Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are we reading the same Koran?

Here we go again...

Yes, people throughout history have justified horrible things in the name of the gods they worship.

When people do these things, they should be punished.

But when evil arises, we need to fight the people committing evil.  And not the ones that don't.

But, hey.  Here's a viral emailer who may disagree with that.

The Joys of Being A Muslim Wife

This was written by a woman born in Egypt as a Muslim.  This is not hearsay, and it will scare  you.

Viral email is, by definition, hearsay.  It may be true - but sources need to be checked.

As to the claim that this was "written by a woman born in Egypt as a Muslim" - we'll get to that later.

Joys of Muslim Women
by Nonie Darwish

According to Snopes, this was not written by Nonie Darwish.  It's a highly editorialized restatement of some of the things she's said, and taken out of context.  She's never endorsed this viral email, as far as I can tell.

In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child, consummating the marriage by 9.  The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.

If we're going to say something is "in the Muslim faith", I consider the Koran to be the ultimate arbiter.

Now, I'm not a Muslim.  I can't claim to understand the religion as well as a practitioner.  And I certainly can't read the Koran in it's original Arabic.

But I can provide quotes from an English text.  And I have a free copy of "Interpretation of the Meaning of The Glorious Qur'an", by Prof. (Dr.) Syed Vickar Ahmed.  So I'll go ahead and try to use it.

Now, let's get down to the "marrying a one year old" thing.  Quran 4.19 clearly states, "You are forbidden to inherit women against their will."  I don't know of anyone who would consider a one-year-old bride to be "willing".
Even though a woman is abused, she can not obtain a divorce.

Quran 4.35:  If you fear a break up between the two of them [ed: Husband and Wife], appoint (two) individuals (to settle their differences), one from his family, and the other from her's (her family); If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation"

And if they don't wish for peace?  Nothing else is said, except for the husband's duties to ensure support and fair division of property.

To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses.

Let's get to the Quranic source.  4.15-17: "And if any of your women are guilty of being illicit in (sexual) conduct, take the evidence of four witnesses from your (own) people against them; and if they testify, confine them to the house until they die or Allah decides some (other) way for them.  And the two persons among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both; and if they repent and improve, leave them alone; Surely, Allah Forgives and Accepts repentance (Tawwab), Most Merciful (Raheem)."

It's hard to say that a rape victim is "being illicit".  Even so, the four male witnesses are a protection for her, and not for a rapist.  Even if a claim of sexual impropriety is made against a woman, if one of four witnesses disagree, or if four witnesses can't be found, the woman can't be punished for the impropriety.  And this case, punishment is imprisonment in the home until they repent.

Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry.  

Quran 4.19 comes closest to this, but still refutes it: "that you may take away part of the dowry you have given to them - except where they have been guilty of open illicit sexual deeds (lustfulness);"

Again, I don't see how this would apply to a woman being raped.

The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family.

It seems to me that Quran 4.92 is quite clear on the topic of "honor killing" - "And a believer should never kill a believer."

 Husbands can beat their wives 'at will' and the man does not have to say why he has beaten her.

Quran 4.34: "As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, caution (and warn) them (against the specific faults, at first), refuse to share their beds (next), beat them (lightly, at the very last);"

Well, ancient religious texts tend to go for corporal punishments not condoned in modern societies.  But this text would hardly excuse a man from civil penalties for beating his wife.  After all, alternatives (including divorce mediation) are provided in the context of the Koran.  And, of course, Quran 4.19 commands it's believers that husbands need to "live with them [ed: their wives] on a basis of kindness and justice."

So, even in ancient societies, "at will" wife-beating is clearly banned.

The husband is permitted to have 4 wives and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.

The text of the Quran allows for multiple wives.  However, it's quite a responsibility, and one that should not be undertaken if he's unable.  4.3: "If you fear that you shall not be able to act justly with the orphan (girls), then marry (other) women of your choice, two, or three, or four; But if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly (with them), then marry one"

At the time the Quran was written, marrying multiple women made sense - men died in war.  A lot.  The practice was probably helpful for a lot of war-widows.

But, again, when civil laws prevent one from marrying more than one wife, and I'm sure most modem Muslims would recognize that it's unjust to ask someone to break the law by becoming a second wife.  And multiple marriages are far from being a religious obligation.

As far as "temporary marriages" go?  Please.  2.226-233 clearly state that, for a divorce to take place, there's a waiting period of months - in order to insure the woman's welfare, and that of a potential unborn child.

The Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

Again, this is totalitarianism in the name of Islam.  But it's not the Muslim faith.

We should treat it with disgust, and do what we can to end the injustice.  Unfortunately, in foreign countries, our options are pretty limited.
In the Western World ( America ) Muslim men are starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife can not obtain a divorce and he can have full and complete control of her. 

If you want to argue for something that fits in your personal perversion of Islam, you're more than welcome to petition the government - It's one of our freedoms.  

However, American law treats divorce as a civil affair.  It has a tradition of adjudicating divorce even when religious authorities don't recognize divorce at all (such as some Catholics) , or the terms of the divorce (for example, an orthodox Jewish woman seeking a divorce without the man's agreement).

So, no.  I just don't see how they'll get it in American society.

 It is amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending American Universities are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Shariah law.

Sorry, American divorce law trumps religious divorce law.
By passing this on, enlightened American women may avoid becoming a slave under Shariah Law.

Repeating it doesn't make it true.

Ripping the West in Two. Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose Shariah law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.

Again, this is a defining property of totalitarianism.  Not of Islam.

 She recently authored the book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law.

Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza    before immigrating to America in 1978, when she was eight years old. Her father died while leading covert attacks on  Israel .  He was a high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family in Gaza .

When he died, he was considered a "shahid," a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.

But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her own Muslim culture and upbringing.  She converted to Christianity after hearing a Christian preacher on television.

The article above confirms she converted to Christianity.  I can't confirm or refute the rest in my half-assed google searches.

In her latest book, Darwish warns about creeping sharia law - what it is, what it means, and how it is manifested in Islamic countries.

For the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. Westerners generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of each individual.  Islamic law (Sharia) teaches that non-Muslims should be subjugated or killed in this world.

Peace and prosperity for one's children is not as important as assuring that Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle East and eventually in the world.

While Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the golden rule, Sharia teaches two systems of ethics - one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh century, Sharia encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and subjugate others.

While Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a personal understanding of and relationship with God, Sharia advocates executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted as criticism.

Again, this is the nature of totalitarianism.  And, under freedom of speech, we can't punish them for saying it.  But it doesn't mean that it's going to happen in America.  And our laws protect us against it quite nicely.

It's hard to imagine, that in this day and age, Islamic scholars agree that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed. Sadly, while talk of an Islamic reformation is common and even assumed by many in the West, such murmurings in the Middle East are silenced through intimidation.

While Westerners are accustomed to an increase in religious tolerance over time, Darwish explains how petro dollars are being used to grow an extremely intolerant form of political Islam in her native Egypt and elsewhere.

Again, our options in foreign countries are pretty limited.  And our viral email author offers no solutions.

In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the President by themselves! 

Interesting statement.  I'm sure that the "proof" of this statement is just as... interesting.

Rest assured they will do so... You can look at how they have taken over several towns in the USA .. Dearborn Mich. is one... and there are others...

I'm Jewish.  I've been to Dearborn.  I've lived to tell the tale.  And I know plenty of Jewish-Owned businesses who are also doing just fine down there.

Sure, there are Muslims there.  But there's no enforcement of Sharia law that I can see.

I think everyone in the U.S. should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!

Yeah.  Because the ACLU is all about silencing our freedom of speech. Riiight.

It is too bad that so many are disillusioned with life and Christianity to accept Muslims as peaceful.. some may be but they have an army that is willing to shed blood in the name of Islam.. the peaceful support the warriors with their finances and own kind of patriotism to their religion. While America is getting rid of Christianity from all public sites and erasing God from the lives of children the Muslims are planning a great jihad on America ..

So, we should dismantle the separation of church and state for Christianity.  But not for Islam.

Nothing hypocritical or inconsistent about that.  No-sir-ree Bob.

This is your chance to make a difference...! Pass it on to your e-mail list or at least those you think will listen..

Or those who want to confirm that you're an idiot.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Glenn Beck: The Comedic Highlights

For the most part, this blog is dedicated to poking fun at empty-headed right-wing emails.

Usually, I leave the "poking at empty-headed right-wing talking heads" up to other people.

Courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor.  Which is far from left-leaning in it's editorial stance.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tired? A Nap is More Refreshing than an Unfocused Rant...

Update, September 22, 2011: Apparently, an edited version of this email now attributes the article to Bill Cosby.  However, it's original authorship (as below) has been verified - and it's definitely not Bill Cosby.

And if you're wondering what Bill Cosby thinks about this email, you can read his reaction here.  Suffice it to say, he's not happy about it.


And, once again, here comes a 65 year old, writing in his blog.

Except it's been heavily edited from his original post.  Such is the nature of right-wing viral emails.

This should be required reading for every man, woman and child in the UK , United States of America  , Canada,  Australia and New Zealand .  And South Africa

You hear me, Switzerland?   Because I'm not talking to you.
"I'm 65 and I'm Tired"
By Robert A. Hall

I'm 65.  Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired. 
I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. 

So, the government should be funding the retirement you think you deserve.  Even if you're too lazy to save for yourself.  Or live on the social security, medicare, VA medical, military and state senate pensions that you've probably earned from other hard-working taxpayers.

Oh, public money is only good when you're the beneficiary.  Got it.

I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.   

And how much of "the money I earned" is funding the programs where money is being funneled to people "too lazy to earn it"?  What do you propose to do differently?

Specifics matter.  And I'm waiting.  And I think I'll wait even longer while you explain how the money you save on these programs will help your retirement - because most of our tax monies go to completely different entitlement programs.
I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens 

In the whole world?  Why, there are dozens!  You hear me?  Dozens!

of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honour"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls;

I see a lot of Christians in jail for offenses to mankind as well.  A lot more than a few dozen.

 all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari's law tells them to.   

I'm sure that quite a few of the Christians in jail are also telling folks that G-d told them to do it.  That doesn't make it right either.

Should we blame Islam or Christianity for their crimes?  Because you sure seem unhappy about blaming "society" for everything else.
I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America and Canada ,

Yeah, I wish they didn't teach anti-western propoganda in their schools either.  But what do you suggest we do about it?  Other than whine in your blog?

We could stop using oil - but that's not terribly practical.

We could invade and occupy their countries, forcing them to stop.  It worked out great for the British Empire, didn't it?

So... what are your ideas?  Because I'm not hearing any.

 while no American nor Canadian group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.   

I'm feeling a lot of love and tolerance from you, my friend.  And you still haven't explained how we can force them to do this.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

Wait...  you're debating it right now.  And you're not being jailed, fined, or beaten.

I didn't say you're debating it well.  I'm just pointing out that you're still allowed to say what you want.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? 

So, a drug user says s/he wants to get clean, and become a productive, tax-paying member of society.  What do you suggest we do?  Put them in jail where they live off the backs of hard-working taxpayers and never pay us back?
I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.   

Personally, I'm kind of happy with freedom of speech.  In exchange for that, we need to put up with people who say idiotic things.

We also have the freedom to tell them that they're idiots.  Or ignore them.
I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.  

Wait... aren't you blaming the government for your problems?  Why aren't you taking responsibility for finding better solutions?  Instead of just whining and belly-aching?
Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 65. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter. 

Maybe if she becomes a hard-working, productive member of society, she can do well.  Or she can bellyache and whine like her dear old grandpa.

I suppose it will be her choice, huh?  
Robert  A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts   State Senate.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
This is your chance to make a difference.

" I'm 65 and I'm tired.  
If you don't forward this you are part of the problem.