This is a follow-up to my previous piece on the attitude of liberal societies toward religious belief. It was argued there that the stratagem of opposing intolerant social norms as practices by some Muslim communities vis a vis women, gays, human rights and freedom in general (be it of speech, or political, or artistic); that is to say, opposing certain religiously condoned intolerances and orthodoxies with a libertarian “enlightened” secular discourse (which usually advocates the liquidation of religion per se, at best tolerating a mere vapid cafeteria-style sort of “spirituality”) is an inadequate, clever by half, solution to the problem at hand. It makes those who feel that their faith is under attack all the more determined to defend it zealously. In Islam they call that kind of extreme defense Jihad and it has been carried in one form or another for centuries now.
What usually happens is that the table adroitly gets turned around and the “enlightened” “progressive” secularist alleging human rights violations that need to be abolished ends up getting himself accused of intolerance, of trying to impose his particular brand of intolerance, i.e., his secularism, on believers. This is particularly true in societies where religion has been abandoned as just another myth or lie, long superseded by modernity progressive positivistic science. Not to be modern is to be medieval, obscurantist, retrograde, undesirables who cannot be accommodated in a modern progressive society based on the tenets of the Enlightenment, a la Voltaire.
This approach usually misfires and ends up producing more animosity and intolerance with accusations of zealotry and extremism on both sides of the fence. There is however a much better approach and it is that advocated by the influential philosopher Jurgen Habermas in his essay “A post-secular Europe” and that of the Ugandan born Canadian Muslim Irshad Manji, author of two best-selling influential books: The Trouble with Islam Today (translated into 30 languages), and How to Reconcile Faith and Freedom.
Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!
Is there a link between the Terengganu government’s hysteric fascination of the Indian radical Islam televangelist Zakir Naik, the Chief Minister’s generosity in gifting the not-so-liked preacher an island, and the coming of 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers over a period of three years?
Seems that there is no connection. But first let me talk about the absurdity of live-on-TV public conversions as happened in the recent tele-dakwa tour of Mr. Zakir Naik — to give a sense of the implantation of Islamic radicalism in multicultural Malaysia. A connection through a complex system of meanings and representations.
Did the stunt cheapen religion into a show biz spectacle? Or is it done in sincerest honesty? Or to antagonize other religions?
I am reminded of the case of preachers on TV playing with rattlesnake in the Mid-West of America, walking on water in Nigeria, mass conversions in the Unified Church in Korea, and mass conversion of the Orang Asli in Malaysia — these perhaps gladly televised.
Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!
Archaeologists and officials have expressed outrage about the bulldozing of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud by Islamic State militants in Iraq.
IS began demolishing the site, which was founded in the 13th Century BC, on Thursday, according to Iraqi officials.
The head of the UN’s cultural agency condemned the “systematic” destruction in Iraq as a “war crime”.
IS, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are “false idols” that have to be smashed.
“They are erasing our history,” said Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani.
How long this is going to last before somebody interfere. Actually in this case and because it is a case of heritage and pride it should be the Arab countries who are obliged to interfere.
Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit Jordan‘s largest mosque on the second day of his visit to the Middle East. The pontiff will pray inside the King Hussein Mosque in the capital, Amman, before addressing local Muslim leaders.
He began the day with a visit to Mount Nebo, where the Bible says Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. Analysts say the Pope is keen to mend relations with the Islamic world. Many Muslims took offence to a speech he made in 2006. The Pope’s eight-day tour – his first to the region as pontiff – will take him to Israel and the West Bank. As he arrived in Amman on Friday he described himself as a “pilgrim of peace” and stressed his “deep respect” for Islam.
The problem has never been with the Pope’s respect for Islam but with Islam’s respect to the Pope!
American Politics, Terrorism and Islam: Part 5 Soon after capturing power in 1917 the Bolshevik party started behaving as a mafia-like organization where, according to Russian historian Yuri Felshtinsky, “almost no one died by a natural cause.”
Scandals and Media …in Greek
Dimitra’s thoughts on the latest events and scandals and how the Greek media present them …all in Greek!
A Swiss Army Book
Do you know what a ‘Layter’ signifies? What about a ‘Yan’ or a Yan-a-Bumfit? Come now, it is quite simple for those addicted to ‘Ducks and Drakes’!
Euro Reporter is off to Belgium, so I’d better not waffle on…
The Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders has posted a controversial film critical of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, on the internet. The opening scenes show a copy of the Koran, followed by footage of the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.
The 15-minute film was posted on video-sharing website LiveLeak. Its planned release had sparked angry protests in Muslim countries. The Dutch government has distanced itself from the views of Mr. Wilders.
The film is called “Fitna”, a Koranic term sometimes translated as “strife”. Dutch broadcasters have declined to show it.
Graphic images from the bomb attacks on London in July 2005 and Madrid in March 2004 are also shown.
Scenes from a beheading and pictures of the Dutch director Theo van Gogh, who was murdered by a radical Islamist in 2004, are also included. The film ends with someone turning pages of a Koran, followed by a tearing sound.
It was natural that something like that was coming after all action brings reaction and the extreme Muslims were till now the only ones to act so it’s the turn of extreme European to react especially after what happened with the Mohamed cartoons and all the demonstrations in most of the European cities.
The fascinating thing about all these is that the people who will find the chance to talk about freedom of speech and the right to show whatever they want are the ones who if ever come in power will shut the mouths of everyone!
Ugandan Church leaders have asked Christians to forgive Libya’s leader for suggesting the Bible was forged as it didn’t mention the Prophet Muhammad. Ugandan clerics pointed out the Bible was written before Muhammad was born.
Colonel Gaddafi made his comments whilst in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, last week to open a giant mosque. He
has since left the country. “How can we be blamed for not including what was not in existence?” said Archbishop Lwanga in his sermon for Easter prayers at Rubaga Cathedral. “I ask fellow Christians to forgive Gaddafi like Jesus forgave those people who crucified him on the cross.”
But who can forgive the general ignorance there is in Islam and Muslim countries for Christianity and in extent in general for the west. For them we are nothing more or less than infidels; but what do they know? Perhaps not more than Gaddafi does but then we should know everything, when we draw a cartoon, how and with whom!