Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Religion Rundown: Focus on Islam

It's only Tuesday, but it's been quite a week as far as news stories related to Islam goes. First up, the international outcry over the execution by the Taliban in Afghanistan of a pregnant woman accused of adultery. It shocked me because when I have read of similar stories in the past, the woman actually had the child and was then executed (which is still heinous; leaving a child motherless). Oh, did I mention the woman was a widow? From CNN:

The Taliban has executed a pregnant widow accused of adultery in western Afghanistan, provincial and district officials said Monday.

The 47-year-old woman, Sanam Gul, also known as Sanam Bibi, was killed in Badghis province Saturday morning, said Ashrafuddin Majidi, the provincial governor's spokesman.

The district governor of Qades, Hashim Habibi, confirmed the execution. He said the woman was accused of adultery that left her pregnant. The Taliban shadow district governor, Mullah Abdul Hakim, and his judge ordered the woman to be executed, he said..."

Before her execution, it was reported the woman "was whipped 200 times". My Lord.

In other news, a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative has gotten the go-ahead to run the above ads on the side of buses in NYC against the proposed mosque to be built blocks from the World Trade Center. From the AP via MSNBC:

"New York City's transit agency has approved a bus advertisement that depicts a plane flying toward the World Trade Center's towers as they burn along with a rendering of a proposed mosque near ground zero.

The ad was paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization that opposes radical Islamic influence in the United States. The group's executive director says she doesn't find the ad offensive.

The group sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to demand it accept the ad, which was approved Monday..."

Everyone from NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (understandably) to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (um, not so understandably) has weighed in on the issue, and it's gotten heated. I was curious when I heard the proposed plan, but not incredulous, especially when it really came down to money. Hey, money talks far louder than even the screams of angry bus signs. But those signs... what exactly, will they accomplish? I understand the question, "Why There?", but the imagery is just... appalling. And the group's name- freedom defense? How are they defending true freedom by trying to block this???

The Anti-Defamation League (surprisingly to me) recommend against the Islamic Center being built at the location. They released a statement:

"We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship. We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry. However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel – and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001. The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found."

It does seem like the "problem" would be "solved" if the proponents of the mosque would just build it elsewhere. But I can't help thinking how contradictory even the ADL is being in this situation. They are all for freedom of religion for all faiths... but feel that fundamental right should be ignored here?

Alright, let me put my sarcasm to the side for a minute. I seriously do understand the objections, and do question why the mosque would be built so close to the 9-11 site. However, many of the opponents have resorted to petty attacks, like inflammatory ads, to raise the very reasonable questions. Even worse, they have draped themselves in words like "freedom" and "defense", making anyone who question them seem like militant, un-American haters (probably even me right now).

I can't help but think when some people here the word "Muslim", their first thoughts are of 9-11, terrorists, war, jihad... or a pregnant woman being executed for adultery. But on tonight, the start of the holiest time on the Muslim calendar, Ramadan, people can try to gather other thoughts. Of people, of all different races and cultures- of children, families and lives. Souls made in God's image.

To my Muslim readers, may this next month be a time of growth, love and peace.

For more on Islam, check out these sites:


Don said...

One thing I can say about America - freedom is welcomed and appreciated. At the same time, it can and will often become an abused privilege. Then once you take into account that money talks, as you stated, it arrives at the point where hardly anything surprises me anymore.

That said, the ad is clearly in bad taste.

I honestly never knew what to make of certain events which take place overseas in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. One of those instances where I am thinking, "Today would be a great day for The Second Coming."

Alisha De Freitas said...

"...Today would be a great day for The Second Coming."

Yes, indeed. I just finished watching "The Book of Eli", so I'm in a strangely apocalyptic train of thought right now.

May the Lord God Jehovah help this world.

Don said...

i wanted to add that i kinda stopped believing the world would become a better place awhile ago, after accepting the revelation that in order for the arch angel to return, it would require a scenario in which He himself returned to battle Lucifer/restore original order. so, for myself, it then became a question of just how bad of a place the world must become, before The Second Coming? of course i hardly know the answer, but i AM closer to an answer (in this day and age) than i were, let's say, twenty years ago, which really isn't saying anything. On a much lighter note: Inception is the best film i witnessed this summer. i liked Toy Story 3 as well (please do not tell anyone). we plan to check out Takers this weekend, but no way it will compare to Inception. *notice i didn't mention the movie Salt.*

Alisha De Freitas said...

Don, Don't feel bad about "Toy Story 3". Almost everyone I know says its awesome. Actually, NO ONE I know who saw it disliked it! They said it was bittersweet but a great end to the trilogy.

Also, not too many were crazy about "Salt". Something about the end being too much of a push for part 2. I'll just watch it at home, thanks.

No one knows the date of the Second Coming except the Father. But this makes sense. If we all knew we had say, a year, how would that change our behavior? And most importantly, could it change our hearts? We should live both like today is the end AND the beginning. We never know when our time will come, and since we don't, we should awaken each day with a renewal of "hope" of His imminent return.

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