israel:
  • Trauma of September 11 attacks
  • Shared Judeo-Christian tradition
  • Zionism
  • Islamophobia
  • Racism against Arabs
  • History of state terrorism against civilians (Hiroshima) and of conquest (Native Indians, African slavery)
Israel is the friend and ally of America, regardless of its actions. This much is clear. US weapons are used to attack Lebanese civilians just as Iranian weapons are used to attack Israelis. It remains to be seen over the long haul, whether the priviledged partnership that America shares with Israel is conducive or corrosive to its longterm strategic interests and security.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Circumcision Can Prevent AIDS

Perhaps God knows a thing or two about science after all: Scientists have concluded AIDS deaths could be drastically reduced via circumcision.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hirsi Ali Row Brings Down Dutch Government

The Dutch government is resigning after losing the support of one of its coalition partners, says Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

D66, the coalition's smallest member, withdrew its support in a row over Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.

Ms Verdonk had threatened to strip former politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali of her Dutch passport because of false information she gave in 1992.

Mr Balkenende said he would tender the government's resignation on Friday.

The D66 party pulled its support because Ms Verdonk, known as "Iron Rita" for her tough stance on immigration issues, refused to resign over her treatment of Ms Hirsi Ali.

Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, wrote a controversial film about the treatment of women in Islam, which was directed by Theo Van Gogh, who was later murdered by a Muslim extremist.

Mr Balkenende's announcement came after two days of debate in the parliament, where Ms Verdonk had done a U-turn on her stance on Ms Hirsi Ali, claiming she had found a legal loophole that would allow the Somali-born woman to stay.

The resignation of the government could lead to new elections in October.

This is what happens when people follow liars and anti-Muslim rabble rousers: chaos. Why the Dutch people allowed their country to be used by Ali is beyond me.

There are many practical lessons to be learned from this debacle. One of the most important is that a country of laws cannot allow politics and the shrill cries of attention seeking dissidents to trump its legal precepts and principles.

Lying on an asylum application in Holland is illegal and results in the offender being stripped of citizenship and deported. This is the law. Regardless of Ali's supposed value to Dutch society in her vehement denunciations of Islam, the rules cannot and should not be bent towards her will.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Getting Ready For Armageddon

The apocalyptic activities of John Hagee, a popular evangelist, as well as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have caught the eye of a reporter in the Los Angeles Times:
For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.

Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah.

For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon.

With that goal in mind, mega-church pastors recently met in Inglewood to polish strategies for using global communications and aircraft to transport missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission: to make every person on Earth aware of Jesus' message. Doing so, they believe, will bring about the end, perhaps within two decades.

In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a far different vision. As mayor of Tehran in 2004, he spent millions on improvements to make the city more welcoming for the return of a Muslim messiah known as the Mahdi, according to a recent report by the American Foreign Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

To the majority of Shiites, the Mahdi was the last of the prophet Muhammad's true heirs, his 12 righteous descendants chosen by God to lead the faithful.

Ahmadinejad hopes to welcome the Mahdi to Tehran within two years.

Conversely, some Jewish groups in Jerusalem hope to clear the path for their own messiah by rebuilding a temple on a site now occupied by one of Islam's holiest shrines.

Artisans have re-created priestly robes of white linen, gem-studded breastplates, silver trumpets and solid-gold menorahs to be used in the Holy Temple — along with two 6½-ton marble cornerstones for the building's foundation.
It seems like even scientists like Hawking are planning for the end of the world.

John Hagee says a lot, as well as his Jewish allies:
"I truly believe John Hagee is at once a daring, beautiful person — and quite dangerous," said Orthodox Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, vice president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York.

"I sincerely recognize him as a hero for bringing planeloads of people to Israel at a time when people there were getting blown up by the busloads," Hirschfield said. "But he also believes that the only path to the father is through Jesus. That leaves me out."

Meanwhile, in what has become a spectacular annual routine, Jews — hoping to rebuild the Holy Temple destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 — attempt to haul the 6 1/2 -ton cornerstones by truck up to the Temple Mount, the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock shrine. Each year, they are turned back by police.

Among those turned away is Gershon Solomon, spokesman for Jerusalem's Temple Institute. When the temple is built, he said, "Islam is over."
Big statements.

Actually, from what I understand from the Qur'an, the Prophet Muhammad's prophecies, and even Biblical ones, Islam will be far from over. A quick Muslim layman's outline for the end times:

- Wars and rumours of wars (WWI and WWII).
- Other signs such as natural disasters and social behaviour changes (Raunch culture, SSM).
- Jews brought together (ie. in Israel).
- Crusader war between Christians and Muslims ("War on Terror?").
- Al-Aqsa Mosque destroyed, temple rebuilt = more war with Muslims.
- One world government formed by "Kings of the North" (EU, UN, neo-Rome).
- The antichrist or dajjal will rule.
- Antichrist will enslave the worlds people with "mark of the beast" (RFID chips?).
- Muslims will be the only ones to resist under leadership of Mahdi.
- Muslims will be surrounded, on the verge of defeat in Syria.
- Jesus will return, lead the Muslims.
- Armageddon in Israel, Jesus will kill the dajjal then abolish the cross.
- Muslims will conquer Rome, Jesus will live out the rest of his natural life.
- Things will fall apart after Jesus dies.
- Muslims will die out from disease, Qur'an will disappear.
- The Gog and Magog tribes will lay waste to what's left of the world.
- God will destroy the earth while those left on it will bear witness.
- Judgement Day!

Whew... Are you ready!?

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beef-eating Hindus Censor Own History

Hindus in India have deleted references in textbooks which show that Hindus used to eat beef:
Victory for Hindu fundamentalists
Education council unhappy with move
Jun. 20, 2006. 01:00 AM

Calcutta—References to the beef-eating past of ancient Hindus have been deleted from Indian school textbooks following a three-year campaign by Hindu hardliners.

For almost a century, history books for primary and middle schools told how in ancient India, beef was considered a great delicacy among Hindus — especially among the highest caste — and how veal was offered to Hindu deities during special rituals.

"Our past" chapters in the texts also detailed how cows used to be slaughtered by the Brahmins, or upper caste Hindus, during festivals and while welcoming guests to the home.

The passages that offended the Hindus, who now shun beef, have been deleted from new versions of the books delivered to schoolchildren last week.

However, the National Council of Educational Research and Training, which is responsible for the texts, now seems unhappy with the changes that were agreed to by a former council director.

Council lawyer Prashant Bhushan said ancient Hindus were indeed beef-eaters, and the council should not have distorted historical facts by deleting the chapters.

Noted Calcutta historian Ashish Bose added: "NCERT has committed a mistake by dropping those facts from the textbooks. It is a victory for Hindu fundamentalists who have lodged a misinformation campaign. Historians should unite against this cowardly move by the council."

Hardline Hindu activists, who consider cattle holy and have been seeking a ban on slaughter by Muslims and Christians, said the beef-eating references were meant to insult Hindus.

In 2003, when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party held federal power, the educational council decided to delete the references. Congress and leftist opposition parties protested, but the move was approved by Jagmohan Singh Rajput, then council director.

The process took longer than expected, however, and Hindu fundamentalists alleged last year that the council was dragging its feet.

Two activists asked the Delhi High Court to order the immediate deletion of the chapters from new textbooks, but the court has not ruled on the suit.

When the litigation was filed, firebrand Hindu leader Praveen Togadia, general secretary of the World Hindu Council, declared: "Most of the facts in the chapters are not true. Some low-caste dalit (untouchable) Hindus used to eat beef. Brahmins never ate it."

Accusing textbook author Ram Sharan Sharma of shoddy research, Togadia said: "The chapter is poisoning the minds of little children. They will not respect their own religion in future. They will not turn out to be good Hindus and it will cause harm to the nation."

Dwijendra Narayan Jha, a history professor at Delhi University, says there is plenty of evidence showing ancient Hindus, including the Brahmins, slaughtered cows and ate beef.

"There are clear evidences in the Rig Veda, the most sacred Hindu scripture (from the second millennium BC), that the cow used to be sacrificed by Hindus during religious rituals. Ancient Hindu text Manusmriti lists the cow as one of several animals whose meat can be eaten by Hindus. The great epic, the Mahabharata, too speaks of beef being a delicacy served to esteemed guests," he said.

Jha's 2002 book, The Myth of the Holy Cow, presented historical evidence that Hindus ate beef long before the Muslim invasions in the 10th century, and provoked such a furor it was banned. The professor, himself a Hindu, feared attacks by fundamentalists and was given police protection.

The slaughter of cattle is banned in most Indian states, but not in Kerala, West Bengal and seven northeastern states. However, Muslims — the largest minority in the country — sometimes ignore state bans and slaughter cattle, which can spark communal tension.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Media Watch: Canadian Papers Now Neocon

Its no great suprise that the National Post has a neoconservative editorial policy. It is a coming together of its pro-Israel Jewish owners and its conservative Canadian readership. The Toronto Sun is its low-brow counterpart, with nominally Muslim, "pro-democracy" columnists like Salim Mansur seemingly taking a crack at his supposed co-religionists every day. Suprisingly the paper continues to employ contrarians like Eric Margolis who dares to speak truth to the incessant barrage of anti-Muslim claptrap that spews from the Islam-bashers that sully the reputations of the respective publications.

It is with great concern that I've been noticing a very discernible neoconservative positions being taken by the editorial boards of what I once considered to be the two leading Canadian papers of our time, The Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail.


For the last two or three days, the Globe has been bumping an article entitled "Turning The Taliban To Our Side". Even the title of the article should raise alarm bells. Since when did independent, supposedly neutral newspapers start picking sides in non-opinion pieces? I guess when you brandish an array of Islam-bashing columninsts like Margaret Wente, Marcus Gee, Lysiane Gagnon, and Marcus Gee, your editorial policy probably will not maintain the journalistic standard of impartiality, at least when it comes to Muslims.

The Toronto Star has been taking a lot of neoconservative positions, particularly when it comes to the war in Afghanistan or the democratic election of Hamas earlier this year. They've just copied and pasted an editorial from the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram about how Arabs have failed in Sudan and Somalia:
We've failed Somalia, just as we failed Sudan before it. We've failed to identify problems in their early stage and do something about them. This is something we tend to do, but nowhere more so than in the southern stretches of our world, where Africa and the Arab region merge. We get obsessed with problems on our eastern front — Iran, Iraq — and forget about the south.
What a patronizing load of propaganda.

Can the Toronto Star really, in good conscience post an editorial from an Arab country, notorious for its anti-democratic government, violence against its own citizens, and support for the most despotic regimes (including Sudan) talking about how it should deal with other's "problems." Egypt has shown nothing but contempt for its Sudanese African refugees, and now when black Muslim Somalians have taken control of the security of their own country, they have the gall to proclaim they've "failed."

The Toronto Star, mind you, is published by a Jew. There a known homosexuals on the editorial board. Not that I'm against either group, but in the context of Islam, its important to determine where the paper's sympathies lie. The one Muslim, Haroon Siddiqui is an emiritus member of the board and only writes his own columns.

Its also interesting to note that when Christian Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper announced his intention to re-open the debate on same-sex marriage in the fall, there was nary a protest from either paper, despite their editorial policies of individual and civil liberties and progressivism (The Star had a huge Gay Pride Week spread last week). They would never come out and say it but they are surely operating under the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

The secularists and neoconservatives, many of them shaping the opinions and views of the Canadian and Western polity as writers, editors, columnists and authors have been engaged in a very insidious campaign. This campaign is directed at Islam specifically and religion in general. Despite the fact that the leaders of all the major Western countries engaged in wars in Muslim ones are Christian (Harper, Blair, Bush, Howard, Merkel), many of whom oppose the secularists wanton social liberalism, the secularists and neocons restrain their rhetorical barbs, in the hopes that their uncomfortable Christian allies crusade to "reform" the Muslims and convert them into pro-Israeli, neoliberal sycophants will succeed (at the barrel of a gun if necessary). After this victory, surely the secularists, militant liberalists, and neocons will turn on the same Christians they quietly supported for nothing more than believing in God, Jesus and opposition to SSM.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Women Factor Behind Somalian Islamic Militia

Islam defends the rights and safety of women:
An epidemic of sexual violence during 15 years of lawlessness in Somalia was among the factors that strengthened opposition to this city's notorious warlords, residents said. The Islamic militias who drove them out in months of recent fighting were embraced as keepers of public order, as a force strong enough and pious enough to keep Mogadishu's daughters safe.
And who were the champions of freedom, democracy, and women's rights supporting? The warlords.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Jews Are Smart

An article in The New Republic summarizing a controversial scientific study:
Utah researchers Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending (henceforth CH&H) proposed that Ashkenazi Jews have a genetic advantage in intelligence, and that the advantage arose from natural selection for success in middleman occupations (moneylending, selling, and estate management) during the first millennium of their existence in northern Europe, from about 800 C.E. to 1600 C.E. Since rapid selection of a single trait often brings along deleterious by-products, this evolutionary history also bequeathed the genetic diseases known to be common among Ashkenazim, such as Tay-Sachs and Gaucher's.
The Jewish author, Steven Pinker, touches on some of the moral and ethical dangers in making such conclusions, especially how it relates to the perception and treatment of his people:
But is it good for the Jews? More to the point, is it good for ideals of tolerance and ethnic amity? On one interpretation, perhaps it is. Jewish achievement is obvious; only the explanation is unclear. The idea of innate Jewish intelligence is certainly an improvement over the infamous alternative generalization, a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. And attention to the talents needed in the middleman niche (whether they are biological or cultural) could benefit other middleman minorities, such as Armenians, Lebanese, Ibos, and overseas Chinese and Indians, who have also been targets of vicious persecution because of their economic success.
It seems that genetics also confirm the adage that blessings can also be curses. A mutation in African populations that confer resistance to malaria also causes sickle cell anemia.

Science cannot be a substitute for ethics, morals, and religion. Without moral directives like the Golden Rule, individuals and societies would see little value in resisting marginalizition and stigmatization of entire races because of perceived intellectual advantages or deficiencies. Genomic research and the intimate knowledge it provides presents another stern test for mankind. Do we use our genetic knowledge towards social Darwinisim, and a neo-eugenic movement toward socio-economic elitism? Or, do we use that knowledge to treat disease and uplift those who are less fortunate, safeguarding our most important moral and religious heritage?

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Islamic Courts Calm Mogadishu

After 15 years of civil war, the situation in Somalia appears to be improving after southern Somalia, including Mogadishu, has been unified by the Union of Islamic Courts.

The international community would be wise to work with Somalia's new leaders, rather than try the failed tactic of isolation and/or military intervention.

Hawking Thinks We Need Space To Survive

World-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says human beings need to colonize space in order to ward off extinction here on earth:
"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

Ron Coleman on liberal blog Dean's World, doubts Hawking's assertions that humans are at risk of imminent extintion. He takes issue with Hawking's lack of evidence to back up what Coleman describes as Hawking's usual "musings."

A fun website, Exit Mundi, that playfully but comprehensively presents the lion's share of end-of-world scenarios categorizes theories into groups such as "any day now, near future, distant future, and religion."

The posting about the Islamic scenario, Al-Qiyamah, from this site is quite interesting:
Oh, that good old Koran story about the end of days! The end of times as outlined in Muslim writings is one of the very finest religious apocalyptic scenario's around: rich in detail, vivid, and far reaching in religious implications. No wonder so many Muslims are deeply convinced judgment day (`Qiyamah', in Koran terminology) will come about one day.

So here's what will happen. The Koran discernes `minor' and `major' omens predicting the end of days. Many of the `minor' omens (there are 72 signs in total) are already here for everybody to be seen. Men will behave more like women and women will imitate men. Men will dress in silk. Children will be disobeyant, and youngsters will be role-models. People who used to be shepherds will build tall buildings.

And there's more. Many will engage in dangerous sports, divorces will be a daily occurrence and people will favour their friends over their families. Liquor will be consumed in the streets, and dancing and wild music will be everywhere. Religious leaders will make worldly profits, while intellectuals rather engage in science than in the study of religion. Also, there will be the usual apocalyptic rumble-a-bumble: earthquakes, devastating wars, storms and floods. If you add things up, it looks like the end of days is quite near, don't you think?
In fact, many of the signs of the end of times are gleaned from the prophetic hadith, the sayings, teachings, prophesies, and actions of our the final Prophet, Muhammad (SAWS).

As a believer, I'm inclined to see the Islamic as the most accurate and if current events are any indication, God and his Messenger are right. Even if we wanted to colonize space, it probably wouldn't be much of a success since the nearest planetary solar system is 80 years away at a speed that we will never attain, and may not have a class G planet anyway. Terraformation on Mars? Keep dreaming. It took hundreds of millions of years to get the atmosphere up and running on this planet. Our best hope remains in God, Judgement Day, and the After Life.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi Killed

Iraqi and US authorities are jubilant at the killing of the most wanted militant leader in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

In Islam, we are cautioned not to rejoice over the death other persons, even if they are our arch enemies. Even so, I'm sure many Iraqis (Shiites mainly) are happy to see him dead and are giving out sweets this afternoon.

Even Al-Qaeda leaders had taken to calling Zarqawi "the Sheik of Slaughterers" for his bloody campaign of bombings and beheadings. Iraqi insurgent leaders had reportedly stripped him of his leadership role months ago, and were probably the ones to betray him to the Americans.

Zarqawi could have been a much more beloved resistance figure if he didn't display such a gory appetite and sectarian bent (such as calling for the killing of Shiite "snakes"). The Sunni insurgents are probably relieved that such a notorious, visible, and polarizing figure has been removed from the battlefield.

The Shiites are less-likely to attack fellow Sunni Muslims in return for one of Zarqawi's attacks against them. Even with him dead, it is far from likely that the insurgency will diminish, however. The triumphant rhetoric ringing across the globe will almost certainly be drowned out by the blast of roadside bombs just as it did following the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Tags: Iraq

"The Story Of God" Documentary

This is my first post on science in this current iteration of the blog. In the first incarnation, I made a pretty controversial post about how multidimensional space resulting from string theory, is mentioned by God in the Qur'an:
(God) is the One Who created for you all that is on the earth. Moreover He turned to the heaven and fashioned seven heavens with harmony. He is full of Knowledge of all things (29:2) And We have made, above you, seven tracts. We have never been unmindful of the Creation (23:17) (God) is the One Who created seven heavens one above another. Thou can see no fault in the creation of the Beneficent. Turn the vision again! Can thou see any flaw? (67:3) Did you see how God created seven heavens one above another and made the moon a light therein and made the sun a lamp? (71:15-16)
The people of Muhammad's time could not understand what the 7 heavens referred to. Even today, most people are perplexed regarding mention of the seven heavens. But God reveals meaning slowly, over time. We can see how science can reinforce faith and faith reinforce science, they do not have to conflict.

This brings me too an interesting documentary I was watching last night on Canada's CBC entitled "The Story Of God: The God Of The Gaps.". The documentary aimed to chronicle the often conflicting understandings of the universe in the Western world, from the perspective of a practicing Jewish scientist.

The narrator interviewed a diversity of figures including Christian literalists, Richard Dawkins, the atheist evolutionary biologist, and physicists at CERN.

The documentary was not that elucidative or enlightening, partly because, like most chauvinistic Western thinkers, he chose the Bible as the religious counterpoint to scientific ideas, rather than the Qur'an, which is much richer in scientific references.

What was interesting, however, was to get brief synopses of the Western scientists discoveries that countered Christian orthodoxy, yet themselves were believers in God. Men like Galileo, Newton, and even (gasp), Darwin were believers, not to mention others who were not featured including Einstein and Gregor Mendel (the "father of genetics").

Also of note was a discussion with the scientists responsible for discovering the "God Gene" (VMAT2), whose variation purportedly predisposes certain people to spiritual pursuits.

With the furor over "intelligent design" seemingly have blown over, we should always pay attention to the overlaps of faith and science. It is too often that we allow atheists to shout down religious practices like circumcision only to find out that they may have benefit after all, like the prevention of AIDS and so on.

Technorati Tags: Science, Islam, Christianity, Religion

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"War On Terror" Heats Up

According to Al-Jazeera, and relayed on Canadian news, there are reports that Canadian soldiers have been kidnapped in Afghanistan.

This on the heels of the huge story of the arrest of 17 suspects in Canada, accused of wide array of terror-related charges including plans to blowup government agencies.

The lawyer of one of the accused related the nature of one of the charges against his client:

"The allegations suggest that [Mr. Chand] would personally like to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper"

Why this lawyer would decide to discuss this allegation with the world's media is beyond me, since it has proven quite damaging to his client's defence already.

Meanwhile, an EU report was released which detailed Europe's complicity in the extraordinary rendition, detention, and possible torture of terror suspects by the CIA. And they wonder why Muslims are so peeved?

Newseek magazine asks some probing questions about the alleged Haditha massacre by using marines in Iraq. Many have drawn parallels to the Mai Lai atrocity in Viet Nam, and conservative commentators like Pat Buchanan have suggested the "liberal media" are exploiting the case.

Finally, news that an Islamic militia in Somalia has taken Mogadishu from a "secular alliance of warlods backed by the US" has been cited as another failure in American policy and has caused consternation that Somalia may fall under the sway of Al-Qaeda.

It seems that Westerners continue to equate Islam with terrorism and raise the spectre of Al-Qaeda whenever Islam is used as a political ideology. Of course, few people are able to connect the dots when the Christianist leaders of Western countries coordinate their positions on topics such as attacking Muslim countries and banning gay marriage:
Pope Benedict XVI, Australia’s John Howard and Canada’s Stephen Harper say they oppose gay unions. But America’s Senate once more rejects a ban

Is there a conspiracy of like-minded Christianists including Bush, Blair, Howard, Merkel, and Harper? Is the "war on terror" really just a euphemism for a war on Islam? Questions, questions, questions.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Most Canadians Oppose Afghan Mission

It seems a majority of Canadians are not in favor of the Western crusade that has NATO troops killing, apprehending, and bombing Afghans.

Laila Takes On Irshad and Ayaan

Literary critic Laila Lalami takes a critical look at the works of West's two favorite anti-Islamists, Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Saudi Women Defend Veil

An article in the post sheds light on a large group of Saudi women who are defending the use of the veil within Islam. Many are activists and scholars.

Its encouraging to see active, intelligent, Muslim women who are into their religion, instead of the anti-Muslim Westerners and whiney ex-muslims who consistently trash it and are paraded around in the media as if the speak for the majority of "oppressed" Muslim women (Hirsan Ali, Manji).

That being said, I think Islam in Saudi Arabia is a little off the mark. It doesn't make sense preventing women from driving, for example. Also, despite views to the contrary by many Muslim scholars, there is no compelling argument that the niqab (face-covering) is compulsory. But hey, if a woman wants to wear one that's fine, it's up to her.

In the West, women can wear what they want, even if its almost nothing. This rules goes except if you're a Muslim in France or Turkey, in which case wearing a headscarf is considered an offence to the secular state. There is something wrong here.

In any case, Islam is about finding the middle way, the right path. Sisters, if you're going for your driver's license, have a little common sense and remove your niqab before they snap your picture. Brothers in the Kingdom of Saud, its time to allow foreign muslims to marry your beautiful and intellectually stimulating women. Fellow westerners, let Muslim women wear their hijab to school, for God's sake.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Freedom of Speech?

A little more Western hypocrisy for you to digest:
One of France's most popular rappers will appear in court today charged with offending public decency with a song in which he referred to France as a "slut" and vowed to "piss" on Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle. Monsieur R, whose real name is Richard Makela, could face three years in prison or a €75,000 (£51,000) fine after an MP from the ruling UMP party launched legal action against him over his album Politikment Incorrekt.

I thought there was freedom of speech in France? I suppose you are only allowed to speak freely when insulting Muslims. Insulting France, that's another story...

Afghan Riot A Turning Point?

If the Soviet, British, and Macedonian invasions of Afghanistan are any guide, sooner or later Afghans always rise up against their occupiers. In the 80's, the mujaheddin didn't really start fighting until 5 years after the USSR had captured Kabul and installed a puppet regime.

Now, after friction caused by the Abdul Rahman case, and a resurgence of the Taliban fighters in the eastern and southern provinces, news of a riot in Kabul echo past conflicts.

Is this a turning point in the war, or is it just part of the status quo? Only God knows.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sectarianism Killing Iraq

The news from Iraq is becoming worse every day. Young men are being killed for being named Omar, or for wearing shorts. Sunnis are pitched against shiites and no one seems to be able to stop the killing. What is the cause of this fitnah?

[6:159] Those who divide themselves into sects do not belong with
you. Their judgment rests with GOD, then He will inform
them of everything they had done.

[30:32] (Do not fall in idol worship,) like those who divide
their religion into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have.

[42:14] Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the
knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and
resentment among themselves. If it were not for a
predetermined decision from your Lord to respite them for
a definite interim, they would have been judged
immediately. Indeed, the later generations who inherited
the scripture are full of doubts.

Meanwhile, marines in Haditha are killing women and children.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Deadly Earthquake in Indonesia

Pray for the victims of this terrible tragedy in Indonesia.

The Muslim community has been very stingy when dealing with these types of tragedies (Tsunami, Kashmir quake). Its time for rich Arab Shaikh's who stash money in Swiss banks to commit to helping the poor and unfortunate as required by Islam.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Iran Badge Story False: Western Spin Factory Strikes Again

The story about a new law in Iran requiring Jews to wear identifying badges a la Nazi Germany have turned out to be false. Media critic Antonia Zerbisias has the scoop.

After making it as frontpage news on Canada's conservative National Post the paper deleted the story from its website and posted a slimey retraction/information piece.

It appears the anti-Muslim feeding frenzy continues, fed by supposedly legitimate Western news sources generating a (un)healthy supply of dangerous propaganda. Despite the Iraq WMD debacle and the scandal of former NYTimes reporter Judith Miller, the media has either not learned from past mistakes or are actively continuing to perpetrate an insidious campaign to misrepresent Muslims and Islam.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Afghans Can't Get Asylum, Threaten Suicide

Seemingly legitimate asylum seekers from backward, war-torn, Islamic afghanistan are being denied asylum in Ireland and are threatening suicide.

Maybe they should take Ayaan Hirsi Ali's example and lie about their origins. Perhaps they can say that they are Christians who were forced into male circumcision or someother tearjerking story that plays well with the anti-Islamists.

If they denounce Islam, they could probably become internationally acclaimed intellectuals and even be elected to the Irish parliament. Of course, being Muslim, they probably are loath to lie.

I pray that their situation improves.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

What goes around comes around, so they say. Call it karma, call it ironic, call it Qadr, but whatever you call it, but news that notorious apparently Somali-born former Dutch MP and slanderer of Islam has been sent packing by her fellow Dutchmen has definitely caused quite a stir.

The vehemently anti-Islamic blogosphere has seized on the case as an example of Europe's surrender to "Islamism" and its meek acceptance of the dreaded "dhimmitude" status of its people. The misguided opinion-shapers leading the charge against Islam has tried to portray Hirsi Ali as a brave heroine that had the courage to tell the truth about the "evil" of God's great religion.

The reality is that Ayaan, a publicity seeking polemic, has been exposed as a fraud and a liar. Her pseudo-intellectual sister-in-arms, Irshad Manji, would be well advised to take a break from her incessant heckling of muslims on topics such as "the truth" and call her girl over for a little one-on-one.

Ali's horror story, the one that has conveyed on her such moral authority, that of having been forced into marriage by her backward Somalian family after living through 5 civil wars has been debunked in a recent documentary which showed her family living comfortably in Kenya and denying the apparent forced marriage, suggesting that she was, in fact, present for the wedding in question.

It is clear that the credibility of Ayaan has taken a serious hit from these revelations. How easy could it be for her to falsely accuse Islam, a religion and a people she obviously hates, if it was so easy for her to lie on her refugee claims? To the neoconservative Christians who jump up to defend her, is it not said "thou shalt not bear false witness?"

Not only is she untruthful, but seemingly hypocritical. Herself an immigrant, she became a vocal critic of immigration as a member of the right wing Dutch VVD party. It was, in fact, her own party member, hardline immigration minister Rita Verdonk that called for her passport to be revoked. I suppose principle rarely gets in the way of politics and ambition.

In a way, I feel sorry to see her go out this way, used and betrayed. It is, however, understandable considering that western world, despite claims of freedom, justice, and equality, have a history of systemically exploiting and lynching Africans (Dutch apartheid, European colonialism, American slavery).

Having been dumped by 3/4's of the people of the Netherlands, Ayaan Hirsi Ali (not her real name), plans to spend her time in America at the neoconservative AEI, no doubt leading more unsuspecting lemmings into unwinnable wars and human rights violations. Perhaps she should give her friend Michelle Malkin a call, their shared opposition to illegal immigration notwithstanding, for a little advice, sponsorship, and a spot on the couch.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The War in Iran

Ok, so now that we have the Iranians saying that they are producing atomic fuel, Seymour Hersh reporting on US administration plans to bomb it, and President George Bush panning the reports as "wild speculation", we can be pretty sure hostilities will begin by the end of the summer (God willing).

All signs seem to be pointing towards a war, like they did before the Iraq "shock and awe" campaign back in 2003. Americans and Iranians have a long history, and their very public split during and after 1979's revolution has left bitter recriminations, unresolved issues, and hard feelings.

It is often said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The Greeks under Alexander, swept into Mesopotamia from the west, then invaded Persia, and also what is now Afghanistan. Soon after the conquests of the former two, Alexander was dead and his great empire promptly broke up into four pieces.

The US has overwhelming aerial and technical superiority and should surely be able to defeat Iran in time. However, unlike Iraq, Iran is in a much stronger strategic position. Compared to Iraq, Iran has more than twice the population, three times the land mass, and a much more capable military than Iraq at the beginning of Enduring Freedom.

We must remember that Iraq, which once possessed the most potent military in the middle east except Israel, was bombed into submission after the first Gulf War. Iran was not. The Iranians also enjoy a considerable degree of technical and diplomatic support from Russia and China. The Iranians produce their own versions of relatively advanced Russian designs including strategic missiles, torpedoes, anti-aircraft and anti-tank munitions. They are proficient in the design and deployment of shaped-charges, experienced from their time working with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Furthermore, the American situation is much weaker than before. Bogged down in Iraq, the insurgency has killed almost 2,500 US servicemen, and wounded tens of thousands. On the other side, American and other NATO troops are trying to keep a lid on the tenacious Taliban. The debt load is weakening the American position in relations to large creditor nations such as China. When war breaks out in Iran, who really believes that Iran won't try to destabilize its American occupied neighbours? Is it beyond reason to envision thousands of Iranian missliles raining down on US bases in the region?

The reality is, Iran has never, and would probably never be a threat to its neighbours, even Israel. Despite the bluster of Ahmadinejad, Iran would not attack Israel even if it possessed nukes, fearing the fatal repercussions of an all out Jewish assault. The Iranians want nothing more than the security of their regime and influence in the region, their own backyard. A nuclear deterent would ensure those aims. Hostile sunni arab realities and Israeli defence systems precludes anything more.

Of course, the Americans are loath to allow Iran these strategic comforts. The administration will fan the flames of anti-Iranian hysteria in order to soften what little world opposition there is to an attack on Iran. The US president, an evangelical Christian who never has to face the American electorate again, will undoubtedly view an attack on Iran as a no-lose proposition, vital to ensuring the permanent security of his Israeli ally. Regime change in Tehran would considerably lessen the strength of the "Islamofascists" who seem to be souring the "democratic" enterprise in Iraq and Palestine.

The Russians aim to recover some of their geopolitical influence, lost as their economy collapsed, partly due to the costly war with Islamist fighters in Afghanistan backed by the CIA in the 80's. Acceding to American demands is not on their agenda. They will attempt to use Iran now, as the US used the mujahideen. The Chinese have a large, energy hungry, and high growth rate economy. The Chinese would like to appear as good global citizens but at the same time, have their own interests in Iranian oil, and regional domination (ie. US-backed Taiwan). The UN security council, composed of these two countries, will not back international action as a result. America will have to force together another posse like they did the "coalition of the willing," in the previous ongoing war.

The President, then, should take pause before embarking on this very serious course of action. He should consider that plans such as having his friend Ariel Sharon firmly in power whilst the puppet PA parliament disarmed the militant groups in Israel, Iraq standing as a newly democratic and gratefully pro-Western regional entity have not gone according to plan.

The fact is, only God knows the future. Human history shows us that plans and intentions, even espoused by the worlds most powerful leaders, seem to end up being just that. It could be that America, intending to wage war to protect its allies, ensure its security, and destroy its enemies may never be able to accomplish its goals. History will tell us the answer but I fear that for the lives of the people killed and maimed, those history lessons would come too late as a useful guide.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Michelle Malkin

I wanted to talk about all of the talk about invading Iran, but thought I'd rather post an irreverent little blog entry about my favorite neocon, Michelle Malkin. She's active, entertaining, outrageous, virulently Islamophobic, and perplexingly xenophobic. She reminds me of of Ann Coulter, except that she wouldn't quite fit in with a band of neo-nazi's (like Ann would) and doesn't have that huge Adam's apple (I know its bad to insult others, God forgive me).

She probably would fit in with a band of Mexicans or Philipinos, members of immigrant groups that she bashes consistently on her website, day-in, day-out. She's like an Asian Uncle Tom. Her defence of the white establishment is so unashamedly vehement and irrational I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be better that her last name was Buchanan? I wonder what the odds are that she has a white husband to go along with her little white kids?

Come to think of it, she reminds me of the white supremacist character from the wildly popular skit from the Dave Chappelle (he's Muslim by-the-way) show whose blindness prevents him from realizing the fact that he's actually black.

Some of her immutable laws:
  • Always attack the victim (for example, she will always look for examples of whites being victim to blacks even though blacks have suffered through slavery, the Jim Crow era, southern lynchamania, the KKK, the civil rights war, police brutality, Katrina, etc.)
  • Side with her enemies, as long as they are enemies of Muslims (She says she is not a fan of South Park, until the show starts panning the Muslims, then she starts having second thoughts. She seems to be against the secular, snooty, America-hating, Bush-bashing Europeans like the French and Danish. As soon as they start banning headscarves and lampooning the Prophet, she's all for them).
  • Advocate free speech democracy, attack those who speak freely (Seymour Hersh writes an article about what all the neocons have been salivating about for years, the planning for the attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran, she says Hersh is blowing America's cover)
  • Mudsling, insult, incite (Calls people "moonbats, scumbags" and God knows what else. Attacks anyone who has the gall to suggest we should not attack Iraq, Iran, Syria, or any other Muslim country she has a pathological hatred for. She will attack a Muslim for bending the truth about the Muhammad cartoons, but won't say bad word about the incessant lying from the Bush administration).
I'd love to write a blog dedicated to all things Michelle and entitle it "antiMalkin." But alas, I sadly possess neither the time or the hatred to pull it off. I'll just have to be satisfied getting by with a chuckle after skimming her daily doses of hysterics and bluster, commenting occasionally on this blog and waiting for the day she finally mellows out.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Christian Heresy or Muslim Truth?

More heretical writings have been in the news recently about Christianity:
One of the authors who failed last week to win a plagiarism case against Dan Brown's international bestseller The Da Vinci Code has written a new book just in time for Easter that questions the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

Michael Baigent's The Jesus Papers tries to strip Jesus of his divinity by claiming he wrote a letter to a Jewish court denying he was the son of God.

It also suggests there is evidence Jesus survived the crucifixion and that his death was faked as a cover to allow him to escape his enemies. Roman procurator Pontius Pilate is said to have aided and abetted the "mock execution" because Jesus had told the Jews to pay their Roman taxes.

In court, Baigent and another author, Richard Leigh, claimed Brown had stolen the ideas for The Da Vinci Code from them. They have been left with a $4.8million legal bill.

In the Qur'an, we are told that Jesus was not the son of God and was not crucified:
O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god. Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. GOD suffices as Lord and Master. (Quran 4:171)

The Messiah, son of Mary, is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! (Quran 5:75)

GOD will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, `Make me and my mother idols beside GOD?' " He will say, "Be You glorified. I could not utter what was not right. Had I said it, You already would have known it. You know my thoughts, and I do not know Your thoughts. You know all the secrets.

"I told them only what You commanded me to say, that: `You shall worship GOD, my Lord and your Lord.' I was a witness among them for as long as I lived with them. When You terminated my life on earth, You became the Watcher over them. You witness all things. (Quran 5:116-117)

The Qur'an is very clear on this issue: Jesus is not God's son. In the previous post, I've shown from the Qur'an that Jesus wasn't crucified.

Of course there are many Christians who don't believe in the divine authorship of the Qur'an or the prophethood of Muhammad. To them, Islam is a false religion or a heretical construct. The fact is, unlike the Gnostics, Islam's following is quite substantial, a millenia after the death of its founder and, somehow fatefully, seems in direct conflict with the followers of the Church.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

The Gospel of Judas find seems to have further twisted the Christian world into a knot, especially in light of the Da Vinci Code, and other "heretical" works that have been troubling Christianity for some time.

This newly discovered Gospel purports to show that, not only was Judas not the villain portrayed in the standard New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it suggests that Jesus himself asked Judas to betray him to the authorities:
"Jesus said to Judas, 'Look, you have been told everything. You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.' "
In interpreting this quote, most seem to assume that 'the man that clothes me' is a weird, gnostic reference to Jesus himself. But, suppose the man that Jesus is referring to is not himself? Suppose it is someone else, perhaps a man who "clothes" Jesus.

Of course, the logic of someone else being sacrificed in Jesus place would seriously undermine the belief system of the world's 1.6 billion Christians. If Jesus didn't die for my sins, who did? Did anyone die for my sins, or am I responsible?

I'm sure many Christians think that a substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus is beyond belief. However, the Judeo-Christian history is replete with God using subsititutions all the way back to the time when Abraham slaughtered a lamb instead of his son Isaac.

The Islamic perspective is that Jesus did not die on the cross at all, was substituted, escaped, and was brought to heaven (An obscure gnostic sect also held this belief):
...They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God." They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)... (Qur'an, 4:157)
The parenthesis in the above quote is an interpretation, and the Qur'an does not explicitly say that another man was substituted in place of Jesus. However, the substitution theory gains legitimacy as we fill in the blanks with quotes such as those found in Judas' recently discovered Gospel.

The Opening

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.