Archive for category Satire

After all, their religious symbol is an ancient instrument of torture

The US government has recently come out with a report about the CIA’s torture of detainees from 2001-2009. And Christian responses have been revealing.

Who would Jesus torture?    (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Crucifixes#mediaviewer/File:Neudenau-gangolf-kruzifix.jpg)

Who would Jesus torture? Presumably, Muslims would be high on the list….
(http://commons.wikimedia.org)

Predictably, there have been a small number of liberal Christian bloggers who have tried to argue that “true Christianity” is not compatible with supporting the use of torture. Such bloggers ignore 2000 years of Christian history (which has included crusades, witch burnings, pogroms, and the Inquisition, among other horrifically violent events), as well as large parts of their scriptures in favor of a few cherry-picked pacifist-sounding verses about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies.

But Christians who are less inclined to whitewash the history of their faith and more honest about the contents of their scriptures quickly set the record straight. Take the response of the American Family Association‘s Bryan Fisher, who reminds Christians that

“Christianity is not a pacifist religion. The God that we serve is described in Exodus 15 as a ‘man of war.’ Now we often think of gentle Jesus, meek and mild, but let’s not forget, according to Romans 19:13, when he comes back … he will be riding a white horse and wearing his own robe, dipped in blood. That is a robe that is worn by a warrior who is inflicting casualties on the foe. So this is gentle Jesus, meek and mild; when we comes back, his robe is going to be dipped in blood because he too is a warrior.”

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Forewarned is forearmed… I wish I’d taken this test before converting

Speaking with a convert friend recently, we got into talking about ways that we used to feel marginalized and disempowered in the conservative North American Muslim communities that we used to be involved in. And how we still often feel marginalized, even in supposedly “progressive” circles. It was a long conversation, and it was emotionally wearing.

And I know some other converts who’ve had and have similar experiences. But not all do. Some converts not only survive, but seem to positively thrive… and not just in the immediate aftermath of conversion, either. Decades later, they still seem to be quite happy as conservative Muslims living in conservative communities and married to conservative husbands.

Which got me thinking about why conversion works out better for some than others. Part of it—much of it, I’d say—depends on chance: Which community(ies) the convert encounters, what imams/scholars/shaykhs/nutty dawa pamphleteers they learn their Islam from, who they marry (and whether the marriage turns abusive). But some of it seems to depend on the convert’s personality.

As a teenager, I used to like these quizzes that you used to find in magazines, that promised to reveal aspects of your personality to you. What if there’d been one aimed at would-be converts to Islam… rather like this one?

So, you’re considering converting to Islam? Answer the following questions, being as honest with yourself as possible.

(Hint: if you aren’t sure of the answer to some of them, or you’re afraid to be honest, then you need to grow some more before deciding to make such a life-changing decision.)

A. I identify as:

  1. Male. I was identified as male at birth, and I identify as male today, with no doubts about that whatsoever.
  2. Female. I was identified as female at birth, I identify as female today, and I love everything about traditional femininity.
  3. Female. But there are a number of stereotypically “feminine” things that I’m not really into. I just like to be me.
  4. Why does this even matter? I’m a human being. Aren’t all human beings equal in the eyes of God?

[If you answered (1), then you will have a far different experience as a convert then if you answered 2, 3, or 4. Good luck… and fyi, some of the rest of the questions won’t apply to you.]

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Penis-waving for dummies: a brother’s guide

The discussion could be taking place anywhere. In a sister’s kitchen, while drinking tea at her kitchen table, as kids chatter in the background. In the sisters’ section of a mosque, behind some dusty, water-stained room dividers, while sitting on a dank carpet that hasn’t been steam-cleaned in years. On an obscure recovering conservoMuslim blog that its author does not have time to update regularly.

Looking back, I wish I had noticed that so many of the arguments made to keep sisters "in their place" basically amounted to men saying: "Look at me, I have a penis! And my penis and I are entitled to special rights, because God and His Prophet and the scholars and every man with any brains/gonads says so!"

Looking back, I wish that I had noticed that so many of the arguments made to keep sisters “in their place” basically amounted to men saying: “Look at me, I have a penis! And my penis and I are entitled to special rights, because God and His Prophet and the scholars and every man with any brains/gonads says so, and the world will end if you question this!”

Or perhaps in a considerably more prestigious setting: at a Muslim conference sponsored by major “mainstream” Muslim organizations, headlined by rock-star imams.

I mean the kind of discussion in which one or more sisters raise a serious issue—whether it’s something like wife abuse or underage marriage, or the way that women are treated in the mosque. The sisters will condemn this behavior as unjust, and explain how it is harming individuals, as well as the community. They may also selectively quote verses from the Qur’an or hadiths to drive home their point.

This is hardly ever a good thing. They are airing the community’s dirty laundry, which seldom ends well, and they usually lack the wisdom and Islamic knowledge necessary for discussing serious issues in any depth. As women they should be focused on things like taking care of their homes and husbands, not addressing community problems.

But fear not—such a situation is not entirely beyond rescuing. All it needs is a Pious and Knowledgeable Brother (such as yourself) to quickly intervene, and decisively steer the discussion back within god-fearing bounds—with the hidden aim of putting a stop to it as soon as possible.

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