France’s Oedipal Islamist Complex | Foreign Policy January 10, 2016Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Religion.
Tags: France, Islam, Jihad, Religion
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The country’s jihadi problem isn’t about religion or politics. The terrorists therefore are not the expression of a radicalization of the Muslim population, but rather reflect a generational revolt that affects a very precise category of youth.
Why Islam? For members of the second generation, it’s obvious: They are reclaiming, on their own terms, an identity that, in their eyes, their parents have debased. They are “more Muslim than the Muslims” and, in particular, than their parents. The energy that they put into reconverting their parents (in vain) is significant, but it shows to what extent they are on another planet (all the parents have a story to tell about these exchanges). As for the converts, they choose Islam because it’s the only thing on the market of radical rebellion. Joining the Islamic State offers the certainty of terrorizing.
Islam On Dogs: Can You Be A Good Muslim And Still Have A Dog? October 19, 2014Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Lifestyle, Religion.
Tags: Dogs, Islam
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Malaysian Muslims trying to break dog taboo with dog petting event.
Isis September 7, 2014Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff.
Tags: Geopolitics, Islam, Oil
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Syrian Conflict Goes Back 13 Centuries September 11, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, Religion.
Tags: Iran, Islam, Religion, Syria, war
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The eastern Roman Empire was half alive, half gobbled up by the Arabs. And Iran — well, it had been wiped out as an enlightened, ancient empire a century before, in 651. After that, the Arabs took a long rest on the borders of Sogd modern-day central Asia, with its capital in Samarkand, which they began to conquer only in 712.
Why the rivalry? Why did the conquerors the Arabs so loathe the conquered the Iranians? That’s where the eighth century comes in. A hundred years after the Arabs destroyed Iran, their own empire, which stretched from Spain to the Chinese border, was a teetering wreck, being devoured from the inside by rivalries and bad government.Then, in 747, a revolt began in Iran that would eventually overthrow the Umayyad dynasty, replacing it with the Abbasids. The Abbasids would go on to build Baghdad and rule the huge Islamic caliphate for 500 years — until the arrival of Genghis Khan and his Horde.Yes, the Abbasids were Arabs, but their scribes, builders and literati were Iranians and the Arabs who cared to learn from them. As a result, the Iranians gradually all but took over their conqueror’s empire from the inside
Here is the crucial bit: The Arab-Iranian divide is far more than cultural. In the eighth century, subjugated Iran was also abandoning its ancient religion — Zoroastrianism — and creating its own, unique strand of Islam, Shiite, that stood in opposition to the dominant Sunni strand favored by the Abbasids.
A historian would tell us to remember that today’s conflict in Syria can be traced back to an Arab-Iranian — Sunni-Shiite – – rivalry that is 13 centuries old
Why Is Gay Porn So Popular in Pakistan? June 21, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, philosophy & politics, Religion.
Tags: Homosexual, human-rights, Islam, Lifestyle, Religion
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As of this writing, Pakistan is by volume the world leader for Google searches of the terms “shemale sex,” “teen anal sex,” and “man fucking man,” according to Google Trends. Pakistan also ranks second in the world (after similarly gay-intolerant Kenya) for volume of searches for the search term “gay sex pics.”
In its report, Pew noted that countries exhibiting the highest levels of gay tolerance are largely secular, whereas nations where religion is central to public life—such as Egypt, Nigeria, and Pakistan—tend to reject homosexuality. But in Pakistan, what’s even more peculiar is that the highest number of hits for some of these terms, including “shemale sex,” come not from Pakistan’s cosmopolitan centers, but from Peshawar, a bastion of conservative Islam, lately known in the West as a counterterrorism frontline.
Farahnaz Ispahani, an expert in Pakistani minorities at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a former member of Pakistan’s parliament, says that homosexuality is a taboo subject throughout the country. In major cities such as Lahore and Karachi, gays can develop a network of allies outside their tribe or family, but in conservative Peshawar, gay identity is more complicated. Part of the popularity of gay porn could stem from the fact that even highly observant Muslim males often have physical relationships with men without considering themselves gay, she says.
“The real love they can have that most of us find with a partner, they find with men,” Ispahani says. “They mostly see their wives as the mother of their children.”
Taliban’s Worst Nightmare October 13, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Humor, In The News, Religion.
Tags: Islam, Malala Yousafza, Pakistan, Religion, Taliban
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Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science September 15, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion, Science & Technology.
Tags: History, Islam, Religion, Science
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From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. Click on this link to see 20 of the their greatest discoveries. How Islamic inventors changed the world – Science – News – The Independent.
Today Muslims are a fifth of the world’s population, yet contribute only 7% of the world’s GDP. Arabs comprise 5 percent of the world’s population, but publish just 1.1 percent of its books, according to the U.N.’s 2003 Arab Human Development Report. Between 1980 and 2000, Korea granted 16,328 patents, while nine Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E., granted a combined total of only 370, many of them registered by foreigners.
What went wrong?
The Islamic turn away from scholarship actually preceded the civilization’s geopolitical decline — it can be traced back to the rise of the anti-philosophical Ash’arism school among Sunni Muslims, who comprise the vast majority of the Muslim world.
While the Mu’tazilites had contended that the Koran was created and so God’s purpose for man must be interpreted through reason, the Ash’arites believed the Koran to be coeval with God — and therefore unchallengeable. At the heart of Ash’ari metaphysics is the idea of occasionalism, a doctrine that denies natural causality. Put simply, it suggests natural necessity cannot exist because God’s will is completely free. Ash’arites believed that God is the only cause, so that the world is a series of discrete physical events each willed by God.
The Ash’ari view has endured to this day. Its most extreme form can be seen in some sects of Islamists. For example, Mohammed Yusuf, the late leader of a group called the Nigerian Taliban, explained why “Western education is a sin” by explaining its view on rain: “We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.” As Robert R. Reilly argues in The Closing of the Muslim Mind (2010), “the fatal disconnect between the creator and the mind of his creature is the source of Sunni Islam’s most profound woes.”
Inquiry into the history of Arabic science, and the recovery and research of manuscripts of the era, may have a beneficial effect — so long as it is pursued in an analytical spirit. That would mean that Muslims would use it as a resource within their own tradition to critically engage with their philosophical, political, and founding flaws. If that occurs, it will not arise from any Western outreach efforts, but will be a consequence of Muslims’ own determination, creativity, and wisdom — in short, those very traits that Westerners rightly ascribe to the Muslims of the Golden Age
The New Atlantis » Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science.
Europe’s Other Crisis – Immigration May 13, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: European Union, Geopolitics, Immigration, Islam, Jihad
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The EU is a project pursued with unstinting energy by a generation of utopians, to replace accountable national governments with a more distant authority that manages to be simultaneously sinister and naïve. For Laqueur a good symbol of its modus operandi came in late 2010, when the European Commission printed millions of calendar diaries to hand out to schoolchildren: they had the dates for Ramadan and for Hindu and Sikh feast days, but not for Christmas.
ALL WESTERN EUROPEAN countries have some version of this problem, which involves immigration, Islam, dissent from established European culture, and organized violence. Although it has been temporarily overshadowed by budgetary and currency woes, it is Europe’s most significant chronic problem. What to do about it depends on where one thinks the problem lies.
After a 1000 Years – The Arab Spring April 8, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: Democracy, Geopolitics, Islam, Religion
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The Arab world’s so-called “democracy deficit” is not tied to the Islamic religion but rather to the Arab world’s history and the institutions introduced following conquest by Arab armies over 1000 years ago, according to a new paper presented today at the Spring 2012 Conference on the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity BPEA. (more…)
The Catastrophic Failure of European Multiculturalism February 22, 2011Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: Europe, Geopolitics, Islam, Religion
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Europe’s leaders have realized, and are acknowledging one after another, that that continent’s multiculturalist policy–the idea that geographic areas could be ceded to immigrants from Islamic countries who would treat them as Islamic enclaves, rather than being encouraged to assimilate–has been a disastrous failure. CBN has a good report on the current status of multiculturalism in Europe. It begins:
France has some 751 “No Go” zones. The French government has labeled these areas “sensitive urban zones” that are dangerous for whites and non-Muslims to enter.
This map shows how these “no go zones” are distributed around France:
I asked a French friend if it was really that bad there and got this reply from her:
The basic Idea of the article is wrong . The “Multikulti” comes from Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multikulti) and it’s goal was to integrate Muslim residents into Society all the whilst respecting their religious beliefs and habits. As far as I know, there was no intention at all to have them live in ethnical enclaves.
A couple of years ago , I wasn’t paying enough attention and accidently took one of Nice North’s exits (l’Ariane) off the highway.(Can’t happen anymore, the exit has been condemned).
Other than the fact, that I was shocked to see such poverty some 10 miles from the flourishing Cote d’Azur ,I still don’t know how I made it out there alive…
Since quite a few years no Pizza guy will deliver anything in this (pretty huge) area.
The last time I read that cops (obviously accidently) drove in there, they found themselves running for their lives (car had been set on fire) and that TOTALLY NAKED.
The first big wave of immigrants (after WW2) worked hard and really tried to integrate. So did their next generation. The third generation however, is searching for an own “identity”, very often going back to old Muslim traditions and/or violence. And there come the problems…
Now you know it all..
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back of Dictatorships February 22, 2011Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
Tags: Bahrain, Egypt, Geopolitics, Islam, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen
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Mohamed Bouazizi was 10 years old when he became the main provider for his family, selling fresh produce in the local market. He stayed in high school long enough to sit his baccalaureate exam, but did not graduate. (He never attended university, contrary to what many news organisations have reported).
Bouazizi’s father died when he was three years old. His elder brother lives away from the family, in Sfax. Though his mother remarried, her second husband suffers from poor health and is unable to find regular work.
“He didn’t expect to study, because we didn’t have the money,” his mother said.
At age of 19, Mohamed halted his studies in order to work fulltime, to help offer his five younger siblings the chance to stay in school.
“My sister was the one in university and he would pay for her,” Samya Bouazizi, one of his sisters, said. “And I am still a student and he would spend money on me.”
He applied to join the army, but was refused, as were other successive job applications. With his family dependant on him, there were few options other than to continue going to market.
By all accounts, Bouazizi, just 26 when he died earlier this month, was honest and hardworking. Every day, he would take his wooden cart to the supermarket and load it would fruit and vegetables. Then he would walk it more than two kilometres to the local souk.
And nearly everyday, he was bullied by local police officers.
“Since he was a child, they were mistreating him. He was used to it,” Hajlaoui Jaafer, a close friend of Bouazizi, said. “I saw him humiliated.” (more…)
WikiLeaks Reveals Saudi Party Scene December 8, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: Geopolitics, Islam, Religion, Saudi Arabia
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It begins by clearing the prince’s security detail. Next up was a coat-check area where women pulled off their head-to-toe black abayas. Inside, Filipino bartenders served up a cocktail punch using moonshine vodka. An American “energy drink company” – whose name was blacked out on the WikiLeaks release – helped bankroll the bash that included, the diplomat was told, some prostitutes mingling in the crowd.
“The scene resembled a nightclub anywhere outside the kingdom: plentiful alcohol, young couples dancing, a DJ at the turntables and everyone in costume,” the message continued.
Bottles of name-brand booze were behind the bar, but apparently only for display. A black market bottle of Smirnoff, the cable said, can cost up to $400 “when available” compared with about $26 for a bottle of home-brewed vodka.
Wild parties rage behind closed doors in Tehran even as Iran’s hard-liners tighten their grip. Conservative Gulf sheiks make sure their wine cellars are well stocked.Outside Saudi Arabia, it’s not unusual to see a traveler from the desert kingdom hunkered down at an airport bar or letting loose in Bahrain – a favorite party haunt for Saudis who can simply drive over a causeway and, sometimes, weave their way home
751 Places in France that Non-Muslims Shouldn’t Go. July 18, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: France, Islam
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What other country in the world has a government-sponsored website dedicated to 751 areas that non-Muslims should not go?
These areas are occupied by about 8 % of the population, or 5 million people.
They are called Zones Urbaines Sensibles in French, meaning Sensitive Urban Zones. The list in French, with both street addresses and maps, all in PDF, can be found here:
The boundaries in red are the places where non-Muslims musn’t go, as they are so dangerous that even the French police, fire, ambulance, and rescue services are reluctant, unwilling, or incapable of going.
What Religions Don’t Share May 9, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Religion.
Tags: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Religion
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Just as there are tall people in short families (none of the other men in Michael Jordan’s family was over 6 feet tall), there are religions that deny the existence of God and religions that get along just fine without creeds. Something is a religion when it shares enough of this DNA to belong to the family of religions. What makes the members of this family different (and themselves) is how they mix and match these dimensions. Experience is central in Daoism and Buddhism. Hinduism and Judaism emphasize the narrative dimension. The ethical dimension is crucial in Confucianism. The Islamic and Yoruba traditions are to a great extent about ritual. And doctrine is particularly important to Christians.
There is a long tradition of Christian thinkers who assume that salvation is the goal of all religions and then argue that only Christians can achieve this goal. Philosopher of religion Huston Smith, who grew up in China as a child of Methodist missionaries, rejected this argument but not its guiding assumption. “To claim salvation as the monopoly of any one religion,” he wrote, “is like claiming that God can be found in this room and not the next.” It might seem to be an admirable act of empathy to assert that Confucians and Buddhists can be saved. But this statement is confused to the core, since salvation is not something that either Confucians or Buddhists seek. Salvation is a Christian goal, and when Christians speak of it, they are speaking of being saved from sin. But Confucians and Buddhists do not believe in sin, so it makes no sense for them to try to be saved from it. And while Muslims and Jews do speak of sin of a sort, neither Islam nor Judaism describes salvation from sin as its aim.
The Virginity Industry April 29, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Religion.
Tags: Islam, Religion, sex
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Dr Abecassis performs a “hymenoplasty” as it’s called, at least two to three times a week. Re-connecting the tissue of the hymen takes about 30 minutes under local anaesthetic.
He says the average age of the patient is about 25, and they come from all social backgrounds. Although the surgery is performed in clinics around the world, Dr Abecassis is one of the few Arab surgeons who talks openly about it. Some of the women come to him because they need virginity certificates in order to marry.
With Chinese manufacturers leading the way, there are now non-surgical options on the market as well. One website sells artificial hymens for just £20 (23 euros). The Chinese hymen is made of elastic and filled with fake blood. Once inserted in the vagina, the woman can simulate virginity, the company claims.
Burkas Prevent Earthquakes April 17, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Religion.
Tags: Earthquakes, Islam, Islam. Burka, Religion
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According to Iran’s Student News Agency ISNA, during Friday prayers on 16 April, Kazem Sadighi said that reducing sins were necessary for preventing the occurrence of natural disasters.
Divorced at 10 in Yemen March 28, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Religion.
Tags: Islam, Religion, Teenagers, Yemen
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Nujood is a Yemeni girl, and it’s no coincidence that Yemen abounds both in child brides and in terrorists (and now, thanks to Nujood, children who have been divorced). Societies that repress women tend to be prone to violence.First, those countries usually have very high birth rates, and that means a youth bulge in the population. One of the factors that most correlates to social conflict is the proportion of young men ages 15 to 24.
Second, those countries also tend to practice polygamy and have higher death rates for girls. That means fewer marriageable women — and more frustrated bachelors to be recruited by extremists.
Consider Bangladesh. After it split off from Pakistan, Bangladesh began to educate girls in a way that Pakistan has never done. The educated women staffed an emerging garment industry and civil society, and those educated women are one reason Bangladesh is today far more stable than Pakistan
Moderate Muslim Leaders Beat Extremists March 22, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: Geopolitics, Islam
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In 2005 a man of wisdom and moderation, King Abdullah, formally ascended to the throne and inaugurated a large-scale political and intellectual effort aimed at discrediting the ideology of jihadism. Mullahs were ordered to denounce suicide bombings, and violence more generally. Education was pried out of the hands of the clerics. Terrorists and terror suspects were “rehabilitated” through extensive programs of education, job training, and counseling. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus said to me, “The Saudi role in taking on Al Qaeda, both by force but also using political, social, religious, and educational tools, is one of the most important, least reported positive developments in the war on terror.”
Perhaps the most successful country to combat jihadism has been the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia. In 2002 that country seemed destined for a long and painful struggle with the forces of radical Islam. The nation was rocked by terror attacks, and a local Qaeda affiliate, Jemaah Islamiah, appeared to be gaining strength. But eight years later, JI has been marginalized and main-stream political parties have gained ground, all while a young democracy has flowered after the collapse of the Suharto dictatorship.
Globilization’s Religious Revival March 16, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: Christianity, Geopolitics, Islam, Religion
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Here’s the indisputable reality: All of the world’s major religions were formed during the Malthusian era of human economics, before the Industrial Revolution shifted Western societies from a subsistence paradigm to questions of how to deal with abundance.
Survival economies demand a strict code, but abundance offers a choice: Do I adapt the ancient rules to this economic liberation or do I reject it as a socially driven moral evil?
Once the “go forth and multiply” logic is disrupted, then long-held strictures regarding marriage, family, sex, homosexuality, and other social institutions are suddenly put in jeopardy. This is where globalization’s economic connectivity generates revolutionary social change, unleashing personal freedom that by historical standards is stunning — even perverse.
The upside, of course, is the commensurate unleashing of personal creativity and innovation, something we’ll need in superabundance for the many resource-utilization challenges that lie ahead.
Globalization divides societies into short-term economic winners and losers, for the simple fact that some people adapt faster than others. The temptation for those who come out on the losing end is an end-times ideology that promises deliverance from these unacceptable circumstances. Such fundamentalism pursued peacefully presents no problem. The faithful simply live apart from the “evil world.”
This is how religion’s fundamentalist variants came to replace communism as the worldwide organizing principle for violent resistance to capitalism’s continued evolution and expansion around the planet.
It’s Always About Sex – Jihad That Is January 28, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Religion.
Tags: Islam, Jihad, Religion
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Glazov writes that in many Islamic societies, “women are supposed to dehumanise themselves in order to be tolerated … Women are considered to be the incarnation of shahwa [desire] which comes from the devil. In this environment the pathological notion arises that a man and a woman cannot be alone without the ominous threat of evil in their midst.
“The men denigrate the object of their lust so as to diminish their own shame. In this dynamic of sexual repression and misogyny, love is reduced to violent domination which becomes directly intertwined with terrorism against societies that allow women freedom, especially sexual freedom.”
History of Violence in Buddhism January 16, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Religion.
Tags: Buddhism, Islam, Religion
Armed Buddhist monks in Thailand are not an exception to the rule; they are contemporary examples of a long historical precedence. For centuries monks have been at the helm, or armed in the ranks, of wars. How could this be the case? But more importantly, why did I (and many others) hold the belief that Buddhism=Peace (and that other religions, such as Islam, are more prone to violence)?
It was then that I realized that I was a consumer of a very successful form of propaganda. Since the early 1900s, Buddhist monastic intellectuals such as Walpola Rahula, D. T. Suzuki, and Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, have labored to raise Western awareness of their cultures and traditions. In doing so, they presented specific aspects of their Buddhist traditions while leaving out others.
You have monks taking up arms and marching in the Russo-Japanese War, or earlier messianic battles in China when they thought killing people would bring them closer to enlightenment (a Ten Stage Process). Buddhists have fought against non-Buddhists, or other Buddhists. Japanese Buddhists fought to cleanse the impure Buddhist lands in China and Korea. Thai and Burmese fought for centuries against each other, each claiming religious authority as Cakravartins. This is what the book covers.
Cracks in the Jihad January 10, 2010Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
Tags: Geopolitics, Islam, Jihad, Religion
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Today, the holy war is set to slip into three distinct ideological and organizational niches.
The first niche is occupied by local Islamist insurgencies, fueled by grievances against “apostate” regimes that are authoritarian, corrupt, or backed by “infidel” outside powers (or any combination of the three). Filling the second niche is terrorism-cum–organized crime, most visible in Afghanistan and Indonesia but also seen in Europe, fueled by narcotics, extortion, and other ordinary illicit activities. In the final niche are people who barely qualify as a group: young second- and third-generation Muslims in the diaspora who are engaged in a more amateurish but persistent holy war, fueled by their own complex personal discontents. Al Qaeda’s challenge is to encompass the jihadis who drift to the criminal and eccentric fringe while keeping alive its appeal to the Muslim mainstream and a rhetoric of high aspiration and promise.
Al Qaeda’s altered design has a number of immediate consequences. The global jihad is losing what David Galula called a strong cause, and with it its political character. This change is making it increasingly difficult to distinguish jihad from organized crime on the one side and rudderless fanaticism on the other. This calls into question the notion that war is still, as Clausewitz said, “a continuation of politics by other means,” and therefore whether it can be discontinued politically. Second, coerced by adversaries and enabled by the Internet, the global jihadi movement has dismantled and disrupted its own ability to act as one coherent entity. No leader is in a position to articulate the movement’s will, let alone enforce it. It is doubtful, to quote Clausewitz again, whether war can still be “an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will.” And because jihad has no single center of gravity, it has no single critical vulnerability. No matter what the outcome of U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan and other places, a general risk of terrorist attacks will persist for the foreseeable future.
via Cracks in the Jihad.
Tags: Christianity, Islam, Religion
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Freedom of Relgion should include freedom from religion. Well not in Ireland anymore. On 1 January 2010, the new Irish blasphemy law becomes operational. Blasphemy is now a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine ($40,000). The new law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defenses permitted.
This new law is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas. And it is dangerous because it incentives religious outrage, and because Islamic States led by Pakistan are already using the wording of this Irish law to promote new blasphemy laws at UN level.
Tags: Geopolitics, Islam, Religion
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This is a deep struggle in the Muslim soul – a struggle to come to terms with its own sectarian past, the bloodiness of some of its scriptures, and the real and present threat of modernity as it crashes down on their medieval order with the power of technology they cannot control.
This process will take time, and Americans’ well-meant determination to fix this state of affairs is, however understandable, naive. The arc of history is far slower than our 24-hour news cycle or our ADD blog-posting. The resurgence of religious fundamentalism at this moment of technological marvel and global integration is an utterly predictable phenomenon, and it will not end soon. And when it does end, it will do so by collapsing under its own lies and delusions and denial, just as communism did. We can do a little to nudge this along, but we cannot be the decisive force – or we will merely reignite the civiliizational conflict. Maybe a hot war is inevitable. But if it is, it is essential to our civilization and its core values that we do not initiate it. If Iraq did not convince us of that, nothing will.
I believe that the election of Obama and the Green Revolution in Iran were signs that the next generation understands the magnitude of this crisis and are seeking a new way to overcome it. I believe that in my heart and soul. Which is why I found those events as inspiring as they are now imperiled.
Help Iran Become our Ally December 31, 2009Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
Tags: Geopolitics, Iran, Islam
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The fracturing of the Islamic Republic’s traditional elite, and the persistence and power of Iran’s democratic awakening six months later, make clear that a regime change is under way in Iran–one that is indigenous, sustainable, democratic in spirit, and peaceful in its means. It is the most promising development in the broader Middle East in the past quarter-century. Rather than being viewed as a sideshow, the uprising should be at the core of every policy decision regarding Iran. Western leaders should ask themselves just one question whenever faced with a new set of measures toward Iran: Will they help or hurt the Green Movement?
For all the concern about a fitful and still highly vulnerable nuclear program, a far greater prize is now in sight: a freer society and an accountable government under the rule of law. An opportunity now exists to encourage the evolution of a democratic Iran–through careful, calibrated, and principled policies that refuse to be baited by the crude and bellicose behavior of a usurper president. The premise of Obama’s initial engagement approach seemed to reflect an understanding of this extraordinary potential. The question now is whether the shift to a policy of pressure, threats, and further isolation will trade the promise of transformative change for the illusion of a security arrangement with a regime built on an edifice of enmity with the West.