Category Archives: Religion

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.

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.


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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.

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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.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Human Rights Humor: Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, and the UN………


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“At a session of the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review — where a selection of member states have their performance on human rights assessed — Norway’s record came under the microscope. The conspicuous critics at this Geneva meeting? Russia and Saudi Arabia, members of the United Nations’ 47-nation Human Rights Council and well-known paragons of global norms and freedoms, of course.
Representatives from Saudi Arabia accused Norway of endangering the religious rights of Muslims in the country. …………… Saudi Arabia, of course, is notorious for its draconian laws that, among other harsh measures, ban women from driving, curb the religious expression of non-Muslim non-Wahhabi minorities…..…….”

I must have been away to
another planet. Now, coming back to Earth, I find that Saudi
Arabia is angry at Norway for lack of religious tolerance and freedom. During
my absence on that other faraway planet the Wahhabi kingdom must have allowed
the establishment of churches and temples and synagogues. The religious police
must have stopped raiding private homes and arresting people for decorating
their own private Christmas trees. They must have stopped crucifying and
beheading people for apostasy. Freedom of speech and religion must have become
enshrined in constitutional amendments within a Saudi Wahhabi Bill of Rights.
Wait a minute, there is no Saudi constitution………. 

is the Universal Law of Petroleum that drives all this Saudi drivel. As for Mr. Putin, that former
KGB man could not give a fig about religion…….


Revival of Religious Intolerance in Syria………


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“On December 2, 2013, al-Nusra Front seized the town of Maaloula for a second time. Militants entered the most famous Christian town in Syria, where residents still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, and kidnapped nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Takla, in addition to vandalizing several churches. Earlier in June 2013, the historic town first came into the international media spotlight when al-Nusra militants seized it, before being expelled by the Syrian army. While ISIS adopts a hard-line position calling for the immediate wholesale implementation of Sharia provisions on Christians, including demolishing churches, al-Nusra has a less strict attitude. One leader in al-Nusra, speaking to Al-Akhbar, claimed that the group had not found any man, woman, or child in Maaloula, and said, “The residents fled before we entered, with the exception of the nuns.” But a man who identified himself as Abu Sarkis, a leader in the National Defense Committees, told Al-Akhbar that as the Islamist fighters entered Maaloula, they cried “God is Great,” and, “O Christians: Convert to Islam and you will be safe.” He added, “Afterward, Christians were told that they had three options: convert to Islam, pay the jizya [a tribute for non-Muslims], or leave.” It was as though history was repeating itself in the Levant……………….”

It sounds about right, at least in some cases. It all depends on which group or militia captures them. Some of the cutthroats would treat them even worse, much worse, if you get my drift.

The Jihadis pretend they emulate early Muslims. That they try to follow the footsteps of early Islamic conquerors, who gave the peoples of the conquered lands similar options. Which was more merciful than the European conquerors, be they Romans, crusaders, or inquisitors, gave their captive victims. Yet these modern Jihadis are not the same. The ancient Muslims were in line with the practices of their time. These modern Wahhabi Jihadis yearn for another era, an era they think they can relive by resorting to outdated bloodthirsty practices. Speaking of bloodthirsty practices: now if they could get their murderous hands on some cluster bombs or…………..

Sinning Zealots: American Zionist Hayseeds Awaiting the ‘Final’ Final Solution…….


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“Despite an uproar in the Jewish community, former president George W. Bush is still slated to deliver the keynote address to a fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute in Irving, Texas, tonight. The MJBI trains people to persuade Jews to recognize Jesus as their messiah. Followers of the group believe that if enough Jews are converted, Christ will return to Earth. After Mother Jones broke the news about Bush’s appearance last week, “a small shitstorm…kicked up over the President’s decision,” writes Rob Eshman, editor of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. “I have yet to meet a Jewish person who hasn’t heard about this,” Tevi Troy, Bush’s White House liaison to the Jewish community from 2003 to 2004, told CNN Wednesday. Troy had high praise for Bush’s support of Israel and the Jewish community, but, he added, “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.” A spokesman for the Republican Jewish Coalition did not respond…………..”

There is something hypocritical about these objections. After all, it is known most those right-wing (and a few left-wing) politicians who are more Zionist than Ben Netanyahu are doing it for the same reason. All these Bible-thumpers and occasional secret sinners (and I mean serious focused sinners: nobody sins like a zealot) are seeking to convert the Jewish people, eventually. Accent on “eventually”.
In fact they are certain that they will convert all the Jews, eventually. They anticipate that once all the Jews are gathered in the Holy Land (do they mean ALL of them?) and the Rapture dawns, they will all finally convert to the eccentric ancient Jewish sect inadvertently started by Jesus of Nazareth. Yep, that same sect the Europeans took to Rome and Constantinople so many centuries ago and made into a huge bureaucracy. Before the Americans took it over and converted it into a huge show-biz-style money machine.
And voila! No more Jews! With friends like these……….
I am not a suspicious and rude and crude person. If I were, I would opine that all these right-wing wannabe Zionists, all these Ben Netanyahu fans and groupies, have a sinister goal. They are seeking their own “final solution” for the Jewish people, only they are more genteel about it than the Europeans have been for the past six centuries. The favorite European methods of conversion have been gruesome and often unconvincing: the rack, the burning pyre, pogroms, indiscriminate massacres, and the gas chambers. Not the right way to win hearts (forget about minds). The American extreme right is smarter: it “knows”, it just “knows”, that someday there will be no more Jews. All they need is await the Rapture.

This is not antisemitism. After all, these good well-meaning folks would like the same fate for Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Environmentalists and Marxists and even for Northeast and West Coast Democrats.
Meanwhile the Israelis, knowing what is planned for them by these hayseeds, are laughing as their agenda becomes Washington’s agenda.


Religion in Egypt: from Saladin to Sisi, from Jerusalem to Beckett……..


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“The Shia leader added that the decision of Endowment Minister Mohamed Mokhtar to prevent Shia celebrations came “to prevent Salafis from causing a strife in the community.” He noted that they’re going to commemorate the event by visiting the mosque individually and praying, but to continue the rest of the rituals at home. He vowed that Shias would be quiet and would keep the sanctity of the mosque as to stop “the strife the Salafis want to ignite.” The Egyptian Shia community have demanded greater protections in the country’s new constitution expected to go to public referendum by the end of the year, particularly more emphasis on freedom of religion as well as protection from discrimination and hate speech………….”

Egypt has not changed since the days of Hosni Mubarak ( did you know that he is not the president anymore, technically?). Religious freedom is as restricted now as it was before the alleged so-called ‘revolution’. In the end, that so-called ‘revolution’ was won by revolutionary Saudi Arabian princes and the Jacobin United Arab Emirates shaikhs. In fact religious freedom is worse now, for the Wahhabi Salafis, who take their political cue from their Saudi masters, are monitoring all minority religions, be they Shi’as or Copts or Vegans. They are making sure the old Egyptian idea of religious freedom is never taken seriously.
FYI: Egypt was Shi’a for a couple of centuries under the Fatimid Dynasty. Until the Fatimid caliph made the fatal mistake of appointing Saladin (Salah El-Din) as his military commander. He staged a coup d’etat, closed Al-Azhar (which was established by the Fatimids), and appointed himself as the new ruler. Saladin did atone for his treachery later by liberating Jerusalem from the barbarous European invaders and occupiers. Now the Muslim Brothers are probably waiting for General Al Sis to atone for what they consider his betrayal of Mohammed Morsi who had appointed him head of the military. They might as well be waiting for Samuel Beckett’s elusive creation.


Imams, Potentates, Generals, and Scoundrels………


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What is all this with “Imams” these days? Nowadays it seems Muslim Imams are coming out of the woodwork. Suddenly I found out a few weeks ago that Shaikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi is calling himself Imam on his website. Now. More recently, they are calling the Shaikh of Al Azhar the Imam, nay the Grand Imam no less, of Al Azhar. Ali Al Sistani in Najaf does not yet call himself Grand Imam, and I hope he does not. Nor does the Saudi Mufti Shaikh Al, yet. but It is probably coming.

Historically and traditionally anyone who leads people in prayer, prays in front of them, is called Imam. That is what the Arabic “Imam” word means, someone who leads in prayer. It can imply wisdom and experience, but obviously not necessarily so. Even Generalissimo Al Sisi of Egypt can be called Imam one of these days if he leads people in prayer. He just might do that someday if things get tough in Cairo. Dr. Mohamed Morsi never did and we know where he is now. Mr. Erdogan of Turkey has not taken that plunge yet. Bashar Al Assad would never consider it: he knows it won’t work in Syria.
This “Imam” business is becoming a fad. Soon the former Shaikh of Bahrain, now self-styled King, will start calling himself Imam. Or maybe the prime minister will. King Abdullah may start calling himself Imam, although he does not lead in prayer. No, not Abdullah of Jordan, the other Abdullah. It will be a problem in the UAE: the rulers of the seven emirates can’t all be Imams. Most likely one of the Al Nahayan brothers. I was just thinking of the goateed Saad Hariri of Lebanon and…………never mind.