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The Religion of Politics June 18, 2016

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France’s Oedipal Islamist Complex | Foreign Policy January 10, 2016

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ATT00025The 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.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/01/07/frances-oedipal-islamist-complex-charlie-hebdo-islamic-state-isis/

One God for Christians, Muslims and Jews? Good Question December 20, 2015

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So why don’t evangelicals walk around saying they don’t worship the same God as the Jews, the same way they’re insisting on saying it about Muslims? Here’s the kicker: Evangelicals do believe they’re worshiping the God of the Old Testament — they just think Jews have failed to understand his essence as revealed in the New Testament.

InfadelIn evangelical theology, God revealed himself to the Hebrews without expressly making his triune nature known. The incarnation changed all that, and created the possibility of Christian salvation. The Jews failed to get the message. All along, they were worshiping the triune God. They just never knew it, and still don’t.

Hence, to an evangelical Christian, it would make no sense to say that Jews worship a different God — even though to the Jews, that God isn’t theologically very different from the God of the Muslims. To bring this full circle, note that Pope Francis might well believe the same thing. The difference is that he believes Muslims, too, are worshiping the God of the Hebrews. Given that the Prophet Muhammad himself believed that the God of the Jews and of the Christians was the same God he was serving, that view seems pretty convincing. The pope’s view would have the benefit of being consistent as among Jews and Muslims.

If all this makes you want to run to atheism, fair enough. Otherwise, Merry Christmas!

http://bv.ms/1RxRqVp

Why porn is exploding in the Middle East January 16, 2015

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Lifestyle, Religion.
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bikini_burkha According to data released by Google, six of the top eight porn-searching countries are Muslim states. Pakistan tops the list at number one, followed by Egypt at number two. Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey come in at numbers four, five, seven and eight, respectively. Pakistan leads the way in porn searches for animals like pigs, donkeys, dogs, cats and snakes.

via Why porn is exploding in the Middle East – Salon.com.

The End of the World as We Know It – Pax Americana December 15, 2013

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Drawing compelling parallels with today from the over-looked period after Rome fell and before the Middle Ages, known as “Late Antiquity”; highly-respected strategic thinker Robert Kaplan predicts a global return to tribalism and religiosity, as America retreats into isolationism.

Fall of RomeThe Pax Romana was a period of relative peace and stability throughout the Greater Mediterranean. By 700 A.D., the Roman Empire had disappeared from the map of the West, the Sassanid Persian Empire had vanished from the Near East, Europe had become Christian, and the Near East and most of North Africa had become Muslim.

Today, tribes with four-wheel-drive vehicles, satellite phones, plastic explosives, and shoulder-fired missiles help close the distance between Late Antiquity and the early 21st century.
We are at the dawn of a new epoch that may well be as chaotic as that one and that may come upon us more quickly because of the way the electronic and communications revolutions, combined with a population boom, have compressed history.

By 700 A.D., the Roman Empire had disappeared from the map of the West, the Sassanid Persian Empire had vanished from the Near East, Europe had become Christian, and the Near East and most of North Africa had become Muslim. – See more at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/12/03/augustine_s_world_what_antiquity_tells_us_about_syria#sthash.coL1EJCF.dpuf
By 700 A.D., the Roman Empire had disappeared from the map of the West, the Sassanid Persian Empire had vanished from the Near East, Europe had become Christian, and the Near East and most of North Africa had become Muslim. – See more at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/12/03/augustine_s_world_what_antiquity_tells_us_about_syria#sthash.coL1EJCF.dpuf
By 700 A.D., the Roman Empire had disappeared from the map of the West, the Sassanid Persian Empire had vanished from the Near East, Europe had become Christian, and the Near East and most of North Africa had become Muslim. – See more at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/12/03/augustine_s_world_what_antiquity_tells_us_about_syria#sthash.coL1EJCF.dpuf

via Augustine’s World. (more…)

Syrian Conflict Goes Back 13 Centuries September 11, 2013

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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

InfadelHere 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

via Syrian Conflict Goes Back 13 Centuries – Bloomberg.

Why Is Gay Porn So Popular in Pakistan? June 21, 2013

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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 lifesuch as Egypt, Nigeria, and Pakistantend 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 Ispahbikini_burkhaani, 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.”

Why Is Gay Porn So Popular in Pakistan? | Mother Jones.

Taliban’s Worst Nightmare October 13, 2012

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“Da Vinci Code” evidence found? September 19, 2012

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A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ ”

The finding was made public in Rome on Tuesday at the International Congress of Coptic Studies by Karen L. King, a historian who has published several books about new Gospel discoveries and is the first woman to hold the nation’s oldest endowed chair, the Hollis professor of divinity.

via Historian Says Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife – NYTimes.com.

Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science September 15, 2012

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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.

After a 1000 Years – The Arab Spring April 8, 2012

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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 History Behind Eating Fish On Friday April 8, 2012

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Let’s start with a quick lesson in theology: According to Christian teaching, Jesus died on a Friday, and his death redeemed a sinful world. People have written of fasting on Friday to commemorate this sacrifice as early as the first century.

Technically, it’s the flesh of warmblooded animals that’s off limits — an animal “that, in a sense, sacrificed its life for us, if you will,” explains Michael Foley, an associate professor at Baylor University and author of Why Do Catholics Eat Fish On Friday?

Fish are coldblooded, so they’re considered fair game. “If you were inclined to eat a reptile on Friday,” Foley tells The Salt, “you could do that, too.”

Alas, Christendom never really developed a hankering for snake. But fish — well, they’d been associated with sacred holidays even in pre-Christian times. And as the number of meatless days piled up on the medieval Christian calendar — not just Fridays but Wednesdays and Saturdays, Advent and Lent, and other holy days — the hunger for fish grew. Indeed, fish fasting days became central to the growth of the global fishing industry. (more…)

Ten Rules for Being Human June 1, 2011

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via 9GAG – Ten Rules for Being Human.

Atheists have ‘better sex than religious followers who are plagued with guilt’ June 1, 2011

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Atheists have far better sex lives than religious people who are plagued with guilt during intercourse and for weeks afterwards, researchers have found.

But devoutly religious people rated their sex lives far lower than atheists. They also admitted to strong feelings of guilt afterwards.

Strict religions such as Mormons ranked highest on the scale of sexual guilt. Their average score was 8.19 out of 10. They were followed closely behind by Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, and Baptist. Catholics rated their levels of sexual guilt at 6.34 while Lutherans came slightly lower at 5.88 . In contrast, atheists and agnostics ranked at 4.71 and 4.81 respectively.

People who had left their beliefs behind said their sex lives were ‘much improved’ and rated their new experiences on average as 7.81 out of ten.

The findings emerged in the ‘Sex and Secularism’ survey of more than 14,500 people carried out by psychologist Darrel Ray and Amanda Brown from Kansas University.

via Atheists have ‘better sex than religious followers who are plagued with guilt’ | Mail Online.

 

(more…)

The Catastrophic Failure of European Multiculturalism February 22, 2011

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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.

(source;http://sig.ville.gouv.fr/Atlas/ZUS/).

This map shows how these “no go zones” are distributed around France:

via Power Line – The Catastrophic Failure of European Multiculturalism.

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..

WikiLeaks Reveals Saudi Party Scene December 8, 2010

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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

via Partying Saudi style: elite, boozy and secret.

The Rise Of Youthful Secularism October 17, 2010

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The most rapidly growing religious category today is composed of those Americans who say they have no religious affiliation. While middle-aged and older Americans continue to embrace organized religion, rapidly increasing numbers of young people are rejecting it.

As recently as 1990, all but 7% of Americans claimed a religious affiliation, a figure that had held constant for decades. Today, 17% of Americans say they have no religion, and these new “nones” are very heavily concentrated among Americans who have come of age since 1990. Between 25% and 30% of twentysomethings today say they have no religious affiliation — roughly four times higher than in any previous generation.

Sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer of UC Berkeley were among the first to call attention to the ensuing rise in young “nones,” and in our recent book, “American Grace,” we have extended their analysis, showing that the association between religion and politics (and especially religion’s intolerance of homosexuality) was the single strongest factor in this portentous shift. In religious affinities, as in taste in music and preference for colas, habits formed in early adulthood tend to harden over time. So if more than one-quarter of today’s young people are setting off in adult life with no religious identification, compared with about one-20th of previous generations, the prospects for religious observance in the coming decades are substantially diminished.

via Religion, politics: Walking away from church – latimes.com.

Atheists Most Knowledgeable About Religion September 28, 2010

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Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

But what really dropped my jaw with surprise were the two lowest-performing groups: Black Protestants (13.4 percent) and Hispanic Catholic (11.6 percent).

via Atheists Outdo Some Believers in Survey on Religion – NYTimes.com.

Religionization of American Politics August 30, 2010

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Obama isn’t the first president to have to deal with this. Abraham Lincoln, who never joined a church and was notoriously ambiguous and secretive about his religious beliefs, famously said, “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.” In his later years, despite denouncing those who were “enemies of” or “scoffed at” religion, he reiterated, “My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.”

And Lincoln wasn’t alone, either. In fact, the United States was created by a very skeptical group of Founding Fathers. (more…)

The Balfour Declaration: The Origin of the Arab Israeli Conflict August 8, 2010

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According to Schneer (London 1900), an expert in modern British history at Georgia Tech, intrigue and British doubledealing defined the 1917 Balfour Declaration of British support for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine as much as bravery and vision, leading to the disillusionment, distrust, and resentment that still dominate the region today. British Jewish chemist and Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann orchestrated the campaign to persuade powerful men that support for Zionism would benefit Britain’s wartime cause and the ensuing peace. Perhaps most shrewdly, Weizmann lobbied former prime minister Arthur James Balfour, then a member of Britain’s War Council. Meanwhile, Grand Sharif Hussein and his sons had won British backing for an Arab kingdom, which would presumably include Palestine, and with British encouragement rebelled against the Ottomans in 1916. Through British duplicity, the French also believed they had a interest in Palestine. And three months after the Balfour Declaration, British prime minister Lloyd George proposed a separate peace with Turkey, with the Ottomans remaining in Palestine.

via Amazon.com: The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the….

What Religions Don’t Share May 9, 2010

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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.

via Separate truths – The Boston Globe.

A Brief History of Debt May 2, 2010

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The emergence, in almost the exact times and places where one also sees the early spread of coinage, of what were to become modern world religions: prophetic Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, Taoism, and eventually, Islam. While the precise links are yet to be fully explored, in certain ways, these religions appear to have arisen in direct reaction to the logic of the market. To put the matter somewhat crudely: if one relegates a certain social space simply to the selfish acquisition of material things, it is almost inevitable that soon someone else will come to set aside another domain in which to preach that, from the perspective of ultimate values, material things are unimportant, and selfishness – or even the self – illusory.

With the advent of the great European empires – Iberian, then North Atlantic – the world saw both a reversion to mass enslavement, plunder, and wars of destruction, and the consequent rapid return of gold and silver bullion as the main form of currency.

One of the main factors of the movement back to bullion, for example, was the emergence of popular movements during the early Ming dynasty, in the 15th and 16th centuries, that ultimately forced the government to abandon not only paper money but any attempt to impose its own currency. This led to the reversion of the vast Chinese market to an uncoined silver standard. Since taxes were also gradually commuted into silver, it soon became the more or less official Chinese policy to try to bring as much silver into the country as possible, so as to keep taxes low and prevent new outbreaks of social unrest. The sudden enormous demand for silver had effects across the globe. Most of the precious metals looted by the conquistadors and later extracted by the Spanish from the mines of Mexico and Potosi (at almost unimaginable cost in human lives) ended up in China. Read the whole 5000 year history at this link.

via Debt: The first five thousand years

The Virginity Industry April 29, 2010

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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.

via BBC News – The virginity industry.

Yoga’s Revolt For Affordability April 25, 2010

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Our local Library had a free Saturday morning  Yoga class that always overflowed into the hallway. When it was threatened by budget cuts an anonymous donor not only saved the class, but was generous enough that a night class during the week has been added. This article delves into the anti-diva yoga movement…the problem wasn’t with the instructor, but with Mr. Gumucio himself. “You are your own teacher,” Mr. Gumucio said he was told. “You are responsible for your own experience.”

It was a revelatory moment for Mr. Gumucio. If the student was more important than the teacher, why was there such an emphasis placed on the individual instructors?

A second revelation occurred in class when he was struggling to keep his body in a difficult position. “I was sweating, my muscles shaking, in triangle pose, and Bikram was talking about how fast he was as a boy in Calcutta. How he could catch this dog.” The situation was almost more than Mr. Gumucio could bear. “In my mind,” he recalled, “I was thinking ‘What is wrong with you. Stop this stupid story!’ ”

Later, Mr. Choudhury again dismissed his complaints, telling Mr. Gumucio that distractions were everywhere: “Candle, incense, music, easy to meditate!” Mr. Gumucio recalls being told. “Try being calm and peaceful in your car when someone cuts you off.

via Yoga’s New Wave – NYTimes.com.

Burkas Prevent Earthquakes April 17, 2010

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The leader of Tehran’s Friday prayers has suggested that “women who do not have an appropriate appearance cause the spread of adultery in society which leads to an increase in earthquakes.”

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.

via Leader of Friday prayer: ‘Adultery reason for increase in earthquakes’ | The Green Voice of Freedom.

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