Category Archives: Religion

Sheikh of Azhar After Brexit: All Europe Will Go To Heaven…….

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Remember that old film “All Dogs Go to Heaven“?

It seems now that all Europeans also go to heaven, or they will soon. Even those who may not want to.

Thus a new fatwa by the Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb , chief of the once-revered-but-no-more Al Azhar in Cairo.

Fresh from a visit to Rome, the former Mubarak crony fatwad that Europeans are not Muslims only because they have not been exposed to the true Islam. Ergo: it is not their fault that they are not Muslims and don’t believe in the ‘message’.  Heathens by default. Which is not a bad argument, although quite self-serving. As well as a back-handed compliment to Europeans, possibly a clever one but most likely accidental and narrow-minded.

The sheikh apparently does not understand that not all Europeans are good Christians or even bad Christians (in fact hardly any are in an American sense) or good Jews. He apparently thinks they are all good Christians (or Jews), just as all Muslims are very good pious Muslims indeed. Which means the majority of Europeans who are either agnostic or atheist are in trouble, screwed, (or maybe not, depending on what they think of this sheikh’s heavenly connections).

I have one problem with this Azhar sheikh issuing such broad  “certificates of Indulgence“, broader than were issued by the Catholic Church in Europe centuries ago. Who the hell authorized him to issue these mass Indulgences? I need to see a copy of this Godly Power of Attorney, notarized and witnessed.

(And what about South Americans and East Asians and Africans?)
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Valentine in the Middle East: Swine Flu, Stag Kissing, and Excommunicating Barbie…….

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They report that a Lebanese minister has advised the people of his country this week to reduce the amount of kissing on Valentine’s Day this year. Which makes me wonder what type of neighbors does he have: I mean hygiene and not just looks. But he is worried about the spread of “Swine Flu” aka H1N1.
Yet we kiss a lot in the Middle East, in Arab and Muslim countries, much more than they do in the West. And almost always it is kissing in public rather than in private. We probably do more public kissing than the French do French-ing in Paris. Everybody does it, even the Salafis, Wahhabis, Shi’as, Sufis, Sunnis, Haredim, Vegans, Christians, Evangelicals, and possibly Jews (oddly I haven’t seen many native Jews on the Gulf in recent years for some reason). But the difference is that it is not heterosexual kissing, it is same-sex kissing, at least the public part is.

In Iran, there are reports that the police have warned against spreading Valentine’s Day culture in shops. Yes, shops. A warning which a lot of people and most shop owners will typically ignore, as they do every year.

In Saudi Arabia, red color on February 14 can send you straight to hell, even if you are not Shi’a- Safavi- Rafidhi-Jew-Christian-Animist. The Vice Squad (religious cops) are also cracking down on dolls (Barbie, etc) that expose too much plastic than is considered decent by the clerics. Barbie, of course, was famously excommunicated (by Fatwa) by a religious sheikh and professor (or Dean) of Sharia in my own hometown some years ago.

A few years ago in Gaza some vendor painted an ass red (no, I mean a jackass, donkey) on Valentine’s to promote his business. This year Egypt’s Al Sisi wants the Gazans to have a bit more red in their Valentine: he is opening the Rafah pass to the ‘qualified’ Gazans. But only for February 13 and 14, only for Valentine’s. He will close it back shut right after that, but still it is sweet of the Generalissimo.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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Jesus Economics: He Comes to America at Christmas, Walks Into a……………..

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Someone posted a poll on social media early today about whether Jesus would be allowed into America. Here was my response:

  • He, Jesus Christ, would probably be put on a no-fly list.
  • If not, some other passenger (almost certainly an American) would complain that he feels uncomfortable with someone dressed in a robe, a hairy raghead mumbling some strange language, on the same airplane. So, Jesus would be bounced off the flight.
  • Let‘s assume that he manages to make it, perhaps walking across from Mexico or Canada. He will not be allowed into any church because his attire (robe and sandals) is deemed un-Christian.
  • Besides he wouldn’t know what a church is. Jesus would look for a synagogue upon arrival. Lucky for him, like me in my teens, he’d most likely land in New York City.
  • He wouldn’t be any more welcome in a synagogue than in a church. Memories of the Diaspora and pogroms and massacres and the Holocaust do not fade easily. He might be allowed in a mosque but only with the hope of converting him, and not for long.
  • He would also wonder who this namesake of his was, whose alleged birthday is celebrated by corporate America so eagerly. From September to January every year.
  • Once enlightened he would wonder what did Amazon and Apple and gas prices and NASDAQ have to do with him……

Cheers & Have a Merry One……
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Historical Hints of the Magi: Was Zarathustra Sagte……….

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“Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. It was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago. For 1000 years Zoroastrianism was one of the most powerful religions in the world. It was the official religion of Persia (Iran) from 600 BCE to 650 CE. It is now one of the world’s smallest religions………… Zoroastrians believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) and He created the world. Zoroastrians are not fire-worshippers, as some Westerners wrongly believe. Zoroastrians believe that the elements are pure and that fire represents God’s light or wisdom. Ahura Mazda revealed the truth through the Prophet, Zoroaster. Zoroastrians traditionally pray several times a day. Zoroastrians worship communally in a Fire Temple or Agiary. The Zoroastrian book of Holy Scriptures is called The Avesta…………….”

Arabs traditionally called them Majous (as in the Westernized Magi), probably after their priests, especially in the early years of the Muslim conquest. The conversion to Islam started under the second Caliph Omar I whose dedicated free-spirited desert fighters defeated the Sassanid (or Sasanian) dynasty surprisingly easily.
Because of their traditional symbolic fire rituals, Arabs and others have simplistically held throughout history that Zoroastrians were “fire worshippers”. That is equivalent to claiming Catholics worship statues or gargoyles (as in Notre Dame de Paris and other places).

During periods of regional political tension some Arabs, usually Salafi extremists on the Gulf, still call all Iranians, even the Muslims among them, Majous. They are a recognized but historically discouraged religion in theocratic Iran, and like Jews they hold one seat in Parliament. Nowadays especially the term is used quite frequently politically in Salafi ethnic propaganda campaigns and in social media, sometimes referring also to Shi’as, including many Arab Shi’as who don’t even speak Persian. Overlooking the fact that pre-Islamic Peninsula Arabs were mostly free pagans who worshiped chosen idols, and that ancient Egyptians worshiped their incestuous kings (Pharaohs) who usually married their own sisters.

Some aspects of their ancient religion are intriguing:
It is monotheistic (one supreme God-creator; one symbolic evil) – they worship several times a day – they have a book of Holy Scriptures (Avesta) – their God conveyed the truth to an ethnic Prophet (Zoroaster or Zarathustra), who was Persian rather than the usual Semite (Jewish or Arab)……..
Hint, hint, hint…………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Urban Legend of the Turkish Pregnant Hand…….

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“A Turkish televangelist has warned male Muslims away from masturbation – because it may leave their hands pregnant in the afterlife. Mücahid Cihad Han supposedly made the claim in response to a call from a man who “kept masturbating, although he was married, and even during the Umrah”, a pilgrimage similar to the Hajj. Hearing the man’s plight, Han stated that masturbation is forbidden in Islam and went on to say: “Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife…………”

Nothing new here. Years ago when I was in Middle School (Junior High) back home on the shores of the Gulf a teacher of Islamic religion told our class the same thing. He claimed the “pregnant hand” would file a sexual assault complaint with God.
Scared the hell out of many students. Probably not me………..
Besides, my young skeptical mind suspected that he himself indulged…….

P.S.: It is not just in Islam. There are also the Christian ( and probably Jewish) equivalent of this Turkish cleric who spread similar nonsense.
    

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

American Salafis: Agonizing over the Religion of Obama and ISIS…..

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“Not only does Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) not know whether President Barack Obama loves America, he also appears to be unaware that the president is a Christian……..“I’ve never asked him that. You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”……………”

First there were the Wahhabi Salafis: Al Qaeda and ISIS (DAESH). Now there are the American Salafis, those who can not only define who is Christian, but they can strongly hint at who is a Muslim in America as well. With a political agenda that goes beyond religion.
Now we are reminded that there is the American obsession with convenient political religion: is Obama a secret Muslim? Does the Muslim Brotherhood run the White House (with the token occasional Muslim or two)? Is Obama Christian (there are actually elected Republican governors and senators and congressmen who publicly debate and dispute that with a straight face)? As if it should matter. You never see the French agonizing over whether Nicholas Sarkozy is Christian or Jewish.

No doubt the world, outside the Muslim world, is reading and listening, dumbfounded and in wonder, at the current politico-religious debate in the only superpower left. Is Obama a Muslim or a Christian? Apparently Christian in America does not mean a follower of the teachings and example of Christ, not anymore.

Is America ‘Christian’? Were Franklin and Jefferson and some other Founding Fathers really ‘Christian’, in today’s retro-sense? I have strong doubts about that, as do others.

It seems that the United States of America is in the throes of a similar struggle for religious identity as the Middle East. And the bestowal and denial of religious identity is being used as politically here as back in the Arab World and the wider Middle East. Who is a true Christian in American politics? Who is a true Muslim and not part of a heretical sect in Islamic politics?

At least they are not beheaded or burned alive here for their faith or sect, not literally. And there is a solid bloc of wisened American voters who mostly vote sensibly, at least when it comes to electing presidents. Mostly but apparently not always.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Allah is Coming, Allah is Coming: What is in a Word?………

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“Malaysia’s highest court on Monday dismissed an attempt by Christians for the right to use the word Allah, ending along legal battle that has escalated religious tensions in the country. The case, in which the Catholic church challenged a government ban on its use of the Arabic word to refer to God, came amid concern from minority religious groups who feel that their rights are under threat from rising Islamisation………..”

This is uncommon in Muslim countries, especially in Arab countries. Normally people of all faiths use the term ‘Allah’. In recent years Malaysia has been trying to out-Wahhabi the original Wahhabis, out-royal the king (no pun).

Allah is really a linguistic term. Just a term that denotes a deity or ‘the deity’. Arabs and other Muslims use Allah to denote God, Dieu, Yahweh, etc. Even Arab Christians use “Allah” for “God”: they would be surprised to know that they could get thrown out of a church in some God-fearing states here if they use the term.

It is just a language thing, not a specific first name. Arab Christians often yell “Ya Allah” just as Arab Muslims do when exasperated. Even Arab Jews used to do that, before the Jews in most Arab countries left or were pushed to leave. I suspect that maybe some Israelis might do that by now. Who knows, maybe some day they will adopt and claim it as their own term, just like falafel and hummus.
Politicians here who are ignorant and/or opportunistic (surprise!) use the term as a rallying cry to get votes.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Speaking of Christmas: Rabbi Jesus Goes to Church……..

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Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday ………..

Speaking of Christmas…………
Remember an incident a couple of years ago in a large church (a mega-buck church) in one of the Red states. This man apparently got into the holiday spirit (not the liquid kind, and no pun intended). On a Sunday he wore the kind of attire that the Rabbi Jesus had worn, according to the drawings he had seen around all churches and in films and seeing what people in the Middle East, the homeland of Jesus, wear. (No, Jesus was not from Texas or Tennessee or some other Red or Blue state). I imagine this happens occasionally. Anyway, this man was thrown out of the church. The declared reason for his ejection: improper attire……

Which makes you wonder what would they do to the real Jesus should he show up and teach what he really would teach, unadulterated by the filter of centuries of self-serving church bureaucracy and money.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Worldwide Wahhabi Crusade Turns More Violent……….

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Yesterday was Ashura, a special day in a special month in the Middle East. But to some it was just another day that brought new opportunities for more sectarian bloodshed.
We occasionally complain about discrimination against Muslims in Europe. That is mainly because we expect better, much better, in the Western democracies than we do in our own “Islamic” region, where your tribe or faith or sect decides your fate. Where your tribe or faith or sect often seals your fate, in some places quite violently.

Just read the headlines from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and other places. In Iraq it is a daily occurrence, with cowardly terrorist bombings of unarmed civilian. In dysfunctional nuclear Pakistan, from Quetta to Karachi, it is becoming an almost daily occurrence. Even Afghanis kill their compatriots of another sect in Pakistan.

The news headlines yesterday did not bring anything new. From Pakistan to Saudi Arabia and through Iraq, many people were targeted and killed and maimed simply because of their sect. Most of the victims of terrorist killings were as usual Shi’as. It was a good day for mass killings from a Wahhabi Jihadist point of view, given that it was a special Shi’a day of pilgrimage. Many unarmed humans packed together practicing their faith, risking their lives, some of them knowing the risks. The killers were also Muslims. It was as usual part of an onging systematic campaign of killings, a one-way terrorist war against Shi’as. There is some occasional sporadic misguided retaliation, mainly in Pakistan or in Iraq, but the trend is clear.

This war goes beyond our native region, spreading into Europe. I recall at least one case of a planned mosque in a Scandinavian city a few years ago. The strong opposition to the mosque did not come from the native Europeans. It came from other dominant Muslims who were of another sect. A Shi’a mosque was strongly opposed, fought against, by Wahhabis in a European country. Establishing a Shi’a mosque is even harder, nay impossible, in many Muslim countries. It is impossible, verboten, in places that have strong Wahhabi influences like Indonesia, Malaysia or Egypt. In these places people have to practice their rites ins secret and risk arrest or worse. Sounds familiar to some in old Europe, doesn’t it?

It is almost like a Wahhabi crusade, absofuckinglutely no pun intended. As violent and with as much indiscriminate mass killings as in the original European crusades.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum


m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

New Tri-Partite Coalition: a Jewish Democracy, an Arab Military Dictatorship, an Arab Tribal Monarchy………


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“A “joint high command” of Arab states is advising the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu how to press home his ground operation in Gaza, the Debka Net Weeky, a publication of a website close to Israel’s foreign intelligence service Mossad has confirmed. The website said that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are in “constant communication” running daily conferences and sometimes more, according to the website’s sources. That communication is done over secure telephone lines, but such is the political sensitivity of their close co-operation that for really important messages human couriers are used. A special Israeli plane is parked permanently at Cairo’s military airport, ready to lift off whenever top-secret messages between the Egyptian president and the Israeli Prime Minister need to be delivered by hand. The flight takes less than 90 minutes. King Abdullah’s point man in this daily dialogue is the man he dismissed as intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, but who has now been re-hired as the King’s special adviser on the Islamic State in Iraq. Bandar maintains “direct contacts” with the Mossad chief Tamir Pardo….…………”

I would call it a coalition of convenience, not an alliance. It is like “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, but I will not specify which one of these is which: it is probably a toss-up. It is really a coalition, if that is what it is, of two parties: Israel and the Saudi regime. Egypt has already made its peace with Israel and is doing its share in blockading Gaza and its Hamas rulers, and it has no regional influence left beyond that. Egypt under Al Sisi is now part of the Al Saud sphere of influence as far as other Middle East issues are concerned. Besides, Egypt is not directly involved with the main target of this coalition: Iran and her ruling mullahs.

This is quite a mix of an eclectic coalition of regimes, just look at its members: 

  • One militarized Jewish democracy (it is a democracy so far, if we set aside the West Bank’s future, and not only by Arab or Middle East standards),
  • One harsh Arab military dictatorship led by a Generalisimo Field Marshal but pretending to be a democracy,
  • One absolute tribal Wahhabi theocratic monarchy that has no pretensions of democracy or constitutional law whatsoever (its constitution is however the princes and their palace clerics interpret the law).

What brought them and holds them together? A mix of factors: (1) a desire to maintain the status quo and keep absolute family rule (Saudi Arabia and allies), (2) a desire to keep the military in absolute power and the old oligarchy in place while pretending otherwise (Egypt), (3) a desire to divide the Arabs and other neighbors and to weaken her main regional rival (that would be Iran in the case of Israel).

There is one other factor that sounds ridiculous but some Arab regimes pretend, for political reasons, to take it seriously: a professed media-driven fear of the spread of Shi’ism. This indicates a lot of religious insecurity within the sects of Islam. Saudi and other Gulf sectarian propaganda often warn of this threat of the ‘spread of Shi’ism’. Recently so have otherwise apparently calm but apparently Wahhabi-ized Egyptian clerics from within and without Al-Azhar. But I doubt the Jews of Israel worry much about this nonsense as much as their paranoid neighbors, perhaps excluding some remnant zealots in the settlements and around Jerusalem.

However, it would be fun if there was a true Shi’a threat of conversion in all three countries. Imagine a common threat to convert all Sunnis of Egypt, all Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, and the toughest nut of all would be to convert all Jews of Israel (and hence of the Diaspora from New York to San Fernando valley).

Just think: they wouldn’t have to wait for the Second Coming and the Rapture to convert, although it would be to the wrong faith. That should give all Christian Zionists in the American Red-blooded States massive group infarct.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com