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  • ivanildotrindade 10:10 pm on April 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abuja, Allah, , , cowardly journalism, Islam, Islamism, moderate islam, , radical islamists, real muslims, religious cleansing, Santo Daime, true islam, violent islam   

    Radical Islamists use Soda Cans to Killl Christians in Nigeria 

    I came home from church yesterday and watched some basketball games with my son. Sitting on a comfortable leather chair I felt thirsty and did something I had not done in quite a long time — I drank two cans of soda. I napped, read, wrote and shaved my head. Soda will do that to you! Later, I looked at the two empty cans on the table next to the couch and thought about how futile my attempt at killing my thirst was. The only thing I got was a caffeine-induced restless night.

    But a little earlier half a world away soda cans were being used for a different purpose, to kill a different thirst and spread a different kind of poison. Bearing the signature of Boko Haram, an attack on Christians worshiping at a university in the northern Nigeria city of Kano killed at least 16 people and left several more severely injured. The Christian group was composed primarily of young university students, who gather at the university every Sunday to pray and worship.

    The lunatics who killed them used soda cans filled with small explosives to create diversion and as the people started to flee, they were cowardly gunned down by men who had arrived on motorcycles, carried their heinous acts, and like angels of death, quickly disappered into the crowds, maybe to a “house of worship” nearby, where they could have been greeted by some evil masterminds who commended them for a job well done in the service of Allah — and gave them a bonus for going low-tech with the soda can solution.

    Before you judge me too harshly, I am not here condemning all Muslims — only those who use their religion to perpetrate violent against people of other religions. I am not saying Muslims are evil — only those who believe that innocent people must die simply for not being Muslims. I am not blaming Islam — only the brand of Islam that is intent on bringing chaos as a means to achieve a form of “religious cleansing” somewhere in the world, a goal that has been clearly expressed by the murderers of Boko Haram, the same group that claimed responsibility for bombings in the southern Capital city of Abuja last December, killing 44 people, and killed 180 people in January in the same city of Kano, their deadliest attack to date. And the body count keeps mounting.

    I am not going to sit here and try to pretend that the Church has not had blood on its hands in centuries past. I am not going to stick my head in the sand and deny that some individual Christians have behaved horribly at times. But we are no longer in the middle ages, the Crusades are over, the wars against the Moors of Spain are a subject for the history books. It’t time we step into the modern world.

    I am going to say it loud and clear since the western media’s cowardly coverage of the events in Nigeria will not: thank God, there are only a handful of religiously motivated wars in the world today, but whenever you find one, you can almost always bet (and win) that it is perpetrated by radically insane Muslim groups against religious minorities, usually Christians.

    There are no systemic efforts on the part of Christians to try to eliminate Santo Daime believers in Brazil, for example. In India the cases of radical Hindus burning Christians, though tragic, are few and far between. The war in Israel, no doubt with religious overtones, is more about land than religion. Buddhists are not persecuting anyone and atheists can care less what people believe (except they don’t want to hear the word “Christmas” around the Christmas holidays — a war I can live with). Radically violent Islamists, on the other hand, persist on killing at will, and will continue to do so, if we remain silent.

    I don’t know about you, but if I were a devout Muslim, I would be asking this question:  What is it about Islam that seem to offer comfort for people who believe they are advancing the cause of Allah when they commit these acts?

    Furthermore, where are the voices of those who don’t believe these people represent true Islam? And why are we so afraid to report these stories with the emphasis they deserve? Imagine if this kind of massacre was happening anywhere in the world against Jews or Muslims, would the media react differently?

    My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones yesterday and I am crying out to God to right this terrible wrong.

    And finally: Why not just let sodas do what they do best — killing softly?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 11:09 pm on April 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Atatürk, Islam, Islamic Action Front, Jordan, , Kuwait University, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, progress for women, Turkey, women in turkey, women's voting rights   

    Women in Islam — One Step Forward, Two Steps Back 

    To be sure, there have been some progress in the treatment of women in some Muslim countries, but as always, it’s the proverbial “one step forward, two steps back” dance.

    In Jordan, for example, the Royal Family has taken a courageous step condemning “honor killings” (in all fairness, a problem that goes beyond Muslim countries), but the government, fearing reprisals from conservatives, has done nothing to approve a proposal that would eliminate laws that are lenient to men who kill for “honor.” One conservative group, the Jordan’s Islamic Action Front, a powerful political party, has issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, saying the proposal would “destroy our Islamic, social and family values by stripping men of their humanity when they surprise their wives or female relatives committing adultery.” If that doesn’t get your hair to stand on end, I don’t know what will.

    Another example of progress fraught with obscurantism comes from Kuwait. In 1999 In 1999 the Emir of Kuwait, Sheik Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, bravely issued a decree giving women the right to go to the polls for the first time and to be candidates for the Kuwaiti parliament. Conservatives in parliament, however, blocked its implementation. They did more — they voted to segregate the sexes at Kuwait University.

    The law was finally approved in May of 2007, after 8 years, with 35 votes for and 23 against. Tribal and Islamist members of Parliament had consistently blocked it, insisting that Islam prohibits women from occupying positions of leadership.

    When it comes to civil liberties to women, no country with a majority Muslim population beats Turkey. Turkey went so far as to strip man of his role as the only authority over the home, solely responsible for making decisions about his wife and family. And recently Turkey changed the minimum age for women to marry from 15 to 18, again not without opposition from conservative elements in Parliament.

    The achievements in Turkey are due in large part to the tenacity of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern-day Turkey. If you are not familiar with this man, you should read about him. Against all odds, he succeeded at bringing Turkey from obscurity into the sunshine of modern civilization, to the delight of some and the horror of others who still hate him.

    His words about women and politics are now famous: “There is no logical explanation for the political disenfranchisement of women. Any hesitation and negative mentality on this subject is nothing more than a fading social phenomenon of the past. …Women must have the right to vote and to be elected; because democracy dictates that, because there are interests that women must defend, and because there are social duties that women must perform.”

    The only question is: will there ever be a Kemal in Saudi Arabia?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 7:20 pm on April 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Islam, , muslims, Old Testament, , wife-beating,   

    Is Wife-beating in the Koran? 

    This week I address several issues related to women and Islam. My purpose is to state facts not interpret them; to clarify, not defend or attack anyone. Today I want to answer this question: is wife-beating present in the Koran?

    The answer to this question is an unmistakable YES. Just like parts of the Old Testament are embarrassing to some Christians, this admission also troubles some Muslims. The responses, as expected, usually fall into four categories: a) ignore that it is there; b) explain it away by attributing a different meaning to the text; c) acknowledge that it is there but soften its blow; d) admit it and try to defend it in today’s world (a not so enviable task).

    Now to the text in question: “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.” (Dawood’s translation of Sura (chapter) 4:34).

    In this text Muhammad gives two reasons why men are “superior” to women: because God made them so and because money made them so! He goes on to say that the signs of a virtuous woman are her obedience to her husband and her adherence to modest dressing. Finally, he gives a three-step approach to dealing with a wife suspected of “disobedience”: a) verbal rebuke; b) sexual deprivation (which for some women might be no punishment at all!) and c) physical punishment (“beating”).

    For those who try to make “disobedience” only refer to adultery or other immoral acts, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that the best translation is “disobedience.” Also, the whole context deals with obedience vs. disobedience. For those who want to say that “beating” means something other than beating, like making a verbal pronouncement, for example, this does not explain the three-step process, each step being a little “harsher” than the previous one. A verbal pronouncement would be the same as a verbal rebuke. Again, most scholars translate the word as “beating” and that is how that word is translated the vast majority of times it appears in the Koran.

    Later, silly notions such as “beating” them with a big toothpick or a folded handkerchief arose, no doubt to try to make the whole idea more palatable to westerners. No matter, the fact remains that even though Muhammad in other occasions admonished husbands not to treat their wives too harshly, even though he defended the rights of women to divorce and own property, even though he went to great pains himself to please his multiple wives, by letting that slip into the Koran, he gave comfort to the men who were already up to no good when it came to their views of women. The rest is history and it is not a pretty one.

    I am giving you the facts. Pure and simple. Tomorrow: Was Muhammad a wife-beater?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 11:26 pm on March 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baha'is, burning the koran, chinese government, Falun Gong, Iran, Islam, karaite jews, , preaching hatred, religious hatred, religious minorities, sephardic jews, Sufism, tibetan buddhists, uighur, zoroastrians   

    Burning the Koran is unintelligent 

    To be sure, Christians are not the only religious minority being persecuted around the world. In Chinese, the Falun Gong followers have experienced the ire, violence and irrationality of the Chinese establishment. The practices against this group are abhorrent. In China the Uighur (Muslim minority) suffer great persecution. In fact, just today we read of about 20 Uighur who were killed by police in the Xijiang Province. Now the police claims that this was a violent mob attacking civilians, but it is a known fact that the Chinese government is notorious for treating this group harshly because of their independence stance and refusal to assimilate to Chinese ways. (For a different view on how the Chinese government is accommodating to the Muslims in China, go here). Of course the oppression of Tibetan Buddhist is also an undeniable fact of our times.

    In the case of “Sufism,” a mystic brand of Islam, the persecution comes from all sides. Both Sunni and Shia persecute Sufis, whether in India, Pakistan, the Middle East or Iran. In India Sufism has been basically eradicated and violent attacks by Muslim extreme groups continue almost on a daily basis. Iran persecutes Baha’is and throughout history Muslims have persecuted Christians who have persecuted Zoroastrians who have persecuted Zoroastrians splinter groups.  In ancient times the Sephardic Jews were expelled from Catholic Spain but before that happened the Rabbinical Jews expelled the Karaite Jews from Spain. And the circle of hate goes on and on.

    I don’t know about you but I get so tired of “religious wars.” I know that the “war” for those of us who live in the West is mostly one of words, but for many people in other countries it is a matter of life and death and somehow it must stop. That is why I get so infuriated whenever I hear anyone talking about burning the Koran. How can anyone be so stupid? Just today we learned about more troops being killed in Afghanistan over what has been called an “accidental” burning of copies of the Koran. How can you burn copies of the Koran “accidentally” in a military base? I am not buying. At the same time, I cannot condone the violence. But I do understand that for Muslims burning the Koran would be like burning the incarnate Christ for Christians. But how many people get that? I wouldn’t kill for Christ, because he would be slightly against it (:)), but I would raise a hell of a stink.

    So I offer these posts over the last couple of days as tools to help us understand better what is going on in our world. I remain vehemently opposed to violence and I wish preachers of religion would refrain from encouraging people to other human beings just because they are different. Nothing could be more contrary to the teaching of Jesus.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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