Religion

Various writings on various religions

Sikh man recounts double tragedy of his wife death on the bombed Air India flight

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Two decades ago, Air India flight 182 was bombed over the Atlantic ocean.

The main suspects were militant Sikhs devoted to creating a homeland independant of India, and protesting the Indian army storming the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Kalwant Mamak is a Sikh-Canadian who lost his 42 year old wife in the bombing. She was going to India to visit her sick father. He describes in some detail how his life was impacted: he could barely cook, his son did not hug his mother out of embarassement at the airport, and more.

German Cardinal interview in Spiegel: Islam is a different culture

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Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Catholic Church ecumenical representative had an interview with Spiegel magazine in Germany on the relation with Islam, and the Pope's recent speech where he quoted a medieval text that is offensive to Muslims.

There are several points in the article that are disturbingly inaccurate. Just today, I heard a person of authority making the comment : "Islam is different" like the cardinal did.

Here are the parts that are inaccurate and responses to them:

Karen Armstrong on Pope Benedict XVI and ancient prejudices on Islam

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Distinguished author and ex-nun Karen Armstrong has written a good article in the Guardian titled: "We cannot afford to maintain these ancient prejudices on Islam" in response to Pope Benedict XVI's speech where he quoted a medieval text disparaging Islam and prophet Muhammad.Here are some selected quotes:

Christian Linux? Fact and Humor

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Ubuntu is a very popular Linux distribution. There are many variants, including Kubuntu (Ubuntu with a KDE desktop), Edubuntu (education oriented Ubuntu), ...etc.Now there is a new edition: Christian Ubuntu. No, it is not a joke. It is real. It includes the Bible, as well as web parental control software. Here is the announcement on the Ubuntu Forums.Of course, something like that would always invoke jokes, such as this blog called Ubuntu Christian Edition Facts. It clearly says that it is a joke.

Out of context coverage: Rape and Slavery are "Basic Muslim Behaviors"

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Homaidan al-Turki, 37, is a Saudi student in Denver Colorado. He recently was on trial in Denver Colorado for keeping an Indonesian servant at home paid below minimum wage, as well as sexually assaulting her. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison, but later the charges were dropped.

Basic Muslim behaviors?

The press is reporting the news in a way that implies that al-Turki describes these acts as "traditional Islamic behaviors". This has been picked up by blogs as such, and used as an attack on Muslims and Islam.

For example, one blog says:

What did the beheaded Sudanese newspaper editor republish?

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Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed, the editor in chief of the Sudanese Al-Wifaq newspaper was sadly kidnapped and beheaded.

Last year, Taha was charged with insulting religion. Despite calls for his execution and extensive demonstrations, the charges were dropped.

The charges stemmed from an article that was reprinted by Taha that questioned the ancestry of Prophet Muhammad.

Many news media stated that Taha merely reprinted material from books by the famed 14th century Egyptian historian and prolific author, al-Maqrizi المقريزي. For example, the BBC, BBC Arabic, ABC Australia, and Asharq al-Awsat (in Arabic, with one user comment correcting the Maqrizi). It was also picked up at face value by academics, such as Howard Friedman who says:

Orthodox Hasidic Jew removed from Montreal flight for praying

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An Orthodox Hasidic Jew was removed from an Air Canada Jazz flight from Montreal to New York City on September 1.The man started to pray when the flight was heading to the runway. In normal Jewish manner, the prayer involved the man covering his head with a shawl and "rocking back and forth" while reading from a book.A passenger said:

"The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave".

The poor man spoke neither English nor French and hence could not communicate with anyone.

Vatican's top exorcist says Harry Potter is "the king of darkness, the devil"

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Rev. Gabriele Amorth has called Harry Potter the "king of darkness, the devil".While it is well known that the Catholic Church opposes magic, historically as well as currently, it is hard to see this extends to pure fiction and fantasy.Amorth is reported to have himself performed 30,000 exorcism, which means one a day for 83 years, or 27 years if he does 3 per day (including weekends)! From CBC news.

First e-divorce, then e-firing

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Radio Shack has fired 400 employees by sending them emails. Read the Canadian Press version, and the discussion on Slashdot. This e-firing reminds me of e-divorce for some Muslims.In 2000, and Egyptian court refused to uphold a divorce notice by email. Another scholar from Saudi Arabia agrees that it is hard to prove in court.

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