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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Allah Needs a New Publicist

Before writing this, and before anyone issues a fatwah on me (if they haven't already), let me restate my religous beliefs. I believe in God, Allah and Buddha and suspect they may all be one entity. I also believe in the Maori pantheon of Gods and demi-gods and think that the parties in Valhalla sound pretty good so I'll vote for Odin and his battle buddies too. I don't believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny (tho I've played the latter) but would fight for anyone else's right to believe in them or anything else.

What I do not believe in is the use of any religion or belief as a means of power and control and the monotheistic flavors seem to have this in common. I have friends of all faiths and respect their choices and value our discussions of the similarities and differences. But my basic ethos is probably closest to the Hippocratic oath (basically, "First do no harm")
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=20909 or Isaac Asimov's First Law of Robotics in human terms ("A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm").

Christians who follow Christ's teaching ("Love one another") are wondrous and deserve to sit at God's right hand. Those whom I term "Sunday Christians," who attend church religiously or teach Sunday School while lying and cheating the remainder of the week, deserve their own special limbo.

I don't know Islam so well but have lived in many Islamic countries, have many Muslim friends and know enough about the Koran to understand that it is misused by fundamentalists in the same way the Bible has been misused throughout history. I also know, from my time in Jakarta, Indonesia, that the majority of Muslims are rational, reasonable beings BUT they are sometimes (often?) afraid to publicly denounce the idiocy of fundamentalism in the fear of being thought "not Muslim enough."

Apologies to my Jewish friends that I know so little of your faith. I was 17 before I even realized there were any Jews in Aotearoa. Josh, can you and I sit down over a good bottle of wine someday soon (I recommend a Central Otago Pinot Noir, I'll put a bottle of 8 Ranges in my travel case) and you can school me in all things Jewlike (and why Timo thinks Jews aren't cool).

That being said, this article makes me think that Allah definitely needs a new publicist: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/world/151143/tv-exec-jailed-beheading-wife

Particularly note this passage:
"Hassan, who killed his wife inside the offices of the Muslim-oriented television station the Pakistan-born couple started to dispel negative cultural stereotypes . . ."
Hmmm, that might count as a failed mission, methinks.

5 comments:

  1. And I thought drowning seductive cows was bad...

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  2. for those who don't understand the above comment, my introduction to Jakarta included a newspaper story on a cow that was drowned at sea for the crime of being impregnated by the village imam, complete with photo of the big-uddered hussy being dragged out behind a small boat.
    It seemed the imam had been having "relations" with Bossy for some time and all turned a blind eye until said cow became pregnant, and that was unacceptable.
    The imam's punishment? To sit in the boat and watch his favorite bovine piece of tail die, then to remove the clothes he was wearing while doing so and throw them overboard, thus cleansing himself of her sin.
    At the time, the government was debating a new and very vague anti-pornography law (later passed) that defined porn as "anything that could arouse anyone" (the mind boggles) and tacitly encouraged vigilante justice. The comments on the ex-cow in our newsroom were suitably sick and we decided she had obviously been asking for it, as she'd been known to flash her tits at everyone who passed.

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  3. Hi,

    The problem with radical Islamism is that it is rooted in the same Koran that 'moderate' Muslims read. By simply encouraging greater devotion and guiding a young student to the proper passages, the young person can be convinced that Allah really wants him/her to kill the infidel du jour. It's not hard to understand the silence of the 'moderates' to this radicalism, since at some level they must understand that they would in effect be criticizing someone with demonstrated deeper devotion to their own religion. The question is how the "infidel" targets of jihad can influence 'moderates' to effectively discourage deeper study of the Koran? Thorny, that.

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  4. Good points Charles, and all religious tracts can be misused that way. One friend who is a European convert to Islam likens Islam now to where Christianity was during the Crusades

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  5. oops, sorry Chuck, I mistook you for a former colleague, but welcome

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