Monday, July 10, 2006

Rumble-Jumble (part 2):

warns of “humanitarian disaster” in Gaza, forgets he laid a wreath for a guy who was a really big “humanitarian disaster” for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Harper’s reports that President Bush has added so-called “‘signing statements’” claiming Executive “exemption … from provisions of new laws” to Congressional legislation — such as the one instantly nullifying Sen. McCain’s absurd DON’T TORTURE PEOPLE ACT — 750 times.

(Continues: “… since Washington”, “all other presidents” up until Bush have done this 568 times.)

Why is the website for the Korean Central News Agency (
KCNA), the Pyongyang propaganda organ, hosted by the Japanese? Don’t they hate each other? The site even has an English mirror, so you can catch up with all the wacky bulletins yourself.

Dave Chappelle has returned. Well, no, he hasn’t, but we all would like to think so.

[Banana muffins are really not that bad, seriously.]

So psyched for A Scanner Darkly.

According to a couple forums (those of the New York Times and Foreign Policy magazine, respectively), my “ignorant and superficial” observations consumed with “delusional” “prejudice” are not worthy of civilized company… so, my apologies for brainwashing all of you.


Interesting things about the Koran (Qur’an?), maybe this is a matter of translation, interpretation or whatever, but it sheds some light. Now, the enemy of Western civilization is Islamic fundamentalism, right? Or, in more modern parlance, radical Islamism; nonetheless, not Islam itself, as a religion, as a body of holy laws, precepts, etc. That’s the moderate consensus. Yes?

Yet according to The Bible of the World (eds. Robert Ballou, Friedrich Spiegelberg & Horace Friess, 1939), an impressive anthology of all major holy texts, the central “Mohammedan” verses (suras) are riddled with calls toward respecting Jews and Christians as “readers of the Book” (p. 1313), therefore only God (Allah) can “judge between them as to that in which they have differed” (ibid.), as all three are originally rooted in Abraham’s covenant — that is at least my read of it.

But then there’s this passage, under the title ‘The Holy War’:

“And fight for the cause of God against those who fight against you … kill them wherever ye shall find them … for seduction from the truth is worse than slaughter … War is prescribed to you” (p. 1317). [Then again, preemptive attacks are strictly forbidden; they strike you, strike back but never strike first.]

More worrisome, there’s this:

“O believers! take not the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but friends to one another [what?!]; and if any one of you taketh them for his friends, then surely he is one of them! Verily God will not guide the evil-doers” (p. 1322). What happened to the benign “people of the book” stuff? I’m confused. Then again, mirroring the contradictions of the Judeo-Christian testaments, “God loveth not the abettors of violence” (p. 1324).

[Mohammad(ed?), historically, was a great warrior, who lead the charge of wiping out the Arabian pagans and conquering the surrounding lands by the sword; this contradicts the ‘peaceful prophet’ theme we often hear. Then again, God delivered the Israelites from the Canaanites, Jebusites and others, all the idolaters, which is often interpreted as a literal succession of genocidal battles against polytheistic tribes by the early Hebrews. So, if Islam was in fact established through violence, that’s hardly unique.]

Clearly, if not less obscurely, there is the bloody window of fanatical interpretations and demagoguery one could take away. To do so is to sully and corrupt the inner truths, the spirit of this and any religious text — not simply the letters that stride its thin surface. The letters are important, sure, but literalism is dangerous.

Like any religious text, I think, the Koran reflects the mental schism within all humanity, that is good and evil, right and wrong, the light and the darkness, viz. the wrath in the Old Testament and the compassion in the New — with the obvious exceptions of the Roman crucifixion and the Apocalypse.

Enough of my sermonizing. Afraid of EURABIA? In al Hayat, an Arabic daily printed in London, Elias Harfouch writes, “Unlike the theories expounded and exported to European cities by extremist ideologists in the Muslim world who consider the ‘other’ as an enemy, the facts confirm that the majority of Europe’s Muslims has the option of opening up and integrating the community, as well as embracing its cultural values.

poll which covered a wide segment of Muslims and that was published by ‘The [London] Times’ showed that 13% of those surveyed considered the London bombers martyrs. However, it is noteworthy that 87% deemed the bombings offensive to Muslims, and highly condemned the perpetrators” (6 July 2006, “The Responsibility to Fight Extremism”).


Gotta kick the cynicism and paranoia, though it’s mostly the former. And the naïve fatalism. (Am I this crazy?) “Trust your instincts,” I hear. “If something appears suspicious, or out of the ordinary, please report it immediately ...” Until next time.

1 comment:

Annie said...

So- according to your words, Judiasm and Islam started with violence by the adherents, whereas Christianity started with violence to its adherents.