Tuesday, November 16, 2010

California tution case

Here is a link to a case decision just decided by the California Supreme Court, in which the court over turned a lower court decision disallowing in state tuition to illegal immigrants. The court decided the California law is not preempted by a federal law because the in state tuition is granted to anyone who attends three years of high school in California and not on residency, but the court refused to say it was a constitutional right under the privileges and immunities clause. It's an interesting case and I recommend you read it no matter which side of this debate you are on.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reaching Understanding Between Cultures


An interesting piece on suggested steps to bridge the gap between "the West" and "Muslim communities." The final paragraphs provide:

"Improving the overall relationship between Muslim communities around the world and the West is a task that has political, religious, intellectual, social, cultural, and economic components. It requires the best efforts of leaders from all sectors and from both sides of the divide.

Governments must not shy away from a leading role in this process but rather constantly strive to guide and develop mechanisms for integration in their societies. It will take time and require patience, but the objective is vital if we are to learn from, not repeat, the mistakes of the past."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

When religion meets the law: Shariah law in Australia


This is an interesting article on a proposal (from 2009) that Australia integrate Sharia law, particularly as it relates to the banking and finance system, into the Australian legal system. The author suggests that Christian and Jewish elements and ideals have found their way into the Australian legal system -- why not make a place for Islam too?

Interesting website on Lawyers and Religion


This newsletter for the National Lawyers Guild, Mass. Chapter, has a few articles on many different religions. I think the last article on Judaism's "mandate to pursue justice" shows that lawyers can get outside the billable hour box and commit to helping those in need.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Check this out: "The Radicals Who Pray in Our Capitol"

I randomly check various online news sites and this is the front headline picture on FoxNews. It is appropriate for our class topic. What do you think?? What if this was a group of Christians praying at the Capitol?? Would it be the same headline?

FoxNews says "An Al Qaeda leader, the head of a designated terror group, a confessed jihadist-in-training — it's a 'Who's Who' of controversial figures linked to radical Islam, and in some cases terror, that a FoxNews.com investigation reveals have attended weekly prayer sessions on Capitol Hill since the 9/11 attacks."


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Islam in theory versus practice

In contrast to the links in my previous post, the link below suggests that the oppression of women is not mandated by Islam itself, but is rather created by sociological conditions. The author argues that women and men have the same religious obligations, as provided by the Qu’ran. The author also cites a number of verses suggesting that women have a duty to seek education, much as do men. The Qu’ran condemns female infanticide, which was apparently widely practiced prior to Islam. Finally, in response to the verse directing that males receive twice the inheritance of females, the author suggests that whereas the man must support his family with the inheritance, the woman can do as she pleases.


I also found interesting the following video, discussing the compatibility of feminism and Islam. The woman discussing their compatibility seems to ignore the actual content of Sharia law, and speaks instead about the compatibility of feminism with the secular governments and institutions of certain Islamic countries.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family Rights


Typing "human rights" and "Islam" into Google seems a great way to find nothing. So instead I asked an Indonesian woman to help me find something worth talking about. She pointed me to this event from 2009 because it was the first time she'd participated in a human rights anything.

As I read this article, a few things immediately jumped off the page. The first being the comment made by the author that simply the ability to have this discussion in Malaysia was a step in the right direction. That such repression of an ideal we Americans take for granted everyday is rampant in places as secular as Malaysia and Indonesia took me aback. I assumed those types of things occurred in Afghanistan, but in southeast Asia?

The second thing that really struck me from the internal discussion were the competing ideas for the concept of basic human rights. That there was a mainstream push for "equality" that does not seem to live up to its billing as well as a push for what I can only classify as a westernized equality of religious ideals rooted in constitutional protections. What happens to these insufficient changes and doctrines with respect to meeting the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights or even organizations like Human Rights Watch? How much progress is sufficient?

Obviously there is a problem in the area of women's rights in the family in many Islamic countries and there are significant strides being made that are not televised. But to what end? Are we expecting Islamic women to have the freedoms of Catholic women in the US or Atheist women in the Netherlands? 70 years ago, few women were in the American workforce. 100 years ago they couldn't vote. A few hundred years ago, the property rights of women varied by state. If we hold the Islamic women's rights movement to a western standard, we'll be standing here waiting quite some time. Hopefully they have a shorter learning curve.

The Qu'ran and Women's Rights

I wanted to see what the Qu’ran itself says about the rights of women, and I came across the following website in the process. Of particular note in the Qu’ran are a number of verses suggesting that women are inherently less valuable than men (see, for example, the verses regarding inheritance and bearing witness). For comparison, however, many Bible verses taken out of context are only marginally more favorable to women (see also below).



Several of the articles that I found on the interaction between Sharia law and women’s rights echoed these ideas.

http://www.ntpi.org/html/womensrights.html (though admittedly, this isn’t the most unbiased of websites).

Colorado tries to define "person"

Here is an election story we did not discuss in class last week about how Colorado had a ballot issue called Amendment 62 which was trying to define a "person" at the moment of conception. The issue was defeated 71% to 29%, but here is an article discussing the pro's and con's of the the proposed amendment.

Pastors who don't Believe in God

This is a story Dan Harris of ABC News did about what happens when pastors stop believing what they preach. This was not necessarily attacking the pastors for losing thier faith, but the story looked at the struggle these men have gone through and the tough decisions they now face when these men are torn between providing an income for thier families and what they now do not believe. These men also face the challenge of possibly losing everyone around them including friends and family, which only adds to complicate the situation. This is a unquie look at an interesting problem.

The French burqa ban

Though this isn’t directly related to the extent that Islam respects human rights, the French burqa ban provides some interesting insights. In particular, it suggests that many European countries (including, as discussed below, the French), perceive that Islam treats women as inferior by forcing them to wear this traditional garb. I have provided a few links below describing the ban and reactions to the ban. One interesting fact: women who wear one in public receive a small fine and are forced to attend citizenship classes, whereas men who force a woman to wear a burqa receive a substantial fine and potential prison time.

Some basic information: http://www.smh.com.au/world/contentious-veil-ban-sails-through-french-senate-20100915-15cqo.html

A Saudi woman’s blog favoring the ban: http://saudiwoman.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/the-french-burqa-ban/

Another Muslim woman’s discussion of the ban: http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/12-burka-the-other-view-620--bi-10

Monday, November 8, 2010

Islam and Human Rights - few links

A great place to start is the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights. This was seen (by some) as an alternative to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Of course it does not speak for all of Islam, and it does not speak for everyone in a Member state, but it provides some insight on the issue.

It has a decent wikipedia page for background, but the full text of the Cairo Declaration is here:
It affirms at the outset that it is a Document on Human Rights in Islam that will serve as a guide for Member states in all aspects of life.

Moving on from the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, Ayatollah Khomeinei states that the basic fundamental rights are: the right to live, the right to be free, the right to benefit from justice, the right to welfare.
www.iranchamber.com/history/akhamenei/works/human_right_islam.pdf (see page 7)

Lastly, I'd like to link to this site, which uses a great deal of scripture and Quran references to develop the author's positions on human rights, and it is a good summary.
Of particular note for this week is the Rights of Enemy Combatants, as we will be discussing war.


human rights and islam

Here is an interesting website I found regarding whether Islam is compatible with human rights. This site suggests the two are compatible, listing numerous "rights" that can be supported by the Qur'an. "Are Human Rights Compatible with Islam" www.religiousconsultation.org/hassan2.htm I also found an interesting law review article that suggests basically the same notions and discussed classical Islamic interpretations. The law review article is of course more lengthy than the website but very interesting and I have cited it several times for my GWR paper. This article also discusses Islam and democracy. Citation is 27 Fordham Int'l L.J. 4, it's by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Islam or Islamism?

Here's one charge-and-response to Islam as the source of the recent interrupted bombing attempt.

How frequently is violence today associated with Islam?


Out of the 7 Current Major Conflicts claiming 1,000 or more lives per year, 5 are motivated by Islam as set forth by at least one of the belligerents involved in the conflict. By Comparison, none of those conflicts were motivated by any other religion.

14 out of 20 lesser, ongoing violent conflicts are either directly motivated by Islam or fought by a people or country to which over 85% of its adherents are Muslim.

The link takes you to the current ongoing military conflicts. You'll have to click on the info about each conflict and each country in order to verify the results of my research.

What is "Jihad"?

Here's an old NPR story I heard a little while back about the meaning of "Jihad." I remember being surprised to hear that you can call your efforts to quit smoking or pray more a jihad.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Islamic Law and Terrorism

First, it's been said a million times, but terrorism is a tiny, insignificant portion of the billion Muslims on the planet. Regarding terrorism, the Muslim majority has uniformly spoken out against it. In fact, the Council on American-Islaimic Relations (CAIR) put out a 65-page collection of statements by Muslim scholars and organizations around dealing with this.

But, I think the question of what role "Jihad" and violence has within the accepted texts of Islam is a valid one. The article I've chosen to share was written by Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. (His CV here; he's qualified to talk about this stuff.)

"From Defensive to Offensive Warfare: The Use and Abuse of Jihad in the Muslim World" is an article about how historically, Jihad was always used in defensive terms, but has recently been abused by leaders in the (radical) Muslim community to promote offensive warfare.

I'm sorry in advance; the article is long and takes some academic slogging... but he makes some good points. His ultimately argues that Muslim jurists need to correct the misinterpretation of Islamic law that has been used by terrorists. Here (a few) general points
  • "Jihad" is often used as a term referring to national liberation. (We should be careful about applying the label of "Islam" to what is essentially a political movement.)
  • In response to Osama Bin Laden's fatwas calling for "Jihad" against the West, Sachedina says "This argument for terrorism as a legitimate means of conduct in war is a clear departure from the classical rulings which regard the ethics of war as important part of jihad."

For some lighter reading, here is another decent article basically saying the same thing: "Terrorism Is at Odds With Islamic Tradition," by Khaled Abou El Fadl (a law professor at UCLA). It's a really great article (originally published in the LA Times), and especially interesting since it was written pre-September 11th.

Jihad: an Overview from Sudan to 9/11

Jihad is sanctioned holy war. Jihad was a blurry concept for me prior to 9/11/01. Sure, I’d heard of it and thought of it as an historical underpinning of Islam, but I never understood the reality that jihad is alive and well in our modern culture. One thing to remember is that there are a handful of sects in Islam that all have their interpretations of the Koran and that base their behavior and beliefs on the Koran as well as other "authoritative" writings. Some of these sects are much more violent than others. The dangerous tendency is it lump all Muslims into one category, just as some try to lump all Christians into one category. One's beliefs determine one's behaviors. It is a fact that Muslims carry out many violent acts of terrorism in the name of Allah. Of course, the Muslim might see US military involvement Afghanistan and Iraq as violent acts of terrorism.

Obviously, to state that "Islam is a violent religion" is taking a complex issue and reducing it to a level of simplicity that is naive, especially in the law profession. To get a closer look on the issue I researched many sites and I thought this line of blogs might be the most thought provoking: http://www.danielpipes.org/990/what-is-jihad. I wanted to start with this article because it points out that jihad is not a rare occurrence in modern society. It occurs very frequently. In fact, it seems our society is numb to jihad. We hear about religious attacks almost every day. And, the grisly reality jihad plays in our modern culture cannot be simply wished away until a form of non-violent jihad is proclaimed by moderate Muslims as the only modern option for Islam.

Daniel Pipes, the author of the blog above, expounded on some of the atrocities of Sudan’s state-sponsored jihad. I have many close friends from Sudan and one in particular who barely escaped jihad with his own life. His name is Malual and as a young boy he had to outrun the jihadists who murdered his father in cold blood and openly raped the women and girls at their family home. At only 8 years old, Malual almost died many times on a treacherous journey to move undetected to the Sudanese border. He eventually found refuge in Ethiopia (only to be turned away) and ultimately made it safely to Uganda, completely on foot with no worldly possessions. He said his faith kept him strong. He talks about the hatred he experienced first hand, but it is the love of Christ that allows him to move on in forgiveness. His forgiveness is surprising! Check out this gripping website for more info on the Lost Boys of Sudan: http://www.allianceforthelostboys.com/. Malual’s reality of terror from militant Islam seemed worlds away until it hit America on 9/11.

Merely typing “jihad 9 11” in Google produces some very unique sites. Many sites are extremist and could be the prototype of “Islamophobia” as discussed in class. An example is “History of Jihad” which outlines various arguments why Islam should be stopped and invites professors and scholars to join the debate (perhaps we should join in because what I read did not seem balanced): http://www.historyofjihad.org/. I also came across the Loyalist party which is dedicated to the eradication of Islamic threat around the world. http://www.loyalistparty.com/. I left disgusted by these sites due to the sheer lack of knowledge and the message of hate they spread.

The reality is, 9/11 was planned and carried out by radical Muslims mostly from Saudia Arabia. Here is a website that profiles the terrorists from 9/11. http://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/01/911/plotters.shtml. It’s interesting to think about how the jihadists lived amongst Americans for months prior to 9/11. Did they ever see humanity or want to renege on their commitment to terror?

Even today as I looked at updated election results I ran across this article and almost kept on going: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39969792/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/. A tragedy like this would be headline news before 9/11, rather than just another article about militant uprisings. It appears jihad and terrorism now go hand in hand…which is why it’s no longer a blurry concept for the Western World. If one’s beliefs determine one’s behaviors, then I only hope that those who believe that Islam is not a violent religion would begin to gain control and thrust out of the modern Islamic belief system.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Islam and Violence

In response to the Western perception that Islam is a violent religion/culture, I chose this week to research Islam in order to better understand where that perception comes from and if it is accurate, which I doubted. Here is an article entitled Islam and the Question of Violence which I thought was interesting and addressed my question.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Islam and Jihad

Here is a link to an electronic version of qu'ran with a syntax searching engine. I figure that this is a good position to start if your inquisitive nature wishes to delve into the Islamic text for verification or refutation of your viewpoints.

I want to first say that I found many of the links I present below from wikipedia. Instead of citing to wikipedia though, I wanted to verify the veracity of the articles citations. I found that the cites used were in fact good ones.

This is a general site, with menus branching off to various other places. The other cites seem to be as legitimate.

Some interesting facts about Islam and terrorism, as well as, the meaning behind the word "jihad."

Jihad in it's literal meaning is to struggle. As taught in the Quran, jihad more commonly means a battle between oneself and against others. The jihad against others only against those who first attack Muslims. However, when the word is used to describe actions against third parties, jihad still requires that the battle cause the least possible amount of damage to life and property.

Islam distinguishes four ways by which the duty of jihad can be fulfilled: by the heart, the tongue, the hand, and the sword. The first consists in a spiritual purification of one’s own heart by doing battle with the devil and overcoming his inducements to evil. The propagation of Islam through the tongue and hand is accomplished in large measure by supporting what is right and correcting what is wrong. The fourth way to fulfill one’s duty is to wage war physically against unbelievers and enemies of the Islamic faith. Those who professed belief in a divine revelation—Christians and Jews in particular—were given special consideration. They could either embrace Islam or at least submit themselves to Islamic rule and pay a poll and land tax. If both options were rejected, jihad was declared.

Modern Islam places special emphasis on waging war with one’s inner self. It sanctions war with other nations only as a defensive measure when the faith is in danger.

The Qu'ran seeks to encourage and promote peace. Violent actions undertaken are by Mullā to interpret the Qu'ran in a way largely inconsistent with its plain meaning and the way a majority of Mullā's interpret and encourage the proliferation of its meaning.

The tradition prevalent among the Muslims of attacking the people of other religions, which they call Jihād, is not Jihād of the Divine religious Law (Islāmic Sharī‘ah). Rather, it is a grievous sin and a violation of the clear instructions of God and His prophet.

The correlation for Jihad and the Christian bible can be found in:
Luke 13:22-24,
the Bible says about Jesus Christ, “And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying towards Jerusalem; and
(Philippians 1: 27)
That ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.
(Timothy, 1:18)
This charge I commit onto you … fight a good fight; holding faith, and a good conscience.

There are scholars of Islam who credit other scholar of Islam with being gravely mistaken in understanding the issue of Jihad, and considered the unjustified killing of human beings by sword a religious duty. These people, these Scholars write, because of the distortion of their hearts, wrongly interpreting some of the Mutashabihat (complex and multifaceted) verses of the Holy Qur’an equated Islamic Jihad to rebellion, and associated self-concocted imprudent beliefs to Islam.

Many peaceful Islamic scholars credit the extreme form of Islam to poverty and systematic economic injustice, much of it stemming from national imperialism surrounding the United States agenda and politics with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. These Islamic followers that contend violence and terror is the route to serving the Prophet have their ideas perpetuated by the condemnation of their entire religion, the continued occupation of Islamic countries, and the general move toward resource depletion by the leaders of Islamic counties or other countries. The disconnect rest with the lack of humanitarian resources directed toward the people living in these countries and not simply the governmental establishment.

Robert Paper is an American political scientist known for his work on international security affairs, especially the coercive strategies of air power and the rationale of suicide terrorism. He has studied every suicide terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. More than half of all suicide attacks were carried out by secular groups and individuals. He writes that more than 95 per cent of all suicide terrorist attacks around the world have in common is not religion, but a specific political goal to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland or prize greatly.

Although terrorist leaders may harbour other goals, history shows that the presence of foreign combat forces is the principal recruiting tool used by terrorist leaders to mobilise suicide terrorists to kill us.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why are liberals so afraid of religion's influence in politics?

After Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally a few months ago, Jon Stewart is rallying "to Restore Sanity" in DC this weekend. A friend posed these questions to me:

Are "reason" and "sanity" the opposite of religion?
Is taking religion out of the political debate the answer for restoring reason?
Or do we need more faith?

This Washington Post article offers some surprising answers and insights: http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/Jordan_Sekulow/2010/10/imagine_more_religion.html

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This article refers to another blog posted earlier about whether courts should apply Sharia law in certain cases...www.economist.com/node/17251830

Sharia Law

This site explains the history of Sharia law and the current status.

CBS report on Sharia Law

Here is a link to a CBS story on America's reaction to Sharia law that might be interesting.

Sharia law

Here is a quick overview of Sharia law and how it interacts with foriegn governments.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gay Bishop says Religion is Killing Teens

An assertion that religion, and it's rejection of homosexuality, plays a huge role in the recent wake of teen suicides that have swept the nation. This article has some of the most disturbing quotes by anti-gay religious leaders that I've ever come across.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The 99

I just came across this and had to share... There is a new cartoon out with some interesting Islamic cultural references. The background story is based on a Baghdad library destroyed by the Mongol Invasion, knowledge/power captured in stones, sent to Moorish Spain, and then scattered across the globe. The history alone caught my attention.

The superheros are based on the 99 aspects of Allah (like Compassionate, Powerful, Watcher, Wise, Merciful), and includes girls in both Western and traditional dress.

It's a really neat idea. Sadly, they sort of dropped the ball on the animation and dialogue. But, as a cartoon for children, I probably shouldn't have had my expectations so high.

There's a decent (longish) article about it here, with a preview:
99 Problems But a Cape Ain't One

Update: The TV show might be a little 90s, but the comic book is really cool.

A Little Philosophy (Sorry)

O.K., so this isn't about the basics of Islamic theology, but other posters have addressed that topic well. At any rate, the line between philosophy and theology is not easy to draw.

It's not an especially interesting read in and of itself, but it contains basic information about modern Islamic philosophy that might pique some interest. I'm particularly intrigued by Mulla Sadra and those influenced by his thought.

Lest it be dismissed as less than apropos to our discussion, see the references to Hassan Hanafi, Ali Shariati and Ruhollah Khomeini.

Ignorance of Religion Isn't Bliss

Here's James Carroll with a column about the relationship between religion and violence:
I am a religious person because I believe that religion can be a way of resisting violence. But that assumes a religion both self-critical and repentant for all the ways it keeps getting sucked into violence — especially with fantasies of a violent God. Today, Islam is on the hot seat because some Muslim nihilists cause mayhem in its name, but Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Confucians — and those who adhere to the rationalist religion-of-no-religion — have all taken their turns with this bat, even if each of these traditions is based on the call to compassionate love. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Christianity and Ideology

What's the difference? Here's one view. It seems to me that belief systems go wrong when they focus more on efficiency than on substantive values and goals.

20/20 What is Islam?

This is only part 1 of 5. The other parts are more directed towards the other topics that we've broken off into. This one gives a brief overview of Islam beliefs and what Islam is. If you don't have 9 minutes to watch this (which you really should) I've highlighted some brief facts that really stood out to me as the most intriguing and one's that I thought most people don't really know about Islam.
  • The Qu'ran has the story of Adam and Eve as well as the story of Jesus.
  • They believe that Jesus was the Messiah and they're waiting for him to come again at the end of the world. ("You can't be a Muslim if you don't believe Jesus is the Messiah")
  • The only real difference, according to this video, between Christianity and Islam is that in Islam, Jesus isn't the son of God, he's merely a divine prophet.
  • Similar to Judaism, Muslims don't believe that there should be any depictions or drawings of Muhammad.
  • Similar to the 10 Commandments, they have the 5 pilars of Islam (the 5 things that make you Muslim).
  • Muhammad said, "You should respect all other religions"
  • Like Christianity and Judaism, there are many different types of Muslims. Some who practice and go to mosque regularly and others who almost never do.
  • Muslims developed advanced algebra and the concept of contagious diseases
  • Muslims came over to America alongside Christopher Columbus on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria
  • Thomas Jefferson specifically included "Muslim" when urging protecting of religious freedom

So, why do many Americans associate violence, terrorism, and anti-American as the symbol of Islam? Why are they so scared? I still struggle with how this came to be. I feel like a lot of it is picking and choosing what they want to believe and a lot of it is extreme stereotyping.

Here's part 3 that briefly explains the controversy of the veil, the clash of cultures and the stereotype of gender inequality that people throughout the world have issues with in regards to Islam

was there no one who could have stood between that boy and that bridge?

 Here's the perspective of Southern Baptist leader Alfred Mohler on the recent teen suicides:
When gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are wrong. Our concern about the sinfulness of homosexuality is not rooted in fear, but in faithfulness to the Bible — and faithfulness means telling the truth. Yet, when gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also right. Much of our response to homosexuality is rooted in ignorance and fear. 
This is at least somewhat conciliatory. Does it give enough? Too much? What do you think?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Overviews of Islam

I'm pretty skeptical of things I get online having some bias and/or not being entirely accurate. Some of the things I read came off as a bit of a sales pitch, so I think it is important to keep the source in mind reading them.

The first overview I'm linking to actually is trying to sell a book, A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam. I linked to chapter that gives general information on Islam. I was impressed that this site backed up information with citations.

This first one is from a Christian website.

This is a Top 10 Myths About Islam list from About.com, which to my knowledge has no religious affiliation. If you click on the author's name you'll see that, "Huda is a Muslim educator and writer with nearly two decades of experience researching and writing about Islam on the Internet. An American woman of Irish/English descent, she has been a Muslim for the past 20 years."

Here's one more view, from a British Islam group.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Evangelical Perspective on Islam

This link below offers a simplistic look at the theological differences between the Christian and Islamic concepts of God.  Note:  this website is from an evangelical Christian perspective.  I do not agree with this article and I do not support this article, but I think it gives a good point-by-point comparison between the God of Christianity and the Allah of Islam in terms of theological basics.  In Islam, God is not a father or a personal/physical being, but an all-powerful, all-encompassing, omnipresent Spirit-Force.  In Islam, God is able to trick people and deceive people in being astray (Surah 14:4,27) from the truth path which is "submission to God" (or "Islam").  For the most part Islamic theology does not recognize "free will" as in Christianity or "free agency" as in Latter-day Saint theology.  Islam stands for predestination or divine destiny; everything has already been planned out by God.  (Surah 3:145; Surah 6:59)  In Islam, humans have little (if any) free will.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Quick Islam Facts

Here's a link to the information I referenced in class about the locations and concentration of Islam in different parts of the world. It seems that Asia is the true center of the Islamic faith.


Here's another link that gives a brief breakdown of some of the different belief systems ranging from fundamentalist, radical, and more modern practice of Islamic faith.


An Orthodox Rabbi's View on Homosexuality


I thought this was great. It really encompasses a lot of areas we've covered including religious sin versus moral sin and how biblical prohibitions are all about the context you place them in. I enjoyed knowing that if I can't be perfect and follow all of the Torah's 613 commandments, it's ok, I still have hundreds of more I can try to follow. Good to know.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Our Father?" An interesting perspective on the relationship between the West and Islam

This article below is not academic, but I think the mathematics and concepts behind it serve as an interesting take on the global issue of Islam in the world.  I think the implications of this if expanded could affect the way that the West views Islam in the future.  And personally, I think it would be weird for one to find out that he is distantly related genealogically to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). 


For me, I can personally say that it would probably change my perspective were it conclusive.  Such a finding would probably create more questions for me than it would answer.

Islamic theology

This link seems to be a very good source with respect to Islamic theology.

This link as well is very good for the basics of Islamic theology.

From my understanding, the theology of Islam is not too in-depth as say Judaism or Catholicism.  Unlike Judaism or Catholicism, in Islam one is not tested over a several month long period in front of religious authorities before being able to convert.  In the process of converting to Islam, depending on the Islamic sect, one must simply affirmatively declare in Arabic that there is only one God Allah and that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is His Messenger in front of at least two Muslim male witnesses.  These two basic principles of there being one God and the Prophet (s.a.w.) as His Messenger form the theological core of Islam.

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

A debate.

Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?

That was a statement regarding the nature of homosexuality at the general conference of the Mormon Church a week and a half ago. NPR's story about those protesting the statement here.

Muslim Demographics via Market Analysis

This link is to Allied Media Corp. and is analysis of the Muslim American Market from an advertising firm's vantage point.

Claim and Response

I neither support nor have enough statistical information to attribute validity to the videos below.
The first makes rather strong claims regarding the immigration of Muslim's into Western Countries. The most disturbing portion of the video is the end where the narrator says that the data given is "a call to action." What kind of action is the video purporting should be taken?
The second is a response by the BBC to the specific claims made in the first. It seeks to directly counter the claims made by the first.
Again I do not have the statistical data to verify either video's accuracy and I don't advocate for either one, but I find the comparison to be a reflection of tension felt by Westerners towards the Muslim religion and Islamic culture.

UPDATE: See first comment for link to the Snopes review of the first video--BTL