Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Parliament Hill Ottawa. A Wordpress Production

Islam

November 20, 2015 … 11 years

evils-wedding-5

evils-wedding-13

11 years ago tonight, with family and friends present, we exchanged vows and spoke sacred words. Today, we continue to live into those words. Tonight, we had dinner at the fabulous FIRE GRILL, once again.

I have shared before that there are three restos, that are at the top of the budget when it comes to dining out …

  • Fire Grill
  • Rueben’s Smoked Meats
  • Baton Rouge

This short list is a foodies paradise of good eats.

I am grateful that I live in Canada. Due to recent events, in the world, people are at odds, and words are being spoken, that are totally, out of left field. I’m not sure most folks, politicians and leaders alike, know what they are saying.

My tight group of friends are at odds with each other, because of differing views of current events, and what each of them thinks, as to what we should do and how we should do it.

The ties of friendship are being tested. And if a second conversation that needs to take place, because the first one began and ended badly, doesn’t heal the rift, I am afraid that my circle will be broken over non-negotiable statements.

We are Canadian. And we, for the most part, share Canadian values, and for some, that is not good enough. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because of their origins, how they were educated, and how they each decide to live their lives.

No One Person has the definitive answer, because, let’s face it, we don’t. I don’t think a real, tangible, solid, workable answer is possible amid the heat of argument and prejudice.

Let us keep each other in our thoughts …

Notice I did not say “prayers…”

Religion has become a dirty word. People are choosing to incriminate all, due to the actions of “a few.” And that does not bode well, for an entire community of people, world wide.

One day we will see this for what it really is, and we will shake our heads and say to each other …”Was I really that stupid?”

Yes, we really are that stupid.

At least I can unfollow people. And I can turn the channel, and better yet, I can totally turn off my computer when it all gets to be too much of hateful overload.

More to come, stay tuned …

 


Sanctuary – There are so many facets

je suis europe

If Jesus walked among us today, what would he say about the state of the world, as we are seeing it right now? Would he be angry, Would he agree with the way the world is reacting to the “least of these” Would he say that we need to buck up and do what is right in the eyes of God ?

Hundreds of Thousands of human beings, (in Europe they call them just “Migrants”) this word does not do justice to those who are, for all intents and purposes, “the least of these.”

In the Middle East, there are problems that are way beyond the abilities of nation states to change, stop, or even make a dent in. I don’t talk about the Middle East, because it is not my area of study. Religion and Theology are my areas of study.

Radical Islam, is entrenched in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other nations. This is not new news. And the battle between Islam and the rest of the world has been going on for centuries. The Caliphate would like you to believe that it is their goal to convert the infidels to Islam, so that we would pledge to the powers that be, our allegiance. And they would occupy the world unchallenged.

The rise of Isis, is a blight on humanity. We have had many chances to stop them. We have wasted every chance we have had to stop them now. We can’t just bomb them out of existence, because of the human shield factor, protecting them from further destruction.

As they moved in, the people began moving out. What do you do with all the people who had been settled in one area of the world, when they leave that area in search of sanctuary somewhere else? What do you do when an entire portion of the world’s population decides to get up and go somewhere else, because of terrorists and Islamic murderers are killing them and others with impunity?

So we have hundreds of thousands of Muslim human beings, seeking sanctuary in Europe. A place, light years from where they have come. We have nations of religious men, women and children on the move.

Islam, as a whole is moving from where they were, to where they want to go.

How do we accommodate these people?

Religious sensibilities say that, well some say that, we should not allow them sanctuary in Europe, that they must go home, or at least go somewhere else, any place else but here.

Because that would upset the fine balance of religion, sectarianism, and ethnic diversity.

You just can’t allow a population to be invaded by another religious faction into a world that may not and probably certainly will not accommodate them.

There is a definite religious divide here.

We must remember that beneath the label of Muslim, these people are Human Beings first.

We cannot allow the world to minimize them into the category of Migrants.

If Europe thinks they are under fire, and they are, we need a new game plan. These human beings need safety, they need sanctuary and they need peace. They need homes.

And that costs money, money they don’t have to spend, nor do Europeans have themselves to give to the poorest of the poor. It just does not work that way.

In the end someone is going to have to pay for this massive human migration. And on whose doorstep do you lay this burden?

It is an impossible question to ask.

But we have been seeing for months, men, women and children are dying by the thousands on rickety boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This is a tragedy of immense scale.

These people have nothing to go back to, nor return to the homes they once had, because of the radical ideology of terrorists, and their cut throat way of life. Where there once was the cradle of creation, there is now a wasteland of destruction.

When do we say that we have had enough of this and we set a new goal in mind to rid the world of this scourge on humanity, and we take them out, once and for all and we eradicate them off the face of the earth by any means necessary.

But to do this would incur certain collateral damage on a grand scale.

What do we do with all this land that is now populated by insurgents? They are killing indiscriminately, Westerners and their own. They have gone as far as eradicating historical sites off the face of the earth, because they are in congruent with radical Islam.

Migrants are human beings, no matter what religion they profess. Thousands upon thousands of those human beings are children. Are we going to deny them a future because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time? What are we supposed to do with these families, searching for sanctuary?

Can we afford to slam doors in their faces and build fences to keep them out ?

We can’t surely repatriate them back into Syria or Iraq or other Islamic countries that have forced them out with no real place to go.

They say that this “migration” is the largest migration of people we have seen since World War II.

This human migration is just that, A HUMAN MIGRATION. These are people. People who should be afforded the right to find a home somewhere where they will be safe, and be able to prosper and live without the fear of radical murderers coming to kill them.

But there is just so much space in other parts of the world. What do you do when you add tens of thousands of humans to already existing populations of people all over Europe ? Where do you put them, where do you make space for them ?

The next question is … “Who’s going to pay for all of this ?”

They say that You can’t get something for nothing in this world. Security comes with a cost. And we know, world-wide that millions of people live in “Insecurity and Poverty.” Now we have these humans migrating someplace else, who have nothing and carrying what they can on their backs.

Can we say they are the poorest of the poor? Having been forced from home only to go on the road to hopefully find someplace that will take them in ?

How far does hospitality reach? And are we obligated to extend the hand of hospitality to anyone who shows up on our door step? North America is safe in that we don’t have to worry about the European migration. We do have to worry about the migration on our southern border of the United States. That is an entirely different thread…

So many people with nowhere to go, trying to find sanctuary.

If we want to stop this migration, we need to step up and STOP the war and conflict.

But in order to stop this scourge on the earth would need a decisive attack plan, that seems to me, there is only one way to eradicate them off the earth. But this plan would certainly incur massive collateral damage. It is the only way to really know for sure they are gone is to wipe them off the earth with the only tool we have that would certainly do the job, because we have used it before.

But we swore we would never use it again. And right now the world is in consultation in making sure that certain countries enter non-proliferation treaties.

Then we get the shit end of the deal, that if we use this tool, that land would be unlivable so who ever is left, we would need to find a home, along with the millions of people who are now displaced.

This is a No Win Scenario …

There is no winning any route we take to stop the violence and repatriate human migrants from Europe, back to where they came from.

The worlds nations do not have the balls, nor inclination to do anything substantial that would stop the cycle of violence. We’ve allowed violence to disrupt an entire section of the world.

We’ve not done anything to make it stop. And this is a no win scenario.

These issues are fraught with complications. This is just scraping the surface of what needs to be done for the least of these at the moment.

More to come, just not tonight.

Stay tuned …


This is what Religion has done to Us.

5057 Take a look at these horrific images that depict two men thrown from the roof of a building as a crowd watches them fall to their deaths, and they purport to show the bloody Islamic State (ISIS) carrying out public executions before an audience in Iraq’s Nineveh province. And the two victims’ alleged crimes?

They are believed to be GAY.

5058This is extremism at its WORST. Ideology that dictates this kind of atrocity is not religion. Once again, we see that (1) If your religion tells you to go into a public place with a gun and kill people, you need to find a new religion. And (2) If your God tells you to toss a human being off the roof in front of spectators, that is NOT God speaking to you.

These are unequivocal. There are no two ways about it.

I repeat myself when I say that killing an innocent for any reason is a crime against humanity when it is grossly dictated by someones ideology. This is utterly disgusting and repugnant.

These people, need to be stopped.

What do we capture them and send them through War Crimes tribunals, or do we administer vigilante justice and just kill them outright. Crimes such as these warrant the biblical punishment of an Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth.

This is just how this kind of atrocity makes me feel.

God – NO GOD – demands human lives for glory or Jihad. NO GOD !

Where is God while all these kinds of atrocities are taking place? If God did exist, He should act definitively and without mercy. Let the punishment fit the crime.

Smite these men into eternity. No virgins, No redemption, and NO mercy !!!


Thursday … Loosing an Anchor

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Not So Much tonight …

At this hour, the weather is holding. They tell us that snow will fall overnight, then temps will drop into the (-20c’s ) tomorrow night. Brrrrrrrrrr.

Over the last year and a half, I have told you the ongoing story of the redevelopment of Alexis Nihon Plaza, the mall just up the street. The entire West end, this section of downtown, has been under construction for a long time. We have new sidewalks, new bus stops, a new park is going in, a brand new condo tower is in the prep stages, they are tearing down an old building to make way for a new build, and the mall is still a work in progress.

I would imagine that probably over a million dollars or two went into the mall redevelopment program. We were getting a brand new anchor store … That was Target. They spruced up the floors ( read: they re-tiled the entire mall in flashy white tile) they refurbished all the columns and carpeted them and put all brand new signage in the mall, they painted and moved stores from their original locations to where they are now,  and redesigned the foot print of the entire mall, all in prep for Target. They put in a glass elevator so people could get to all floors because there was no access for people who needed that ability in the past. That cost some bucks.

I forgot to mention the million dollar LED signage that went up outside the building itself, top of the line signage that flashes and dances according to the weather outside. That must have cost One Pretty Penny to put up. The mall needed all the flash and bang it could afford to welcome this new anchor store to the mall and do it properly.

They tore apart the mezzanine level where the pharmacy, IGA and other brand new stores are located. They took out a staircase that fronted Zeller’s when they closed. And in its place, they erected a huge monstrosity glass ceiling that extends from the ground floor to the mezzanine in quite the fashion. The ceiling looks down into Target and the Starbucks that is in the store itself, like they needed the extra draw of a Starbucks coffee shop to get people in the door to shop. It sits in that very important IMPULSE location you see in every grocery store on the express cash aisle.

The entire building lends itself to Christmas decorations that are hung from the very pinnacle of the building itself over Target, and one HUGE Christmas tree was put up in front of the store. It was quite the spectacle.

And the IGA was rebooted, rebuilt and more than doubled their footprint.

We were all excited to have a Target in our neighborhood. It came in with a bang. Canadians had high hopes that the U.S. retail chain would give us all those frills and cheap prices that they gave us, when we traveled to the U.S. to shop in the very same store.

Cross border shopping is still the “thing to do, because prices here are still too high.”

You can’t really run a store that has empty shelves. And you can’t run a chain of stores when your pricing is higher than normal, and not offer customers something for their time and purchase dollars. Yes, I shopped at Target, and I still shop there today. I have not been 100% thrilled with the goods, but it is what it is.

Today Target announced that it is closing all 133 Target stores in Canada. ALL OF THEM !!!

All that work they did to get ready for this Anchor Store to come in and change our lives was a waste of time, treasure and talent. In the end, they could not offer us, what they offer the U.S. by way of stock, pricing and customer satisfaction.

The entire ground floor was designed for the purpose of bringing people to the store, having them shop, then hang out in the mall. A new Starbuck’s, Tim Horton’s, Dagwoods, Frozen Yogurt, Joogo Juice, and a good amount of seating for people to congregate there in front of this anchor store, was built.

Yes, they built it, and the people came, they just weren’t shopping enough at Target.

There will be a very big empty space when Target closes. It looked pretty, was all shiny and it attracted lack luster numbers,

Target in Canada is a failed venture.

I was at the mall earlier today. There were liquidation signs all over the store. But I got a good deal on jeans, that I sorely needed. They had what I wanted. And I had never needed a fitting room before so I did not know where it was. I picked up a couple pair of jeans and walked through the store looking for a fitting room, it was stuck in an area that I never walked through before.

So, yeah, I bought some jeans. Size 34 waist – 30 length.

A few months ago, my doc changed up all my medications because I was getting fat. What I did not know at the time, (I was on those drugs for more than two years) that they caused considerable weight gain, so I was promised 10 to 20 % weight loss with these new drugs, Janumet and Invokana.

Today I put on jeans that were slimmer than the ones I had on. I’ve lost 2 inches on my waist and a good ten pounds off the top to boot !!! Woo Hoo !!!

We’ve been customers of Pharmaprix for years. Today when I went to pick up my medications, my check out girl told me that due to a million dollar budget cut, staff and services were going to be cut, and that our medications are going up in price. We already pay a pretty penny for pills on the Quebec insurance program. She had a petition for us to sign, everybody was signing it, so I signed.

It seems there is a theme going on city wide. Better yet, Canada wide …

The pension program cuts the province wants to make is causing strife amongst city workers, people are pissed off, store chains are closing, budget cuts are coming across the board, the STM raised its transit rates this month, which makes it more expensive to buy passes and tickets. Provincial companies are cutting staff and raising prices at the same time.

The Provincial Government introduced austerity measures that have not gone down well with the population, and the employees in the province, and the city, We are also on austerity measures and that is also problematic for citywide workers, trying to make a living, AND get a pension, that they rightly deserve for the work they do, however shitty they are paid, and are asked to go above and beyond their duties, and they get pissed off, they go to work, pissed off, then get into scrums with passengers on trains and buses, it really isn’t a pretty picture at all.

The Canadian government, under the Conservative Party is not doing ANYONE any favors.

It is a very long and complicated story. Provinces get help, transfer payments based on natural resources and their production value from the government, that is paltry. it’s just a really bad scene.

We need a new government that will work for the people instead of fucking them all over.

Out in the oil patch, the price of oil is still falling, and Canada is scrambling, trying to figure out what to do right now, thousands of workers are loosing their jobs, budgets are in free fall, the economy is dancing around the word “recession.” It just isn’t a very pretty economic picture here at home, or across the country tonight.

And far far away, people are dying at the hands of religious extremists.

We learned the other night that our very own Canadian Home Grown Isis fighter Abu Ibrahim Al-Canadi is dead ! He popped up on social media some time ago, in a slick new recruiting video, touting his Canadian upbringing and called other Canadians to join the fight against the west.This bright, educated, Canadian Young man was seduced by isis to go to Syria and fight in the war against the West. With his bright face of young years, wearing a flak bomb jacket, he went over to the dark side, and now he is a martyr for the cause of Islam. What a fucking shame…

What are becoming of our young people world wide. So much hatred. We have pissed off all the right people, after years and years of unjust war, torture allegations out of the U.S. and they way the world sees Islam, and paints everybody with ONE WIDE BRUSH STROKE.

We’ve made more enemies than friends since prior to 9 -11…

Abu Ibrahim Al-Canadi … He is dead … He was once one of us, and even if he turned over, somewhere deep down, I don’t think he forgot where he came from, since he spoke so warmly about it in his propaganda video, but what can you say about religious disillusionment ?

The problem with religious extremism is that it has nothing to do with Islam, however hard they want you to believe that all this terror and killing, all in the name of Allah, is called for in a Holy Book.

No, it is an aberration…

Europe is smack dab in the middle of a multicultural fight between East and West. Borders are porous, getting to and from the Middle East/Iraq/Syria/Yemen so forth and so on, back into Europe is easier than getting from North America, back and forth.

I also failed to mention the atrocities that are West Africa. Crimes against humanity, the killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Christians and others. The kidnapping of school children to marry off to terrorists, the conscription of KIDS to kill human beings. That is a terrible atrocity.

We’ve seen in the Middle East that kids there have been conscripted for killing human beings as well. Such unimaginable horrors. And we are powerless to stop it. How do you deal with so many flahs points of terror and killing … ?

It looks like things are going from Bad to Worse over there. Shit is also going down in the U.S. unlike we have seen in a long time. Here in Canada, and Montreal, for that matter, we are safe. People are wary, when they are out and about, because like we have seen, Canada is not immune to what is going on a world away.

It is very sad that 2015 has started with such a terrible BANG…

But what can you do? We must stand our ground and fight for what is right and good.

I was in a local news shop today, and the discussion about Charlie Hebdo was going on when I walked in. It seems they will be carrying the newly printed edition, and sales start tomorrow across Canada. It is going to be a mad house for sure.

Pope Francis has said there is a limit to freedom of speech, when that speech crosses religious lines. Many folks are at odds with that statement. For myself, I don’t see the good in inciting anger across religious lines. I guess that comes from my religious education and my belief that you don’t make fast friends when you cross that invisible line of discretion, freedom and speech.

There will be more to come, stay tuned …


God, Where art Thou, While We Weep for our Children ?

_79779611_460551980Courtesy: BBC.Co.Uk News

I try and do stay away from stories of tragedy and killing. What can I say that the world hasn’t already said about these things over the years and most recently, the past few months ?

The killing of any child, in ANY case is reprehensible.

The line between personal safety and a kid who supposedly threatened a cop has blurred.

The line between prudence and good judgment is gone.

What becomes of killing a kid, by an adult who has a sticky trigger finger?

Cops are not above the law. ANY law. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, because they are supposed to serve and protect, not become judge, jury and executioner …

Pity the white cops who killed all those young men, reason or no reason. It just isn’t fair.

And today – Allah, Praise Be His Holy Name, wept …

And Today – God wept for the little children…

And Today – the first day of Hanukkah – Yahweh weeps for the children…

A man proclaims that he kills for Allah, praise be his holy name. To avenge the war on terrorism so he goes for the soft, easy target, CHILDREN. A man who proclaims that all who threaten the Holy Warrior of Islam, He will kill the infidel. It seems Innocent Children are infidels as well.

I think their judgment has seriously evaporated. They kill with impunity because the people of Pakistan and Peshawar don’t usually fight back.

IT IS TIME THEY FIGHT BACK, WITH ALL THE GUNS, AMMO AND POWER THEY CAN MUSTER THEMSELVES WITH HELP OF THE ALLIES WHO WILL PARTICIPATE IN EXTERMINATING THE TALIBAN.

Those thoughtless, honor-less, terribly deluded men who claim Islam and revenge as the reason to kill innocent CHILDREN.

Today those men chose to MURDER innocent children. Generations of Children.

All in the name of Allah, praise be his holy name.

I have no pity for those men. And all my religious belief of forgiveness and redemption go out the window tonight.

The Merciless killing of generations of Children is reprehensible, This IS and SHOULD BE treated as An EYE for and EYE and a TOOTH for a TOOTH.

Cowardly men who live by the SWORD and kill INNOCENT Children, should DIE by their SWORDS, with NO MERCY, NO FORGIVENESS and NO HONOR and no 72 virgins in paradise.

You will not change the world or the way it sees you by continually killing our CHILDREN because you have no honor or scruples. But what would backwoods, tribal militants know about honor or scruples?

For every drop of innocent child’s blood you spill, the people will grow weary of doing nothing, and sooner than later, I am truly hopeful of this, that they will rise up and annihilate you and all who follow you and all of you who proclaim to kill in the name of Allah, praise be his holy name.

Tonight the world weeps for more than a hundred children killed in Peshawar. And in the United States our millions have been weeping for our dead young men, killed by the guns of white police officers, one as young as TWELVE !! What the FUCK is that ? Why isn’t that man’s balls not hanging from a tree somewhere where we can all see them ?

For all those cops who think they have brass balls to kill kids with guns, should have those balls removed and they need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, bar none.

How do we comfort a people half a world away on the other side of the globe?

There might be a lull in violence while they bury and mourn their dead, but rest assured, the Taliban is waiting in the wings to make their next hit, the question is, whose children will they kill next ?

Malala was right, this day was atrocious.

Rout them out and kill them all. Sooner than later.

The killing of innocent CHILDREN must stop, yesterday…


ISIS audio urges Muslims everywhere to kill ‘unbelievers’

tumblr_m187ytnKBN1r3fvxmo1_500 thedarkblueCourtesy: CBC News Online

… Should we be afraid? Is public security at risk? Better to be safe than sorry. Be mindful of people around you and in open spaces …

In an audio recording distributed widely on social media Sunday, Islamic extremist group ISIS urged Muslims globally to launch attacks on civilians in member countries of a U.S.-led coalition opposed to their violent spread through areas of Syria and Iraq.

In the nearly 42-minute long meandering propaganda speech uploaded to Twitter, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani encourages Muslims to kill “disbelievers” in countries, including Canada, currently supporting American and French-backed military action against the group in Iraq “in any manner.”

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State … kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” said Adnani.

Threats made in the audio recording mirror those ISIS has made in other propaganda releases, including during the grisly beheading videos of two American journalists, James Foley and Stephen Sotloff, and British aid worker David Haines.

Adnani blamed Western allies for instigating a war against the terrorist group, and said the ongoing air incursions against ISIS positions in Iraq will be “the final campaign of the crusaders.”

Unlike other terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, ISIS has established a widespread presence on social networks, using highly produced videos and audio recordings in an effort to recruit new fighters from abroad and intimidate those opposed to their murderous agenda


Were you sent as a prophet to unite, or were you sent to divide?

shepherd

Lifted from: Michael Dodd – In Dodd We Trust

The Shepherd’s Prayer
Rumi

From the book “Rumi, Poet and Mystic, a selection of his writings“,
Translated from the Persian by Reynolds A. Nicholson.
Slightly abridged

Moses saw a shepherd on the way, crying,
“O Lord… Where are You, that I may serve You and sew Your shoes and comb Your hair?
That I may wash Your clothes and kill Your lice and bring milk to You,
O worshipful One: That I may kiss Your little hand
and rub Your little feet
and sweep Your little room at bed-time.”

On hearing these foolish words, Moses said,
“Man, to whom are you speaking?
What babble! What blasphemy and raving!
Stuff some cotton into your mouth!
… the High God is not in want of suchlike service.”

The shepherd rent his garment, heaved a sigh, and took his way to the wilderness.

Then came to Moses a Revelation:
“You have separated My servant from Me.
Were you sent as a prophet to unite, or were you sent to divide?
I have bestowed on every one a particular mode of worship,
I have given every one a peculiar form of expression.
The idiom of Hindustan is excellent for Hindus;
the idiom of Sind is excellent for the people of Sind.
I look not at tongue and speech,
I look at the spirit and the inward feeling.
I look into the heart to see whether it be humble,
though the words uttered be not lowly.

Enough of phrases and conceits and metaphors!
I want burning, burning: become familiar with that burning!
Light up a fire of love in thy soul, burn all thought and expression away!
O Moses, they that know the conventions are of one sort, they whose souls burn are of another.”

The religion of love is apart from all religions.
The lovers of God have no religion but God alone.


I Eat Apples …

Courtesy: Whendidyouknow

The closest this house comes to an apple product are the apples we buy in the produce section of the grocery store, or the baked apple goods in pastries.

We are avowed PC users. We believe in Android.

Since hubby did a stint in computer programming when we first met, we have been and continue to be staunchly “Anti-Apple.” Imagine all the money we saved over the years having not to buy phone after phone, Ipad after Ipad and Mac after Mac, Ipod after Ipod.

Our little desktop computer has served its purpose well. The most money we have spent in upgrades came after a system crash some time ago, and a new fan system and memory upgrade. Hubby did his homework before deciding on Android for our cell phone accounts and to date we are very pleased with them.

Therefore, the death of Steve Jobs really had no effect on our household. It is sad that such a brilliant man went to his grave at so young an age. But you know, if cancer takes one organ, and you replace it, the odds are high that it will attack another. Cancer is pernicious. Once the clock starts ticking, time is all you have so you better make the most of it. And I think that Steve did that with all that he had in him. And for that he should be commended.

They say that there will never be another man like him in our age. And that qualification is set aside for certain brilliant and important persons. Steve Jobs changed the way the world works in ways that will be written in the history books forever. Centuries from now, the name Steve Jobs will be synonymous with intelligent computing.

Since I do not know of MAC or Apple, that’s about all I can say. The world mourns his loss and we pray for his family and friends. Eternal Rest Grant him and may perpetual light shine upon him.

*** *** *** ***

The holiday weekend is upon us. Last night Montreal dropped to a brisk 4c. And there was a frost warning up for the city and surrounding areas. 8 has been the magic number on the thermometer as of late.Skies are clear and they tell us that it will be a sunny warm holiday weekend.

*** *** *** ***

Today is my Friday. I had class tonight and we have a three day weekend coming. The excitement of the holiday is alive and well at our local stores. We have been shopping for a few days on a feast to beat all feasts. Like I have said before, when it comes to holidays, you go BIG or you go HOME !!!

Tonight’s class we discussed the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of Jesus and early Christianity. A topic right up my alley. We had a lively discussion in class, moving through history from early Christianity into the discussion of the rise and flourishing of Islam across the European continent through the Middle East, into Egypt, Syria, Northern Africa and on into Spain and France.

The world might be at odds with Islam. But one must look with respect on the achievements that were made as Islam moved across the world, the goods it brought forth, the knowledge and creation that took place, education, writing, paper, architecture and religious teaching.

I’ve always admired the religion of Islam. It is the most “well lived” religious tradition. Following the 5 pillars of Islam is a lifetime of work, faith and practice. For the Muslim it is an everyday religion. It is a full time practice.

The Qur’an presents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. They are (1) the shahada(creed), (2) daily prayers (salat), (3) fasting during Ramadan(sawm), (4) almsgiving (zakat), and (5) the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime.

Unlike Christianity, yes, we have belief and practice, but Christianity does not even compare to the depth of practice that Islam requires. Christians profess faith, we may go to church, and try to do good in our communities and maybe we visit a holy site sometime in our lives. But Christians get away with much more than our Muslim brothers and sisters.

That’s why I love my copies of Holy texts and of course certain books that everyone has read like the Alchemist. If you’ve never read it, you should.

I’ve studied all the major religions around the world. Eastern and Western, old and new. I was talking to my prof during the break tonight, she was asking how much education I had, because at one point tonight I corrected her during her lecture. I love being able to do that …My top three disciples: Peter, James and John. Paul came after Jesus, never having met him unless you count his radical conversion vision with Jesus. People seem to get these truths wrong…

I have en extensive library here at home. On top of all my academic reading I have done for the degrees I have attained, I have read a huge amount of side literature dealing with many of the worlds religions. I have found that reading side literature enlightens many things that academia tends to ignore because some fiction is just that, fiction.

I love reading anyways. There are a multitude of books that speak about religion and tradition. I have yet to even make a dent in the reading list that is out there to be read.

I am rambling now, which means I need to stop writing. Lest, I get on my pontifical pedestal.

Tomorrow is Friday and a meeting.

More to come, stay tuned …


I met a man …

It is a full plate kind of night. It is Tuesday on top of that. I had a lot to do today and a full day to do it.First, I had to take some time to do my readings and pray. And I start my day reading a sober blog written by a man named Dan. […And I am Somebody]. He is a member from Minneapolis. He has a blog that he is writing on from Mexico right now. We have been on lake Atitlan for the last 2 weeks. You can click the link and go read him. It is a fabulous read.

After I caught up on my daily readings I set off for the afternoon.

This afternoon I did my housework and shopping done for the meeting and hurried out at 4 p.m.

I just had a feeling.

I got to the church, it was just me and God for almost 1.5 hours. I set up quietly and efficiently. And then went upstairs to sit outside and people watch in the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day today. Not too hot or humid. But just right.

We had a good showing for the early meeting. And a few newcomers attending their first meeting. And lucky us, one of our old timers came to visit us today, which was a real treat. It is good to see friends come to visit, even if they were on a 12 step mission.

The room was buzzing with spirituality. It was great. We did the swap out and readied for the late meeting. And tonight’s speaker came to us from Friday Finchley.

I’ve never heard someone of another culture share at a meeting before. And I have a lot to write about this topic. Our speaker got sober in the 90’s and is originally from Iran. He has been in Canada for many years, having fled the country after the revolution.

He spoke of Shah time, a time when the Shah of Iran was in power and Iran was more Western than it is today under the hard line regime. Iran, he told us, was more European. Men and women could socialize in the same spaces, go to school together and alcohol was not forbidden as hard line Islam decrees. The eldest of seven children he grew up in an oppressive home with a father who was in the military.

He lost his father at 43, and military service was mandatory. He shared bits and pieces of his life story, and I was captivated with his story. When alcohol was forbidden opium became easier to get.

Cultures are very different. Yet our speaker tonight told us a story about fear, hatred, misery and addiction. After the revolution, he sent one of the brothers to the UK for university because that was not an option for many in Iran. He fled the country via a second country to get to Canada.

This is where things get interesting. And I have to ask him about this at a later time, but he did not explain his religious practice at this time, being a Muslim man in Montreal. But alcohol is forbidden in Islamic custom.

Coming to Canada did not stop him from starting a bender that almost killed him, and ended him up in the pen. He got out of the pen and went to rehab and started doing meetings. And you could tell that there was passion in his voice about gratitude, thanks and just how serious he takes his program today.

I was speechless at the end of his share. I was so touched by his story and his courage to persist, to stay sober, to be connected to meetings, a home group and service. He truly carried the message, from one side of the world to another. It was a great honor to have him speak for us tonight.

We had newbies at the late meeting, We gave one chip away, we had one silent pick up from the desk while I was counting money and we sold a Big Book, which I let go for half price, Rick is gonna kick my ass. But that boy I sold it to promised he would return to the meeting next week.

Redemption

Hubby downloaded the next episode of Deadliest Catch, Redemption the other day and I skimmed through it but did not concentrate on the last 5 minutes of the show word for word. Tonight we watched it on tv. I am glad I saw it on tv tonight and not a few days ago, even if I know what happens in the end.

In the last moments of the episode Phil looses his life after having a second incident. After doctors worked on him for a long while there came a point that a decision had to be made to end life saving procedures.

Jake is off to rehab. Josh now is in Anchorage taking care of dad, who has passed away. The crews on the Bering Sea are facing a 1000 km size storm at sea. And Next week, Valhalla, Josh will contact the fleet about his fathers passing. That much I know.

Hopefully Jake won’t go crazy and get all up in the bottle. We shall see, if he stays or he returns to Anchorage. Hopefully he stays on the straight and narrow.

That was my day in a nutshell. Goodness, sadness, and gratitude for a good day spent with friends and fellows in the program. I am very glad that I am sober today because I get to do fantastic things like I shared with you tonight.

more to come, stay tuned…


Saudis praised for calling interfaith conference

By CIARAN GILES, Associated Press Writer

MADRID, Spain – Saudi Arabia won praise Friday for taking a leading role in an interfaith conference, with participants saying it was another sign the conservative Muslim kingdom is opening up.

Rabbi David Rosen, the only Israeli who attended the three-day meeting led by Saudi King Abdullah, said he believes the oil-rich Persian Gulf kingdom also wants to reaffirm leadership in the Muslim world for fear of greater instability.

“The Saudis are definitely opening up,” said Rosen, who heads inter-religious relations for the American Jewish Committee and is a former chief rabbi of Ireland. “I have heard from the Saudis that this is a culmination of a process that began the moment Abdullah ascended to the throne and that he actually wants to open up Saudi society.”

The Saudi monarch unexpectedly called the conference about a month ago. It brought together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists among other religions and was hosted by Spain. The meeting ended on Friday.

Critics said the Saudis were the last people who should be leading a conference on religious dialogue given that Wahhabism — the austere strain of Sunni Islam practiced in the kingdom — is considered one of the religion’s most conservative. Many believe the conference was held in Spain partly because it would be politically unpalatable for Abdullah to allow Jewish and Christian leaders on Saudi soil.

However, Abdullah has made reaching out to other faiths a hallmark of his rule since taking over the country in 2005. He met with Pope Benedict XVI late last year, the first meeting ever between a pope and a reigning Saudi king.

And in June, Abdullah held a religious conference at home in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. At that meeting, participants pledged improved relations between Islam’s two main branches, Sunni and Shiite, and Abdullah also rejected extremism, saying Muslims must present Islam’s “good message” to the world.

“It’s also believed that he is very concerned about instability in the region obviously in relation to Israel, Palestine, but especially Iraq and even more the ascendancy of Iran and that there is a need to reaffirm what he sees as Saudi Arabia’s leadership in the region,” said Rosen, who holds dual Israeli-American citizenship.

William Baker, president of the U.S. group Christians and Muslims for Peace, said the real significance of the meeting was that “it originated in the heart of Islam.”

“This could not come at a better time for the whole world and peace and it could not have come from a better place as Islam is being propagandized against, lied about and distorted in the West for political purposes,” said Baker.

Saudi Arabia presented the conference as a strictly religious initiative. The World Muslim League, which organized it for the king, was adamant there would be no discussions of political issues such as the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or Iranian nuclear ambitions.

At the conference, delegates dwelt instead on issues such as dialogue within the Islamic world and with other denominations. Other topics debated were the need to protect the family, the role of women in religion and ways to protect the environment. They agreed to try to organize more conferences and involve the United Nations.

For Rosen, the fact that the conference took place at all was the most significant thing.

“There have been interfaith conferences before, but never by the king of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “This is an incredible advancement.”


What's on your Desk Top???

What’s on your Desk Top??? I found this photo the other night on one of my Stumble trips. It is just amazing looking down onto the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It sets a mood of reverence and prayer every time I sit down at my keyboard.

It was a really good day. Suffice to say, I hope that I was able to bring light into a friends life today. We had a nice lunch at the Eaton Centre and then coffee at Indigo Book sellers. Good food, good conversation and fun was had by all.

More tomorrow, stay tuned babies…


What’s on your Desk Top???

What’s on your Desk Top??? I found this photo the other night on one of my Stumble trips. It is just amazing looking down onto the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It sets a mood of reverence and prayer every time I sit down at my keyboard.

It was a really good day. Suffice to say, I hope that I was able to bring light into a friends life today. We had a nice lunch at the Eaton Centre and then coffee at Indigo Book sellers. Good food, good conversation and fun was had by all.

More tomorrow, stay tuned babies…


Reconciliation Islam, Democracy, and the West Pt. 2

We continue on our journey through historical Islam and we are going to look at a number of thoughts in this section of the text, as it covers 50 pages to the end of Chapter 2. We begin tonight’s lesson with the 5 Pillars of Islam. Muslims believe that there are Five Pillars of Islam, which are the fundamental principles that make up the most basic requirements for life as a Muslim:

  1. Shahada (“Witness”) This is the declaration that all Muslims must make: “I testify that there is no god but one God, and that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.”
  2. Salat (“Prayers”) All Muslims must pray five times daily, facing Mecca.
  3. Zakat (“Almsgiving”) Muslims must give a certain percentage of their yearly income to the poor and needy.
  4. Sawm (“Fasting”) During the holy month of Ramadan, all Muslims must fast every day from sunrise to sunset.
  5. Hajj (“Pilgrimage”) A pilgrimage to Mecca, the location of the holiest place in Islam, must be performed by every Muslim, if possible, once in his or her lifetime.

Our writer makes certain statements in this text that she believes will bring together the fighting factions of Islam to a peaceful resolution. Stated here: “It is my firm belief that until Muslims revert to the traditional interpretation of Islam – in which “you shall have your religion, and I shall have mine” is respected and adhered to – the factional strife within Muslim countries will continue. Indeed, until quranic tolerance is reestablished, the key Muslim countries of pakistan and Iraq will not only continue to weaken them but will continue to threaten to spread inflexible and extremist interpretations elsewhere in the Muslim world.

Those who teach the killing of adherents of other sects or religions are damaging Muslim societies as well as threatening non-Muslim societies.

On Seeking Knowledge:

The Prophet remarked on the importance of seeking knowledge throughout life: “Seek knowledge by even going to China, for seeking knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim.” The Prophet placed the utmost importance on seeking knowledge, instructing humans to go to extraordinary lengths to gain not just religious knowledge but all knowledge.

The Past:

The past is used too frequently to define modern Muslims, especially when evaluating their receptivity to democracy. We don’t define Judaism by the brutality of the conquest of the tribes of Canaan or by the pain and suffering of the plagues on Egypt. We don’t define Christianity by the barbarism of the Dark Ages or by the persecution of the Inquisition.

When analysts look at the receptivity of modern Muslim communities to democracy, they too often look to Islamic texts and interpretations, as well as to the kind of social structure of the first community of Muslims. This construct, labeled “Muslim exceptionalism,” is based on the view that the norms of the Muslim community of the past must necessarily define the Muslim community of the present. It assumes that Muslim thought and Muslim society have not evolved, adapted, or changed over time. Some feel that “the character of Muslim societies has been determined by a specific and remote period in their past during which the social and political order that continues to guide them was established.

The scholar is referring to Prophet Mohammad’s early community of Muslims in seventh-century Arabia. This theory is predicated on the bizarre belief that they strength of the past continues to hold on to the psyche of Muslim society, blocking progress in political and other fields, including human rights and technological and economic development.

Morals and Beliefs:

The Qu’ran provides broad beliefs and morals by which to live. The specifics were left to be interpreted in light of the proper historical context. “The text is silent. We have to hear its voice. In order to hear, we need presuppositions. In order to have presuppositions, we need the knowledge of the age. In order to have the knowledge of the age, we have to surrender to change.

Equally important to the context of interpretation of the Qu’ran is who interprets it. Some Muslims, especially those belonging to theocratic regimes, try to assert that only a select few can interpret the Qu’ran. This is not the case. Interpretation of the Qu’ran is not limited to any one person or committee. The Qu’ran did not establish a specific institution or group of leaders as its sole interpreters. Any Muslim is free to interpret the Qu’ran. All Muslims are guaranteed the right to interpret the Qu’ran (ijtihad) Thus even the approach to interpretation of the Qu’ran is embedded with democratic values.

Indeed, Muslims are told that each person is accountable for his or her individual behavior. No relative, teacher, or other can intervene for a Muslim of the Day of Judgment.

Interpretation:

Every interpretation needs to be based on the context in which it is undertaken. In the modern world, modern interpretations need to be made while respecting the underlying principles of the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran, while the word of God, is a text that is historically rooted in the time of its revelation. There is no explicit mention of democracy in the Qu’ran because it was not a word used in the seventh-century Arabia. However, the principles of consultation and consensus among the people, which are found in the Qu’ran, are the bases of democracy. Moreover, the principles of equality, justice, and law, which are the underlying foundations of democracy, are repeatedly stressed in the Qu’ran.

Our author continues with her beliefs as she states:

For Muslims like me, who believe in democracy, Islam is about consent and people’s participation. Islam and democracy are compatible. Radwan Masmoudi agrees that contemporary interpretations need to continue to be made; he asserts that it is better than “the doors of ijtihad – closed for some 500 years – be reopened.”

Even the conservative Pakistani Islamist leader Khurshid Ahmad conceded that “God has revealed only broad principles and has endowed man with the freedom to apply them in every age in the way suited to the spirit and conditions of that age. It is through ijtihad that people of every age try to implement and apply divine guidance to the problems of their times.”

We are moving into more current events and places in this portion of the reading and I reiterate the following text because it is important for Westerners and others to understand what is bubbling just beneath the surface and why there is wide spread war around the globe.

Continuing:

Islam proclaims that the earth belongs to “Khalq e Khuda,” the people of God. We are all God’s creatures. The earth is given to us in trust by God. We the people are the agents of God in this world. We are to govern the earth as a sacred trust and as trustees of the responsibility to pass it on the future generations. The right to declare who is a “good Muslim” and who is a “bad Muslim” is a right that belongs only to God.

Those who say that we on earth must determine who is a good Muslim and who is a bad Muslim are in many ways responsible for the political legacy of murder, mayhem, sectarian warfare, and oppression of women and minorities we see in the Muslim world. These extremists are destroying the Muslim world by pitting Muslim against Muslim.

Militancy:

The militants seethe with anger, but their anger is always tied to their political agenda.

  1. First they were angry and the West had abandoned three million Afghan refugees and stopped all assistance to them after the Soviets left Afghanistan.
  2. Second, they are angry that their offer to the government of Pakistan to send one hundred battle hardened mujahideen to help in the Kashmir uprising on 1989 was rejected.
  3. Third, they wanted King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to turn to the “battle hardened mujahideen” to protect Saudi Arabia after Iraqi president Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. He refused.
  4. Fourth, they went off to fight in Bosnia when the region was engulfed in war (from 1993 to 1996, I lobbied President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister John Major, and other European leaders to intervene to bring the conflict to an end.)
  5. Fifth, they tried to exploit the Chechen nationalist movement.
  6. Sixth, with the fall of my government they turned their attention to Kashmir and tried to take over the nationalist Kashmiri movement from 1997 onward.

Muslim extremists systematically targeted historical nationalist movements to gain credibility and launch themselves into the Muslim heartland with a view to piggybacking off nationalist movements to advance their agenda. However, most Muslims were suspicious and not welcoming of their extreme interpretation of Islam. Thus is was only in Afghanistan, already softened by years of resistance by Afghan mujahideen, that Muslim extremists were able to establish the Taliban dictatorship.

Driven out of Afghanistan after the September 2001 attacks on the United States, they returned to Pakistan, where the journey had begun with General Zia-ul-Haq in 1980.

After the United States invaded Iraq, these same extremists turned their attention to that country. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi went off to fight in Iraq. Presumably others did, too. Again they used religious propaganda to kill, maim, and effectively divide one of the richest Muslim countries, Iraq, into a land of carnage and bloodshed.

Sunnis and Shias, who had lived peacefully side by side for centuries, began to kill each other, and Iraq began to fall apart. It is quite easy (and typical) for Muslim Extremists to blame the Americans for the sectarian civil war that rages in Iraq today, when actually it is a long standing tension between Muslim communities that has been exacerbated and militarized to create chaos under which extremists thrive.

Iraq is not the only goal of the extremists. Pakistan too is in great danger. Pro-Taliban forces have taken over tribal areas of Pakistan. They occupy the Swat Valley. They have been ceded Waziristan by the Musharraf regime. They are moving into the settled areas of Pakistan. Their apparent next goal is the cities of my country, including our capital, Islamabad. They thrive on dictatorship; they thrive on terror; they provoke chaos to exploit chaos.

I (Bhutto) returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007, with the goal of moving my country from dictatorship to democracy. I hoped that this transition could take place during the scheduled elections of 2008. I feared that otherwise the extremists would march towards Islamabad. Islamabad is near the town of Kahuta, where Pakistan’s nuclear program is being carried out.

It is my fear that unless extremism is eliminated, the people of Pakistan could find themselves in a contrived conflict deliberately triggered by militants (or other “Islamists”) who now threaten to take over Pakistan’s nuclear assets.

Having a large Muslim nation fall into chaos would be catastrophic. My people could end up being bombed, their homes destroyed, and their children orphaned simply because a dictator has focused all his attention all off the nations resources on containing democrats instead of containing extremists, and then has used the crisis that he has created to justify the same policies that caused the crisis. It may sound convoluted, but there is certainly method to madness.

And in closing this discussion:

Islam was sent a message of liberation. The challenge for modern-day Muslims is to rescue this message from the fanatics, the bigots, and the forces of dictatorship. It is to give Muslims back the freedom God ordained for humankind to live in peace, in justice, in equality, in a system that is answerable to the people on this earth accepting that is it God who will judge us on the Day of Judgment.

It is by accepting that temporal and spiritual accountability are two separate issues that we can provide peace, tranquility, and opportunity. There are two judgments: the judgment of God’s creatures in this world through a democratic system and the judgment by God when we leave this world.

The extremists and militants who seek to hijack Islam aim to make their own judgments. In their failure lies the future of all Muslims and the reconciliation of Islam to the West.


Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West

I have told you that I am reading a book written by Benazir Bhutto titled: Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. It is a very convincing read so far, and Islam is not my strength, but I have taken my series of introductory classes in Islam. I am going to write for you, excerpts from the chapters which I have read. I am not a scholar of the Qu’ran, and I am not a Muslim, but please, if you are moved to comment and discuss I would welcome your input on the following entry for tonight.

Reconciliation:

The case – the very strong case – for a pluralistic and modern Islamic society is made directly in Islamic scriptures’ references to violence, terrorism, intercultural relations, interreligious relations, the place of women in society, and science and technology. Despite the protestations and assertions of some, and despite skepticism outside our own community, the vast majority of the billion Muslims in the world embrace a peaceful, tolerant, open, rational, and loving religion that codifies democratic values.

It is a religion that sanctifies the traditions of the past while embracing the hope for progress in the future. This is the interpretation of Islam that my father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and my mother, Nusrat Bhutto, embraced and practiced and taught my brothers, Mir Murtzaz and Shah Nawaz, my sister, Sanam, and me.

This is the true Islam, in contrast to the perversion that has been espoused by extremists and militants and the caricatures that is too often accepted in the West. The greatest and purest source is the words of the Prophet himself. And when the Prophet speaks of “Allah,” he is speaking of God, the same monolithic God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. “God” is a translation of the Arabic word “Allah,” not just the God of Islam but rather the God of monotheism, the God of all who believe in Him and believe that He is the Creator of the universe, of this world and the hereafter.

Jihad:

Many people around the world think that the word “jihad” means only military war, but this is not the case. As a child I was taught that jihad means struggle. Asma Afsaruddin, a well-regarded scholar of Islam, explains the correct meaning well: “The simplistic translation of jihad into English as ‘holy war,’ as is common in some scholarly and nonscholarly discourses, constitutes a severe misrepresentation and misunderstanding of its Quranic usage.” Jihad instead is the struggle to follow the right path, the “basic endeavor of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.”

The importance of jihad is rooted in the Quran’s command to struggle (the literal meaning of the word jihad) in the path of God and in the example of the Prophet Mohammad and his early companions. In fact, some of the Muslim world believe holy war against the West is warranted in a new global conflict.

… Therefore, it is important to show the true meaning of jihad: as an internal and external struggle to follow the right and just path. Jihad involving armed conflict must be constrained by the standards of just war, just as Christianity sets similar standards. I will substantiate, with theological backing, the idea that terrorism cannot be supported by reference to the Holy Book.

In the history of Islam, there are two different constructs of the term “Jihad.” First there is the internal jihad, a jihad within oneself to be a better person, to resist the temptations of the soul. This is a struggle centered on eradicating character flaws such as narcissism, greed and wickedness. This is the greater jihad.

The second form of jihad is personal conduct at a time of war or conflict. The Prophet is said to have remarked when he came home from a battle, “We return from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.” This shows the importance of the constant internal struggle that we all face within ourselves. It is nonviolent struggle that makes us become better people. The greater, internal jihad is seen as more important that the lesser, external jihad.

Terrorism:

Let us look specifically at the issue of terrorism. Muslim jurists developed a specific body of laws called siyar that interprets and analyzes the just cause for war. Part of the law indicates that “those who unilaterally and thus illegally declare a call to war, attack unarmed civilians and recklessly destroy property are in flagrant violation of the Islamic juristic conception of bella justum. Islamic law has a name for such rogue militants, muharibun. A modern definition of muharibun would very closely parallel the contemporary meaning of ‘terrorists.’ The acts that these muharibun commit would be called hiraba (‘terrorism’). Thus all terrorism is wrong. There is no ‘good terrorism’ and ‘bad terrorism.’

Osama bin Laden’s creed that “the terrorism we practice is of the commendable kind” is an inverted rationalization for murder and mayhem. In Islam, no terrorism – the reckless slaughter of innocents – is ever justified.

Religion:

The Qu’ran reveals that God sent 120,000 prophets. Thus, it can be argued that in a Muslim state, diverse points of view will be represented and must be protected. The Qu’ran does not simply preach tolerance of other religions; it also acknowledges that salvation can be achieved in all monotheistic religions.

Freedom of choice, especially in matters of faith, is a cornerstone of quranic values. This freedon of course, leads to pluralism in religion, both within Islam and outside. The quranic preference for freedom of choice clearly manifests a divine desire for pluralism and religious diversity; examples of this from the Qu’ran are clear and striking: “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.” The Qu’ran unambiguously desires choice in religious matters.

Quite remarkably and uniquely, the Qu’ran acknowledges that other religions can readily lead to salvation. For example, the Holy Book says:

Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

Islam embraces all humanity under one God, discrediting all other exclusive claims to salvation. I don’t believe there is anything quite like this is any religion on earth.

Continuing…

Islam believes that people should be allowed choice in religion and that no religion should be forced upon people. Religious freedom allows people to freely accept Islam – or any religion – as their religion of choice. Practicing Islam out of force rather than choice is unIslamic. The Qu’ran states : “There is no compulsion in religion.” Indeed, the practice of religion while under compulsion or forced conversion is against the teachings of the Qu’ran. (Thus, the forced conversion of Muslims perpetrated by Christian slave masters would not have been permitted in Islam, nor would have the forced conversion of Sephardic Jews by Christians during the Spanish inquisition.”

This is a lot to process, and is all that I have highlighted so far…

Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West, Benazir Bhutto, Chapter 2 pgs. 20-33


Benazir Bhutto “Reconciliation”

Today was a quiet day to reflect on the past, to remember those who suffer from ridicule and harassment and to allow the world to know that suffering is unacceptable. While I was on campus today I took care of my administration fees for my continuing education so I am now paid up through the Summer. I also picked up my course pack for my Religion class that begins next week.

On my way out of the bookstore I wanted to pick up some reading material, because I can’t go to bed at night and not have something fresh to read, since I have exhausted my library at home. I finished all my new books in the last few weeks. I found this book titled: Benazir Bhutto – Reconciliation, Islam, Democracy, and the West.

This book has been praised by many notable people.

“This is one of the most gripping and important books of our era. It’s a powerful personal narrative of an astonishingly brave woman. It’s also a brilliant manifesto for challenging radical Islam. Benazir Bhutto was an intense but charming woman driven by a crucial mission. Her death makes this beautiful book all the more poignant, and also more necessary.”

Walter Isaacson

I am sure that I will have a lot to share with you in the coming days as I read this book.