Posts tagged ‘religion’

August 30, 2015

Understanding Islam and Muslims

Islam Carole Hillenbrand

Soft spoken, calm and a leading authority on Islam, Carole Hillenbrand is a Professor of Islamic History at both Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities. Her new book, Islam: A New Historical Introduction aims to allow readers to gain a sensitive understanding of the essential tenets of the religion and of the many ways in which the present is shaped by the past.

The author’s hour long event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival was the perfect split between highlights from her book and questions from the eager audience.  I thought this event would be too much of a niche interest but interestingly it sold out. We can’t

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December 1, 2014

Baby Name Trends, What to Avoid

muppetbabies

Besides Christmas, December means endless lists summarising the year that was and we begin the reflection with a look at popular baby names.  Personally I’d want to know in order to avoid them, just like fashion trends sometimes it’s best to go off piste although perhaps not as much as Gwyneth Paltrow!

Reflecting the diversity of Britain, Muhammad shot to the number one spot as the most popular baby name, perhaps Wills and Kate can consider it for little No.2 next year? I’m a Muslim and this is the

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July 31, 2014

The God Complex Delusion

Richard-Dawkins

Deluded

It is important to have crushes. A fantasy one (Hulk, Brazilian), a real life one (a new friend), an intellectual one (Richard Dawkins) and sometimes, I even fancy my husband!

But I’m here to talk about the sacking of my intellectual crush, Richard Dawkins, who turned from excellent biologist (superseded only by Stephen Jay Gould who wrote in a more “for dummies” way) to monster raving loony.

Since his book The God Delusion concluded that the reason my mother is religious is because she is intellectually inferior, he has continued to offend for

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March 17, 2014

Colour Used As Punishment

widow plays holi

The Hindu festival of colour (Holi) was celebrated today and I was drawn to the story in the Indian Express of an NGO, Sulabh International,  that arranged for 1000 widows to celebrate Holi in the City of Widows, Vrindavan.  William Dalrymple dedicated a chapter in his book, The Age of Kali to this city and its unique population of cast out women.

In Hindu tradition, a woman is stripped of colour once she becomes a widow.  She can only wear white irrespective of whether

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October 31, 2013

No Woman, No Drive

no-woman-no-drive
You must have heard of this great twist on the Bob Marley classic released to take the piss out of the no driving rule for chicks in Saudi Arabia.
Sigh.
Let’s not talk about the driving ban, I’m likely to spontaneously combust, but how fab that finally SOME Saudi women seem to be waking up

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October 21, 2013

Fasting: For Him Not Her

Kareena Kapoor karwa chauth

Kareena Kapoor made news in India today as she declared that she will not be starving herself tomorrow in order to prove her love to her husband, Saif Ali Khan.  What’s so special about tomorrow you ask? Well…tomorrow is Karwa Chauth – a one day festival whereby women fast from sunrise until sighting of the full moon (through a flour sieve…) of that same evening and it’s all to ensure the safety and long life of their husbands. Some women also include their sons in this ritual.

Religion is funny business if you ask me and every religion seems to have their few eccentric laws/traditions/customs that remind women they are worthless,

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July 17, 2013

Halal And Kosher Meat Available Here

poland

My mother is mortified that I’ve been a veggie since about 2006. She has only just recently accepted that chicken is still meat.  I told her once that even if I did ever eat meat again (yuck) I would not touch halal meat because I find the procedure cruel and inhumane. Yes, personification of an animal but can you truly say an animal does not feel distressed when she knows she is bleeding to death?

Jews and Muslims

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May 29, 2013

The Case Against God

the_god_argument a c grayling

I have only been starstruck twice. Once was when I walked alongside David Beckham and my wonderful friend Darren pushed me slightly into him. The second was last night at the Southbank Centre when I went to see the eminent philosopher Prof AC Grayling discuss his new book, The God Argument.  I would happily marry them both (although Becks mate, you will have to promise not to open your mouth).

What an incredible person Grayling is – to harbour such a brain that tackles the greatest metaphysical problems of our time, he has the impossibly rare talent of being able to speak to us, his audience, in such terms that has us laughing from beginning to end.

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March 19, 2013

Nazi Salutes in 2013

katidis greek footballer nazi salute

I have a friend, bear with me as he will sound awful, who considers himself an expert in German history (an expert despite only having studying the subject to A-level) who moans and groans regularly about “the Jews” and “why they can’t shut up about the Holocaust”. His point, that he makes so badly, is that the Holocaust terminated amongst others, the disabled, the sick, homosexuals and more than any other ethnic group, the gypsies.

Well, there is no better reason than Katidis as to why Jews simply can’t stop talking about the war.

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January 10, 2013

Church Rules

church of england liverpool

So, if you are a straight man and married or single, you can become a bishop.

If you are a single gay man, you can become a bishop providing that you promise not to cosy up with another gay man.

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November 22, 2012

Equality And The Church

Earlier this week, the Anglican Synod voted against women being ordained as Bishops. The result cause dismay and disbelief amongst fellow clergy, some of whom are women, and worshipers as the traditional and orthodox views were carried out.

There was one question in particular that struck me. Why is the Church of England not subject to the same employment equality laws as every other organisation in the country?

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November 15, 2012

Fatal Anti Abortion Law

The devastating death of Savita Halappanavar needs to make Ireland stand up and change its anti-abortion laws. The tragedy here is that government religious legislation ruled over medical sense.

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October 2, 2012

Ikea: Misogynists or Cheapskates?

Women were airbrushed out of the Saudi Arabian version of Ikea’s catalogue.  The company has come under enormous criticism for this decision in Sweden and now the news has been broken to the rest of the world.  The company has apologised but what does this show?

Money can buy morals: Did the Saudis make this a condition of allowing Ikea to enter its market?

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August 21, 2012

Blasphemy

An 11 year old girl, Rifta Masih, with Down Syndrome could face the death penalty in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy. Mehdi Hasan reported in Huffington Post that the child was arrested for burning pages from the Quran. The police say she was arrested for her own safety as approximately 500 people gathered outside her home in outrage.

This is the legacy of General Zia Ul Haq who brought in these laws in the 1980’s to wage war in Afghanistan and to take a harder stance against India. It is not a divine-mandate, as seen by some Pakistanis.

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June 12, 2012

The Gods Unite

As the gay marriage debate rolls on I do wonder why gay people want to participate in a religious institution, often at a religious institution, when all mainstream religions hate homosexuality and recognise it as a sin where gays will burn in hell or even worse.

I went to a gay wedding in Delhi

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May 23, 2012

My Daughter, My Property

The on-going trial of the alleged honour killing of Shafilea Ahmed and evidence given by her younger sister is a chilling reminder of what can happen to girls and women in the name of culture or religion, particularly those from a South Asian background.

Demonstrating the utterly shocking nature of this ‘cultural’ practice, the UK Forced Marriages Unit dealt with a case involving a girl who was only five years old and another of a woman who was eighty-seven! 

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May 15, 2012

Heaven And Other Fairytales

Professor Stephen Hawking declared that heaven was a fairytale for people who are afraid of the dark and there is no such thing.  In an interview with The Guardian he also told us what we should do with ourselves

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January 5, 2012

End Of Christmas

Victorian tradition is to take down Christmas decorations on the 5th January. Today!

Apparently it is bad luck to leave them any longer than the twelfth night of Christmas.

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November 28, 2011

Science Is A Hoax

In the USA only three out of eight of the Republican candidates for the next presidential elections believe in the scientific basis for evolution and some have even portrayed scientist as perpetrators of a massive hoax.

We had a wonderful debate

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November 17, 2011

Bible Bash

The Queen and the Archbishop held a special service marking the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.   This version of the bible had been painstakingly translated into English so it could be read aloud at congregations.

Many Islamic scholars have argued

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November 1, 2011

Back of the Bus

I can’t believe this is happening, but a New York bus service that is run by Orthodox Jews is being investigated for making women sit in the back of the bus.

The story was uncovered

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October 25, 2011

British Pakistanis Discuss

Yesterday evening the RSA hosted an event with the practical title of: British Pakistanis and Pakistan: 21st century citizenship and diasporas.  I attended with my sister and although the event was disappointingly less the promised discussion and more a lecture it was interesting and I recommend listening to the panel here.  There was an assumption that British Pakistanis should give two hoots about Pakistan, a country that some of them have never even visited and a country that doesn’t care about the diaspora unless it’s for hand-me-outs or arranged marriages.

It was fascinating to hear

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August 1, 2011

Ramadan Rumbles

Sounds gross but have you ever had a three course breakfast in the space of 45 minutes?  Sleepily munching your Rice Krispies, followed hastily by daal and chapatti and finishing with fruit, cake and tea all before sunrise?

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July 11, 2011

Spiritually Possessed

One of the most frightening things I have ever seen in my life is a person being spiritually possessed and each time I witness this possession I become more and more curious about spirituality.

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June 24, 2011

Zip Your Lips

A Dutch court ruled yesterday that the right-wing politician was not guilty of inciting hatred but his comments came under free speech.  While Islamic groups in The Netherlands won right of appeal the politician is declaring a day of victory for freedom of speech (a pretty over-used declaration).

The politician compared the Quran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and called for a halt to Muslim immigration.  While I think all types of right-wing extremists have jaded views I do think he is right to also declare that he won the right to debate Islam in public.

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June 6, 2011

The Obedient Wives Club

A Malaysian group called “The Obedient Wives Club” seem to have nailed what it takes to have a successful marriage. To obey your husband and provide good sex. According to a member, a good wife is a good sex worker to her husband. Apparently, this will stop your husband misbehaving and straying.

The club was set up by a fringe Islamic group called Global Ikhwan who honestly believe that in Islam, a woman is the possession of the husband and it is a wife’s duty to be obedient and serve her husband. With 800 members since its launch on Saturday, the group claim that by educating women to be submissive and better in the bedroom,  they can solve the problems of domestic violence, infidelity and divorce.

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May 30, 2011

Maltesers Melt Away From Religion

72% of Maltese voted in favour of legalising divorce in a referendum over the weekend, a welcome move towards the 21st Century.  Their prime minister is gutted though as he led the ‘no’ campaign on the majority Catholic island. 

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May 15, 2011

Toolkits for Mosques

Last weekend, a series of toolkits were launched during a national conference in Manchester to help Mosques better engage with women and young people. The toolkits are a result of  findings of workshops held around the country which highlighted poor representation and engagement of women and young people in Mosques.

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May 12, 2011

Life Is Beautiful

I have been a fan of Richard Dawkins since reading The Blind Watchmaker in my uni days and recently enjoyed reading The God Delusion which came out in 2006.  Dawkins is of course the (in)famous atheist and this is his case for it.

The book includes theories relating to natural selection, some of which I’ve read in his material before, however the slant here is anti-religion. 

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April 24, 2011

PC Gone Mad Hatter?

Happy Easter everyone – I hope you enjoy your Easter eggs – or as one school in Seattle, USA has renamed them – enjoy your Spring Spheres!

I cringe when the PC monkeys ban nativity plays because they offend muslims (even though they don’t) and this is just as bad!  Why can an Easter egg not be an Easter egg and I hate to be pedantic (of course) but eggs are not spherical.

Bubbly

April 19, 2011

Observing Lent

Today I met a man who is observing Lent. I was so proud. I don’t why I was so proud, but I was. 40 days of only water is no mean feat. I have never met someone who has observed Lent, so I was fascinated as to why, what and when.

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April 18, 2011

Nip And Tuck For God

Dear Diary,

My little nephew had his circumcision last week.  I know that boys in many religions and cultures go through this process but I feel it’s wrong.

I know that health benefits are cited and of course God

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