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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Won’t somebody please think of the children


    by Sid (Faisal) on 5th June, 2009 at 11:53 am    

    This is a cross-post of an article by George Readings from The Spittoon.
    ****

    Here we go again. The Times reports that there are “fears of Muslim anger” because an academic book critical of Muhammad’s marriage to A’isha, his third wife who was six or seven years old at the time of the marriage (according to traditional reports, although consummation did not occur until she was nine) is to be published soon.

    This matter, questioning the sexual behaviour of a man held to be a prophet by 1.2 billion people, is unsurprisingly fraught: it is only a few weeks since the conviction of three men for attempting to diesel bomb the UK publisher of ‘Jewel of Medina’.

    But it is not just historical novelists and academics who discuss Muhammad’s marriage to A’isha, some people who are not very keen on Islam also tend to focus on it. Here are a couple of examples taken from the comments threads at Harry’s Place.

    From a discussion about thugs rampaging through Luton “to oppose extremism”

    From a discussion about the row caused by some parents complaining about interfaith assemblies

    The “argument” goes that Muslims believe Muhammad to be a perfect model for behaviour and therefore the fact of Muhammad’s marriage to A’isha somehow proves Islam to be a depraved religion. That no good can come of following it etc etc ad nauseam. This attempt to aggressively apply a modern British definition of paedophilia to seventh century Arabia strikes me as a sign of severe anthropological illiteracy; but the right to express such offensive, anthropologically illiterate statements must be defended staunchly.

    In the jurisprudence of the main schools of Islamic law it was accepted that a child could have a marriage arranged for them by their marriage guardian but it should not be consummated until puberty was reached, when the child would have the “Option of Puberty” (khiyar al-bulugh). This meant that the child would be allowed to repudiate the marriage if it had been contracted by a marriage guardian who did not have the right of ijbar (ie who was not their father or, apart from the Hanbalis, their father’s father). As the Qur’an does not deal with these matters many of the rules governing them would have been drawn from pre-Islamic custom and Muhammad’s implicit endorsement of them through not rejecting them.

    In considering the question of marriage age in Islam it is, therefore, entirely appropriate to discuss Muhammad’s marriage to A’isha. A book entitled ‘Does God Hate Women?’, which looks at various religious attitudes towards women, would do a disservice to its readers if it were to ignore a matter of such relevance: marriage to a pre-pubescant child with whom consummation occurs upon reaching puberty is not a model most people would be happy with in the modern world (although Bolivia sets the age of consent at puberty).

    Which is probably why nearly all Muslim countries have reformed these rules beyond recognition. The age of consent in Algeria and Malaysia is 16, in Indonesia it is 19 for males and 16 for females. In Egypt it’s 18 for both and Tunisia 20. Reform has not, however, come to Saudi Arabia. Back in April the world followed the case of a mother trying to obtain a divorce for her eight-year-old daughter who had been married off by her father to a friend he owed a debt. In the end she succeeded and now there is even talk of Saudi Arabia preventing marriage before the age of 18.

    Muhammad’s marriage to A’isha would logically only be of real concern to a non-Muslim living in 21st century Britain if Muslims were, following his model, regularly involved in child marriages. But, apart from possibly in Saudi Arabia and Iran, they aren’t. If your claim is that Islam is fundamentally depraved because Muslims seek to emulate Muhammad and he married a six-year-old, then it is entirely shot down by Muslims not emulating Muhammad on this matter.

    But people like “Old Peculier” and “kafuruk” are not concerned by this. They just want to level two of the most heinous accusations thinkable at Muhammad because he is respected by Muslims. It’s stupid and designed to offend but, if people really want to prove their idiocy in this way, then they must be entitled to do so. Not because it’s A Good Thing that people accuse Muhammad of paedophilia, but because defending their right to make such statements is the best way to defend those who would publish books like ‘Jewel of Medina’ and ‘Does God Hate Women?’.



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    131 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. munir — on 5th June, 2009 at 1:46 pm  

      The Prophet (pbuh) ’s marriage was completely within the norms of his society. The pagans of Mecca who flew every type of accusation at him never rebuked him for it simply because of this fact. Likewise medieval Christians accused the Prophet of many things but never about this since it was the norm in pre-modern socities (incidentally “”In 1889, a girl could legally consent to sex at 10, 11, or 12 in half the states, and in Delaware the age of consent was 7.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2006/02/18/opinion/19coontz.html)

      It is only modern western Christians who have raised the issue in a way that is highly anachronistic.

      Given that the marriage was arranged by Aishas parents, she had been engaged before that, the marriage was performed in public and Aisha deeply loved the Prophet teh accusations are squalid

      “As for the charge of pedophilia, it is new. The reason is modern-day ignorance of the norms of semitic societies for what qualifies as marriageable age and matches. Ignorance by a “pastor” no less. (”Who will protect the flock when the pastors will be the wolves?”)

      Jesus, also, was early accused of being a whoremonger and Mary was accused of worse. But, says another Baptist apologist, “Christians… understand the salacious slanders are rooted in someone’s demented imagination and not in fact.”

      It is interesting to note that Christians from a very early time criticized (in blissful disregard of the Patriarchs’ precedent) the Prophet’s practice of polygamy, but not the marriage to `A’isha. Certainly, those from a Middle Eastern Semitic background would not have found anything to criticize, since nothing abnormal or immoral took place. It is latter-day Westernized Christians who began to criticize on this point.”

      http://www.livingislam.org/n/stmi_e.html

      Though some have argued the ages mentioned arent accurate and she was older
      http://www.wlsis.org/multimedia/ageofaisha.htm

    2. platinum786 — on 5th June, 2009 at 1:53 pm  

      Quite frankly what I find amusing is that the critics of Islam will accept the authenticity of the Hadith stating the age of Aisha (RA), yet reject all the other bits of Islam, be they from the Quran or the Hadith as heresy. Some argue that Aisha was older,

      http://www.muslim.org/islam/aisha-age.htm

      I personally don’t care. The Hadith states she was married before puberty and the marraige was consumated after it. As far as I’m concerned that is pretty natural. Was it suitable 1400 years ago, probably, is it suitable today, maybe not, I think society has changed.

      Non Muslim society has spent a lot of the last 1400 years trying to poke holes in Islam, to insult it, to harm it, you’d think as a people we’d be used to it.

      002.018
      YUSUFALI: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the path).

    3. munir — on 5th June, 2009 at 1:55 pm  

      “If your claim is that Islam is fundamentally depraved because Muslims seek to emulate Muhammad and he married a six-year-old, then it is entirely shot down by Muslims not emulating Muhammad on this matter.”

      Actually Muslims are required to emulate the Prophet in his commands. Certain things he did were from the custom of the time and because of where he lived- eg speaking Arabic, wearing particular clothes, eating particular food, Muslims arent required to follow these and dont entail any sin in not doing so.

      Anyway thanks for this article Sid.

      Muslims for example love respect and believe in Jesus and Mary (pbut) but Islamophobes arent interested in pointing out this close connection (which could bond Muslims and Christians) because they are interested in sewing division and spreading hatred of Muslims

    4. munir — on 5th June, 2009 at 1:58 pm  

      “Quite frankly what I find amusing is that the critics of Islam will accept the authenticity of the Hadith stating the age of Aisha (RA), yet reject all the other bits of Islam, be they from the Quran or the Hadith as heresy. Some argue that Aisha was older, ”

      Actually what is bizarre is focusing on this single ahad hadith and potraying it as some major part of Islamic doctrine and faith

      “Non Muslim society has spent a lot of the last 1400 years trying to poke holes in Islam, to insult it, to harm it, you’d think as a people we’d be used to it.”

      Well the point that was trying to be made above is that on this issue they HAVENT - the accusations of peadephilia are new ones precisely because in pre-modern times marriage at a young age was the norm (teenage didnt exist). Indeed the ancestors of the critics at that time also certainly married at the same age!

    5. munir — on 5th June, 2009 at 2:03 pm  

      “Which is probably why nearly all Muslim countries have reformed these rules beyond recognition. The age of consent in Algeria and Malaysia is 16, in Indonesia it is 19 for males and 16 for females. In Egypt it’s 18 for both and Tunisia 20. Reform has not, however, come to Saudi Arabia. Back in April the world followed the case of a mother trying to obtain a divorce for her eight-year-old daughter who had been married off by her father to a friend he owed a debt. In the end she succeeded and now there is even talk of Saudi Arabia preventing marriage before the age of 18.”

      Its totally illogical to set arbitary dates for when a person can marry. When a person reaches puberty, is capable of reproduction and interested in sex is more logical. It is after all, what nature intends.

      Or do people believe no one in this country under 16 (the age of consent) has sex?

    6. Ravi Naik — on 5th June, 2009 at 2:22 pm  

      One interesting aspect that I never see discussed when talking about A’isha is the fact that the life expectancy 1700 years ago had to be considerably lower than now, and most likely the age of puberty.

    7. chairwoman — on 5th June, 2009 at 2:38 pm  

      Oh goodness, I am supporting Munir and Platinum on this one.

      Even in this country up until the 19th century the age of consent was far lower than now, and in Tudor times, the aristocracy and royalty made dynastic unions between their young children, although they didn’t live as couples until they were past puberty.

      My own great-grandparents in 19th century Poland were married very young, my great grandmother being 12 when she married my great grandfather. They then went back to their parents homes, and lived separately until she was 17.

    8. asquith — on 5th June, 2009 at 3:30 pm  

      It’s funny how what was good for Mohammed wouldn’t be accepted by modern-day Muslims. Perhaps they now realise that society has moved on since his day, that this progress has nothing to do with religion (what God deemed acceptable then, man rejects now), & we would be better off following secular morality rather than the teachings of holy books.

      Of course the exact same goes for all religions.

    9. persephone — on 5th June, 2009 at 4:09 pm  

      Linking this to the age that a person reaches puberty seems wrong because even if a child reaches puberty it does not mean they can cope with it all emotionally, even if they think they love their partner.

      I seriously question whether a young child can cope with the aftermath ie a baby at such a young age. Especially since the best time for a woman to have a baby is very late teens to early 20’s. (sorry can’t remember the biological source)

      Its like treating a child genius as an adult in every other way just because their IQ has developed at an adult rate when emotionally & in other ways they are still children.

      As to A’isha liking the prophet. If you think back to your own pre-pubescent (or early puberty) of the person/s you had a crush on (though at the time you saw it as the greatest love of your life & not a crush) - now, as an adult, would you have wanted to marry & have children with that person/s?

    10. Don — on 5th June, 2009 at 4:37 pm  

      Gosh, so far I’m agreeing with pretty much everyone. Good article, Faisal.

      Of course some people use the Aisha episode as crude muslim-baiting material (Is OP still banging on? Ghastly person that she is.) Benson and Sangstrom’s book on the other hand, based on their track records, is likely to be acerbic but meticulously rational. I’ve ordered a copy and strongly recommend their previous ‘Why Truth Matters’.

    11. marvin — on 5th June, 2009 at 4:39 pm  

      Good comment #asquith

      Still waiting for a Monty Python’s The Life of Mohammed where the seats are packed out by people from Muslim backgrounds… And where everybody laughs at the small number of critics outside the cinema with their blasphemy! signs….

      We desperately need people to criticise, mock and generally be offensive towards Islam, in the same way that Christianity was and is.

      Increasing numbers of religious Muslims will get tired of being offended and it will become like water off a duck’s back.

      The battle for freedom of speech is still going on. As I said over at the Spitoon, The Muslim bloc in the UN has been pushing to make it against international law to ‘defame’ Islam

      The “Human Rights Council”, whom has members who suppress freedom of speech through brutal force, have passed two resolutions urging ALL member states to effectively to ban “defamation of religion”.

      The taboos and sensitivities related to Islam need to be constantly pushed and poked by Muslims and non-Muslims alike in order to achieve freedom of speech in this arena, and so to help to promote the cause of freedom in other less developed countries.

    12. Ravi Naik — on 5th June, 2009 at 4:50 pm  

      I’ve ordered a copy and strongly recommend their previous ‘Why Truth Matters’.

      Thanks Don. A book strongly recommended by you is always high on my list.

    13. British, not racist. — on 5th June, 2009 at 5:12 pm  

      Why should Europeans be interested in the backward & unpleasant religion of Islam ?

      Muslims are nothing to do with our world, they were only part of it when they acted as wholesalers in the slave trade.

      We abandoned slavery 200 years ago, unlike them.

    14. Don — on 5th June, 2009 at 5:28 pm  

      Thanks, Ravi.

    15. Shatterface — on 5th June, 2009 at 5:59 pm  

      I’d recommend Benson and Samstrong’s latest book on the strength of Why Truth Matters and their postings on Butterflies and Wheels: they’re no ranting Islamophobes.

      On the subject of which I see Harry’s Place isn’t allowing follow up comments to this piece’s cross-posting…

    16. Shatterface — on 5th June, 2009 at 6:06 pm  

      Incidentally, Tunisia’s age of consent at 20 also sounds barbaric (and unworkable) but I’m reluctant to reduce it below 16 because I didn’t get any at that age and I don’t see why anyone else should, the spotty oiks.

    17. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 6:20 pm  

      “We desperately need people to criticise, mock and generally be offensive towards Islam, in the same way that Christianity was and is.”

      Why only Islam marvin? Why not Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism etc

      Your analogy is stupid because the religion of this country is Christianity (over 70% even now) and Muslims are 3& - so what you are calling for really is minority bashing.

      “Still waiting for a Monty Python’s The Life of Mohammed where the seats are packed out by people from Muslim backgrounds… And where everybody laughs at the small number of critics outside the cinema with their blasphemy! signs….”

      Keep waiting

      Im still waiting for the same for a play mocking Judaism or Israel or even the Holocaust with a packet audience of people from Jewish backgrounds. Why are you protesting Seven Jewish Children rather than strongly supporting it marvin?

    18. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 6:21 pm  

      Britain not racist
      “Muslims are nothing to do with our world”

      So why do you keep invading their countries

      Er actually the largest religion of the British Empire was Islam

    19. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 6:29 pm  

      persephone
      “As to A’isha liking the prophet. If you think back to your own pre-pubescent (or early puberty) of the person/s you had a crush on (though at the time you saw it as the greatest love of your life & not a crush) - now, as an adult, would you have wanted to marry & have children with that person/s?”

      Pretty weak argument. The point is that if the Prophet was as people accuse him Aisha would hardly love him. The victims of pedophiles dont love their tormentors.

      And our mentality in 21st century Britain is vastly different from 7th century Arabia

      Anyway lets hope this episode leads to more people learning about Aisha - a remarkable woman and the woman who was the greatest scholar of Islam

      http://www.themodernreligion.com/prophet/aishah.html

      http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/aishah-shafaath.html

    20. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 6:33 pm  

      persephone
      “Linking this to the age that a person reaches puberty seems wrong because even if a child reaches puberty it does not mean they can cope with it all emotionally, even if they think they love their partner.”

      Depends on the person. Some people at 12 are emotionally ready for a child ; others wouldnt be emotionally ready even at 40. The point is saying people shouldnt marry/have children at puberty is clearly going against nature.

      What you say could equally be said for setting the marriage age at 16

    21. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 6:35 pm  

      British not racist

      “Why should Europeans be interested in the backward & unpleasant religion of Islam ?”

      Absolutely. Why would they be interested in following montheistic religions which originated in the Middle East ?

    22. marvin — on 5th June, 2009 at 7:05 pm  

      Why only Islam marvin? Why not Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism etc

      Remember the Mohammed cartoons blah? Around 50 people died world wide because of riots etc. There’s a problem there. Self-declared Muslims threatened to kill the cartoonists because they implied that mohammed was violent. Irony meters went off the scale.

      As an enlightened muslim you should surely be of the first to admit this.

      Because, generally speaking, adherents to other religions don’t go around nearly decapitating people for saying things they find offensive, or issuing death threats or stand on London streets calling for a ‘real holocaust’ for the kaffir. And it’s not just a recent thing. Remember the frenzied fools in this country screaming for the blood of Salmon Rushdie?

      Generally speaking, in this day and age, killing people in the name of their religion is virtually soley reserved for followers of Islam. I don’t recall haredi Jews or shoalin buddhist monks threatening to kill people in the name of their faith.

      We should be free to offend all religions blah. The issue is that only when you ‘insult’ Islam that you risk getting halaled.

    23. Shatterface — on 5th June, 2009 at 7:07 pm  

      Blah: I had a 9 year old girlfriend. When I was 9.

      The issue with Aisha’s marrage is that Mohammed was in his 40s: even if he didn’t have a hotline to god that would hardly be a relationship based on equality and mutual respect.

      And a 16 year old girl is almost twice as old as a 9 year old: physically and emotionally a few years make a vast difference in the first couple of decades.

    24. marvin — on 5th June, 2009 at 7:18 pm  

      I support the right of expression of your favourite anti-Semitic play Seven Jewish Children.

      It’s a reoccurring theme with people like yourself blah, a fundamental failing to understand the concept of free speech. Probably due to the religious mindest. My beliefs are sacred, your beliefs are wrong etc.

      I fully support free speech and the right to insult; and this may come as a shock, it includes things I vehemently disagree with.

      Did you support the publishing of the motoons blah?

    25. Ala — on 5th June, 2009 at 8:36 pm  

      Marvin, I’m waiting to hear all religions bashed in equal measure. Do you think you could simultaneously bash Islam, Judaism and Sikhism with one epithet? I’m looking for one to tattoo on my neck.

    26. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 8:53 pm  

      marvin
      “Did you support the publishing of the motoons blah?”

      Only if the Iranian holocaust cartoons were also published.Anything else would be an affront to free speech

      Yet when the editor of Jlyands Posten said he would published them …he was fired!!

      Basically there are some groups you cant insult and some you cant. You know this and hide behind empty platitudes about freedom of speech

      BTW Marvin do you support the banning of Israel Shamirs books in France or the banning and jailing of holocaust deniers?

      Do you think people should be jailed for “gloryfying terrorism” -that is for speech- as people were at the protest of the cartoons?

    27. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 8:58 pm  

      Ala
      “Marvin, I’m waiting to hear all religions bashed in equal measure”

      Exactly- why isnt Marvin calling for Guru Nanak cartoons or Krisha ones?

    28. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:01 pm  

      marvin

      “Because, generally speaking, adherents to other religions don’t go around nearly decapitating people for saying things they find offensive, or issuing death threats or stand on London streets calling for a ‘real holocaust’ for the kaffir. And it’s not just a recent thing. Remember the frenzied fools in this country screaming for the blood of Salmon Rushdie? ”

      Ah yes but this is speech. I though you believed in total freedom of speech marvin?

      You seem to have forgotten the Sikh furore over Behzti (a play which featured no sikh holy figures) Hindu attacks on the painter MF Hussain for his blasphemous paintings as well as attacks by Jews on Holocaust revisionists and numerous publications closed by Jewish people because they didnt like the content

      “Generally speaking, in this day and age, killing people in the name of their religion is virtually soley reserved for followers of Islam. I don’t recall haredi Jews or shoalin buddhist monks threatening to kill people in the name of their faith. ”

      Ah but threatening to kill isnt killing
      Its words - So if you believe in free speech why condemn it?
      You are showing your hypocrisy marv

      If the cartoons of the prophet can be published why cant people protest verbally however they wish? Both are issues of freedom of speech

    29. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:11 pm  

      marvin
      “Generally speaking, in this day and age, killing people in the name of their religion is virtually soley reserved for followers of Islam. I don’t recall haredi Jews or shoalin buddhist monks threatening to kill people in the name of their faith. ”

      Are you serious? The Mossad defector Victor Ostrovsky was threatened with death, as was Ahmed Rami host of an anti-Jewish site, as has been Micheal Lerner a moderate Jew, Neutrei Karta had their synangogue attacked by other Jews

      Ad you forget the cartoonist who drew a cartoon linking Sarkozys son with Judaism received death threats from Jews

      http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,24138499-13480,00.html

      And thats just outside Israel
      Remeber what happened to Rabin? or Ghadi Shami
      http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-06/04/content_11487397.htm

      Ever heard of Baruch Golstein or the Nazi Jewish settlers who kill Palestinains. And that ignores the numerous religious Jews in the Israeli army who do kill for religion.

    30. marvin — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:18 pm  

      BTW Marvin do you support the banning of Israel Shamirs books in France or the banning and jailing of holocaust deniers?

      Again you’ve failed to understand the concept of freedom of speech. No, you don’t ban things or lock people just because you find them offensive.

      why isnt Marvin calling for Guru Nanak cartoons or Krisha ones?

      Google images shows cartoons of these already.

      Nobody was beheaded and I don’t believe the cartoonists of these characters have received death threats from shaven headed vegans. I don’t recall Krishnas in Soho square calling for terrorist attacks to appease old Harry.

      You are beyond parody blah. Good night.

    31. marvin — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:19 pm  

      Yawn.

    32. Roger — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:20 pm  

      “Why only Islam …? Why not Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism etc[?]”

      Because islam and christianity are unique in their expansionist outlooks and their intolerance or limited tolerance of other religions or philosophies- the belief that the day will come when the truth will be spread world-wide with no rivals and that it’s their duty as believers to bring that day about as soon as they can in any way they can. That makes both religions peculiarly unpleasant for other people except when outside factors persuade believers not to follow the logic of their beleifs.

    33. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:23 pm  

      blah

      “Ad you forget the cartoonist who drew a cartoon linking Sarkozys son with Judaism received death threats from Jews

      http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,24138499-13480,00.html”

      The French Jewish philospher (and supporter of the rape of Muslim women) Bernard Henri Levy wrote a letter to Le Monde supporting the papers sacking of the cartoonist who drew the “Sarkoys son Judaism” cartoon

      The same Levy in March 2006 wrote a letter defending publishing the cartoons of the Prophet

      Kind of summarises the hypocrisy of many in the Jewish and zionist comunity towards freedom of speech

    34. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:31 pm  

      Roger
      “Because islam and christianity are unique in their expansionist outlooks and their intolerance or limited tolerance of other religions or philosophies-”

      This is a weak argument. Hinduism and Judaism for example dont covert converts yet they contain atrocious racist teachings within them. Its like arguing that because white nationalists have closed membership to their group their beliefs shouldnt be scrutinized.

      Also Islam bashing in the context we are talking about (Europe) is minority bashing. Would anyone argue that mock Christians in a land where they are the vast majority is as bad as doing so when they are a small minority?

    35. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:33 pm  

      Why has marvin ignored the evidence produced about Jewish death threats - that he claimed didnt exist?

      “Google images shows cartoons of these already.”

      really? And anyway you were talking about publishing the Mohammed cartoons in newspapers. Not on the internet

    36. Old Pickler — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:39 pm  

      Good to see all these Picklers so eager to excuse the paedophilic rape of a nine-year-old child, and the elevation of the rapist paedophile (who was also a robber and a murderer) into the ideal example for mankind.

    37. Chris Baldwin — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:50 pm  

      God, these “anti-Jihadis” are some of the worst people in Britain.

    38. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:57 pm  

      Steady on Old Pickler- Jacob (pbuh) married Rachel when she was 7
      and Mary (pbuh) was apparently 12 when she conceived Jesus (pbuh)

      The other stuff is just lies

      Who do you think is the ideal example of mankind?

    39. Old Pickler — on 5th June, 2009 at 9:58 pm  

      God, these “anti-Jihadis” are some of the worst people in Britain.

      So condemning the rape of a nine-year-old child and the elevation of the rapist (and murderer and robber) to the status of a prophet is the worst thing any Briton could do? The worst? Worse than slaughtering people in the name of honour or in the name of Allah?

    40. Old Pickler — on 5th June, 2009 at 10:01 pm  

      Jacob (pbuh) married Rachel when she was 7

      Nobody holds up Jacob as the best of men whose example all must emulate, and whose conduct must immitated by all.

      The rest of the stuff is lies, is it? So the beheading of nine hundred Jewish farmers never took place? A pregnant woman was not brutally stabbed for writing satirical verses about the paedophile murderer?

    41. Old Pickler — on 5th June, 2009 at 10:02 pm  

      Who do you think is the ideal example of mankind?

      Jesus. He lived several hundred years before Mohammed and managed not to rape any children or rob any caravans or behead any farmers.

    42. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 10:27 pm  

      Old Pickler I agree with you about Jesus (pbuh) but he never had to fight in a war situation. Also we dont have the same volume of literature about him

      Much of what we know was written by that schizophrenic delusion homosexual pagan “Saint” Paul

      One can find pretty fierce words from Jesus in the New Testament

      for example Luke 19:27
      “But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”

      “So the beheading of nine hundred Jewish farmers never took place?”

      If you are referring to Banu Qurayza they broke numerous treaties with the Muslims and betrayed them and joined with pagans seeking to exterminate the Muslims. When they were defeated they refused to be judged by the Prophet (pbuh) (who forgave all the enemies who had starved expelled and killed members of his family when he conquered Mecca) and wanted to be judged by Saad ibn Maad who was from their tribe

      He ruled according to the Bible(Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

      “When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found
      therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then
      thou shalt besiege it: And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)
      http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/myths-facts-about-the-banu-qurayzah/

      So you are actually condeming your own book!

      Of course according to the Bible Jesus called Jews sons of the devil amongst many other insults. And it was Christians seeking to follow the Bible that exterminated the Jews while Muslims following Islam protected them and shelterred them from Christian persecuation

      ” A pregnant woman was brutally stabbed for writing satirical verses about the paedophile murderer?”

      No the story of Asma bint Marwan has no basis
      It doesnt have an acceptable isnad (chain of transmission)
      please see

      http://www.geocities.com/noorullahwebsite/silas-kill.html

      Again the peodophile charge is a modern anarchronism

      According to the Bible various prophets danced naked and drunk, commited incest with their daughters, killed children for laughing at their bald head
      sent men to battle so they could steal their wives etc

      So why do you believe they are Prophets?

      Do you believe Moses (pbuh) is a prophet?
      According to the Bible he said all women and children in a defeated army whould be killed except virgins who should be taken as captives

      (Numbers 31:7-18 NLT)

      ” They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings – Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba – died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.

      Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.”

    43. Refresh — on 5th June, 2009 at 10:28 pm  

      Old Pickler,

      Given that you hold that circumcision of muslim males is child abuse.

      Your boyfriend is jewish, do you think he is a victim of child abuse?

      Its a question I put to you the very last time you were seen on Pickled Politics. You hadn’t responded at the time, so would you care to answer now?

    44. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 10:38 pm  

      Old Pickler
      “Nobody holds up Jacob as the best of men whose example all must emulate, and whose conduct must immitated by all.”

      But he is a Prophet isnt he? And he married a 7 year old. So?

      But as mentioned earlier Muslims arent required to follow the Prophet in all matters -especially things that were of his culture and time. Your accusing the Prophet of being a pedophile for marrying Aisha makes as much sense as accusing God of raping Mary when she was a young girl (12) before she gave birth to Jesus.
      If he was a pedophile then so was everyone at that time including your ancestors since such marriages were the norm . Isaac II Angelus d 1204, Emperor of Byzantine, married Margaret-Maria of Hungary when she was 9 for example.

      Using your logic you wouldnt marry as Jesus (pbuh) never did

      A pity your father wasnt of the same mind.

      I think your upset that the Prophet was sent to restore pure monotheism taught by all the Prophets (including Jesus pbuh)destroyed by your pagan idol Paul and his idoltrous trinity

    45. blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 10:51 pm  

      Old Pickler appears to have dissapeared. Perhaps he/she/it is celebrating winning Burnley.

    46. Old Pickler — on 5th June, 2009 at 11:06 pm  

      Given that you hold that circumcision of muslim males is child abuse.

      I don’t. “Circumcision”, or rather mutilation, of females - equivalent to castration of males - is child abuse of the worst kind, second only to Mo’s murdering, rapist career.

      And Jacob, Moses, Paul etc are not regarded as “the best man” or the example for everyone to follow. Mohammed is the Seal of the Prophets, not just any old prophet. And he was what he was.

    47. Vikrant — on 5th June, 2009 at 11:16 pm  

      You seem to have forgotten the Sikh furore over Behzti (a play which featured no sikh holy figures) Hindu attacks on the painter MF Hussain for his blasphemous paintings

      Now, now blah,

      MF Hussain saga is more a result of India’s culture of political entitlement more than any thing else. He was haggled with court cases just to prove a point that in India it is alright to blaspheme religions as longs as you dont touch Islam like in the Shah Bano case where Rajiv Gandhi overturned a decision by the Supreme Court of India in order to pander to Muslim extremists.

      I once sympathised with him, but do you know his stance on freedom of expression has been err.. inconsistent. He withdrew a film he made (Gaja Gamini i believe) under pressure from Islamists, that is like an invitation to Bal Thackeray to bay for his blood until he apologises for depicting Hindu goddesses having sex with animals!

    48. Refresh — on 5th June, 2009 at 11:18 pm  

      Old Pickler

      Well you have changed your position on male circumcision, perhaps your boyfriend helped put you straight. Or you are a liar.

      Why didn’t you respond at the time, instead of disappearing? I believe it was because you got caught out.

    49. Vikrant — on 5th June, 2009 at 11:19 pm  

      I don’t. “Circumcision”, or rather mutilation, of females - equivalent to castration of males - is child abuse of the worst kind, second only to Mo’s murdering, rapist career.

      But is female circumcision relgiously mandated in Islam or a cultural relic of 7th century North Africa/Arabia? Coptic christians of Egypt have for instance been known to participate in fgm.

    50. mysteryman — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:16 am  

      blah — on 5th June, 2009 at 10:27 pm

      You’re missing the key point here and displaying a diversionary tactic I’ve seen all too many times. All religions have horrid and violent pasts, Islam has a horrid and violent past, present and by the looks of things future. That is the reason more and more people are seeking to criticise Islam, not because they are jealous or inherently racist but because wherever Islam is present violence is not far behind.

    51. Old Pickler — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:24 am  

      But is female circumcision relgiously mandated in Islam or a cultural relic of 7th century North Africa/Arabia? Coptic christians of Egypt have for instance been known to participate in fgm.

      It is religiously mandated in a hadith, though not in the Koran. And yes, it is a cultural relic rather than an Islamic innovation. But it is a cultural relic that Islam propagates, because Islam fossilized 7th century tribal barbarism and gave it the status of a religion.

      The odd Coptic Christian practises it. The odd African Christian practises it. But overwhelmingly it is Muslims who practise it, even in the civilised West.

    52. Old Pickler — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:26 am  

      Well you have changed your position on male circumcision, perhaps your boyfriend helped put you straight. Or you are a liar.

      Nonsense. I have never been opposed to male circumcision, only female mutilation. Find me the comment where I supposedly opposed male circumcision.

      On the contrary, I have frequently castigated - though not castrated - those who draw a spurious moral equivalence between male circumcision and female mutilation.

    53. Refresh — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:37 am  

      Not Nonsense. Find your comments for you? Not wasting my time for a desciple of Jihadwatch. Are you not a writer on their sister website?

      And now you speak rubbish on FGM.

      I blame Sid/Faisal for dragging you back to PP.

    54. Old Pickler — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:42 am  

      Nonsense. Find your comments for you?

      Cop out. You can’t find it because it isn’t there to find.

      Liar.

    55. Sunny — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:49 am  

      OP is banned from this site. Any more comments from her/him will be deleted anyway. I don’t tolerate racists.

    56. Vikrant — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:59 am  

      It is religiously mandated in a hadith

      Can you point to any specific verses in the hadith? I for one always associated it with the customs of North Africa much of which happens to be Muslim rather than Islam itself. FGM is practically unheard of in South Asia, except perhaps Dawoodi Bohras, a muslim community with Yemeni origins.

      P.S Did you guys hear about the UKIP ballots fiasco? It’ll be interesting to see how BNP will benefit from this!

    57. Vikrant — on 6th June, 2009 at 1:03 am  

      OP is banned from this site. Any more comments from her/him will be deleted anyway. I don’t tolerate racists.

      Sunny since you do have racists, bigots of all types commenting on PP, you might as well allow OP (who i think is virulently anti-Islamic, rather than racist) to have her say. Especially given that this article clearly refers to her!

    58. asquith — on 6th June, 2009 at 6:41 am  

      Re: Old Pickler’s assertions, has anyone actually tried to defend FGM on these pages? Because I certainly haven’t. I view it as a foul practice that needs to be eliminated. I support efforts by local feminists to do away with it.

      Where does this meme come from that because we don’t support invading every fucking country on earth, this proves as we must support the very worst religious & cultural practices?

    59. Roger — on 6th June, 2009 at 7:08 am  

      “Its like arguing that because white nationalists have closed membership to their group their beliefs shouldnt be scrutinized.”
      Where have I said the beliefs of other religions shouldn’t be scrutinised, blah? I merely pointed out that christianity and islam had other faults as well as those common to other religions. Using your analogy, white nationalists with “closed membership to their group” would not be as repellent as white nationalists with the intention of exterminating every other group.

      “Also Islam bashing in the context we are talking about (Europe) is minority bashing. Would anyone argue that [to] mock Christians in a land where they are the vast majority is as bad as doing so when they are a small minority?”
      Well, fascist-bashing and Stalinist-bashing are criticism of a small minority. The opinions warrant criticism though. You’re actually confusing several sets and kinds of criticisms of islam though. The one that triggered this thread- Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha and its consummation when she was nine years old- epitomises many kinds of criticisms of islam and Mohammed in the eyes of nonmuslims: if Mohammed was the “last prophet of god” and everything he did was god’s order that is one thing; if he merely falsely claimed to be the “last prophet of god”- which is obviously the opinion of nonmuslims- it raises similar questions about the morality of that and everything else he ever did.

    60. Faisal — on 6th June, 2009 at 9:58 am  

      As I’ve said

      It’s important that cretins like “Old Peculiar” have the right to be free and easy with the “Prophet was a paedophile” trope even though it’s obvious they’re more concerned with giving offence than the rights of women in Muslim majority countries.

      because defending their right to make such statements is the best way to defend those who would publish books like ‘Jewel of Medina’ and ‘Does God Hate Women?’.

      Ultimately, that’s the fundamental point of George’s article.

      And it was because of the international furore caused by the case of the 8-year old child bride which has forced Saudi Arabia to look at reforming their age of consent laws. As well for multilateral action, multi-agency against child brides.

    61. Faisal — on 6th June, 2009 at 10:05 am  

      It is important that we, particularly Muslims, agree to fight against the practice of the use of Shari’a to justify child marriage. To fight against the practice, not make moral and ethical equivalences to try and deny its existence.

    62. Rumbold — on 6th June, 2009 at 10:15 am  

      Blah:

      Actually, Hinduism was probably the most-followed religion in the Briitsh empire, though I suppose it depends when you date it from.

      The Qur’an doesn’t mandate FGM. Many eminent Muslim scholars condemn it (apart from Ken Livingstone’s friend).

      http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503543886

    63. marvin — on 6th June, 2009 at 11:16 am  

      As Vikrant said. During the Gaza war we had numerous comments disgusting antisemitic comments some of these people still post here… OP is viruently anti-Islam, there’s no evidence she’s discriminating because of race/skin colour… She’s also completely opposed to the BNP. She’s a bit of a rough-edge Mel Philips. Viciously attacking Islam and Islamic practices is not racist, this is a conflation with racists who just use this as a cover… Still, if you find her presence here unacceptable then of course that’s your pejorative. But I don’t see how she can be labelled racist with any supporting logic.

    64. blah — on 6th June, 2009 at 11:20 am  

      Roger
      “Also Islam bashing in the context we are talking about (Europe) is minority bashing. Would anyone argue that [to] mock Christians in a land where they are the vast majority is as bad as doing so when they are a small minority?”

      Roger

      “Well, fascist-bashing and Stalinist-bashing are criticism of a small minority. The opinions warrant criticism though”

      Are you comparing Islam and Christianity to facism and Stalinism ? Thats pretty extreme. It was Muslims that taught Europe tolerance through Muslim Spain and the Ottomans and its a fact that non-Muslims have always been tolerated and allowed to live in Muslim lands (as opposed to non facists/non Stalinists and in many cases non Christians). Doesnt Islamophobia warrant criticism too?

      Criticism of Islam in the west often comes from fascists organisations which if they had power would exterminate Muslims (remember Bosnia?). Though it is criticism of a religion it in western Europe has a strong racial element as Muslims are overwhelming non-white.

      There is a danger of a facsist organisation taking power in Europe (since they take from a pool of 90% of the population)and far right parties have been in government- there is no danger of extreme Muslims taking power (since they take from 3% of the population)

      Exterme criticism of Islam and prejudice against Muslims is almost symobitic - “its Islam is barbaric creed which says xyz (almost always false) it doesnt belong in Europe” This of course involves expelling Muslims or curtailing their religious freedom

      I am not suggesting there be no criticism of Islam but if so then other religions should also be criticised (not just Islam and Christianity) and the motivation of those who criticism looked at

    65. blah — on 6th June, 2009 at 11:32 am  

      marvin
      “As Vikrant said. During the Gaza war we had numerous comments disgusting antisemitic comments some of these people still post here…”

      The atrocities of zionism and judaism should be criticisised.I don’t see how they can be labelled racist without any supporting logic.

      To paraphrase you “We desperately need people to criticise, mock and generally be offensive towards Judaism/Zionism, in the same way that Christianity was and is.”

      ” OP is viruently anti-Islam, there’s no evidence she’s discriminating because of race/skin colour… ”

      So where is the evidence that people who posted “nati-semitic” comments were discriminating on the basis of race/skin colour rather than ideaology zionism/judaism?
      The only people who consider Jews a race rather than a religion are Nazis and Zionists!

      “Viciously attacking Islam and Islamic practices is not racist, this is a conflation with racists who just use
      this as a cover… ”

      Neither is critisining Judaism and Jewish practices then

      “Still, if you find her presence here unacceptable then of course that’s your pejorative. But I don’t see how she can be labelled racist with any supporting logic.”

      Likewise criticism of Judaism/Zionism or Israel

    66. Spluh — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:05 pm  

      Blah: This is a weak argument. Hinduism and Judaism for example dont covert converts yet they contain atrocious racist teachings within them. Its like arguing that because white nationalists have closed membership to their group their beliefs shouldnt be scrutinized.

      Oh really? Why not give us some examples of rabbis and Hindu priests justfying racism on the basis of their scriptures then? Or are you just regurgitating Islamist propaganda against other religions as usual?

    67. Sunny — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:24 pm  

      Why not give us some examples of rabbis and Hindu priests justfying racism on the basis of their scriptures then?

      casteism is racism.

    68. blah — on 6th June, 2009 at 12:46 pm  

      Spluh

      “Oh really? Why not give us some examples of rabbis and Hindu priests justfying racism on the basis of their scriptures then? ”

      Are you serious? The whole Hindu caste system is based on race. Where do you think Hitler got the swastika and the notion of the aryan race from? Did you know that Himmler always carried the Gita around with him?

      “Himmler told his personal masseur Felix Kersten that he always carried with him a copy of the ancient Indo-Aryan scripture, the Bhagavad Gita because it relieved him of guilt about implementing the final solution; he felt that like the warrior Arjuna in that he was simply doing his duty without attachment to his actions.[28] This was consistent with the “eclectic” borrowing of disparate Hindu concepts that the Nazis used in their construction of a neopagan religion.[29] Quoting Himmler: “I marvel at the wisdom of the founders of Indian religions.”[30]”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Himmler

      As for Jewish Rabbis- how long have you got?
      Heres just a couple from Israel

      “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” -Rabbi Ya’acov Perin

      “Jewish blood and a goy’s [gentile's] blood are not the same.” Israeli Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, Inferring that killing isn’t murder if the victim is Gentile. Jerusalem Post, June 19,1989.

      A Rabbi on a proposed Arab/Jewish school
      Rabbi David Batzri
      “The establishment of a school like this one is a despicable and impure act. Stand in the way and prevent this. Darkness and light cannot be mixed. The people of Israel are pure and Arabs are a nation of asses. The question must be asked, why didn’t God give them four legs, because they are asses.”

      The son, Yitzhak Batzri, also made objectionable comments. “The Arabs are beasts and asses,” he said. “They are inferior, they want to take our daughters. People say we are racist, but – they are the evil ones, the cruel ones, the scum of snakes. This is war.”

      http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2006/03/rabbi_david_bat.html

      this site is an excellent source for Chabad racism

      From more information on this subject see Israel Shahaks excellent book “Jewish History Jewish Religion” -its available online I believe

      This is him on Maimondes the greatest Jewish Rabbi

      “Unfortunately, in addition to his attitude towards non-Jews generally and Christians in particular, Maimonides was also an anti-Black racist. Towards the end of the Guide, in a crucial chapter (book III, chapter 51) he discusses how various sections of humanity can attain the supreme religious value, the true worship of God. Among those who are incapable of even approaching this are:

      “Some of the Turks [i.e., the Mongol race] and the nomads in the North, and the Blacks and the nomads in the South, and those who resemble them in our climates. And their nature is like the nature of mute animals, and according to my opinion they are not on the level of human beings, and their level among existing things is below that of a man and above that of a monkey, because they have the image and the resemblance of a man more than a monkey does.”

      One can see his influence here
      Rabbi compares blacks to monkeys
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuMFAgGdd1E

      Numerous Rabbis have called for the extermination of Arabs in Palestine

      “A Jewish rabbi living in the West Bank has called on the Israeli government to use their troops to kill all Palestinian males more than 13 years old in a bid to end Palestinian presence on this earth.

      Extremist rabbi Yousef Falay, who dwells at the Yitzhar settlement on illegally seized Palestinian land in the northern part of the West Bank, wrote an article in a Zionist magazine under the title “Ways of War”, in which he called for the killing of all Palestinian males refusing to flee their country, describing his idea as the practical way to ensure the non-existence of the Palestinian race.

      “We have to make sure that no Palestinian individual remains under our occupation. If they (Palestinians) escape then it is good; but if anyone of them remains, then he should be exterminated”, the fanatic rabbi added in his article.

      http://www.caabu.org/key_issues/anti_arab_racism/rabbi_exterminate_palestinians/

      This guy was in the Israeli government

      “Rabbi calls for annihilation of Arabs

      The spiritual leader of Israel’s ultra-orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has provoked outrage with a sermon calling for the annihilation of Arabs.
      “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable,” he was quoted as saying in a sermon delivered on Monday to mark the Jewish festival of Passover.

      Rabbi Yosef is one of the most powerful religious figures in Israel, He is known for his outspoken comments and has in the past referred to the Arabs as “vipers”

      Arabs should be banned from parliament

      “Rabbi Aviner: Halacha bans Arabs from Knesset”

      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3670818,00.html

      Then there is the Hassidic movement
      “My final, more general example is, if possible, even more shocking than the others. It concerns the attitude of the Hassidic movement towards non-Jews. Hassidism—a continuation (and debasement!) of Jewish mysticism—is still a living movement, with hundreds of thousands of active adherents who are fanatically devoted to their “holy rabbis,” some of whom have acquired a very considerable political influence in Israel, among the leaders of most parties and even more so in the higher echelons of the army.

      What, then, are the views of this movement concerning non-Jews? As an example, let us take the famous Hatanya, fundamental book of the Habbad movement, one of the most important branches of Hassidism. According to this book, all non-Jews are totally satanic creatures “in whom there is absolutely nothing good.” Even a non-Jewish embryo is qualitatively different from a Jewish one. The very existence of a non-Jew is “inessential,” whereas all of creation was created solely for the sake of the Jews.

      This book is circulated in countless editions, and its ideas are further propagated in the numerous “discourses” of the present hereditary Fuehrer of Habbad, the so-called Lubavitcher rabbi, M.M. Schneurssohn, who leads this powerful world-wide organization from his New York headquarters. In Israel these ideas are widely disseminated among the public at large, in the schools and in the army. (According to the testimony of Shulamit Aloni, Member of the Knesset, this Habbad propaganda was particularly stepped up before Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in March 1978, in order to induce military doctors and nurses to withhold medical help from “Gentile wounded.” This Nazi-like advice did not refer specifically to Arabs or Palestinians, but simply to “Gentiles,” goyim.) A former Israeli President, Shazar, was an ardent adherent of Habbad, and many top Israeli and American politicians—headed by Prime Minister Begin—publicly courted and supported it. This, in spite of the considerable unpopularity of the Lubavitcher rabbi—in Israel he is widely criticized because he refuses to come to the Holy Land even for a visit and keeps himself in New York for obscure messianic reasons, while in New York his anti-Black attitude is notorious.”

    69. Shatterface — on 6th June, 2009 at 1:51 pm  

      ‘My Prophet’s better than your Prophets!’

      Watching Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. laying into each other just reminds me why I’m an atheist. There’s a difference between hating religion and hating it’s adherants.

      Religious beliefs are, at best, wrong, but I don’t generally feel the need to stand outside a church or mosque any more than I feel the need to visit a maternity ward and tell a mother that no, her baby isn’t beautiful, she looks like Winston Churchill.

      I do, however, reserve the right to mock any belief system that imposed itself on me through the maintenance of inequalities, censorship, restrictions on medical research or wasting my taxes teaching total arse to schoolkids.

    70. Vikrant — on 6th June, 2009 at 4:08 pm  

      Why not give us some examples of rabbis and Hindu priests justfying racism on the basis of their scriptures then?

      casteism is racism.

      Any which Hindu temple/priest is justifying casteism? You’d hard pressed to find any except perhaps that temple in Orissa.

    71. chairwoman — on 6th June, 2009 at 4:30 pm  

      blah - I am not qualified to speak for members of other faiths, but I am more than happy to stand up and say that some ultra-orthodox rabbis are indeed racist twats.

      I believe that other faiths have similar ‘men of the cloth’.

      I decided yesterday that I will not play the blame game any longer. It is pointless, it leads to dissent, and, most importantly, it hold backs our human revolution, and prevents us moving forward.

      I hope the rest of you enjoy wasting valuable reconciliation time looking for bad things to paste and copy about each others’ faiths, but I, for one, am going to do my level best to sit on my hands and keep out the sandpit.

      But then I haven’t got as much time left to waste on recriminations as some of you.

    72. KB Player — on 6th June, 2009 at 5:23 pm  

      Jacob (pbuh) married Rachel when she was 7

      Is this the Jacob in the Old Testament who married Leah & Rachel? He served Rachel’s father 14 years before he was allowed to marry her and she was a girl when he fell in love with her. She must have been in her 20s. Or is this a different Jacob?

      Watching Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. laying into each other just reminds me why I’m an atheist. There’s a difference between hating religion and hating it’s adherants.

      Yes, it’s very entertaining, when it’s not stupidly dangerous. The religious moan about how Dawkins & Hitchens are aggressive and abusive atheists, but they’re nothing compared to the god botherers, who are often enough quite happy to follow their words with deeds.

      How peculiar to find everyone defending marriage customs of hundreds of years ago so as to abuse each other’s religions. When I come into this kind of thread I think the clock has somehow turned back to the seventeenth century or so.

    73. douglas clark — on 6th June, 2009 at 6:03 pm  

      I’d just like to say one wee thing on this thread, because it’s been bugging me all day. This is a Christian Country in name only. There seems to be a general assumption that because lots of folk answered Christian in the Religion box on the census, then that’s it! Well it isn’t. It is lip service, nothing more, nothing less. The vast majority of white UK citizens don’t see the inside of a church except for weddings and funerals. And I don’t think most of them are full blooded atheists, able to argue catechism or some such. I think they are mainly just apathetic. Not bovvered, to quote someone out of context.

      So, IMHO, Abrahamic Faith Wars are a fairly irrelevant minority sport. The sooner government recognises that, the better.

      Evidence based government would be good!

    74. Jai — on 6th June, 2009 at 6:14 pm  

      “Himmler told his personal masseur Felix Kersten that he always carried with him a copy of the ancient Indo-Aryan scripture, the Bhagavad Gita because it relieved him of guilt about implementing the final solution; he felt that like the warrior Arjuna in that he was simply doing his duty without attachment to his actions.[28] This was consistent with the “eclectic” borrowing of disparate Hindu concepts that the Nazis used in their construction of a neopagan religion.[29] Quoting Himmler: “I marvel at the wisdom of the founders of Indian religions.”[30]”

      Just in case any readers out there are unfamiliar with Arjun, the Bhagavad Gita or the Mahabharata which the first two are an integral part of, and may therefore either jump to certain negative conclusions about this aspect of Hinduism or indeed decide to misinterpret & “emulate” it like the psychotic Herr Himmler, let me clarify the matter:

      Krishna’s encouragement & explanation to Arjun about why he should engage in violence, due to the latter’s hesitance and guilt about taking up arms against people who were members of his extended family, was given while the two armies were massed, facing each other across the battlefield and waiting for combat to begin, and in this instance was specifically in the context of professional hereditary warriors (including royalty, in the case of Arjun himself) fighting exclusively against other professional hereditary warriors, solely on the battlefield and (mostly) adhering to strict chivalrous codes of conduct involving armed combat under battlefield conditions after a formal declaration of war.

      In all aspects, this is obviously about as far as you can possibly get from the mass-murdering activities that Himmler was involved in such as the Holocaust and the ‘Final Solution’, concentration camps, extermination camps, and so on.

      To say that Himmler somewhat misunderstood this part of Arjun’s life, character and actions (and indeed the “warrior code” as a whole as per the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the wider Mahabharata) would be the mother of all understatements.

      Indeed, within the Mahabharata itself, and to give an example of a professional soldier using violence against an innocent civilian, a deliberate attack by one of the ancient warriors concerned against a pregnant woman who was within the opposing force’s encampment but well away from the battlefield, resulting in the death of the unborn child, was regarded as so horrific by Krishna and the other warriors as per their “code of conduct” that Krishna actually cursed the attacker to wander the earth for all time, diseased and decaying but never dying, as an outcaste from humanity until the end of the world.

      No prizes for guessing what Arjun and Krishna would actually have thought of the Nazis and their atrocities.

    75. Don — on 6th June, 2009 at 6:51 pm  

      Douglas,

      I would agree. I think that very few people, even among those who identify as adhering to a religion, actually see their social/political views as being divinely sanctioned, with opposing views being necessarily pernicious.

      But there are some, and they are vocal. And far too indulged. I find myths, magic and religion fascinating, but allowing them an active role in real life is a mistake.

    76. Vikrant — on 6th June, 2009 at 6:59 pm  

      blah,

      Really? I think you should read a bit more about Mahabharata which afterall is a part of our common cultural heritage.

      Jai: Gita can also be interpreted as an apology for caste. Dharma was also used as a euphemism for caste. Mahabharata is littered with caste and gender prejudice, like the stories of Ekalavya and Karna. As for rules of war, funnily Rajputs fought by those rules against the Islamic invaders, leading to our eventual downfall!

    77. Roger — on 6th June, 2009 at 10:27 pm  

      “Are you comparing Islam and Christianity to facism and Stalinism ? Thats pretty extreme. It was Muslims that taught Europe tolerance through Muslim Spain and the Ottomans and its a fact that non-Muslims have always been tolerated and allowed to live in Muslim lands (as opposed to non facists/non Stalinists and in many cases non Christians). Doesnt Islamophobia warrant criticism too?”
      I just did compare christianity and islam with fascism and Stlainism, blah. I think they are all pretty extreme. agreed, islam isn’t as intolerant as christianity could be when it could, but that doesn’t mean it is tolerant, nor does it mean that Europe learned toleration from muslims. Only some mmuslims were “allowed to live in Muslim lands” as long as they accepted inferior status and paid protection money. Indeed, muslim Spain, with its periodic massacres of jews and christians is a pretty good example of islamic toleration- the almohads’ version of tolerance made many muslims prefer christian rule.

      Islamophobia- irrational hostility to islam- like any irrational belief, such as islam, warrants criticism. That doesn’t mean citicism of islam is islamohobia though.

      “The vast majority of white UK citizens don’t see the inside of a church except for weddings and funerals. And I don’t think most of them are full blooded atheists, able to argue catechism or some such. I think they are mainly just apathetic. Not bovvered, to quote someone out of context.”
      The same is true, thugh not yet to the same extent, of many muslims, douglas. However, with both the vestigial beliefs are often strong enough to inspire hatred when challenged. People may not be bovverred until they notice they aren’t bovverred and see that other people do seem bovverred.

    78. blah — on 6th June, 2009 at 11:55 pm  

      The irony of this whole debate of course is we live in a country which is now making sex education for 5 year olds compulsory

    79. blah — on 6th June, 2009 at 11:59 pm  

      KB Player

      “Yes, it’s very entertaining, when it’s not stupidly dangerous. The religious moan about how Dawkins & Hitchens are aggressive and abusive atheists, but they’re nothing compared to the god botherers, who are often enough quite happy to follow their words with deeds.”

      Untrue. Their isnt despite what lazy athiests say a single conflict in the world that is about religion.

      The I/P conflict for example isnt because Muslims and Jews think each others religions are wrong - its rather about land and two people Palestinian and Israeli think they have the right to the same land.

      All world disputes are about land, politics, language and economics not religion- religion may play a part but only in a secondary role -if it didnt exist the conflict still would

    80. douglas clark — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:12 am  

      Roger,

      That was a terrible paragraph, so it was:

      You can’t do what you tried to do:

      Islamophobia- irrational hostility to islam- like any irrational belief, such as islam, warrants criticism. That doesn’t mean citicism of islam is islamohobia though.

      Here is the 101 on that:

      If it is irrational to be hostile to Islam, then reasonable people can’t criticise it for fear of being accused of being unjustified.

      (But, I do, so there you go.)

      You also said that Islam is an irrational belief? Yes?

      Lets go over it again:

      Islamophobia- irrational hostility to islam- like any irrational belief, such as islam, warrants criticism. That doesn’t mean citicism of islam is islamohobia though.

      It is the ’such as islam’ that catches you out on a second reading, isn’t it? Are they especially to be blessed with criticism, just because?

      What I find largely amusing is that:

      Muslims can see the rents in the fabric of Christian beliefs,

      Christians can see the faults in Jews;

      Jews can see the variation from orthodoxy in Muslims.

      And, so on, ad infinitum.

      There is a continuity there. It is a circle of mutual distrust.

      It is also the childhood game of paper, scizzors and stone, each with an axe to grind.

      Whilst the rest of us worry about important stuff they all live in a (variey of) fairy stories… Children, the lot of them.

      Is it a major surprise that most folk think this is all a nonsense, or conversely that believers are offended when their memes are ripped apart?

      Just saying.

      ———————————

      Anyway,

      blah is that worst of human, a bloody devils’ advocate.

      I happen to think blah is what we used to have in my secondary school debating forums - the “I am right and you are wrong, and devil take the hindmost” approach to debate. Backed up, if they were good enough, with alarming, supporting factoids.

      No-one should debate blah with a fucking bargepole on the issue of rockets entering Israel from Gaza, for that would get him onto the entire history of the Middle East. For that is what blah, and his like do, they advocate a case, without compromise. He couldn’t draw a line in the sand over anything, for his crocodile tears would wash it away. Through the agony of having seen other people as humans too.

      It is omerta, writ large for the 21st c.

    81. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:15 am  

      Just to be sure: caste and castecism are not just Hindu, they are a part of Indian society regardless of religion. They are a reality in all major religious communities in the subcontinent, and that includes Catholic and Muslim communities.

      Also, can we all agree that no religious community is immune against bigotry and extremism. There is no difference between an extremist rabbi, imam, priest or an atheist white supremacist: they all favour social exclusion and like to plant seeds of hate. There is also no difference between a tolerant rabbi, imam, priest or plain decent atheists.

    82. douglas clark — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:27 am  

      blah @ 78,

      I have responded to your ridiculous inanities at 64 and so on ad infinitum. This newest manifestation of the blah insanity @ 78 leaves me competely gobsmacked.

      Do you think the sex education includes practicals?

      Just how crazy are you?

      We could learn a lot from the Dutch, if we wanted to, you crazy guy…

    83. Amrit — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:30 am  

      The irony of this whole debate of course is we live in a country which is now making sex education for 5 year olds compulsory

      Yeah, because in a country with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe, educating children early about the nature of relationships and contraception is such a terrible idea [/sarcasm].

      I’m rubbish with the debating-tactics, but even I can see that that is a majorly poor straw-man. It doesn’t even appear to be ’sex’ education either, really, for the ridiculously-prudish:

      A new curriculum for primary schools will include teaching five-year-olds about different kinds of relationships, managing their emotions and about physical changes to their bodies in childhood.

      Why do people equate ‘teaching about sex’ with ‘instilling sexual feeling’? The likes of the Christian Institute like to pretend the two are the same - gosh, yes, because teaching kids about condoms will make the HIV rate soar! The Pope was right! Oh, hang on…

      Re: the controversy over Aisha, Muslims simply need to ensure that cases like that of the 8 year-old girl don’t happen again. As blah pointed out, some people will be ready for marriage earlier than others (though I’d still fervently disagree with anyone under about 16 getting married, and CERTAINLY under 14). Yet cases like that of that girl show that it is not even age, but lack of consent that are the bigger problem. The male parent made the decision all on his lonesome, which is unfair, unacceptable and disgusting.

      Male dominance is not confined to one religion as we all know too well, and that is why it needs to be fought everywhere. It just happens to be easier to fight in the Western world than in the Middle East.

      Whilst challenging anti-Muslim sentiment, the likes of blah/munir might also like to face up to the immense ideological rifts within Islam itself. Neither Muslims, nor anyone else, benefit(s) from that. No-one has to establish a consensus (there isn’t one between the different forms of Christianity!) but at least that means a small minority is not seen as representative of a whole community.

      And don’t start about ‘why should Muslims justify themselves,’ because I’m not saying that.

    84. douglas clark — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:34 am  

      Ravi,

      Who are these ‘atheist white supremacists’ of which you speak? I think we should be told.

      Have you ever met one?

      Well, I suppose there’s always one…

    85. Kulvinder — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:35 am  

      Re: Old Pickler’s assertions, has anyone actually tried to defend FGM on these pages?

      to be fair ive said in the past (and i still hold the opinion) that the removal of a girls prepuce (or FGM type 1a by the WHOs classification) is pretty much the same as male foreskin removal (in terms of surgical procedure and ‘morality’)

    86. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:36 am  

      The irony of this whole debate of course is we live in a country which is now making sex education for 5 year olds compulsory

      You have no clue what “sex education” is, specially in the context of 5-year olds, right?

      Where do you think Hitler got the swastika and the notion of the aryan race from? Did you know that Himmler always carried the Gita around with him?

      He got the swastika from the Thule Society, not the hindu swastika. In fact, the swastika has been around in Europe for quite a while. The Aryan notion from nazism is not Hindu, but derives from White supremacist ideas that came in the 18th century, as Europe was dominating all the world.
      As for Himmler, you are not insinuating that the Gita actually had anything to do with the genocide of millions of people, now are you?

    87. blah — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:44 am  

      Roger
      “but that doesn’t mean it is tolerant, nor does it mean that Europe learned toleration from muslims.”

      “the notion of toleration in Christendom was borrowed from Muslim practice”
      Norman Daniel, : Islam, Europe and Empire, University Press, Edinburgh, 1966. p.12

      The first multi religious multi cultural states in Europe were Muslim ones.

      “the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” —- Sir John Glubb

      Voltaire (a strong critic of Islam)
      “The great Turk is governing in peace twenty nations from different religions. Turks have taught the Christians how to be moderate in peace and gentle in victory”

      “The Ottoman institution came perhaps as near as anything in real life could to realizing the ideal of Plato’s Republic.”

      Arnold Toynbee

      “Few Europeans realized that the Turkish Ottoman Sultan
      Suleiman was the head of the most democratic government of their time.”

      Harold Lamb, American historian and novelist

      “The tolerance shown to foreign beliefs and hostile faiths by the Ottoman law and Ottoman officials which enabled them to establish their own religious institutions and to shape their own education was such that the thousand year old liberty reigning in France in the field of sects and beliefs, dating from the times of the ancient Gaul, could not be compared with it.”

      Talcot Williams, Turkey, A World Problem of Today, New York, 1922, p. 194

      “It is actually an understatement that there was no anti-Semitism in Turkey. In fact, there was a pro-Semitism. Ottoman governments treated their Jewish subjects with a special consideration and compassion as one of their own, as one of the most loyal and devoted subjects of the empire:”

      Haim Nahum, last Grand Rabbi of the Ottoman Empire, (1924)

      “Jewish people must always recall the Ottoman Empire with gratitude who, at one of Judaism’s darkest hours, flung open its door widely and kept them open.”

      Cecil Roth, historian

      Roger
      “Only some mmuslims were “allowed to live in Muslim lands” as long as they accepted inferior status and paid protection money.”

      I never said that there was totally equality but it was easily the most tolerant pre-modern system to minorities. Non Muslims achieved great wealth and political positions in Muslim empires.

      “the paid protection money” bit is hilarious- yes non Muslims had to pay a tax- this exempted them from military service (encumbent on Muslims) and gave them protecion in their lives , property (something non Jews dont have in Israel for example) as well as a great deal of autonomy (their own courts for example)
      even then poor non Muslims, monks etc were exempt

      ” Indeed, muslim Spain, with its periodic massacres of jews and christians is a pretty good example of islamic toleration- the almohads’ version of tolerance made many muslims prefer christian rule.”

      Where do you learn history from? Rubbish.You are cherry picking. The “massacres” you speak of were isolated incidents and atypical of Muslim rule which was largely extremely tolerant

      What happened Roger in Spain when the Christians took over?

      The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry was in Muslim Spain

    88. blah — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:52 am  

      Ravi naik

      “Just to be sure: caste and castecism are not just Hindu, they are a part of Indian society regardless of religion. They are a reality in all major religious communities in the subcontinent, and that includes Catholic and Muslim communities.”

      True but Castes are against the religious teachings of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. The reason they exist is not because of these religions but because of the overwhelming Hindu cultural influence in the sub continent.

    89. blah — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:55 am  

      “Islamophobia- irrational hostility to islam- like any irrational belief, such as islam, warrants criticism. That doesn’t mean citicism of islam is islamohobia though.”

      Your dishonest pedantry doesnt change the fact that Islamophobia isnt “hostility to Islam”-it means hatred of Muslim people. Criticism of Islam is fine; hostility and hatred of Muslims isnt. If you arent happy with Islamophobia we’ll call it anti-Muslim hatred

      That isnt acceptable

    90. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:59 am  

      Who are these ‘atheist white supremacists’ of which you speak? I think we should be told.

      Do you honestly believe that only religious people can be racists?

    91. blah — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:01 am  

      Vikrant “Jihad watch”

      “Really? I think you should read a bit more about Mahabharata which afterall is a part of our common cultural heritage.”

      Im a British Muslim so it has eff all to do with my cultural heritage. The King James Bible maybe…

      “As for rules of war, funnily Rajputs fought by those rules against the Islamic invaders, leading to our eventual downfall!”

      Actually the idiotic caste system helped facilitate the Muslim liberation of India - only one caste were warriors and its rigidity meant only they fought.
      Thankfully Islam came and brought for the first time the notion of the equality of all humans to India and save millions of Dalits from hell on earth they had been in since the Aryan invasions.

      This did rather p*ss off a few Brahmins as they couldnt lord it over the Dalit undermenshen but never mind

    92. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:02 am  

      True but Castes are against the religious teachings of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. The reason they exist is not because of these religions but because of the overwhelming Hindu cultural influence in the sub continent.

      That makes it even worse: the fact that these communities actually engage in such practices. Stop making excuses and blaming it on Hindus.

    93. douglas clark — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:02 am  

      Amrit,

      You are making me look like OP writ large, and I regret that.

      If any man had approached my daughter with sexual intent when she was eight years old, I’d have killed him. Or he’d have killed me.

      I’d assume your father would have felt likewise.

      It is no longer acceptable, despite it having been quite prevelant far more recently than in Mohameds’ time, and in our own country too.

      Blah gets his knickers in a twist because he sees it as an attack on his faith. I can understand that. Because, in a sense, we are attaching our standards to a society that was very different. But not much different from our own, say a couple of hundred years ago…

      It’s just that we are right and they weren’t.

    94. blah — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:15 am  

      Ravi Naik
      “That makes it even worse: the fact that these communities actually engage in such practices. Stop making excuses and blaming it on Hindus.”

      Im not - it is totally the fault of the idiot communities themselves .Muslims havent reach the level of some Christians and Sikhs who have seperate churches and gurdwaras for the lower castes but they do follow Indian culture over their religion and adopt many vile customs with regards for example women that derive from Hinduism (eg considering widow remarriage wrong, loving fairer skin, denying girls inheritance, thinking divorce is the worst thing on the planet, blatant materialism, beliving sons are better)

      Yuck makes me wanna puke

    95. douglas clark — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:18 am  

      Ravi,

      No, I don’t think only religious people can be racists, but name me one prominent atheist that is. And I’m not talking here about the apathetic majority, they deserve their own forum. And no-one speaks for them, certainly not Dawkins and Co. Surprisingly enough they don’t seem to have any prominent people at all.

      However,it does seem to me that racism is largely tied up with religious beliefs.

      It’s OK.

      I’m sure you’ll find me one or two on Wiki, but the point is that racism isn’t terribly compatible with atheism, at least, that is my working hypothesis :-)

      Prove it wrong.

    96. blah — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:30 am  

      douglas clark
      “However,it does seem to me that racism is largely tied up with religious beliefs.”

      Any proof?

    97. Amrit — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:37 am  

      douglas:

      You are making me look like OP writ large, and I regret that.

      If any man had approached my daughter with sexual intent when she was eight years old, I’d have killed him. Or he’d have killed me.

      I’d assume your father would have felt likewise.

      Not at all! That was not my intention in the least. However, just because there are plenty of good men like yourself, it does not mean that the world is fair or equal for us ladies yet, even here in the ‘West.’ What I was trying to point out was the real problem here. blah has tried to go off on one about how accusing Mohammed of paedophilia is anachronistic. Maybe so - but that doesn’t change the fact that what he did was not exactly behaviour to be emulated, especially not in a modern age. Yet countries such as Saudi DO think that it is acceptable.

      This means girls have been, and will be, coerced, brainwashed and downright FORCED to marry at a time when they should not be married. Who makes this decision? Their male guardians, because in a society THAT patriarchal, they have the contacts and authority to do so. As with this 8-year-old girl. Her father arranged it for her and told her afterwards. Not much of a chance for consent there now, is there? Not that an 8-year-old’s consent is valid either.

      Her MOTHER sought the divorce for her. This does not surprise me, because most of the time, when we go through persecution ourselves, or know someone who does, we’re more likely to identify with it/them. There are always some collaborators, sure, but there are also many, many women who do not want their kids to suffer as they have,as previously documented on PP.

      I can’t help thinking also of that poor Catholic girl who became pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather and her mother got her an abortion - getting excommunicated for doing so! When it would have killed the poor child.

    98. Vikrant — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:15 am  

      Vikrant “Jihad watch”

      Stooping to munir’s level are we? Honestly the record of making vile and bigoted statements is really stacked in your favour.

      Actually the idiotic caste system helped facilitate the Muslim liberation of India - only one caste were warriors and its rigidity meant only they fought.

      Yeah right… Islamic conquests of India were also one of the bloodiest chapters in human history.

      Im a British Muslim so it has eff all to do with my cultural heritage. The King James Bible maybe…

      Way to be an ignoramus, Mahabharata isn’t a religious text y’know. Conversely as a British Muslim Palestine, Zionism et al. dont have an eff to do with you as well (unless ofcourse if you claim an arab ancestry)! All I see you doing is obsessively rant about Zionists and the Jews!

    99. blah — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:29 am  

      Amrit
      “I can’t help thinking also of that poor Catholic girl who became pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather and her mother got her an abortion - getting excommunicated for doing so! When it would have killed the poor child.”

      So many women have suffered. One thinks also of poor Surjit Athwal, Sanjit Dosanjhi, Pardip Rooprai or Jasvinder Sanghera

    100. Amrit — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:45 am  

      blah:

      So many women have suffered. One thinks also of poor Surjit Athwal, Sanjit Dosanjhi, Pardip Rooprai or Jasvinder Sanghera

      Nice try, but no cigar… I was referring to children. While honour killings are most certainly abhorrent, you are again straw-manning, and it’s really pathetic.

      To repeat that for you, dear, bringing up four Sikh women (oh YES, I saw what you did there!) - WOMEN - at 27, 24, 22 and 15 years old respectively - is a pathetic attempt to ignore me. 15 is unacceptable for me, but it’s still not as absolutely abhorrent as 8/9 years old. It’s a hell of a lot closer to 18, for one thing.

      Desperate, desperate stuff there! Besides, weren’t you saying that people could be ‘emotionally ready’ for marriage aged 12, earlier? You nasty little hypocrite.

      Vikrant:

      So as to save you time and confusion, I’ll just tell you now (before I head off to bed at long frikkin’ last) - blah IS munir. He likes to pretend that this isn’t the case, but we’re mostly all aware of it.

    101. Vikrant — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:50 am  

      So as to save you time and confusion, I’ll just tell you now (before I head off to bed at long frikkin’ last) - blah IS munir. He likes to pretend that this isn’t the case, but we’re mostly all aware of it.

      Now that makes much more sense!

      BTW Am I doing my math wrong or the time for comments was never adjusted for daylight savings??

    102. Amrit — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:53 am  

      The clock goes weird sometimes, I’ve been told by Sources From On High (aka Rumbold), and is an hour out.

      Now, I am REALLY going off to bed. Urghhhhhhhh.

    103. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2009 at 8:55 am  

      No, I don’t think only religious people can be racists, but name me one prominent atheist that is. And I’m not talking here about the apathetic majority, they deserve their own forum. And no-one speaks for them, certainly not Dawkins and Co. Surprisingly enough they don’t seem to have any prominent people at all.

      Douglas, since you do not consider the apathetic majority who does not care about religion as atheists, then the group of non-atheists is indeed very large. In no way can you conclude that atheists are less prone to racism on the basis of the number of atheists racists considering the size disparity between both groups.

      In white supremacist movements, there are a number of atheists. The most prominent self-identified atheist is the founder of the White Aryan Resistance - Tom Metzger.

    104. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2009 at 9:04 am  

      Im not - it is totally the fault of the idiot communities themselves .Muslims havent reach the level of some Christians and Sikhs who have seperate churches

      I am not aware of this. What Churches are you talking about?

      Thankfully Islam came and brought for the first time the notion of the equality of all humans to India and save millions of Dalits from hell on earth they had been in since the Aryan invasions.

      Perhaps Jai can clarify how effective the Muslim rulers of India were to ban caste. The fact is that caste is a reality in the North of India, and it is a reality in Muslim communities in Pakistan.

      I also believe that the role of women in Abrahamic dominated societies diminished in regards to pagan religions (Christianism vs paganism in Europe, Islam vs Hinduism in India).

    105. Rumbold — on 7th June, 2009 at 9:46 am  

      From what I can tell, the Mughals never really attempted to intefere in the caste system. This was partly because of the scale of the problem, but more to do with the fact that they didn’t really care; Muslim rulers with non-Muslim subjects tended to let those subjects regulate themselves in matters of culture, only ensuring that they remained loyal and paid tax.

    106. George (The Spittoon) — on 7th June, 2009 at 9:54 am  

      This is just to thank you all for your comments and to extend an invitation to visit us at The Spittoon to read (and argue with) what we have to write. Can’t say I’d envisaged the thread becoming a discussion of castes and the Bhagavad Gita but I trust you’ve been enjoying it.

    107. Faisal (The Spittoon) — on 7th June, 2009 at 10:32 am  

      Now would be a good time for a profile on this blog on Periyar Ramasamy, the dravidian anti-caste activist. It is said that the north of India caste is still prevalent but in the south it has largely been eradicated by the social activism of Periyar.

      He put the blame of caste and its continued practice fairly and squarely on Hindu Brahmins. Thankfully, he didn’t favour moral equivalence when he was interested in getting to the heart of the matter. ;-)

      It might be of interest to some of you to read up on his views on monotheistic religions and their relation to the Hindu caste system.

    108. chairwoman — on 7th June, 2009 at 10:37 am  

      “Also, can we all agree that no religious community is immune against bigotry and extremism. There is no difference between an extremist rabbi, imam, priest or an atheist white supremacist: they all favour social exclusion and like to plant seeds of hate. There is also no difference between a tolerant rabbi, imam, priest or plain decent atheists.”

      Good for you Ravi.

      Now will the rest of the asylum please take a break.

    109. Spluh — on 7th June, 2009 at 11:22 am  

      Blah: nothing which you quoted was backed by religious scripture. All you’ve shown is that some Hindus and Jews are racists. That doesn’t mean that racism is sanctioned by Hinduism and Judaism.

      One can just as easily find racist Muslims:

      Hassan Nasrallah: “Throughout history the Jews have been Allah’s most cowardly and avaricious creatures.”

      Khaled Mashal, calling for genocide of Israelis: “Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. Allah willing, before they die, they will experience humiliation and degradation every day.”

      That doesn’t mean that racism is sanctioned by Islam. Just like Judaism and Hinduism, there are quotes from the Koran which support loving your fellow man.

    110. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 11:48 am  

      Another pathetic chasing of tails.

      As Chairwoman says, take a break.

      Well done Sid/Faisal, as if you didn’t know where this would go. Its not as if you’ve demonstrated the value of free speech is it? Dragging in the vile ‘Old Pickler’ seems like an attempt to take PP back to the dark old days.

    111. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 11:54 am  

      Anybody want to talk about the 3000 fridge magnets James Parnell bought on expenses?

      Or Hazel Blears rocking the boat?

      Or Caroline Flint’s photoshoot?

      Or the political class attempting to bury their expenses debacle by turning on Gordon Brown a la Michael Martin?

    112. Faisal (The Spittoon) — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:21 pm  

      Well done Sid/Faisal, as if you didn’t know where this would go. Its not as if you’ve demonstrated the value of free speech is it?

      We can always rely on you to miss the point Refresh. Read George’s article again, if you think there is any defence thereof of the “Old Peculiar” brand of anti-Muslim bigotry.

    113. chairwoman — on 7th June, 2009 at 12:56 pm  

      “Anybody want to talk about the 3000 fridge magnets James Parnell bought on expenses?”

      Yes please :)

      Are they all different? Are they all on his fridge? How big is his fridge for goodness sake? When did he find the time to do anything else? Surely some addiction!

    114. Rumbold — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:02 pm  

      What would have been really good would have been if he had purchased 3000 fridge magnates. Then they could have stood around discussing their companies’ share prices and complaining about the difficulties in disposing of unwanted fridges.

      I wouldn’t have minded someone claiming expenses for that.

    115. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:02 pm  

      Apparently he billed the taxpayer £247 for them. Just below the threshold for receipts. What we need is the paparazzi to go get some pictures.

      I’m waiting for someone to be exposed for claiming for a Tamaguchi collection (or the modern day equivalent).

    116. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:06 pm  

      Faisal/Sid, I’ve yet to miss the point of your twists.

    117. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:10 pm  

      Rumbold,

      Forever to be known as the Fridge Magnate king.

      I am equally disturbed by Cameron and Clegg, they’ve taken this opportunity to bury the expenses debacle.

      Who benefits? Not the country, not the electorate. Normal politics has resumed. Its a disgrace.

      Hazel Blears thinks she might do a Geoffrey Howe with her resignation speech, as if she has any credibility left.

    118. Rumbold — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:15 pm  

      Refresh:

      Agreed. Cameron and Clegg, while handling it better than Brown, don’t really understand why the whole thing is so abhorrent. Really, there is no difference between what the MPs have done and non-violent robbers. Both are stealing monies that are not theirs.

    119. George (The Spittoon) — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

      Refresh. Is Faisal to be help responsible for the unpleasantness expressed by Old Pickler in reaction to a piece written by me? This seems more than a tad strange.

      Just to clarify, my intention was and is to stand up for freedom of speech whilst criticising people who use Muhammad’s marriage to A’isha as a stick with which to beat Muslims.

    120. chairwoman — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:21 pm  

      Didn’t Cameron manage to pocket £20,000 by claiming money against a mortgage and paying it back quickly?

      I can’t remember how this little ‘claim’ worked, but it certainly did him a favour.

    121. Don — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:52 pm  

      CW,

      Mr Cameron took out a £350,000 mortgage on his constituency home in Oxfordshire when he became an MP in 2001. By declaring it as a second home he could claim £20,000 a year towards the mortgage. But within four months of buying it, he paid off £75,000 he owed on a house in London.

      Experts say if he had kept the loan on the London home and borrowed £75,000 less on the Oxfordshire home, he could have saved taxpayers £22,000.

      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/06/01/cameron-probed-by-ownscrutiny-panel-on-50k-mortgage-115875-21405331/

      He was within the rules, but actively sought to maximise the amount he could claim. Still, what’s twenty thou, eh? He probably wanted to buy his father-in-law a replacement teapot.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1186193/Burglars-just-minutes-steal-antiques-worth-40-000-David-Camerons-laws.html

    122. Shatterface — on 7th June, 2009 at 6:38 pm  

      Wouldn’t 3000 fridge magnates suck the iron out of your blood when you went to get the milk out?

    123. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 6:41 pm  

      ‘Wouldn’t 3000 fridge magnates suck the iron out of your blood when you went to get the milk out?’

      Lets hope so.

    124. Roger — on 7th June, 2009 at 8:57 pm  

      “You can’t do what you tried to do:

      Islamophobia- irrational hostility to islam- like any irrational belief, such as islam, warrants criticism. That doesn’t mean citicism of islam is islamohobia though.

      Here is the 101 on that:

      If it is irrational to be hostile to Islam, then reasonable people can’t criticise it for fear of being accused of being unjustified.”

      I thought I very specifically made it plain that there is a difference between irrational and rational reasons for disliking islam, Douglas.

      ““the notion of toleration in Christendom was borrowed from Muslim practice”
      Norman Daniel, : Islam, Europe and Empire, University Press, Edinburgh”
      Evidence for this claim, blah?
      Christendom and Europe are not synonymous anyway. Christendom never acquired the notion of toleration. Those parts of christendom in Europe were forced to accept toleration by the religiously inflamed wars of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, so bloody that even christians were shocked, and by the fact that states were no longer willing to perscute on behalf of christians or others to accept the right of christians to persecute. As a result christians persuaded themselves that they were tolerant.

      “The first multi religious multi cultural states in Europe were Muslim ones.”
      Er, no, those parts of Alexander’s empire and the Roman empire that were in Europe were multireligious and multicultural.

      “the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” —- Sir John Glubb”
      Glubb was a soldier, not an historian., He omitted to mention what happened to pagans under muslim rule. The fact that muslims weren’t quite as intolerant as christians is not evidence that they were tolerant.

      “Voltaire (a strong critic of Islam)
      “The great Turk is governing in peace twenty nations from different religions. Turks have taught the Christians how to be moderate in peace and gentle in victory””
      Voltaire was also a satirist. The fact that many of those nations- in North Africa, for example- were effectively independent and that others- such as the subject nations of Europe- revolted against the Turks at every opportunity shows that he was not entirely serious or sincere when he said this.

      ““The Ottoman institution came perhaps as near as anything in real life could to realizing the ideal of Plato’s Republic.”

      Arnold Toynbee”
      Precisely. Plato’s Republic was a proto-fascist dictatorship.

      ““Few Europeans realized that the Turkish Ottoman Sultan Suleiman was the head of the most democratic government of their time.”

      Harold Lamb, American historian and novelist”
      Which Sultan Suleiman? What time? You could equally validly argue that Mao’s government was more “democratic” than Pol Pot’s. Or vice-versa.

      ““The tolerance shown to foreign beliefs and hostile faiths by the Ottoman law and Ottoman officials which enabled them to establish their own religious institutions and to shape their own education was such that the thousand year old liberty reigning in France in the field of sects and beliefs, dating from the times of the ancient Gaul, could not be compared with it.”

      Talcot Williams, Turkey, A World Problem of Today, New York, 1922, p. 194″
      in what way could it not be compared? Because that of Gaup was incomparably superior, perhaps?

      ““It is actually an understatement that there was no anti-Semitism in Turkey. In fact, there was a pro-Semitism. Ottoman governments treated their Jewish subjects with a special consideration and compassion as one of their own, as one of the most loyal and devoted subjects of the empire:”

      Haim Nahum, last Grand Rabbi of the Ottoman Empire, (1924)”
      A man with a vested interest, wouldn’t you say? In fact, for most of history, muslim rulers, arab, ottoman or other, were less intolerant of jews than christian rulers. That din’t stop there being regular persecutions or massacres or the encouragement and incitement of looting by the local populace at times of unrest. The jews provided a very useful stratum for the ottomans especially; they had no local loyalties, no aspirations to escape from the empire and provided a very handy alternative target to the administration when things went wrong. they could also be plundered with impunity when local governers needed to.

      ““Jewish people must always recall the Ottoman Empire with gratitude who, at one of Judaism’s darkest hours, flung open its door widely and kept them open.”

      Cecil Roth, historian”
      ..and fleeced them well

      “Roger
      “Only some monmuslims were “allowed to live in Muslim lands” as long as they accepted inferior status and paid protection money.”

      I never said that there was totally equality but it was easily the most tolerant pre-modern system to minorities. Non Muslims achieved great wealth and political positions in Muslim empires.”
      I already mentioned the Roman empire as more tolerant religiously. The Persian empire in the pre-christian era was probably even more tolerant.”

      ““the paid protection money” bit is hilarious- yes non Muslims had to pay a tax- this exempted them from military service (encumbent on Muslims) and gave them protecion in their lives , property (something non Jews dont have in Israel for example) as well as a great deal of autonomy (their own courts for example)
      even then poor non Muslims, monks etc were exempt”
      As you say, it was protection money. It meant they did not receive military training or the perks of military service (is there any religion besides islam which includes detailed discussions on divvying up the loot in their holy books?); they were required to pay “with humiliation”. It was imposed on a whole community, so the “exemption” of monks and such merely imposed more of a burden on the others.

      ”” Indeed, muslim Spain, with its periodic massacres of jews and christians is a pretty good example of islamic toleration- the almohads’ version of tolerance made many muslims prefer christian rule.”

      Where do you learn history from? Rubbish.You are cherry picking. The “massacres” you speak of were isolated incidents and atypical of Muslim rule which was largely extremely tolerant”…except when it was atypical and wasn’t which was quite often. The almoravids and almohads ruled muslim Spain for over 150 years and parts of North Africa for much longer and many muslims preferred chriatian rule to their rule. Harly “cherrypicking” to mention it, I’d have thought, but an example of one kind of muslim rule.

      “What happened Roger in Spain when the Christians took over?”
      They behaved even worse than the muslims. The fact that syphilis is less unpleasant than A.I.D.S. doesn’t mean syphilis is good.

      “The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry was in Muslim Spain”
      Well, except for the premuslim period after the destruction of the temple, the only age of Spanish Jewry was in muslim Spain.

    125. Jai — on 8th June, 2009 at 10:10 am  

      Well, I see that everyone’s been busy here over the weekend…..

      Some belated responses:

      Jai: Gita can also be interpreted as an apology for caste. Dharma was also used as a euphemism for caste. Mahabharata is littered with caste and gender prejudice, like the stories of Ekalavya and Karna.

      Correct, Vikrant. The Gita obviously has some questionable elements alongside the more positive contents, but I was just making a point specifically in relation to Himmler and Arjun. It beggars belief what kind of twisted, depraved mind could have used Arjun as a “role model” for the kind of inhumane atrocities Himmler perpetrated, considering that — out of the numerous major protagonists on both sides of the Mahabharata conflict where significant “shades of grey” were present — along with Bhishma in particular, Arjun was unequivocally one of the very few genuinely decent, heroic and noble individuals involved, from start to finish.

      In terms of condemnations of abuse/misuse of power, treatment of the weak/vulnerable, acceptable uses of violence (especially in warfare), personal integrity etc, the Bhagavad Gita and (most of all) the Mahabharata as a whole are explicitly all about why people should not behave like Himmler and the rest of the Nazis.

    126. Jai — on 8th June, 2009 at 10:58 am  

      loving fairer skin,

      That’s because of various societal and historical factors in the subcontinent, not predominantly because of Hinduism. I agree that there were certainly some efforts to classify castes according to skin colour in some quarters during some parts of ancient Indian history, but this became increasingly inaccurate and obsolete due to intermarriage along with the spread of the “Aryans’” culture and theology in those regions in the subcontinent where they were not numerically prevalent themselves (not to the same degree as they were in the north and northwest, anyway), especially in the east and the south.

      And since the Gita and the Mahabharata have been mentioned, let’s bear in mind that Draupadi, one of the main female protagonists and someone who was particularly close to Arjun, was also named ‘Krishnaa’, a reference to the fact she was regarded as very dark (like her male near-namesake). At no point in the story is Draupadi herself or her skin colour indicated to be unattractive, either in the context of the “story” or from the perspective of her peers.

      As for Krishna himself, he was extremely dark yet was repeatedly indicated to be very attractive to women, especially during his village-bound youth.

      Finally, before engaging at misguided finger-pointing attempts to lay the blame in a particular religion itself, it would be wortwhile remembering that throughout the Middle East (both in Iran/Persia and in the Arab states), the notion of fairer-skinned women being more physically attractive is also prevalent. And to give a somewhat flippant example about religion, the traditional Islamic description of a ‘houri’ is a match for the actresses Diya Mirza and Anne Hathaway, not the supermodel Naomi Campbell.

      blatant materialism,

      Some versions of Hinduism definitely do state that one of the goals of life for an ordinary person should be the acquisition of wealth, but there is also a very strong ascetic tradition too.

      And Islam itself does not require a Muslim to necessarily be ascetic either — living a materially comfortable life is not taught as being wrong, although obviously the methods by which this wealth is acquired (and rightly so).

      beliving sons are better

      Only in some parts of India, especially the North. Hinduism itself ? Not necessarily — it’s not a homogeneous faith.

      Historically-speaking, during the period of the Delhi Sultanates followed by the Mughal Empire, northern India went from being a relatively patriarchal society (like much of the rest of the world) to a very patriarchal society, because of the cultural influences that the dominant groups brought to the subcontinent. Parts of India where these influences were less prevalent, particularly large chunks of South India, are still comparatively less patriarchal, and in some cases the culture is actually matriarchal.

    127. Jai — on 8th June, 2009 at 11:00 am  

      casteism is racism

      Casteism is classism, more accurately.

      Also, it’s worth emphasising that the major problem was (and still is, to some extent, although nowhere near as much as it historically was) a fossilisation of strictly delineated castes, limiting upward or lateral movement, especially due to the “religious stamp of approval”.

      Society being divided up into priests and a military aristocracy at the top, followed by the artisans and farmers, with everyone else beneath them, has certainly not been something remotely unique to India. Until fairly recently, large parts of the rest of the world were traditionally organised in the same way, including regions as disparate as Europe and feudal Japan. In fact, taking this back to the roots in relation to the West, the ancient Indo-Europeans (who became particularly dominant in Eastern and Southern Europe) organised their society in exactly the same way; the cultural overlaps extended far beyond linguistics and theology.

      the Roman empire that were in Europe were multireligious and multicultural…..I already mentioned the Roman empire as more tolerant religiously.

      Absolutely correct. They may have been arrogant imperialists with an increasingly bloodthirsty popular culture, but one thing the Romans were certainly not was racist.

      The Persian empire in the pre-christian era was probably even more tolerant.”

      Again correct, especially during the reign of Cyrus (justifiably called “Cyrus the Great”). His far-sighted policies concerning religious and racial tolerance when governing a highly pluralistic empire were quite astonishing for his time, and there were some parallels with the Indian emperor Ashoka and the much later Mughal emperor Akbar. Cyrus is also credited with being the creator of one of the world’s very first human rights charters.

    128. Jai — on 8th June, 2009 at 11:06 am  

      Correction to #126:

      And Islam itself does not require a Muslim to necessarily be ascetic either — living a materially comfortable life is not taught as being wrong, although obviously the methods by which this wealth is acquired (and rightly so).

      Should say:

      “…..although obviously the methods by which this wealth is acquired are very important from a theological and moral/ethical viewpoint (and rightly so).”

    129. persephone — on 8th June, 2009 at 11:33 pm  

      blah @ 19 & 20

      “Pretty weak argument”

      It wasn’t meant to be. Do remind me to preface tongue in cheek comments next time

      “Some people at 12 are emotionally ready for a child”

      Who makes the judgement call & how?

      “What you say could equally be said for setting the marriage age at 16″

      Agreed.

    130. douglas clark — on 9th June, 2009 at 11:13 pm  

      Ravi @ 103,

      Oh yeah, Tom Metzger.

      I’d forgotten about him.

      In fact, I’d never even heard of him!

      You are struggling to come up with a name if you chose a fourth division asshole like that to justify your case. Please try to do better. Google is not actually being your friend, is it?

      I did have a bit of a laugh at this:

      Douglas, since you do not consider the apathetic majority who does not care about religion as atheists, then the group of non-atheists is indeed very large.

      Ravi, I’d have thought the exact opposite. I’d have thought the group of ‘in-betweeners’ huge. You have no more right to co-opt them as religious than I have to co-opt them as atheists. In terms of a Venn diagram the apathetic centre holds and the extremists - of whatever religious persuasion or none at all - are the cusps on the map.

      It is an interesting idea. Perhaps folk like that are more interested in controlling weavil bugs on their pot plants than they are in global politics. Perhaps some of them are experts on that subject, which I’d hazard is hadith free….

      Once you make a break away from religion, you really wonder why you cared. And these folk in the middle? They don’t really consider it, much…

      Least, that’s what I think.

    131. douglas clark — on 9th June, 2009 at 11:28 pm  

      Obviously any sensible advice from anyone on the subject of root attacks by bugs on Yukka plants would be more than welcome.

      Y’thought this was value free?

      Perhaps folk like that are more interested in controlling weavil bugs on their pot plants than they are in global politics.

      Well, it wasn’t.

      Help!



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