No compulsion?

April 22, 2009 at 12:30 am (Islamism, Pakistan)

The Qur’an says in in verse 256 of Sooratu-l-Baqarah (soorah 2): ( لا إكراه في الدّين ), laa ikraaha fi-d-deen, which means, “There is no compulsion in religion.”

Why? The Qur’an explains further in the same verse: ( قد تّبيّن الرّشد من الغيّ ), qad ttabayyana-r-rushdu mina-l-ghayy, which is translated as: “Truth stands out clear from error.”

Thus, because the truth is clear, there is no need to force people in matters religious: they all know better, and unto each his/her own to work out his/her own salvation, as it were.

So…whence shariah law and its enforcement of draconian penalties on transgressors?

Well, the fact the the common interpretation of 2:256 is not entirely correct. There is no compulsion in forcing people into the religion – for if they reject it, they do so knowing clearly well that they are wrong – but once a Muslim, the needs and obligations of the Muslim community takes precedence. Thus, any endangerment thereof is severely punished, as is any non-compliance. So, Muhammad should have said, “There is no compulsion in converting others to the religion, but once you’re a Muslim all bets are off.”


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Sufi Muhammad tells us what it means to love Islam

April 21, 2009 at 12:30 am (Islamism, Pakistan)

In “MPs who opposed Nizam-e-Adl are no longer Muslims: Sufi” on Saturday, April 18, 2009, by Ghulam Farooq of the Daily Times, it is written:

MINGORA: The parliamentarians who opposed the promulgation of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation in the National Assembly are no longer Muslims, Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad said on Friday.

The TNSM is the Taliban-led coalition that took over Malakand (often referred to as Swat) that seeks to implement shariah law throughout Pakistan. They started with an area that had slowly been turning friendly to the Taliban, which they then conquered. They stipulated that in order for them to lay down their arms, they must be allowed to implement shariah law.

This is an incident of takfeer (proclaiming another person a kaafir or non-Muslim). Technically, this is not permitted because it is forbidden to call a Muslim a non-Muslim, so most jurists say it is better not to take changes and do takfeer mistakenly.

Talking to Daily Times at Maidan Kambar in district Dir, he said Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain had nothing to do with Islam.

Altaf Hussain and the MQM were the only political entities that opposed to recommendation of the Shariah Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009. Thus, according to Sufi Muhammad, he is no longer a Muslim. Also, this means that having a spine is un-Islamic, unless the spine is used to whip people into subservience to the most draconian forms of Islam. Or, rather, to be a Muslim = terrorists have a spine (not to mention quite a lot of chutzpah!), and to be a kaafir = having a spine against the terrorists.

Sufi said Taliban had promised to lay down their weapons after the implementation of sharia in Malakand division. He appealed to the people to attend the April 19 public meeting at Mingora’s Grassy Ground to show the rest of the country how much the people of Malakand division loved Islam.

Love Islam = terrorism to intimidate the government, kill soldiers, kill police officers, whip women, et cetera

The TNSM chief said the people would also be briefed on the Nizam-e-Adl in the meeting. He urged the government to appoint qazis across the division. He said the Awami National Party had proved its love for Islam. He also praised parliament for the approval of the draft Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009.

“Proved its love for Islam” = become traitors to the laws and political system of the country they reside in and supposedly serve. Also, = supporting and loving terrorists.

He vowed to continue his struggle for the restoration of peace and said he would soon visit the division.

Of course, he couldn’t just ask his cohorts to lay down their weapons. No. It’s all the government’s fault.


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Pakistan Is Officially Insane

April 20, 2009 at 12:30 am (Islamism, Pakistan)

I’m not a swearing man, but with many people who have been following Pakistan, all I can say is: “WTF???!!!”

The Pakistani Parliament approved a recommendation to the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, to approve what is known as the Shariah Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009, which allows the Taliban government of Malakand, an area of the North-West Frontein Province (which is by the border of Afghanistan), to impose Shariah law. Pakistan’s civil law and civil courts will have no import: the Taliban may impose Shariah law.

One of the first things the Taliban government did? Ban education for women.

So, what lesson did we learn? That is militants harrass the police and military and people enough, the government will cave like a house of cards. The only politician with a spine has been Altaf Hussain of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), whom I usually dislike.

Pakistan is…I dunno. I’m dumbfounded by this act. More commentary in the following days.

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The Atonement – He Was Alone

April 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm (Christianity)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Jesus’ lonely walk, so to speak, in his poignant talk:

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Is America Christian?

April 9, 2009 at 12:30 am (Christianity, Leftist idiocy, The United States, US Government)

Are we a Christian nation?

The technical answer is that we are not a Christian nation. Unlike many countries, we do not have an official religion. No religion or religious body receives any especial recognition or patronage. (This is one of the purposes of the First Amendment.)

Some might say that Americana is America’s religion – our volumes of scripture are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, our prophets are the Founding Fathers, our salvation lies in furthering America’s interests, in following the American dream.

But the technicalities do not betray a very real element of America: while America, technically, as a State, is not Christian, at least not officially, the American people are Christian, and thus America is, indeed, unofficially Christian. What’s more, America is not Christian the way England is Christian. America is perhaps one of the most diverse and devout of the Christian nations.

When people go around saying, “Oh, America is not a Christian nation!” they will come off as two-faced. Why is he saying this while America is so overwhelmingly Christian? Is he trying to trick or fool other people?

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Blessing on the Sun

April 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Today was the day for Birkas haChamah (the Blessing on/of the Sun). According to Talmudic sages, every 28 years the sun returns to the position it was in when God created it. Today was that day. In the morning, Jews (preferrably groups of Jews) gathered, recited a psalm, looked at the sun, and recited the blessing and some more psalms, a passage from the Talmud, and some prayers. In order to prevent inadverdent sun-worship, one is forbidden to look at the sun while praying-reciting, even though one is (ideally) facing it.

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Techno meets India

March 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm (Amusement, Music)

(Yes, it’s long. About 9 minutes of awesomeness. Which is comparable to most Bollywood songs anyway.)

I want a Neo coat. Although with my name and ethnicity, I’d probably be stopped and searched at every restaurant and store even.

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Cool military pics

March 18, 2009 at 10:48 am (Amusement, Military, The United States)

Some awesome pictures courtesy of the US armed services.
Cool military pictures 1
Cool military pictures 2
Cool military pictures 3

I love the button on the end of the pages:

If you can read this thank a Teacher.
If you can read this in English thank the Military.

H/T Dave in Texas, in “Defense Sec. Gates Ready To Announce Weapons Cuts” on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, at Ace of Spades HQ.

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God Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform

March 16, 2009 at 9:39 am (Military, The United States)

There are lots of tear-jerker videos. I saw the one below (with audio turned off) and I started crying. Very well made.

Support the Troops – show them some love: Operation Gratitude

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What would you like?

March 10, 2009 at 12:30 am (Personal)

What would you like to see on this blog?

More politics?
More religion? Which one?
More funneh?
More music videos?
More culture?
More linguistics and languages?

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Why ultra-Orthodox Jews are not weathermen

February 26, 2009 at 10:40 am (Amusement, Judaism)



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No time for theological discussions!

February 24, 2009 at 9:23 am (Amusement, Islamism, World War III)

Terror Attack in Egypt (1993)

Terror Attack in Egypt (1993)

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Get the pruning knife

February 17, 2009 at 9:51 am (A+ Reads, US Government)

“Founder’s Quote Daily” for Tuesday, February 17, 2009 from The Patriot Post:

“The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.”

–Thomas Jefferson, letter to Spencer Roane, 9 March 1821

Click here to subscribe to get a quote from a Founding Father every workday.

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Israels elections: Good? Bad? We don’t know

February 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm (Israel)

Israel just concluded its elections, which were triggered when Ehud Olmert of Kadima had to step down. His successor, Tzipi Livni, could not form a government, triggering elections.

Many people expected Likud (under Binyamin Netanyahu) to win. Many more wanted Likud to win. Likud did not win. Instead, Kadima won by one seat (28 to Likud’s 27). And although this means that Tzipi Livni of Kadima will be tapped by President Shimon Peres to be the next prime minister of Israel, due to the fact that her party won the most seats in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), a complication arises. The prime minister must obtain the support of a majority of the Knesset to form a governable cabinet. Because of Israel’s multi-party system, no one party usually forms that governing bloc: there must be cooperation and support from other parties. According to the numbers, if all the left-of-center parties were to support Kadima, Tzipi Livni would not be able to form a governable coalition. The rightist bloc overwhelms the leftist bloc.

But to complicate things more, there is a kingmaker: the despised and reviled Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu. In a shock to most observers, Yisrael Beiteinu, a party often labelled as “far right,” got the third-most number of seats: 15. Even Labour, often one of the two most influential parties, got only 13. Lieberman has to choose whether to support Bibi of Likud or Tzipi of Kadima. His support will determine which of the two can form a governable coalition. And whom he will support will depend on who gives him most of what he wants. He knows he’s in a position of considerable influence, and he’s going to use this opportunity to the greatest extent that he can. This may be the only time Yisrael Beiteinu will have such influence.

Once Lieberman announces his decision, Peres will have to make a difficult decision. If Lieberman chooses Tzipi, Peres can choose Tzipi to form a government. If Lieberman chooses Bibi, Peres’s choice becomes even more difficult. He could choose Tzipi (because her party won the most seats) in hope that somehow – through whatever miracle of coalition-building – she will be able to form a government. Or he chould choose Bibi, because he may have a better chance to form a working coalition.

Nevertheless, any coalition that is formed will be full of special interests and privileges for the members of the coalition. Thus, the Knesset just may be forced to make decisions that may go against the best interests of Israel for the sake of pacifying a member of the coalition. If Yisrael Beiteinu is part of any coalition, its departure will mean an end to the coalition, so its demands will have to be met.

Seats to Israel’s political parties, from leftist to rightist:
Balad (Arab): 3
United Arab List (Arab): 5
Hadash: 4
Meretz: 3
Labor: 13
Kadima: 28
Likud: 27
Shas: 11
United Torah Judaism: 4
Yisrael Beiteinu: 15
Jewish Home: 4
National Union: 4

Seats according to numerical order:
Kadima: 28
Likud: 27
Yisrael Beiteinu: 15
Labor: 13
Shas: 11
United Arab List: 5
Hadash: 4
Jewish Home: 4
National Union: 4
United Torah Judaism: 4
Balad: 3
Meretz: 3

Various configurations:
If all leftist parties and Yisrael Beiteinu support Kadima: 71/120
If all leftist parties support Kadima, but Yisrael Beiteinu does not: 56/120
If all rightist parties support Likud: 65/120
If all rightist parties (except Yisrael Beiteinu) support Likud: 50/120

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Halakhah can be amusing!

February 10, 2009 at 12:30 am (Amusement, Blogs, Judaism)

Can I play Wii with my wife while she is a [niddah] since our cars may touch each other?

— Physical touching is to be avoided, interaction is ok.


You might not get this if you’re not Jewish, but I thought that was really hilarious!

More here: “Ridiculous Halachic Answers” on February 6, 2009, on Mystical Paths.

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Honoring the dead – teh Joooooooooooooooz part I of II

January 28, 2009 at 12:30 am (Judaism, Religion)

When someone dies, there are a number of conventions Jews use.

One is, upon hearing the death of someone, is to pronounce the “blessing”: Barukh Dayan emes. It means, “Blessed [be] the True Judge.” It is unique among the “blessings” of Judaism in that it does not follow the usual pattern (“Barukh atta haShem…” “Blessed art Thou, O L-rd”). In fact, it has none of the proper names of God. It seems a little strange, but is an important reinforcement of the belief that God is just, truly just, in all He does.

As it is written: “HaShem nosan, v’haShem loqoch; y’hi sheim haShem m’vorokh” (Iyyov 1:21), which means “the L-rd gave, (and/then) the L-rd takes away; blessed be the name of the L-rd” (Job 1:21).

After the names of the deceased, various honorifics are added. This is part of honoring the dead. (There are some abbreviations or statements added after the names of evil people who have died as well, but I won’t get into it.) The most common is a”h from alav hashalom” or aleha hashalom”, which means “upon him be peace” and “upon her be peace” respectively. It may be used for anyone.

Another honorific is: z”l from zichrono livrakha” or zichronah livracha” which means “may his memory be a blessing” and “may her memory be a blessing”, and sometimes translated as “of blessed memory.” It is often used for rabbis or other prominent people who have died.

Another one is ztz”l from zecher tzadiq livrakha” which means “may the memory of the righteous be a blessing”. This is used for particularly prominent and/or pious people.

Tomorrow: the Kaddish.

Dedicated to the memory and zechus of Cranky z”l. May the souls of the the deceased merit a place in Gan Eiden. Omein.

Hu ya’asei sholom bimoromov, Hu ya’asei sholom oleini v’al kol Yisroeil. V’imru: omein. Omein!

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Breathe with Me

January 27, 2009 at 12:30 am (Amusement, Music)

Quite haunting. Very nice. It’s in Russian: go to its YouTube page to read a translation of the lyrics.

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Apocalypse Please

January 26, 2009 at 12:30 am (Music)

From the CD.


This is from the group Muse. This was on one of the CDs that we listened to (“we” being myself and a girl I drove as part of a Church trip, the CD being hers; and a girl I’m interested in now, by the way; don’t know what to call her here).

A gorgeous song. Haunting. Nice. Exotic.

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In memoriam

January 25, 2009 at 11:42 pm (In memoriam, Personal)

Eil molei rachamim shokhein bam’romim hamtzei m’nuchon’khono al kanfei hash’khino b’maalos k’doshim ut’horos k’zohar horokia mahirim l’nishmas Yochanan ben Adam avinu sheholakh l’olomo. B’gan Eiden t’hei m’nuchoso. Lokhein baal horachamim yastireinu b’seiser k’nofov l’olomim v’yitzror bitzror hachayyim es nishmoso haShem hu nachaloso v’yonuach b’sholom al mishkovo. V’imru: omein. Omein!

God, full of mercy who dwells on high, grant perfect rest on the wings of Thy divine presence in the lofty heights of the holy and the pure who shine in the brightness of the heavens to the soul of [Cranky] son of Adam our father, who has gone to his eternal rest. His resting place shall be in the Garden of Eden. Therefore the Master of Mercy will care for him under the protection of His wings for all time and bind his soul in the bond of everlasting life. God is his inheritance and he will rest in peace. Let us say: Amen. Amen!

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Pronouncing certain Mandarin Pinyin consonants

January 13, 2009 at 10:28 am (Languages, Mandarin)

According to the Pinyin system used to transliterate Mandarin, the following letters should be pronounced as follows:
C – ts
Z – dz
Ch – ch
Q – ch
J – j
Zh – j
Sh – sh
X – sh

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