Showing posts from August, 2009

Lyotard on the transition from Modernity to Postmodernity

He was writing in 1979, from ch. 5 of his ' the postmodern condition ': What is new in all of this is that the old poles of attraction represented by nation-states, parties, professions, institutions, and historical traditions are losing their attraction. And it does not look as though they wilt be replaced, at least not on their former scale, The Trilateral Commission is not a popular pole of attraction. “Identifying” with the great names, the heroes of contemporary history, is becoming more and more difficult. Dedicating oneself to “catching up with Germany,” the life goal the French president [Giscard d’Estaing at the time this book was published in France] seems to be offering his countrymen, is not exactly exciting. But then again, it is not exactly a life goal. It depends on each individual’s industriousness. Each individual is referred to himself. And each of us knows that our self does not amount to much. This breaking up of the grand Narratives (discussed below, sec

Ramadan in Europe

The European history of ecclesiastical withdrawal from secular politics and from secular intellectual problems to specialized religious spheres is the history of this whole movement from primitive to modern. And this: It is hot in Brussels. Ramadan has begun. The faithful in the predominantly Muslim borough of Molenbeek are not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise until sunset. Non-Muslim policemen, patrolling the streets of Molenbeek in their sweltering cars, are not allowed to eat or drink either. As every year during Ramadan, they have been told by their superior, Philippe Moureaux, the Socialist mayor of Molenbeek, that they have to respect Muslim sensitivities and not to “provoke” Muslims by violating Islamic Ramadan restrictions in public. In effect, Islamic or Sharia law is already applied – for everyone – in the Muslim areas of Brussels. From Brussels Journal

Mary Douglas on Modernity and Secularism

The European history of ecclesiastical withdrawal from secular politics and from secular intellectual problems to specialized religious spheres is the history of this whole movement from primitive to modern. Purity and Danger, by Mary Douglas, p 115. Yet she claims that Muslims are not primitive (p 114). I'm not sure she's right, indeed one could argue that Eastern Orthodox Christians have not made the same secularizing moves that she rightly recalls in European history. This is not to belittle Muslims or Orthodox, but rather to point out how shaky the foundations of 'modernism' are. --AD

Jordanian Blogger on Ramadan

[Per the request of the blogger at Black Iris of Jordan, this entire post has been removed. Sincerely, Abu Daoud.]

Ant Greenham's list of reasons for Muslims converting to Christ

Dr. Anthony Greenham of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary did a study of Palestinian MBB's back in 2004 entitled "Muslim Conversions to Christ: An Investigation of Palestinian Converts living in the Holy Land." He interviewed 22 MBB's (11 men and 11 women). Greenham in Ch 5 provides two lists of categories explaining why Muslims convert: Lesser Importance are 1) political Instability, 2) Rejection of Islam, 3) Christian Media, 4) Personal Crisis, 5) Community, 6) God’s Honor. The categories of “Greater Prominance” are 1) Reading the Bible, 2) Role of Believers, 3) Truth of Jesus’ Message, 4) God’s Miraculous Involvement, 5) Person of Jesus. Update on this: most of Ant Greenham's research and findings were published in an article in St Francis Magazine. Here is THE LINK .

Anglicans address Islam: The Church and Islam

This is not an initiative of the feeble, emaciated American Anglicans (The Episcopal Church, of which I am one), but of the Africans, who are full of piss and vinegar, as my dad would say. The Church and Islam Maybe the Catholics will do something like this? (And maybe frogs will...)

More on Malmo and the Islamization of Sweden

I had previously posted on Malmo in Sweden. And now this: Ramadan, the 'month of peace' is an occasion of violence: While many families celebrated the beginning of the Ramadan fast, police and demonstrations met in violent confrontations. Stones and firecrackers were thrown around. "They don't respect Muslims. They don't take into account this is the month that is the month of peace," says Ahmad el Mohamad of Herrgården [area in the district of Rosengård, Malmö]. Under the slogans "Cops out of Herrgården", "reduced rent and complete renovation of all dilapidated buildings" and "self-government and free youth centers" the "Reclaim Rosengård" group organized a street party Saturday night. The protest started at 8pm when the group started gathering at the roundabout next to the Shell station on Ramels väg. The gas station is normally open till midnight, but due to the expected disturbances they closed already at 5pm.

Key Reasons for leaving Islam

A very helpful list from this article: Khalil, Mohammad Hassan and Mucahit Bilici. ‘Conversion out of Islam: A Study of Conversion Narratives of Former Muslims’ in Muslim World, Vol. 97, Jan. 2007. Intellectual/Ideological Motivations 1. The status of women in Islam. 2. The contradiction between Shari‘a and human rights. 3. The problematic nature of the Qur’an. 4. The character of the Prophet and other Muslim leaders. 5. Islam as illogical and unscientific (e.g. vis-à-vis the theory of evolution). 6. The eternal damnation of good non-Muslims. 7. The unnecessary, strict rules and expectations of Islam. 8. Islam as not universal, but rather Arab-centric. 9. The dubious historicity of the Qur’an and Hadith. Social/Experiential Motivations 1. Encounters with bad, cruel Muslims. 2. Muslims as oppressive. 3. Muslims as backward. 4. Muslim ill-treatment of women. 5. Muslim ill-treatment of non-Muslims. 6. Muslims in a state of illusion regarding their own religion.

Humility and the arms of the Church

I will say that one should not embrace my line of work if one likes to have all his ducks in a row and the ability to plan more than, say, six months in advance. People always ask us, how long will you stay in the Middle East. The question itself is absurd. How long would we LIKE to stay here? Now that's something I can reasonably talk about. Anyway, what brings this to mind is that I have a short visit to Scotland to plan for in a month or so, and the normal place where I stay is not available. So what do you do? Funds for ten nights at a hotel are there, but in good conscience I just can't spend so much on something like that. So a hostel? I could do that, I have stayed at hostels numerous times. But they are hardly the kind of place you want to stay at if you are (like me) trying to work on research, reading, editing, and writing. So what do you do? E-mail local Christians whom you know, perhaps not that well, and just ask for help. It is humiliating a little, but as Moth

Origin of the Quranic story on the birth of Jesus

The Qur'an has a curious story (19:23-25) about the birth of Jesus, and Mary resting under a palm tree with the baby Jesus and then a little stream and fruit being provided for her. Read it, and then read this from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, it seems like this is clearly the source, perhaps Muhammad heard it from some local Christians and retold it. In any case, here it is: Chapter 20 . And it came to pass on the third day of their journey, while they were walking, that the blessed Mary was fatigued by the excessive heat of the sun in the desert; and seeing a palm tree, she said to Joseph: Let me rest a little under the shade of this tree. Joseph therefore made haste, and led her to the palm, and made her come down from her beast. And as the blessed Mary was sitting there, she looked up to the foliage of the palm, and saw it full of fruit, and said to Joseph: I wish it were possible to get some of the fruit of this palm. And Joseph said to her: I wonder that thou sayest

Sam Zwemer's failed prophecy

How wrong he was: The impact of the West through trade, governments, and education, has utterly changed all social standards, practices, and ideals. The old Islam is disintegrating: No one can arrest the process. The new Islam is anxious to incorporate all the progress and ideals of western civilization by a reinterpretation of the Koran. --Sam Zwemer, Ch 5, Disintegration of Islam (p 196) 1915 (I think)

Almanacs and Irony

The word 'almanac' is an Arabic word. But the first printed almanac in Arabic was put together by a bunch of American Presbyterians living in Beirut in 1867.

The European Myth about the human essence and Talal Asad

The construction of civilizational difference is not exclusive in any simple sense. The de-essentialization of Islam is paradigmatic for all thinking about the assimilation of non-European peoples to European civilization. The idea that people's historical experience is inessential to them, that it can be shed at will, makes it possible to argue more strongly for the Enlightenment's claim to universality: Muslims, as members of the abstract category "humans," can be assimilated or (as some recent theorist have put it) "translated" into a global ("European") civilization once they have divested themselves of what many of them regard (mistakenly) as essential to themselves. The belief that human beings can be separated from their histories and traditions makes it possible to urge a Europeanization of the Islamic world. And by the same logic, it underlies the belief that the assimilation to Europe's civilization of Muslim immigrants who are--for g

Exorcism in the Coptic Church as a motive for conversion from Islam

Great quote here: Some of the priests, like Father Samaan of Cairo, have acquired such a reputation for their ability to exorcise demonsand evil spirits that I once witnessed the arrival of a Muslim woman, with her mentally disturbed daughter, who had traveled all the way from Syria to seek his aid. Ch. 14, Sana Hasan, Christians versus Muslims in Modern Egypt: The Century-long Struggle for Coptic Equality . (Oxford 2003)

Prayer for Scholars of St Thomas Aquinas

Was feeling pretty frazzled today preparing for something related to my PhD work and I found this prayer, loved it: Ineffable Creator, You who are the true source of life and wisdom and the Principle on which everything depends, be so kind as to infuse in my obscure intelligence a ray of your splendor that may take away the darkness of sin and ignorance. Grant me keenness of understanding, ability to remember, measure and easiness of learning, discernment of what I read, rich grace with words. Grant me strength to begin well my studies; guide me along the path of my efforts; give them a happy ending. You who are true God and true Man, Jesus my Savior, who lives and reigns forever. Amen Thomas Aquinas (published in the Raccolta #764, Pius XI Studiorum Ducem, 1923). HT to This Guy .

The Voice of an Apostate from Islam

HT to Dar al Masih :

Best Canadian Rock Band: Metric

Well, it used to Rush, but those guys aren't producing anymore. Got this new album and am amazed by how excellent it is: Metric The album is Fantasies (2009). Hard to be soft Tough to be tender

To Criticize Muhammad or Not?

I notice in some of my Christian brothers and sisters almost a sense of betrayal if anyone says something positive about Muhammad. Many insider proponents have a high view of Muhammad. This is not to say that they speak of him as a prophet, but from an historical point of view they often can comfortably cite the positive aspects of his life and consider him a reformer. This tends to make many Christians very uncomfortable, if not highly alarmed. They usually argue something like, “We also have to be honest about the negative aspects of Muhammad’s life.” Why is this so important? I am allowed to say good things about Oliver Cromwell without being reminded that he chopped off the king’s head. I am allowed to speak positively about Thomas Jefferson without incessant interruptions that he impregnated his slave. --[name withtheld for security reasons] [FYI: the word 'insider' refers to people who believe that a Muslims may remain a Muslim in some conrete manner, including callin

Pray for Yemen: the problem of child marriage

After the passage of a law to prohibit the marriage of a child under 17 little progress has been made. Yemen has a fast-growing population, is about the size of Spain, and is roughly 100% Muslim. Would you pray for the will of God to be done there? Here is the article.

A fifth of European Union will be Muslim by 2050

That is according to the (London) Telegraph. The link is HERE . The Telegraph does not say it, but everyone should understand that that 20% will be on the balance young and poor, and hence angry. That, historically speaking, has always been the recipe for an attempted coup or revolution or civil war or something of the sort (think American Revolution, French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, etc.) Ultimately though, it's hard to feel sorry for the (white) Europeans. The Islamization of Europe is a sure thing unless we are treated to another one of those fascinating European concoctions like Communism, Marxism, Nazism, fascism, or ultra-nationalism. I doubt that it will happen though--those all were led and initiated by youth, and Europe has successfully birth-controlled and aborted its youth away. So long Europe.

Fr Ted Pulcini: Eastern Orthodox guidance on how to interact with Muslims

Below are my critical remarks on an interview with Fr. Theodore (Ted) Pulcini on " Come receive the light " radio, recommended to me by Albion Land. The Orthodox Christians I know (and many of the Christians in my country here in MENA are Orthodox) have no knowledge whatsoever of how to witness to the Christian faith. Nevertheless, this is a positive development. Following are my comments on the strengths and weaknesses of this radio interview: Comments: his statement about Trinity and "God is love" is from Ramon Lull (a Roman Catholic), not sure if he knows that. Discussion of the Bible: am wondering if he knows Arabic. Comparing Christ to the Qur'an is an orthodoxy these days. Mostly am thinking that the interviewer's questions are totally lame. His pronunciation of Arabic words is not bad. Question about the Fall of mankind: now we're moving along! Much better question. Original sin as the beginning of a chain reaction--I like this, I can use t

Important: invitation to converse

American Muslima has invited me (and presumably this blog's readership) to converse on her blog regarding my recent post of "Priorities for Islamic Activities in the West" by Sheikh (meaning 'elder')'Abdul-Khaaliq (which means 'slave of the creator, FYI). Please do read her post, and here I have something odd to request, have your wives (many of you are married men) share their thoughts and experiences with American Muslima. I have complete confidence in you to act and write with utmost integrity. bi 'ism illah (in the name of God) --Abu Daoud ("a Christian with a blog" :-) My link is HERE . Her response is HERE .

Priorities for Islamic Activities in the West

[AD says, this is an important document outlining a Sunni Muslim plan for seeing the triumph of Islam over the failing powers of Western society. It is working very well so far.] Priorities of Islamic Activities in the West 'Abdur-Rahmaan 'Abdul-Khaaliq Muslim minorities in the West need urgent help to preserve their identity, Religion and their very existence. To achieve this, Muslims must: 1 - Re-establish unity in this nation all over the world. Muslims must be loyal to other Muslims and disloyal to all Kufaar. This unity must be implemented by deed and not only by tongue. 2 - Affirm the basic belief that Muslims are members of the best nation ever that was introduced to humanity. Affirm the correct Islamic beliefs that will make Muslims feel pride in their Religion and feel the sweetness of Iman in their hearts. This can be accomplished by teaching the correct belief and knowing the ways of the Kufaar, to avoid them. Muslims must feel the great bounty of Allah (Ta

Conversion, ritual, and Islam

Two nice quotes here from Rebecca Sachs Norris, from her article 'Converting to What?' which is in The Anthrpology of Religious Conversion (eds. Buckser and Glazier, 2003). “Converts bring pre-existing ideas and experiences to terms and concepts of the adopted tradition, affecting their understanding of those ideas” (177). “Americans are very concerned with things being real, and ritual is often suspect because it is seen as insincere or empty” (ibid. 176). Why are these important insights? The first one because Islamic Christianity has a very certain flavor to it. The way that MBB's approach the Bible has often been described as (not surprisingly) the way that Muslims read the Qur'an, as a uni-dimensional text that does not require any sort of systematic analysis or interpretation. Similarly, one finds patterns of leadership from the Islamic context brought over into the new context of Islamic Christianity. But there is also discontinuity--most IC congregation

Denmark sticking up for converts from Islam?

Good for Denmark. I have been there and enjoyed very much the country and people (and food and beer). Denmark: Proposal to register crimes against converts as hate crimes Violence and threats against converts in Denmark should from now on be registered as hate-crimes, several parliamentary parties announced. The parties want to ensure that criminal acts against converts will bring about a harsher punishment, as is now the case for crimes against homosexuals. Kristeligt Dagblad recently reported how several Christian converts with refugee or immigrant background were baptized in secret for fear of threats and violence against themselves and their family, both in Denmark and abroad. HT to Islam in Europe , which is quickly becoming one of my fav-o blogs.