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.
Following an embarrassing interview on Fox News with Reza Aslan, author of “Zealot: The Life and Time of Jesus of Nazareth”, his book has shot to number one in the Amazon Book charts. The book describes Jesus as a zealot Jewish preacher who started a revolutionary movement that was so threatening that he was captured, tortured and executed as a state criminal. Looking beyond the myths and examining historical documents he describes Jesus as a man of conviction rife with contradiction. He preaches peace, but tells his followers to carry swords. He urges his disciples to keep his identity secret and promises to liberate them from Roman rule. The book also examines why the early Christian church portrayed Jesus as a peaceful teacher rather than a revolutionary.
In the interview, Ms Green asks “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
Surprised Mr Aslan answers “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim. It’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus, I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions.”
Buzzfeed posted the interview under the title “Is this the most embarrassing interview for Fox News ever?” and it went viral with about 4.5 million views.
Later a delighted Mr Aslan told the New York Times, “I’ll be perfectly honest — I’m thrilled at the response that people have had to the interview, you can’t buy this kind of publicity.”