Salman Rushdie: hate-filled rhetoric of ‘jihadi cool’ is persuading British Muslims to join Isis ↘ 20th October, MondayReblog

exgynocraticgrrl:

The Black Power Mixtape (1967 - 1975)

Stokely Carmichael in 1967, Chairman SNCC

20th October, MondayReblog
Bill Maher Isn’t the Only One Who Misunderstands Religion ↘

BILL MAHER’s recent rant against Islam has set off a fierce debate about the problem of religious violence, particularly when it comes to Islam.

Mr. Maher, who has argued that Islam is unlike other religions (he thinks it’s more “like the Mafia”), recently took umbrage with President Obama’s assertion that the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS, does not represent Islam. In Mr. Maher’s view, Islam has “too much in common with ISIS.”

His comments have led to a flurry of responses, perhaps none so passionate as that of the actor Ben Affleck, who lambasted Mr. Maher, on Mr. Maher’s own HBO show, for “gross” and “racist” generalizations about Muslims.

Yet there is a real lack of sophistication on both sides of the argument when it comes to discussing religion and violence.

On one hand, people of faith are far too eager to distance themselves from extremists in their community, often denying that religious violence has any religious motivation whatsoever. This is especially true of Muslims, who often glibly dismiss those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam as “not really Muslim.”

On the other, critics of religion tend to exhibit an inability to understand religion outside of its absolutist connotations. They scour holy texts for bits of savagery and point to extreme examples of religious bigotry, of which there are too many, to generalize about the causes of oppression throughout the world.

What both the believers and the critics often miss is that religion is often far more a matter of identity than it is a matter of beliefs and practices. The phrase “I am a Muslim,” “I am a Christian,” “I am a Jew” and the like is, often, not so much a description of what a person believes or what rituals he or she follows, as a simple statement of identity, of how the speaker views her or his place in the world.

As a form of identity, religion is inextricable from all the other factors that make up a person’s self-understanding, like culture, ethnicity, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. What a member of a suburban megachurch in Texas calls Christianity may be radically different from what an impoverished coffee picker in the hills of Guatemala calls Christianity. The cultural practices of a Saudi Muslim, when it comes to the role of women in society, are largely irrelevant to a Muslim in a more secular society like Turkey or Indonesia. The differences between Tibetan Buddhists living in exile in India and militant Buddhist monks persecuting the Muslim minority known as the Rohingya, in neighboring Myanmar, has everything to do with the political cultures of those countries and almost nothing to do with Buddhism itself.

No religion exists in a vacuum. On the contrary, every faith is rooted in the soil in which it is planted. It is a fallacy to believe that people of faith derive their values primarily from their Scriptures. The opposite is true. People of faith insert their values into their Scriptures, reading them through the lens of their own cultural, ethnic, nationalistic and even political perspectives.

After all, scripture is meaningless without interpretation. Scripture requires a person to confront and interpret it in order for it to have any meaning. And the very act of interpreting a scripture necessarily involves bringing to it one’s own perspectives and prejudices.

The abiding nature of scripture rests not so much in its truth claims as it does in its malleability, its ability to be molded and shaped into whatever form a worshiper requires. The same Bible that commands Jews to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) also exhorts them to “kill every man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey,” who worship any other God (1 Sam. 15:3). The same Jesus Christ who told his disciples to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) also told them that he had “not come to bring peace but the sword” (Matthew 10:34), and that “he who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). The same Quran that warns believers “if you kill one person it is as though you have killed all of humanity” (5:32) also commands them to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (9:5).

How a worshiper treats these conflicting commandments depends on the believer. If you are a violent misogynist, you will find plenty in your scriptures to justify your beliefs. If you are a peaceful, democratic feminist, you will also find justification in the scriptures for your point of view.

What does this mean, in practical terms? First, simplistic knee-jerk response among people of faith to dismiss radicals in their midst as “not us” must end. Members of the Islamic State are Muslims for the simple fact that they declare themselves to be so. Dismissing their profession of belief prevents us from dealing honestly with the inherent problems of reconciling religious doctrine with the realities of the modern world. But considering that most of its victims are also Muslims — as are most of the forces fighting and condemning the Islamic State — the group’s self-ascribed Islamic identity cannot be used to make any logical statement about Islam as a global religion.

At the same time, critics of religion must refrain from simplistic generalizations about people of faith. It is true that in many Muslim countries, women do not have the same rights as men. But that fact alone is not enough to declare Islam a religion that is intrinsically more patriarchal than Christianity or Judaism. (It’s worth noting that Muslim-majority nations have elected women leaders on several occasions, while some Americans still debate whether the United States is ready for a female president.)

Bill Maher is right to condemn religious practices that violate fundamental human rights. Religious communities must do more to counter extremist interpretations of their faith. But failing to recognize that religion is embedded in culture — and making a blanket judgment about the world’s second largest religion — is simply bigotry.

20th October, MondayReblog

Congratulations and respect to these two brave young Kurdish women  (both 18) who invented  a new concept to detect bombs and explosions to save peoples life. We need more people like them. 
Their names are Eman Abdul-Razzaq Ibrahim and Dastan Othman Hassan! (x)

Congratulations and respect to these two brave young Kurdish women  (both 18) who invented  a new concept to detect bombs and explosions to save peoples life. We need more people like them. 

Their names are Eman Abdul-Razzaq Ibrahim and Dastan Othman Hassan! (x)

(Source: kurdistania)

20th October, MondayReblog
How Western Governments Have Failed Palestinian Children ↘ 20th October, MondayReblog

(Source: llioneess)

20th October, MondayReblog
The Diversity of Islam ↘

A few days ago, I was on a panel on Bill Maher’s television show on HBO that became a religious war.

Whether or not Islam itself inspires conflict, debates about it certainly do. Our conversation degenerated into something close to a shouting match and went viral on the web. Maher and a guest, Sam Harris, argued that Islam is dangerous yet gets a pass from politically correct liberals, while the actor Ben Affleck denounced their comments as “gross” and “racist.” I sided with Affleck.

After the show ended, we panelists continued to wrangle on the topic for another hour with the cameras off. Maher ignited a debate that is rippling onward, so let me offer three points of nuance.

First, historically, Islam was not particularly intolerant, and it initially elevated the status of women. Anybody looking at the history even of the 20th century would not single out Islam as the bloodthirsty religion; it was Christian/Nazi/Communist Europe and Buddhist/Taoist/Hindu/atheist Asia that set records for mass slaughter.

Likewise, it is true that the Quran has passages hailing violence, but so does the Bible, which recounts God ordering genocides, such as the one against the Amalekites.

Second, today the Islamic world includes a strain that truly is disproportionately intolerant and oppressive. Barbarians in the Islamic State cite their faith as the reason for their monstrous behavior — most recently beheading a British aid worker devoted to saving Muslim lives — and give all Islam a bad name. Moreover, of the 10 bottom-ranking countries in the World Economic Forum’s report on women’s rights, nine are majority Muslim. In Afghanistan, Jordan and Egypt, more than three-quarters of Muslims favor the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their faith, according to a Pew survey.

The persecution of Christians, Ahmadis, Yazidis, Bahai — and Shiites — is far too common in the Islamic world. We should speak up about it.

Third, the Islamic world contains multitudes: It is vast and varied. Yes, almost four out of five Afghans favor the death penalty for apostasy, but most Muslims say that that is nuts. In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, only 16 percent of Muslims favor such a penalty. In Albania, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, only 2 percent or fewer Muslims favor it, according to the Pew survey.

Beware of generalizations about any faith because they sometimes amount to the religious equivalent of racial profiling. Hinduism contained both Gandhi and the fanatic who assassinated him. The Dalai Lama today is an extraordinary humanitarian, but the fifth Dalai Lama in 1660 ordered children massacred “like eggs smashed against rocks.”

Christianity encompassed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and also the 13th century papal legate who in France ordered the massacre of 20,000 Cathar men, women and children for heresy, reportedly saying: Kill them all; God will know his own.

One of my scariest encounters was with mobs of Javanese Muslims who were beheading people they accused of sorcery and carrying their heads on pikes. But equally repugnant was the Congo warlord who styled himself a Pentecostal pastor; while facing charges of war crimes, he invited me to dinner and said a most pious grace.

The caricature of Islam as a violent and intolerant religion is horrendously incomplete. Remember that those standing up to Muslim fanatics are mostly Muslims. In Pakistan, a gang of Muslim men raped a young Muslim woman named Mukhtar Mai as punishment for a case involving her brother; after testifying against her attackers and winning in the courts, she selflessly used the compensation money she received from the government to start a school for girls in her village. The Taliban gunmen who shot Malala Yousafzai for advocating for education were Muslims; so was Malala.

Iran has persecuted Christians and Bahais, but a Muslim lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, showed enormous courage by challenging the repression and winning release of a pastor. Dadkhah is now serving a nine-year prison sentence.

A lawyer friend of mine in Pakistan, Rashid Rehman, was a great champion of human rights and religious tolerance — and was assassinated this year by fundamentalists who stormed his office.

Sure, denounce the brutality, sexism and intolerance that animate the Islamic State and constitute a significant strain within Islam. But don’t confuse that with all Islam: Heroes like Mukhtar, Malala, Dadkhah and Rehman also represent an important element.

Let’s not feed Islamophobic bigotry by highlighting only the horrors while neglecting the diversity of a religion with 1.6 billion adherents — including many who are champions of tolerance, modernity and human rights. The great divide is not between faiths, but one between intolerant zealots of any tradition and the large numbers of decent, peaceful believers likewise found in each tradition.

Maybe that is too complicated to convey in a TV brawl. But it’s the reality.

19th October, SundayReblog

(Source: momo33me)

19th October, SundayReblog
Nigeria's missing girls 'to be released by Boko Haram', government aide claims ↘ 19th October, SundayReblog

(Source: darvinasafo)

19th October, SundayReblog
Recognition of a Palestinian State Without Full Rights Is Meaningless ↘

The British Parliament’s overwhelming vote to recognize a “State of Palestine” may indeed be a sign of “where the wind is blowing,” as the British ambassador to Tel Aviv has commented – a reflection of the significant erosion of public support for Israel’s regime of occupation and denial of Palestinian rights. But it should not be seen in black and white.

If it is the first step toward recognizing the irrefutable right of the Palestinian people to self determination, then it would be a positive contribution to establishing a just and sustainable peace in accordance with international law.

If it is simply meant to resuscitate a comatose two-state solution dictated by Israel, it would simply perpetuate an unjust order.

But, if it is, as implied, solely meant to resuscitate the comatose version of the “two state solution” which, as dictated by Israel, omits basic Palestinian rights, then it would be yet another act of British complicity in bestowing legitimacy on Israel’s unjust order.

Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights and ongoing colonization of the occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, after all, will turn the putative two-state solution into a PalestinianBantustan in an “apartheid state” of Israel, as Secretary of State John Kerry has warned.

The Palestinian right to self determination, according to the United Nations, includes, aside from national sovereignty, “the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted.”

The overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society has stated in the historic 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) against Israel that exercising Palestinian self determination requires ending Israel’s 1967 occupation and colonization, “recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands from which they were forcibly displaced in 1948.

Israel has fiercely rejected full equality, in law and policies, for its Palestinian citizens because that would undermine, de facto and de jure, its continuation as anexclusionary Jewish state. But even the U.S. Department of State has criticizedIsrael for maintaining a system of “institutional, legal and societal discrimination” against its Palestinian citizens.

Palestinians expect world governments, especially the British, with its direct responsibility in creating the question of Palestine, to recognize, first and foremost, our right to have equal rights to all other nations and all other human beings.

We want what Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes as “the full menu of rights.”

19th October, SundayReblog
Settlers torch mosque near Nablus ↘ 18th October, SaturdayReblog

(Source: american-radical)

18th October, SaturdayReblog
Reza Aslan: If ISIS Says It's Muslim, Then It's Muslim ↘ 18th October, SaturdayReblog
faineemae:

World’s youngest mayor: 15-year-old teenage girl in Palestine
A 15-year-old Palestinian girl took office as the mayor of a West Bank town and became the youngest person in the world to occupy this position.As part of an initiative to empower youth and involve them in the decision-making process, Bashaer Othman will be the mayor of the town of Allar in the city of Tulkarm in the northwestern West Bank for two months.Othman is in charge of all matters related to the municipality of Allar and which include supervising employees and signing all official documents with the exception of financial ones.

Othman is working under the supervision of elected mayor Sufian Shadid who expressed his enthusiasm for the teengar’s appointment as a step towards supporting youth.“There are many ways of supporting youth other than financial means. First, we should make sure we remove obstacles that might stand in their way and with determination and perseverance we can do so,” he said. For Othman, the new position constitutes a major challenge that she is hoping she can be up to.“I want to go through this experience in order to be able to share it with other youth so that they can be prepared for running state institutions in the future,” she said.

faineemae:

World’s youngest mayor: 15-year-old teenage girl in Palestine

15-year-old Palestinian girl took office as the mayor of a West Bank town and became the youngest person in the world to occupy this position.

As part of an initiative to empower youth and involve them in the decision-making process, Bashaer Othman will be the mayor of the town of Allar in the city of Tulkarm in the northwestern West Bank for two months.

Othman is in charge of all matters related to the municipality of Allar and which include supervising employees and signing all official documents with the exception of financial ones.

Othman is working under the supervision of elected mayor Sufian Shadid who expressed his enthusiasm for the teengar’s appointment as a step towards supporting youth.

“There are many ways of supporting youth other than financial means. First, we should make sure we remove obstacles that might stand in their way and with determination and perseverance we can do so,” he said. 
For Othman, the new position constitutes a major challenge that she is hoping she can be up to.

“I want to go through this experience in order to be able to share it with other youth so that they can be prepared for running state institutions in the future,” she said.

(Source: faineemae)

18th October, SaturdayReblog