Sunday, August 29, 2010

No other topics

It's been a week now, but I still can't bring myself to write about anything else. The flood waters are moving southwards, and I don't know how long it will take Pakistan to recover. This is what my prayers are about - that sheer mass of humanity that has so much tribulation ahead of it, from all the challenges of homelessness to the horror of water-borne disease.

There are many reasons why the average Canadian has an interest in donating to the relief efforts, and an interest in making sure that 1/5 of Pakistanis aren't plunged into worse destitution than they were in previously. For now, though, forget your politics, and help out simply because it is right, and because the act needs no further justification than that.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

No sehri and no iftar

Never in a million years would I want to be seen as the niggardly, mean-spirited type of person who would discourage people from donating to relief efforts. On the contrary, those of us who enjoy a better life than the people in the affected areas need to remember that our wealth is a test, and that to withhold it from those in need is to fail that test. This is the biggest disaster facing humanity since the 2006 Tsunami, and it deserves the attention of our entire species.

It must be said, however, as it was said about the United States during Hurricane Katrina, that if Pakistan didn't spend so much on "national security," it would probably be able to afford some national security.

Unlike the United States, Pakistan has some good reasons to maintain a large military - it lives in a dangerous neighbourhood - but this is a country that spends more on its military than it does on health and education combined. The lack of those does more damage to the country every day than any army ever could.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Like it or not . . .

A company like Newscorp can turn anyone into a sensation, even a third-rate fearmonger like the zany Randroid proprietor of the blog "Atlas Shrugs."'s Jason Elliot lays out a neat summary of how the media giant has turned a relatively uncontroversial construction project into America's national anti-Muslim hatefest.

How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began

. . . In short, there is no good reason that the Cordoba House project should have been a major national news story, let alone controversy. And yet it has become just that, dominating the political conversation for weeks and prompting such a backlash that, according to a new poll, nearly 7 in 10 Americans now say they oppose the project. How did the Cordoba House become so toxic, so fast? . . .
Fortunately, this would probably never happen in Canada, because it is a better country.

I think.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tales from the Fear-o-Sphere

Teh Mozlems are coming, teh Mozlems are coming!

From the unintentionally funny folks at FrontPageMag, and Pamela Gellar, the queen of cheap internet fearmongering, comes this lovely passage, as FPM's editor interviews Ms. Gellar about her new magnum opus about the Obama presidency:

FP: Tell us a bit about how anti-Semitism plays into all of this. We know Islam’s disposition to Jews and so, perhaps, Obama’s bullying of Israel is no coincidence at all?

Geller: Indeed Jamie, Islamic anti-Semitism is part of the Koranic imperative and the pervasive influence of Islamic Jew-hatred cannot be ignored when assessing the impact of Barack Obama’s early life experiences upon the later trajectory of his career. If a devout Muslim prays the obligatory five daily prayers, he will repeat the Shehadah*, the first chapterof the Koran, seventeen times; that chapter concludes with prayers that Muslims generally understand as asking Allah not to make the believer like the Jews (“those who have earned Allah’s anger”) or the Christians (“those who have gone astray”). The prayers generally conclude with the dua qunoot, a prayer that Allah’s wrath would overtake infidels.

Imagine the influence that all this – inculcating contempt for Jews and Christians seventeen times a day – might have on a young mind and a future president. Troubling psychological wiring might have been set in place for a lifetime.

Yet Obama has never spoken about the influence his early experiences with Islam had upon his mind and heart – in sharp contrast to others who were raised in Islam and left the faith. Obama would have had to make a decision to reject Islam.

If so, when did he make that decision? How?

Muslims who have left Islam are generally vocal about why they left: Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Walid Shoebat, and others have spoken out fearlessly on these issues. Obama may not wish to engage in critiques of Islam, but if he left Islam, he must have very definite thoughts about it. And even if this is simply not an important issue to him, then he can still appreciate how important it is – knowing what he knows about Islam and apostasy.

Apostasy is punishable by death in Islam. Yet there have been no calls for Obama’s death from the Islamic world. Why is this? Islam gives no free passes.

That's right Pam, we're all in cahoots. Thank goodness someone is blowing the lid off this global conspiracy.


* Actually, the Shehadah contains no such thing - it is simply the sentence "I bear witness that there is no God but God, and Muhammad is his Messenger." What Pam is refering to, in her pretense of expertise, is Surah Fatiha, whose meaning is certainly open to interpretation, but definitely not open to her interpretation.

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