It’s official! Building snowmen is un-Islamic. After a snowstorm in the North of Saudi Arabia, people built snow camels. A question asking if it was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children, led to Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid issuing a fatwa saying that the religion prohibits building a replica of an animal. It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun. How sad.
A group of people in Iran got themselves arrested after making a video to the tune of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and posting it on YouTube. It became a hit, bringing it to the attention of the morality police. The Iranian police chief said that the vulgar clip, showing three unveiled women, had hurt public chastity. Yesterday a political commentator, Kambiz Hosseini, tweeted about it, boosting a #FreeHappyIranians hashtag campaign to demand their freedom. Around 13 people are believed to have been arrested in connection with the video. It is believed that the participants in the video were released this morning, but the director is still being held.
Sarah Ege a 33 year old mother in Wales has been sentenced to Life this week after beating her 7 year old son to death because he failed to memorise a section of the Quran. Her son, Yaseen, was enrolled in a program in the mosque to memorise some of the Quran and was facing an exam when the incident occurred in July 2010. He had been repeatedly beaten with a stick over a three month period and finally collapsed before his mother after receiving abdominal injuries. After the death, his body was burned and a room set on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime. Sarah later confessed saying she heard voices from the devil, but later withdrew the confession saying her husband and his family made her do it. Her husband was cleared of failing to prevent the death last December. Sarah will serve a minimum of 17 years, minus the 2.5 years she has already spent in secure psychiatric units since her arrest.
When I first heard that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) were blocking text messages containing the word Jesus, I thought it was a delayed April Fool Day joke. I was wrong, they are serious. In a misguided attempt to limit spam and bullying via text messages, the PTA have supplied telecom operators with a list of over 1,000 English words and asked them to block any text message containing them. Most of the words are swear words and slang for certain body parts, but many are genuine words that can be used in normal speech such as Jesus, Back Door, Breast, Devil, Fairy, Finger Food, Gay, Harder, Hole, Idiot, Joint, Kill, Laid, Oui, Queer, Screw, Slant, Slime, Spit and xxx. So if you text your partner and ask them to phone the joint and order finger food, maybe breast of chicken to be laid out, that’s a fourfold infringement. I add xxx to the end of many texts, I guess that would have to stop. Strangely masturbate is not on the list, but the incorrect spellings Mastabate, Mastabater, Masterbate and Mastrabator are included. Maybe they are trying to encourage better spelling. This approach is proven not to work and will just annoy genuine users while spammers have fun deriving spellings not on the list. Now the chairman of Ifhamul Quran International has said that banning Jesus is offensive to both Muslims and Christians. He has appealed to the President and Prime Minister to find out which official drew up this list and have them prosecuted under the blasphemy law. He also added that those who want to ban Jesus Christ (pbuh) from text messages do not understand the Holy Quran. Well I think there is quite a lot more that they don’t understand.
Full list here
A fringe Muslim group in Malaysia has caused some controversy by starting an Obedient Wives Club. The group maintain that wives should be better than a first class prostitute in the bedroom. By sexually satisfying their husbands, they can prevent domestic violence and sexual promiscuity. Doesn’t it sound a bit like the husband saying, “Do what I want in the bedroom or I’ll beat you up and sleep with other women”? I can’t really see why the wives would join, unless of course they don’t want to be beaten up and have their husbands sleep around. The media has asked the minister for women in Malaysia, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, if wives are being turned into slaves by their husbands. She has stated that the club is giving Islam a bad name.
Why do religious zealots need everyone else to believe what they believe? Family Radio spent a fortune on billboards trying to convince us that the world would end on May 21st this year. The leader of this cult is now saying that believers were saved on that day and it is now too late for salvation for the rest, although other broadcasters on the station are giving a different message. The icon on their website (wecanknow.com isn’t that ironic) is still a little calendar date of May 21, but there is no other mention of the date. They still say the world is about to end, but they are not so certain of the exact date anymore. The latest set of religious billboards to upset people are appearing in Sydney, Australia, sponsored by the Islamic group MyPeace. The slogan that seems to be causing most offense among Christians is “Jesus: Prophet of Islam”. They seem to think that would encourage Christians to see the similarities between the faiths, but it actually shows one of the fundamental differences. More details at onislam.net. Last Christmas we had an Atheist group, in New York, putting up billboards about the birth in a manger being a myth, which was counteracted by Christian billboards saying it was real. Before that it was billboards on buses, in the UK, saying there is definitely no God, again counteracted by there definitely is a God. The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Atheist has a meditation on American religious billboards. Although it all provides great amusement for Apathists, who don’t care who is right, it is an awful waste of money that could be used for better purpose. So why do people spend so much trying to convince others to share their beliefs? My guess is that it’s easier to have strong beliefs in things that have no evidence or proof, if lots of other people believe it too. We can’t all be crazy, can we?
The controversial new French law banning women from wearing a veil in public has come into force. It is largely seen as a ban on the Muslim burca although it also prohibits the use of balaclavas and other devices for concealing identities. I wonder are hoodies illegal? Probably not. Two women protesting the law by wearing a veil outside Notre Dame cathedral were arrested this morning, soon after the law came into effect. Police officers have expressed concerns about enforcing the law. Riots have previously broken out in response to alleged harassment of Muslims, so it is unlikely that police will charge into Venissieux or Trappes in order to enforce the ban. They will also need to tread carefully when wealthy Saudis are shopping on the Champs Elysees. The French public have been warned not to take the law into their own hands. There are to be no de-veilings. The police will take any offenders to a police station, where they can be identified and given a small fine. Men who force their women to wear such veils face up to a year in prison and substantial fines. Belgium was the first country to introduce a total ban last year and Holland, Spain and Switzerland may follow suit.
As Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan, they find themselves under attack. Besides the over-hyped threat by a small congregation to burn copies of the Qur’an and the growing opposition to a mosque near ground zero, a Vatican official warns of a Muslim majority in Europe. Father Piero Gheddo in Italy, warns that the declining birth-rate in Europe, combined with mass immigration of Muslims could lead to a Muslim majority in a few generations. He has stated that Islam will “sooner rather than later conquer the majority in Europe.”
“If we consider ourselves a Christian country, we should return to the practice of Christian life, which would also solve the problem of empty cradles”, he added, which presumably refers to the catholic ban on contraception.
This follows a number of warnings from senior church figures on the spread of Islam. Earlier this year, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, of Prague, warned us that Islam was filling a void as Europeans empty the Christian content of their lives. Cardinal Jose Policarpo of Lisbon, last year warned Catholic women against marrying Muslim men.
The thought of living in a country dominated by a single religion is scary. Ireland, for example, is still recovering from the domination of the Catholic Church. It therefore falls on all Apathists to do their duty and procreate with a view to raising some future freethinking Apathists. If you are not ready to start a family just yet, you can have a lot of fun practicing.
US military using sights with coded bible inscriptions in Iraq and Afghanistan. War on Terror or Crusade?