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Radical Islam, or Just Islam?

Nov 05, 2013 - Tags:

Watching this video of self-professed "non-radical, normal Muslims" at an Islamic peace conference in Norway should scare the shit out of people living in the modern world. An audience full of people who publicly agree that men and women should sit apart, that adulterers should be stoned to death, that the death penalty should be given to homosexuals, and any other horrible punishment, "if Allah (and his messenger) says that it is the best punishment there is". And that we, the rest of the world, should be subjected to the same rules. Spooky. In short. It's not radical.

Cardinal Scola calls for an end to blasphemy laws

May 22, 2013 - Tags:

In a story that sounds a lot like the proverbial pot calling the kettle black, a high-ranking church official has come out against blasphemy laws, asking that they be abolished. Cardinal Angelo Scola, once considered one of the most likely candidates for the kingship of the Vatican, spoke at a conference in Milan, Italy, where he called for the abolishment of blasphemy laws around the world.

IKEA and Starbucks Bow Down to Islamic Misogyny

In a misguided effort to placate the misogynistic government of Saudi Arabia, IKEA bent over backward and kissed ass by taking the morally bankrupt step of erasing all women from the Saudi edition of their catalog. By erase, I mean the same catalog pages now have the women photoshopped out (see the image below for a sample). Saudi Arabia, that bastion of human rights, is a strange land where men apparently can't keep their penises in their pants if they even see an inch of female flesh. To that end, they encase their women in black bags leaving a small slit for the eyes. After all, the women still need to do all that woman work and if you can't see, you can't sweep the floor. Since the women in the IKEA catalog wore more civilized dress, they couldn't be allowed to remain, so out came the magic eraser.

IKEA has been rightly reamed in the media for this and they deserve every piece of bad press they get for this. They now say they 'regret' their callous move, but will they show moral fortitude and allow their standard catalog images to appear in the Saudi Arabian edition? Are they willing to face down the repressive Islamic regime in the name of human decency? And if Saudi Arabia claims it hurts their religious feelings, will IKEA take that regret to the bank and close its Saudi stores? Time will tell just how much regret they are willing to show. I remember back when IKEA was Swedish for "common sense", not "who cares about women anyhow".

Meanwhile, over in the coffee aisle, Starbucks is busy caring about the environment, but women are apparently not part of the environment. When I posted my dismay about IKEA earlier today, a friend pointed out that Starbucks is also big on kissing Saudi fanny. They too have erased women from their corporate image when it comes to placating the sexuallly repressive misogynystic male population. It seems that the mermaid logo still shows too much female flesh, so Starbucks also chose to erase half the population, if only symbolically. Their famous logo, featuring the two-tailed mermaid, was changed for the Saudi market to show only a stylized crown over waves; see the image below left for the current Starbucks logo with the Saudi version to the right.

     

All this while the United Nations General Assembly pushes for an international law that would make blasphemy a crime, and imposing a worldwide ban on insulting or criticizing religious beliefs or customs. This should scare the hell out of you because a law like that can only be used to opress and silence opposition to even more heinous crimes. It means you and I will no longer to criticize and ridicule criminal states like Saudi Arabia for their catalog of human rights abuses if they explain that it's part of their religious culture. It also means that we'll have to accept that companies like IKEA and Starbucks are just showing respect instead of displaying a love of money that supercedes any moral compass. 

The justification pushing this blasphemy law comes from outraged Islamists who figure that destroying property and murdering people is a fair balanced response to some idiot making an atrociously bad film about the prophet Mahummad. 

This is why we need to crush any attempts to institute blasphemy laws.  We, as evolved, civilized human beings, must not shy away from speaking out when religion trumps human rights. At these times, blasphemy, heresy, and ridicule are some of our best weapons. 

Innocence of Buddhists

Sep 30, 2012 - Tags:

Cox Bazar image from Reuters story linked here.It's not just American based Coptic Christian filmmakers (a generous term for the brains behind the incendiary "Innocence of Muslims") who seem to be doing their best to offend Islam. Now it's the Buddhists. It seems that a Buddhist, acting on behalf of all Buddhists, just as Nakoula Basseley was no doubt acting on behalf of all Americans and anyone who even remotely likes Americans, posted something on his Facebook page that was apparently blasphemous or offensive to Islam. Militant Muslims, offended as they often are, went after Buddhist temples and homes in Bangladesh, burning them to the ground and beathing up the Buddhists who had the audacity to hang around. 

Wait . . . Buddhists? Who attacks Buddhists?

Sure, they can be annoying, with their pesky smug Vegan superiority, always pushing their beliefs on me and trying to get me to eat less red meat. And yes, I get pissed off when they picket my local Montana's or Keg restaurant as I try to enjoy my medium-rare tenderloin. More than once I've gotten angry reading a "Cow Killer!" plackard as I try to chow down on bacon-wrapped goodness, but I would never attack them. 

Oh wait, maybe those weren't Buddhists. Now that I think about it, they might have been members of PETA.

But it doesn't matter. My point, whatever it might have been, stands.

Buddhists are always going out of their way to annoy and offend other people's faiths. They even go after people of no faith as the following quote illustrates. When the Dalai Lama gets on his high horse about Buddhism changing if science uncovers something that conflicts with Buddhism, he gets downright annoying. 

So you can understand why Muslims are going after Buddhists now, right?

Me neither.

If one religion can claim the mantle, "Religion of Peace", it's probably the Buddhists. Who knows? Maybe that's what makes these guys so offensive.

Islam's Anger is Islam's Shame

Sep 17, 2012 - Tags:

When all Hell broke loose in Benghazi, Libya, the first casulty was U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, who lost his life when protesters stormed the United States embassy. The violence has spread nearly two dozen countries. At least four people are dead, many more injured, as American embassies in Lybia, Egypt, with protesters chanting "Death to America". The reason for this spate of violence? A movie trailer on YouTube called, "Innocense of Muslims".

The first thing you notice about this film is that it's really, really bad, with production values that the average 8th grader could easily match. Anti-islam and anti-Mohammad message aside, the 14 miinute film looks like it's meant to be sort of like an Islamic "Life of Brian" spoof. Unfortunately, some members of the "Religion of Peace" apparently don't have a sense of humour.It's frankly incredible that a short film clip featuring Muhammad is cited as the spark that launched the latest wave of Islamic violence.  Think of it as the Mohammad Cartoon, version 2.0.

The link below contains the  clip which you can watch on YouTube. As I write this, the video (as seen on YouTube below) has 3.8 million views with 3/4 of the votes being 'dislikes.  Have I mentioned the production values are dreadful? Let's not mince words; this film, if you can call it that, is a piece of crap.

Canadian Muslims Oppose Ground Zero Mosque

Unless you have been off-planet recently, you know that there are plans afoot to build a mosque in New York City, two blocks from Ground Zero. This would be no simple place of prayer but a $100 million, 13 storey structure that would be nothing short of impressive. Many Americans have, understandably, voiced their outrage. Much of it is reasoned if emotional in nature, but there are also predictable rants coming from the hard right and, of course, FOX News. Other Americans, meanwhile, have voiced tolerance and even support. U.S. President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have both made statements that it is right for Americans to allow this; that it may well be a testament to tolerance and religious freedom. A short video of Obama's speech is included below.

In Canada, we watch the developments to the south with interest because America is, after all, our closest neighbor, our ally, our biggest trading partner, and the source of many of  our favorite TV shows. We may not agree with everything that happens in the States, but that's not surprising. Rarely do members of the same family agree on everything.  Consequently, ordinary Canadians have also voiced their own opinion in support of and in opposition to this so-called "Ground Zero Mosque".

What I find fascinating in all of this is that there is also some very vocal and stern opposition to the plan coming out of Canada. It's not that it would be unusual for Canadians to have opinions on what is happening south of our border. What is fascinating to me is the source of at least some of this opposition; Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Muslim Congress. Visit their Website and you will see the following:

"Proposal for a mosque at site of 9/11 tragedy is nothing short of a 'fitna' or making mischief"

In a letter that was delivered to Imam Faisal Rauf on Tuesday, August 10, the MCC stated, “Many Muslims suspect that the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation, to thumb our noses at the 'infidel.' We believe the proposal has been made in bad faith and, in Islamic parlance, is creating 'fitna,' meaning 'mischief-making,' an act clearly forbidden in the Qur’an.”

Raheel Raza, a board member of the Canadian Muslim Congress delivered the letter. She was later interviewed on CBC Radio's "The Current" (listen to the program here) where she spoke passionately about why building the proposed mosque is a bad idea. She also questions the real reason behind the plan and even the source of the funding, suggesting that the very source of the 9/11 attacks may in fact be helping to pay for it. Interesting questions indeed.

Later in the same segment, we get an opposing view from Globe and Mail columnist, Sheema Khan. These interviews are in the first of the two segments on that page

I invite you to spend the few minutes it takes to listen to this interview. It's quite fascinating.

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There once was a time when all people believed in God and the Church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.

Richard Lederer