Showing posts from May, 2007

Africa, the Future of Christianity

The guy I always quote: Christianity is going south very rapidly in terms of numbers. I've give you a quick overview, and I'm going to talk about Africa a lot. Simple reason: back in 1900, Africa had 10 million Christians representing 10 percent of the population; by 2000, that was up 360 million, to 46 percent of the population. That is the largest quantitative change that has ever occurred in the history of religion. A rising tide lifts all boats, and all denominations have been booming. The Anglicans have done very well, and the Anglican Church is going to be overwhelmingly an African body in the near future. Philip Jenkins From Here .

Development of Islamic Law

Just started this book and thought this quote was very good. Muhammad is the perfect man, and the pattern for all Islamic activity. Since that is true, the idea of separating religious and civil authority (secularism) is anti-Islamic. Muhammad as the perfect man drew all power to himself, so that is the pattern to be emulated today. So we should not be surprised to see that democracy whicch spreads power out over people has been a failure in Islamdom. Check it out: "Similarly, Muslim history places the revelation of Islam's law in the context of a polity based in Medina and portrays Muhammad as, like Moses, both prophet and ruler. (The revelations that came to Muhammad before the migration of the Muslims from Mecca to Medina are generally regarded as having little legal content.) Although a few modern Muslim revisionists have contended that it was not part of Muhammad's mission to create a state, the weight of Muslim opinion through the ages has been of the side of th

The Lamb and his Wife

Recently posted something about the lack of domestic felicity among Muhammad and his wives. Here is a great post about the Christian vision of marriage. How different it is! Check it out: Revelation pictures Holy Matrimony as a heavenly sacrament, or rather married couples are the sacraments of the heavenly wedding. The unity between the Church and the Son of God is the heavenly reality, and our earthly marriages are the outward and visible signs of that reality. The marriage of the Lamb is celebrated by a wonderful wedding feast. Four and twenty elders, the priests of the twelve Old Testament tribes and the twelve apostles of the New Testament fall down in worship before the Lamb. Beyond them are a multitude no-one can number of those who are clothed in the white garments of the prayers of the saints. And the martyrs stand about with palms of victory in their hands. The various groups are not interchangeable but all are united by their common worship of the Lamb. Read it all at Tr

New Missionaries in Uganda

I am regularly in touch with folks who are considering long-term work in the mission field. Here is a great page of some friends who just arrived in Uganda for a half-year mission. Uganda is different than the Middle East of course, but some of the stuff they face there is the same as what folks face when they move anywhere in the 3rd World. Example: I guess you can’t be a missionary in a new culture without getting sick. And now that we have crossed that bridge I hope we don’t have to cross it again. Please keep our health in your prayers as being sick really slows the work we do down, and it makes it more difficult to carry on with day-to-day tasks. About a week and a half ago, I came down with what I thought was traveler’s diarrhea, but after a week of that I finally went to the doctor. There is a very good clinic here for us with a British doc; he diagnosed me as having salmonella. This is of course, after I provided a stool sample, a new experience for me. (If this is too much

Coptic Christians Attacked in Egypt

I have mentioned before my deep respect for the Coptic Christians of Egypt. Father Zakarias is one of the best evangelists of Muslims in the world, and he is Coptic. It is still the largest church in the Middle East/North Africa. The Copts are not Arabs, they are the original Egyptians who are the descendants of the Pharoahs and pre-Islamic inhabitants of the land. There are Coptic churches through the USA and Europe, perhaps you might think of visiting one in your area and saying HI and letting them know you care about them. Some information on recent persecution: EGYPT Christians Attacked - VOM Sources On May 11, a mob of Muslims attacked Christians in Bahma village south of Cairo after hearing rumors that a church was to be built in the village without government permission. Muslims left their Friday prayers and attacked the homes and shops of Christians, setting the buildings on fire. At least 10 Coptic Christians were injured in the attack. People from both faiths took up st

Orthodox Christians and Missions?!?

People don't usually think of Orthodox Christians being active in world-wide missions. The truth is that the world's 700,000,000 or so Orthodox Christians have been under immense pressure for the last couple centuries due to Communism in Russia and E. Europe and of course Islam, that it's almost a miracle that Orthodoxy even exists anymore. But the life of the church is Mission. I really believe that: the church that is not involved in preaching the Gospel to every creature is not living, but slowly dying. Fortunately there are some signs of life for Orthodoxy. May God bless them lead them more and more into the unreached frontiers of the mission field: Orthodox Christian Missions Center. It's not much, but it's a beginning.

Muhammad and his Wives

Interesting article at Anwsering Islam, which I have said several times is the gold standard of apologetics to Islam. It is about the Islamic teaching on multiple wives and proposes that not even Muhammad himself (the perfect man in Islam--tell me if that isn't idolatrous) was able to have a happy plural-marriage (or whatever it is called). There is ample evidence in this article that he was not successful. The complete picture of Muhammad and his interactions with women is in fact deeply disturbing. I just want to post a short portion of the entire article which you can read here : Aisha herself admitting that Muslim women suffered worse than any other women? Narrated ‘Ikrima: Rifa’a divorced his wife whereupon ‘AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (‘Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each othe

What do you Eat?

Here is question we get often. Main foods here are: Rice, rice and chicken, rice and lamb with yoghurt sauce, kebbeh, falafel, shawerma (Turkish), kebab (Turkish), and then there is Circassian Chicken. Not what you are used to really, and not something you find often, but a great dish which you can make in the West if you like. Here is the recipe: This dish is one of the classical masterpieces of Turkish cuisine, and is served on special occasions. You can substitute olive oil for the walnut oil if desired, although the taste will be slightly different. Serves 4-6 For the chicken stock and chicken: 2-3 lbs chicken thighs and legs (or 1 whole chicken, cut up) 4-5 cups water 1 onion, quartered 1 medium stalk celery, leaves and stems removed 1 medium carrot, peeled and quartered 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 sprig parsley 2 cups uncooked rice Walnut sauce 2 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed 2 Tbl unsalted clarified butter 1 sm Spanish onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup) 2 cloves

Victimhood and Terrorism

Back in December I wrote this : “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. And now we have this astounding announcement from the OIS (Organization of Islamic States): Speaking at a special brainstorming session on the sidelines of the 34th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), the foreign ministers termed Islamophobia the worst form of terrorism and called for practical steps to counter it. The ministers described Islamophobia as a deliberate defamation of Islam and discrimination and intolerance against Muslims. “This campaign of calumny against Muslims resulted in the publication of the blasphemous cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a Danish newspaper and

Apologetics and Objections

Fascinating post Here . The author is often quite critical of Islam (I am as well, though I think our styles are quite different). He has listed what he considers to be the most common objections to his criticism. I think the list is very enlightening. Much of our work here consists of whitttling down the list so I can gain a hearing. Once a Muslim realizes that you know Arabic, and know the Quran, and know the ahadiith (pl. of hadiith), and that you are a religious person (which unlike the West, is a good quality here), then you have earned, maybe, a chance to speak and be listened to. Here is his list: 1. He's taking verses out of context 2. He's an Islamophobe/racist/bigot 3. He doesn't know Arabic, and you can't understand the Qur'an unless it's in Arabic 4. He's not an expert on Islam/he has no credentials 5. The Qur'an, the mind of Muhammad, and Islam in general are too complex and mysterious for infidels to understand 6

The Church is Part of the Gospel

"... the church is part of the Gospel and [...] the church is not the exclusive company of those who have an entrance ticket for heaven, but the sign to the world of the universal salvific purpose--sign, and I would add, foretaste and instrument" (p. 72) Lesslie Newbigin Signs Amid the Rubble: The Purposes of God in Human History I love this idea. It is true, by the way. You don't realize that in the West much, but here in the East where it is somewhat rare to find a community of believers worshipping together you begin to understand why Psalm 133 links together fellowship and eternal life.

The (Sorry) State of the Mission

So how is the church doing in her mission to save the world? Not very well, after 2000 years. There have been some bright patches here and there, great visionaries from among all the traditions: Catholic (Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Augustine of Canterbury), Orthodox (Saint Innocent of Alaska, Saints Methodius and Cyril), and Protestant (Bp. Michael Solomon Alexander of Jerusalem, Henry Martyn, and really this list is quite long, PBTG). But overall, we have been putting almost all of our resources into evangelizing other Christians. Which is nice and all. But it's not what Christ told us to do...a small problem. Kyrie Eleison. Irhamna ya Rrab. Miserere nobis. Have mercy, O Lord. Read it and weap, then repent and fast and ask God how you can be part of the church's mission to the unreached: Despite Christ’s command to evangelize, 67% of all humans from AD 30 to the present day have never even heard His name. • 648 million Christians today (called Great Commission Christian

Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord

It is after Easter, and before Pentecost. Today (Thursday the 17th) is the the day our Lord was raised into heaven. Check out this Russian Icon first. I liked this reflection from What the Tide Brought In , a blog I just discovered today. I don't know Ann (the blogger) but I did like her reflection: ASCENSION Ascension is one of those church holy days that is a mystery to me. The whole idea of Jesus ascending through the air into heaven is hard for someone who has seen the pictures of earth from space taken by the Astronauts. Instead I think of Glinda in the movieThe Wizard of Oz rising up into the air in her bubble with all the Munchkins waving and shouting "Goodbye, Goodbye" in their little squeaky voices. There are many artistic depictions of the Ascension. Salvador Dali shows Jesus from the disciples point of view and some androgynous heavenly being receiving him. There is an icon showing just Jesus feet as he goes into the clouds and leaving footprints on th

Congratulations to Saudi Jeans!

Saudi Jeans is an excellent blog, and it is turning three years old ! Congratulations! Mabrook wa barakaat Allah 3aleyka! Felicidades y bediciĆ³nes! Now in KSA, home of Saudi Jeans , someone might well issue a fatwa against me or what have you, but I am still glad that there are blogs like this out there. I know that Saudi Jeans and Islamdom disagree on many things. But we certainly agree that having an open space for honest discussion and searching for truth is something that every human being must be accorded. Al majdu lillah. Istamirr ma3 ashshugul. Abu Daoud

European lslamdom: Part II

The First part of this series is here: Islam and the Future of Europe. Dr. Jenkins takes a much more optimistic view of Europe's future than I do. I hope he's right, but I have responded to a few of his statements in this post. Please do read the whole interview at OUP blog . Will be in Italy later this month, Spain next month. Both trips have a good amount of business involved, including meeting with folks focused on reaching Muslims, or who may be considering such action. Excerpts: He says: Critically too, I’m not sure that many of the incidents that people cite when they warn about “Eurabia” arise from the issue of Islam as a religion, as opposed to conflicts of race and class, and the best example of that would be the French riots of 2005. I see very little evidence of any religious motivation there. This does not mean that such outbreaks are not serious, but governments have to respond to them differently than they would if they represented a true religious movement

Icons and Muhammad

Icons are a very important aspect of Eastern Christianity. The Second Council of Nicaea (before the West and East were divided) defended the act of venerating icons, though placed limits on that veneration. Also it forbade the adoration of icons, since adoration can only be given to God. Here is a hadiith about how Muhammad viewed icons and the Christians of Ethiopia (Orthodox): Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 8, Number 426 : Narrated 'Aisha: Um Salama told Allah's Apostle about a church which she had seen in Ethiopia and which was called Mariya. She told him about the pictures which she had seen in it. Allah's Apostle said, "If any righteous pious man dies amongst them, they would build a place of worship at his grave and make these pictures in it; they are the worst creatures in the sight of Allah."

Second Council of Nicaea

Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Church , held in 787. Held in what is now Turkey. This was one of many rules (canons) they endorsed. I found myself thinking, God give us bishops and pastors like this today: Canon 2: Candidates for a bishop's orders must know the Psalter by heart and must have read thoroughly, not cursorily, all the sacred Scriptures.

What does the Anti-Christ Look Like?

Have been studying up on the prophetic tradition of Islam. And I am mean end-times stuff that would put the average Left Behind,dispensationalist, rapture-bumper-sticker-on-his-car guy to shame! Anyway, Islam has a parallel to the Antichrist. He is called the Dajjaal. He has a female spy agent called the Jusuusa. But what does the Dajjaal look like? Here you go: Sunan Abu Dawud Book 37, Number 4306: Narrated Ubadah ibn as-Samit: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: I have told you so much about the Dajjal (Antichrist) that I am afraid you may not understand. The Antichrist is short, hen-toed, woolly-haired, one-eyed, an eye-sightless, and neither protruding nor deep-seated. If you are confused about him, know that your Lord is not one-eyed.


Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The best fighting (jihad) in the path of Allah is (to speak) a word of justice to an oppressive ruler. Sunan Abu Dawud (my name sake!) Book 37, Number 4330

Construction of Churches Forbidden in Islamdom

A reader of this blog recently asked me for some information regarding the prohibition of the building of new churches in the lands of Islam. The rule is very old and goes back all the way to the life of Muhammad who included this provision as part of the dhimmi. The dhimmi is the contract whereby non-Muslims surrender religious and financial freedom to an Islamic ruler in exchange for not being exiled or slaughtered or enslaved. The dhimmi, as a contract, can be repealed without notice by the Muslim ruler, thus making the dhimmi population subject to plunder and enslavement (this has happened many times throughout history). But here is a recent fatwa (legal ruling) which explains nicely the prohibition of the building of new churches in Islamdom. MEMRI Official Saudi Fatwa of July 2000 Forbids Construction of Churches in Muslim Countries The website posted a fatwa issued on July 3, 2000 by The Permanent Council for Scholarly Research and Religious Legal Judgment

Shari' and the Limitations on Jihad

It is often said that Jihad is only defensive, and that since this is true (which, in theory, at least right now in history, is), that well, you draw your own conclusions. Folks are expected to think that things like 9/11 (USA) or 7/7 (England) or 3/11 (Spain) are thus not really jihad. But not so! First of all, Spain is part ofIslamdom, since what used to belong to Islamdom belongs to it forever (Israel anyone?) Thus every civilian in Spain is in fact a target of jihad--they are all occupying forces. But what of the USA and England? And here we see OBL's genius: Since they are funding the Zionists in Israel, they too are in fact part of the economic defenses of the anti-Muslim world. So in WWI for example, trade with Germany was curtailed militarily, and I mean things like food here, because that was part of the economic foundation of Germany (the enemy). OBL reasons that even children and civilians pay taxes to the government, and since Islamdom is under such dire peril these

Abuse of Women in Yemen

Sad and Alarming. May God's love and justice spread throughout the country. Armies of Liberation

The Pope, Brazil, and...Dar al Islam?

The Bishop of Rome (AKA, the Pope) is visiting Brazil right now. In a nutshell the situation there is that the Catholic church is losing folks every day to the various evangelical and charismatic churches through the region. Here is the article to read for more info. But why is this important? How is it related to Islamdom (the name of the blog, after all)? Just wait and see... Worse case scenario: Benedict XVI is a man I regard very highly, as he is one of the few European leaders who has both the knowledge and courage to address Islamdom in Europe. If he retreats into a protective cocoon and declares that odd and semi-heretical teachings and practices abound (which is somewhat true) among these non-Catholic churches, and says they are not true Christians at all, then you can expect a very negative reaction. The traditional charges of worshipping Mary (which Catholics are forbidden from doing) and sacrificing Christ again and again on the altar (not Catholic doctrine) will surf

Sweet Blogs

Here is one on theology, culture, and Anglicanism: Anglican + Calvinist Here is one from a friend of mine who backpacked around Europe and Asia and is posting his experiences. He comes from a Pentecostal/charismatic background: An American in the Middle East Enjoy.

A Small Minority?

From the Telegraph , which has not become a mouthpiece for Dar al Islam like the shameful Al Gaurdian. Lord Stevens also gave warning that al-Qa'eda-linked extremists were already trying to infiltrate the police and the security services and that dozens had already been weeded out. He urged that known terrorism suspects and "hate clerics", such as Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada, should be deported, adding: "Our human rights come first. Yet, incredibly, our so-called Human Rights laws, and our enviable history of religious tolerance, mean that foreigners preaching death and destruction to our way of life are allowed to stay here because their own countries won't tolerate such evil."

Remember those Riots in France?

Well, since I have France on my mind I thought I would post something I wrote back when those Muhammad cartoons came out. It was Part II of my series on Islam (recently published Part XI on this blog). Enjoy. Part II: Islam, Cartoons and Riots I was chatting with a friend of mine who lives in Saudi Arabia yesterday. She has always lived there, her dad has three wives, she has never been outside of the Middle East. She is a smart lady, and witty too. I asked her about the cartoon debacle and she said what many folks here are saying: they don't have the right to offend Islam that way. I just got back from spending some time with a very moderate Muslim friend who is not an Arab. His sisters don't wear head coverings, he doesn't go to mosque often. He compared the cartoons to people who praise the holocaust. I said that it was illegal to incite violence against a group, which is what you have in his holocaust example. Here violence was not being incited against Muslim

France on My Mind

Well, France just elected a new president, Nicolas Sarkozy . You can read a summary of his positions on various things at this blog . So why is France important? It is at the heart of the European project, along with Germany. It has a very large percentage of Muslims, compared to most other European countries. And most sadly, many of the Christians there are only so in name. The Protestants do not go to church, the Catholics do not go to mass...There are some signs of hope. Churches--both Protestant and Catholic--are receiving an influx of lively African believers who, in some cases, can help to revive congregations. Conservative Christians from all traditions are embracing the Biblical teaching that it is a fform of worship to God and a gift to society to bring children into the world. May there be many more! France has made immense contributions to the faith. It has provided great preachers, theologians, missionaries, and pastors. While we do not normally remember it, the Reformat

Christian Fads

It is a fad among evangelicals, and indeed Protestants in general, to say that by the 4th C. Christianity had lost its Apostolic roots. Rubbish. Read the biography of Saint Ambrose of Milan and ask yourself if his faith was corrupted and interested only in political power. Not at all. He was a great man of God. "Who are you to judge another man's servant?" And as bishop of Milan, he was God's servant for the people of Milan, and they judged him well, as a man of God andexample of righteousness. An excerpt: Having been trained in rhetoric and law and having studied Greek, Ambrose became known for his knowledge of the latest Greek writings, both Christian and pagan. In addition to Philo, Origen, and Basil of Caesarea, he even quoted Neoplatonist Plotinus in his sermons. He was widely regarded as an excellent preacher. In many of those sermons, Ambrose expounded upon the virtues of asceticism. He was so persuasive that noble families sometimes forbade their daughte

Treasures Old and New

I am pretty certain that one of the key weaknesses of modern evangelical Christianity today is its inability to incorporate history andgrasp God's wonderful acts throughout history. We generally know about Acts and then we know about today. What happened during the 18 centuries in between? Well, there was a Reformation in the 16th C. but other than that, um not much. Profound and weak. And really a discredit to God and his great power and his providence in guiding the saints throughout the ages. Irhamna ya Rrab (Have mercy on us Lord)! Robert Webber died recently, and he was not such a man. He was evangelical and drew on the goodness of that tradition (and there is much goodness there), but also understood that we do not know the church today unless we know the church yesterday. Read his obituary at Christian History .

The Latest on the Turkish Martyrs

From another Turkish pastor. The reports of the multiple stab wounds were wrong, acccording to him. Also, on my last post regarding the Turkish martyrs someone posted a rather angry response regarding my perpetuation of the 'myth of martyrdom'. There is no myth. I know that it is very uncomfortable to Western Christians who do not face martyrtdom on a daily basis to be confronted with the reality that in some parts of the world the faith is costly. Very costly. So costly that the powers and principalities of this world demand the blood the saint who witnesses against their corruption and spiritual bankruptcy. We worship our God, the Father of Jesus Christ, who has been so kind and gracious as to give us men like these. Men who do not shrink away from death because they are true witnesses of the Gospel. They are not the first, nor will the last. The Greek word for witness and martyr are the same. Jesus said, "You will be my witnesses..." Which is the same as him s

Review: God's Continent

I have written a little on Europe in the past: Islam and the Future of Europe And I have also posted a link to an interview with Philip Jenkins who is a favorite author of mine. Here is a quote from a review on his most recent book: At a recent dinner party with European intellectuals, I put to an influential French archbishop Daniel Pipes’ projection: Either assimilation or expulsion or Islamic takeover. That, he said, puts the possibilities much too starkly. “We hope for the first,” he said, “while we work at reducing immigration and prepare ourselves for soft Islamization.” Soft Islamization. It is a wan expression. Whether soft or hard, the prospect is that, in the not-so-distant future, someone will publish a book titled Allah’s Continent. In fact, several Muslim authors have already published books with very similar titles, anticipating the future of the Europe that was. Needless to say, and historical contingencies being as contingent as they are, I very much hope that they

Zarqa, Jordan: The Making of Martyrs, the Training of Terrorists

Interviews with Abu Ibrahim and relatives of the other men show that rather than having been individually recruited by an organization like Zarqawi's, they gradually radicalized one another, the more strident leading the way. Local imams led them further toward Iraq, citing verses from the Koran to justify killing civilians. The men watched videos depicting tortured and slain Muslims that are copied from Internet sites. "The sheik, he was a hero," Abu Ibrahim said of Zarqawi. But, he added, "I decided to go when my friends went." For the final step, getting the phone number of a smuggler and address of a safe house in Iraq, the men used facilitators who act more like travel agents than militant leaders. "Most of the young people here in Zarqa are very religious," an Islamist community leader said. "And when they see the news and what is going on in the Islamic countries, they themselves feel that they have to go to fight jihad. Today, you don&#

Muslim Dating in the UK

Great article here on Muslims dating in the UK. I find particularly attractive that here is an avenue for divorced Muslim women (including women with children) to find a mate. Also positive is that many professional Muslimaat (that's the plural for female Muslims--Arabic is neat like that, like Spanish) are seeking Muslim men born and raised in the UK. It is a great gulf--for people of any religion--to marry someone who was raised in the developing world, while they were raised in the West. A sign of hope. A fair amount of the strife in Islamic communities could be helped by breaking ethnic boundries. (The example given here is one person from a Pakistani background and the other from a Bengali background getting married.) Here is the link: Washington Post .

Utter Twaddle: More on the Al Guardian Article

That is how Stephany from Australia put it in her response to the recent article from The Guardian in England. Here is her response , found on the response section to article, the link is on the original post: What utter twaddle. The reality is that Islam slowly strangled the spirit of free scientific enquiry wherever it took hold. One example: Taqi al-Din could have been the Ottoman equivalent of the great Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe. His observatory, built in Istanbul in 1577, was certainly up to the task. Tycho Brahe went on to revolutionise astronomy. Taqi al-Din's observatory was raised to the ground by a squad of Janissaries on orders of the grand mufti. With it died a 2,500 year old tradition of astronomy that had started with the Babylonians. BEFORE ISLAM The Babylonians were the world's premier astronomers. Using only naked eye astronomy and water clocks they discovered that 19 solar years equaled 235 lunar months. They established a calendar that had seven

The Poverty of Islamic Acheivement in History

Please see the post below, which this is posted in regards to. Here is a link to an essay by an author arguing (with actual examples, instead if simple assertions, which is all you have in the article from Al Guardian below) that in fact European culture and accomplishment occurred in spite of Islam, rather than because of it. I have read a good deal on the history of both regions and their interactions and I think there is more good scholarship on the side of the argument that Islamdom in general impoverished rather than enriched world civilization on the whole. It is a harsh verdict, and I am open (even eager) to be proven wrong. An excerpt: "About Mesopotamia (Iraq), Niebuhr had this to say: 'In Cairo there is at least still a store where the Muhammedans can buy old books. In Baghdad one will not find that sort of thing. If one collects books here, and is neither prepared to copy them oneself nor to let others copy them, one must wait till somebody dies and his books a

Revisionist History: Islam as a Foundation of European History

I am surprised at how often I hear Westerners observe that Islam was foundational to Western (especially European) progress. The idea is that Islam should be able to take some (or all) of the credit for the scientific and economic successes of the West. Of course one looks at Islamdom today and one sees corrupt governments and unproductive economies (aside from oil and natural gas) and an inability to engage in critical thought. So, what of the genius of Islam, which is of course the superior civilization in the world? Well, the Europeans should be thankful, their respect for human rights, the scientific revolution, democracy--all of what is good in Europe goes back to Islam. This is the revisionist and completely unsound history that is being peddled today. And people are buying it. Here is a good example from the Guardian (or shall we say Al Guardian :-) I hate to stoop to the level of ridicule, but the Guardian has become such a blatant tool and unthinking limb of Islamdom. Sha