Friday, December 5, 2008

8 Marḥeshwan 5769: International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development/Day of the Ninja/Bathtub Party Day

Greetings.

Worthy cause of the day: “Who will Bush pardon?”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Iran cracks down on "satanic" clothes”: I was not aware that the followers of Anton Szandor LaVey were marketing clothing in Iran. ☺ Sarcasm about the title aside, the complaint is not about LaVeyan Satanism but rather Western cultural influence in the form of clothing and hairstyles.  Labeling anything that does not meet with Shi‘a approval as “satanic” betrays a dualistic worldview where everything is split into “us” versus “them”, “good” versus “evil”, with no middle ground. As such, the West and anything associated with it, being the enemy of the Islamic world (whether we really want to admit it or not), is “evil” and to be fought by all means possible, including rhetoric.  People generally have a low tolerance for clear, definite evil (e.g., which of us would tolerate a psychopathic killer in our neighborhood?), and so the potential for danger to anyone near the borderline is grave.  
  2. “Muslim Lawyer Urges Sexist Chauvinist Pigs to Harass Isreali Women!”: I read a lot more material concerning Islam than I post here, much of it not complimentary, but this has to be among the strangest notions ever propounded by a Muslim and yet oddly credible.  Premise 1:  Israel “rapes the land” (by which I presume means that Jews had the audacity not to submit to Islamic rule rather than anything non-Muslims would consider evil) and is therefore subject to anything cruel and nasty that Muslims want to do to them.  Premise 2:  Arab men already sexually harass (or act even worse towards) Arab women.  Conclusion:  Arab men should sexually harass Israeli women.  There seems to be a subtext in this logic that it is OK for men to treat women like dirt (or even kill them over real or imagined offenses), which I hear repeated reports and complaints about, some of them in this article—something which may have its roots in the Qur’an and go back to Muḥammad, yet be difficult or impossible to justify outside of an Islamic context.  I can only wish upon anyone who would do such horrible things the sorts of things that the Hebrew Bible recounts:  Jewish men responded to violence against their female relatives by attacking the guilty party, sometimes going way overboard.  E.g., Shim‘on and Lewi killed all the males in Shekhem over the rape of their sister Dinah, there was a war against Binyamin by the other tribes over the fatal gang rape of a concubine in Giv‘ah, and ’Avshalom killed ’Amnon for raping his sister Tamar.  (Yes, I am being lazy for not looking up the verse references, but I have other things to do today.  And this is an expression of disgust towards those who would desecrate the daughters of Yisra’el, not an advocacy of any illegal activity.)
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is Paper Models of Polyhedra, some of which are pointy enough to use as weapons that would make any ninja happy. Enjoy, share the weirdness, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron
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