Archive for the ‘Religion – The Wrong Way’ Category

Pleas for condemned Saudi ‘witch’

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Human Rights Watch has appealed to Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a woman convicted of witchcraft.

In a letter to King Abdullah, the rights group described the trial and conviction of Fawza Falih as a miscarriage of justice.

The illiterate woman was detained by religious police in 2005 and allegedly beaten and forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not read.

Among her accusers was a man who alleged she made him impotent.

Human Rights Watch said that Ms Falih had exhausted all her chances of appealing against her death sentence and she could only now be saved if King Abdullah intervened.

‘Undefined’ crime

The US-based group is asking the Saudi ruler to void Ms Falih’s conviction and to bring charges against the religious police who detained her and are alleged to have mistreated her.

Its letter to King Abdullah says the woman was tried for the undefined crime of witchcraft and that her conviction was on the basis of the written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them.

Human Rights Watch says the trial failed to meet the safeguards in the Saudi justice system.

The confession which the defendant was forced to fingerprint was not even read out to her, the group says.

Also Ms Falih and her representatives were not allowed to attend most of the hearings.

When an appeal court decided she should not be executed, the law courts imposed the death sentence again, arguing that it would be in the public interest.

To the original:

Birth defects warning sparks row

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

A minister who warned about birth defects among children of first cousin marriages in Britain’s Asian community has sparked anger among critics.

Phil Woolas said health workers were aware such marriages were creating increased risk of genetic problems.

The claims infuriated the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) which called on the prime minister to “sack him”.

MPAC spokesman Asghar Bukhari said Mr Woolas’ comments “verged on Islamophobia”.

Mr Woolas, an environment minister who represents ethnically-diverse Oldham East and Saddleworth, risked sparking a major row after warning the issue was “the elephant in the room”, Mr Bukhari said.

Expert analysis

Mr Woolas said cultural sensitivities made the issue of birth defects difficult to address.

The former race relations minister told the Sunday Times: “If you have a child with your cousin the likelihood is there’ll be a genetic problem.

“The issue we need to debate is first cousin marriages, whereby a lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins, and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability [in children].”

Mr Woolas stressed the marriages, which are legal in the UK, were a cultural, not a religious, issue and confined mainly to families originating in rural Pakistan.

But he also told the paper: “If you talk to any primary care worker they will tell you that levels of disability among the… Pakistani population are higher than the general population. And everybody knows it’s caused by first cousin marriage.”

“Awareness does need to be raised but we are very aware of the sensitivities,” he added, pointing out that many of the people involved were the products of such marriages.


Uproar over Archbishop’s sharia law stance

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

– I’ve expressed my concerns before over the high rates of Islamic immigration into the various European countries. 3% of Britain and Germany’s populations are now Islamic. In the Netherlands and France, it stands at 6%.

– Personally, and in spite of the fact that I consider myself a liberal thinker, I do not believe that societies can stand such a high rates of immigration – especially when the newcomers do not particularly care to be assimilated into their new country’s culture and strive, instead, to import and preserve their own culture in the midst of their host’s. And then, on top of that, you have the deeply uncomfortable fact that sincere Islamic believers believe that their religion is right and that all the others are wrong. It’s not a formula for evolving a harmonious multi-cultural society – it’s a formula for a culture war.

– I think it is right to offer hospitality to your guests. But I think the guests have a responsibility as well to respect your house if they want to be there. I think it’s reckless to invite someone in who has already declared that they think how you live and worship is wrong and who covets your house and the destruction of your society.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has been widely criticised after he called for aspects of Islamic sharia law to be adopted in Britain.

Dr Rowan Williams said that it “seems inevitable” that elements of the Muslim law, such as divorce proceedings, would be incorporated into British legislation.

The Archbishop’s controversial stance has received widespread criticism from Christian and secular groups, the head of the equality watchdog, several high-profile Muslims and MPs from all parties.

Amid the storm of protest, Downing Street moved quickly to distance itself from the Archbishop’s remarks, insisting that British law would and should remain based on British values.

A spokesman for Mr Brown said: “Our general position is that sharia law cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes.


Sentenced to die for downloading report on women

Friday, February 1st, 2008

– Remember, this is the government we (the US) put into power and are supporting in Afghanistan.

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A young man, a journalism student, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet.

The sentence is then upheld by the country’s rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taleban times but six years after “liberation” and under the democratic rule of the West’s ally Hamid Karzai.

The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about the erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan.

He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which said Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Muhammad.

Kambaksh, 23, distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University in Mazari Sharif, capital of Balkh province, with the aim, he said, of provoking a debate on the matter. But a complaint was made against him and he was arrested, tried by religious judges without – say friends and family – legal representation and sentenced to death.


Many British Muslim Women Embrace Political Islam

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Two and a half years after British-born Muslims carried out suicide bombings in London that killed 52 people, British authorities are worried about the growing number of Muslim youth turning their backs on mainstream British society.

Most surprising is that many second-generation daughters of South Asian immigrants are embracing a political form of Islam.

Some say British Muslims have felt a growing sense of alienation since Sept. 11, 2001, and the London bombings, which has inspired some to segregate themselves from mainstream society and to greater assert their Muslim identity.

The ‘Muslim Woman’s Dilemma’

At the Islam Channel TV network, located in a sleek glass and steel building near London’s financial district, the reporters are mostly women — all with their heads covered. Some reveal only their eyes underneath black veils.

The network broadcasts a talk show called, “The Muslim Woman’s Dilemma.” Host Aamna Durrani wears a headscarf tightly wrapped around her head that falls into soft drapes over her shoulders.

Durrani was born in London to Pakistani parents and is increasingly asserting her Muslim identity, especially since 9/11 and the 2005 London suicide bombings that led to what she says are draconian anti-terrorism laws.

“My allegiance to the Muslim ummah, the community, definitely has got a lot, lot stronger as a result of the war on terror. And it has made the sense of solidarity throughout the world a lot stronger — and definitely for Muslim women here in Britain. It has really made us think where our loyalties lie,” Durrani says.

Growing Alienation from British Society

Analysts here say another cause of local Muslims’ growing alienation has been Britain’s role in the war in Iraq. They say it has inspired many young Muslims to segregate themselves from mainstream society.

A 2006 Pew poll showed 81 percent of Muslims surveyed considered their Islamic identity more important than being British. Like some others, Durrani says she would take part in the electoral process only if it were based on Islamic law and the Koran.


070616 – Saturday – to dip a finger into the river of insanity

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

So, I read that 2007 is shaping up to be the hotest year ever and then a bit later I read that the Southern Baptists here in the US (16 million members) have voted that they, as a group, “question the prevailing scientific belief that humans are largely to blame for the [global warming] phenomenon.”

– research thx to Climate Progress

Science & Cargo Cults, Global Warming, The Devil, and Democracy

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

– This piece comes from the Talk to Action Blog which I’ve been following for some time. Their focus is, in their own words, “a platform for reporting on, learning about, and analyzing and discussing the religious right — and what to do about it.

– For the most part, I try to stay away from religion as a topic here unless the actions of religious people somehow relate to my primary theme, The Perfect Storm. Talk to Action ran a series of articles some months ago that I reported on however because the subject was so over-the-top I couldn’t resist. Those stories had to to with the Left Behind: Eternal Forces Christian video game. See these links:

– In the piece, below, Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action, discusses the current growing disrespect for science in America today and analyzes why it is happening. it makes for interesting reading.


Last October, I listened to United States Senator James Inhofe as he described, before an audience of perhaps one thousand people, his belief that Global Warming was a hoax foisted on Americans by a conspiracy to create a satanic one-world order….

n the end, faith in science is just that – faith. Have you ever seen a nuclear blast ? I haven’t, so how do we know nuclear weapons exist ? We take that on faith in the same way we assume that there’s a scientific reason our microwave ovens heat up our cups of coffee ; how do we know microwave ovens aren’t driven by magic, from elaborate incantations laid on microwave ovens at the factory in which they are made ? How do we know there’s a factory at all ?

Thousands of years ago, the Greek Skeptics demonstrated that it was impossible to really “prove” anything at all due to the facility of the human mind at generating alternative hypotheses for phenomenon. How do we know that there’s a world outside of our doors, really ? Can we prove we’re not brains in a vat ? How do we know we’re not living in The Matrix ? Or, how can we distinguish magical explanations for phenomenon from scientific explanations ? And, what happens to democracy when magical explanations, mystery cults in essence, supplant materialistic explanations of reality ? What does it mean when powerful politicians and religious leaders say scientific warnings about an alleged disaster of unprecedented scale bearing down on humanity and the Earth is really a satanic plot

20th Century Cargo cults believed that rich Western industrialized nations enjoyed a high level of material wealth from possessing special spells or magic that provided access to “cargo”, stuff that is. During the presidency of Lyndon Johnson one Pacific island nation where cargo cult belief was especially strong raised a sum of about $50,000 dollars as a bribe to offer president Johnson for the “secret of cargo”, the special magic that would conjure up cargo and so provide inhabitants of that nation the level of material prosperity enjoyed by Americans.

So, how do I know that “cargo” – consumer goods, the stuff of modern material existence – doesn’t simply pop into existence, conjured by magical spells ? Well, I don’t. I take it on faith. I could research the question by visiting factories where products get assembled and by traveling to mines and oilfields where raw material inputs for products get extracted from the Earth ; I don’t do that because I’m satisfied my explanation is “true”.

But, in the end, how am I different from a cargo cultist ? In the end I can only only give a qualified distinction – I believe in rational explanations rather than magical ones. And how can I demonstrate that my faith in a Heliocentric Solar System is better founded than the belief, by the Chalcedon Institute’s Martin Selbrede, in a Geocentric Solar System ?

In the end the Geocentric model assumes too much ; the theory is not parsimonious at all but posits that hundreds of years of scientific research and discovery, which has made possible such technological marvels as the computer I’m typing on now, nonetheless has gotten wrong a fundamental aspect of our reality. Geocentrism demands its adherents believe that centuries have passed and generations of scientists have been born and then died, yet it has only been in the past one or two decades that a tiny group of amateurs has uncovered the true nature of the Solar System.

I find that claim hard to accept because science is a highly competitive process and works in the end in ways not dissimilar to the way capitalist markets work. In science, better theories – which have more and wider explanatory force – arise in time to displace older theories which explain less. Individual scientists compete to generate the best theories and those who do attain status, favored teaching position, grants, awards, speaking engagements, and so on. Superstar scientists sometimes write bestselling books.

There is, in short, a competitive marketplace for ideas and so the claim that science has gotten the basic nature of the Solar System so wrong, and for so long, seems quite preposterous to me. It might be true, and computer laptops might be conjured, through magical incantations, out of thin air at a secret “cargo” factory inside a vast underground complex, run by aliens and nazis, hidden underneath the South Pole. Possibly. But that’s very unlikely.


UK schools are dropping teaching the Holocaust

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

– This is utterly amazing. If the holocaust happened, and I believe it did, then why should anyone fear to teach it? But, in the UK, teachers are choosing to not teach about it to avoid offending Muslim students who’ve been taught otherwise. Amazing.


Story #1:

Story #2:

16Apr07 follow up from Snopes, the urban legend people:

– By the way, before I published this piece orginally, I checked with Snopes to see if it was bogus and found nothing.   As you’ll see, if you follow the new Snopes link, it is only partially true.

Radicals vs. moderates: British Muslims at crossroads

Friday, January 19th, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNN) — At a recent debate over the battle for Islamic ideals in England, a British-born Muslim stood before the crowd and said Prophet Mohammed’s message to nonbelievers is: “I come to slaughter all of you.”

“We are the Muslims,” said Omar Brooks, an extremist also known as Abu Izzadeen. “We drink the blood of the enemy, and we can face them anywhere. That is Islam and that is jihad.”

Anjem Choudary, the public face of Islamist extremism in Britain, added that Muslims have no choice but to take the fight to the West.

“What are Muslims supposed to do when they are being killed in the streets in Afghanistan and Baghdad and Palestine? Do they not have the same rights to defend themselves? In war, people die. People don’t make love; they kill each other,” he said. (Audio slide show: Preying on Britain’s young Muslims)

But in the same debate, held on the prestigious grounds of Dublin’s Trinity College in October, many people in the crowd objected.

“These people, ladies and gentleman, have a good look at them. They actually believe if you kill women and children, you will go to heaven,” said one young Muslim who waved his finger at the radicals.


Fury at Australia cleric comments

Friday, January 19th, 2007

– Two stories out recently about radial statements being made by Muslim clerics point up a growing and critical problem. As we continue to fill the world, our cultures and religions are pressing against each other with ever more pressure. This is a volatile situation that grows ever more dangerous. Our cultures and religions need to be ever more tolerant of each other if we are to avoid disaster as we try to muddle our way through the coming historical bottlenecks.

– Stories, like the following, are clear calls for moderate Muslims to control the statements of their more radical brethren. Indeed, be it Muslim, Christian or any religion, I would advocate the same.

– To get the drift of why a story like this might incense Australians so badly, consider that they are 20 million and they are just south of Indonesia, which is the most populous Muslim country in the world – and a very poor one, besides. Consider a statement like the following: “Muslim Australians had more rights to the country than white Australians whose ancestors arrived as convicts.

– Below, is the first of the two stories. The next can be found in the next post here.


The Australian government has condemned a Muslim cleric for making offensive comments in videotaped lectures.

Sheikh Feiz Mohammed, head of the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Sydney, urged children to become martyrs for Islam and mocked Jewish people as pigs.

Police are said to be investigating the tapes, which were exposed in a British TV documentary earlier this week.

Top Australian Islamic cleric Sheikh Hilali also sparked controversy, with remarks on women and white Australians.

Sheikh Feiz Mohammed, who has spent the past year living in Lebanon, talks on the controversial videotapes of his desire for children to be offered “as soldiers defending Islam”.

“Teach them this,” he says, “that there is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a Muhajid.

“Put in their soft, tender heart the zeal of jihad and the love of martyrdom.”

He also ridicules Jewish people as pigs and makes snorting noises, saying they will go to hell.

His comments were shown on a British television documentary called Undercover Mosque, which says it found children selling Islamic tapes in a car park behind a UK mosque.

More… :arrow: