Mar 10 2011

Inter-faith romance turns violent in Cairo

Tag: Extremism,Religious tolerance,World NewsMona @ 2:56 pm

Egyptian church torched over mixed-religion romance

“The Associated Press, Date: Saturday Mar. 5, 2011 9:01 AM ET

CAIRO, Egypt — Egyptian security officials say Christian and Muslim families have clashed south of Cairo in a dispute over a romance between children from the two families. The fathers from both families have been killed and a crowd of Muslims has torched a church.

Mixed relationships are taboo in Egypt, where the Muslim majority and sizable Christian minority are both largely conservative. Such relationships are often the source of deadly clashes between the faiths. Christians also complain that they face discrimination.”

Cairo mosque opposite of bomber church

An Egyptian Muslim man walks past a mosque located directly opposite the Saints Church, unseen, in Alexandria, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011

 

Unrest in Norfh Africa, uneasy calm in Egypt about the future after the collapse of the old regime.  The last thing the Egyptians need now is a family feud over two young lovers. The boy a Christian Copt,  and a Muslim girl.  Although such marriages are acceptable from the religious point  (in this case the boy should convert though, if the girl were Christian it would not be required ) the families do not always agree!  As parents often do not, but in the unstable political setting in Egypt right now it is dangerous.  Certain extremist forces are trying to stir unrest, as we saw fe. on New Year day when suicide bomber destroyed a Church (it was located directly opposite the Mosque in the picture above).

 

Arab press angered by Coptic church blast

“The Egyptian press has reacted angrily to the suicide bombing that targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year’s Day, with several papers saying it was an attack on all Egyptians, not just Christians.

The state and opposition press called on their compatriots to unite in the face of terrorism but two papers suggested the underlying causes of sectarian tension should be tackled…”

BBC has quoted from 14 articles in the Arab press all condemning the attack in harsh words:

“This treacherous criminal act not only targeted Egypt’s Copts, but also its Muslims. It also targeted Egypt’s stability, unity, destination and future… We are all in the same boat and we should join hands to confront those lurking to target Egypt’s security.”

“The Egyptians’ commitment to national unity increased after the blast at Alexandria’s church… Feelings of anger were rampant and calls for unity and retribution grew, perhaps more from Muslims than Christians… this terrorist attack shocked the homeland and broke the hearts of all Egyptians.”

I cannot quote them all so please visit the above link for them.  It is clear that these actions are serving the interests of people who do not really want peace for Egypt but are trying to stir unrest in a wider scale in the region!

Pope Shenouda of Egypt

Pope Shenouda of Egypt leads the Middle East’s largest Christian minority

The head of Egypt’s Coptic Church has appealed for calm as protesters clashed with police for a third day after a New Year’s Day blast killed 23 churchgoers.

CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s Coptic Pope Shenouda III appealed for calm on Monday as Christian protesters clashed with police for a third day in a row after a New Year’s Day bombing killed 21 churchgoers. The spiritual head of the Middle East’s largest Christian minority also called on the government to address his flock’s grievances. The unrest came as police went on high alert and tightened church security for Christmas, which Copts celebrate on Friday, as investigators hunted the perpetrators of the Alexandria church bombing…

 

Is revolution in Mid-East bad for women’s rights?

An article about women in Tunisia and Egypt after the fall of the regimes. In both countries they had already achieved significant progress but are now fearful of the possibility of conservative circles turning the tide backwards.

I am worried but optimistic; the Egyptians and Tunisians have now a great chance to work on democratic changes for a better future for all.


Apr 05 2009

Little Woman at the Age of Nine?

News from the small Scandinavian country Finland (yet well known for NOKIA and Mika Hakkinen).  It used to be a hidden tolerant island and cultural conflicts sounded like echoes from overseas.

Imam Chehab Khadr Finland The Lebanese born Imam Chehab Khadr of  Helsinki Muslim community

defended in an  Aamulehti newspaper interview the notion that girls as young as nine years old could be wed into marriage with parental consent and that what is against the law some countries is permissible in others.

It followed on outcry in the country with unbelievable amount of feedback, blogger comments and phone calls what made him change his position the next day.

Nobody could be fooled; words are cheap and even cheaper by the dozen.

The damage is done and once again the image of Islam was badly tarnished in a place which is known to be very welcoming and tolerant.  They have for centuries a small Muslim community originating from the east with no problems whatsoever with human rights or marrying little girls. Today many Muslim immigrants are causing trouble and controversy, mostly through the growing rape rate in bigger cities (mostly by Somalis) and  small time criminality like snatching ladies handbags in broad daylight. People do not walk in the streets at night time anymore!

My first reaction was that this man is mega stupid!  But he is a regular guest at state banquets, and TV talk shows. This middle aged man probably close to his fifties has been living large part of his life in a Western country with an excellent human and especially women rights record. Finland was the 1st country in Europe to grant women voting rights and women make up almost half of the parliamentarians and they have a woman president in her second term already. I would have wished at least a little more openness of mind and some critical thinking.

From a man in his position one would expect more common sense. How can he advocate Stone Age practices marrying little girls when there are lots and lots of unmarried young women waiting to get married?

A grown up man wishing to marry a six or even a nine year old girl is a man with sick fantasy, a pervert and a pedophile, there is no way around it. This Imam went so far as saying that in Western societies youngsters at that age are involved in sexual acts but in Islam he is accepting it in a marriage. Not to mention that elsewhere hardly any 6 yr. or 9 yr. old girl is sexually active, so he was simply lying.

There is a HUGE  difference here: the first one is not acceptable although it happens occasionally  (mostly rape by someone close) – the latter one is sanctioned by higher authorities, and what is worse: sanctioned by God itself?!

I went to find facts from Wikipedia.

What I found very shocking that Lebanon which is trying to appear the most modern and advanced Middle Eastern Muslim country has the worst record of women rights! Nine year old girls are children and sexual acts with them is pedophilia, married or not.  It makes me sick, this is not Islam.

From the list of some countries with marriageable ages for male/female I pick up Lebanon, the former home country of this Imam:

Lebanon: 18 for males and 17 for females; scope for judicial discretion on basis of physical maturity and wali’s permission from 17 for males and 9 for females; real puberty or 15/9 with judicial permission for Shi’a; 18/17 or 16/15 with judicial permission for Druze.

Nine years minimum age for little-girl-wives and this country is bragging to be a model to the Muslim Middle Easterners.    HOW can a 10-year old be a mother to an infant, or perhaps this possibility is not taken into consideration in those male chauvinistic minds?

In a few days I will write, Inshallah,    about the Prophept’s young wife Aisha. The Hadith’s suggest, that she was married to him at the age 6 yrs.  By Hadith’s  of which I am very critical about. They were collected as late 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.H.). From 600 000 stories f.e. Bukhari selected 7,397 based on their truthfulness.

Truthfulness? How can a lengthy recitation transmitted by word of mouth over half a dozen generations be truthful in every single word? Human mind is not a computer, it can err with the best of intentions.

Prophet Mohammad discouraged in his lifetime writing down these stories in fear they would be confused with the Quran itself. Well, yes, it looks like it happened after all.

There are several surviving written document from the lifetime of the Prophet from which we can reconstruct the events and we find that Aisha was in her late teens, probably early twenties when marrying as it happened in Medina after he Hijjra (emigration).

Especially the shia-Muslims (most Iranians, half of the Iraqis, Persian Golf Emirates, part of Saudi Arabia, and Southern Lebanon) still hold on to this practice and what disturbs me most is that the media and especially the internet is full of hate speech regarding this matter and Islam is regularly called a “Pedophile Religion”. Opponents are using a very powerful image,  and it is working.

One of my favorite quotes is from the late  Dr. Lila Fahlman,  founder of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW):   “Man-written Hadith’s have ruined have ruined Islam. “

I am trying my very best to shake up and wake up the Muslims themselves into critical thinking ( it is our duty trying to change things we think are wrong) and at the same time trying to build bridges.

There is no other way.

Mona


Dec 26 2008

Girls, Schools and Taliban vs. Islam

How bad can it get?

Uncertainty, violence darken Afghans’ hopeBy Paul Wiseman, USA TODAYDOAB, Afghanistan — For the first time, the girls in this village were starting to learn — reading, writing, geography, history, math, science. They were starting to dream, too: Star student Roya Noori, 15, illiterate two years ago, wanted to become an architect. Harzoo Mohammedy, 14, planned to go to medical school. And Zuhal Noori, 12, saw herself at the controls of a commercial jet.Then the learning stopped.The new schoolhouse came under rocket fire last spring from the surrounding hills. Mysterious letters turned up at night, threatening to kill any girls who stayed in school and their principal…”

These days one cannot read world new without getting really upset about the state of the Muslims and their ever-worsening image due to ignorant self-tought extremists.

Yesterday the Taliban announced on their (banned) radio station in Northern Pakistan (which is in fact Taliban controlled territory) that they are going to kill girls who go to school.

“Taliban extremists in Pakistan’s troubled northwest Swat Valley have banned girls from attending school, threatening to kill any female students.The threat was delivered this week by local Taliban commander Shah Durran in an address carried on an illegally-run radio station in the area……Swat residents said Taliban fighters had already destroyed scores of government-run schools, leading some to set up private schools in their homes to educate girls.An official at the Pakistani education ministry said there are more than 1,580 schools registered in Swat – once known for its top-flight schools.”Already Taliban militants have destroyed 252 schools, mainly those where girls and boys were studying together,” he added…. “

This campaign against girl’s schools has been going on for some time.

Once more fear stalks the streets of Kandahar.

girls acid attack Afghanistan

Al Jazeera network reports of  acid attacks on school girls.

“Afghan girls scarred in acid attack Five Afghan schoolgils have been attacked with battery acid by suspected Taliban fighters in the southern city of Kandahar.The attack on Wednesday occurred when two men on motorbikes confronted the students outside the Mirwais Nika Girls High School.Two girls were seriously injured by what was discovered to be battery acid.School girls in Kandahar are easily identifiable by their uniform – black trousers, a white shirt, black coat and a headscarf.”

VIDEO

Where did the Taliban come from?

This is a crucial question. Before the invasion of Afghanistan by communist Russia it was despite of grave poverty a striving country, almost a role model for other backward countries with almost a half of the people on government payroll were women, mostly women teachers.

“The government began to bring in much-needed reforms, but with restraint and prudence. Labour unions were legalized, a minimum wage was established, a progressive income tax was introduced, men and women were given equal rights, and girls were encouraged to go to school.

On September 1, 1978, there was an abolition of all debts owed by farmers. A program was being  developed for major land reform, and it was expected that 
all farm families (including landlords)  would be given the equivalent of equal amounts of land… “   

During the Russian occupation thousands of “Quran schools” were established close to the Afghan border in Northern Pakistan in order to educate “mujahedeen” (freedom fighters). Religion was a very powerful motivation as communists are known atheists.  Generations of students  (meaning “Taliban” in Arabic) have graduated from them by now. After they had successfully driven “the infidel Russians” out of the country they turned to other threats to their ideology . And it was the Western interests in their strategic position in the middle of an oil and natural gas rich region.

Taliban are the most strict and extreme interpretation of Wahhabism coming from Saudi Arabia. In Islam the education is one of the most important duties for both sexes (as it is stated in the Quran and which should be the first and foremost source of understanding) . These extremists get their ideology of  the Hadith’s,  traditions of which I am quite critical about  (human memory can fail even with best intensions). They were collected and selected only after 250-300 years after the death of Prophet Mohammed.  In many cases they contradict direct advice found in the Quran.

Since in Saudi Arabia the first girl’s schools opened just 2 years after the opening of the first boy’s school they  have never been closed.

Building Bridges: A Conversation with Princess Loulwa Al-Faisal Princess Loulwa AlFaisal

Question: What concerns you about the perception among Americans about the role of women inSaudi Arabia?  Princess Loulwa al-Faisal:

female pilot SA Well, if they were to listen only to the media they would think that the women in Saudi Arabia are completely suppressed, not educated, and don’t have any jobs. The reality is that while education started for men in 1960, it started for women just two years later in 1962. Actually, prior to the start of the Ministry of Education there already were schools for women, private schools, including Dar-Al-Hanan which my mother [Queen Effat] opened in 1955.You should also know that at that point in our history we were a country of 5% literacy and at the moment we’re a country of 5% illiteracy. That shows how far we have come in just seventy years – even less if you consider that formal education started 50 years ago.

From another article about schooling in Saudi Arabia we learn, that the government did not interfere in teaching methods or in the content of the school books for a very long time, it was left to the Muslim clerics alone:

The Saudi government has allowed Muslim clerics to control education for many years and it’s modern version is The Ministry of Education, founded during the reign of King Saud and with the current King Fahd as the first Minister and he was responsible for the creation of the education system and curriculum. What went on in the classrooms, though, was largely invisible to the government bureaucracy. The curriculum itself was modeled on traditional education methods, emphasizing memorization at the expense of critical thinking. The texts, heavily influenced by religious authorities, compounded the narrowness of the education. No outside analysis of the Saudi textbooks had been made before 2002, so the content of those books is not really known. Following analyses in 2002, however, the Saudi government concluded that there were problems with the books…

Yet from another article I learn that “Saudi Arabia Discovers School Busing for Girls” schol busses for girls in SA

While researching for this theme I became a little more optimistic after all since Saudi Arabia which has an enormous influence in being a role model for many have started to show the way for the radical elements within the Muslim community. Too long these matters were left to the Clerics alone.

The world changes and Mulims must adjust to it, otherwise we will have  enormous problems when modernity and tradition collide. There is no other way than building bridges and find a way to live peacefully in a shrinking world.


Nov 08 2008

Stoning a Child

 

 

Amnesty: Rape girl, 13, killed for adultery

Stoning a gang rape victim, Amnesty International Report

November 1, 2008 MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery by Islamic militants, a human rights group said.Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.Initial local media reports said Duhulow was 23, but her father told Amnesty International she was 13. Some of the Somali journalists who first reported the killing later told Amnesty International that they had reported she was 23 based upon her physical appearance.

It hard to come to senses after news like this knowing that it was Islam that introduced righteousness to a then pagan community. For thousands of years stoning to death and nailing on a cross (in Palestine) were the most common ways of death penalty,  I suppose since Stone Age.

Jesus, who is also a Prophet for Muslims like all the other Prophets of Christianity said:  “If any of you have not committed a sin you can throw the first stone at her.” (Bible,  John 8:1-3)

Jesus and the woman taken in adultery

(Painting: Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery, by Vasiliy Polenov )(

The Story in the Bible- The Adulterous Woman. (John 8:1-3)It was about a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and had to stand in front of the teachers of the law and Pharisees and also Jesus, and they said that “In our law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death,” and then they put all the pressure on Jesus by saying what do you think, and then said to Jesus, so that they could accuse him, but they didn’t trap Jesus.   Jesus then said “If any of you have not committed a sin you can throw the first stone at  her.” The older people left first and eventually everybody had gone,  and there was just Jesus and the woman left. Jesus said to her “Where  are they all, there is no one left to condemn you,” and then said ” I  don’t condemn you either, go, but do not sin again.”

As true Muslims believe in ALL the Prophets before Phophet Mohammed in my opinion this is a significant statement from Jesus. And most importantly it does not contradict the Quran.

In the Quran the stoning of an adulterous woman is not advised.    “And as for those who are guilty of an indecency from among your women, call to witnesses against them four (witnesses) from among you; then if they bear witness confine them to the houses until death comes close to them or God opens some way for them.” (Quran 4:15)

Some extreme branches of Islam still practice the stoning to death. In their understanding  its justification must be based on Hadiths, because in the Quran there is no mentioning of it.

“Surely those who accuse chaste believing women, unaware (of the evil), are cursed in this world and hereafter, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.” (Qur’an 24:23)

“And those who speak evil things of the believing men and the believing women without their having earned (it), they are guilty indeed of a false accusation and a manifest sin.” (Q. 33:58)

I pray to God, the Allmighty, that all Muslims would finally start realizing the real Teaching of Islam,righteousness and human rights.

Salaam, Mona

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Edit: The complete story on BBC News from Somalia. Her 62-year-old aunt told the BBC that the teenager had in fact been raped by three armed men – and she took Asha to the police station to report it.

“I don’t know what crime she committed other than being raped – and I was not even allowed to see her body.”   - Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow’s aunt

“They are wrong if they committed a kidnap. They will have to be punished under Sharia law.”- Hiiran’s al-Shabab Chairman Sheikh Ali Dheere

 


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