Tag Archives | Islam

The Dangers of Religious Primitivism

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Lawrence Davidson writes at Consortiumnews:

Prior to the Eighteenth Century – that is prior to the Enlightenment – if you had asked a literate Westerner when he or she thought the most ideal of human societies did or would exist, most of them would have located that society in the past.

The religious majority might have placed it in the biblical age of Solomon or the early Christian communities of the First Century after Christ. Both would have been considered divinely inspired times.

Now, come forward a hundred years, say to the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, and ask the same question. You would notice that the answer was beginning to change.

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Occultists, Freemasons, And The Secret History of Radical Islam

crowley-turban

Aleister Crowley in a Turban.

In 1910, the English occultist, Freemason, and poet, Aleister Crowley, published a strange and now little-known work called The Scented Garden of Abdullah: The Satirist of Shiraz under the name Abdullah el Haji. In the work, which imitated Sufi poetry, Crowley claims to have been accepted into “the joyous company of the Sufis,” but that he cannot openly discuss Islamic mysticism, “if only because I am a Freemason.”

In other words, the English occultist was suggesting that Sufism and Freemasonry were in some way connected, whether philosophically or through historical ties. He, however, was not the only one to think this. The explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton – whose translation of Eastern texts influenced Western spirituality – believed that Sufism was “The Eastern parent of Free-Masonry.” And, later, modern Sufi and author Idries Shah would make much the same claim.

It is now well known that Freemasonry – a fraternity founded in London in 1717, but with roots going back to medieval Britain – had a significant influence on occultism and alternative spirituality in the West.… Read the rest

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Florida’s Bathroom Law

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike LaBossiere via Talking Philosophy:

Being from Maine, I got accustomed to being asked about the cold, lobsters, moose and Stephen King. Living in Florida, I have become accustomed to being asked about why my adopted state is so insane. Most recently, I was asked about the bathroom bill making its way through the House.

The bathroom bill, officially known as HB 583, proposes that it should be a second-degree misdemeanor to “knowingly and willfully” enter a public facility restricted to members “of the other biological sex.” The bill proposes a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Some opponents of the bill contend that it is aimed at discriminating against transgender people. Some part of Florida have laws permitting people to use public facilities based on the gender they identify with rather than their biological sex.

Obviously enough, proponents of the bill are not claiming that they are motivated by a dislike of transgender people.

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How Long is History According to Islam?

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Kenitra – My previous article ‘The First People’ hints at the idea that history of mankind is longer than what people generally assume. Some readers and friends have pointed out that history cannot be more than 6,000 years old. This view is inconsistent with the NASA estimation for the astronomical cycle of the vernal equinox precession that lasts 25,800 years and which had been observed in the remote past. This conservative viewpoint of history, which some people cling to, stems from the influence of the Judeo-Christian calendar as well as the lack of historical records beyond 6,000 B.C. Islam however is silent about the length of history or at least indirect.

This article is an attempt to demonstrate how vast history is and to determine a conservative estimation of its length according to Islam. Before we proceed to that, we need to take a look at what the Judeo-Christian tradition view on history’s span.… Read the rest

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Arabic Engraved Ring Found in Viking Grave

Viking-Islamic-Ring

A ring found in a 9th century grave in Birka, Sweden (home to a Viking trading center) suggests that Vikings had contact with Islamic civilizations. The silver ring, found in a Viking woman’s grave, has a beautiful violet-colored glass gem engraved with “To Allah” or “For Allah” in Arabic. “Ancient texts mention contact between Scandinavians and members of Islamic civilization, but such archaeological evidence is rare.”

h/t Boing Boing.

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Islam and Atheism, Problems in Common

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Rahuldeep Singh Gill writes at the Huffington Post:

After the cold-blooded executions of three young Muslims in the shattered safety of their North Carolina apartment, it took a day for the national media to figure out that the deaths of three Muslims was worthy of coverage. The three students killed were Deah Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Mohammad’s sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

But once the news did break, it didn’t take long for a knee-jerk web poster to blame the faith commitment of the alleged murderer for the act. Except in this case, his commitment was that he rejected them. Or to be more precise, as an atheist, Craig Hicks rejected the role of religion in everyday life.

According to Vox,

We still don’t know why three students, all Muslim, were shot to death in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday. But there is unconfirmed speculation that the murders were motivated by the victims’ religion, bolstered by a Facebook account that appears to belong to someone with the same name as the man who turned himself into police for the killings, and which identified him as an “anti-theist.”

Atheist or anti-theist, what would make Hicks a repulsive human being are his alleged actions, not his beliefs.

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‘Lone Wolf,’ ‘Self-Radicalized': Islamophobic Buzzwords never applied to White Terrorists

Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were found dead on Tuesday

Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were found dead on Tuesday

Juan Cole writes at Informed Comment:

Did a self-radicalized lone wolf white terrorist kill three young Muslim students in cold blood in Chapel Hill? It is a kind of a stupid question, but its stupidity is just more apparent when asked of someone with an English last name. What does self-radicalized or lone wolf even mean? Craig Hicks constantly shared anti-Muslim and anti-Christian links on social media and proclaimed to believers, ““I have every right to insult a religion that goes out of its way to insult, to judge, and to condemn me as an inadequate human being — which your religion does with self-righteous gusto…” I think we may conclude that he didn’t like Muslims, and one of the victims told her father that before her death. While he may have been provoked to his rage by a parking incident and while he clearly is one egg short of an omelette, the “new atheist” discourse of believers as oppressive and coercive per se is part of his problem.

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The “Non-Islamic” Islamic State?

Jake Stimpson (CC BY 2.0)

Jake Stimpson (CC BY 2.0)

At the recent National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., President Obama proudly asserted yet again what has become a tired and predictable platitude; one endlessly repeated by countless media pundits, heads of state, and religious leaders following every fresh outbreak of religiously inspired violence. It’s the notion that groups like ISIS “seek to hijack religion for their own murderous ends;” that somehow they represent faith “twisted and misused in the name of evil,” as opposed to just diligently doing as their holy books command.

As he put it:

From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith… to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism – terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.

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The Origin of Modern Terror and Crumbling Western Values

Peter (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Peter (CC BY-SA 2.0)

John Chuckman writes at CounterPunch:

Do you ever solve problems by ignoring them? Most of us would say that is not possible, yet that is precisely what western governments do in their efforts to counteract what is called “Islamic terror.” Yes, there are vast and costly efforts to suppress the symptoms of what western governments regard as a modern plague, including killing many people presumed to be infected with it, fomenting rebellion and destruction in places presumed to be prone to it, secretly returning to barbaric practices such as torture, things we thought had been left behind centuries ago, to fight it, and violating rights of their own citizens we thought were as firmly established as the need for food and shelter. Governments ignore, in all these destructive efforts, what in private they know very well is the origin of the problem.

Have Islamic radicals always existed?

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