Showing posts from December, 2006

Islam and Victimhood

Part IX: Victimhood and Muslim Identity (December 2006) “No one admits that his own yoghurt is sour.” --Syrian proverb I want to suggest in this post that victimhood has become an integral and essential element in Muslim identity today. There are a number of reasons for this, some of them are valid, but many of them are not. I want to explain why and how this has come to be the case today. If I may quote Sam Huntington, “The problem is not Islamists, it is Islam: a civilization convinced of its superiority and obsessed with its inferiority.” Islam is unlike Christianity in that it makes certain guarantees, namely that if a society is faithful in following Islam (and the sharia’) then certain consequences must follow: material wealth, political power, an ever-widening scope of authority over non-Muslims, scientific and economic advancement, justice and good governance, and so forth. It is very clear though to people throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that other tha

Films from KSA?!

Interesting article here on some recent films from KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). While this is not about religion explicitly, I think it offers some good insights into the tension we see throughout Dar al Islam regarding change. In KSA many households have sat TV and can watch most anything they like, but actual movie theatres which are much easier to monitor are completely forbidden. Amazing. I like Izidore's attitude about her work. I also appreciate her family's artistic qualities. Very few people here in the ME are interested in art unfortunately. Saudi Filmmakers

Jesus was a good Muslim, and stuff on being a dhimmi

Here is a review by Bat Ye'or of a recent book. Bat Ye'or is one of my great historians. Her name means Daughter of the Nile, and she was born in Egypt to Jewish parents. She is not a citizen of France where she does most of her writing. She is the world's foremost scholar on dhimmitude, that is, the continued existence of Christian and Jewish communities in the Muslims world. Unfortunately the Western press has often mutilated the term and spoken of rights of "religious minorities". This is utterly absurd and shows their absolute ignorance regarding Islam. Dhimmitude only requires a Muslim ruler. Indeed, if a European country were taken over by a Muslim government then all the non-Muslims would be dhimmis--even if that is 80 or 90% or the population. This was in fact the case in much of Turkey, at times there were entire regions that were over 80% Christian, yet they were still under the dhimmi. In any case, a fine review from a brilliant scholar: Do

Liturgy? Hmm....

Liturgy, translated from the Greek word (which occurs a few times in the NT, see my post below for more on that) means 'work of the people'. Recently, my friend Erik, who is studying theology at Oxford, preached the sermon below. Please check it out, it is very insightful from a Western point of view. Liturgy refers to, in modern terms, the flow of the worship service. Don't get me wrong: every church has a liturgy. Sometimes it is written down, like in most Lutheran or Episcopal churches, sometimes it is simply memorized by the congregation, like in most Baptist or non-denom churches. There is music, then a prayer for this, then a prayer for that, then a sermon, then a prayer for X, then there is Y, and finally there is Z. That is liturgy, to put it in rather vulgar terms. This is what he is talking about. Please read his homily carefully and post your comments on his blog at Priests and Paramedics In terms of our work here, the question for us is: what kind of lit

Harsh Sentiments

It has been tough these last few weeks to talk with Christians here in the ME. Many people have a very bitter attitude towards Islam. One pastor I spoke with told me point blank that Muslimss are evil, and they may act like they know God but it is all false. Another brother complained about the election of a Muslim to the USA House of Representatives. "Islam is like a cancer, once it enters in it destroys everything. You will see." God have mercy on us.