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Total number of comments: 6 (since 2013-11-28 16:37:50)


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  • The Muslim World Sounds off on Bin Laden's Demise
    • Do you not feel focussing on official government responses when you know all too well how poorly they reflect public opinion might not be the best way to look at things. This doesn't mean that we need to see mass demonstrations mourning him but the melancholy coverage (at times, at least initially) of Jazeera Arabic and Al-Arabiyya, not to mention the latest editorial of Abd Al-Bari Atwan in the influential (far closer to public opinion than any the officials cited above, wouldn't you agree?) offer a more nuanced picture of how such a figure can come to take on an anti-imperial aura and become a symbol of resistance, even if his doctine/practice had little resonance and traction.

  • Photo of the Day: Beirut's Split Personality
    • I don't agree with the term split personality - I think it's only split, or in some way contradictory, if we approach it in a way which sees such symbols as totally incompatible. Many people often juxtapose a Lebanese girl in a mini-skirt with one in a veil and say the same thing but I think we should reject such terms.

      I see no reason why such images should not be viewed as representing the diverse social fabric of Lebanon. Indeed it wouldn't surprise me at all if somebody both revered Fadhlallah and was into designer labels.

      To be sure, there are splits in the country - but along political lines!

  • Israel Declares for Ethnic Nationalism
    • Juan,

      Do you not think it's also important to mention, in addition to to the conceptual and ideological core of this law (which is of extreme importance, of course) that it also has a very clear practical function: dealing with the demographic time bomb and the right of return.

      Even the 'dove' Livni recognises the threat and sees the Palestinian-Israelis' future outside of Israel, so do you think laws (and their subsequent expansion) like this are clearly aimed at establishing a legal basis for dealing with these concrete issues.

      It has been interesting to see the internal Israeli opposition to this law has been largely centred around Israel's projected image, as opposed to the idea of a ethnic Jewish state.

      Would be good to hear your thoughts.

  • 'Burn the Qur'an Day' Endangers US Troops: Petraeus
    • I had often thought about who were the interlocutors of early Islam (specifically the Christian and Jewish communities) and what the nature of their beliefs was. Was the Quran aware of theological splits within other faiths (as one of your hypotheses suggests) and did, as Donner's latest book seems to put forward, the early Islamic message seek to encompass other communities in the nascent umma.....all issues I hope you live long enough to write about!!!

      Thanks very much for this.

    • A very interesting point, distinguishing between the verb and the sociological group associated with the active participle, so could we conclude (I'll write it in Arabic as it's clearer):

      من يكفر ليس بالضرورة كافراً
      (rough translation: one who commits kufr is not necessarily a kafir)?

    • Dear Juan,

      Could I follow up with a question on your point:

      "But it is clear from a close study of the way the Quran uses the word (kafir) that it refers to those who actively oppose and persecute Muslims."

      I would like to ask you about Q.5:72 - "they disbelieve (kafara) who say: God is the Messiah, son of Mary" and Q.5:73 - "they disbelieve (kafara) who say: God is the third of three".

      (I have taken the translations from Hugh Goddard's chapter in the book 'Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Centtury, eds. S. Taji-Farouki & B. M. Nafi, I.B. Tauris, London, 2004)

      Do these ayaats not suggest a theological component to kufr, not just the opposition to the nascent Muslim community.

      Do you think it is possible that the Quran is inconsistent in its treatment of Christians?

      Thank you.

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