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Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Christmas Greeting From a Muslim Daughter

By: Kari Ansari
The Huffington Post @ IslamiCity 12/22/2010

When I became a Muslim thirteen years ago this month, I left behind the Christmas traditions my family celebrated every year of my childhood. My mother was able to transform our Southern California home into a Winter Wonderland as soon as we walked in the door; it may have been 75 degrees and sunny outside, but inside we felt we were in a Currier and Ives world of red velvet beribboned pine boughs, twinkling lights and beautiful music. I loved it. The Christmas season and our small traditions remained the same no matter how many years passed. My mother worked extremely hard to build warm, and loving holiday memories, and I sincerely cherish them.Like many American homes, there wasn't much Christ in my family's Christmas. There would always be some discussion surrounding the reason for our celebration, but we didn't attend church services or talk too much about what my parents believed. The beautiful nativity on the mantle, hand-painted by my grandmother, was flanked by tasteful, secular decorations. This led to a kind of vague confusion between the miraculous birth of Jesus, and the magical feat of Santa Claus zipping around the world in one night.

Nostalgia not withstanding, thinking about Christmas is now far more meaningful to me on a spiritual level than it was when I was young. The fact that Muslims accept and believe in the virgin birth of Jesus has been a golden thread that links my childhood Christmas memories to my very fulfilling adult life as a Muslim. continue reading @ IslamiCity

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Give Respect and Get Respect - Excellent insights

Here is what I found on the subject of Respect [image courtesy:]:
“Hey you! RESPECT Me!!!” …(No! It doesn’t work that way now)
Kinds of Respect:
  • Thursday, December 02, 2010

    Can spirituality control scams?

    by Gautam Chikermane on Wednesday, December 1, 2010, Hindustan Times Blog

    Bottom line (extract):
    If we have to fight this out as a nation, I think we’ll have to do with our spirit. The spirit will infuse our minds with a force that we once carried. It will dust off the ennui our bodies have been steeped in for decades now and perhaps open new doors to freedom.

    Earlier this month, I was tailing the Dalai Lama as his shadow for the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. Among the many things he said, I pick up one here. Buddha was a great soul, he said, and Buddhists have a great religion. But the Buddha could not protect Tibet from China, he said. Action was needed, we need to act.

    In the deep silence of his presence, I found his words hugely inspiring. Could the spiritual destiny that once belonged to us, be the vehicle for India’s redemption?

    On the same shelf:
  • Google for more on spirituality & scam
  • Corruption needs to be uprooted: Baba Ramdev, - Vipul Kumar Shah - 23 Nov 2010

  • Seven big Indian corruption scandals
    REUTERS - India has been rocked this year by a series of corruption scandals that have embarrassed the ruling Congress party, rattled markets and delayed reform bills as the opposition stalls parliament.

    The country, 87th in Transparency International's rankings based on perceived levels of corruption, is no stranger to scandals.

    Here are some of the biggest in the last two decades:
    1. 2010 -- LOAN BRIBERY CASE
    4. 2010 - HOUSING SCAM
    5. 2009 - SATYAM
    6. 1992 - SECURITIES SCAM
    7. 1986 - BOFORS GUN DEAL [also @ ]
  • Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Newsweek has named Obama "god of all things" on its cover

    Image @ Kauai's Hindu Monastery; Read more here: Newsweek Has Obama Channeling Lord Nataraja? or here
    The picture of Lord Nataraja, here:
    "The latest issue of popular American news magazine Newsweek has on its cover page US President Barack Obama in the pose of Lord Nataraja.

    In its November 22, 2010 issue, Obama has been shown by Newsweek on its cover page with multiple arms balancing several policy issues while raising his left leg mimicking the cosmic dance of the Hindu deity; considered a manifestation of Lord Shiva. Continue reading: The Times of India

    On the same shelf:
  • NEWSWEEK: India: A Delicate Dance, by John Barry Oct 30, 2010
  • Obama on the cover of Newsweek as SHIVA the DESTROYER, [SHIVA the DESTROYER in the "Dance of Death"; SHIVA is also depicted in front of CERN Laboratory in Geneva.]
  • Tuesday, November 09, 2010

    Being religious improves happiness, Dan Buettner

    Finding the Happiest Place on Earth
    Mon Nov 8, 9:31AM PT - ABC News @ Yahoo! News Video
    Dan Buettner traveled all over the world to find the best places to live.
    "Unraveling the story of each "hotspot" like a good mystery, Buettner reveals how he discovered each location and then travels to meet folks who embody each particular brand of happiness. He introduces content, thriving people in Denmark, in Singapore, in northeastern Mexico, and in a composite "happiest place in America." In addition, he interviews economists, psychologists, sociologists, politicians, writers, and other experts to get at what contributes to each region's happiness.

    Buettner's findings result in a credible, cross-cultural formula and a practical plan to help us stack the deck for happiness and get more satisfaction out of life. According to Buettner's advisory team, the average person can control about forty percent of his or her individual happiness by optimizing life choices. These aren't unreasonable demands on a person's lifestyle, and they often require only slight changes. They fall into three categories that make up the way we live our lives: the food we eat, the way we exercise, and the social networks we foster. It's all about nourishing the body and the spirit. Heeding the secrets of the world's happiness all-stars can help us make the right choices to find more contentment in our own lives and learn how to thrive."

    page 145... Indeed, worldwide research shows that religious people are happier than nonreligious ones.
    page 166 ... religious people tend to be happier than nonreligious people, …
    page 225 …study done on the connection between religion and well-being, shows that the two go hand in hand.

    On the same shelf:
  • There’s more to the story when reporting on religious violence
    by Samiaji Bintang, Common Ground News Service 23 November 2010
  • Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Wind could have parted Red Sea for Moses: Report -

    Toronto Star, Sep 21 2010
    “The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that’s in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in.”

    Religious texts differ a little in the tale, but all describe Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt ahead of a pharaoh’s armies around 3,000 years ago. The Red Sea parts to let Moses and his followers pass safely, then crashes back onto the pursuers, drowning them...

    “This land bridge is 3-4 km long and 5 km wide, and it remains open for 4 hours,” they wrote in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.

    “People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts,” Drews said. “What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws.”
    continue reading

    See also on the same shelf:
  • Moses parting the Red Sea: it could have happened. Probably didn't, but could have
  • Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Leave quotation of sacred texts to theologians

    By Haroon Siddiqui Toronto Star, Sep 12 2010

    "Pastor Terry Jones wanted to burn the Qur’an because he believes it preaches violence. That, in fact, has been an article of faith for critics of Islam post-9/11. “See, it says right here,” they say, pointing to the “Sword Verses,” of which they are a dozen. They quote them selectively, as does Osama bin Laden — he to justify violent jihad, they to demonize Islam...

    In fact, Philip Jenkins, professor of religion at Penn State University and author of Jesus Wars and Dark Passages, has argued that “the scriptures in the Qur’an are far less bloody and less violent than those in the Bible. There’s a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible which we can only call genocide..." continue reading

    On the same shelf:
  • Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran?
    by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
    Extract: "Much to my surprise, the Islamic scriptures in the Quran were actually far less bloody and less violent than those in the Bible," Jenkins says.

    Jenkins is a professor at Penn State University and author of two books dealing with the issue: the recently published Jesus Wars, and Dark Passages , which has not been published but is already drawing controversy.

    Violence in the Quran, he and others say, is largely a defense against attack.
  • Philip Jenkins:
    "The book I am working on right now is called Dark Passages: How Religions Learn to Forget Their Bloody Origins..."
  • Monday, September 13, 2010

    India: A Glimpse of Multifaith Composite Culture

    Note: This post coincides with the world wide celebrations of Hindi Day, a language that co-exists in the name of Hindustani, more here and here: Simplify Hindi news to reach masses: Ambika Soni

    On the same shelf:
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Multifaith Perspective
  • Faith and the city: Just one prayer away from God
    According to the Quality of Life survey by DNA and AZ research, overall 55% of adults in the city pray, whereas the number of people who meditate is seen to be rising, especially in Mumbai city. In fact, the survey findings indicate that meditation as a habit has become quite popular in central suburbs and central Mumbai.
  • Chowk: Books Arts & Culture: Story of Hindustani II
  • Hindi or Hindustani -the Differences in Various Forms of Hindi Spoken And Written in India
  • Hindi Day celebration from Sep 14, 2010
  • Mind Your Language: Needed, a National Script! by Rajinder Puri
  • Elegy for India, by Gamal Nkrumah, Al-Ahram Weekly
  • US gives India high marks on religious freedom
  • Wednesday, September 08, 2010

    Building on Faith in Lower Manhattan

    By FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, September 7, 2010

    Above all, the project will amplify the multifaith approach that the Cordoba Initiative has deployed in concrete ways for years. Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures.

    Our broader mission — to strengthen relations between the Western and Muslim worlds and to help counter radical ideology — lies not in skirting the margins of issues that have polarized relations within the Muslim world and between non-Muslims and Muslims. It lies in confronting them as a joint multifaith, multinational effort.

    From the political conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians to the building of a community center in Lower Manhattan, Muslims and members of all faiths must work together if we are ever going to succeed in fostering understanding and peace.

    At Cordoba House, we envision shared space for community activities, like a swimming pool, classrooms and a play space for children. There will be separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths. The center will also include a multifaith memorial dedicated to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. continue reading

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

    Five myths about mosques in America

    By Edward E. Curtis IV
    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    1. Mosques are new to this country.
    2. Mosques try to spread sharia law in the United States.
    3. Most people attending U.S. mosques are of Middle Eastern descent.
    4. Mosques are funded by groups and governments unfriendly to the United States.
    5. Mosques lead to homegrown terrorism. Continue reading

    On the same shelf:
  • No grounds for ‘mosque’ hysteria, Faisal
  • The not so great Islamist menace
    By Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen, January 5, 2011
    As for who's responsible, forget Islamists. The overwhelming majority of the attacks-- 237 of 294 -- were carried out by separatist groups, such as the Basque ETA. A further 40 terrorist schemes were pinned on leftist and/ or anarchist terrorists. Rightists were responsible for four attacks. Single-issue groups were behind two attacks, while responsibility for a further 10 was not clear.
    Islamists? They were behind a grand total of one attack. Yes, one. Out of 294 attacks. In a population of half a billion people. To put that in perspective, the same number of attacks was committed by the Comite d'Action Viticole, a French group that wants to stop the importation of foreign wine.
  • Thursday, August 05, 2010

    The Sacred Art Of Fasting (Preparing to Practice)

    Multifaith Calendar (sample):
  • August 1: Fast in honor of Holy Mother of Lord Jesus - Orthodox Christian
  • August 11: Ramadan begins - Islam through September 10 (date mostly decided by the local communities based on the moon sighting)
  • Nov 15: Nativity Fast through December 24 - Orthodox Christian

    A video compilation about Ramadan, 9th month of the Islamic calendar. Background nasheed by Zain Bhikha.

    Welcome to the spirit of fast, so common in most of the religions, mostly observed in combination: fasting with prayer (where fasting is a physical discipline, and praying is a spiritual discipline). Read the book: The Sacred Art Of Fasting

    "One of the book's strengths is its evenhanded introduction to each of the six religions it covers (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Mormonism) and the inclusion in each chapter of a "living voice from the tradition." These narratives allow adherents from each religion to speak from their own belief and experience, and they range in style from simple exposition to personal essay and interview format. The chapter on Christianity is slightly partial toward the author's own Catholicism, but the principles it explores are broadly inclusive. Another gem is the chapter with suggestions for keeping the spirit of a fast even if actual abstention is not physically possible for health reasons. This is a much-needed treatise that will attract believers from all faiths. (From Publishers Weekly @
    Table of Contents:
    Introduction ix
    1 In Search of Fasting as a Spiritual Practice 1;
    2 Judaism: Purification, Mourning, Atonement 13;
    3 Christianity: Mystical Longing, Liberation through Discipline, Work of Justice 35;
    4 Islam: Allah-Consciousness, Self-Restraint, Social Solidarity 67;
    5 Hinduism: Purity, Respect, Penance 91;
    6 Buddhism: Purity of Body, Clarity of Mind, Moderation 103;
    7 Latter-day Saints: Offerings for Those in Want, Strengthening in the Faith 113;
    8 What Makes Fasting a Sacred Art? 129;
    9 Preparing to Practice 141;

    See also:
  • Ramadan Highway Code - Visualization - Do's & Don'ts
  • I'tikaf: Spiritual Retreat for Women at Home?
  • I`tikaf City of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI)
  • Itikaf; Spiritual Retreat
  • N.J. school district to observe Muslim and Hindu holidays
  • Ramadan: How non-Muslims can approach the Koran
    Extract: "Just as Ghazi recommends non-Christians or Jews start reading the Bible by going first to poetic and inspiring sections such as the Psalms -- rather than the dry, difficult books of Deuteronomy or Leviticus -- she suggests some sections of the Koran are more accessible than others, passages such as Sura 1, titled "Fatiha;" Sura 12, titled "Joseph," or Sura 97, titled "El Qadr."

    Ghazi urges readers to avoid thinking that the Koran is to be read "literally," the way a Protestant fundamentalist might approach the Bible -as historical, scientifically established fact.

    Since the Koran is often highly symbolic, filled with sacred teachings that come across like poetry, Ghazi says it is impossible to read literally. It is always subject to interpretation. Grave misunderstandings can be avoided by reading a reliable translation, with commentary."
  • Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Mahatma Gandhi and the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH)

    By Asghar Ali Engineer
    Note: This imaginary dialogue between Gandhiji and the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) is to clarify many misunderstandings which are being spread about Islam and Muslims. My mission in life is to promote peace and inter-religious understanding and to struggle against religious fanaticism and extremism. As I have deep conviction about teachings of Islam, I am also great admirer of Gandhiji and his philosophy of non-violence. (A.E.)

    Gandhiji: I have drawn inspiration from Islam as much as from Christianity. Islam’s emphasis on justice, equality and human dignity has always attracted me as love and forgiveness of Christianity. The Sermon on the Mount specially attracted my attention. As you know I am deeply committed to philosophy of non-violence and it is in this respect that I am approaching you to know more in depth about Islam’s teachings about non-violence. It is necessary as Islam and terrorism are being equated by some anti Islamic forces and it is you who can help dispel these attacks on Islam. Who can be the better person than you, O Prophet of Islam.

    Prophet: I am so much pained that Islam is under attack today whereas 21st century should have been the most appropriate period to appreciate its teachings. Yes, I admit there are all kinds of people in any religion and some may be motivated by their own selfish interests and indulge in violence or other misdeeds but a religion should be judged by its core teachings, not by what some followers do. I hope you will agree with me.

    Gandhiji: Yes I do agree with you sir, the great Prophet of Islam. continue reading: Gandhiji and the Prophet (PBUH),

    Saturday, July 31, 2010

    Tyson's Spiritual Journey

    Vince Thomas | Jul 13, 2010 Mike Tyson during his journey to Mecca
    "my whole life has been a waste – I've been a failure."

    Extract: "The picture taken of "Iron" Mike Tyson in front of the holy Ka'aba reminds believers the reason that Muslims make the pilgrimages: it is a time for deep personal reflection and growth. After the life Tyson has led, is there anyone more deserving?" continue reading

    See also:
  • MIKE TYSON'S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY‎ Saudi Gazette - 4 Jul 2010, By Majed Al-Suqairi
    "MADINA – Former US heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, who is on a visit to the Kingdom to perform Umrah, Sunday prayed at the Quba’ and Qiblatain mosques..."
  • Mike Tyson, en peregrinación a Arabia Saudita Diario las Américas

    Info courtesy: Mohammed Ibrahim
  • Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    Terrorism is not a Muslim monopoly, Times of India

    Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, TNN, Jul 23, 2006,
    "All Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims." This comment , frequently heard after the Mumbai bomb blasts implies that terrorism is a Muslim specialty, if not a monopoly. The facts are very different. continue reading
    Info courtesy: Mrs. Elizabeth Rahman, CEO of Metamorphosis Translation Services, and co-hosts the Annual Abraham Festival in Peterborough.

    Saturday, July 03, 2010

    Google is neither God nor Satan - Thought for the day

    Picture (Some Questions Can't Be Answered by Google) courtesy: TameBay : eBay news blog

    The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr (W. W. Norton & Company 2010; ISBN: 0393072223)

    "Google is neither God nor Satan, and if there are shadows in the Googleplex they're no more than the delusions of grandeur. What's disturbing about the company's founders is not their boyish desire to create an amazingly cool machine that will be able to out think its creators, but the pinched conception of the human mind that gives rise to such a desire." (in Chapter Eight: The Church of Google, p. 176)

    Review: The New York Times - Jonah Lehrer
    While Carr tries to ground his argument in the details of modern neuroscience, his most powerful points have nothing do with our plastic cortex. Instead, The Shallows is most successful when Carr sticks to cultural criticism, as he documents the losses that accompany the arrival of new technologies.

    Prologue; The Watchdog and the Thief; One Hal and Me; Two The Vital Paths; a digression on what the brain thinks about when it thinks about itself; Three Tools of the Mind; Four The Deepening Page;a digression on lee de forest and his amazing audion; Five A Medium of the Most General Nature; Six The Very Image of a Book; Seven The Juggler's Brain; a degression on the buoyancy of IQ scores; Eight The Church of Google; Nine Search, Memeory; a digression on the writing of this book; Ten A Thing Like me; Epilogue Human Elements

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    Coalition Calls for Boycott of Comedy Central Over Cartoon Depicting Jesus

    By DAVE ITZKOFF,, June 3, 2010
    " A coalition of organizations that seek to promote what they see as religious values and family-friendly programming said on Thursday that they were calling on prospective sponsors to boycott advertising on a planned Comedy Central animated series that would satirize Jesus Christ.
    The group, which calls itself the Citizens Against Religious Bigotry and includes leaders from the Media Research Center, the Catholic League and the Parents Television Council, said the series represented a double standard in light of the network’s decision to censor an episode of “South Park” that mocked the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam." continue reading


    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    Jihad jitters at Comedy Central

    Margaret Wente,, The Globe and Mail, The Globe and Mail

    Why do we allow ourselves to be spooked?

    What’s the lowest point in the history of American TV? The censorship of South Park could be it.
    South Park is a hilarious, profane and potty-mouthed cartoon show that has been airing on The Comedy Network for nearly 14 years. This week’s Wednesday episode, featuring an irreverent treatment of the Prophet Mohammed, was altered by a frightened network. The network cancelled replays of the show and took it off the website. Episode 201 of South Park has officially ceased to exist.
    The network did this in reaction to a single threat from a tiny group of nut-bars calling themselves Revolution Muslim. Here’s where things get surreal. This group was reacting to the episode of the week before – which dealt in a satirical way with threats over depicting the figure of Mohammed. continue reading: Jihad jitters at Comedy Central

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Reading now: Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?

    Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?: What You Need To Know When Attending Religious Occasions (Simple Guides)by Akasha Lonsdale, (Kuperard, 2010)

    About the Author:
    AKASHA LONSDALE is an Interfaith Minister. Her two-year seminary training in London included instruction in the major religions and sacred traditions of the world, and her vocation brings her into frequent contact with people of every faith and none.

    Product Description:
    In today’s multicultural society we are increasingly likely to meet and become friends with people from different religious backgrounds, and to find ourselves attending an unfamiliar ceremony. When this happens, there can be few of us who know exactly what to expect, or are confident about how to behave.

    Each religious occasion is categorized in a helpful sequence. For e.g., Buddhist ceremonies (p. 298) > festivals and holy days (p. 314) > Wesak, Vesak, Vesakha (Buddha Day) What do I do? (p. 317) ... Similarly, Sikh ceremonies (p. 260) > Vaisakhi, Baisakhi (what do they do) (p. 281);

    You will find description of each faith's practice, theology, what do I do, What happens, and much more...

    In terms of coverage of ceremonies, Western Christianity gets the largest share: 60 pages; Orthodox Christianity: 20 pages; Jewish: 50 pages; Muslim: 25 pages; Hindu: 50 pages; Sikh: 38 pages; and Buddhist: 30 pages.

    "Armed with this basic information, you will feel relaxed enough to enjoy the occasion–and perhaps inspired to discover more about the spiritual world view of another cultural tradition. "

  • It is a 'how to' manual for those desiring to understand seven faiths' religious occasions.
  • It is easy to read, easier to follow and educating everyone.
  • Each faith (except Christianity) ends with a glossary ('Some Useful Words & Phrases').
  • It has a detailed Table of Contents, equally detailed index and a useful list of resources (Further Readings)

  • The background information of each faith takes away precious space, and this factor makes the book bulky (336 pages); Just the details of 'Bow, Kneel, Prostrate and Hand Shake' would have taken only 200 pages, making it cheaper, handy and unique. In a future revision, the author / publisher may consider a more appropriate title for this book, such as, 'Bow, Kneel, Prostrate and Hand Shake: unique and common practices in major theistic religions of the world.'
  • This book’s wonderful detailed description of faith practices is simply short of visuals.
  • Missing in glossary: Sajda, singular (prostration) in Muslim practice; Eight-limbed (ashtanga pranama) and five-limbed (panchanga pranama) prostrations in Hinduism; “Bet-Resh-Kaf (Knee) The words barukh and berakhah are both derived from the Hebrew root Bet-Resh-Kaf, meaning "knee," and refer to the practice of showing respect by bending the knee and bowing.” See here more on: Did the Jews pray as Muslims do ?!

    This book is a handy resource for the following: (a) you, to understand the other and learn how best to accommodate; (b) any one interested in building bridges (or interested in comparative religion, interfaith dialog, etc.), c) a teacher who can use it as textbook to learn and teach 'what do I do' 'when invited to attend their ceremony.'

    In short, all school libraries and public libraries must have a copy. This is a valuable reference source. Read other reviews, here: Simply Divine Ceremonies
    On the same shelf:

  • Sunday, February 07, 2010

    French Catholic church warns against burqa ban

     Daily Times
    PARIS: The French Catholic church warned Paris on Monday against banning the burqa and said France must respect the rights of Muslims if it wanted Islamic countries to do the same for their Christian minorities. Bishop Michel Santier, the top French Catholic official for inter-religious dialogue, said very few women in France wear full veils and Muslim leaders agree it is not obligatory in Islam. If Paris passed a law, Santier said, “The result could be the opposite of what is desired and lead to a reaction that increases the number of women wearing the burqa. “The French, including the Catholics among them, should not let themselves be gripped by fear or a ‘clash of civilisations’ theory,” he said. 
    continue reading French Catholic church warns against burqa ban

    See also on the same shelf:

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Interfaith Alliance head protests Bible verses on military gun sights

    By Bob Allen, Thursday, January 21, 2010, Associated Baptist Press
    WASHINGTON (ABP) -- A Baptist leader is calling on President Obama to conduct a formal investigation into revelations that a United States military contractor stamped references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights used, unknowingly, by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Welton Gaddy, president of the Washington-based Interfaith Alliance, said the episode "is only the latest in a long line of violations of the boundaries between religion and government within the military." He urged Obama to develop guidelines that "ensure that religion no longer plays an inappropriate role in our armed forces."continue reading

    See on the same shelf:
  • Justin Trottier: Weapons bearing scripture & google's Islam censorship: catch me tonight on the Michael Coren show CTS TV @ Facebook
  • Google struggles with religious sensitivity: "Google results offend Christians, but if you search for “Islam is” Google will give you no search suggestions.
  • You Can’t Make This Stuff Up—Bible Verses on Gun Sights Ronald A. Lindsay, January 21, 2010
  • More News via Google's images
  • Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Google struggles with religious sensitivity

    "Google results offend Christians, but if you search for “Islam is” Google will give you no search suggestions.
    It wasn’t long ago experts claimed that we were entering the age of secularization. Instead the headlines of the new century have become dominated by religious fervor, not at least because of the rise of Muslim militants and 9/11." continue reading @ Pandia Search Engine News

    See also:
  • Google favouring Islam? Matthew Moore, Expressbuzz, 11 Jan 2010
    Google has denied favouring Islam over other religions in its suggested searches, after allegations that phrases criticising the faith had been censored.
  • Google 'censors its website so anti-Islam  searches fail to appear   Daily Mail   Neil Millard

  • Google suggests Islam is nothing

  • "The metaphysics of search, The Register, 11th January 2010

    Google's search Suggest function treats Islam a bit differently from the other major religions of the world. It's willing to suggest "Christianity is bullshit" or "Judaism is false," but if you begin to ask what Islam is, it won't suggest a thing..."

  • Is Google Censoring Islam Suggestions? Wired News

  • Friday, January 08, 2010

    Proselytization, admittedly, is fraught with complications - Thought for the day

    By Michael Gerson, Friday, January 8, 2010 Washington Post:
    "Proselytization, admittedly, is fraught with complications. We object to the practice when an unequal power relationship is involved -- a boss pressuring an employee. We are offended by brainwashing. Coercion and trickery violate the whole idea of free religious choice based on open discussion.

    But none of this was present in Hume's appeal to Woods. A semi-retired broadcaster holds no unfair advantage over a multimillionaire athlete. Hume was engaged in persuasion.

    "Persuasion, by contrast," argues political and social ethics professor Jean Bethke Elshtain, "begins with the presupposition that you are a moral agent, a being whose dignity no one is permitted to deny or to strip from you, and, from that stance of mutual respect, one offers arguments, or invites your participation, your sharing, in a community." 

    The root of the anger against Hume is his religious exclusivity -- the belief, in Shuster's words, that "my faith is the right one." For this reason, according to Shales, Hume has "dissed about half a billion Buddhists on the planet." Continue reading: Brit Hume's Tiger Woods remarks shine light on true intolerance

    How to suppress American Muslims (and throw Sikhs and Jews under the bus)

    By Rajdeep Singh, January 8, 2010, Altmuslimah

    "At a time of fear and hostility toward Muslims, ID documents offer bigots a simple way to wreck the socio-economic mobility of religious minorities (that Sikhs, Jews, and others might be impacted is usually an afterthought). The act of redefining photo ID standards by law to slam religious minorities has an economic dimension, but it also constitutes a form of dehumanization. For the faithful, religious headcoverings are not merely articles of faith but also integral and inseparable components of their identities as human beings. They are a source of self-definition and strength..."

    Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    Free to criticize religions but not with hate: Bombay high court

    Swati Deshpande, The Times of India TNN 7 January 2010, 01:11am IST
    MUMBAI: In a significant ruling, a three-judge bench of the Bombay high court on Wednesday held that in India, criticism of any religion -- be it Islam, Hinduism, Christianity or any other -- is permissible under the fundamental right to freedom of speech and that a book cannot be banned on those grounds alone.

    However, the criticism must be bona fide or academic, said the court, as it upheld a ban issued in 2007 by the Maharashtra government on a book titled `Islam - A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims.' The book contained was an "aggravated form of criticism made with a malicious and deliberate intention" to outrage the feelings of Muslims, the court said.

    Delivering the landmark verdict on Wednesday, the court has in a rare instance upheld the state's ban on a book but at the same time brought joy to civil rights activists when it held that, "in our country, everything is open to criticism and religion is no exception. Freedom of expression covers criticism of religion and no person can be sensitive about it."

    The bench, comprising Justices Ranjana Desai, D Y Chandrachud and R S Mohite, said, "Healthy criticism provokes thought, encourages debate and helps us evolve. But criticism cannot be malicious and must not lead to creating ill-will between different communities... (it) must lead to sensible dialogue." The courts must strike a balance between the guaranteed freedom and permissible restrictions, "a difficult task", as the 150-page HC verdict penned by Justice Desai observed...

    A person may have a right to say a particular religion is "not secular", said the HC, but it cautioned against rabid contents "reeking of hatred for a particular community" and "malafide exercise to stir communal passions".

    The HC also found "totally unacceptable" the author's argument that banning the book in the age of the internet is passe and pointless.

    The book contains "highly objectionable and disturbing" statements about the author's wishful thinking of an impending war between Muslims and others and how Indian Muslims want to convert all Hindus, attack temples and Hindu women. Statements like these are "likely to incite people to violence and may promote violence, enmity or hatred". Full article
    See also:
  • Hate Sermons: Free to criticize religions but not with hate: High Court Decision on Hate; a new international precedent
  • Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Atheists Celebrate First-Ever Invite to Mayor's Interfaith Breakfast

    By Roy Edroso in Citystate, Featured, Religion
    Monday, Jan. 4 2010 @ 4:33PM
    "Ken Bronstein was excited to notify us of a great coup: six members of his organization, the New York City Atheists, attended Mayor Bloomberg's annual Interfaith Breakfast this weekend. It's believed to be the first time nonbelievers have been invited, as nonbelievers, to the event.

    We asked Bronstein why atheists would even want to attend an Interfaith Breakfast, seeing as they don't, in point of fact, have faith.

    "Oh, we have faith," Bronstein told us. "Just not in God." continue reading

    On the same shelf:
  • Annual Interfaith Breakfast on Parliament Hill Born
  • 'I Sold My Soul on eBay' - Faithwise Review of the Week
  • Atheist, Naturalist, Secular humanist, Or None-of-the-above
  • Atheist Ashu Solo threatens human rights complaint after Saskatoon councillor’s dinner blessing, Betty Ann Adam, Postmedia News
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