One of the Queen’s chaplains has resigned after criticising a Glasgow church for allowing a Koran reading during one of its services.
The Reverend Gavin Ashenden said he left his position in order to have more freedom of “speak out on behalf of the faith”.
“Because I think it a higher and more compelling duty to speak out on behalf of the faith, than to retain a public honour which precludes me doing so at this time, I resigned my post.”
Mr Ashenden had criticised the reading of the Koran during an Epiphany service at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow earlier this month in an attempt to improve interfaith relations in Glasgow.
A student read a segment relating to the birth of Jesus Christ in Arabic. Islam considers Christ to be a prophet but not the son of God.
Mr Ashenden, who has served as one of the Queen’s 34 chaplains for nine years, said the reading had caused “serious offence”. Read the rest of this entry »
In defense of what politics is and is not.
Michael Lind writes: What is politics? The answer is not obvious. Most Americans on the left and the right either do not know or have forgotten what politics is. Conventional American progressives have pretty much abandoned any distinction between the political realm and society and culture in general, while conventional American conservatives treat politics as an exercise in doctrinal purity. Both sides, in different ways, undermine the idea of a limited public square in which different groups in society can agree on a few big things while agreeing to disagree with others — progressives, by including too much of society in the public square, and conservatives, by blocking compromise with too many ideological tests.
“The secularization of the population was not necessary, but the secularization of the public sphere was. You could no longer win political debates by appealing to a particular interpretation of divine Scripture. Under the rules of Enlightenment liberalism, you had to make a case for the policy you preferred that was capable of persuading citizens who did not share your religious beliefs. A mere numerical majority was not enough. If the politicians express the will of a majority of voters, and the majority are told how to vote by clerics, then the democracy is really an indirect theocracy.”
Politics is only possible in a society in which much, if not most, of social life is not politicized. In premodern communities in which every aspect of life was regulated by custom or religious law, there was no politics, in the modern sense. There was no public sphere because there was no private sphere. Tribal custom or divine law, as interpreted by tribal elders or religious authorities, governed every action, leaving no room for individual choice. There were power struggles, to be sure. But there was no political realm separate from the tribe or the religious congregation. And disagreement was heresy.
The separation of church and state — strictly speaking, the privatization of religious belief, beginning in early modern Europe and America — was the precondition for modern politics. The secularization of the population was not necessary, but the secularization of the public sphere was. You could no longer win political debates by appealing to a particular interpretation of divine Scripture.
“Conventional American progressives have pretty much abandoned any distinction between the political realm and society and culture in general, while conventional American conservatives treat politics as an exercise in doctrinal purity. Both sides, in different ways, undermine the idea of a limited public square in which different groups in society can agree on a few big things while agreeing to disagree with others — progressives, by including too much of society in the public square, and conservatives, by blocking compromise with too many ideological tests.”
Under the rules of Enlightenment liberalism, you had to make a case for the policy you preferred that was capable of persuading citizens who did not share your religious beliefs. A mere numerical majority was not enough. If the politicians express the will of a majority of voters, and the majority are told how to vote by clerics, then the democracy is really an indirect theocracy.
“As the Marxist substitute for Abrahamic religion has faded away, its place on the political left is being taken by the new secular political religions of environmentalism and identity politics. Each of these is strongest in post-Protestant Northern Europe and North America, and weakest in historically Catholic and Orthodox Christian societies.”
Unfortunately, as Horace observed, “You can drive out Nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back.” The same might be said of religion. While some forms of religion have been expelled from politics, new forms keep trying to creep in, to recreate something like the pre-Enlightenment world in which a single moral code governs all of society and disagreement is intolerable heresy.
[Read the full text here, at The Smart Set]
Marxism can only be understood as a Christian, or Judeo-Christian, or Abrahamic spin-off — a faith militant, with its prophets, its holy scriptures, its providential theory of history, its evangelical universalism, its message of brotherhood and sisterhood transcending particular communities. Marxism was the fourth major Abrahamic religion. Nothing like Marxism could have evolved independently in traditional Confucian China or Hindu India, with their cyclical rather than progressive views of history.
“Other elements of religion, expelled from the public sphere, have crept back in via the left, thanks to environmentalism. As the great environmental scientist James Lovelock has pointed out, anthropogenic global warming is affected by the sources of energy for large-scale power generation and transportation. But refusing to fly on airplanes or reducing your personal “carbon footprint” is a meaningless exercise, explicable only in the context of religion, with its traditions of ritual fasts and sacrifices in the service of personal moral purity.”
As the Marxist substitute for Abrahamic religion has faded away, its place on the political left is being taken by the new secular political religions of environmentalism and identity politics. Each of these is strongest in post-Protestant Northern Europe and North America, and weakest in historically Catholic and Orthodox Christian societies. A case can be made that militant environmentalism and militant identity politics are both by-products of the decomposition of Protestantism in the Anglophone nations and Germanic Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
“When this first happened, I assumed Obama was duped. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think he cares if the clock looks like a bomb. He saw #IStandWithAhmed trending and decided he’d like to be part of it. It’s like black people still wearing T-shirts that say ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot.’ They don’t care about the truth. They just like the story.”
I remember on September 12th, 2001, in NYC’s Union Square there were people holding signs that said “Justice Not Revenge.” The first instinct for much of the country seemed to be avoiding Islamophobia. To this day we have a crippling fear of it. Islamophobiaphobia is so severe, any Muslim circus clown can send his kid to school with a fake bomb and instead of charging the father with child endangerment, we invite the boy to the White House.
When this first happened, I assumed Obama was duped. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think he cares if the clock looks like a bomb. He saw #IStandWithAhmed trending and decided he’d like to be part of it. It’s like black people still wearing T-shirts that say “Hands Up Don’t Shoot.” They don’t care about the truth. They just like the story.
In case you’re not familiar with the story (it’s already dying on the vine), Mohamed El-Hassan Mohamed is a Muslim prankster and publicity hound who is constantly harping about Islamophobia. His daughter was suspended for making bomb threats at school. His brother started a company last year called Twin Towers Corporation. He has made very public campaigns about running for president of Sudan even though it’s a dictatorship.
“When the police arrived, Ahmed was so elusive they were forced to detain him. The crime they were accusing him of was creating a fake bomb to cause a disturbance. This is a misdemeanor, and I haven’t seen any evidence he’s innocent. Despite the case being a no-brainer, the entire country screamed ISLAMOPHOBIA and lay prostrate before the Mohamed family.”
He drove to Florida after Pastor Terry Jones threatened to burn the Koran and represented the book as its lawyer (he failed—the Koran burned). The guy is a complete idiot who debates like a teenager lying to his dad. A week and a half ago, Mohamed’s son Ahmed brought a clock to school that had been torn out of its case and put in a new case in such a way, it resembled a bomb. The first teacher he showed it to told him to put it away. Then, in English class, he either plugged it in or affixed a battery so the alarm would go off.
“I think this kid’s father used his own son as a ploy to garner sympathy for Islam. This is an old trick in the Muslim world. They constantly use children as soldiers to detect mines or simply take bullets. They know it kills us to kill kids and they prey on our morality. Ahmed’s school is trying to tell the world that they are innocent, but El-Hassan refuses to release the records.”
[Also see – THE INCREDIBLE MELTING CLOCK STORY]
Jordan Schachtel reports: Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, known as “Haia” in the Wahhabi Kingdom, has arrived on Twitter under the verified username @PvGovSa.
“Haia can arrest anyone for violating Islamic customs and dietary laws, such as women smoking, couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, or either gender eating pork or consuming alcohol.”
“Abdul Rahman Al-Sanad, president of the commission, inaugurated the account and announced the formation of a higher committee for media and public relations to improve the Haia’s public image,” the Saudi Gazettereports.
The group’s initial tweet read, “In the name of Allah and Allah’s blessing kicks off the official account of the General Presidency for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice on Twitter asking Allah to benefit by everyone.”
“Several controversial acts have embroiled the Sharia-enforcement agency over the years. In 2002, 15 young Saudi girls died from burns and smoke inhalation after the religious police prevented them from leaving their school while it was on fire.”
The religious entity patrols the streets ensuring that individuals, particularly women, are maintaining a Sharia-compliant lifestyle, which includes dressing properly (wearing a full cloak) and remaining separated from men at all times. The Haia agency is also known for enforcing Saudi Arabia’s ban on female automobile drivers. Read the rest of this entry »
Here are the five areas that require amendment
1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.
2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.
3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.
4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.
5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.
I know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to silence me….(read more)
For Breitbart.com, Pamela Geller writes: Yale University’s Yale Global Online has published a piece by Ooi Kee Beng, deputy director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, asserting that “Islam has no centralized controls; any power-hungry despot can use religion as an excuse.” But it’s no excuse; it’s a theological imperative.
The article complains about “the excessive use of ‘Islam’ in denoting as many aspects of daily life as possible. With Islam being a holistic religion, modern leaders of Muslim-majority societies tend to encourage the description of as many aspects as possible of modern life under a restrictive Islamic paradigm. Regrettably, this tendency mirrors and sustains the simultaneous propensity of non-Muslims to regard Muslim societies as being steered by a rigid religious ideology.”
Ooi suggests that some of the major horrors committed in Islam’s name and justified by its texts and teachings have nothing to do with Islam: “The kidnapping of the school girls in Nigeria is but the latest extreme event involving a claim to know ‘Islam.’ The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, major bombings in European cities, the bombings in Indonesia, the attack on the Boston Marathon, and America’s war on terror have all made ‘Islam’ a modern newsmaker that is second to none.”
Ah, yes. It’s all because modern Muslim leaders ascribe everything to Islam that we see violence and atrocities committed in the name of Islam every day, you see. Yet we do not see power-hungry despots or majors in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood or doctors in Glasgow or students at the Boston Marathon invoking Jesus or HaShem in order to kill, maim, and control. They only invoke Islam, and they only quote the Quran with its promise of Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111) and mandate to wage war against and subjugate Jews and Christians under the rule of Islamic law (9:29). Read the rest of this entry »
Erik Voten writes: One narrative about Muslim immigrants in Europe is that only a relatively small proportion holds views that are sometimes labeled as “fundamentalist.” Ruud Koopmans from the Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin argues that this perspective is incorrect. He conducted a telephone survey of 9,000 respondents in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, and Sweden and interviewed both Turkish and Moroccan immigrants as well as a comparison group of Christians.
His first finding is that majorities of Muslim immigrants believe that there is only one interpretation of the Koran possible to which every Muslim should stick (75 percent), and that religious rules are more important than the laws of the country in which they live (65 percent). Moreover, these views are as widespread among younger Muslims as among older generations.
He then looks at hostility toward out-groups. Fifty-eight percent do not want homosexual friends, 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted, and 54 percent believe that the West is out to destroy Muslim culture. Among Christians, 23 percent believe that Muslims are out to destroy Western culture. Koopmans says these results hold when you control for the varying socio-economic characteristics of these groups (although the analyses are not presented).
Nick Cohen writes: Firoozeh Bazrafkan is frightened of nothing. Five foot tall, 31 years old, and so thin you think a puff of wind could blow her away, she still has the courage to be a truly radical artist and challenge those who might hurt her. She fights for women’s rights and intellectual freedom, and her background means her fight has to be directed against radical Islam. As a Danish citizen, she saw journalists go into hiding and mobs attack her country’s embassies just because Jyllands-Postenpublished cartoons of Muhammad that were so tame you could hardly call them ‘satirical’. Bazrafkan is also the daughter of an Iranian family, and the Islamic Republic’s subjugation of women revolts her.
When I met her, she was enduring a crash course in politically correct Europe’s many hypocrisies. White Danes reported her to the police for writing that Muslim men abuse and murder their daughters, and adding for good measure that the ‘Koran is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined’.
You could say that her remarks were offensive. You could say that the inattentive reader might just take them to mean that all Muslim men abuse and murder their daughters. But if every remark that someone might find offensive or misinterpret were banned, the human race would fall silent.
The show, titled Holy Safari, would feature Simpson traveling the world and interviewing religious leaders, even the Pope. Simpson is awaiting a decision on the appeal of his convictions for armed robbery and kidnapping.
Norman Pardo, the promoter, who has known Simpson for 20 years, had some rather interesting things to say about his client: that he constantly reads the Bible as well as the Koran, that he converted a white supremacist to Christianity while in prison, and most importantly, that Simpson is the best person to impart the message of God.
Human rights activists say approved bill, making girls vulnerable to the ruling from age 13, ‘legalizes paedophilia’
Saeed Kamali Dehghan reports: Parliamentarians in Iran have passed a bill to protect the rights of children which includes a clause that allows a man to marry his adopted daughter and while she is as young as 13 years.
Activists have expressed alarm that the bill, approved by parliament on Sunday, opens the door for the caretaker of a family to marry his or her adopted child if a court rules it is in the interests of the individual child.
Iran’s Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists which vets all parliamentary bills before the constitution and the Islamic law, has yet to issue its verdict on the controversial legislation.
To the dismay of rights campaigners, girls in the Islamic republic can marry as young as 13 provided they have the permission of their father. Boys can marry after the age of 15. Read the rest of this entry »
Abdul Rahim, the imam of a Mosque, was arrested yesterday after the girl, who was missing since August 21 was found in Budhana when police questioned Abdul.
The child’s family had filed a missing complaint and during investigation police had nabbed the cleric.
The cleric was today produced before the court of chief judicial magistrate K P Singh who sent him to 14-day judicial custody.