Real Time: Religion in Politics

January 20, 2008

Rep. Tancredo Wants To Threaten Muslim Holy Sites

August 2, 2007

faithwatch
PFW:18

NewsMax reports that Rep. Tom Tancredo, Republican candidate running for President, would threaten to bomb Mecca and other Muslim holy sites.

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“If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina,” the GOP presidential candidate said, according to IowaPolitics.com. “That is the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they would otherwise do.

“If I am wrong fine, tell me, and I would be happy to do something else. But you had better find a deterrent or you will find an attack. There is no other way around it. There have to be negative consequences for the actions they take. That’s the most negative I can think of.”


Oh, NOW You Like Separation of Church and State

July 27, 2007

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes did a segment asking if the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the first New York City public school “dedicated to the study of the Arabic language and culture,” is “a breeding ground for radicals.”

As Fox rolled footage of the 9/11 attacks, Sean Hannity asked if the New York Board of Education was “blurring the line between the separation of church and state” by using “tax dollars to fund an all Muslim school. ” After displaying banners with “Islam 101?” and “Funding Fatwa?,” Alan Colmes introduced the segment by saying, “Coming soon to a classroom near you, Al Qaeda!”

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Watch the video here.

Funny that NOW it’s not okay for taxpayer money to fund religious schools. You didn’t seem to have a problem as long as it was YOUR religion. Welcome to hypocrisy.


Wired.com: Terrorists Keep Blogs, Too

June 27, 2007

From Wired.com

Islamists use the Web to spread propaganda, communicate anonymously, share training guides, get organized — even sell t-shirts.  So it’s not exactly a shock that Muslim extremists are blogging, too.

Dancho Danchev reviews a handful of terrorist blogs — and warns that "these are just the tip of the iceberg, but yet another clear indication of the digitalization of jihad."

One particularly active site Dancho highlights is Jihad Fields are Calling: Allah Send Us To Bring People Out From the Slavery of The People to The Slavery of Allah.  And it’s got all the features you’d expect from a top-flight — if crude — propaganda operation.  Here’s a diary from a woman who claims she was drugged and raped in Abu Ghraib.    There’s a silly, downloadable, anti-Bush wallpaper for your PC.  Over here is another one, celebrating "the most feared weapon in Iraq" — the improvised bomb.  In another place are theological justifications for "waging a war against atheism."   You get the idea.

The point is, these guys are using all the tools they can to spread their message, and wage the information war.  Is the U.S. really prepared to do the same?


Interview with a Middle Eastern Atheist

June 18, 2007

MidEast Youth conducted an interview with Arabic Atheist to pose the question: “Is Islam driving its youth away?” This interview with a 23 year old business student in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Q: I noticed that when we first discussed this, you said that you’re an atheist shortly before you tried to convince me that you’re not anti-Arab. Explain to me why you feel the need to do that?
A: Because non-Muslim Arabs are left out. We feel like we have no real space in society, especially in any intellectual field. When I say I’m atheist, people always tell me that I have become traitor. A sell-out. Someone who doesn’t know what it truly means to be “Arab.” Why? Because Arab means Muslim and Muslim means Arab? What does personal religious views have to do with my culture, my past, my identity? An Arab, this is something I am. This is something I take much pride in. Why do people attach my personal opinions to who I am, to my nationality? Does being Arab mean being intellectually identical to every other Arab out there?

Q: What do you mean?
A: I mean that religion is everything to a person. Especially when you strictly practice it, it quickly consumes everything you have. If you don’t honestly believe in any religion then you shouldn’t identify yourself as a believer of any religion.

Q: So your choice of being a Muslim has much to do with socialization rather than Islam itself?
A: Precisely. I have a problem with any existing religion that people are forced into. In any normal society there should be a choice, and whatever that choice is, it needs to be respected.

Q: What about Islam? When people learn that you are an ex-Muslim, do they ever imply that you’re anti-Muslim too?
A: Yes even though the connection for me isn’t really there. For a lot of ex-Muslims you will see that they have a major problem with Islam itself most likely due to the societies they live in. My reasons aren’t Islam, in fact I have a bigger problem with Christianity than Islam, and I have no problem with being in a Muslim culture and living around Muslims or being a part of a Muslim family. But I have a problem when someone is offended with my decision of not being a Muslim, and in the Arab world this is a huge problem as I’m sure you know.

Q: Yes, my problem is with Islam being enforced upon people who don’t really accept it but don’t have the balls to say “I don’t want this religion and I don’t respect it.”
A: Exactly and this is what our youth faces today, fear. If they say it they are damned to Hell by not only their families and friends but by society as a whole.

Q: This is a new generation going through all kinds of experiences… this is the best time ever to start fighting for not only our rights but the rights of others within our communities. Minorities in Arab countries go through a lot and it’s unacceptable. We should be the ones condemning this injustice.
A: Arab Baha’is, now this is a minority that I truly feel for. You know the Baha’i faith is considered a “bullshit religion” here. Most people don’t know what it really is, so throughout the region they lack the most basic rights because people consider them infidels. I think their case in certain countries are worse than that of Jews or Christians.

Q: What do you think about that?
A: I think anyone who attacks others for being different aren’t confident enough to deal with intellectual and religious challenges.

Q: What’s the difference being “careless” and “atheist?” I meet so many people who call themselves atheist when they really mean that they don’t subscribe to any other religion.
A: Yes, for the past two years I used to describe myself as agnostic until I realized that I strongly disbelieve in the existence of any God as there is no real evidence, which is what led me to become an atheist. Religions are all mythical. This is the argument that usually offends others… but I don’t have anything against their views! I’m just saying what I believe and people here go crazy about it.

Q: A lot of Muslims all over the Muslim world would literally kill anyone who disagrees and then they expect progress. In my opinion this isn’t really Islam. By the way, what do you think about Koranic (real) Islam and political Islam?
A: No offense but the fact that there are so many types of Islam only proves that it’s not a real religion but rather one created simply for the sake of social control.

Q: Is it really our fault when men claim they can’t control their raging desires to have sex with any woman who shows her face or hell, even HANDS?
A: My girlfriend is Japanese and she tells me that this same idea exists in their culture too, which is also very male dominant. Of course this is with Geishas, not with hijab. As you know Geishas paint their faces white, and if a man sees a trace of her real skin color, this is considered very tempting! I was surprised when she told me. Whenever we discuss these things it’s really amazing how many similarities we have.

Q: And you share them quite comfortably, you even quickly agreed to do this interview, why?
A: To show everyone that Arabs aren’t really what most people say we are especially with regards to our youth. Atheism, converts, apostasy, these are all considered big taboos that’s why we don’t talk about it. People fail to understand us and who we really are when we fail to discuss these things publicly and securely. Everyone thinks we’re so oppressed and that we easily fall for religion or that we are comfortable with our societal and cultural restrictions, but we are so diverse here. Arabs should never be defined as Muslims. We’re all different and fellow Arabs need to learn how to respect this difference instead of trying to make everyone else think the way they do.

Q: Do you find Islam to be a problem that leads to our societal restrictions?
A: Well, a lot of religious Muslims are decent and understand the importance of living in a free and tolerant society. I know that Islam is not our problem. Politics is our weakness and Islam is just an excuse that many of our governments successfully get away with.

Read the entire interview here.

For a site dedicated to atheist Arabs, visit http://www.arabatheist.humanists.net/English/homepage/homepage_eng.htm


Prison Pulls Certain Religious Texts

June 11, 2007

From the Washington Times:

Inmates at the federal prison camp in Otisville, N.Y., were stunned by what they saw at the chapel library on Memorial Day — hundreds of books had disappeared from the shelves.
The removal of the books is occurring nationwide, part of a long-delayed, post-September 11 federal directive intended to prevent radical religious texts, specifically Islamic ones, from reaching violent inmates. Three inmates at Otisville filed suit over the policy, saying the constitutional rights were violated and texts of all religions were affected.

If they’re pulling the Islamic texts, why not pull texts from other religions too? Most people would answer that question with “because the terrorists are always muslims,” and “Islam is a violent religion.” Does the Bible have any less violence?


Women Are Losers According to Islam

May 29, 2007

Source: http://www.theage.com.au

I have commented in the past about the heroic efforts of Ayaan Hirsi Ali to expose Islam for what it is. Here is an article about Ali.

AS A small girl, Ayaan Hirsi Ali was forcibly circumcised with a pair of scissors. She was then sewn up with a piece of twine “to keep her chaste”.

In the world in which she then lived, Ali was not alone: according to a 2000 World Health Organisation fact sheet, the number of Muslim girls and women who underwent genital mutilation was estimated to be between 100 million and 140 million.

The practice is widespread in the predominantly Islamic countries of Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia — her homeland — but does not occur universally throughout the Islamic world.

“Islam is a totalitarian doctrine that puts women in a position that no other totalitarian doctrine, not even communism, not even Nazism, did,” Ali alleges. “In Islam, women come off the worst.”

The author will give the final keynote address at the close of the Sydney Writers Festival on Sunday.

Ali’s reputation precedes her: after fleeing Somalia and arriving in the Netherlands, she studied politics at Leiden University and became a member of the Dutch parliament.

In 2004 Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who directed Submission, which depicts women living under Islam, was shot dead in daylight on an Amsterdam street by a Muslim fanatic. Ali had written the script for Submission. Pinned to van Gogh’s chest — with a knife — was a diatribe in which the killer announced that Ali would be next.

The superimposition of the text of the Koran onto the body of a naked woman (pictured above) was just one of many elements of Submission that outraged conservative Muslims.

The drama did not stop there. In the fall-out it was revealed that Ali had lied about her name and date of birth on her asylum application. The subsequent row over whether she could keep her Dutch passport culminated in the resignation of the Dutch government after the junior partner withdrew from the ruling coalition.

Ali left the Netherlands for the US, where she is a member of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington.

She is also the author of two bestsellers, a series of essays titled The Caged Virgin and Infidel, her autobiography.

In both works Ali unflinchingly attacks the Koran’s “seventh century … jihadi bullshit” and what she calls its refusal to engage with modernity and its profoundly disturbing sexism.

Tasneem Chopra, from the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council, is among the many Australian Muslims who questions Ali’s interpretation of the faith. “Genital mutilation is not an Islamically sanctioned practice, this is the majority view of Muslims — and we are 1.2 billion people across the world. Where it occurs it is an amalgam of culture in the name of religion.”

Ms Chopra said Ali had a right to freedom of speech but used her “own personal tragedy to make broad, salacious generalisations” against Islam.

Hanifa Deen, a Melbourne author and Muslim feminist, said Ali had obviously been “deeply psychologically scarred by what happened to her as a child” and was right to speak out against female circumcision.

“One has to resist these cruel, tribal customs which are performed by misguided Muslims and Christians in some East African societies. We should not allow them to continue under religious or cultural pretexts,” she said.

“Sadly, Ali is alienating many Muslim women in the West, forcing them into defensive positions. In reality, change is happening throughout the Islamic world. Who is really Ali’s audience?”