Tag Archives: Quran

The power to teach

I wrote about the idea in the past, I wrote about it specifically on one side, yet it dawned on me (whilst watching Star Wars) that I wasn’t looking at the larger picture. This happens, you, me, we all tend to focus on our own street. Yet the streamers (Google, Amazon and optionally Netflix) allows for a new setting of teachings. Just as I saw my mind create a game based around the Vatican, there is nothing stopping a nation like Saudi Arabia to create a game of education around the Quran and Islam, Israel a game around the Torah and the Jewish teachings. And these are games for all. Consider people actually learning about the Quran through playing a game, To walk the streets of Medina (optionally Mecca too) whilst rebuilding the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi. And as we unlock conversations, as we unlock teachings and historical figures, we also unlock more of the Quran, and this is not something I can do, this Neds to be done by Muslims, together with Muslim clerics to give the proper allocation of passages allotting to the entire Quran, a true face of islamic teachings. If we accept that the statement “Islam is a major world religion, with over 1 billion followers worldwide (1/5 of the world population). It is considered one of the Abrahamic, monotheistic faiths, along with Judaism and Christianity. Although usually associated with the Arabs of the Middle East, less than 10% of Muslims are in fact Arab. Muslims are found all over the world, of every nation, colour, and race. The most populous Muslim country today is Indonesia, a non-Arab country”, an educational game with an interest base of 1,000,000,000 and optionally growing. Why didn’t anyone else think of this? The same for Christianity and all the other religions. 

But I personally feel that teaching people about Islam and the Quran will be an option to fight Islamophobia. Fight religious discrimination through a game, who considered that application of streaming systems? There is nothing stopping the games coming up on other consoles, but the exclusivity applies strongly to streaming solutions, and this is not a game that is done in a year and it will take growing steps, it is a large undertaking, no matter what religion is the focal point. 

Quran App

This all started longer ago when I was trying out the Quran App, I needed to learn a little more about the Quran, I do not trust any source that is one sided telling me what is true, so I tried to learn more, but having an app with the Quran is not a decent way to teach about Islam, a lot more is needed and games are an excellent form of teaching. I have that seen to be a reality for decades, I am merely surprised that no one considered teaching the young and old more about religion this way. There are a lot of questions that I cannot answer, for one, I do (only recently) know that there are no images of the prophet, but who else in the non-Islamic community knew that? If we know that, the French secular move to have a teacher show the images of the prophet is not educational, it is merely insulting against Islam, games can offer a better stage, a global stage and in all ways an educational and optionally a cultural stage. 

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UK Islamophobia OK?

Let me tel you the story of a stupid git, a man named Robert Jenrick no less. The BBC gives us (at  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-56523179) “Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said teachers should be able to “appropriately show images of the prophet” in class”, we see this showing us a level of stupidity seldom seen before. There is no excuse and as the UK is selecting Islam phobic pushers into places of power as they walk with senseless grins around with the view that he “described the protests as “deeply unsettling”” is a little too much for me. 

As the stupid person gives us “In a free society we want religions to be taught to children and for children to be able to question and query them”, I reckon that no one denies them, and the absence of an image of the prophet and/or Allah would be optionally explained as the simple fact that it is against Islamic rules. Christianity does permit it, and that is fine, Islam does not and that should be fine too. So when we see “We must see teachers protected and no-one should be feeling intimidated or threatened as they go into school” We need to make sure that the teachers realise that stupid actions come at a price. 

So as we take notice of “Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Tracey Brabin, condemned those who “seek to fan the flames of this incident””, I wonder if they hold the teacher who pushed the image is also held to account. So when we see “Parts of the Koran are taken to mean that neither Allah nor Muhammad can be captured in an image by human hand and any attempt to do so is seen as an insult”, the teacher should have known that, or he should not be allowed to be a teacher teaching what was taught. It is so nice to see everyone trying to push political correctness into political non-Islamic correctness. Is that truly what we want to teach the kids? 

It is not the first time and it will not be the last time, but consider how long until some people have had enough? And should that teacher get hunted down, does he or she have anything to blame but themselves? This is not me condoning violence, this is me wondering how much longer the Islamic people need to show restraint? As I see as we see flares on a global scale on anti-Asian, anti Semitic, and islamophobia we seem to forget that these stages do not have a good outcome and in the end the stage we create here is one that will haunt our grand children, are we ready for that level of hatred in the world? 

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Tripped by a thought

Yup, this happens. We watch things, we read things and it mixes into an idea. The first element in this was the movie Kingdom of Heaven (by Ridley Scott). I love this movie, for some reason it feels more real than any of the other movies that are founded on the crusades are. There are a few other reasons, there is always a good reason to watch any movie with Orlando Bloom and Alexander Siddig and the fact that it also had Liam Neeson, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons and several others did not hurt that cause either. I was struck by the charisma that Ghassan Massoud brought to the screen in Kingdom of Heaven. That movie is pretty much forever in the back of my mind. The second element was something I read. The quote “An ifrit can further be bound to a sorcerer, if summoned”, as well as “In the latter account, the “ifrit among the jinn” threatens Muhammad with a fiery presence, whereupon the archangel Gabriel taught Muhammad a Du’a (Islamic prayer) to defeat it”, this struck a chord as it is the only reference I have seen at present where Christian faith and Islamic faith crosses (perhaps there are more). But it got me thinking. What happens if an Afreet, a dweller of the sands is confronted by the invasion armies of the west? The Crusaders, the Templars, the Teutons, and some of these organisations still exist today. So what happens when an Afreet goes on a quest to understand the enemy of its sands? The idea is not entirely new, the Afreet made an appearance in True Blood and in American gods, but in both cases it is less seen from the view of the Afreet, and as a demon they are part immortal, or at least can exist for thousands of years, anyone with that level of timespan has a different view on matters. As such the Afreet can be in the past and the present giving us a very different stage.

We have been so obsessed with the western folklore, that we forget that there is a large area of folklore that has almost never been tapped into and when we consider that Netflix is present in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, I wonder why we get this oversight. Of course they can also go for the other movie I came up with ‘How to kill a politician’ which optionally might be a big hit in the Islamic world, it might not be something that a person like Geert Wilders likes, but it is a door he opened himself and France added spice to that soup. 

All options I did in mere hours, as such I wonder what is keeping some so called creators in creating actual new stuff (instead of a new version of old stuff). It is as I personally see it the difference between iterative and innovative. A stage that America is shifting in, they are moving more and more towards iterative because they can no longer find the innovative people. A sad state of affairs as I personally see it.

Is it me? Am I tripped by a thought, or am I seeing it correctly that we are missing out on true innovation in both movies and TV series? I am not ignoring the stage where we are told that there are “In 2019, the number of original scripted television series in the United States hit 532”, I am not doubting that, I am merely noticing that other places in the world, these series are missing, or not shown. And to be honest, I have my doubt on all 532 series being actual innovative series. There is nothing wrong with iterative series, but they are a prolongation of something else. Another CSI, another NCIS, another Star Trek, another Superman. I will agree that there are plenty of fans for them, but at times we need to offer something so new people gasp at the notion of difference. I get the setting that this does not always ends up being positive (Firefly, Dollhouse) but they were true innovations, they were different and they have scores of fans, but it was not meant to be. I get it and perhaps my ideas will never become reality either, but I remain innovative in my thinking, it did lead to several 5G IP parts and I expect a few more in the coming year. 

Yet in this I do not pursue a path, I let it was over me just like the Afreet did, just like the soon to be dead politician (in the Movie) and the stage of being between two universes (Keno Diastima), a stage I found in mere hours, yes I agree they are not finished, yet I did most of the work by myself in mere hours. So I wonder what others are capable of making, even if we do not see these results on Netflix, Stan, Youtube or TV. I wonder what became of the 532 series, because so far what we get to see is “Find Out Which Series Will Return for Another Season”, a stage that we accept, but there is more then returning series, they are an accepted and essential part of TV (and streaming), but where is all the new stuff? 

It is a thought that is tripping me and making me trip (to coin a phrase).

And all this is happening whilst I am trying to find a new and original way of levelling up a character in the RPG I have been writing about. We tend to see RPG’s in missions, kills and achievements. I want the levelling to be different, but I am still seeking a way, perhaps I will return to the mission stage of levelling up, but I am trying to avoid it, an RPG can only stand on its feet when it offers more and different stages, not merely more of the same, we have all seen that and as such I am considering other methods, yet the thought of how is not clicking into the frame of mind and the frame of gaming, yet I hope that to be a temporary thing for now.

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Creation of doubt

We all have doubts and sometimes we create them. I like many others are appalled by the beheading in France, as the news gives us “The teacher killed in a suburb of Paris in an Islamist terror attack has been named as Samuel Paty” as well as “The history teacher, who is said to have discussed images of the Prophet Muhammad with his pupils, was beheaded”, as a Catholic I am appalled, yet as an academic I wonder why the matter was set into motion. In 2015 many learned “If you set aside for a moment the issue of whether satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad are insulting, there’s a separate and complicated debate about whether any depiction – even a respectful one – is forbidden within Islam. For most Muslims it’s an absolute prohibition – Muhammad, or any of the other prophets of Islam, should not be pictured in any way. Pictures – as well as statues – are thought to encourage the worship of idols”, as such we see that Islam FORBIDS any representation of the prophet Muhammad. So is the stage one where a person was beheaded, or is the stage where secular France, knowingly and intentionally disrespects a religion? This is a much harder question isn’t it? I took the events of 2015 at I was against them, yet at that point I was not aware about the Islamic rule of their prophet. As a Catholic, I have an issue of people intentionally disrespecting any religion, it is for that same reason that I refused to read the Satanic verses by Salman Rushdie. I have nothing against the man, I was in those days completely in the dark on Islam and the book was an open attack on Islam. I heard people I knew commenting on how brilliant a book it was, but I knew that they too had no knowledge, none what so ever on the rules and believes towards Islam. As a Catholic, I still laugh over the joke Sir Ken Robinson made “He shares this story of a teacher who asks a 6 year old girl, “What are you drawing?” And the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of god.” And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what god looks like.” And the girl said, “They will in a minute””, idols and images of the Catholic faith are not a taboo, it sets the joke of anticipation and the premise towards the willingness to fail, a fear most Christians have in abundance. 

As such, why would Samuel Paty create a situation where he got ahead of himself? I do not condone what was done to him, but in defence of any Islamic person, why did he openly offend any religion in a school class? There is no way that there were no Islamic children in that school. I wonder if there is any school left where we share the classrooms with non-christians. Can we set the stage where we openly mock a religion whilst demanding respect from these very same people at the same time? As I personally see it, we create doubt, in ourselves and we create doubt in others. Why is that?

When we take a step back and we consider the Crusades (1096), we need to realise the state where we see “The crusader presence remained in the region in some form until the city of Acre fell in 1291, leading to the rapid loss of all remaining territory in the Levant. There were no further substantive attempts to recover the Holy Land after this”, consider the middle east being in a war for 196 years, this sets a stage (in those days of close to 7 generations that know a stage of war, a never ending war where hatred is taught (to at least some degree) from grandfather, to so to grandson, and that stage is made worse by intentionally disrespecting Islam, and you wonder why there are angry people? This is a stage that goes back to the Council of Clermont, where in 1095 it was decided that “capture Jerusalem for Christendom from its Muslim occupiers. The Pope’s speech to the church hierarchy and crowd of laymen at Clermont famously promised all participants a remission of their sins, a strategy which proved hugely popular amongst Europe’s nobility and knights and which was copied in all crusades thereafter”, apart from the stage where the reward was ‘promised all participants a remission of their sins’, basically on the promise of killing any saracen in sight. Can someone enlighten me where slaughter was approved in the Bible? All whilst Pope Urban II was viewed as “a reformer and active promoter of the idea of expanding Christendom by whatever means necessary. Hailing from a noble family from Burgundy, France, Urban II would establish himself as one of the most influential popes in history”, yes and a war lasting a few centuries longer 196 years achieved that? 

So as we get to “On 27 November the cream of the French clergy and a crowd of laymen gathered in a field just outside Clermont for the finale of the council. It was here that Urban II made his now famous speech in an obviously pre-prepared set piece. The message, known as the Indulgence, was addressed in particular to Christian nobles and knights across Europe. Urban II promised that all those who defended Christendom and captured Jerusalem would be embarking on a pilgrimage, all their sins would be washed away, and their souls would reap untold rewards in the next life. In case anyone was concerned, a group of church scholars later went to work and came up with the idea that a campaign of violence could be justified by references to particular passages of the Bible and the works of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE)”, The man (not the actual Hippo) got his fame with the Just War theory. A stage where we are taught “The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: “right to go to war” (jus ad bellum) and “right conduct in war” (jus in bello). The first concerns the morality of going to war, and the second the moral conduct within war. Recently there have been calls for the inclusion of a third category of just war theory—jus post bellum—dealing with the morality of post-war settlement and reconstruction”, perhaps the French UN essay writer, might reflect on the Just war theory, I mean, she has such a great handle on fiction, might it not be an idea to set the record straight on historic events? I see and understand the stage of ‘Just war theory’, there is nothing wrong with it, but consider the stage we were at in 1095, the middle east was not a christian bastion. In 1000bc Jerusalem was Jewish, in 586 bc it became Babylonian, Alexander the Great made it Greek, after that is became Egyptian, then Roman, after that it became Muslim, 400 years before the first crusade. Can anyone even tell what Jerusalem was supposed to be? 

But Christians needed expansion and the famine and destitute in Europe gave them the idea to tap into the wealthy reserves of the Arab nations. This is a stage that had war upon war, all whilst none had any clue who they were up against, merely that their enemy was non-christian, can we afford a repetition? Well, I actually do not care, if it decimates 96% of the population, I’ll be happy, because this planet will end up with all kinds of live stopping it become extinct. So back to Christians, can we tell how many versions there are? There are dozens of bibles all different, there are Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, 7 day advents, Quakers and a whole range of subversions and additions. Yet there are as far as I can tell, two forms of Islam, Sunni Islam and Shia Islam and they both have the same Quran, to the letter. Sunni’s and Shia’s pray together and their pilgrimage takes them all to the same to places. I believe that we create the doubt in ourselves and I do not care on secularism, armistice or atheist values, which of them allows for the open and wanton disrespect of Islam we see?

It does not make the violence acceptable, but we created that stage ourselves, we need to see that and we need to see it quickly. In case you wonder if it is just Islamic violence. I offer you the setting of another challenge. Buy a cow, go into Mumbai with that cow and slaughter your own cow, good luck getting out alive, your changes are not that good. If that setting offends you, then why allow the entire stage towards an image of Muhammad, in a school no less.

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You are what you feed them

I have had my share of obnoxious behaviour, I have on times (when I was young) been a little too not understanding, but I have never see what the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-muslims-xinjiang-pork-alcohol-lunar-new-year-spring-festival-uighur-islam-a8767561.html) is giving us. The headline ‘China ‘forcing Muslims to eat pork and drink alcohol’ for lunar new year festival’ is alarming enough, but the text “Officials have delivered pork directly to Muslim households and insisted that traditional Chinese new year decorations are displayed outside, RFA’s report claimed” if proven is a dangerous one. The additional quote “Chinese authorities have reportedly forced Muslims in the Xinjiang region to eat pork and drink alcohol during the country’s lunar new year holiday amid an alleged crackdown on Islam” merely makes matters worse. The idea that the disrespect given to any religion has taken this form is just beyond acceptable, in what universe does the Chinese government think it has any allowed leverage? I use the setting ‘if proven’, merely because there was one source in 2019 and now we see two more sources two days ago, in this, why has the larger western media, Al Jazeera, Gulf News and a few others all forsaken this? As such ‘if proven’ is the right setting. I understand that there are places where we are not Muslim, not Jewish, or not Christian, but most of us have always allowed others to be what they are. The bible tells us ‘Judge not, that you be not judged’, the Quran states “It is they who follow the guidance from their Lord, and it is they alone who are successful in attaining their object in this life and the hereafter”, and I am certain that the Torah has its own version that is not dissimilar to the others, so why would anyone force feed pork to a Muslim? It is not secular, it is merely a form of unacceptable cruelty. Yet it does not stop there. Forbes reports (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/08/19/muslim-ice-detainees-reportedly-fed-pork-told-by-chaplain-it-is-what-it-is/#47cf78a26cc5) “Civil rights lawyers sent a letter to a Miami, Florida, detention facility run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement claiming that its Muslim detainees are being fed pork, a food prohibited by Islam, and have been given post-expiration-date meals that meet their dietary restrictions, but reportedly made them ill—and the facility’s chaplain allegedly dismissed their concerns, saying, “It is what it is.””, it is my personal view that any chaplain or priest hiding behind ‘it is what it is’ should be excommunicated on mere principle alone. We need to reflect on the rarity of this report and even as I hold Forbes in much higher view than most other media, one media does not make it true. That too is a foundation we can align towards. 

When we consider an added part “This isn’t the first time ICE has been accused of giving Muslims pork in their meals; in 2019, a Pakistani-born man with a valid U.S. work permit was reportedly given nothing but pork sandwiches for six straight days” we should consider that there is a lot wrong at ICE. And there is no excuse, as far as I can tell there would be nothing wrong with Cheese or Corned beef, so what game is being played here and in this, are we even surprised that the Middle East has such hatred for christians? 

My concern is not merely that it happened, but the lack of reporting in the widespread media in this, unless it can be proven to be false, is a much larger evil in this. This is the first I hear of it and the 2019 case was completely unknown to me. So why is the larger media avoiding this? 

I can speculate until the building is done, but in the end, it will be speculation and for you the larger question will be ‘What else are they keeping from me?’ Because if the media is willing to make a deal to not report on certain matters, they will do so for a price and when you are the price, they will do the same thing. That is what you must fear, and this is not the first time this is happening, it has happened before and now it is happening again and it will happen again tomorrow, unless we hold the media accountable for their actions and their inactions. 

It is the only way to stop these unacceptable acts from re-occurring.

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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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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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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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The other view

The Guardian had an interesting view yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/03/people-in-christian-majority-countries-values-clash-islam-poll). The article starts off with a high when we see: “Large numbers of people in Christian-majority countries in the west see a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of their nation, according to a survey“. I honestly do not get that. I have started (a few months ago) to get acquainted with the Quran. I have been looking at 5G opportunities (mostly) in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation, a Muslim monarchy. As such I believe that it is important to be aware of the rules and events in such a nation. Even if I am still a Christian, I feel it is important to be aware of things so that we do not cause unintentional grief or friction in any place, which means that I will have to adjust to Muslim life. Anyone who is not willing to do that is better off staying at home. The same rules apply to many other nations (Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc. etc.)

If we ‘expect’ an acceptance of ‘our’ values and culture in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and so on, should the reverse not apply as well?

In the article I particularly liked the quote: “When asked the same question about Christianity, 25% of people in Saudi Arabia and 22% of Algerians said there was a clash with the values of their country, but the proportions fell to 13% in the United Arab Emirates and 7% in Egypt“, it seems that acceptance increases in places with more international exposure, which was a nice thing to learn.

When we see he links to YouGov dot UK and we see: “YouGov was recently commissioned to conduct a multi-country study on attitudes to religion in the West and Middle East/North Africa region“, we see that Dr Joel Rogers de Waal has the goods for an interesting piece of publication in his hands. The article (at https://yougov.co.uk/topics/international/articles-reports/2019/02/03/westernmena-attitudes-religion-portray-lack-faith– ) is even more interesting when we see the issue of ‘fundamental clash’ where Christianity is a lot less ‘accepting’ than Muslims are, which is something that actually surprised me.

It also opened the issue of consideration we look at “Campaigners for religious freedom are highlighting the significance of the historic papal visit to the birthplace of Islam, and hope Francis’s message of peaceful coexistence will be heard in other countries in the region, where many Christians are denied rights or face persecution and death.” Here we see the link to an article from December 26th stating: “The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has ordered an independent, global review into the persecution of Christians of all nationalities amid claims that not enough is being done to defend the rights of nearly 200 million Christians at risk of persecution today“. Consider the following: “Saudi Arabia allows Christians to enter the country as foreign workers for temporary work, but does not allow them to practice their faith openly. Because of that Christians generally only worship within private homes” This is not a hidden event, this is not some made up rule, this is Islamic law, a person either abides or finds their fortune somewhere else, so Saudi Arabia (as well as the UAE, Qatar and Oman) could be a haven for wealth opportunities for the atheists and of course Muslims, this is not some hidden idea that you can flunk with, this is clear established Islamic law, so when Jeremy Hunt is making some case of persecuted Christians on boxing day, I have no idea where he is coming from. Islamic law is also really present in Pakistan and many other places, so why are non-born national Christian there is the first place, to convert people? There is clear Islamic law against it, it is strict and it can result in capital punishment.

These were not blatant forms of misdirection, this is known and clearly stated laws in these nations, so at times, I have no idea where some people come from.

Can there be adjustment?

I would go with yes, if there is a simple infraction that can be clearly be seen as an error by the person and it can be proven to be unintentional, the courts might be lenient (I cannot speak for Islamic courts). Yet, the diligence of a person should be clearly shown. As such the entire Anti-Mariah Carey part is also a little bit of a mystery. We can accept that people feel that there is a “poor human rights record in Saudi Arabia“, yet from what point of view? Saudi Arabia is an Islamic law nation, it is a monarchy where Islamic law is rule and everyone (even the royal family) adheres to Islamic law. Let’s not forget that Saudi Arabia had established high end culture and architecture in an age where the people mixed faeces and clay to make the walls of their houses in the larger area of Western Europe, so most houses did have a shitty smell to it, and those people thought it was OK. So as In Arabia and Babylonia there were sewers close to 15 centuries ago, whilst only 9 centuries ago, the western civilisation used shit in the building of the walls of their houses and for the most sewers were a non-issue, there were none. How is that for generics in civilised life?

And as we see: “human rights campaigners have urged the pope to use his landmark visit to address the war in Yemen. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led military coalition that has been accused of human rights violations in the country” we need to realise that these same people seem to lack the commitment to do the same against Hezbollah and Iran who are in the thick of it, is that not an interesting one sided part in all that? And it is not limited to the visit of El Papa Vaticano either. Even the UN has been accused of ignoring Iran’s role in all this, so there is a larger issue at play which is also fuelling the mistrust in the Arabian Peninsula nations. In addition to this I would tell people to start following Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on LinkedIn, Royalty and the current Vice President of the UAE, we can accept that he has people managing that account like any other big CEO or entrepreneur (like Bill Gates and Richard Branson), you will see that this man, this Vice President is actually really inspiring that alone should open the eyes of many to adjust the cultural glasses we wear now and learn more about Islam and Islamic law, for the simple reason that if a devout Muslim like Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum can be inspiring, what other revelations are we denying ourselves?

I learned early in life that closing your eyes to other views is ALWAYS debilitating. I have been around the planet twice now, I was never rich, yet I have seen so much and I never regretted my choices (well, actually perhaps 3), which is a decent achievement to have.

So when I see the entire alleged issue regarding Saudi Arabia PR offices in London mentioned in a few places, I am at a loss why they do not get 50-200 open resume considerations a day (perhaps they do, I am merely phrasing the question out there).

So when we were told last October “British firms earning millions of pounds from efforts to improve the image of the kingdom and its regional allies in recent years, a Guardian investigation has found” I am wondering why their competitors are not fighting harder to offer to do a better job.

I digress

True, I was digressing, as I was moving towards the profits there, which is not incorrect, but it was not what the article was about. We can argue that the best opportunities are for those accepting the values of others and that is what is in play for now. You see, it is not about becoming Muslim, it never was about that; yet having a decent comprehension of Muslims and Islamic Law is merely a consideration to have, an essential consideration when you accept opportunities there, it is the only way to move forward. I reckon that I will never truly get accepted to the barrel of cream as I do not speak Arabic, yet those now about to no longer be a teenager, consider getting that skill. As economic growth in the Arabian nations is close to 500% of what America could present, as the same is pushed for China, having these skills in language and culture is an essential step in anyone’s future, even if you decide to not go there. When a place like Salini Impregilo is merely one of several companies growing multi-billion dollar contracts in that region, one after the other, when you are not a University engineer, do you think that they will offer contract work to any talented person, or to the talented person with at least a minimum knowledge of Arabian language and culture? When the option for a good future is understanding, as well as acceptance of others is the stepping stone to a bright future, why not consider that step?

So when you are confronted with: “In Germany, 53% of respondents were unfavourable towards Islam, compared with 10% to 22% who were unfavourable to other religions. In the US and Britain, smaller proportions (37% and 32%) were unfavourable towards Islam, with a similar range viewing other religions negatively“, are we accepting that 53% has ‘conservative’ values, or are we realising that 53% is throwing away a culturally driven well served lifestyle?  In the end money is always important (that pesky thing called rent comes around), yet what is your spiritual life missing out on by not knowing more about a cultural way of life that could be inspiring in several ways. When we merely a day ago:

نرحب بزيارة البابا فرانسيس لدولة الامارات  .. زيارة تاريخية هدفها تعميق قيم التسامح والتفاهم والحوار الديني … تجمعنا الإخوة الانسانية .. وتجمعنا الوصايا السماوية المشتركة .. وتجمعنا نوايانا من أجل مستقبل أفضل البشرية .. أهلا وسهلا بك في عام التسامح على أرض الإمارات

Which is translates by Google as: “We welcome the visit of Pope Francis to the UAE. A historic visit aimed at deepening the values of tolerance, understanding and religious dialogue… We are gathered by human brotherhood. We bring together the common Heavenly commandments. Our intentions are gathered for the future of the better mankind. Welcome to the year of tolerance on the land of the Emirates

So at that point, do you think there is any place left for the like of: ‘the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders‘ (to coin but one example)? There will always be opposition to any view, both Christian and Muslim, yet opposition is not ‘anti’, the moment we learn that lesson too late is the day we realise that we wasted the life we had before that realisation. It is actually that simple most of the time. As such it is my personal view that the article by Harriet Sherwood in Abu Dhabi is a lot more important than most of us realise, to learn that simple part is an initial first step for many, be not afraid to take a step outside of your comfort zone, you might learn more than you bargained for, from others and also about yourself.

 

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