Archive for April, 2008

The “Stop the Madrassa” Coalition and its campaign against the Khalil Gibran International Academy

April 29, 2008

When I first ran into the “Stop the Madrassa” Coalition’s blog last week, I was inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt that they may have had a valid church-state separation issue regarding the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA). I do think it’s important to uphold separation of church (mosque) and state.

However, the more I’ve looked into this matter, the more it seems to me that the “Stop the Madrassa” Coalition is crying wolf. Their one valid complaint is the Board of Education’s unwillingness to provide complete information about the curriculum to the general public. On this matter, their arch-scapegoat, the Khalil Gibran school’s founder and former principal Debbie Almontaser, agrees with them, as I learned last night. She too wishes that the Board of Education and the school’s current administration would be more transparent, to allay public fears.

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More about the fine line between opposing Islamism and promoting bigotry against Muslims

April 29, 2008

I finally got a response on the “Creeping Sharia” blog. (See my earlier post More about Islamism and bigotry against Muslims.) Below is my reply.

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Refutations of some classic libels against Jews

April 27, 2008

Recently, there seems to have been revival of classic libels against Jews, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and ye olde blood libel, in many parts of the world.

I’m not Jewish, but I have a personal interest in this topic, as a member of another, much smaller religious minority which has frequently been a target of what can best be described as warmed-over anti-Jewish propaganda. Also, I live in New York and have had quite a few Jewish friends.

Below, I’ll discuss some classic anti-Jewish claims, with links to sites refuting them.

I do question whether these beliefs have become quite as widespread as some folks claim. Pro-Israel hawks have seized upon the promulgation of anti-Jewish libels as a justification for their own intransigance, which makes me wonder whether some of them might be exaggerating just a tad. Nevertheless, the revival of traditional anti-Jewish nonsense does indeed seem to be a real and growing menace.

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“Voodoo, black magic or Satanism, call it what you like” – No!

April 26, 2008

In a news story from the Tenerife Canary Islands in Spain, Gruesome goings-on in Arona’s cemetery, Fortnightly Tenerife News, Spain – Mar 27, 2008, the first sentence says:

Voodoo, black magic or Satanism, call it what you like, the gruesomely shocking results have scandalized the residents of Arona and have angered and horrified the relatives of those whose bodies have been desecrated by some profoundly unbalanced individuals.

No, don’t “call it what you like.” Find out what it is. Don’t just go randomly slurring nonmainstream religions.
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Witchhunts and (real) ritual murder, in Africa and India – roundup of recent news

April 26, 2008

Some interesting speculation: Does Climate Change Mean More Witch Hunts? by Freakonomics, New York Times Blogs, NY, 4/25/2008:
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More about Islamism and bigotry against Muslims

April 25, 2008

New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry will oppose both Islamism (the political ideology of Sharia supremacy) and bigotry against Muslims, as stated here (as well as opposing bigotry against people of various other religions too).

As I now envision our activism, it will include, among other things, both (1) participating in political actions against torture and in favor of indicting Bush, Cheney, et al for war crimes, and (2) attempts to reason with anti-Muslim bigots, who often seem to be motivated by valid concerns about Islamism.

In trying to reason with anti-Muslim bigots, I’m inclined to argue from a pragmatic point of view, rather than an abstract moral point of view. Specifically, I think a good approach might be to empathize with their concerns about Islamism (which I share) and point out that there are many Muslim reformers and Muslim moderates who are not just different from Islamists but also our natural allies against Islamism and against the more repressive and retrograde forms of Islam.
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Islamism vs. Muslim reformers and moderates: Response to “The Apostate”

April 25, 2008

I’ve been having a very interesting discussion with “The Apostate,” who is “a Pakistani woman, raised as a Muslim in Saudi Arabia, and an atheist since the age of 17,” now 25 and living in San Francisco.

In a post of hers titled Why I Criticize Islam and Muslims, she wrote:

Nevertheless, I don’t wish to ‘demonize’ Muslims, nor to paint a monochromatic picture of them. There are Muslims who have commented on this blog who represent a kinder gentler Islam. I know they exist – I also know they are, at this point in time, few and far between. I can also differentiate between truly enlightened Muslims and those who are primitive in their religious interpretations but who have good hearts.

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Gay repentant hawks on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

April 24, 2008

Back in 2001, shortly after 9/11, I remember seeing rhetoric about how the U.S invasion of Afghanistan was going to liberate Afghanistan’s women. Various “gay conservatives” claimed that a U.S. invasion would be good for Afghanistan’s gays, too. Likewise, various gay neocons thought the U.S. military was going to bring human rights to Iraq as well.

Some have belatedly changed their minds, at least about Iraq.
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More about Islam & Islamism: Response to “Islamoscope”

April 23, 2008

After publishing my previous post, I clicked on the “Islamism” tag to see what other folks were saying on that topic here on WordPress.com. One of the blogs I came across was Islamoscope, whose About page says:

We believe that by creating awareness of the radical element of Islam both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims from all religious and ethnic persuasions can ensure we can still enjoy the freedoms created in the West free from radical persecution.

I agree so far.
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Islam and religion-based bigotry

April 23, 2008

New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry will need to tread a very delicate balance as far as Islam is concerned.

On the one hand, the Muslim world seems to be dominated, to a large and very scary degree, by extremely intolerant Islamist factions. We need to take a stand against Islamist persecution of “apostates,” persecution of gays, etc. (Among other things, this means we should expose the history of U.S. government support for Islamist militants – continuing even after 9/11/2001!)

On the other hand, Muslims in general, including the more moderate and reformist Muslims, have themselves been the target of a lot of bigotry here in the U.S.A. We need to oppose that, too. We also need to oppose the egregious human rights violations, e.g. torture, that have been justified in the name of opposing Islamist terrorism.
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African witchhunts

April 14, 2008

Here on WordPress, I just now came across a blog with some fascinating, very informative, and disturbing posts about today’s African witchhunts:

They pretty much confirm what I already knew, but provide more historical details. The author is apparently South African and a believer in Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

P.S.: I just now came across an old post on Marie Ravensoul’s blog, Christian Rapper Calls for the Killing of Witches and the Slaying of Demons. It seems that the song is paralleling real-life trends, alas.

Hi, I’m back

April 12, 2008

Due to other things going on in my life, I’ve had to withdraw more-or-less completely from the online theistic Satanist scene for the past 10 months.

I’m now back.

Before I left, I was in process of creating the “theistic Satanism blog network,” which, as I then envisioned it, would use a PHP script to simulate a forum using blogs. The script would automatically display links to the latest posts on all blogs, organizing the posts into five categories by topic and intended audience. The idea was to replace my theistic Satanism Yahoo groups with something as similar as possible.

At least for now, I’ve given up on the idea, because I still don’t have enough time to work on the script. Instead, at least for now, the Theistic Satanism Blog Network will be simply be a listing of blogs which link back to my Theistic Satanism Blog Network page.

If I ever do revive the script idea, I’ll need to think more carefully about the details too. For example, the topicality guidelines as I then envisioned them may be too complicated to enforce.

General feedback thread

April 11, 2008

I’ll be linking to this post from my websites, as a place for people to post comments not pertaining to any specific post here.

Important: If you want me to contact you via private contact, please be sure to tell me what you want me to contact you ABOUT. I will not respond to non-specific requests.