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Everything posted by Kale

  1. Equality in Islam

    Peace. Historically, and as far as I know: You can build one, but you need permission from the Muslim ruler. By some pacts, you also needed permission to make repairs on it, and were not permitted to build a church that looked more impressive than the nearest masjid.
  2. Non Alcoholic Beer

    Peace. Hi, borbus. If you buy it off a shelf, unrefrigerated, it's almost undoubtedly pasturized. Otherwise it would ferment in the store and the jugs would explode only a few days after it was bottled. Probably best to err on the side of caution anyway, with any perishable food. Food poisoning is no joke.
  3. Peace, MuslimBro. Yes, I am a Christian. Not all Christians are the same, though, and I am several kinds of heretic by other people's reconning. Probably most notably in that I believe Jesus was a prophet and not God incarnate. This really isn't all that weird. No. I don't believe in the inerrancy of scripture. That is to say, the Bible isn't 100% accurate. Those verses are muddled and so is the rest of it, to varying degrees. As for how I can believe in it, quite possibly I don't, at least not in the way you mean. The Old Testament is ancient and most of it is quite obtuse in origin. There's historical evidence about how the Gospels were constructed, and other Gospels that are not included in the Bible, and historical evidence about those. One must reason and pray about it in order to recieve the true teachings from the Bible. I'm quite dismissive of significant portions of it. Maybe I will understand them differently later and deem them important. It's happened before. Really, you've got to do the reason-and-pray thing for any scripture. You believe that the Qu'ran is the direct word of God, and that it hasn't changed through the ages, but you've still got the same problems, just to a lesser extent. The scriptures can't include everything. Human language is too limited. Imagine you have a photograph of a tree. There are a lot of things you can't tell about a tree from a photograph. Its precise height. The precise angle at which some branches leave the trunk. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it'd take more than a thousand to fully describe a picture of a tree. The tree itself? Infinate words. God's history and law...? The Qu'ran may not have changed, but people have. One would suppose it was delivered in language that was most understandable and moving to the people of the time and place where it was revealed. What was clear to them might be confusing to modern people with such very different lifestyles. Not everyone's understanding is the same even among contemporaries. If it was, there would be no need for explanitory texts, which I understand are used in Islam. Nobody would need help understanding the scripture. But people do. The Qu'ran might be a perfect recitation, but it's not a perfect revealation, or everybody would understand it perfectly. Human language makes such perfection impossible. So, even believing in the inerrancy of scripture, as I gather from this forum, Muslims do, leads one to questions. The result seems to be a system where one is not only obliged to believe in the inerrancy of the Qu'ran, but also in the inerrancy of scholars who decide just what the one correct understanding of the Qu'ran is. This doesn't seem like a good idea.
  4. Muslim and Christians:

    Peace, everyone. I'm sorry for the delay in replying, I lost track of this topic when it was moved from another part of the forum. Peace, Aburafay! I didn't mean to say there are precisely four sects. I was just able to think of four off the top of my head. Christians have been arriving, by force of reason, at Unitarian position off and on throughout our history. With a tendancy for other Christians to give them a hard time about it or set them on fire. Anyway, there have been many Christian groups with this idea. It's also an idea that a lot of individuals seem to arrive at -- I've met a lot of people who are Unitarians but didn't even realise that Unitarians exist as separate groups from other Christians. What I've called sects are usually called 'denominations' and people sometimes go from one to another. I'm still a Unitarian, but I'm no longer a member of the Unitarian Church, I am a Quaker. Some Quakers are Unitarians and some aren't. We had a lively debate about this a while ago. Well, about as lively a debate as one can have with a group of people who are still somewhat shocked and appalled that one man shoved another at the Philedelphia Yearly Meeting in 1943 or thereabouts. I am a lot closer to Islam than most Christians, yes. Hehe. Somewhere around here I've got an explanatory pamphlet about Islam, printed in Pakistan in the 1960's and distributed to western aid workers (my grandparents). It describes Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) as "The Unitarian of Arabia." Peace, Zeinab! :D You are silly. Right now we've got another thread going where you're telling me I'm wrong about non-violent resistance. It's a subject I feel very strongly about. And yet you haven't offended or insulted me in the least. You correct people all the time without doing that. It's true that there will almost always be somebody who will take offense at what you say no matter how you say it. That's not an excuse for not trying to practice gentle speech. Besides, am I that person? It ought to count for something that I say, "Yeah, that was insulting." I don't think anybody finds it insulting that you believe that some Christian beliefs are incorrect. It is insulting to make the assumption (much less voice it) that somebody's wrong ideas mean that he is not earnestly seeking the truth. This is another issue replies were removed for violating a rule. And if you feel a post is discriminating (I still don't see it) please report the exact post to a mod. I can't see how Ignatius' reply was in violation of the rules. He simply said that he is a Christian, and he is trying to obey God, and that he wasn't going to convert because he's a Christian he's trying, as a Christian, to be obedient to God and the suggestion that he convert to Islam might be a test. And I can't fathom why you can't see how what was said to Ignatius is insulting. Come on. Seriously. How would you feel about me if I said to you that you must not love God, because if you loved God you'd show it by becoming a Quaker? Heck, how would you feel if I told you you must not want to be a good cook because you don't use the same recipes as I do? There's quite a difference between, "You're not doing it right," and "You reject the ideals of good cooking!" I mis-spoke. Sorry. No doubt there are some Christians who believe these things. But really, reverts from Christianity or not, I don't really think the 'refuting non-Muslims' posts reflect a good understanding of Christianity. It is possible to be a Christian and not understand it. I recollect a thread where a Muslim poster, himself a former Catholic, was expressing suprise at Christian teachings reported by a practicing Catholic, but which the Muslim had never heard of. Imagine if I was a former Muslim who had converted to Christianity. My Muslim family were weak in their faith and taught me that all I had to do was make a nominal nod to the five pillars and then I could go about being greedy jerk. You'd think it was pretty messed up if I went about talking about how foolish Islam is and saying I know all about Islam 'cause once I was a Muslim.
  5. Non Alcoholic Beer

    Peace. Hehe, Z! Yeah. Exploding casks is one of the risks of making booze. Jolly exciting. Edited to add that you too excrete carbon dioxide. Aren't you lucky! At least you don't excrete alcohol.
  6. Non Alcoholic Beer

    Peace! Hehe. Fussy I may be, but I'm always nice to waiters. Hi, borbus. Most juices get fizzy as they ferment, because the little yeast-beasties excrete carbon-dioxide. My parents used to like to deliberately let apple-juice ferment. It'd get quite fizzy (not as fizzy as soda, but almost) before it really had enough alcohol to get anyone intoxicated. It went more or less like this - apple juice, wait two weeks, then slightly fizzy apple juice that was still okay in the sense that it wouldn't get a seven-year-old drunk, then fizzy tangy cider that'd get you drunk but not so fast as beer, then a foul-tasting alcoholic beverage that nobody liked, then (after it had been forgotten for a while) vinegar. This would only work with apple-juice that we bought from an orchard with a press on the property. Not the clear yellow apple-juice you find in most stores, it was cloudy. Most juices have been pasturized (heated to kill any micro-organisms in the juice) and so, if you keep them covered so wild yeast can't settle on the surface of the juice and you drink your juice within a reasonable time, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. People who make alcoholic drinks usually have to add yeast to the base juice or they don't get booze, they just get something rotten. Wine is an exception, as yeast likes to grow on grape-skins. Probably the first beer was invented when somebody dropped a large unbaked loaf of yeast bread into a small tub of water and forgot to clean it up.
  7. Peace, MuslimBro! No, I can't really clear those things up. Every objection that you have named is one that I share. The only think I could say to clear it up is that this thing was brought into human language by a primative person from a tribal group that modern people probably would not deign to call 'civilised.' If this person really did recieve a revealation from God, it got muddled when the person, probably scarcely understanding it himself, tried to articulate it for others. Nope, the Bible doesn't mention the big bang. That I know of. You can find things in it that seem to say all sorts of stuff. It doesn't say that God was tired or needed to rest. Just that he rested. Since God is constantly active in sustaining reality, it is incorrect to say that God rested. But one might say that God rested in the sense that he stopped creating things from nothing and began creating things out of his own creation -- sustaining. Obviously, there are other Christians who take a different view of this, and do indeed consider the creation story of the Bible to be 100% accurate in every way. Maybe you can find one and ask him the same questions. They probably have explainations. But I don't believe in the inerrancy of scripture and think their viewpoint is pretty nuts. Hehe! Peace, Dzenana! You're right. The Bible is endlessly amusing. Sometimes it's moving and powerful and true, sometimes it's like Hey kids! It's STORY HOUR IN THE BRONZE AGE! It's probably the only book that will keep you entertained on a twelve-hour bus-ride. Probably the funniest bit is how, after revealing the Ten Commandments, Moses says that God wants everybody to give him some money, God wants thirty-something ram's skins dyed red, God wants Aaron to wear this gold flower with 'Consecrated to Yaweh' written on it, strapped to his forehead all the time. And a robe with bells on. It's awfully specific and really very bizarre. I once had a conversation with a guy who believes the scripture to be inerrant, and he told me this stuff was actually awfully important for the creation of the Tabernacle, but I really don't buy it.
  8. Non Alcoholic Beer

    Peace! Z-247, probably your dates were fermenting. Yeasts (microscopic organisms) eat the sugars and excrete alcohol. It'd be sort-of accurate to describe the alcohol that people drink as yeast pee. This can happen easily to fruit juices or whole fruits. I've heard of little birds getting falling-down drunk from eating cherries that had fermented on the tree. Lots of things contain alcohols. Fruits, even fresh and unfermented ones, as people have mentioned. Honey contains tiny traces of alcohols, though they're not the same kind as the alcohol that's a product of fermentation. Non-alcohol beer does contain a small amount of alcohol. There's just not enough for you to get drunk on, you cannot drink enough in a short enough period of time to become intoxicated. I've been known to drink a beer about once a year, and enjoy it. Non-alcohol beer, however, tastes vile. I don't know about permissability, but it seems to me that this would be a primary reason not to serve it in your restaurant -- serving something that's not good hurts the restaurant's reputation. Restaurants around here often have separate drinks menus. Perhaps a colourful menu of all the many halal drinks available at the resturant would help. I hardly ever drink alcohol and I don't drink Coke products either, and I don't like cold tea. I have a hard time in restaurants and wish they had better variety. I don't always want hot tea or coffee, and lemonade or orange juice doesn't taste good with cheese dishes. I wonder if a lot of non-muslims would drink something non-alcoholic if there was anything non-alcoholic besides coke. Last time I had a dinner party my uncle brought wine, but nobody wanted it because I was serving two different kinds of not-as-sweet sodas from small companies (Henry Weinhard's and Reed's) and Martinelli sparkling cider, which is fizzy tart apple-juice (not alcoholic, as some ciders are). I wonder how many people order wine because they just don't want to drink a slurry of foaming high-fructose corn-syrup.
  9. Peace, MuslimBro. Sure. This is the very first page of the Christian Bible, the first chapter of the book of Genesis. In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, with a divine wind sweeping over the waters. God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light 'day' and darkness he called 'night.' Evening came and morning came: the first day. God said, "Let their be a vault through the middle of the waters to divide the waters in two. And so it was. God made the vault, and it divided the waters under the vault from the waters above the vault. God called the vault 'heaven.' Evening came and morning came: the second day. God said, "Let the waters under heaven come together into a single mass, and let dry land appear." And so it was. God called the dry land 'earth' and the mass of waters 'seas,' and God saw that it was good. God said, "Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees on earth, bearing fruit with their seed inside, each corresponding to its own species." And so it was. The earth produced vegetation: the various kinds of seed-bearing plants and the fruit trees with seed inside, each corresponding to its own species. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the third day. God said, "Let their be lights in the vault of heaven to divide day from night, and let them indicate festivals, days and years. Let them be lights in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth." And so it was. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, the smaller light to govern the night, and the stars. God set them in the vault of heaven to shine on the earth, to govern the day and the night and to divide light from darkness. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came: the fourth day. God said, "Let the waters be alive with a swarm of living creatures, and let birds wing their way above the earth across the vault of heaven." And so it was. God created great sea-monsters and all the creatures that glide and teem in the waters in their own species, and winged birds in their own species. God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on land." Evening came and morning came: the fifth day. God said, "Let the earth produce every kind of living creature in its own species, cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds." And so it was. God made wild animals in their own species, and cattle in theirs, and every creature that crawls along the earth in its own species. God saw that it was good. God said, "Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that creep along the ground. God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth." God also said, "Look, to you I give all the seed-bearing plants everywhere on the surface of the earth, and all the trees with seed bearing fruit; this will be your food. And to all the wild animals, all the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that creep along the ground, I give all the foliage of the plants as their food." And so it was. God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning came: the sixth day. (for some obtuse reason, the break between chapter 1 and chapter 2 falls here) Thus heaven and earth were completed in their array. On the seventh day God had completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventhday after all the work he had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he rested after all his work of creating. Such was the story of heaven and earth as they were created. This is ancient. In some ways its remarkable consistant with science -- scientists believe that once there was but a single enormous land-mass on earth. It's description of the creation of plants is consistant with what is said about the evolution of plants -- vegetative ones came first, then seed-bearing ones, then fruit bearing ones. It seems to me that the scripture has events out of order concerning the creation of the sun. I think this was recorded from somebody who did recieve revealation, but was not told exactly what to say and did what he could to bring the story into language that people of a primative pastoral culture could understand and find memorable. I believe in evolution. Darwin probably was incorrect about certain aspects of how it works, and most people don't seem to really know what Darwin said in the first place. But it is going on demonstrably as we speak. And it is beautiful. The ever-changing creation described by evolution seems to me much more consistant with my understanding of God than the static creation that 'creationists' describe.
  10. Peace. Not believing it because you believe about Adam doesn't display any illogic in the theory. Darwin didn't mention apes at all, that I recall.
  11. Peace. What's illogical about it? I've never understood why people draw the conclusion that if evolution is true, God must not exist. It doesn't follow.
  12. Is this Islamic?

    Peace, Sulemaan. Thank you for your interesting reply. This doesn't sound like sex segregation at all, it just sounds like respect. Depending on how one defines 'idly' and what reasons for talking are considered valid, and what talk is considered 'personal.' I've a lot of friends who are men. I don't make personal friends of people who comment on my appearance or seem very interested in it, or who talk about nothing, or who talk all the time about the wonders of sex and alcohol. I'm pretty well fed up with people who say the sorts of things that are equivalent to asking someone online what she's wearing. But I do often meet with my friends for no reason other than to talk about whatever happens to come up. J. came over recently, we had coffee and ginger-cookies and we talked about the house he's building, the various designs for waterless composting toilets, his trip to Guatamala, how embarrassing it is to only be able to speak one language, how the US educational system doesn't start children learning languages early enough, the education system in general, the difficulties of living in a teepee and how his little girl is adapting to it. Okay, it's weird that my friend is living in a teepee, but particulars aside, it's a typical afternoon of socialising. I don't see anything bad about it, it seems beneficial, but it might qualify as idle. The conversation might qualify as personal, though nobody talks about his or her sexual habits, anatomy, or that aspect of his or her private mental life. But I've the impression that by your rules of engagement, the meeting itself isn't allowed. That's a loss. Ah. Here, women have every right to go to the court and usually don't, though the courts have a tendancy to rule in their favour, and domestic violence is a living issue. A few of my father's students gave me an early impression of Muslim men as being most courteous, gentle and trustworthy. What you describe as normal as well as the examples of extreme luxury seems very consistant with that. By favourable to women, you mean that it is very likely that a woman will live comfortably and with security. I believe that about Saudi Arabia. There's another kind of favourable, which would mean that it is very likely that a woman will be able to discover and hone her talents and make her greatest possible contribution to human society. So far as I know, in Saudi Arabia this isn't likely. I agree with you that making social changes step-by-step is understandable. It is nice to hear of these changes proceeding. (though making the gentlemen use a lavatory on another floor seems an inferior solution to having the lady lock the door when she's in there. But the segregated toilets when both are single-person affairs custom has always baffled me.) I have a hard time being contented with the idea that half the people ought to be deprived of choices for a few generations in order to prevent a predicted social upheaval, and I hope these changes will come quickly. But I don't want to run your country and am not a bit qualified to make a definative judgement about the success of its reasonable-sounding methods. I'm sure it's not your fault that I don't have a good understanding of life in Saudi Arabia. No doubt I've got a pretty distorted view of it from here.
  13. Is this Islamic?

    Peace. Sure, amani. I'll admit I see a greater dignity for the woman who is covered. But really I don't want men looking at me and wondering how I look or how they can 'get me.' I'd like them to wonder what I might have to say. I know, friend. I've heard a few times about Muslim women in full Islamic dress still managing to do this kind of thing. That, among other things, makes me wonder if the whole point of covering hasn't been lost. Thanks, Sulemaan. I understand what you've said, am familiar with this explaination, and think it is sensible. But when so many Muslim men express this idea about her being hidden for him, it makes me wonder. I don't really think the veil itself has much to do with it and fancy it might be fun to wear one. I think segregation of the sexes is a social ill, though I'll agree it saves a lot of other ones. I used to know this deaf man who would chat-room with a blind man who lived in Australia and used voice-recognition software and a talking computer. How much is that situation analogous to ours? What kind of a conversation could we have if I were standing in front of you? If this and our other many interesting dialogues would not be included, it seems to me like you're missing out on half of humanity. Instead of being the sort of social ill where something bad happens, it's a social ill where something good can never happen. The not driving and needing a male relative to escort you about all the time is worrisome. It seems to me that a woman who is happy in her family and had plenty of male relatives who were interested in the same things she was would be quite cosy. But if her family isn't good to her, then it seems like she's trapped. How does it work in such instances? If my husband strangely went mad and became abusive, I'd just take my car and some things and go live alone someplace else, maybe get a big black dog. For somebody to be your equal, they've got to have equal options. I don't really understand the Saudi system and am not trying to speak ill. I enjoyed the history you posted and understand about the difficulties. Like flutterby, I'm not sure how it pertains to driving precisely.
  14. Tsunami victims

    Peace. I don't doubt for a minute that the current US Government gave that money because they wanted to look good. But please remember that one of the entities they want to look good before is the American people. And the American people are overwhelmingly in support of our public wealth being spent in this way. I mean, in the way of helping people.
  15. Slaughtering Chicken

    Peace. I saw someone once who could kill them very quickly and easily by breaking their necks. I tried it with a turkey that was sick -- I didn't intend to eat it and figured I'd save myself washing up blood. It wasn't as easy as it looked and I'm ashamed to say I hurt that animal. I never tried it again.
  16. Is this Islamic?

    Peace. Yurt, I called the women dispicable and the men pitiful, and you're telling me I don't see both sexes as responsible? How is saying that it is wrong for men to use their superior physical strength to bully women 'putting down' the strength that God gave them? Saying that something can (and even often is) used in a bad way is not saying that the thing itself is bad. As for women being distracted by thoughts of sex, sure. This happens. But not nearly so much. Lets say you have ten earnest young men sitting at a meeting about some subject they find very important. A woman in a skin-tight body-suit walks in. Will those men be able to do their task? They'll be hopelessly distracted, probably for as long as she was there. A group of ten earnest young women discussing a matter of importance to them would not be distracted by an attractive young man in a skin-tight body-suit, at least not for any length of time. They'd just roll their eyes. They'd only get distracted if whatever the meeting was about wasn't really all that interesting to them. It's not that women don't notice sexually attractive men, it's that it's not such a powerful distraction for them. I'm not really interested in naked men on parade and would be perfectly capable of going back to my dry history book. Can you say the same about parades of naked women? People actually take surveys of this stuff. There are probably about two days out of a month when sexual thoughts cross my mind even a third as often as men claim to have them, every day.
  17. Slaughtering Chicken

    Peace. Killing chickens by wringing their necks kills them just as fast as any other way. If you're any good at it. It takes a bit more skill than chopping their heads off. They thrash around a bit afterwards, whatever you do. Commercially, chickens are not killed this way. Their throats are cut. Blood remaining in the meat won't hurt you, but it makes the meat spoil much much faster. All meat animals are cut at the throat and hung to bleed out immediately after they are killed.
  18. Is this Islamic?

    Peace. I don't really get it either. Like I said, this manner of thinking views the woman as an ornament and not a person. Western men really like it, though. They somehow feel that being seen in public with an attractive woman will make other men feel jealous and think what a successful fellow the guy with the pretty woman is. I suppose it's natural for people to be proud when they've got something good. Trying to incite others to jealousy isn't good, though, and nor is using another person as a tool to do so. I get you, brother. Men are very easily distracted by thoughts of sex. This must be somewhat humiliating to live with. There are plenty of women who are well aware of it and use their so-called charms to manipulate men, or distract them and make them stupid. This sort of behavior is dispicable. Most men seem to enjoy it, but it makes them seem quite pitiful to me. Surely if human society is to advance men will have to stop using their superior physical strength to bully women, and women will have to stop using their sexual attributes to bully men. I dress modestly. I want to be respected. I am not here to be looked at. I want to show respect. You are not a dog I can train with flashes of my skin for a reward. I think everybody ought to practice this. It seems to me like what is done in some Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia among them, has taken this principle out the other side. It is commendable for people to be modest. But when a woman's modesty is most often viewed in terms of her husband's right, something is wrong. Her modesty ought to make it easier for her to be seen as a person rather than a sexual object, but instead it seems to support the idea that she's a sexual object -- just a more jealously guarded one than a Western woman. It is commendable for more physically powerful people to protect those who are smaller and weaker. But if a woman cannot live or travel without some male protector, that makes it seem to me as if there is something desperately wrong. Women should not be so threatened. And such a rule makes it far more difficult for a woman to defend herself from certain things. Think about it. You escort your sister everywhere she goes, to protect her from other men. Those men also have sisters. If the need to protect your sister from those men is really very great, then the sisters of those men are in deep trouble, but they can't do much about it, because without a male escort they cannot get away.
  19. Neither had I. The man who killed Van Gogh did more to slander Islam than Van Gogh could have done in a lifetime.
  20. Is this Islamic?

    Peace. muslim mujahid is correct that western society prefers women a 'perfect size 4' and that this oppresses women. It is not healthy or fair that our culture has made it of such paramount importance for women to put themselves on display and be 'attractive.' This phenomenon is not as extreme as Western magazines and movies might lead one to believe. As Yurt and Livius have pointed out, most women don't go that far. But there is a definate tendancy for the value of a woman to be defined by her sexual attractiveness. However, I can't really see a great deal of difference between this and the Muslim model we're discussing here. If women are diamonds, Westerners like to show them off. Who would buy a diamond and not wear it? Western men love to be seen in the company of a beautiful woman. Muslims, appearantly, think their diamonds ought to be for private viewing only. The trouble is, women aren't diamonds. They are people. Outwardly, these two systems appear to be polar opposites. But really, what's the difference? One woman is treated as an ornament to be shown off. If she's not a pretty enough ornament, she suffers. Another woman is treated as a treasure to be gloated over in private. If she doesn't keep herself hidden, she suffers. Neither woman is being treated as a full human being.
  21. Peace. American History X was, in fact, crap. But not because of the violence. It's because Edward Norton's character, in the scene at the dinner table, makes an intelligent argument for racism and all we get to counter it is this feel-good "can't we all just get along" essay from the kid at the end. In spite of how the ever-scary Stacy Keetch seemed to have been built up as a representation of the forces that profit by dividing lower-class Americans along racial lines. Skinhead groups actually loved it and took it as a pro-racism movie and got DOC tattoos like the guys in the film. I didn't see the movie for many years after it was released and so it took me forever to figure out what DOC means. Where I grew up, DOC stands for 'Day Old Chick.' You guys have noticed that some fictional violence is respectful. In depicting violence, it deplores violence. It shows that violence is ugly, destructive and wrong. Other violence in entertainment is loosely refered to as 'pornographic violence.' The idea being that the victims of the violence are, like the women in pornography, shown as not-really-people but objects on which the hero (whom the viewer supposedly imagines himself to be) acts out a fantasy of power.
  22. The Freedom

    The Freedom Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq By Christian Parenti. "you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.thenewpress(contact admin if its a beneficial link)"]The New Press[/url] 2004. You can order this from the publisher's site if you can't find it in a bookstore. This is an excellent book. Parenti is a courageous reporter. He spent considerable time in occupied Iraq and made bold efforts to speak to people on all sides. He spent time as an embedded journalist with US Forces. He met with resistance leaders and spoke to them. He spoke to a lot of Iraqi people -- people on the streets, people working, members of an Iraqi women's group, people waiting and hoping to get relatives out of prison, people who had lost family members in the conflict, journalists from both Western and Arab news distributors. Parenti does not follow the typical journalists pattern of pretending that his presence was not part of what he saw. This is a small book of a little over 200 pages. It's exciting, tragic, frightening, and in every way an engaging read. There's a little harsh language, but I recommend it to everyone.
  23. Getting rid of Haraam

    Peace. Once again, I've got to exercise my freakish habit of encouraging people to eat insects. 'Locust' is a word that's applied to grasshoppers that tend to gather together in swarms and fly about being destructive. You can't tell a locust from a grasshopper if you just had them lying on a table, unless you're a person who knows how to distinguish one species of grasshopper from another. I wonder if there are different Arabic words for 'locust' and for 'grasshopper.' There was this species of grasshopper, not an agricultural problem, but a scientist discovered that if he collected their egg-pods and raised them in crowded cages, they'd grow up to be a kind of locust that looks (to entomologists, anyway) quite different from the grasshopper species. Pretty cool. Anyway. Collect grasshoppers when it's still chilly in the morning and they're sluggish. Put them in the freezer overnight to kill them. Pull of the wings and big hind legs and throw them away. Toast the grasshopper bodies in the oven 'til they're dry and crunchy. Use them in place of nuts in recipes. If you want to just eat them plain, soak them in salt-water before toasting them.
  24. Journalism

    Peace. You should go to school for journalism if you can. It'll help. Aside from what they can teach you, the school will probably help you find an internship job at a newspaper or somesuch. And start doing it right now. When I was a teenager we used to make zines, little photocopied home-made magazines. Lots of people did this in the '80s and early '90s. Some of them ended up popular enough that paying to have a run of them printed on newspaper stock was worth it. Anyway, it was fun. There was a record store that would buy three or four copies from you for a few cents a peice and sell them. Or you could get 'Factsheet Five' which was a zine all about zines, full of addresses and reviews of zines, and mail your zine to another person who made one, and he'd mail a copy of his back to you. This is probably still going on, though maybe all zines have become blogs.
  25. Peace, Sulemaan. I know what you mean. It is lamentable. I'm afraid my post was refering to Muslims in the west, really. News about Muslim peace organizations in the Islamic world is not likely to reach us here. But if, say, Muslims in Western cities made a big deal of their Eid celebrations, giving away food to the poor (as the Hare Krishnas used to do in NYC every year, hosting an enormous vegetarian picnic) the ripples of good-will that would generate would change public perception of Islam in a powerful way. I certainly don't believe that Muslims are inherently violent. Nor do I believe any of the other weird things that are said, things that imply that Muslims are crazy or stupid or evil or otherwise somehow different and inferior to other peoples. I have tried to look deeply at these conflicts and what I see are people who have been abused and cheated and are struggling to change things and right those wrongs. Their methods are not effective, and their opposition seems nearly insurmountable. I don't believe that they have no way out, though. Probably they have no way out alone, but there must be a solution. I am trying to lend them an ear. (I hope you'll find the time to post on "you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_forums.gawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=4161"]this thread[/url], you're quite sharp and have an excellent mastery of English, I am sure you could provide me a reading that would communicate these things in a clear and moving way.) We ought to work together here on IF, to try to see the way out. To identify the doors that are open, and figure out ways to unlock the ones that are closed. It's a daunting project, I know, but is there something on this Earth more worth our efforts?