The Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shiite, is far from perfect. It has failed to create a shared sense of nationalism in Iraq that unites the Shiites and Sunnis in peaceful co-existence. However, Prime Minister Maliki remains the world's best hope against the Jihadists who, if left unchecked, would continue to wage wars against Shiites and the West.
The problem today is not that religion still exists or that some people are religious.The problem lies in the animosity that persists between the different religions. The reality is that religious diversity is not likely to disappear. Acceptance and encouragement of coexistence between all religions is what will bring us toward a more peaceful society.
In the United States gruesome murders are common and merit only passing attention. In a shooting spree, also in April, three people were killed at a Jewish community centre near Kansas City. The media did not mention the religion of the accused. Had they been Muslim their religion, and perhaps Muslims in general, would have been maligned.
Co-founder of the Liberal Muslim Network in Saudi Arabia, Raif Badawi, has been in jail in Jeddah since June, 2012. His imprisonment and if he is executed, his death, would only prove what the Kingdom already knows, as captured in the words of the late, great Malcolm X that, "power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression."
There are thoughtful and effective ways to look at all the facets of violence against women and it can certainly be done without promoting bigotry. For example, in March, the Ottawa Police, the Ottawa Rape Crisis, and Algonquin College partnered to put on a full day event on violence in the name of honour.
The collective freakout Canadian commentators seem to be having about a collision of religious and gender rights is overblown. Yes, some decisions must be made that won't please everyone. But usually the people involved can figure things out sensibly, without human rights commissions or TV commentators dictating the correct answers. Because realistically, those answers will differ in each case. If we concentrate more on protecting the overarching right of individuals to act as they see fit, then the complicated calculations (Does gender trump religion? Does creed trump sexual orientation?) will take care of themselves.
By demanding a male student have no interaction with female students didn't the university administration disregard the right of female students to full and equal status at York University? Didn't the university administration fail in its duty to make efforts to protect the female students from gender discrimination?
On December 6, Slate Magazine published an essay by Aisha Harris entitled, "Santa Claus Should Not be A White Man Anymore." In a response that went viral, Megyn Kelly of Fox News said: "For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white..." Ironically, Kelly's intolerance, expressed during a season that ought to be filled with giving, love and acceptance, is nothing new. As a Muslim, it reminds me of those conservative Muslim leaders, on the same cold end of the Scrooge barometer as Kelly, who advise us Muslims that we better not wish anyone a Merry Christmas.
Some kids have been targeted by bullies because the hatred towards gays, lesbians, trans and "others" runs so deep in North American society that even appearing different may merit ostracization. Who are we to complain about bigotry against our children if we perpetuate it against others? And so we must ask them, our fellow (otherwise peaceful) Muslim parents, how does the intolerance you teach at home, affect all our youth and our Muslim communities?
On Saturday, October 26, more than 60 Saudi women got behind the wheel and drove in Saudi Arabia to challenge the ban on women driving in that country. Some of them posted their videos on YouTube. Several people were detained and fined. Last week I interviewed another brave woman who drove on October 26, human rights activist and photographer, Samia El-Moslimany.
When I leaned over and asked a woman in a movie theatre to please put her cellphone away, she started yelling at me. She AND her husband called me an F'ing TERRORIST repeatedly. Does the colour of my skin or the fact that I wear a piece of cloth on my head make it alright to lambaste me in public in front of my child and her friends?
On September 7th and 8th at the Palais des congrès in Montreal, Islamic fanatics will preach the revealed Word, denouncing the Crusades and blaming our women. I saw this type of preaching in the stadiums and streets of Algeria in the early 1990s, which led to over 200,000 deaths and infinite suffering. So how can I keep silent?
Like millions of other people, I watched the Fox News interview with Reza, and I found him to be a very likeable guy, writing sincerely his "take" on Jesus. But if you get a chance this summer, why not balance Reza's "liberal" take on the life of Christ with C.S. Lewis's conservative "take." And to help with this here is my book review of Lewis' famous book, "Mere Christianity."
Last Friday Dr. Reza Aslan was interviewed by Fox News on his recent book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Bigotry reigned as Green repeatedly asked Aslan why as a "Muz-lim" he would write a book about Jesus. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, another secular Muslim sat in a Saudi prison, awaiting his sentence. His crime? Attempting to liberalize religion in Saudi Arabia and criticizing religious police.
Encouraged by underground support communities, Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists usually act on their own without direct operational control or funding from international terrorist networks. This differs greatly from the 9/11 attacks, which were heavily orchestrated and funded through international terrorist affiliates.