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Total number of comments: 10 (since 2013-11-28 16:45:12)


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  • Juan Cole, "The Idea of Peace in the Qur’an" (Kluge Center Blog)
    • The division of the world into "houses" or regions was a latter-day invention promoted by Ibn Tamiyyah, among others. This geo-political division of the world is not founded on any specific teaching in the Qur'an or the ahadith. In some elaborations there is a house of justice (dar al-'adl) and a house of entente (dar as-soulh) and others. The dar as-soulh was a region that was not at war with the Muslim state and was not considered to be an enemy. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made treaties with several non-Muslim countries, which were not invaded and their people were under no coercion to convert to Islam.

      There is a great danger in applying to Islam a dualistic or manichean construct that requires everything "good" to be Islamic and everything else to be evil and worthy of destruction. I call this the "cowboy conception" of Islam. Us vs Them. Totally good vs totally evil. Good guys vs bad guys. Black vs White. A universe in which there is no gray. The U.S. justice system is perfectly good; Shari'ah law is absolutely evil (although the two systems share many aspects).

    • Indeed, shalom/salaam mean the same thing. The larger meaning is about God's will that we live in harmony with him, with our neighbours and with ourselves. Essentially, this concept was expressed by Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) when he was asked which of the Jewish commandments (there were over 600) is the greatest. He said, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord is our God, the Lord is one." And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these and on these two depend all the Law (Torah) and the Prophets (nevi'im, prophetical scripture).

  • Are Cruz And Kasich smart enough to stop Trump?
    • After winning 5 northeast states on 26 April, Tromp can say "Alea iacta est" because he has reached the point of no return. If he wins his Rubicon (California), he will be the GOP Convention nominee on the first ballot.

  • US Ally Saudi Arabia Sentences Atheist Tweep to 10 Years & 2,000 Lashes
    • Abdelkarim Evans 03/02/2016 at 1:59 pm

      In the Qur'an (2:256), Allah says "لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ" which can be translated as "Let there be no compulsion in religion...."

      In explaining this verse, Sayyid Qutb writes, "Islam looks at religious faith as a matter of conviction, once the basic facts are provided and explained. Faith is never a matter of coercion or compulsion. To achieve this conviction, Islam addresses the human being in totality. It addresses the human mind and intellect, human common sense, emotions and feelings, the innermost human nature, and the whole human conscious being. (...) Freedom of belief is the most basic right that identifies man as a human being. To deny anyone this right is to deny him or her humanity. Freedom of belief also implies the freedom to express and propagate one’s belief without fear of threat or persecution; otherwise, that freedom is hollow and meaningless."

      The greatly revered Qur'anic commentator Ibn Kathir wrote, "There is no compulsion in religion, meaning, do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, whomever Allah directs to Islam, opens his heart for it and enlightens his mind, will embrace Islam with certainty. For whomever Allah blinds the heart and seals the hearing and sight, there will be no benefit from being forced to embrace Islam."

      The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, warned us about whose zeal leads to excesses when he said:

      "Beware of extremism in religion because that was the only thing that destroyed those before you."

      اللهُ اَعْلَم (Allah knows best)

  • Canada offers world example in integrating Syrian refugees
    • The Canadian objective of receiving 26,000 refugees will be met by the end of February 2016. As of Feb. 2, 16,000 have already been received. The U.S. plan is to receive only 10,000 by the END of 2016 although the U.S. population is more than TEN times that of Canada.

      Unlike Denmark, we will not seize their assets and unlike several European countries, we will not force them out when the Syrian war is over.

  • Egyptian Constitution: Army Strengthened, Religious Parties Banned, Freedom of Belief, Speech Enshrined
    • The constitutions of many countries sound good on paper but are not, in fact, followed by governments. I am still convinced that the Egyptian people who were too impatient to wait elections to replace Morsi and who made a pact with the Devil (the Army) to illegally overthrow him, will live (at least most of them!) to regret their lack of patience and steadfastness to whom they had given their bay'ah (oath of allegiance) through free elections.
      اللهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرينَ
      Surely, Allah is with those who are patient (steadfast). Qur'an 2:249

  • Fourth of July Comes a Day Early to Cairo after Fundamentalist President is Removed (video)
    • Okay people, it's perspective time.

      In the 2012 Egyptian election, Morsi won with only 51.7% of the popular vote and a voter turnout of 43%. In the U.S. in 2012, Obama won with an even smaller margin of 50.4% of the popular vote and a turnout of 57%.

      I hope no one in the U.S. would approve of Republican supporters organizing mass demonstrations against Obama and accepting a military coup d'état to remove him from office.

      The whole point of fixed terms followed by general elections is to maintain order and stability but still give the people a way to remove a leader who cannot deliver the goods. It seems a significant number of Egyptians prefer mob rule followed by military dictatorship instead of genuine democratic institutions.

    • In the midst of a worldwide economic recession, the impatient youth of Egypt could give only one year to the man they democratically elected for a full term. They demonstrated and gave give the army the pretext it needed to take power.

      There is no doubt that Morsi was not the ideal president but a regime based on a coup d'état by the army does not bode well for the people of Egypt. By the way, this is the same army that held power and was reviled repeatedly by the same demonstrators during the year immediately following Mubarak's fall and preceding Morsi's election.

      The people and leaders of virtue gave their bay'ah (oath of allegiance) to Morsi to be their leader, and now they have betrayed him by interrupting his term of office.

      The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used very strong words to insist on the necessity of supporting the legitimate leader so long as that leader's actions are not contrary to Allah's law:

      “Whoever gives his oath of allegiance to a leader and gives him his hand and his heart, let him obey him as much as he can. If another one comes and disputes with him (for leadership), kill the second one.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1844)

      In this case, there was no pretender; the people simply betrayed the leader to whom they had sworn allegiance and let the army take over.

      The demonstrators and the army (not the Muslim Brotherhood government) are the real extremists and they may have sealed their own fate by their intemperate actions this week.

  • Looking for PETN, Scanning Grandma at the Airport, and the Future of Air Travel
    • Only some kinds of profiling are illegal (and not very effective): those based on extremely broad categories, such as colour, religion, nationality, etc. People are not suspect just because they are Muslim or Arab or brown-skinned. They are suspect when their behaviour, current and past, indicates a cause for concern. The shoe bomber was a Briton of European descent. He was more or less unknown to the authorities when he returned from an extended trip to the Middle East. However, his profile was suspect. In Paris, instead of changing planes to go home in England, this man who had no checked or carry on luggage wanted to buy a one-way ticket to Florida for cash. He was hardly the typical traveler in Paris who was headed for a vacation in Miami. (In fact, any Frenchman with self-respect would NOT take a vacation in Florida. Better places are closer and much cheaper.) In any case, REAL, INTELLIGENT examination of the shoe bomber's profile would have raised all the right flags. In fact, it DID raise flags at the Air France counter, where he was REFUSED a ticket. The people at the American Airlines counter, however, saw nothing strange about him and sold him a one-way ticket--no questions asked. Fortunately for those on his AA plane, he was unable to set off his bomb.

    • The MAIN problem with scanning and groping passengers is that it is relatively ineffective compared to other, less invasive approaches. Most recent incidents were possible because of failures BEFORE the person or bomb got on the plane. Look at some examples:

      Twenty years ago an Air India plane left Canada and exploded over the Atlantic killing all on board. Before the plane took off the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was called to inspect baggage taken off the plane because of a bag with no accompanying passenger. Because of the weather the RCMP bomb specialist and sniffer do were delayed. Instead of waiting, the airport authorities let the plane leave with all its baggage.

      Today the 9/11 hijackers would fail because the cabin door is now permanently locked and the pilots are armed. Not much point in continuing to go after anything metal except high powered weapons or perhaps machetes.

      The shoe bomber, who had recently been in the Middle East and had a British passport but had NO luggage tried to buy a one-way ticket to Florida with cash in Paris. The clerk at the Air France counter refused. The bomber crossed the terminal to the American Airlines counter and was immediately sold a ticket. His "bomb" was a dud.

      The underwear bomber's device was a dud too. But he got on board because the U.S. government ignored the information received from the young man's own father, who reported that the fellow was unstable and that the U.S. should cancel his visa so that he could not board the plane. Airport security also shares the blame because he was headed for a winter destination (Detroit) but had NO warm weather clothing.

      If there were any terrorists who wanted to cause havoc, they could pick hundreds of "soft" targets. They have no reason to limit themselves to airpoints. If they exist and if airport security really does make air travel safer, we would see attacks on hotels, factories, trains, cruise ships, subways, etc., etc.

      The actual threat is so small statistically speaking that all of us are much more likely to die from a lightning hit or win the Mega Lottery than we are to die in a terrorist attack.

      Those who run and work in security agencies (TSA, DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA, and all police departments) usually have a need to control others. The myth of imminent terrorist attack gives them a pretext to create paranoia, fear and hysteria among the public, who then willingly accept every form of abuse and indignity.

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