Deadline

The Taleban have granted an 24-hour extension on the lives of the kidnapped Korean missionaries in Afghanistan, set to expire anytime now.

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The terrorists and their captives are surrounded by US and Afghan troops. Continue to pray for their release.

Free At Last

The continuing saga of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya is finally at an end. Through a deal brokered by the EU with the help of Qatar, the nurses and their Palestinian doctor colleague have flown to Bulgaria. They were released under a 1984 prisoner exchange agreement

The Bulgarian president and prime minister both met the plane as it landed. The former hostages (let’s call it like it is) were travelling with the wife of the French President and the European Union foreign affairs commissioner. They were immediately officially pardoned by the president, who has even gone one step further and is putting them up at the presidential residence. This includes the doctor, who was granted Bulgarian citizenship last month.

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Libya agreed to release them after the EU agreed to take care of all of Libya’s HIV children in European hospitals for the rest of their lives. The Libyans were also offered normalised relations with the EU. I’d say they managed to pull of a good deal. Find some Christians who have come to your country to help people, arrest them on ludicrous charges, see that they get sentenced to death, and it is amazing how much leverage you can have.

While we rejoice in their freedom, let us not forget that there are other Christians imprisoned, killed, and otherwise persecuted for their faith by Islamic (and other anti-Christian) regimes around the world.

Differentiating Martyrdom

As if it weren’t self-evident by now, the Taleban are once again showing why they must be eradicated and extinguished from the face of the earth. They have kidnapped 23 Korean Christians (including 18 women) and will murder them unless all South Koreans leave Afghanistan.

If you think this is a ploy to get a Coalition country to remove its troops, you’d be wrong. South Korea has no troops in Afghanistan. There are 200 Koreans there, but they are engineers, doctors and medical staff.  They are trying to rebuild the country and keep its people alive. But then the Taleban have never been big on keeping people alive.

The Koreans have been specifically targeted because they are Christians. Even though they were on their way to work in a hospital in Kandahar, they are accused of evangelism, which carries a death sentence under the Taleban – though must be remembered things are not much better under the elected government of the country. Thus, I would not expect a lot of help from President Hamid Karzai in negotiating their release.

Their plight will not come as a surprise to them. Many of the Korean missionaries who go into the Muslim-controlled countries speak of a desire for martyrdom – exhibiting a ferver reminiscent of various Roman persecutions. But in an age where the desire for martyrdom is only ever seen in an Islamic context, the world cannot understand those who give their lives willingly without explosives strapped to themselves and who hope to see the face of the Saviour and not 72 virgins.

Ransomed

The Bulgarians nurses I wrote about in May have had their death sentences commuted. They have not been freed, but rather merely given life imprisonment for crimes which research has shown the could not have committed.

They have been convicted of intentionally infecting 438 children in Libya with HIV. Even though the accusation is ludicrous, foreign experts with no vested interest in covering up the problem of AIDS in a Muslim country have determined that the infections started before the Bulgarians even arrived in Libya. They made confessions, but these were aided by the usual Libyan methods of torture.

In the end, it wasn’t just all of the foreign pressure from the civilised world that worked. It was the blood money that was raised. More than £200 million of it to be paid to the families. There were sweeteners for the Libyan government like all of their debt to Bulgaria written off. You know a country is in pretty bad shape when they are in debt to Bulgaria.

Now the pressure should not be let up until they are released.

Breeding Terrorists

After the complaints that Farfour, the giant mouse character on Pioneers of Tomorrow, the Hamas children’s show on Al Aqsa TV was a clone of Mickey Mouse, he has been replaced with Nahoul the Bee.

Little Green Footballs has a clip of the show where Nahoul is introduced. They post the dialogue from the clip underneath. It was so shocking, I thought it must be a spoof. Then I watch the clip and saw that it was also subtitled.

Nahoul: I want to be in every episode with you on the Pioneers of Tomorrow show, just like Farfour. I want to continue in the path of Farfour – the path of Islam, of heroism, of martyrdom, and of the mujahideen. Me and my friends will follow in the footsteps of Farfour. We will take revenge upon the enemies of Allah, the killer of the prophets and of the innocent children, until we liberate Al-Aqsa from their impurity. We place our trust in Allah.

Nahoul the bee claims to be the cousin of Farfour the mouse.  I’m not sure exactly how that works. The Palestinians have clearly made remarkable advances in the area of genetics.

Veiled Justice

If you have the impression that Muslim women wearing the full veil are not in touch with the modern world, you would be wrong.

A woman serving on the jury of a murder trial has been arrested for listening to her MP3 player under her hijab, while the defendant was giving evidence. He was later found guilty. I can see that one going up on appeal. Can you say, “re-trial”?

It’s not like this woman wanted to be in court listening to her MP3 player. She avoided her first two summons to jury duty. She doesn’t have a job, so she tried to say she needed to go job hunting or go on a nursing course, for which she could provide no details. Then she kept arriving late to court during the trial, but the judge wouldn’t dismiss her. She doodled instead of reading the evidentiary documents handed to her and refuse to put them in the into the lever arch files provided to her.

The judge even thought he heard “tinny music” but decided it was his imagination, until another member of the jury finally complained.

The woman almost certainly faces prison if she is convicted. I have a had time imagining how she could not be convicted. The maximum sentence is indefinite imprisonment and an unlimited fine. I would expect that she would get at least several months.

The Good Guys are the Bad Guys

or is it the other way around?

You know things are bad when Hamas are the good guys.

This is an organisation that says every Jew should be killed wherever they are found. With a record of suicide bombing, they have tried to put their words into action. They are recognised as a terrorist organisation by both the US and EU. Nonetheless, they engineered the freedom of BBC reported Alan Johnston from the even more extreme self-styled Army of Islam.

I have no doubt they did not act altruistically. They need the good publicity.

Predictably, senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, said, “We didn’t work to receive favours from the British government. We did this because of humanitarian concern.” Somehow, when you blow up people as a matter of policy, no one in the civilised world really takes you seriously when you speak of humanitarian concern.

Having taken over the Palestinian government form the more moderate Fatah, but diplomatically isolated from the US and UK, they need to show they have some semblance of civilised behaviour. Since they won’t back down from their policies, they had to come up with something else.

After Johnston was freed, Foreign Secretary David Miliband was cautiously appreciative of the role of Hamas in securing the release. However, he also made clear that there would be no change in UK policy toward Hamas until Hamas changes its policy toward Israel.

Copycat Cameron

David Cameron has been completely outflanked by Gordon Brown.

The Prime Minister has revamped the Cabinet to reflect his approach to government.  He has followed this up by doing the unthinkable and handing power from himself to Parliament. This is exactly the opposite of what Tony Blair did. He is showing just how different he is.

Cameron has reshuffled his front bench to try to match the Government and at the same time reward loyalty and punish dissenting voices. Since he took over the Tory party, he has tried to “modernise” it and thus make it more appealing to the masses.

As a result he has appointed the first Muslim to an Opposition front bench. But once again this was reactive. It followed Brown appointing Shahid Malik as the first Muslim minister. The difference is that Brown appointed an actual MP to governmental post. Cameron had to give a peerage to an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate because Sayeeda Warsi was the first Asian woman selected to fight a parliamentary seat.

Cameron now has a 40% disapproval rating amongst Conservative activists. I guess they don’t want to be a mirror of the Labour Party.

Supporting Persecution

While I’ve never been a peacenik or a dove, I am aware that the “War on Terror” has been especially bad for Christians. With all the focus on Iraq and the murdering of relatively powerless Christians in the midst of the struggle for power, I had lost sight of Afghanistan.

I was reading an article in the Daily Telegraph which mentioned that someone tried to have another person arrested on charges of being a Christian missionary. Afghanistan is still just as much an official Islamic state as it was under the Taliban. Girls may be allowed to go to school (where Taliban fighters or their sympathisers don’t kill them for daring to get an education), but they are not allowed to hear the Gospel.

According to Operation World, 33 Foreign aid workers who were suspected of sharing the Gospel have been killed. There may be a handful of Afghan Christians in Kabul, though there are no churches and Christian expats meet in private locations. As one website puts it, “Persons who convert to Christianity in the countryside do not survive.”

I’m not exactly sure why American and British troops are in Afghanistan. I hate to say it, but I have a hard time with Christian, or post-Christian, nations setting up or even propping up Islamic regimes that actively persecute Christians.  That’s before mentioning the foreign financial aid that’s being sent from the pockets of Christian taxpayers.

I suggest we pull out altogether and say, “Look, you tolerate Christians and stop tolerating those who persecute them, and we’ll come back. Otherwise keep your own regime afloat.”

Three Strikes and You’re Out

The day after two car bombs we found in London, both by providential observers, a blazing car has been driven at the main terminal building of Glasgow Airport.

It appears to me to be a car bomb gone “wrong”. The car was already on fire and one of the occupants was on fire, jumped from the car, but was stopped by members of the public until he was detained by the police.  The other was pulled from the car by police, even as he was trying to fight them off. Both were of South Asian ethnicity.
The car never had the chance to explode and as far as news reports indicate, no one was killed or injured.  So far this week, even when they’ve made an attack, terrorists have been unsuccessful.

The terrorists will have to realise this ain’t Bagdad. We won’t be cowed by their bullying.

Who Should Apologise?

I don’t want to give the impression that the silliness about Salman Rushdie is limited to Iran. Pakistan continues to insist that not only should the British Parliament strip the knighthood, but also apologise for hurting Muslim feelings.

I think a better approach would be for the British Government to withdraw all aid to Pakistan and for the outraged Pakistanis to return all of the filthy Christian and secularist UK money that has been provided to them. The first thing the Government can do is rescind the doubling of development aid over the next three years as announced last November. Why is this £480 million of my tax money being spent on a country that foments terrorism, encouraged by its government ministers? And that’s on top of the €60 million annually from the EU and the $3 billion (plus a $1 billion debt cancellation) from the US.

How about apologising for all the martyrdom of Christians in Pakistan. These are not like Pakistanis who have driven car bombs or strapped them to their bodies and thus become martyrs by taking their own lives and the lives of others. Maybe they don’t get Christian martyrdom since it doesn’t involve hurting others and a lot more than just their feelings.

What about those Christians in Charsadda, a town in North-West Frontier Province who were warned that if they did not convert to Islam by 17 May they would face “dire consequences and bomb explosions”? How about apologising for those hurt feelings?

Or what about 18 months ago when 3,000 militants attacked Christians in Sangla Hill, about 80 miles from Lahore, and destroyed Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and Presbyterian churches? They also set alight two houses of priests, one convent, one high school and the houses of three Christian families. This was all because of a false allegation that an illiterate boy had set fire to a special bin used to dispose of scraps of paper that have bits of the Qur’an written on them. This happened because people started to hear announcements from nearly every mosque loudspeaker informing every Muslim that a Christian had desecrated the Qur’an and that because of that Christian houses should be burnt and every visible Christian should be killed. Is anyone apologising for this?

So I agree with the Pakistani parliament that in light of grave offences, apologies are in order. They can apologise any time they like.

Iranian Entertainment

One of the funniest things I’ve read in the latest Islamic idiocy, an Iranian newspaper has attacked the person of HM the Queen for the Salman Rushdie knighthood.

Jomhuri-ye Eslami called HM “the English hag”  and “the offensive English royal”, and suggested that she personally paid Sir Salman £500,000 to write The Satanic Verses.

As quoted in The Times, “The insult of the English Queen for honouring a knighthood on Salman Rushdie has sent the clear message that from the point of view of England and its Queen, Rushdie’s act is a great and praiseworthy service to the slowly vanishing English Empire which needs to be acknowledged.”

“This act can be seen as a cover-up to distract the public’s attention from the sexual scandals of royal princes and princesses who are infamous and detested even among the English population, a population who cannot wait for the end of this hated monarch regime which stinks of the Middle Ages.”

Hardly does stupidity ever defy intelligent comment in response. Sometimes you just have to let fools speak for themselves.

Education Taleban Style

From the BBC:

A group of girls returning home from school in Afghanistan’s Logar province recently did not for a moment expect what lay ahead.

As they walked down a dirt track, insurgents sprang out of the parched farms and began firing on them.

Some of them fled into the farm, but two girls, one aged 13, the other 10, were killed in the ambush. Three of their friends were wounded.

The Taleban don’t approve of educating girls.  They’re not big on education at all, but they really don’t like girls going to school. Clearly they deserve to die for attempting to do such as outrageous thing. At ten years old they ought to know better.

I agree with the Taleban that there’s some killing needs doing. The difference is that I think it’s them what needs killing. They are a menace to the world.

Insanity in Islam

Christianity may have its share of crackpots, but if you are looking for the best value in insanity, pound for pound, you won’t find more than in Islam.

The British Government, in the name of the Queen, has made Salman Rushdie a knight of the realm. Now we could argue about whether his services to literature are really such that this is a deserving honour, but that would involve rational discussion and considered opinions, with diverse views on tastes for various genres of fiction. But how very un-Islamic of us to think this way in a post-Christian secular nation (albeit where Christianity is still the established religion).

Can you believe that the Government of this country considered honouring a Muslim citizen of this country without getting the approval of the religious courts and authorities of another country? How dare we.

You think I’m being silly and sarcastic. I wish I was. I wish I was talking nonsense. According to Pakistan’s religious affairs minister, the bestowing of the knighthood was so grave an offence that any Muslim anywhere in the world is be justified in taking violent action. He specified, “If David’s Daily Diversions › Edit — WordPresssomebody has to attack by strapping bombs to his body to protect the honour of the Prophet then it is justified.”

This wasn’t just an off-hand comment. It was made to the Pakistan National Assembly. Later he told a news agency that Pakistan should sever diplomatic ties with Britain if it did not rescind the knighthood. He actually said:”We demand an apology by the British government.” In case you aren’t clear on this, Rushdie is not, nor ever has been, a citizen of Pakistan.

This didn’t stop about 100 Muslim students in the city of Multan burning effigies of the Queen and Rushdie and shouting, “Kill him, kill him”. Burning effigies. Shouting for murder. Sane? Hmm . . .

And it isn’t a matter of one loose cannon in government. The Majlis-e-Shoora, the Pakistan Parliament, voted unanimously in favour of a resolution calling on Britain to withdraw the knighthood because it is an insult to “the sentiments of Muslims across the world” and has created religious hatred. I will agree that it has exposed religious hatred, but I really think that a problem for the haters and not the hated. I’m afraid that the idea that someone else is causing hatred and causing suicide bombing is patently nuts. In that the entire unanimous Pakistani Parliament is nuts, I’m afraid this is evidence that Islam has an awful lot of insanity on offer.

A Father’s Love

By and large, or at least stereotypically, Kurds are moderate Muslims. It’s easy to look at it that way when Shi’ites and Arab Sunnis are blowing each other up constantly in Iraq.

Kurds are not westerners and they are not Christians. Culturally many of them, even after moving to the West, retain certain traditional family values. One of these values is that if your daughter or niece is dating the wrong person, she needs to be murdered.

Sure you can beat her constantly for two weeks, but if she still loves a fellow Kurd who is from the wrong region, you have to strangle her with a bootlace, strip her naked, cram her into a suitcase and dump her below a pile of bin bags, a rusting fridge and a discarded television in a back garden in Birmingham. What father would want anything different for his daughter?

Most British newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, have the full story.

And they say all cultures are equal.

Finding Fertility

Britain may be below the replacement rate in the birth to death ratio, but at least things are moving in the right direction thanks to immigrant mothers. A fifth of all babies born in the UK last year were to mothers who were born outside of it. Many of these are to mothers of Eastern European origin, from societies that have not fully learned to treat children as a nuisance. They haven’t discovered that the important thing for women to do is smash through the glass ceiling and compete outside the home. Children should be had if and when they are convenient, because there are always IVF clinics out there to exploit older women and take thousands of those hard-earned pounds.

The other advantage for population is the higher birthrate amongst the Muslim population. It is three times higher than the national average. Mohammed (or Muhammad) is the second most popular boy’s name in the UK. It may soon overtake Jack as the the most popular.

According to the Daily Telegraph, “Mohammed” is the most popular spelling variation, with 2,833 registrations last year, followed by “Muhammad” is the second most popular, with 1,422 registrations. This also indicates that most Muslims in this country are non-Arab. Mufti Abdul Barkatullah explained that different spellings: “It is essentially about translating the sound of the Arabic into English. A non-Arab Muslim would have the name ending in -ed while an Arab Muslim would adopt the -ad ending.”

Muslims currently make up about 3% of the UK population. Without more Eastern European immigrants and native born non-Muslims having babies, that percentage will grow significantly.

Under Fire

The Turks are at it again. There aren’t that many Armenians left, so the Turks have to hate the Kurds. They especially hate that the Kurds want to be united and independent. The Kurds would undoubtedly want the bit of southeastern Turkey where 55% of their number live.

But just as most of what the Turks occupy is historically Greek, likewise the Kurdish parts of Turkey were Kurdish for hundreds or even thousands of years before the Turks ever showed up.

The Turks have been building up their forces on the border with Iraq since before the Coalition invasion. The building has been increasing in recent months.  Because of the relative freedom of Kurds in northern Iraq, Turkish ruled Kurds frequently cross the border and set up strikes against Turkish force. Now Turkish troops are crossing into Iraq to pursue them. They are also shelling Kurdish positions in Iraq.

But violating Iraqi borders, the Turks can claim no moral high ground. They cannot complain about the Kurds crossing the border if they are doing the same thing. Why do the Turks have a greater claim to the Kurdish parts of Anatolia than the Kurds of Iraq have over their territory?

All Things in Moderation

In the waning days of his premiership, Tony Blair has decided that there aren’t enough moderate Muslims out there. He’s decided to help make more.

British universities are getting a small cash injection to help train moderate, British-born imams. Blair believes mosques are too reliant on foreign imams who may not understand British society or speak good English. They are partly to blame for the radicalisation of some British Muslims.

It’s not that there aren’t already university courses (degree programs) in Islamic Studies. Rather the problem appears to be that the courses only teach certain views of Islamic theology and focus particularly on the Middle East. Thus students on these courses who are energized by what they learn tend to violent radicalism. The money spent would broaden the content of these courses. With more exposure to less militant views, it is hoped that students will be influenced by them.

I think it is a bit of a long shot.

Mob Rule

Sometime you have to wonder why we send young men into danger to help people. As reported in the Daily Telegraph:

A cheering mob made victory hand signals yesterday after a British serviceman was killed in an ambush on the streets of Basra.

The Ministry of Defence said the soldier was removed from Al Tuwaysa, central Basra, but died of his wounds later in hospital.

A civilian driver in the convoy was killed at the scene of the ambush. The mob danced as his body was dragged from a burning fuel lorry.

This is further evidence that all cultures are not equal.

The attackers were members of the Mahdi army, the militia of the evil Moqtada al-Sadr. And before any of you anti-war types think that the Mahdi army are just trying to free Iraq from the imperialist west, realise they send out death squads to cleanse the area of Sunni Muslims.

The only answer is to exterminate the Mahdi army and Moqtada al-Sadr.

Islamic Obscentiy

If you have been wondering who is really running Pakistan, wonder no longer. A sharia court set up in a radical mosque in Islamabad has issued a fatwa against the Pakistani minster for tourism because she posed in an obscene manner for pictures that appeared in newspapers. I don’t normally post obscene pictures, so if you think you might be offended stop reading here. For the sake of my Muslim readers I’ve put these pictures below the fold.

Read more of this post

Odd One Out

Okay, let’s play “Odd One Out” (familiar to those who watch Have I Got News For You) or “One of These Things is not Like the Others” (for those more familiar with Sesame Street):

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Yes, that’s right. The odd one out is the cross. Headteachers in Croydon schools have been instructed by the council to ban the wearing of crosses in schools.

The only religious items allowed to be worn are (clockwise from the bottom left) a rakhi, the cotton bracelet worn by some Hindus; a taweez, the religious locket worn by some Muslims; and a kara, the Sikh metal bracelet. This is because schools need to be sensitive toward those of other faiths. According to a council statement, crosses are not to be allowed in schools because “it is not compulsory to wear a cross, it is a personal preference and it can be taken off”. A taweez isn’t compulsory either, but no matter.

Once again, the Muslims are on the side of the Christians. The Muslim Council of Britain education spokesman Tahir Alam said, “I support my Christian colleagues on this point. If these items are important to children and have religious significance for them, there should be no issue at all about that.”

What disturbs me further is that these guidelines were issued by the Croydon’s Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education (SACRE). Every local authority has a SACRE which sets the curriculum for RE in that area. If the SACRE don’t want students in schools wearing crosses, what must they be doing to the RE syllabus? I wonder if Croydon has a real problem with the legislation that requires the RE curriculum to be at least 50% Christianity.

Because they are not exempted from the jewellery ban, it would seems that chastity rings are forbidden as well. There is already a case before the High Court involving a girl at a school in West Sussex who wears a purity ring as a symbol of her religious faith it’s in role in her decision to not follow the lifestyle choices of her peers.

This is no doubt offensive to those who teach that sex is for when you feel ready, not when God says it is appropriate.

Blood Money for Nothing

Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were tortured into confessing that they infected 426 Libyan children with the HIV virus. They have been sentenced to death.

Why would the Libyans try to put the blame on foreign nurses? HIV principally transmitted through homosexual or non-marital heterosexual acts. This is not the sort of thing a fundamentalist Islamic country like Libyan would want to admit. That being said, the scientific evidence indicated that much of the infection was transmitted throughout the hospital by unsanitary practice.

The death penalty isn’t absolute. There is a way out. The Bulgarian government can pay $13.48 million in blood money for each for each family. That’s only a bit over $7.42 billion. But since the entire Bulgarian government’s annual budget expenditure is $12.16 billion (with revenues of only $13.28 billion) it might be just a little hard to scrape the cash together. The Libyans originally offer to trade them for Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the Pan Am 103 (Lockerbie) bomber, but they withdrew this offer.

It’s not surprising that folks in Bulgaria have turned to prayer. Thousands attended a prayer service led by Patriarch Maxim at the Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia. They’ve even brought in the big guns with three miracle working icons of the Theotokos brought in from monasteries in Troyan, Rila and Bachkovo with the cathedral open throughout the night.

I don’t know if there is a traditional patron for nurses, but if you do, please add a comment.

Pray for Ashraf Ahmad Djum’a al-Hadjud, Kristiyana Vulcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valya Chervenyashka, Snezhana Dimitrova and Valentina Siropulo.

Scandal in Iran

The shame. The horror. The outrage.

The most outspoken advocate of Sharia has fallen from grace – not that Islam actually incorporates a doctrine of grace, but you know what I mean. President Ahmadinejad of Iran has been caught with a woman not his wife. On television.

The newspaper Hezbollah expressed outrage. “This type of indecency has grave consequences, like violating religious and sacred values.”  Surely a fatwa must be issued. Surely he must die the violent death of those who reject Islam.

Surely it won’t be long before the salacious footage is shown in the West, if it hasn’t already. This will bring further shame on Islam, Iran, Ahmadinejad.

Apparently the President and model for Shi’ites everywhere just couldn’t control his passions. The only mitigation I can think of is that it didn’t happen during Ramadan.

The object of his illicit affection is Najmeh Gholi Pour. She is a teacher. Okay, she was a teacher. I’m guessing she’s retired. She was Ahmadinejad’s primary school teacher. The elderly woman was attending a Teacher’s Day ceremony. When Ahmadinejad saw her, he was overcome with emotion and without thinking he enbraced her and kissed her hand.

This raises one important question. Why don’t we have Teacher’s Day in this country?

Avoiding a Coup

Turkey is headed for early parliamentary elections after a second massive protest against the AK Party candidate for president. As I mentioned last month after the first protest, the AK Party hold a substantial majority in the Grand National Assembly and thus can elected whoever they want as president. Prime Minister Erdogan has stepped out of the race in favour of his Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. As a result the size of the protest march went up from 300,000 to about a million.

The only tool the Opposition had to stop the election of an AK president was to boycott the parliamentary vote. The country’s highest court ruled that a quorum was not present, so the first round of voting was invalid. This was a step short of what normally happens when the ruling party falls afoul of the secular military and judiciary. The army has ousted four governments in the last 47 years. The most recent occurance was in 1997.

But just how secular are the military and the judiciary. Turkey is an Islamic state, even if it is not an Islamist state? They may not want headscarves, but they also don’t want Christians. Turkey’s secularism is entirely about its relationship to the rest of the Islamic world. It is also a key factor in its bid for membership in the European Union.

If you consider the size of the Greek and Armenian communities, Imperial Ottoman Turkey was a lot more favourable to Christians than secular republican Turkey.

Ibidah on the ISS

It was an issue that had to rise eventually.  How does a Muslim pray facing Makkah if he’s circling the earth sixteen times a day?

Malaysia has been given a slot on a Russian mission to the International Space Station in October, in exchange for an arms deal. Not only are there the daily prayers issues, but the mission falls during Ramadan. How do you fast during daylight hours if the sun rises and sets 16 times day? Then there is the matter of bringing a separate supply of halal food for the evening, whenever that is.

Two other Muslims have been in space before and they worked out their faith issues on their own. The Malaysian government isn’t quite so committed to religious freedom. They have commissioned Islamic scholars to study the matter and pronounce upon how Islamic requirements will be fulfilled.  As noted in The Times:

Malaysia insists. . . that maintaining Islamic beliefs “is mandatory for Muslims in every situation, time and place”. Mustafa Abdul Rahman, the head of its Department of Islamic Development said: “Circumstances on the ISS that are different from circumstance on Earth are not an obstacle for an astronaut to fulfil a Muslim’s obligations.”

I wonder what will happen if a Muslim ends up on a Mars mission.

Ham, Haram, and Hate Crime

H/T to the Grit and his irrespressive urge to get a fatwa for this story about a middle school student in Maine being investigated for a hate crime. The story is also covered in the local press here.

The reponse seems a bit over the top. In that the student intended to offend Somali students by putting a ham sandwich on their table, I think he should be punished. I don’t think it was appropriate to attack someone’s religious sensibilities regardless of how bizarre they are.

But how bizzare are they? Islam runs along rather broad spectrum when it come to beliefs. On one end of it, you can understand way the late Church Fathers saw Islam as just a really bad heresy rather than a new religion, sort of a Middle Eastern version of Mormonism or Oneness Pentecostalism. On the other end, it’s just plain crazy. That’s the official theological term for it.

One of the victims, whose mother didn’t want his name released, said “we didn’t know what was in this bag. One of my friends reached inside it. It was a big ham steak. There were five of us at the table, all Somali. Right then, I could feel allah condemning me to burn for eternity for being within a 6.2 meter radius of ham, so yeah, it was a hate crime.”

I think he missed the lessons at the madrassah about the Compassionate, Creator God. I mean, I teach Islam for a living – admittedly on a basic level – and I have never seen proximity to meat (or anything forbidden – called haram) as being an immediate ticket to hell. What is with the 6.2 meter thing? I’ve got to go check the Qur’an again.

It brings to mind the words of Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets.

But here’s another thing: “we didn’t know what was in the bag” and from elsewhere in the article, “That ham sandwich in a bag where we couldn’t even see”. So what are you doing going in the bag? Come on people, put on your thinking caps. Someone leaves a brown bag on your table. He’s white. White people eat pork. The most popular sandwich meat? Ham. If you’re worried about touching something haram, it’s probably going to be in that lunch. I would just assume he didn’t get his sandwich filling from the local halal butcher.

But let’s look at the 6.2 meter thing again. That’s 20.3 feet in real money. They are in a public school cafeteria. Do they stay at least 20 feet away from the serving line and from any students eating pork? Why do I know this is a problem? I checked the menu for the Lewiston Middle School Cafeteria. Today they had Mini Corn Dogs (unclean meat by a lot of standards) and Ham Italian. In fact, whatever else they have, they have Ham Italian every day. So every day the Somalis are within 20 feet of a student eating off a plastic tray, they should feel Allah condemning them to burn for eternity.

And are the students carrying sandwiches from home required to store their food away from any Somalis? If they carry their lunch with them during the day, or if they put it in their locker located with 20 feet of a Somali’s locker and the Somali visits his locker between classes, once again he is condemned to burn for eternity.

This is a school that is both intentionally and negligently bringing Somali students into proximity with pork. Surely the Somalis can bring a lawsuit against the Lewiston Public Schools. If they are going to be politically correct – and wouldn’t we expect anything less from Maine – they must immediately ban all pork from the school. All other meat needs to be purchased only from halal butchers. Any meat not killed in the name of Allah is just as haram as pork.

Then they need to bring the Maine Revised Statutes into line with Sharia.

Did I mention Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets?

Remembering the Truth About Turkey

The Damien McElroy of the Daily Telegraph has exposed the idea that the Christians martyred in Malatya, Turkey were killed by Islamic radicals like we see elsewhere in the Muslim world. If Malatya were in a area control by fundamentalists, he wouldn’t have been interviewing a woman in a bar drinking a beer.

Referring to the murders, she said, “I don’t think this has a religious root, it’s about nationality. To be Turkish is to be Muslim and so Christians are here working against Turkey.”

This is why I think that Turkey needs to be as secularist as possible, but it will never get away from Islam being the de facto state religion. Further, I don’t think it will ever get beyond Christians being persecuted.

As McElroy notes in his article,

In fact, Christians are a fraction of one per cent of Turkey’s 71 million people but it is common for Turks to complain that evangelical churches are proliferating at an alarming rate. Courts continue to prosecute converts for insulting “Turkishness”. Three members of the Turkish Protestant Church are currently standing trial.

Missionary activity, while not an offence, has been placed on the list of threats to the nation by the National Security Council.

Turkey has no room for religious freedom. On it’s official tourism site, it may try to woo dollars and pounds with statements like, “Turkey is a secular state that assures complete freedom of worship to non-Muslims.”

Why not just say, “Turkey is quasi-secular state that only protects the worship by Muslims, but we’ll leave a few ancient thing laying around for your amusement.” Or how about a slogan like, “Turkey – where Christianity is a thing of the past!” Another that comes to mind: “Turkey – keeping the tradition of Christian martyrdom alive.”

But then the Turkey has always had a thriving economy in truth.

The Sharia Exchequer

For 50 years, the Treasury in this country has sold Premium Bonds. They are similar to US Savings Bonds, but with a twist. As the official website notes:

Premium Bonds are an investment where, instead of interest payments, investors have the chance to win tax-free prizes. When someone invests in Premium Bonds they are allocated a series of numbers, one for each £1 invested. The minimum purchase is £100 (or £50 when you buy by monthly standing order), which provides 100 Bond numbers and, therefore, 100 chances of winning a prize. You can hold up to £30,000.

With 23 million bondholders holding £26 billion worth of Premium Bonds nationwide, Premium Bonds are one of Britain’s financial success stories. They are a fun, yet serious way of saving, combining the chance of winning tax-free prizes with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your capital is 100% secure.

As well as the two £1 million jackpots you can win anything from £50 to £100,000 for each Bond number you hold.

Now all this is going to change. Why? Because they don’t comply with Sharia law, according to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury Ed Balls. All other government-sponsored savings products will be similarly examined for compliance with Sharia. According to Balls, “Domestically, we will do everything we can to promote new ways for British Muslims to bank, save and borrow using Islamic finance products.”

Child’s Play Taleban Style

They may not be in the news much these days, what with everything going on in Iraq, but the Taleban are still around.

When Ghulam Nabi was accused of spying for the United States and providing information that led to an effective air strike, is comes as no surprise that he was executed. His father claims he was a loyal member of the Taleban, and I’m sure that there wasn’t the same care and concern given to matters of evidence and other aspects of a fair trial, but nevermind.

As things Taleban go, this wasn’t particularly remarkable. What did turn heads, if you’ll forgive the pun, was that they used a 12-year-old boy to do the job. Either they are getting short of available personnel or they invoked the Qur’anic equivalent of the Biblical proverb, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Who know, the boy might become a celebrity – something of a Taleban child star. Parts of a video of the beheading were broadcast on the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV network.

Martyrdom in Turkey

It is dangerous to be a Christian in Turkey. Three evangelical protestants, two Turks and a German, had their throats slit yesterday in Malatya, a town in the eastern part of the country. They were on the staff of a Bible publishing company.

This is another example of how Turkish nationalists want to purify the country from anything un-Islamic. The violence against Christians has been on the increase. In January, Armenians newspaper edior Hrant Dink was shot and killed by a nationalist in Istanbul. Incidentally, Dink was born in Malatya. In February, Fr Andrea Santoro was shot at point blank range in Trabzon by a gunman shouting, “Allah is great!” as he ran out of the church.

For all of the hullabaloo about theonomic Christians in the American political process or even the goals of establishing (or re-establishing) a Christian nation, no one is going around slitting the throats of the Muslims publishing companies.

May the memories of the martyrs Tilman Ekkehart Geske, Necati Aydin, and Ugur Yuksel be eternal.