Grey Thoughts
Islam Update
News of interest on Islam.
I am going to try and make this a regular post.

They say insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result (Sounds like most windows users). Well, the US is trying to get Russia to come around on the Iran nuclear issue. But, just as Russia was working against the US with Iraq, why should we expect any different in this case.

In a wierd twist, a Vatican bishop endorses the teaching of Islam at Italian public schools. The justification?
"Europe and Italy have reached a high level of democracy and respect and cannot backtrack on this," said Martino. "If there are therefore people of different religions in Italy, we must accept their cultural and religious identity."

The bishop also noted that "if we are waiting for reciprocity in countries with a Christian minority then we are putting ourselves on the same level as those denying this possibility [to minorities]."
Reciprocity would be not having muslims killing christian converts. How about we go for that first? Or perhaps the bishop thinks we should all disarm and then the militant islamists will surely follow.

In other reciprocal news, Turkey is magnanimously deciding to restore non-muslim places of worship. So what is the catch? It seems that the courts ruled in 1974 that non-muslim communities cannot own property, including any property acquired since 1936.

And in An announcement I never expected, 50 Female imams are about to preaching in Morocco. It is a bit suprising considering the status of women in Islamic societies.

The 3 christian peace activists continue to bite the hand that rescued them. It seems they don't want to cooperate fully with the US intelligence. I guess they have no concern for other hostages.

The Age continues its slanted coverage with an article titled Iraqi leaders meet as 20 more die. It seems any talk of possible progress must be carefully concealed behind as much bad news as possible. Never mind the murder rate in Baghdad is only a little bit worse than many US cities, the Age thinks it must still be a civil war.

Ibrahim al-Jafari, the Prime Minister of Iraq has made an inspiring speech that brings hope that at least some Iraqis are trying to move towards a free democracy.
The road ahead will be tough, but the Iraqi people have demonstrated their bravery, determination and resolve. The world should not falter at such a crucial stage in history.
Let us hope the coalition doesn't let them down.

Moqtada al-Sadr continues to express his desire to be taken out. He has apparently formed a 'shadow' government, although not in the usual term. His government is trying to turn Sadr city into his own sovereign district.

Tony Blair has given a speech which touches upon Iraq and Afghanistan that shows his continuing support for the actions there. From the speech
The immediate threat is from Islamist extremism. You mourn your victims from Bali as we do ours and those from July 7 last year in London. We can add to them victims from Madrid, or September 11 in the US. But, this terrorism did not begin on the streets of New York. It simply came to our notice then. Its victims are to be found in the recent history of many lands from Russia and India, but also Algeria, Pakistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, Kenya and countless more.

And though its active cadres of terrorists are relatively small, it is exploiting a far wider sense of alienation in the Arab and Muslim world.

We will not defeat this terror until we face up to the fact that its roots are deep, and that it is not a passing spasm of anger, but a global ideology at war with us and our way of life.

Their case is that democracy is a western concept we are forcing on an unwilling culture of Islam. The problem we have is that a part of opinion in our own countries agrees with them.

We are in danger of completely misunderstanding the importance of what is happening as we speak in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops, British and Australian are along side each other; and I know whatever our views on either conflict, we are all deeply proud of the commitment, dedication and bravery of our armed forces.

But in each case, we have nations engaged in a titanic struggle to be free of a legacy of oppression, stagnation and servitude. In each case, its people have, for the first time, been offered a choice to vote. In each case, they have seized it, despite obstacles we can scarcely imagine. What better symbol of hope, and of belief in the values, we too hold dear.

But in each case also, the forces of reaction are at work, trying through the most evil of means, terrorism - the slaughter of the innocent because they are innocent - to destroy this hope.

I know the Iraq war split this nation as it did mine. And I have never disrespected those who disagreed with me over it.

But for almost 3 years now we have been in Iraq with full UN support. From the outset our forces in Afghanistan have been there with UN authority. In both cases, there is the full support of democratically elected governments.

Every reactionary element is lined up to fight us. They know if they lose, a message is sent out across the Muslim world, that strikes at the heart of their ideology. So they are fighting hard.

We must not hesitate in the face of a battle utterly decisive in whether the values we believe in, triumph or fail. Here are Iraqi and Afghan Muslims saying clearly: democracy is as much our right as yours; and in embracing it, showing that they too want a society in which people of different cultures and faith can live together in peace. This struggle is our struggle.

If the going is tough - we tough it out. This is not a time to walk away. This is a time for the courage to see it through.

But though it is where military action has been taken that the battle is most fierce, it will not be won by victory there alone.

Wherever people live in fear, with no prospect of advance, we should be on their side; in solidarity with them, whether in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea; and where countries, and there are many in the Middle East today, are in the process of democratic development, we should extend a helping hand.
Well said.
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