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Total number of comments: 37 (since 2013-11-28 16:45:12)

BenE

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  • Fascism in Charlottesville: Why it had a monopoly on violence & Intimidation
    • Those fascistic rioters who dream of a white America , a neo-Nazi America, with a Confederate flag on every public building and a statue of Robert E. Lee in every park still have not learned that history passed them by more than a century ago.

      The Commander of the Confederate Army, Gen. Robert E. Lee, understood in the end that the dream was over, forever.

      All his statues should be relocated to museums or other appropriate places and what Lee said after the war should be engraved on the base of that statue on each and every other statue that idolizes the Confederacy.

      “We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we knew how. We have been defeated. (...) There is now but one course to pursue. We must accept the situation. ” He also said, “We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.”

  • Dutch Furious as Israel seizes Solar Panels donated to Palestinians
    • The hatred and hypocrisy of the Israeli government seems to have no limit. It seems useless to criticize their actions in the occupied territories. Why should they be expected to listen to anyone on earth when they openly disobey a commandment delivered to them by God himself in the Torah of Moses.

      "The stranger that dwells with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were [once] strangers [too,] in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." --Leviticus (Vayikra) 19:34

      כְּאֶזְרָח מִכֶּם יִהְיֶה לָכֶם הַגֵּר ׀ הַגָּר אִתְּכֶם וְאָהַבְתָּ לוֹ כָּמוֹךָ כִּֽי־גֵרִים
      הֱיִיתֶם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

  • The Millennial's Palace Coup in Saudi Arabia: How Dangerous?
    • What all the Wahhabis (and everyone in Iran and elsewhere) should remember:
      "Beware of extremism in religion because that was the only thing that destroyed those before you." --Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h.

  • What's Wrong with the March against Sharia?
    • Most Americans, including many ordinary Americans have no real idea of what Islam is or what shari'ah is. And they have little knowledge about the many correspondences between Christianity and Islam. Those ordinary "low information" Americans are exposed every day to Islamophobic propaganda intended to turn them against all Muslims. Sadly, there is almost no rebuttal to expose them to accurate information.

  • Who are Egypt's Coptic Christians, ISIL's latest Victims?
    • Da'esh (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the recent attack. In doing so, they give proof that they are Muslim renegades and blasphemers. In the Qur'an, words believed to be directly from God himself speaks many times in a positive way about Christians.

      "... the nearest among men with affection for the believers are those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst them are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant." Qur'an 5:82

      "Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians--whoever believes in Allah and the last day and does good--they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve." Qur'an 5:69

      "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clearly from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks...." Qur'an 2:256

      The people of Da'esh, who kill peaceful Christians (men, women and children) simply because they are Christians are not true believers. They are banu Shaytan (sons of the Devil). So too are those who claim to be true Christians but who victimize peaceful Muslims.

  • Alabama Passes Bill to Protect Confederate Monuments even at cost of Economy
    • There quite a few State erected historical markers throughout the South that refer to slavery.

      Although museums are not very common, there are some, including:
      Old Slave Mart, Charleston SC;
      The Whitney Plantation (near New Orleans LA), which is now a major slavery museum;

      Many other museums have slavery exhibits, including;
      The National Civil Rights Museum, which opened in Memphis in 1991 and was built around the Lorraine Motel, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

      However, there was NO federally funded museum or monument dedicated to slavery in the U.S. until 2016, when the National Museum of African-American History and Culture opened in Washington as part of the Smithsonian Institution, a project supported by $250 million in federal funding; exhibits on slavery stand alongside others commemorating the African-American experience.

      As for the Jim Crow era, the former Woolworth's store in Greensboro NC now houses a museum dedicated to the beginnings of the civil rights movements that began there in 1960.

    • The entire question of Confederate monuments is more complicated than it may seem at first glance. Some are almost worshiped as idols of a never-forgotten past and a forlorn hope that "the South will rise again". Others are simply tangible reminders of an important chapter in U.S. history.

      There is certainly no reason to fly the Confederate flag on public buildings or to otherwise give official standing to a lost and defeated dream.

      On the other hand, we need to be reminded in history books and by historical statues and markers of our shared past. The paramount desire of most Southerners to maintain the sin of slavery was accompanied by a very important political debate. Some argued that the Union was indivisible and others argued that a colony that freely entered the Union had the right to freely and unilaterally leave the Union. The outcome of the war settled that question forever. Unionists call it the "Civil War", a rebellion or insurrection; the Rebels call it the "War Between the States" (a war against "foreign" intervention; European historians call it by its real name, the "War of Secession".

      Confederate landmarks are not limited to diehard and racist groups.

      Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is a military installation of the United States Army and is the largest military installation in the world (by population) and has more than 50,000 active duty personnel. It was opened in 1918 by the U.S. federal government.

      Fort Bragg was named by the Federal government in memory of Confederate General Braxton Bragg, who near the end of the war was a military advisor to CSA President Jefferson Davis.

      The strange idea that a conqueror may honour an enemy is not limited to the U.S. The Battle of Québec (Canada) ended with the fall of New France to the British under the command of Gen. Wolfe, who died on the Plains of Abraham. He was followed in death less than 24 hours later by the French commander, Gen. Montcalm, who was also mortally wounded on the Plains.

      Today, near the Château Frontenac Hotel, on the edge of the Plains, stands Wolfe-Montcalm Monument, a simple obelisk erected in 1827, it is the second oldest war monument in Canada (after Lord Nelson's Column in Montréal).

      The Latin inscription on the Wolfe-Montcalm obelisk translates as "Their courage gave them a common death, history a common fame, posterity a common memorial".

      I would argue that the mere existence of monuments to the defeated is not the question, but rather the appropriateness of such monuments, on a case by case basis.

      The Commander of the Confederate Army, Gen. Robert E. Lee, understood in the end that the dream was over, forever. He said "We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we know how. We have been defeated. For us as a Christian people, there is now but one course to pursue. We must accept the situation." He also said, "We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing."

      One of the statues recently removed was a statue of Robert E. Lee. Perhaps that was one of those that deserved to be kept in a very public place.

  • Could Comey Memo lead to Impeachment of Trump?
    • In isolation, impeachment sounds interesting. In fact, the order of succession for the president's replacement suggests otherwise:

      1 Vice President Mike Pence (R)
      2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R)
      3 President pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch (R)
      4 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R)
      5 Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R)
      6 Secretary of Defense James Mattis (I)
      7 Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R)
      8 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (R)
      9 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (R)
      10 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (R)
      11 Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta (R)
      12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price (R)
      13 Secretary of Housing Urban Development Ben Carson (R)
      –-- Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (R)*
      14 Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (R)
      15 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (R)
      16 Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin (I)
      17 Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly (I)
      __________
      *Not a natural-born citizen (acquired U.S. citizenship by   naturalization) and thus ineligible for the Presidency.

      Truly, all possible outcomes could lead the whole world to the End of Days.

  • Which Middle East Authoritarian Leader is Trump most Like?
    • My first choice is Sultan Recep Tayyip Çok Yaşa. If you had included southern Africa, I might have said Uganda's Idi Amin, but I don't know enough about Trump's eating habits to be sure.

      One thing is sure, Trump would be delighted to have Amin's self bestowed official title:

      "His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas".

      Trump also comes close to Time magazine's 1977 description of Amin:

      A "killer and clown, big-hearted buffoon and strutting martinet."

  • It was ISIL, not Hackers, who Hijacked French Election
    • Macron has won the election with 66% of the vote, compared with 34% for Le Pen. Considering the 25% of electors who either did not vote or spoiled their ballot, Macron's win is significant. Or to put it another way, Le Pen's loss may be catastrophic. She is already talking about major changes to her party.

      Macron had the same problem as Hillary Clinton, a large number of people who could have voted for him did not but for the most part they did not vote for Le Pen either.

      At least we can all be thankful that for the next FIVE years, we will be talking about MONSIEUR (and not Madame) le Président de la République.

      Of course, now we have to wait for the legislative vote to see exactly who has power and how much in the next Assemblée nationale.

  • Dear Director Comey: We're Nauseous too, at your Disingenuous Self-Defense
    • Even if Comey had already searched the emails and found evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of H. Clinton, he did not have to go public just before the vote. He would have had more than a month until the Electoral College met to elect the president. That would have given him time to, for example, charge and arrest Clinton. Then the electors could have decided whom to pick and could have still picked Clinton. Even after the Electoral College vote, Comey would have had another month as the person designated to become president would not have any of the constitutional protections against arrest until noon on January 20th and no impeachment proceedings could have complicated things before that date.

  • Uh, oh: French Left can't bring itself to Vote for Macron
    • Abstaining in a situation like that in France is immoral.

      In all situations, politics or others, where a person has the opportunity to influence the outcome, he or she MUST participate by choosing the lesser evil or the greater good.

      Everyone from the centre to the far left who sits at home and does not vote for Macron will, as the adage says, be cutting off their nose to spite their face and will bear a part of the responsibility if Le Pen wins and pushes France into the abyss.

      As Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." He is echoed by John Stuart Mill, "Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."

      To abstain from voting in such a circumstance is what the French call a "capitulation de conscience".

  • Priebus: Trump Could Amend Constitution to Abolish 1st Amendment
    • They might have a slim chance of amending the libel statute. As for a constitutional amendment to the Bill of Rights, not a snowball's chance in Hell for passage by Congress and even lower chance of being ratified by the states.

      The scary thing is that Priebus admits the Administration might look at a constitutional amendment. It is amazing and a bit terrifying that people in the White House would even consider such an assault on basic freedoms.

  • No Woman Has Ever Run For Iranian President. Will Azam Taleghani Be The First?
    • Ms. Talighani has two problems.

      One is indeed the accepted definition of "rajâl", which is a plural and means "men" in general or, more specifically, "distinguished men", "prominent men", VIPs.

      The second problem is Bukhari's canonical collection of sound ahadith (reliable oral traditions of the Prophet Muhammad's words). According to one hadith:

      "Those who entrust their affairs to a woman will never know prosperity!"

      This is generally interpreted to mean that a woman cannot rule over a country. However, there have been exceptions, such as Benzir Bhutto, the female prime minister of Pakistan. However, when she ran for re-election in 2007, she was assassinated. Responsibility was claimed by an al-Qa'eda commander and by the Pakistani Taliban.

      The narrator of the hadith was Abu Bakra. However, some argue that it should not be considered to be sound because the narrator had been convicted of giving false testimony. Generally, a narrator is expected to be a person of proven truthfulness.

  • Washington's Supreme Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons and Civilian Deaths
    • In general, I don't like puppets and client states, but in the case of Syria, the only "practical" solution on the horizon would be for Russia to take out al-Assad and put its man in charge and then put an end to the hydra that is now the opposition/insurgency.

      The West and the surrounding Arab countries, after making the anti-Alawite, anti-Ba'athist factions believe that the West would support them, left them hanging out to dry and allowed Da'esh (ISIS) to come in.

      It is obvious that the anti-al-Assad forces cannot win. But al-Assad is a five-star monster that only Russia can successfully remove in a way that could improve the situation.

  • It is Comey who should be Investigated
    • One of the most interesting things about Hillary's emails is the fact that NO ONE in authority at the State Department seems to have questioned her use of a private server.

      There are thousands of her emails (both to and from) and anyone the least bit computer savvy would have noticed that her mails did not come from or go to the official State Dept. server. Her private server address was:

      HDR@clintonemail.com

      All other State Dept. employees with whom she exchanged correspondence had a different address:

      @state.gov

      All of the hair pulling and cries of "lock her up" by her adversaries is the height of hypocrisy. Her server may have been private but it was certainly NOT a secret. And it obviously did not attract the attention of State Dept. officials.

  • Eight People Flee U.S. Border Patrol to Seek Asylum in Canada
    • @Chip Pitfield: This is exactly what our Canadian press is reporting, with photos.

      link to shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com

      The U.S. thugs did not want to "keep the Somali's in the U.S."; they would have sent them back to Somalia.

      I grew up and was educated in the U.S. but 40 years ago, I left for a professional opportunity (as a certified translator) in Canada. While in the U.S., I Iived through the civil rights struggle and the Viet-Nam war. I experienced or read about some really bad actions by the government, but I never expected to live to see what's going on now.

      The Electoral College has put a malignant and delusional narcissist in power. The world is watching and is frightened by what they see.

      Perhaps the time has come to put the Statue of Liberty in the the Smithsonian Museum with a sign quoting John Greenleaf Whittier: “For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'.”

  • Why Designating Muslim Brotherhood 'Terrorists' will harm Democracy at home and Abroad
    • The Muslim Brotherhood is not a single, monolithic organization. There are national groups in some countries and many Islamic associations in various countries, including the U.S. and Canada, that are inspired by the fundamental tenets of the original (Egyptian) Brotherhood.

      It is based on political activism combined with Islamic charity work. The Brotherhood's stated goal is to instill the Quran and the Sunnah as the "sole reference point for ... ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state.

      Frankly, if in the preceding sentence, one were to replace the religious references with Bible, Muslim and Evangelical Christianity, the statement would reflect the thinking of many on the U.S. Christian right.

      In 2014, the Brotherhood's chairman, Muhammad Badie, reiterated the Brotherhood's non-violent stance and said: "Since its establishment decades ago, the Muslim Brotherhood has never accepted or committed injustice or violence. It is fully committed to a totally peaceful approach". There have been a few (very few) isolated incidents where someone claiming allegiance to the Brotherhood carried out violent acts, but those acts were not encouraged or supported by the movement.

      In 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a bill to label the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and more specially to identify three Muslim Brotherhood entities in the U.S. including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The other two entities are the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).

      There has never been any credible evidence that any of those groups supports or condones terror.

      The U.S. right's "crusade" against everything that can be called Islamic makes one wonder if soon there will congressional committees asking the renewed version of the old question: "Are you now or have you every been a Muslim?"

  • Demonizing Muslims: White Quebec Terrorists kill 6 in attack on Mosque
    • The latest official report is that there is now only one suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, who called 911 a few minutes after the attack and surrendered to police. The other person, Mohammad Belkhadir, has been released from custody and is now considered to be a material witness and will not be charged with any crime.

      Bissonnette is a 27 year old university student, the son of an old-stock French Canadian family. His Facebook page had likes for Donald Trump, Marine LePen (the French right wing extremist) and the state of Israel. He is expected to appear before a judge later today and be charged.

      I have lived in Québec City for 40 years and I am a Muslim. With a few exceptions, Quebeckers are sympathetic, kind people who are very accepting of Muslims. Canada has already taken in more than 25,000 Syrian refugees and about 5,000 of them have come to Québec. There have been NO serious refugee-related problems. The US, with a population 9 times greater than Canada, has taken in only about 10,000 Syrians and has not slammed the door on all refugee claimants from around the world in addition to all people from 7 Muslim-majority countries.
      Today the Québec flag is at half-mast on the Québec National Assembly building and the Canadian flag is at half-mast on the federal Parliament in Ottawa and in many other places throughout the country.

  • Trump's Visa Ban is about anti-Muslim Bigotry, not Security
    • Benedictus Quebecensis 01/25/2017 at 11:55 pm

      Donald Trump seems to really believe the "alt facts" that he keeps repeating. If so, he is not a liar knowingly using false information to gain some political advantage; instead he genuinely believes what he says and meets Jasper's three criteria for diagnosing delusional states:

      Delusions are ideas that match three criteria:
      -- certainty (held with absolute conviction)
      -- incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
      -- impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre, or patently untrue)

      The answer may not be impeachment and removal but temporary suspension under Amendment 25 to the Constitution, which provides:
      (...) Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. (...)

      As Claudius says in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.” Or as we would say in today’s idiom:

      When important people start to show signs of insanity, you have to watch them closely.

  • Preparing for the Normalization of a Neofascist White House
    • Those who want to weaken Trump and eventually be victorious over him would do well to read (or re-read) Sun Tzu's "The Art of War".

      Master Sun counsels us to divide and thus conquer. This means separating Trump from his own counselors and Cabinet members, separating him from the Republican majorities in the House and the Senate and separating him from the people who elected him.

      In this respect, Master Sun says: “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

      In the case of Trump, Master Sun recommends a simple strategy: “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”

      He must be goaded to anger and to 3:00 a.m. tweets. He must be lured to go too far and falling into the trap of showing the world his weakness of character, his malignant narcissism and his delusions of grandeur.

      Simply calling him a monster or a fascist will not have the desired result. He must be enticed to show himself for who and what he really is in a way that will turn his own supporters against him. We must tempt him in ways that will lead to his own self-destruction.

      Trump's own hubris can be used to bring him down.
      "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

  • The Presidential Debate that did not really Happen
    • The most intelligent remark all evening was made by after the debate by a woman for whom party (Republican) is more important than anything else. She admitted not liking Trump and then said words to the effect that "Trump may be a jackass but he's the jackass leading our mule team."

      That is the problem--millions are discounting how dangerous Trump is for the country and the world but they support the party come what may or they are entertained by Trump and are as ill-informed as Trump. They do not even know that they are being sold the largest bottle of snake oil ever put on the American political market.

      Trump is the closest thing to the anti-Christ that we have and yet, surprisingly, many self-identified Christians are planning to vote for him.

      He is a malignant narcissist, and many Americans have been sucked into his brain-dead cult.

  • Egypt: New Church Law Discriminates Against Christians
    • Of course not. Egyptian law applies only in Egypt.

      However there are zoning laws in various U.S. states and municipalities that have been used in recent years to prevent Muslim Americans from building mosques or using existing vacant buildings as mosques.

      U.S. zoning rules are used to deny building or occupation permits based on the number of cars that will be parked in the area when people come for group worship. In spite of federal laws to the contrary, some municipalities try to restrict mosques by refusing to change the zoning of a property from commercial or industrial to institutional. Sometimes where Muslims have bought an existing but abandoned church, local authorities have rezoned the property from institutional to commercial or industrial to prevent the old church from being used as a mosque.

      The plight of the Copts in Egypt is worse because of the violence they face but the discrimination is similar to that faced by Muslims in some U.S. areas.

  • Donald Trump's "sharia law" Bogeyman is more Islamophobia
    • The word "shari'ah" literally means "the path to a watering place". Without water, we quickly die. The "watering place" for Muslims is the fount of God's wisdom, knowledge and bidding as revealed to us primarily in the Qur'an (divine revelation) and the life and words of the Prophet Muhammad (sunnah).

      God commands us to do to good and to eschew evil and to be just in all our actions in regard to ourselves and others.
      "Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and charity to kith and kin; He forbids all shameful deeds, injustice and rebellion...." (Qur'an 16:90)

      Judges are expected to implement the principles of divine justice on the basis of three axioms:
      (1) The larger interest of society takes precedence over the interest of any single individual;
      (2) Although "relieving hardship" and "promoting benefit" are both among the prime objectives of shari'ah, the former has precedence over the latter;
      (3) A bigger loss cannot be inflicted to relieve a smaller loss or a bigger benefit cannot be sacrificed for a smaller one. Conversely, a smaller harm can be inflicted to avoid a bigger harm or a smaller benefit can be sacrificed fora larger benefit.

      There are also a number of secondary sources of shari'ah, including:
      Consensus of opinions ( al-ijma') : the interpretation of the entire Muslim community with respect to a matter;
      Analogical deduction (al-quiyas): the use of human faculties to determine the proper course of action for things not explicity mentioned in the Qur'an or Sunnah;
      Known practices and customs ('urf and 'adat): Customary or secular laws are valid so long as there is no conflict with the Qur'an or the Sunnah.

      Furthermore, Muslims are expected to obey the civil and criminal laws of the place where the live even if that place is not under Muslim rule. When a person feels compelled to practice civil disobedience, he must nevertheless accept the decision based of the practices and customs of the place as to fines or imprisonment.

      When Muslims talk about shari'ah implementation in the West, they are either talking about some distant time when local laws evolve to be in full conformity with the Qur'an and the Sunnah or they are seeking the adoption of civil laws that will make it possible for them, for example, to conclude civil contracts that are based on shari'ah and that if contested, will be judged according to Islamic legal principles. This no different than Catholic Canon Law courts or Jewish beth din that settle civil disputes (where both parties consent) by a mechanism of binding arbitration. Such arbitration panels are already widespread in secular commercial activities and stipulated as an ultimate dispute settlement mechanism in contracts.

      Generally, Muslims are not calling for the implementation of amputations and beheadings. First of all, those punishments, whichare limited as to scope, are the maximum penalties allowed in the Qur'an. In practice, the judge can impose a lesser sentence where justice would be better served by mercy instead of strict, absolute justice. A man who steals in extremis to feed his family does not deserve amputation if the society has systemic inequalities that prevent all from providing for their basic needs.

      Shari'ah is a philosophical or juridical construct that is also found in the Jewish Torah and the Christian Gospel, as summarized by Prophet Jesus when he was asked which of the some 600 laws were the greatest. Jesus is reported to have said:

      "Hear O children of Israel, the Lord is our God and God is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the first and great commandment and the second is similar: you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law (Torah) and Prophetic Books (nevi'im)."

      That is the gist of shari'ah: obeying God in everything we do, left undone, say or left unsaid and in treating all others with justice and mercy, as we would like to be treated.

      Allahu 'alam (But God knows best.)

  • Saudi Bigot-in-Chief Declares Iranian Shiites "Not Muslim"
    • It seems to be a permanent part of human nature to categorize groups as either us or them and to exclude unity.

      Some Evangelical Protestant groups still do not recognize Roman Catholics as "real" Christians go so far as to identify the RC Church with the allegorical "whore of Babylon" in the Bible.

  • French Court lifts Municipal Burkini Ban; & Why should you care what other people wear?
    • The simple truth is that modern French society is classist, elitist, and racist. Over the door of thousands of government buildings is emblazoned the motto "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" (freedom, equality, brotherhood). The truth is that the "Republican principle of laïcité (secularism), which is supposed to make the State neutral in its laws and administration, has been perverted into a State religion that would compel all people to be its votaries, except when they are closeted in their homes. When police officers surround a woman on the beach and force her to remove her burkini, which is no more offensive than the wet suit worn by surfers or the traditional habit worn by some nuns when they wade in the surf, where is the freedom, equality and fraternity?

      The current Constitution includes the Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789) and therefore says:

      "La France est une République indivisible, laïque, démocratique et sociale. Elle assure l'égalité devant la loi de tous les citoyens sans distinction d'origine, de race ou de religion. Elle respecte toutes les croyances." (France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic. It guarantees equality before the Law for all its citizens, with no distinction on account of origin, race or religion. It respect all [religious ] beliefs.)

      That is the hypocrisy of modern France. The principles are clear and enshrined in law, but they are flouted and scorned by both the people and the government.

      As La Bruyère wrote long ago: "Le voile de la modestie couvre le mérite, et le masque de l'hypocrisie cache la malignité." (The veil of modesty cloaks merit, and the mask of hypocrisy hides malice.)

  • The Great Mexican Wall Deception
    • Generally, before World War I, visas and passports were NOT required for entry to most Western European nations. In the U.S., there was no federal immigration law until 1790. Before that time, the states controlled entry. All the 1790 law did was set a residence requirement of 2 years before naturalization. The first significant U.S. law was not adopted until 1819. Properly managed, there is no real reason to patrol borders, except to intercept contraband, sex slaves, etc. Otherwise, if a person enters and then leads his or her life in a peaceful and lawful manner, he or she should be left alone and allowed to be naturalized after a reasonable time.

  • 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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