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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Links - 14th March 2015

Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High | Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project - "Overall, across the six years of this study, religious groups were harassed in a total of 185 countries at one time or another. Members of the world’s two largest religious groups – Christians and Muslims, who together comprise more than half of the global population – were harassed in the largest number of countries, 151 and 135, respectively. Jews, who comprise less than 1% of the world’s population, experienced harassment in a total of 95 countries"
If Christians are harassed in more countries than Muslims, isn't Christianophobia a bigger problem than "Islamophobia"?

Brown Pundits: Unreal Islam - "As with most organized religions, the foundational texts and beliefs of Islam can support both peaceful versions and violent ones. Until people recognize and admit that all of these are, in fact, “real Islam”, the issues underlying the problem of jihadi militancy cannot be addressed. If the violence is “not real Islam”, the implication is that Islam – as practiced by most Muslims – needs no reform. But that is manifestly not the case. The scourge of violence in the name of Islam will be removed only when Muslims in general come to reject all instances of violence in the name of Islam, including those that are celebrated in scripture and history. When conquerors who killed “infidels” are regarded as heroes of the faith; when the world is seen as divided into the “house of Islam” and the “house of war”; when dying for God is considered better than living for the sake of fellow humans; when non-Muslims are regarded as morally inferior; when many standard prayers end by asking God for “victory against the infidels”; and when apostasy and blasphemy are regarded as capital crimes – how can jihadi violence be seen as anything but the logical conclusion of such ideas and practices? And yet, these are all part of “mainstream” Islam – some of them derived directly from holy texts. What the extremists are doing is merely taking these ideas more literally and acting on them. The main thing separating most ordinary believing Muslims from the extremists is not so much the narrowness of belief – which they both share – but the willingness to match that belief with action. Small wonder, then, that the militants see non-violent Muslims as hypocrites, which in many ways is worse than being an infidel."

Mixing ethnicity and economics can be a dangerous game - "While the policy officially ended in 1990, its goals in eliminating poverty and restructuring society have continued as a policy paradigm. Some joke that its acronym actually stands for Never Ending Policy. Interestingly, the Malaysian government has constantly demonstrated extraordinary modesty in denying the accomplishment of its mission in uplifting the bumiputras or Malays, especially in equity ownership... While many independent bumiputra businesses have excelled even internationally, public enterprises predominantly run by bumiputra managers and bumiputra films profiting on government contractors are often underperforming, if not mismanaged. Similarly, while many top bumiputra students sponsored by the government to study in top universities overseas become leaders in their respective fields, weaker bumiputra students going through local universities — where meritocracy is not prioritised for both faculty and students — are disproportionately unemployed... Mr Hadi Awang, president of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, slammed his Pakatan partner Democratic Action Party’s advocacy of local elections. The hardliner Muslim nationalist warned that restoring local elections would lead to Chinese political dominance and eventually another May 13 riot. In comparison, Mr Ismail’s drumming up of hatred of the Chinese economic bogeyman did not make any reference to political violence. However, this is no less alarming for students of ethnic conflicts. The Jews in Germany, the Armenians in Turkey, the Indians in East Africa and the Chinese in a number of South-east Asian countries were once all labelled as the nation’s economic plague before becoming target of hostility, riots and looting, and even ethnic cleansing and genocides. No one knows how far Mr Ismail’s words will be taken on the ground if the economy crashes. His party colleagues are already cheering him as a hero. Mr Najib has just defended Mr Ismail, insisting that the minister was not targeting any group. Perhaps, Mr Ismail is not speaking only for himself."

Halal restaurants spark a new kind of French revolution - "The rapid growth in halal restaurants in the Paris region is part of a trend that has swept France in the last few years, says Abbas Bendali, president of the market research firm Solis, which studies developments among minority populations. The typical customers are the grandchildren of Muslim immigrants who arrived in France in the 1950s to help rebuild the country after the Second World War. They tend to be cultural rather than religious Muslims and have embraced halal food as their "sign of identity." "You could see this as a sign that French Muslims are segregating themselves, but it actually shows that they are becoming more integrated," he says. "Their country is France, they want to eat like the rest of France. But at the same time they want to hold on to part of their heritage."

Welcome to the Halal Inn: Britain's first alcohol-free Islamic pub - "Behind the bar, there are fizzy drinks and fruit juices, including non-alcoholic spritzers and buck's fizz for those special occasions. In addition to tea and coffee, a range of Asian snacks is available, while Islamic songs are played over loudspeakers. Pubgoers can play snooker, darts or karam, an Indian board game similar to billiards. Islamic-themed quiz nights have also been organised... "I think the main point of going to a pub for English lads is the drink, but here the aim is just to see your friends and relax a little bit." Almost as glaring as the absence of alcoholic drinks is the fact that there are no televisions at the inn. Mr Khan agreed that showing live football or cricket could attract more customers."

Strauss-Kahn trial hears of lunchtime sex parties - "When Judge Bernard Lemaire asked her directly what the two paid her for, she replied: "Well, I wasn't there doing the cleaning." Jade described the lunchtime parties as "classy", with men and women pairing off. During the investigation, she had described how a similar party involving Mr Strauss-Kahn was "carnage with a heap of mattresses on the floor". Mr Kojfer, 74, who also gave evidence on Tuesday, is accused of providing local businessmen and police officials with prostitutes. Jade told the court that Mr Kojfer had once handed her cash directly for her work. In other cases, she said, the bill had been settled by Mr Alderweireld. She also said Mr Kojfer had paid the women involved much less than promised, telling them "times are hard". "But we got a free bathrobe," she added."

Anti-Israel Activists Shout 'Allahu Akbar' at Jewish Students at UC Davis - "After the resolution passed, vandals painted swastikas on a fraternity house which belongs to a Jewish organization... Ingraham said that the University of California school system prides itself on being tolerant, yet it shuts down views it disagrees with. According to Ingraham, many conservative and religious students feel they need to stay quiet on college campuses."

Has Creative Destruction Become More Destructive? - "Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction as the engine of capitalist development is well-known. However, that the destructive part of creative destruction is a social cost and therefore biases our estimate of the impact of the innovation on NNP and on welfare is hardly acknowledged, with the exception of Witt (1996). Admittedly, during the First and Second Industrial Revolutions the magnitude of the destructive component of innovation was probably small compared to the net value added to employment, NNP or to welfare. However, we conjecture that recently the new technologies are often creating products which are close substitutes for the ones they replace whose value depreciates substantially in the process of destruction. Consequently, the contribution of recent innovations to NNP is likely biased upward. This note calls for a research agenda to estimate innovations into their creative and destructive components in order to provide improved estimates of their contribution to NNP, welfare, and employment. "

78 women nabbed for vice and nine men for drink driving in Geylang police operation - "A total of 78 women, aged between 17 and 52, were arrested for vice-related activities"
At least they weren't 16...

British Muslims gather in London to protest against Muhammad cartoons - "Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, a senior spokesman for MAF, said: “Perpetual mistakes by extremists, either by cold-blooded killers or uncivilised expressionists, cannot be the way forward for a civilised society. The peace-loving majority of people must become vociferous in promoting global civility and responsible debate. At this time of heightened tension and emotion, it is crucial that both sides show restraint to prevent further incidents of this nature occurring.”"
Comment: "So what they are doing here is actually comparing murderers with satirists, saying that they are essentially the same: that is seriously, indeed dangerously skewed thinking is it not? The kind of thinking that actually leads to AK47s, balaclavas and cold blooded extremism in fact......Personally i think there is a world of difference myself between a killer and a cartoonist; one kills mindlessly , the other comments on society through the medium of art. Its worrying that Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, a senior, and i repeat SENIOR spokesman for MAF seems incapable of making that very basic and simple distinction, it is in fact worrying similar to the type of facisto double think employed by Wahhabist extremist King Saud last year when he referred to atheists as 'terrorists'. indeed is it not actually racist to call an artist 'uncivilized' because you dont like their output? those words seem to fly in the face of the values of openness and freedom of expression, and actually seem chillingly similar to something the German Nazi party would put out in the 30s about 'degenerate art'."

Sabah Christian dad in tears at first sight of daughter in tudung - "“She is only 16, underaged, and should not need to make a decision like this. Even if she had willingly declared the words (shahadah, the Islamic declaration of belief Allah and Muhammad), and wanted to convert, she and the school should have informed me,” said Jilius. Malay Mail Online had on Thursday reported that authorities are investigating the alleged “Islamisation” of a Christian student in SMK Kinarut near here by the school hostel’s warden. It is believed that the school’s former hostel warden had incited the conversion of the student with the recital of the shahadah, forcing her into embracing Islam despite being “underaged”... Christian groups in Sabah have recently cried foul to alleged furtive attempts to convert Bumiputera followers of the faith to Islam. In January 2014, a group of indigenous Sabahan villagers from the remote Pitas district were reportedly deceived into embracing Islam for RM100 by a Muslim welfare group. Sabah Council of Churches as well as the Roman Catholic Church of Sabah had also complained officially to the Education Ministry last year of a covert ploy to convert under-aged Christian students at the residential Labuan Matriculation College to Islam."
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