"In a typical speech last November at Boston College,
she commended the liberal churches for 'a wholesome, Gospel-centered
concern for Palestinian suffering, which is real,' and endorsed a
two-state solution. But she also made the case for Israeli
self-defense, even in the form of the separation barrier."
“ 'I need to question how people feel they have the right in the
name of peace and justice, to tell other people not to try to preserve
their own lives,' she said at one point. 'You’re not obligated to lay
down and die.' ”
Don't forget the ongoing "Think-Different Women" film festival happening this month. This Wednesday, Le Cerf Volant is showing at Endicott College. Mohammed Harba, curator of the Film Festival, will speak following the screening. Harba is a 27-year-old filmmaker from Iraq now living in Massachusetts. Details:
April 23, 2008 - 7:00p.m. Le Cerf Volant (The Kite) Endicott College - Wax Academic Center 120 (376 Hale Street, Beverly, MA)
"Lamia must cross a checkpoint between Lebanon and Israel to marry a man she has never met. But neither she nor her betrothed are eager to consummate a marriage to a stranger - a matter further complicated by Lamia's admission that she loves an Israeli Arab soldier at the checkpoint. This drama crosses boundaries and depicts a young woman straddling many worlds. Presented as part of The Global Lens 2008 Film Series."
Wait a minute.....there are Israeli Arab soldiers in the Israeli Army operating checkpoints? Who knew?
"Doha, 31 March (AKI) - (by Ahmad Rafat) - Qatar's first church, Our Lady of the Rosary, opened its doors only two weeks ago."
"After years of delicate negotiations, the Vatican was finally granted permission to construct the first church in Qatar. Now similar negotiations are underway in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where churches are not allowed."
"...To avoid upsetting the local people or attracting the attention of Islamic extremists, the church has neither a bell tower nor an external cross... Before entering the church, the faithful must pass through a metal detector, and the police are present at the building to maintain security."
"Miguel and Corazon, who have lived in Qatar for ten years, had to go to to Dubai to baptise their two children. 'Our son can take his first communion in Doha and we can celebrate it without being afraid of being expelled,' said Corazon."
"...Qater's emir, who succeeded his father in 1995, is taking important steps in many fields, not just economic, to develop the country. The opening of the church in Doha is a tangible sign of how this tiny emirate has changed even if certain taboos remain banning every form of proselytism and the conversion of Muslims to Christianity."
Not to get overly excited about one church, but it's progress. Let's hope there are many more!
The Arab-Israeli conflict is century old and still not resolved. The dispute between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs over the same land -- land that contains holy sites for the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- is bitter and deep. What is the nature of current tensions? What are their implications for U.S. policy? Tonight, Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal reporter Amy Dockser Marcus and Dr. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate, focus on United States diplomacy in this conflict, debating whether it has been part of a peace process or a war process.
Book signing will follow lecture and discussion. The program presented in collaboration with the Old South Meeting House as part of the Partners in Public Dialogue Series.
"Cardinal Ivan Dias presented the parish with a chalice given by Pope
Benedict XVI during the five-hour Mass, ending decades of underground
worship in this Sunni Muslim and deeply conservative country."
"....The 2,700-seat church was built on land donated by Qatar’s emir,
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and five other buildings are under
construction nearby for other Christian denominations in this oil-rich
state where over 70 percent of the population are expatriate workers."
"Some 150,000 Christians of a denominations live in the emirate, over
90 percent of them Catholic workers from the Philippines, India and
other Asian nations. The church of the Our Lady of the Rosary will be
staffed by Filipino priest Tomasito Veneracion."
Although the emir favored a church in Qatar, it's unpopular among some of his countrymen:
"The American, British and Australian embassies warned the church might
be a target of attack and urged their nationals to remain cautious
after an Islamic militant website referred to the opening of the church."
Qatar sounds like an interesting place:
"Qatar is a close ally of Washington and hosts the command headquarters for US forces in the Middle East."
"Qatar follows the rigorous Wahabi teachings of Sunni Islam, and like
neighboring Saudi Arabia had not previously authorized Christians to
practice their faith openly."
"....the opening of the church on Saturday appeared to be
another sign of Qatar’s efforts to open up to the West as it seeks a
bid for the summer Olympic Games in 2016."
"Members of Khobar's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice were the victims of an attack by two Saudi females, Asharq Al-Awsat can reveal. According to the head of the commission in Khobar, two girls pepper sprayed members of the commission after they had tried to offer them advice."
"Head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Eastern province Dr. Mohamed bin Marshood al-Marshood, told Asharq Al Awsat that two of the Commission's employees were verbally insulted and attacked by two inappropriately-dressed females, in the old market in Prince Bandar street, an area usually crowded with shoppers during the month of Ramadan."
According to Dr. Al-Marshood, the two commission members approached the girls in order to "politely" advise and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing. Consequently, the two girls started verbally abusing the commission members, which then lead to one of the girls pepper-spraying them in the face as the other girl filmed the incident on her mobile phone, while continuing to hurl insults at them. "
Feisty ladies. Not everyone is impressed though. A commenter here asks "Do you think this is an uprising of the people or the behavior of the privileged? I’d bet my money on these girls being the little princesses that throw their Indonesian maids down the stairs." We don't know, I hope we learn more about this incident.
"On September 23, 2007, Saudi Arabia's national holiday, the newly-founded League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia will be presenting a petition to King 'Abdullah, following a signature-collecting campaign over the past weeks.
"On September 20, 2007, the liberal Arab website Aafaq published an interview by website director Omran Salman with Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huweidar, in which she talks about the ongoing public campaign of the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia. Al-Huweidar discusses how the campaign is progressing, the impact of foreign media coverage (the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, and others), and the plans for establishing an Association for the Protection and Defense of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia."
You can read the interview here. Letting women drive is only the beginning for this organization.
"Among the issues that have been raised, and that are of the utmost importance, are: representation for women in shari'a courts; setting a [minimum] age for girls' marriages; allowing women to take care of their own affairs in government agencies and allowing them to enter government buildings; protecting women from domestic violence, such as physical or verbal violence, or keeping her from studies, work, or marriage, or forcing her to divorce…"
"We need laws to protect women from these aggressions and violations of their rights as human beings. And there is also [the need to] prevent girls' circumcision…"
"We truly have a great need for a Ministry of Women's Affairs to deal with women's rights, issues of motherhood and infancy, and women's health in rural areas… This is our ultimate goal…"
It's a bit late, but you can still sign the petition via e-mail:
"Women interested in signing are requested to send the following information: name, profession, nationality, and city of residence, to email@example.com."
This is a solemn call to the international civil society and international media, whose influence nowadays on the ruling elites could never be overemphasized. It is also a call to the Islamic world in need of openness to the modern values of Human Rights and modernity, which are indivisible, indeed, particularly as regards to the protection of woman and of national, ethnic, confessional, linguistic, and religious minorities.
Unfortunately, the latter groups are still subject to the fourteen-century old theology of "Dhimmitude" (the status of "the People of the Book" under Islamic Law), despite the abolition of the "Jezya" (Poll Tax) in Egypt in 1855.
As regards to the violations of Human Rights, I would just give two examples. The first relates to the interdiction made to a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim or even a Muslim of another confession. Last year, a Saudi judge ordered a Sunni woman to divorce her husband who happened to be Ismaelite (a Shiaa minority), as reported in Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper (of 27/04/2006). Moreover, Sharia (Islamic Law) treats a non-Muslim wife to a Muslim man in an atrocious manner: She will have no rights of custody over her young children, in case of divorce; nor to inherit her husband.
Firstly, this is a call to respect religious freedom of minorities in the land of Islam to conduct cults, including their freedom to construct sites of worship, and to respect the rights of all citizens to change religion, or not to have one at all.
The European Commission recently has requested from the Islamist government in Turkey to respect such a basic Human Right. And it had previously requested from the same government to abolish the death sentence and the punishment for adultery. This is a clear proof, indeed, of the potential success of foreign pressure to defend universally recognised Human Rights.
Secondly, this is a call for equal treatment of all religious minorities, including the protection of non-Muslims' rights to preach in Islamic countries, the same way Muslims are free to preach in the West, and it is a call to abolish laws dating back to the Middle Ages that call for punishing Christians found "guilty" of preaching outside their churches with decapitation.
Recently, the Algerian government promulgated a law condemning Christians indicted for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. This looks like replacing the above-mentioned decapitation sentence by a prison term. Indeed what a progress!
One should notice, however, that for civil, religious, national and cultural rights of all minorities in the Middle East to be respected, there is a need to end political exclusion and marginalization to which these minorities are currently subjected, and for their full integration in the political life of their countries. A failure to urgently address these issues would only undermine stability in the region and ignite further hatred and conflict.
Middle East Transparent calls itself an Arab reformist website, and it provides a window into the myriad voices calling for reform in the Middle East. A good website to check out periodically, it has great range of perspectives and politics.
There are at least two ways to report on the findings of a recent Vatican advisory board about Limbo: the snickering Euro-skeptic ("Pope abolishes Limbo to convert Muslim babies") or the traditional Catholic reporting ("Vatican board finds that limbo is not Catholic doctrine, God is merciful to babies.")
The UK Times Online article speculates that the Pope is behind this statement about limbo in order to evangelize Afica and the Middle East. Sigh. Let's see, unfounded speculation about the Pope's motivations...spin it as Pope vs. Muslims....it's guaranteed to tick off Muslims.... I'd call that that unintelligent and irresponsible "journalism." It's not news.
"Heavy water" - deuterium oxide (2H2O) - is being touted as a health drink by Iranian Nuclear Chief Mohammad Sa'idi. In an interview which aired on the Iranian News Channel (IRINN) on August 27, 2006, Sa'idi claimed that heavy water can be used to treat AIDS and cancer. Who knew?
Mohammad Sa'idi: "One of the products of heavy water is depleted deuterium. As you know, in an environment with depleted deuterium, the reception of cancer cells and of the AIDS viruses is disrupted. Since this reception is disrupted, the cells are gradually expelled from the body. Obviously, one glass of depleted deuterium will not expel or cure the cancer or eliminate the AIDS. We are talking about a certain period of time. In many countries that deal with these diseases, patients use this kind of water instead of regular water, and consume it daily in order to heal their diseases."
"On Saturday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a provocative, if symbolic, gesture by formally inaugurating a heavy-water reactor. The Iranians say the plant would be used for peaceful power generation. But nuclear experts note that heavy-water facilities are more useful for weapons because they produce lots of plutonium — the preferred ingredient for missile warheads."
Sorry, Mr. Sa'idi, it's not helpful to drink heavy water, it's toxic. And why does the NY Times think that inaugurating a reactor is "a symbolic gesture"? That is, as they say, pretty heavy symbolism.
Iran sure has a lot of wacky people saying wacky things.
......now that it's an Israeli video. CNN has not - to my knowledge - expressed any skepticism or suspicions that videos provided by Hizbollah were edited in any way. But now CNN starts raising questions:
"A video showing Lebanese soldiers cordially offering Israeli troops glasses of tea during the military offensive earlier this month has hit Israeli and Hezbollah airwaves. The video, shot by Israelis on August 10, when Israeli troops "took control" of the southern Lebanese town of Marjeyoun, aired on Israel's Channel 2 on Wednesday. Hezbollah's al-Manar TV network and pro-Hezbollah NEW TV then picked up the video and condemned the Lebanese soldiers as deserters."
CNN links to the video showing Lebanese troops in this largely Christian town offering tea to the IDF soldiers. CNN suggests that the reader "watch the video and see if it suggests courtesy or treason." CNN thinks it would be treasonous for Lebanese soldiers to welcome the Israeli army. An odd, loaded word choice.
Later in the article, the reporters note that "it is possible that unpleasant parts of the video were deleted during editing" and "parts (of the video) may have been deleted and edited." I cannot recall ever seeing such phrases used in any of their articles where Hizbollah's videos and photographs were used. CNN reserves its skepticism for Israeli sources.
I've not covered the propaganda war because so many others are doing it so well: Little Green Footballs, Augean Stables, Solomonia, Sisu, and many more. It's creepy how the mainstream media is covering the Israel/Hisbollah war and the Iraq conflict. They're aiding the enemy.
"The UN refugee agency has said it is increasingly concerned about the worsening situation of Palestinians living in the Iraqi capital, Bagdad. More than 100 Palestinian families had received written death threats on Thursday and were concerned by the worsening situation, the agency said. There is also concern about the health of 89 Palestinians who tried to flee Iraq but were refused entry to Jordan."
Ahhh, Jordan refused to let Palestinians into their country? Hmmm, how to blame Israel for this?
"The UNHCR estimates about 34,000 Palestinians currently live in Iraq. Many arrived after the Arab-Israeli wars in 1948 and 1967 and enjoyed generous financial support from former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who championed the Palestinian cause. The Palestinians' healthcare, school and housing was subsidised and many received government jobs, leading to resentment among many Iraqis."
No doubt. Funny, I don't recall seeing the UN High Commissioner for Refugees voicing any concern for either Christians or Jews in Iraq, who are being harrassed, kidnapped, assaulted and killed.
On a related note, over at Agean Stables, the question is raised:
"What is it about the Palestinian condition and society that so inspires do-gooders and liberals worldwide? And is their selfless commitment reserved for the Palestinians only? Dare we assume that these good people are also in the hellhole that is Darfur, for instance, caring for traumatized, raped and abused women and tormented children; running schools and clinics for this displaced and helpless community? Are all the wonderful, caring and idealistic young EU people, who protect the Palestinians with their very bodies, also caring for the suffering, hopeless millions of Africa? If not, why not? What is it about the Palestinians?"