Posts Tagged ‘Muslims’

What in the world is going on in Turkey?

June 24, 2013

Turkey demosFour weeks ago a small group of environmentally-minded Turks staged a demonstration, or an occupation, of tiny Gezi park in Istanbul, where the government had stated its intent to build a replica of an Ottoman-era barracks to house a shopping mall.

The government responded by attacking the protesters violently with water cannon and tear gas. The disproportionate attack on the peaceful protesters crystallized widespread hostility to the government of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdoğan (pronounced ER-duh-wan). The protests grew and spread all over Turkey, and everywhere the protesters were met by violent police action. So far five have died, and the protests have died down.

Erdoğan blames the trouble on outsiders, including CNN and the “interest lobby,” and has called out his supporters into massive counter demonstrations.

Erdoğan was first elected to head the government in 2002, with 34% of the vote. He was reelected in 2007 with 46%, and again in 2011 with just under 50% of the votes cast. He is a practicing Muslim—rare for a Turkish leader—and has steadily moved to make Turkish society more congenial to pious Muslims. He wants to amend the Constitution to allow women to wear headscarves in public buildings (now forbidden), and has had laws passed that allow early religious instruction in elementary school, limit the sale of alcohol, and has proposed bans on abortion and even on kissing in public.

Some fear Erdoğan’s goal is to introduce Sharia law, a la Iran or Saudi Arabia, while others (including The Economist) call him a “moderate Islamist” and believe his intent is simply to (more…)

America at our best: John McCain. America at our worst: Michele Bachmann and her four Congressional lap dogs

July 18, 2012

Americans welcome people who are different. They enrich our culture. They bring new energy to our society. They do us proud as a melting pot of cultures.

Americans shun people who are different. They debase our culture. They take our jobs. They seduce our children. They talk like foreigners.

So it was with Germans and Irish in the early 1800s. So it was with Jews and Chinese in the late 1800s. Italians in the early 1900s. Africans forever. And so it is with Muslims today.

At our best we befriend the stranger and his children, we treat them kindly, we hire them, and we defend them. At our worst we demean them, discriminate against them, exploit them, and attack them.

America at our worst is five House Republicans, led by Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who have accused countless American Muslims who work for the U.S. government of being secret agents (more…)

Ethicists practice jihad, along with Buddhists and Muslims

April 29, 2012

On Being is a public radio program and podcast hosted by Krista Tippett, and dedicated to conversations about religion, meaning, and ethics. Tippett often finds commonality and conjunctions among a variety of religions and philosophies, and recently she outdid herself with a conversation among:

  • ·        the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people
  • ·        Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University,
  • ·        Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the British Commonwealth, and Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

During a wide ranging conversation about happiness, the Dalai Lama observed, “One of my Muslim friends explained to me one interpretation of Jihad, not only sort of attack on other, but real meaning is combative attack your own wrongdoing or negativities.”

 “The greater Jihad*, the bigger Jihad, is to combat your own negative forces within you. Yes, yes,” Dr. Nasr agreed enthusiastically.

The Dalai Lama made the connection: “So in that sense, the whole Buddhist practice is practice of Jihad.”

“Exactly, absolutely,” concluded Dr Nasr.

In the same way one could say our struggle to be ethical is the practice of jihad—an inner struggle to be the virtuous person that we know how to be, but sometimes fall short of. It’s easier (more…)

My ten favorite posts of 2011

December 31, 2011

 

There were 112 Ethics Bob  posts in 2011, and 14,000 page views. Here are my ten favorites:

  • Ex-Auburn Prof Jim Gundlach gets a mythical Sam Goldwyn award* for speaking truth to power—to Auburn football http://goo.gl/x3ro4
  • Turks trust strangers, and the trust is repaid http://goo.gl/4UBW6
  • Drew Brees: ethics hero and football hero. He lives by “If not me, who? http://goo.gl/RMzsV
  • Tim Pawlenty announces for President, grabs third rail of Iowa politics, earns mythical Edmund Burke Award. http://goo.gl/yBdXS
  • Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) defends Muslim judge Sohail Mohammed, calls opponents “crazies.” Hooray for an ethics hero http://goo.gl/KtCCQ
  • Three cheers for Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Byron York of Fox News, and for Rachel Maddow of MSNBC http://goo.gl/gsXAx
  • Ethics: I’m giving it away http://goo.gl/Rl1jB
  • LSU Tigers Coach Les Miles gets a mythical Chip Kelly Award* for suspending three stars for the big game with Auburn http://goo.gl/rjns5
  • Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street http://goo.gl/Sk5sV
  • Rose Bowl, BCS Bowl, Ethics Bowl http://goo.gl/MxGYu
  • The lesson from Penn State http://goo.gl/Tnn03

 

Israel whistles, the United States comes running. No matter what’s right

September 23, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, told a cheering UN General Assembly today, “I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission to the United Nations.”

Who can disagree? The government of Israel, for one. And if the GOI objects, the American right will come right along. And so, sadly, will President Obama. Conscience takes a back seat when votes are about to be counted.

Obama’s speech to the UN was a craven surrender to the Israeli government’s demand that we oppose the Palestinian request. This is an ethical disaster, as well as a realpolitik one. It will wipe out the good will Obama earned with his earlier calls for honorable treatment of the Palestinians and his once-brave insistence on a halt to Israeli expansion into the West Bank. Forgotten, too, will be his siding with the Arab Spring, outweighed as it is among most Muslims and young people everywhere (including in Israel) by his opposition to Palestinian rights.

Obama did have support for his position. To Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama’s speech was a “badge of honor.” This is the same Netanyahu that President Clinton blamed, as recently as yesterday, for preventing a peace deal.

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman liked the speech even more, telling a news conference, “I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands.” Lieberman is widely despised in Israel as a racist for his proposal to rid Israel of its Arab citizens by “redrawing its map to ‘exchange’ part of the Arab population and create a more ‘homogenous Jewish state,’ as a solution to Israel’s Arab minority ‘problem.’ ”

Having sabotaged Israel’s own relations with Turkey over Israeli refusal to apologize for killing nine Turkish activists running the Gaza blockade, Israel is now sabotaging American relations with the entire Muslim world, which will have a hard time accepting that America preaches freedom for all, but not for occupied Palestine.

Civil discourse? Responsiveness to Muslim constituents? Belief in religious freedom? Not from Congressman Allen West (R-FL)

August 18, 2011

When the Council on American-Islamic Relations recently wrote Congressman Allen West (R-FL), urging him to cut ties with “anti-Islamic extremists, they explained,

“Muslims protect and serve our great country and are afforded equal protection under law. We shouldn’t have to defend our rights to worship freely or participate in the governing of our society.”

Congressman West responded with one word, in what the Miami New Times reporter wrote “might be the dumbest thing ever written on congressional stationery.”

Thanks to the Facebook page, “Americans Against Islamophobia,” for spotlighting this ugliness.

Pat Robertson tells his 700 Club audience that opposing Muslims is like opposing Nazis

June 1, 2011

It’s sad when a person of the cloth—a religious leader—preaches hate instead of love. When Florida pastor Terry Jones publicly burned a Quran it was a hateful act, but we could minimize its significance as an act by a pastor to a “congregation” of 5o people (his claim).

But when Christian evangelist Pat Robertson equates Muslims with Nazis it’s a whole ‘nother story. Robertson said on his 700 Club broadcast today,

“Why is it bigoted to resist Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and to say we don’t want to live under Nazi Germany? But oh it’s bigoted if we speak out against a force [Islam] that slowly but surely is trying to exercise domination over the world.”

Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network claims a reach of 100 languages, 200 countries, a million viewers a day. His hatefulness is a blot on all Christian evangelists who tolerate his ugly message.

(Thanks to Islamophobiatoday.com for flagging this. It’s a steady source of news about anti-Muslim activities)

Muslims celebrate–Newt and Pamela Geller and the hate-mongers should apologize. Don’t hold your breath

May 3, 2011

The most Muslim city in the US, Dearborn, Michigan, celebrated the killing of Bin Laden as exuberantly as anyplace, according to this article from the Detroit News.

Will the hate mongers of the right apologize? Not very likely.

The developer of the “Ground Zero” “mosque” says his piece

April 23, 2011

Today’s New York Daily News has an op-ed by Sharif El-Gamal, developer of the so-called “Ground Zero,” so-called “mosque.” It’s his explanation of what he’s tried to accomplish and why. If you’re a supporter, or especially if you’re an opponent of the development you should hear his side of the story.

New York lessons from the ‘ground zero mosque’

April 7, 2011

 

The story of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” has spread halfway around the world to Turkey and to Hurriyet, the Turkish daily I scan (the English edition) on my iPhone every day. Today’s edition has an article by David Dyssegaard Kallick about lessons from the mosque. It’s not so much about the mosque as it is about the endless rhythmic flow of immigrants to New York.

Germans, Irish, Italians, Chinese and Jews, they were all considered “other” at first, despised and feared, but eventually each group became integrated into the New York scene, “not by shedding their culture, but by making a place for it in America.”

Kallick says he’s seen this movie before and it always has a happy ending. He explains why he’s certain that Muslims will find their rightful place in New York—shaping the city and being shaped by it. It’ll be another building block in America’s exceptionalism.

 


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