Qur’an in Aramaic? Virgins become raisins, veils become belts.
"Luxenberg’s chief hypothesis is that the original language of the Qur’an was not Arabic but something closer to Aramaic. He says the copy of the Qur’an used today is a mistranscription of the original text from Muhammad’s time, which according to Islamic tradition was destroyed by the third caliph, Osman, in the seventh century. But Arabic did not turn up as a written language until 150 years after Muhammad’s death, and most learned Arabs at that time spoke a version of Aramaic."
posted by four panels
on Jul 29, 2003 -
The Hidden Dangers of Letter Campaigns.
A series of email petitions
have been circulating over the past year, to prevent the execution of Amina Lawal, a 30 year-old woman found guilty by an islamic court in Northern Nigeria of adultery. Even signature-collecting websites have been set up by local Amnesty chapters (see for example this Spanish A.I. site
But this isn't helping - and is indeed damaging the cause of Amina Lawal, according to BAOBAB, a Nigerian group supporting Women's Human Rights:
...It turns out that letters and petitions, even the few that aren't just chain-letter foolishness, may do more harm than good and that the situation in Nigeria is at once far more complex and less dire than it seems from the outside. There are ways to help, starting with understanding what is really going on...
Good intentions, it seems, aren't good enough if one has little knowledge of what one is campaigning against or for.
posted by talos
on May 16, 2003 -
The New York Times Magazine (yes, I know the link disappears in a week or two, sorry) published a fascinating article about , "The Philosopher of Islamic Terror."
An Egyptian born in 1906, he veered toward radical Islamic fundamentalism by the 1950's, but had much company in Egypt in this endeavor. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a precursor to Al Qaeda, and became the editor of their journal. Nasser imprisoned him and eventually executed him. In prison he wrote powerful works which described in his view a diversion in society between human nature and human reason, with human reason having so overwhelmed human nature as to lead to mankind's potential downfall.
The answer was a return to human nature through a ritualistic adherence to the teachings of God, as described by Muhammad. Rather than separate science and reason from religion, he sought to combine them as taught in the Koran, thus providing real freedom for mankind. For a liberal Episcopalian (me) these are difficult ideas, but they are nevertheless compelling not only to the poor and uneducated Muslims but more importantly to the intelligentsia. They explain the pain of modern existence, especially to those raised on the Koran. The author describes Qutb as the Islamist's Marx. Scary - religion and philosophy carry much greater power than Marx's mere economics and philosophy. Western media portray Islam as mostly a fringe group drawing power from economic poverty and the power imbalance between the West and most Muslim countries. This article shows that, at least at its heart, the movement draws upon a powerful philosophy which for many answers their agony of modern existence, regardless of their economic status.
posted by caddis
on Mar 23, 2003 -
is an provocative proponent of the American Empire
theory, indeed. Here are excerpts from his Blow Back: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire
I heard Johnson interviewed on Episode II, War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era
of The Whole Wide World
The Cold War and its central conflict - the physical and ideological battles between the United States, the Soviet Union and their proxy states - imposed a certain logic and consistency on the world. Take that away and add the bloody wars in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East in the ‘90s as well as the terror attacks and warnings of more recent times and you get a very confused picture of a world at war. Is this breaking storm in Iraq about oil, democracy, freedom, empire, culture, water, diamonds, modernizing Islam or nation building in the Middle East? Some, one or all of these things?
It was an excellent program and well worth your listen, either by RA now or mp3 later. (From listening to the radio)
posted by y2karl
on Mar 13, 2003 -
How Do You Say ASSALAMU ALAIKUM in Gaelic?
Plans have been announced in the Irish Republic to translate the Koran, Islam's most sacred text, into Irish. The ambitious project aims to bring Ireland's Gaelic-speakers and Muslim communities closer together, Leslie Carter of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin said.
posted by turbanhead
on Mar 11, 2003 -
If you're already familiar with the work of Jack Chick
, the creator of those amusingly offensive evangelist comic books, you probably know not to take him too seriously -- after all, the threat of being thrown into a giant lake of fire by an angel isn't particularly frightening. Still, when his new tract
starts with an image of the smoldering twin towers, and ends with the words, "Bob, now I know that Allah doesn't really love me or even care about any Muslim. But Jesus, the Son of God, does,"
it's difficult not to worry that this time he's bitten off more than he can chew.
posted by tweebiscuit
on Jan 2, 2003 -
of the life of dhimmi (non-Muslims) under Islam. How do other religions treat the 'infidels'? Judaism has the goy, but what's his rights? What about Christianity? Hinduism? Shinto? How has the legal view of the minorities developed in socio-political systems informed by different religions?...
posted by bokononito
on Dec 2, 2002 -
Conservatives dispute Bush on Islam
Bush critics, we are told, though they support him believe his statements about Islam are basically political and that Islam is not a peace-loving religion. Though I am not sure on this issue, I do not think citing a passage or two in this or that holy scripture is sufficient to apply to any religion, since what it does (or has done) differs often from what it's stated position is. In this article I find myself torn between disliking in general anything that right-wing conservatives utter and also disliking anything that Bush has to say! My shortcoming, no doubt.
posted by Postroad
on Nov 30, 2002 -
Stop making excuses for Muslim Extremists
Still licking my mefi wounds that I received last week when I posted a NY Times article discussing the recent rise of crime in France, in which the author states that a recent immigrant was murdered solely for his North African heritage, and also reports that the mayor of Paris was also attacked in the same week - yet the author does not bother to mention that the attacker was a Muslim who 'didn't like homosexuals'. Has anyone else noticed how the media is downplaying the role of Muslim extremism since 911 ?
posted by Kaslo
on Oct 29, 2002 -
Bin Laden Unmasked?
Robert Fisk [ducks]
reviews a '215 page treasure trove' written by an Al Jazeera journalist and published in Beirut. It contains a 'wealth of information' about the elusive billionaire and his followers. He communicates over the Internet - no surprise there - but the book gives some clues as to the site used: al-Nidaa
, 'The Calling'. Can you find it? The words of Mullah Omar are apparently distributed on site called the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan', wild goose chase?
posted by grahamwell
on Oct 23, 2002 -
Elephant in the living room: A radical Islamic Nuclear Pakistan
(NYT reg. : name-metafilter password-metafilter) "Hard-line Islamic parties did unexpectedly well in Pakistan's election last week, and Pervez Musharraf's hold on power may be slipping. Do I need to point out that Pakistan is a lot bigger than Iraq, and already has nuclear weapons?...These guys [Bush Adm]want to fight a conventional war; since Al Qaeda won't oblige, they'll attack someone else who will [Iraq]. And watching from the alley, the terrorists are pleased. " -Paul Krugman, once again forced to state the obvious; the US is, effectively, helping with Al Qaeda's goal of radicalizing Islamic populations. In parts of Pakistan, they call Musharaff "Busharaff", and Nick Kristoff notes
"Even in Kuwait, where Yankees have the best possible claim on Arab gratitude, a significant minority of men and women regard us as worms" and that "The most common name given to Pakistani boys born after 9/11 in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province reportedly was Osama." What does this have to do with a war in Iraq? Well.........
posted by troutfishing
on Oct 15, 2002 -
The linked article, while a bit disapproving ("There can be little doubt that Muhammad would be displeased if he could see what passes for Islam in much of the Muslim world today"), gives a good description of the cult of saints and their tombs in popular Islam. [More inside.]
posted by languagehat
on Oct 6, 2002 -
are containers built to hold objects of special religious significance, such as the foot
of a saint, or the skull
of a king. The art of European reliquary making reached it's zenith in the Middle Ages when craftsman created fantastic objets d'art
for cathedrals and monasteries in the form of caskets
, bodily appendages
, and freestanding holders built to visually display occasionally gruesome
bits of the venerated individual. The layperson had access to reliquaries as well, typically in the form of small lead crosses
worn around the neck, containing pieces of bone or one of the ubiquitous fragments of the True Cross
. Reliquaries are not unique to the Christianity, but can also be found in Buddhist
posted by MrBaliHai
on Oct 6, 2002 -
"I asked who was playing. A Moroccan group, said the cabbie. He told me its name. Did I want to know what it was singing? Certainly. It was a plea to Israel from the Arab people. The chorus was, 'We have the same father. Why do you treat us this way?' Who might the father be? I asked. 'Ibrahim
,' he said. 'The song is called Ismail and Isaac,' after his sons."
posted by artifex
on Sep 24, 2002 -
of the Egyptian Zawahiri's Islamic Jihad and the Saudi Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda in 2001, based on the foundation of Qutb's book "Milestones", provide outlet for those who have no other way of expressing their objections to the authoritarian regimes of the countries they live in, and the reach of American power in the Middle East.
posted by semmi
on Sep 17, 2002 -
London Muslims to CELEBRATE 911
Is it cool to be angry? Do I care? I'm VERY angry about this. Maybe someone will celebrate 911 by flying an aircraft into Finsbury Park Mosque. There must be a limit to the progressive tolerance of other cultures and religious nuts. I think Londoners might reach it very soon. We seem to have our own Taliban. The time might be right for a radical secularism. What do you think?
posted by terrymiles
on Sep 8, 2002 -
Kinder, gentler minders
in Kabul? President Hamid Karzai has re-opened the Department of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice
. Department head Mohammad Wazir Razi Kabuli promises no beatings or jailings for violating Islamic tenets, as was common under the Taliban Ministry of Virtue and Vice
. Instead, "propaganda" will be used influence the people of Afghanistan. However, when asked what would happen if, for example, a woman was caught wearing makeup in public, Kabuli said "It's too early to talk about that."
posted by mr_crash_davis
on Aug 12, 2002 -
Man hijacks al-Qaida Web site.
He offers it to the FBI to use for intelligence gathering, but the FBI stumbles around for a week trying to find somebody with the technical abilities to take advantage of the site. By then, the site's militant Islamic visitors had discovered the ruse. Go figure.
posted by TBoneMcCool
on Jul 30, 2002 -
The Burqa Incident.
British freethinker Sarah Lawrence
dresses in a burqa to make a point at the US Libertarian Party Conference, and causes a hotel-wide security alert. Looks like one of those systemic sense-of-humour failures that conspire to spiral out of control these days. But isn't it a bit
worrying when even Libertarian Party
officials start threatening to report their own conference speakers
to the FBI for suspicious dress sense?
posted by ntk
on Jul 21, 2002 -
A Peace to End All Peace:
The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin. Ever wonder how the Middle East got so screwed up to start with? It all happened in an eight year time span, 1914-1922. The destruction of the Ottoman Empire laid the foundation for over half of the current conflicts in the world. Coupled with Huntingtons' Clash of Civilizations
, this book does more to explain WTF went wrong.
posted by Mack Twain
on Jul 20, 2002 -
It's the Law in South Dakota: Convert to Islam, Lose Your Child
Citing a woman's conversion to Islam as a sign of "bizarre behavior" that made her unfit to be a mother, a South Dakota judge removed her 5-year old son Trevor and gave temporary custody of him to his grandparents. "My wife and I are very concerned about Trevor's safety," explained Conrad Rederth, the child's grandfather. "Trevor's mother has engaged in some bizarre behavior, including wearing Muslim garb and declaring herself a Muslim." (Via alt.muslim
posted by laz-e-boy
on Jul 12, 2002 -
"Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives..."
The Rev. Jerry Vines slams Islam while speaking to delegates at the Southern Baptist Convention this week. The group's newly-elected president, the Rev. Jack Graham, refused to denounce the comments since "his statement is actually a statement that can be confirmed." Hmmm... since when is 'demon-possessed' an emperical statement?
Anyone want to guess what the reaction would be if a Muslim leader denounced Jesus with this much venom?
posted by Dirjy
on Jun 14, 2002 -
Catholics, Jews, Muslims - all three feel suddenly embattled and isolated
[nyt reg req] "This is a rare moment in history, like a planetary alignment: three world religions simultaneously racked by crisis....this confluence is highly unusual but not without precedent... — from 800 to 200 B.C., a period of tremendous violence and upheaval on many continents.... We could use this suffering to create wonderful new religious systems, as the Buddha did, or we could retreat into the spiritual barbarism of hatred ." Perhaps Karl Marx
was right that religion, like opium, results only in illusion and false hope.
posted by Voyageman
on Jun 13, 2002 -
A blasphemy trial out of the 17th century "Let's be clear. Criticising the precepts of modern Islam and the resultant actions of its adherents is not racist. Philosophically, it is the precise opposite of racism. It is an intellectual position arrived at through a consideration of ideas, rather than a cruel and irrational prejudice based upon the colour of someone's skin."
Rod Liddle discusses the upcoming prosecution of French writer Michel Houellebecq for a comment he made about Islam in an interview. Some interesting points here about the wider context, in which Houellebecq has been attacked for the beliefs of the fictional characters he creates.
posted by jonpollard
on May 29, 2002 -
Unlikely Allies Bound by a Common Hatred.
"Herr von Laden is an example for our children."
The bridge between radical Muslims and the neo Nazis in Europe and the United States.
In 1991, German neo-Nazis tried to form a "Condor Legion" to fight alongside Iraqis against the U.S.-led international coalition. More recently, members of the European far right have journeyed to Baghdad to express solidarity with Saddam Hussein.
posted by semmi
on Apr 29, 2002 -
defendant tells a court of his transformation from an irreligious drug dealer on the streets of Germany to an Afghanistan-trained militant, and the psychic journey
of some young Muslim slackers in England to become fighters for Al-Qaeda (NYT).
posted by semmi
on Apr 24, 2002 -