Showing posts from April, 2012

Mona el Tahawy: The Islamist Spring and the War on Women

Ms. al Tahawy has composed a powerful and timely expose of the sorry state of women in the Arab world, even after the Arab Spring, which some people have started to call the Islamist Spring, and I find that new name much more accurate in hindsight.  Al Tahawy has a fine, cutting style (and you know I like that). For instance, on Yemen: It's easy to see why the lowest-ranked country is Yemen, where 55 percent of women are illiterate, 79 percent do not participate in the labor force, and just one woman serves in the 301-person parliament. Horrific news reports about  12-year-old girls dying in childbirth  do little to stem the tide of child marriage there. Instead, demonstrations in support of child marriage outstrip those against it, fueled by clerical declarations that opponents of state-sanctioned pedophilia are apostates because the Prophet Mohammed, according to them, married his second wife, Aisha, when she was a child. And a bit on female genital mutilation: I could

How would God curse someone?

Well, an entire chapter of the Qur'an is Allah cursing Muhammad's uncle (and his wife): Surah Al-Masadd In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish. (1)  His wealth and gains will not exempt him. (2)  He will be plunged in flaming Fire, (3)  And his wife, the wood-carrier, (4)  Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre. (5) Since you were wondering, there you have it! Merciful and compassionate indeed :-)

Abu Daoud on Christ at the Checkpoint 2012

Christ at the Checkpoint was a conference in March of 2012 over in the (not) charming town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Yours truly was able to attend, as were folks from all around the Middle East. Well, not Libya--I didn't meet anyone from Libya there. But then again, there really aren't many Christians in Libya, are there? But back to the point. You can check out the website  here  and let me tell you, those guys who put it together sure were sharp in terms of technology! So lots of stuff at the website. All in all this was a full, frontal assault on Christian Zionism and I must say that I--wait, if you want to know what I thought about it read the stinkin' article at  St Francis Magazine . Finally, I do want to note that I enjoyed my Palestinian sojourn. It's a land I had visited from time to time over the years, but had never really connected with people there like I did over that busy week in March. Do let me know if you have any comments or ques

A Hadith on Moses and the Jews

Bukhari :: Book 3 :: Volume 31 :: Hadith 222 Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, "This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day." The Prophet said, "We have more claim over Moses than you." So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day).

Movement in Kosovo from Islam to Catholic Christianity

When the Ottomans came into the Balkans they levied crushing taxes on non-Muslims there (the famous jizya), and as a consequence many of the men of the families 'converted' to Islam. Now that they have freedom to be Christians, scores of people and indeed whole families are officially joining the Catholic Church in Kosovo. There is a great article on it here from the Economist, which is a trustworthy news source I think: If Don Zefi has his way, there will be a lot more in future. On Christmas Eve some 38 people were baptised in a single town, Klina. Conversions to Christianity have become common (though a cautious Catholic church does not give precise figures). Don Zefi says he knows of large numbers more in “tens of villages” who want to convert.  He dislikes the word, because many of them come from a crypto-Christian background. Their forefathers may have converted to Islam under Ottoman rule, but behind closed doors they kept their old Catholic practices. Ja

The Decline of the American Family

I don't normally post on cultural things going on in the USA or Europe, but this article seemed pretty important to me, because it strikes at the heart of what is wrong with the West, and why Western civilization will die (I think), and Islamic civilization will survive, and, to some extent, supplant Western civilization. Of course then all those nice aspects of Western civilization which Muslims like so much will then fade away and be replaced by the nepotism and tribalism and stagnation and censorship which we find everywhere in the Muslim world today. What will not happen is a happy synthesis of the glory of Christendom and the culture of Islam. Never. Carthage becomes Tunis. Constantinople becomes Istanbul. Creativity, creation, art, critical discourse--all dry up as Islamization increases. The West does not believe in the family any more. I learned from my old Catholic prof. Fr John long ago that the State and the Church are only as healthy as the nuclear families. And thi

Another convert from Islam to Roman Catholic Christianity

Always warms my heart to hear of a Muslim converting to Roman Catholicism. I think the Latin Church (as we call it here) has a lot to offer to the Church's mission to Islam, but on the whole it is rather inert and inactive. I even wrote a letter to the Pope telling him to get his bishops in order, but I'm almost certain he's never read it and would be surprised if any bishop anywhere has. Oh well. So while this interview is pretty crap--I mean the interview asks all sorts of leading questions, which you're not supposed to do in interviews. Still there are some fine sections and insights. Read it all, but for now here is a section on aesthetics and conversion: Was it the beauty of the Pietà that struck you? Yes — and the context. This is God, I thought. This really is God. You must remember that one of the big things when we look at traditional Islam is the heresy — in their opinion — of equating the mortal Jesus with God. And if there is ever an obstac

Updike's Seven Stanzas at Easter

I post this most every Easter, and never get tired of reading it...We'll go with the Latin Easter date for you all who live in the West. Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall. It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven apostles; it was as His flesh: ours. The same hinged thumbs and toes, the same valved heart that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of enduring Might new strength to enclose. Let us not mock God with metaphor, analogy, sidestepping, transcendence; making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages: let us walk through the door. The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché, not a stone in a story, but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of time will eclips

Mission ad gentes, frontier missions, and church planting

The mission ad gentes has this objective: to found Christian communities and develop churches to their full maturity. This is a central and determining goal of missionary activity, so much so that the mission is not completed until it succeeds in building a new particular church which functions normally in its local setting. Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio , §48 Sometimes evangelicals and Catholics have a hard time understanding each other. One example of this is that in Catholic thought mission to the totally unevangelized, where there is no church at all, is called mission 'ad gentes', which is Latin for 'to the nations' more or less. Evangelicals don't use Latin (and don't know it usually), but they use a very American image for this same endeavor: frontier mission. This word is present even in the name of missionary agencies like Frontiers (a major player) and Anglican Frontier Missions (a minor player). What I like about this quote above is t