Category Archives: Religion

Famine issue solved

Yes, isn’t that a good way to start Sunday? The world solved the famine issue. It took no trouble at all, the media merely needed to stop writing about it. There is so much other stuff to write about. All the things that Saudi Arabia are accused of, some sources state that an Iranian oil tanker is now ‘under terrorist command‘ (no real evidence has been presented though), and the UK is sending another ship (the third) to reinforce the anti-Iran armada. All news, there is no more famine, famine has been resolved.

How come?

Well that is the question; it is only the Independent (according to some now partially owned by Saudi players) that gives us (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-civil-independence-south-mahra-aden-saudi-arabia-iran-a9076546.html) the headline ‘The war to start all wars: Inside Yemen’s troubled south‘, an article by Bel Trew, a true Belle gives us the harsh reality of what we are trying not to see. Yet there is disagreement of what I read. As I am introduced to “They talk of a war within a war within another war in a nation already in the grips of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, where 13 million people are currently on the brink of famine“, I see the same words again and again for many months. I believe that the situation is worse, the quote ‘where 13 million people are currently on the brink of famine‘ should actually be ‘hundreds of thousands of Yemeni, mostly children are in and beyond a stage of famine‘, my point of view is supported by data intelligence, signal intelligence and trade craft intelligence. The amount of food getting into Yemen is nowhere near the amount that should be going into Yemen and there are still Houthi clusters taking possession of food and water supplies (or destroying them). It is a lot worse and the media is looking elsewhere for optional debatable facts to publish.

In an age of these transgressions, in a stage where I see that there are no true innocent players, not on the Saudi side, not on their opposing sides, the effort that the UN needed to make is a joke (and a bad one at that). I am not placing blame on Saudi Arabia, I am merely noticing that they cannot be innocent, it is not the same. The initial option for Saudi Arabia would be to set up a refugee camp near Thabhloten. There is a tactical reason. It is 225 Km away from Yemen, there is not strategic goal there and any attack by Houthi forces would be seen as a direct reason for UN forces to open fire on attacking forces. I myself would be willing to brand an Accuracy International .338 and cull the attacking herd myself at that point. It should be a refugee camp, for children and women only; a camp to give medicine and sustenance trying to oppose the famine numbers and get the immediate help going.

It seems like a little, but let us accept no mistake here; that camp would be temporary and would settle close to 700,000 people in the shortest time, a camp offering real help and real relief to a larger part of those in the famine group. Something needs to be done, yet the media is to some extent hiding behind ‘on the brink of famine‘, as I personally see it that point was passed will over three months ago, it is worse and the media looks away for whatever reason. We cannot settle the Yemeni and Syrian issue, but the worst of the two, the Yemeni one can get relief to some extent. I have some degree of certainty that Saudi Arabia would want to be seen as the actual caretaker here, the question becomes do the Yemeni feel the same. I look at this from a Christian point of view, whilst I accept that there is an Islamic view, and it takes precedence here. In that respect the UNHCR gives us:

And if anyone of the disbelievers seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the word of Allah, and then escort him to where he will be secure. (Surah 9:6)

I believe that if this applies to disbelievers, that it equally applies to believers and the goodwill that Saudi Arabia offers in this way is not to be underestimated. When the famine lessens these people would most likely want to get back to Yemen and rebuild their lives, there too Saudi Arabia could steer these people to a better tomorrow, these people have to determine for one’s self what the better stage is, yet I believe that any stage is better than the one they face now, especially as the media is no longer interested in keeping a non-stop view of just how bad the situation is there.

That same paper (at https://www.unhcr.org/en-au/protection/hcdialogue%20/50ab90399/islam-refugees.html) refers to the hijrah, which was a new word for me. It means migration and this is where I am given: “Muhammad’s popularity was seen as threatening by the people in power in Mecca, and Muhammad took his followers on a journey from Mecca to Medina in 622. This journey is called the Hijrah and the event was seen as so important for Islam that 622 is the year in which the Islamic calendar begins“, if this is true than Yemen might start a new Hijrah, a journey for the children and women to travel (transport) from Yemen to Thabhloten, a stop, or perhaps better stated an oasis on the journey to where they end up going. We need to find an actual solution to save as many Yemeni as we can and we need to start with the women and children. We would love it to be in Yemen, yet the Houthi forces as well as the escalations make that no longer an option. The delays and obstructions are too large, the benefit is that other parties can then participate and open fire on anyone firing at these refugees. Houthi forces (the most likely transgressors) would find themselves in a stage of open war against troops that are ready and willing to protect the refugees. Thabhloten cannot be the end destination for that journey, but could allow for actual action against the famine that is now getting more and more ignored. In all this the civil war that is now sprouting in Yemen makes any other option impossible. With UN reports on Cholera outbreaks we need to do more and we need to set the stage where players like doctors without borders have a better stage to do something without getting into direct danger, or ending up in the firing line.

And matters are getting worse. The quote: “But for Elisabeth Kendall, a Yemen expert at Pembroke College Oxford University who travels frequently to the south, the training of separatist groups had “unleashed a force” the UAE may not be able to control” gives us more. You see it is not about the separatists, it is about who is training the separatists. Even as the UAE was preparing the separatists fighting the Houthi forces, we see a stage where old grievances are now a much larger issue, the old issue of north and south Yemen is returning, not a good thing. If these forces are truly in a path to a better Yemen (or better north and south Yemen) than getting the famine out of the equation would be an accepted first for both sides.

Is that actually true?

Well, it is something that I cannot prove, yet the UNHCR gives me: “In Islamic law, all individuals, including non-Muslims, have the right to flee persecution and seek protection in an Islamic community. The provision of refugee assistance is obligatory to people who flee from “injustice, intolerance, physical persecution, disease, or financial insecurity”“, if that is true than all parties would be willing to participate in the dissolution of famine, to set a stage where these people could be treated and protected.

I am merely trying to find an actual solution that would do something for the people in famine, which makes me already a much better person than any media who has been turning away from these events. I am not trying to set blame to any party, merely trying to find a solution where disease and famine might be defeated, it is not a Samaritan choice, it is not a Christian choice, it is a human choice and we are all human, no matter which faith drives us. I learned this lesson in my lifetime, and that makes me (for now) a better person than many others, no matter how much or how little life is left in me.

I always tried to steer a decent course, I stayed true to my nature, I remained creative, humane and a force for the good of others. So whether it is our heavenly father or Allah facing me where I end up being next, I will stand proudly accepting whatever judgment comes for me, I was a decent person. I wonder how many others can truly and honestly make that claim.

 

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In light of faith

We all have faith to some degree, the atheist believes in himself (or herself) and believes in science, the agnostic accepts that there is something more, optionally there is a god (the dyslexic one totally believes in the existence of ‘dog’) and the believers, where do they stand?

I grew up being a Catholic, when the news from the Boston Globe reached the world, we became confused, the matter did not help when we watched the movie Spotlight and got a better view on a global scale just how corrupt the world facilitating to the Catholic Church had become. The 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott did not help the Catholic case either.

Now, we accept that the premise of the movie is not real, but the background is and there is plenty of supporting evidence. The Council of Clermont (November 1095) gives a lot to consider, the words by Pope Urban “a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient” has been accepted as a undisputed truth and for the longest of time (almost a 1000 years), we have been taught from primary school that the Saracens (Arabs) were the great evil, yet after the entire cold war and the Vietnam war, the word by government is no longer readily accepted and as the entire Catholic abuse stage has been evolving over the last decade those believing in something larger are in a internal fight of faith. Even in historic ways our place in the world is debatable. It is shown going back to the Treaty of Clermont 1095, when Georg Strack from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich gives us in his article ‘The Sermon of Urban II in Clermont and the Tradition of Papal Oratory‘ the larger issue: “Since we only have the reports of chroniclers and not the manuscript of the pope himself, each analysis of this address faces a fundamental problem: even the three writers who attended the Council of Clermont recorded three different versions, quite distinctive both in content and style, even there the scribes were all about paraphrasing giving us no clear report, a failing to be sure. Even beyond the Crusades, the Catholic Church has been the driven power to lay waste to dozens of civilisations, eradicating them all.

Fulcher of Chartres

When we look at the very first crusade we see: “a cleric who took part in the First Crusade and was probably present at the council itself. At least he asserts in his prologue that he has recorded only those events which he saw with his own eyes. Even though it has been argued that personal experience was of less importance in crusading chronicles, it is noteworthy that Fulcher explicitly mentions this topos and other sources do not“, in addition to this, we are given “he reports not only a call for the crusade but two speeches by the pope. According to this source, Pope Urban first admonished the clergy and declared the official causae of the council in an opening sermon. Probably on the first day, he addressed the gathered ecclesiastical dignitaries with an ‘eloquent address’ (adlocutio dulciflua) about the necessity of Church reform. Firstly, the pope exhorted the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities. He explained that they were called shepherds and should, therefore, ‘guard on every side of the flock entrusted to them (John 10. 12–13)’” A stage that could be seen in a few ways, but there is a call for the stage where we see the need of ‘the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities‘ and there we see the problem, the nobles pillaged the realm of Saracens to the maximum, there are indications, but no witness reports to the degree we would accept. Yet the stage between 1095 and when Jerusalem was handed to Saladin (An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub) in October 1187 (after a siege that lasted two weeks), was only the beginning, even as the Kingdom of Jerusalem shifted its capital, in the end Saladin took control of Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut, and Ascalon, with only Tyre remaining because of the arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. In all cases those fleeing the cities took whatever of worth they could carry. It also gives more on the status of Balian of Ibelin (played by Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven), even as he was nobility, the Muslims regarded him as a king.

The movie gives a background, yet remains highly fictional, what does come to the foreground is that the pillaging by Christian nobility was almost a given, and the quote: “Crusaders often pillaged as they travelled, and their leaders generally retained control of captured territory rejecting and removing Byzantine control whenever possible. Intolerance of other faiths and traditions increased, particularly with Jews and those considered heretics. Muslims were murdered in their thousands on several occasions, as were non Catholic Christians” all this is now coming to blows in a different way.

Hajj

As we witness the Muslim Pilgrimage (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2HTiOUY8Mc), we become witness to well over 2 million pilgrims, Shia and Sunni Muslims next to one another, one Quran identical for all. One source gives: “Saudi Arabia announced Saturday that the total number of pilgrims reached 2,489,406, increased 117,731 individuals than last year“, it seems to me that we should take a closer look into Islam, not to attack it, but to learn from it. Earlier this year we were able to see the Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast), you can see the event in Mecca (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs8obP4uRa0), showing me more religiously connected people than the Vatican (read Christians) ever showed.

This does not make me a Muslim, but learning more about Islam and Muslims is an essential first. When we can no longer trust the Catholic Church, when we see now over the last two years alone on how the abuse by the clergy was seemingly tolerated up to the highest level, we need to find a balance, we need to learn what faith is, and we need to learn what it is. Even as people like Charles Stanley make speeches like ‘The Stages of Our Faith‘, where we are shown what faith is, but does Charles actually know what it is? When we hear ‘It is clear in the scripture‘, yet it is not, and more precisely, which version? The Catholic and Protestant versions are not the same. When it is followed by ‘Jesus honours faith‘, we wonder if that is true. Even if some person named Jesus of Nazareth stated somewhere between 25AD- 30AD that he honours faith, I wonder how much value it has to the sexual abuse victims his preachers created (in the US way above 100,000) it does not seem to voice and show any level of honouring faith, In Europe these numbers are a lot higher giving us a mountain of victims, in all this how can any person who accepts that the protection of children is a first remain a Christian?

I do not have all the answers; I never claimed to have them. Yet it seems to me that those in doubt of faith need to find their faith. Whilst the Christian documentation has several versions and several relations in a stage of not knowing, it seems to me that a nation like Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj is visited by all Muslims nations, including Iran has something that many cannot ignore, even this year in light of the Iranian – Saudi issues we are given that ‘Iran opens mechanized catering center in Mecca‘, it is seemingly without issues, there is a clear indications that there are no acts against people who are there for their faith, something that we have not seen in the western world ever!

These steps are now more than ever essential, as we have been sold a bag of goods again and again, and as our need for the actual truth increases, we need to start showing which sources are trustworthy and which ones are not.

Two Days Later

Today, several sources give us: ‘Muslim pilgrims pray in Mecca as hajj winds down without incident‘, the quote “Senior officials said there had been no major incidents and the logistical, security and health plans had been successful, even with some heavy rainfall. Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and its organisation of the pilgrimage. It hopes to continue expanding attendance to help to build its tourism industry“, during this event that ends after a week, we find that 88,000 Iranians attended the event. A stage where Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a proxy war, a stage where the mistrust between two nations is great, the 88,000 were able to perform their Hajj without incident. There is something wrong, it is not with them, or with Islam, it is with us and it is time that we start recognising it.

The heretic burnings in the UK (1532), the Protestant & Catholic wars in Ireland (up to the late 70’s) are two of the most visible ones, then there was the Spanish Inquisition (not the Monty Python edition) and the list goes on, versions of the same faith trying to remove the other ones, this in opposition with the versions of Islam where they all use the same Quran and as we see that they all pray side by side, no fighting. We need to take example from this, in a stage where Christians are more and more regarded as the violent ones, where we see how the Catholic church was given reprieve again and again, protecting a quoted 7% of all Catholic priests being involved in the act of sexual abuse, we need to start accepting that not only can we no longer tolerate Islam phobia, we need to start learning the simple truth that the Islam is not the evil here. We see all the humanitarian shouting is out of balance, the equal silence form these people as loud outrage is absent whilst thousands of children were sodomised is equally astounding. That evidence was shown on August 8th 2019 with the headline: ‘Paul Muschick: One year after explosive Catholic Church investigation in Pennsylvania: 300 priests, 1,000 victims, no state action‘, what do you do when you wake up in the morning, only to realise that we are the evil supporters? How would an American react when he/she is woken up in 1947, only to be told that they actively supported Nazi Germany? Is that offensive? It better be, because this is worse. We have instigated and supported a form of government and jurisprudence that refuses to prosecute a criminal clergy, whilst a homosexual population in America is prosecuted and vilified without evidence.

We as a people, we as Christians have failed humanity and we need to accept that and live with the evil that we created. Yet do not take my word on this, find out yourself and consider one source (from TEDx) which discusses ‘What I Learned by Converting from Christianity to Islam‘ (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1yKKGchRcc), a small 11 minute video that might open your eyes.

 

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Beirut Graffiti

Yes, Beirut tends to rely on Graffiti at times. One could argue that this is the place that got the reputation that things happen, where the writing is on the wall. The city of Beirut, which was once part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, (around 300,000 days ago) with a border to the county of Tripoli to the north is now in a repeated dangerous position. The placement as well as the situation is very apt and very applicable. You see, as the situation evolved in 1198, ‘Duke Henry of Brabant their commander and the crusaders proceeded to Tyre, initiating a campaign to expel the Muslims from Beirut and to subject the Levant coast up to Tripoli‘, it made for the change where King Amalric of Cyprus became King of Jerusalem, yet that was not the end of the story. 16 years later the impact is seen in other ways. As German troops under Archchancellor Conrad of Mainz and Marshal Henry of Kalden were not accepted, the troops ended up going to other places, seeking other alliances. 12,000 to 15,000 men; mostly disbanded and most did not end up going back, they stayed in Crusader territory, Acre, Jaffa, and Caesarea. The events seem trivial, but they are not. It is because of that event that the Battle of Bouvines those 16 years later and optionally a generation later was a speculated direct cause where 5,000 French infantry were able to do in 7500 German infantry. Even as Germany had up to 200 additional knights close to 200 knights were killed, over 100 captured (for Ransom most likely) with a large chunk of the Brabantine infantry slaughtered. The 3rd Crusade had a larger impact than most saw.

Yet how does that relate to today?

Well, the setting is similar, As Palestine could not contain their Hezbollah troops, their allegiance to Iran now has a much larger cost that is coming to bear. The Jerusalem Post reports: ‘Palestinians in bid to avert ‘real crisis’ with Saudi Arabia‘, and it seems that “the Saudis are not responding to Palestinian requests to arrange such a visit”, well, is that not a big surprise? No it is not, it is the direct cost of doing business and facilitating to Iran is about to cost Palestine more than they are willing to admit to.

So when I see: ““We’re in the midst of a real crisis with Saudi Arabia,” a PA official told The Jerusalem Post. “They seem to be very angry with us”” (at https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Palestinians-in-bid-to-avert-real-crisis-with-Saudi-Arabia-597538), I wonder if they had ever considered muzzling Hezbollah? We see more escalations with: “The assault on July 23 by Palestinians on a Saudi blogger during a visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount has further aggravated tensions between Ramallah and Riyadh. The blogger, Mohammed Saud, was part of an Arab journalist delegation invited by the Foreign Ministry to visit Israel“, yet the interference where Hezbollah facilitated for Houthi troops by firing on Saudi Arabia is largely left untouched by the Jerusalem Post, why was that?

Did Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not realise that facilitating to the Iranian proxy war would bite them at some point? Why on earth would the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia facilitate to any Palestinian needs? Palestine is now willing to talk as Iran is about to drop them like a bad habit? The attacks by Israel on Iran is also an initial indication that Iran is pulling back on all fronts to be ready for what comes next and some would argue that this leaves Palestine deservingly out in the cold. It is at that point that we see Rawafed bin Saeed, a Saudi national who described himself as a poet, author and journalist making the claim “Why don’t the Palestinians demonstrate against Iran, Hezbollah and Turkey?” and that claim leads to larger issues. Palestine made the largest mistake by becoming the tool of Iran and now that the issue is spawning a larger concern, Palestine is worried, because they wrongfully thought it would all blow over and it seems that Saudi Arabia does not agree with that point of view. So when we see: “Scores of videos and comments ridiculing the Saudis and denouncing the royal family as “traitors” and “puppets” in the hands of the US and Israel have filled Facebook and Twitter in the past few months“, we should see a larger issue, it is seen in one word that is linked to it all. The word ‘smear campaign‘, implies orchestration and more than merely the voices of individuals, that in light of the Facebook revelation a little more than two days ago where we were treated to ‘Facebook bans ‘Saudi Arabia-linked propaganda accounts’‘ implies (implies set to speculation) gives light that Palestinians voices are optionally not silenced and now we see half-baked censoring becoming a larger issue. If Palestinian smear campaigns were not muzzled, we see an imbalance fuelling the anger of Saudi Arabia and that becomes a larger issue soon enough. So when we see the quote: “There’s a feeling that things are quickly spiralling out of control. If we don’t fix the situation, the Palestinians in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries will pay a heavy price“, did Hezbollah not advice Palestinians to move to Iran as fast as possible? You cannot facilitate to another party in a proxy war and think that the rest remains the same.

I find the idea that “the Palestinian Authority is considering dispatching a senior delegation to Riyadh for urgent talks with members of the Saudi royal family and government officials on ways to avert a further deterioration” slightly delusional. You cannot back Hezbollah and allow them to be Iranian tools and then accept that Saudi Arabia remains nice, the Palestinians allowed for the deterioration and the rising of pressures. Now that Houthi forces are a larger problem, moving out comes with a price and as such the larger deterioration that we see where Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE will turn on Palestine and Iran to a much larger degree is a mere consequence of proxy wars. Even as we see the impact of what some called ‘ordinary Saudi and Palestinians‘, the link to ‘smear campaign‘ implies levels of support and I am perfectly willing that both sides as engaged in this, yet the technology sector has decided to move against Saudi Arabia, whilst there is little support that Palestinian voices are censored to a similar degree. It changes the balance of the seesaw and now we see a larger discontent on all levels. It is at that point where we see that “Saudis opposed to normalization with Israel have come out against the Palestinians” has a different tune, just as there was an impact in the crusades due to the Arch chancellor Conrad of Mainz and Marshal Henry of Kalden, in similar steps Palestinian acts are no longer accepted by more players than just Israel and now they have a problem, and one might voice: ‘and rightfully so’, just like the Germans learned the hard way in the Crusades, Palestine will soon face a larger issue as Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel optionally close all taps that fill the cups of opportunity, it is merely the impact of actions and now that more nations demand actions against Hezbollah, Palestine is now with their back against the wall and their earlier claims and disregard will now lead to loss of options and talking parties, the talking parties that they desperately need, and as Iran is pushed, they will hang a ‘do not disturb‘ sign on their embassies and talking partners. That part is growing and as the NY Times reported on ‘sanctions on Wafiq Safa, Muhammad Hasan Ra’d, and Amin Sherri’, the state of Hezbollah support to Iran is now starting to cost them a lot more and Palestine gets to learn this the hard way, all the talking partners are stepping back and soon enough they will face the lack of discussions through Moscow as well, as far as all can tell, a Hezbollah tainting is giving the tainted a global disadvantage, I always expected it to happen, but with the Saudi tensions the upcoming problems to Palestine are a lot closer than I expected them to be.

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Sexual abuse is apparently fine

The Washington Post gives us the news one hour ago. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/private-letters-indicate-the-vatican-imposed-but-didnt-enforce-restrictions-on-former-cardinal-mccarrick/2019/05/28/dc3ca440-814f-11e9-b585-e36b16a531aa_story.html) gives us: ‘Private letters indicate the Vatican imposed, but didn’t enforce, restrictions on former cardinal McCarrick‘, the setting here is that “an aide to former cardinal Theodore McCarrick released excerpts from emails and letters laying out how the Vatican tried to quietly sanction McCarrick years before he was defrocked for sexual abuse“, so this was not in the short run, this is not a small matter, the Washington Post has additional articles on this in 2018, and it gets to be worse when we consider that clerical abuse expert Richard Sipe published excerpts from the 2005 and 2007 settlement documents in 2010. Yet I am still in another phase. You see most of us got the wakeup call through the movie Spotlight (2016), we had heard rumours left, right and chapels, but the fact on just how big and large the problem is has not made it to mainstream media to the degree that it should had. How can I as a Catholic, remain Catholic when I am confronted with: “send reported abusers for mental health counseling; reassign them to pastoral work regardless of what a professional recommends (i.e. restriction of access to minors); allow them to work again unsupervised; wait for another report of offence; repeat the cycle; cover it all up“, which we got from Richard Sipe in May 2010. And it gets worse when you consider: “The trouble is that it is sealed within the system. Few of the seminarian/priest victims will talk on record. They have everything to lose. Sexually active priests who have no intention of being celibate do everything to cover their tracks“, so according to the release evidence (excerpts from court cases) and the amounts settled was a lot; basically, all the funds that the people hand over for charity, for the church, for the needy. From that amount around $4 billion regarding cases that go back up to 35 years, the largest amount $600 million regarding 221 priests to dress the wounds of well over 500 victims. Whilst none of these clerics are in prison, these people give us lectures on humanitarian aid and the suffering in places like Saudi Arabia? How hypocrite can we get?

So as Newsweek, who was the source gave us one part, they also gave us BishopAccountability, who is actively ‘documenting the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church‘ give us the additional “We document settlements involving 5,679 persons who allege sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. These survivors are only one-third of the 15,235 allegations that the bishops say they have received through 2009, and they are only 5% of the 100,000 U.S. victims“, the realisation that this is from the last 10 years and that it involves over 15,000 allegations, as i see it a large prison holding up to 25,000 priests called ‘Concilium Vaticanum locum seorsum‘ (Vatican Isolation Location) is required, build at the expense of, as well as funded by the Vatican. I reckon that in the end it is a cheaper way to resolve the issue, when we set these beasts in prison for 5-15 years, things might look up. How acceptable do you find the notion of: “wait for another report of offence; repeat the cycle; cover it all up“? How will you see this when it involves your child or a relative you were close to?

In all this the lamest of all reasons is seen with: Adult men make less instantly sympathetic victims than children, and the alleged incidents involving McCarrick are less headline-grabbingly horrifying“, so why is the DA not doing his/her job? Crimes were committed, hundreds of times, over and over again, yet we see no convictions, we see no culling of the acts by these priest. When you see all the evidence stack up with a failing to convict and as I see it: “before the 88-year-old simply passes away in seclusion“, is not a verdict or punishment, it is merely a stage of house arrest with optional benefits.

The only thing it does is leave us with the clarity that ‘abuse is fine‘, which is weird, because I know it to be 100% wrong, so why are people sitting on their hands? Why are people trivialising the fact that globally thousands of victims were created and the Catholic Church did next to nothing? At present there are 22 US senators who are Catholic, and how many of them have been active towards the prosecution of these clerics?

Even as lawmakers have passed a bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of Confession, we see in the Catholic sun that Archbishop José H. Gómez, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was “deeply disappointed”, which we cannot accept, that feeling of disappointment is a mere 15,235 allegations too late, a stage where we see that there are up to 15,235 victims in the US alone and for the longest time priests would cover for one another and more upsetting higher elements in the Church were part of the cover-up. It is when we consider the CruxNow (at https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/08/24/what-new-jersey-bishops-now-retired-knew-about-mccarrick-settlements/) and we take notice of “The Metuchen Diocese made settlements of $53,333 and $100,000, where one (2006) was regarding a former priest who said he had been abused by McCarrick and others. This priest submitted the first known written complaint about McCarrick“, this puts Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski in the firing line, yet we also acknowledge that he also reported the offenses to law enforcement, yet what actions were taken are not known to me at present. Yet this indicates that at least a Cardinal or higher had to be aware of it as early as 2006, giving us 13 years of danger to more victims. However, to get back to Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski, you see Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington was never informed of the settlements according to the Catholic News agency. It gives questions when we read: “Cardinal Wuerl said last week that he was never informed that those settlements had been reached“, it leaves the actions of Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski open for debate and investigation. The fact that Richard Sipe personally wrote a letter to Benedict XVI in 2008 stating the hazard that is Theodore Edgar McCarrick (source: New York times, 2018) supports the view that the events were known in the very top of the Vatican, and as such, how can we remain comfortable as Catholics? I certainly do not feel comfortable at all.

When we realise that the Vatican was informed again in 2000 and 2006, yet in the end nothing was done for decades, that is the larger evil in all this and it is right there within the Vatican. The fact that according to news that McCarrick lives currently at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas and not in prison is really beyond me, the fact that the Washington Post gave us three hours ago that the Vatican imposed restrictions, but did not enforce them (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/private-letters-indicate-the-vatican-imposed-but-didnt-enforce-restrictions-on-former-cardinal-mccarrick/2019/05/28/dc3ca440-814f-11e9-b585-e36b16a531aa_story.html), gives rise to additional issues on several levels, yet if there is hope to be seen it does not come from the very top, but from the other side as Rev. Anthony Figueiredo, it is also in that article that we are made aware of “Cardinal Wuerl has previously stated — and he reiterates again — that he was not aware of any imposition of sanctions or restrictions related to any claim of abuse or inappropriate activity by Theodore McCarrick“, this ‘revelation’ is not about Cardinal Wuerl but on Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski, consider where McCarrick went, what kind of a danger he would optionally be to the people there; it is my personal view that the bishop created a dangerous place of intentional harm by keeping quiet, how Christian is that? How Christian are we when we merely accept that there is no prosecution to a lot more members of the clergy?

When we see: ‘Why ‘moderate’ Muslims need to speak loudly against terror‘, yet we also see that we do nothing against the Vatican on these transgressions, where is the greater evil, in the Vatican or in Mecca? Most Christians would consider Mecca to be ‘evil’ yet as we allow for the Vatican transgressions, can we even tell what evil is and what it looks like?

In the 80’s I knew what evil was and what it looked like. I felt like a proud Catholic going up against the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Today I am still against the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah, yet from those days I am not certain that my mind was playing for the right team, as such my mind wanders all over the place. What do you do when you learn after half a century that would have played for the wrong team? I know that Christians were never innocent, there is plenty of evidence that they wiped at least 17 civilisations from existence, the fact that Catholics are optionally to be seen as an internal cancer that is destroying itself from within is far more dangerous. If we are here to give rise to a better soul and the messenger cannot be trusted to protect our soul, where are we left?

If sexual abuse is fine, and we are no longer able to tell the falsehood of that, how doomed are we really? It is at this point that I recollect (in reality I searched for this) the Quran, specifically Taha 20:102: “The Day when the trumpet shall be blown, and on that day we shall gather the sinners together, blue-eyed (- the spiritually blind ones)“, to be honest ever since I saw Spotlight (2016) I have felt like a blind man, when you fear the people you would easily trust, how deep is the trouble that Christians face and how utterly wrongful has the Vatican reacted to all this, and how many more mistakes will they willingly make to let it all go away under cover of denial, settlement and ignorance towards the victims that they created?

I wonder if we learn the truth of that in time, all of us.

 

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Questions on coming events

I have spoken out in favour of Saudi Arabia and the issues that were thrown at them. Yet, I too look at issues from all optional sides (or at least try to do so). So when I saw Al Jazeera give us (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/saudi-arabia-execute-scholars-ramadan-report-190521165816192.html) ‘Saudi Arabia to execute three scholars after Ramadan: report‘ I started to wonder what was going on. You see, I am a Christian (Catholic), as such I am currently trying to comprehend the Muslim state of mind to a much greater degree as I refuse to give in to Islamophobia.

And as I see: “Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari to be sentenced to death by Riyadh” I wonder why this is, as such my first issue was to look at who these people are.

Sheikh Salman al-Awdah

NBC News (at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/saudi-cleric-salman-al-awda-called-reform-now-he-s-n840916) gives us ‘Saudi cleric Salman al-Awda called for reform. Now he’s in solitary confinement‘, and I will get back to that. It is YouTube blogger NasirAlHanbali who gives us: “Look ant take into consideration that it is permissible for the Muslim ruler to incarcerate specific people or individuals if he sees that they are corrupting the lands and the Muslims“, yet that is not what NBS News gives us. they give us: “He has since called for greater democracy and social reform, and publicly denounced extremist violence. He has also been quoted as saying that gay people should not be punished — a remarkable statement for a Muslim cleric in a country where homosexuality is still punishable by death.” in this instance we see that Muslim law is not accepting homosexuality and as such it could be seen as ‘corrupting the Muslims‘, I am not stating that this is so, I am merely extrapolating the voices that publish and trying to understand the situation. So as I read (my Arabic knowledge is absolute nil) “it is permissible for the ruler to halt them or punish them with any type of punishment that has come in the book and the Sunnah. so then this ruling has come in the book of Allah and the Sunnah of his prophet“, in first 41 seconds NasirAlHanbali gave insight and some clarity on how things seemingly are (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOo9T1a0UqY), for all its good and decent reporting, the NBC gave a view on events that never explained the actions that lead to the implied death penalty as Al Jazeera gave the readers.

We can fight Islamophobia in two ways, through grandiose actions on how great Islam is, yet if we do not comprehend the actions as many grew up not being Muslim, we fall short because the media is not explaining matters, merely fitting what we call ‘Christian humanitarian values‘ in a setting that is not Christian. Sun Tzu taught the proper reader ‘Understand your enemy‘, this applies to many settings when we use Sun Tzu (and optionally The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli into ‘Comprehend the other party‘ (read: the other person). We always seem to tell others to adjust, but when was the last time that YOU adjusted your views and standards to understand the actions of other people? The video of NasirAlHanbali gives a lot more, most of it towards the interpretation of ‘Speech of falsehood‘, it is a trip into secularism, which goes too deep for me at this point, but for some it is an interesting view into learning more of a Muslim way of thinking. I particularly liked that he speaker was not merely droning Islam verses. The man gives view on what happened, what is stated as events and explains to the audience on why this should be regarded as wrong. We might not agree as non-Muslims, but it is their right to have their point of view and he brings the view in decent clarity (as I personally see it). The speaker also speaks out to the partnership with Sufi Islamic preacher Habib Ali al-Jifri, a man who seemingly polarises some views. I have even seen a Facebook comment stating: “I genuinely feel embarrassed for Habib Ali Jifri and his followers“, I did not understand the reason and that is part of the issue. There is a lot we do not understand and still we judge others by our ‘rules and values’ on how wrong ‘their view’ is.

Awad al-Qarni

The second name is one of controversy in a few ways. As we learn that he published several books, one is stated to be very similar to a 1948 publication of “Dale Carnegie,’How to Stop Worrying and Start Living‘, 1948“, as well as “Don’t despair” published in 2011 and is found to be a 90% copy of “Salwa Al-Ódaidan,’Thus overcame despair‘,2007“, he was found guilty of plagiarism and the book was withdrawn, in addition he had to pay for compensation to the original writer (at https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2019/5/10/%D8%B3%D9%84%D9%88%D9%89-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B6%D9%8A%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%B6-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%B1%D9%86%D9%8A). In light of plagiarism, it is odd to see him lecturing at Western Mindanao State University on March 1st 2016 when he got injured. And as Gulf News gave us only this month: “he says that after reading interpretations of the Qur’an by classical scholars, after travelling to “40 countries” and having “read thousands of books“, as well as meeting intellectuals, religious scholars and poets, he now embraces the reformist Islam of crown-prince Mohammad bin Salman“, this now interacts with the previous part. We can do the 40 countries trip easily enough, yet the thousands of books take a lifetime, we see a scholar approaching western ’embossing’ of values, or perhaps better states, we optionally see the application of ‘Speech of falsehood‘ in another way. When we realise that his hard-line views were televised a mere 9 years ago (at https://www.memri.org/tv/saudi-cleric-awadh-al-qarni-fighting-jews-religious-islamic-duty) on Al-Resala TV. Also in light of what had transpired, to see Al Jazeera refer to Awad al-Qarni as a ‘academic and author‘ whilst we see at least one convicted case of plagiarism is also cause for debate on what sets him as an academic and more debatable an author here.

Ali al-Omari

There is very little I have at present; from all sources he is a popular Sunni cleric. Even as we see: “a famous Saudi public figure and cleric whose TV shows have called for more rights for women and campaigned against violent extremism. His TV and social media appearances, particularly on Snapchat, have gained him a large following among young Muslims across the Arab world“, it calls towards the initial YouTube part, it calls towards what some call the ‘speech of falsehood’, this is pure speculation on my side (I happily admit to that), Ali al-Omari is also a member of an organisation that the Saudi government labels ‘a terrorist organisation’, I cannot tell whether that is true or not, but in light of all the American actions against who they call ‘terrorists’ I would like to see more evidence before I cast my vote one way or another.

Even as the Saudi Public Prosecutor brought more than 30 charges against him, there is no way to tell how these stack up (I have no access to these papers), still 30 charges is a lot and even as the US convicted Huawei without evidence, I think we need to see the charges and evidence before we give a non-Muslim view to a sovereign state. The Middle East eye (at https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudi-arabia-seeks-death-penalty-cleric-ali-al-omari) gave me most information, yet it is not my only source.

In the end there is a lot we do not get, but in the NBC article we see one part that does strike a chord for our way of thinking. It comes from Michael Stephens, research fellow for the Middle East at London’s RUSI think tank. As we see: “It is an assertion of power”, as well as “It is only reform if it is reform in MBS’s image“, is that not a truth and when we realise that MBS, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, is indeed the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and future ruler of Saudi Arabia when his uncle Salman of Saudi Arabia, the current King of Saudi Arabia passes away.

We see the truth. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, it is ruled by the Royal Al Saud family and the future of Saudi Arabia is theirs to guide, is any opposition not treason? Saudi Arabia is not a republic with 10,000 voices; it is a monarchy with a family in charge, not unlike the Monarchy of Great Britain, the Monarchy of the Netherlands or the Monarchy of Sweden. The big difference between one and the others is that Saudi Arabia has set their rule not to their family needs (partially debatable), but to the Quran and Islam, they even state that on their flag: ‘There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of God‘, it is there plain and simple, it was never ever hidden, we tend to forget these parts of the equation a little too often.

I wonder why!

 

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The aid package

People on a global scale, no matter what religion they preach, they have an inherent need for humanitarian action. It shows that people remain people, they have feelings and emotion. Especially now, in the Muslim month of Ramadan, which according to the Britannica is “a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the pillars of Islam (the five basic tenets of the Muslim religion). Although ṣawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan, it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts.” Yet Time.com (as well as other sources give us: “Muslims believe that following these practices during Ramadan will lead to self-purification, self-control and bring them closer to Allah. Many Muslims also attend special prayer services, read verses of the Quran and engage in charity“, these are words I read before in other places. Yet it is here that we see the questions rise. First is Qatar with ‘Qatar to send $480m to help Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/07/qatar-send-480m-help-palestinians-west-bank-gaza-israel-ceasefire), this sounds all on the up and up, and I have no reason to give doubt here, and with “Qatar’s foreign ministry said $300m would go towards supporting health and education programmes of the Palestinian Authority, while $180m would go toward urgent humanitarian relief, UN programmes and providing electricity” we see this reinforced. Yet the article also gives us: “Although Qatar does not give money directly to Hamas, its support since 2012, totalling $755m, has been a vital lifeline for the cash-strapped group, relieving it from having to fund civilian and infrastructure projects“, which now brings to bare the issue of other funding as Hamas was able to afford missile barrage after missile barrage. I am not placing blame on Qatar, or other Islamic charities, but I am left with the thought. If you give any junkie money for food, and he then uses his other funds to buy drugs because the junkie knows that he will get the charity for food, are we as a people inflicting harm and additional hardship on the junkie? It makes me reflect on the act through ‘refrain from all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts‘. It also gives rise to the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48147066) where we see: ‘Taliban rejects calls for Ramadan truce in Afghanistan‘, and as we are given: “President Ashraf Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”. But the Taliban rejected the call and accused members of being government allies.” does the month of Ramadan allow for this? If not, does that make them bad Muslims? I am not stating it, I am asking this.

Why is this so important?

To comprehend certain parts of Islam we need to dive deeper in what we do not know and even if there is no direct requirement to know what the Taliban does (most of us do not care), the news has been giving us other versions. The Express (at https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1122649/isis-news-latest-terror-france-jihadist-police-elysee-palace) gives us that the French stopped an ISIS attack. With ‘ISIS planned ‘violent’ attack on French palace say police‘ we see “According to AFP, the suspects had several targets, the unnamed source said, but their overall objective was to launch an attack on security forces, namely those “standing guard outside the Elysée Palace”. The men, arrested last Friday on suspicion of acquiring weapons “with a view to committing a terrorist act” are currently in provisional detention and awaiting trial. The would-be terrorists, who had been under police surveillance since early February, were spotted outside the Elysée Palace in central Paris on a reconnaissance mission shortly before their arrest“, whilst the Malayan version of the Daily Express (at http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/134811/no-hate-speech-during-ramadan-mosques-told/) gives us ‘No hate speech during Ramadan, mosques told‘, as well as “We will act firmly the actions of labelling a person as deviant and calling others infidels because mosques must be free from political party ideologies. “We must guard our mouths from uttering slander during Ramadan because it can create numerous problems which can break up families,’’ he told a media conference after launching a Let’s Celebrate Ramadan programme in the compound of the Kerian district mosque, here, Saturday.” An American might trivialise it as seeing someone from ISIS as a fake Muslim, I merely wonder on the application to Islam and Muslim faith in this case.

It is also increased pressure on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We read (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1494481/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi Civil Defense announces Ramadan security measures‘, these people under the guidance of Brig. Abdullah Al-Qurashi, director of Civil Defence in Makkah are prepared through 38 fixed civil defence centres, supported by 24 seasonal centres, in addition to 27 intervention points and 30 civil defence posts stationed in The Grand Mosque in Makkah to provide aid and assistance to pilgrims. And when you think that this is a lot, consider that the mataf area would accommodate more than 107,000 people per hour, there will be 500,000 headsets for worshippers getting access to 10 languages of the 679 lessons and lectures that are to be delivered during Ramadan. I have seen a few Christian places, I have been to Lourdes, yet I have a problem trying to comprehend the concept of 100,000 people an hour. It amounts to the entire population of Adelaide (Australia), Birmingham (UK), Dallas (US) or Calgary (CA) EVERY day for a month. For the pilgrims this has not gone unnoticed, as there was high praise for the king, government and local authorities from pilgrims from as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan, with many thousands of Muslims traveling from across the world to Saudi Arabia to attend prayers at the mosque during Ramadan. Yet a lot of this is merely seen in the Arab News and Gulf News, even as plenty of respectable papers give light to this, we see a movement as the number of respectable papers is winding down, so is the amount of information given to non-Muslims. The Sydney Morning Herald also gives us: “just as Christian holy seasons such as Christmas and Easter have become commercialised, Ramadan is increasingly associated with night-time festivities and binge eating. While, traditionally, the fasting day ends with a feast, in modern times people often attend Ramadan events at hotels and restaurants and, combined with the lower activity of fasting days, can even find themselves gaining weight during the holy month“, which is fair enough and not to be seen in a negative light, I found the images from the Four Seasons hotel lightly overwhelming, almost like a Victorian Christmas diner setup. For me, the entire issue is not an issue, although I see (read: expect additional) danger of not drinking water during the day a health issue (from my non-medical view), the Sydney Morning Herald reinforced that with: “In the Gulf states, a spike in attendances at hospitals has been reported, with problems ranging from dehydration to uncontrolled diabetes, as well as injuries from traffic accidents attributed to drowsiness“.

Errors in thinking

The first thing I accept is that I am looking at Muslim matters with a Christian eye, that is my background and I know that if I wonder about things plenty of others got at that point long before me, it is the educational part that remains lagging for me, I am not a Muslim, yet at the same moment, the image and message from one, whilst we see issues handed to us in opposition. One such view was given to me from Kuwait by Al Waqyan, in a nation that is 99% Muslim. There I was given ‘Kuwaiti journalist criticizes ban on ‘public eating’ during Ramadan‘. Now, from a Christian point I would agree, yet knowing that 99% of that nation is either fasting or trying to fast, would his view not allow for a larger pressure on those fasting? Perhaps the old movie example where a prisoner in the age of the crusades are watching the jailer just outside of reach have a large feast whilst the prisoners are begging for food. Would it not be cruel and unusual punishment to be faced with a large meal when a person should be fasting? I understand that there are conditions when a person cannot fast, yet is it too much to ask for that person to do it in private or not in view of other people?

I found the fact that there is a level of polarisation interesting, not because of what I believe, but the fact that it is in a stage where all the contestants are seemingly Muslim. I would personally be on the side of: “some believe it’s appropriate to apply it in Muslim majority countries“, there are plenty of moments when no one can see anything and having a quick sip of water then would be acceptable. It is perhaps the only part that I see happen, there is absolutely no situation where a person should be able to eat in public view anywhere, not when a person could be at home to have a bite to eat.

The opportunity

This is where we see the opportunity, when we are given ‘Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry launches new interactive portal‘, we see the place that gives us (at present) “The new portal will provide more than 30 services for pilgrims, available in Arabic, English and French, with an average of 55 pages per language. Four more languages will be added in the near future.” Most people, especially 100% of the pilgrims will see this as an excellent idea and it is. What it allows for is a much larger option; it could become a start for non-Muslims to learn more about Islam, to learn more on what is unknown. When we consider that optionally in western languages there are ‘the 679 lessons and lectures‘ that shows the spirit of Islam in the stage where it is all about the season of inner reflection, forgiveness and spiritual renewal. As such the sacred month of Ramadan might open a moment to introduce to those unaware of Islam the resources that allow us to oppose Islamophobia as well as diminish the options that anti Islamist groups like pagida and others are growing all over Western Europe, the US and the Commonwealth nations. I personally believe that education is a first step in diminishing the powers that they have. It does not requires us to become Muslim, it does not require us to agree, but at least we will be properly educated and informed and history has shown that this is a first step in slowing down and stopping the haters, and that is never ever a bad thing. Knowledge can be an exemplary aid package, it is time we all used that option to the fullest.

 

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Education off the grid

We have been watching all the impacts (250 from the west bank) and a few impacts (by the Israeli air force, but when we look outside the things the media wants you to notice and the side that they want to give to you for emotional impact. We see that there is a side that we are not made aware off, or being made aware of a little as possible. In light of all we see this is a much larger issue than you think. If you are to go beyond the sides you need to go, if you want to grow in any way, you need to reach out and start looking at things that are not usually seen.

It is a form of ‘off the grid’ education. Now, this can be done with almost every subject. There are millions of eager students when it is about biology (reproduction and fornication), and there are plenty of people when it comes to science experiments that are cool, and actually give additional respect to the creator of the golf ball. In this first example let’s look at SmarterEveryDay (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT0wx27J9xs), I will not tell you too much, because what you see is pretty amazing and in this episode he gets assistance from Mark Rober, an engineer, who is as daft as a door nail (in a good way), which is probably why he ended up being the perfect fit for NASA. And as the video shows that manpower did not do the trick, they decided to let Mark make them a rocket powered golf club (for real), it is like watching roadrunner come to life and whilst there was no obvious Wile. E. Coyote swinging the club, the results are there to be seen. We see the engineer (Overconfidentii vulgaris) take a swing at records and watch the movie to see how they go at that in test 3, it will stay with you for a long time. Long before the end of the movie, I ended up having massive respect for the golf ball and the person who invented it. The YouTube video is playful and still extremely informative and educational in an area where I had a little knowledge.

Yet is it not about Mark Rober or SmarterEveryDay (even though you should check them out). It is about learning and in this specific case learning more about culture. I have been learning more about Islam and Saudi Arabia, mostly because the large 5G opportunities will be there over the next few years and I never shy away from a challenge. Yet, as a Christian in a Muslim nation you have little options and more important, there is every risk of a person unintentional insulting the wrong person, it is a danger not unlike someone from western Europe going into Japan and thinking he can present his PowerPoint at a CEO thinking that his sense of humour get him the deal. Even in Europe, I once witnessed a large deal going sour because the person slipped up and accidentally said ‘pour toi‘ instead of ‘pour vouz‘, it translates exactly the same, but mixing up the formal and informal is a dangerous step to do in any condition.

So I started to become a lot more Islam aware. This gets us to the entire issue at hand that Gulf News gave me (at https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/saudi/saudi-arabia-has-most-beautiful-ramadan-experience-1.63611502). Most people know about Ramadan, we hear it around us in Muslim areas that observe it. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. I also learned that Ramadan is a lot more strict in Saudi Arabia and if caught in public eating and or drinking during the day there are indeed harsh punishments, including flogging, imprisonment and, for foreigners, deportation. So there is your step to get a chance at great fortune and you get put on the next plane to London because you had a drink in public when the sun was up.

A lot of that was unknown to me; I have had almost no exposure to that knowledge. I was amazed how little exposure to Muslim culture I seemingly had as a Christian. From my point of view, accepting that there are Muslims around me is one thing, to remain ignorant of any of the cultural issues is just stupid. Australia is not a Muslim nation, the United Kingdom is not a Muslim nation and neither is the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Sweden and so on, does that mean we need to remain ignorant of other cultures?

So as I took in ‘Saudi Arabia has most beautiful Ramadan experience‘, I became curious as I knew that Muslims have a month of fasting, but that fasting was a ‘beautiful experience’ was a new label to see. The reality is that I am almost a real seal (I have a coat of blubber to protect me from the arctic cold). The quote “Gulf News spoke with expatriates who have experienced Ramadan in the kingdom and are now missing the infectious festive spirit in their home country” was interesting as I never saw fasting as a moment to rejoice, or as something beautiful. So as I was introduced to “The Ramadan vibe is almost non-existent in London. It’s so difficult to maintain the spiritual mindset that one usually tries to adapt during the holy month because of the busy hustle of London life. The fasting hours are long and coupled with the regular school routine, it’s also draining. There’s a rush to finish work, to finish eating, to reach night prayers and then get up again at the crack of dawn to resume work,” that did not make sense to me. You see there are close to 700,000 Muslims in London, it boils down to roughly 13.1% of the London population, as such there should be a decent Ramadan population, if we believe is freedom of religion, should that not matter? If we see that places in Burwood Australia (decent sized Muslim group) banks on the Ramadan event in their shop, it makes no sense that London is so largely absent of it. And let’s face it, should we feel threatened by such an event?

In the Netherlands the newspapers are full of extra protection of Mosques, yet almost nothing on the religious impact and reason for Ramadan, merely “extra attention and vigil is kept at the Mosques after the events in Christchurch“. Even as we see that acts are claimed by Pegida, we see little action to aid in lowering fear and tension to the Muslims visiting mosques. So as the reach of Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) is now clearly in the Netherlands as well, we see an absence of cultural education to the people at large via media and newspapers. As we see the party created by Lutz Bachmann giving us: “Pegida believes that Germany is being increasingly Islamicized and defines itself in opposition to Islamic extremism.” we see too large a lack of countering anti-Muslim events. I believe that educating the people is a first. As a Catholic, I need not be anti-Muslim; we do not need to be anti-Muslim culture driven people. I find it hypocrite in the extreme of those claiming to be Christians, being nothing more than hooligans and criminals, people that often not having seen the inside of a church more than 4 times a year feeling threatened by a Muslim holding a Quran. In my personal view that speaks more about their lack of faith than the implied intention of a Muslim. I believe that fear is negated by information and education, when the ignorant are seeing that culture and cultural knowledge is a positive thing, they will learn more and see that there is no fear but the fear that grows within the part of you that does not know.

In the end it is up to you what you do, I am not telling you do read it all and follow it all, I am merely asking you to consider not to turn away when the information and knowledge is offered to you. We all accept that people like Mark Rober and the people behind SmarterEveryDay make knowledge (read: science) more fun to watch, it is at times harder to find that motivation when it is cultural or sometimes even religiously based, yet that does not make for an event that is less informative. Consider that Saudi Arabia is in a stage where $1.2 trillion is spend on construction and infrastructure, would it hurt to know more so that you have an option to make some serious cash? And it is not just Saudi Arabia (they are the biggest though), together with the UAE and Qatar they represent opportunities that are well over 600% of what the US and the UK combined are doing over the next decade. Cultural ignorance is but one, yet optionally the largest hindrance to connect to these opportunities. I am not stating that acquiring knowledge needs to be profit based; I have however seen over the decades that this motivates a lot more people, so should I avoid such an obvious selling technique? To be honest, I should not take that step, yet as anti-Muslim sentiments are flaring up on a global scale, upping the ante in all this is a valid point with the hopeful result to lower tensions (I might be up for the Nobel peace prize if I achieve the impossible here).

To get the smallest view, we (non-Muslims) will appreciate the evening meal that is enjoyed by the people during Ramadan (after sunset). The movie (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ev1OLMgrbo) gives a mere glimpse not only on the preparation of the meal; the end shows how thousands are enjoying a meal seemingly in silence together. In this case it is the Iftar in the UAE. I had hoped to add one from Riyadh, however I could not find an English version (or one with English subtitles). And consider the other side of all it, if our creativity is awakened by learning new things, what could we consider when we start looking into a direction that most people have never looked?

Education off the grid can be amazing, when you feel the internal motivation to learn more you tend to learn more easily, optionally not better, but there is a lot to be said for the enthusiasm factor when acquiring knowledge, you merely need to connect to the best information source you can.

 

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