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A Tale Of Three Cities ISTANBUL 

-Bettany Hughes

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A Book Review – 5 stars *****

 

Byzantion of Greece’s ancient past,  the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire, famed Constantinople of New Rome and Muslim Ottoman Empire that today goes by the name of Istanbul, Turkish republic.

‘Istanbul is the city of many names’, writes Bettany Hughes: Byzantion, Byzantium, New Rome, Stambol, Islam-bol are just a few of them. And Istanbul today ‘is lapped by the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmara; to the north is the Black Sea and to the south, through the Hellespont or Dardanelles, the Mediterranean.’

A diamond mounted between two sapphires and two emeralds…the precious stone in the ring of a vast dominion which embraced the entire world as described in ‘The Dream of Osman’ c. AD 1280.

Hughes guides the reader around the city that I wish I had visited. It is obvious from reading this book that the author has walked Istanbul’s streets and knows the city well, and she has meticulously researched  its 8000 years of history. I can assure you that this is no dreary history book the likes of which bored us to tears at school. The ancient town of Byzantion’s King Byzas (legend has it that his father was Poseidon, his grandfather, Zeus) was well located at the intersection of trade routes. Eventually the Roman emperor Constantine decided that ‘Old Rome’ was too far away from all the action and over time the City of Constantine became Constantinople, the New Rome, capital of the Roman Empire itself. The gateway between East and  West. Constantinople’s Christian name was changed to Istanbul around 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The book has short chapters with clear and helpful titles, dated in both Western and Islamic calendar formats where appropriate.  It enables readers to navigate this vast book in piecemeal fashion, but I found it difficult to  put this book aside; it is so well researched and written, with personal written accounts from people who were present during many of the historical events, which made the book all the more fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the frequent references to current and recent archaeological digs the findings of which verify historical accounts.  Hughes includes several maps and colour plates, which I constantly referred to as I was reading. It is evident that the West owes far more to Eastern cultures than we have been ready to believe in the past. The Roman Empire pillaged much wealth from Egypt and the East and in turn the Ottomans pillaged from Roman territories. It is arguable that the rabble that made up early Western civilisation reached a turning point when it invaded and colonised Egypt.

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Ottoman and Byzantine territory in the east Mediterranean c. AD 1451

 

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Muslim and Christian lived in relatively peaceful harmony during the Ottoman era but both sides could be extremely brutal whenever their territories or power were threatened. The Ottomans, however, were far more than their harams and baths, which titillated and attracted travellers; they were skilled diplomats and traders. Christian slave boys ‘harvested’ from the West were trained as interpreters.  Called Dragomans, one of their critical attributes was their facility with languages, and some of them could speak up to seven languages which enabled the empire to spread its culture and bargain with valuable commodities to negotiate peace. When the Ottoman Empire began to crumble at the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany, France and Britain ‘fought over the spoils’ and it is apparent that the after-effects of this breaking up of once cohesive territories helped to turn Christianity and Islam against each other which we are still witnessing in modern times. Millions of refugees were displaced during the carve up of territories, and millions died.

This book, as well as being a great read, informs readers on how the current geo-political era came into being, and it does not always put the West in a good light. We owe so much of the great advances and wealth in our Western civilisation to the East, and let us not forget, to Islam

-Anne Frandi-Coory  27 October 2017

*****

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The God Delusion is a great read; funny and witty in places and deadly serious in others. The author, Richard Dawkins is a professor and a scholar of renown and of course the brilliant writer of several significant books.

The God Delusion is divided into chapters with the several headings within each chapter making the book easy to read.  Dawkins is an atheist who has written, and lectured on, a great deal about the harm religion does to children, by religious indoctrination, which he believes is a form of child abuse. This book was right up my alley, so to speak. Christianity, just as much as Islam, teaches  that unquestioned faith is a virtue.

Religion, whether either one or other of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity or Islam, is full of contradictions…no wonder children are confused. And it’s not just Muslims who are inspired to become martyrs. I can remember as a child revering those Christian martyrs whose stories we heard every day from the pulpit or in catechism classes. These three monotheistic religions have engaged in extreme violence against their respective ‘infidels’ and apostates. One only has to read the Qur’an to know that Islam is not a religion of peace.  Dawkins quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson “ …the religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next”…Except, writes Dawkins, ‘we are not allowed to laugh at Islam, under threat of fatwas!’ And anyway, Dawkins comforts his fellow atheists by promising us that monotheism is doomed to subtract one more god and become atheism. It cannot come soon enough for me and the millions of other atheists around the world.

Another thing about monotheistic religions that has no place in 21st century in my view, is that they enjoy tax-free status and as Dawkins states: ‘… far better to abandon tax-free status for religions altogether… because it helps to promote them while allowing them to avoid the rigorous vetting imposed on secular charities.’  Dawkins has researched the huge amounts of money amassed by TV evangelists in USA unscrupulously ‘stolen’ from believers. And believe me, the amounts of tax-free ‘donations’ these religious thieves steal from the true believers are the only ‘awe’ inspiring thing about the capitalist religion of televangelists.

I was especially interested in the chapter in which the author, who is a biologist and supporter of the Darwinian theory of evolution, discusses his views on religion as a ‘by-product’ of something else. Once again evolution of the human species comes into play and indeed does make sense to me. A theory that posits a selective advantage to children’s brains that possess a  ‘rule of thumb’ in order to keep children safe and so preserve human life; e.g. the experience of previous generations. Obey your parents, obey your tribal elders, ‘especially when they adopt a solemn minatory tone.’ This makes perfect sense to me having been indoctrinated since infancy into Catholicism which ensures children do not question anything they are told, and never learn to think for themselves. It has perhaps allowed so many children to be sexually abused by clergy with impunity, for centuries. Believe, and obey without question!

I love Dawkins’ description: ‘The god of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant in all fiction: Jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak. A vindictive, blood thirsty, ethnic cleanser. A misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully!’  What chance do children have when  they are inculcated from infancy, to believe in, and fear, this vile father figure of a god?

Many scholars, including the author, are of the view that it’s the very moderate inculcation of religious teachings that inspire suicide bombers, and Dawkins discusses this at length. He also enlightens the reader on the many arguments that arise between creationists and atheists, and this was intriguing and at times gobsmacking that creationists actually believe such pie in the sky fairy tales in the face of proven and widely accepted scientific research and findings.

Scientists posit that we humans have evolved and so are products of natural selection; so ‘we should ask what pressure or pressures exerted by natural selection originally favoured the impulse to religion’ and Dawkins gives us compelling answers. The roots of morality and why we are good is also a riveting chapter and I urge all those who believe that religion acts as humanity’s ‘moral compass’ to at least read this chapter. Morality was a factor in human existence long before religions came into being. Dawkins asks  if our moral sense has a Darwinian origin, and he suggests that readers will find no surprises in this chapter if they are well read and open minded, which of course those indoctrinated with religious dogma throughout their childhoods very likely won’t be! In any case, writes Dawkins, his purpose in analysing scriptures is to demonstrate  that most religious people who claim to derive their morals from scripture do not really do so in practice. But, he adds, ‘suicide bombers obviously do.’

As Dawkins states, the Bible and Qur’an are ‘plain weird…as you would expect of chaotically cobbled together anthologies of disjointed documents composed, revised, translated, distorted and improved by hundreds of different authors, writers, copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning several centuries.’  He also discusses at length the Old Testament stories taken from much older mythologies, which I found especially interesting.

One of the most ridiculous statements Dawkins elicited from an interview with a well-known televangelist, was that he blamed the disastrous flooding of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, on a lesbian who lived in the city at the time. And he recalls the statement by a certain Anglican bishop, ‘thank god Jesus spoke the Queen’s English.’  Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots, but as Dawkins avows, there isn’t an atheist in the world  who would want to bulldoze Mecca or the Buddhas of Bamiyan,in the mountains of Afghanistan, for example.

And of course we all know that scriptures are blatantly misogynist and the author highlights relevant, horrific passages, full of rapes incest, sodomy, which would have been enough to add to my childhood nightmares if I’d read them at that time. For instance, in one chapter, two male angels (whatever they are) were sent to Sodom to warn Abraham’s nephew, Lot,  to leave that city. Lot invited the angels into his house and when all the men of Sodom gathered around outside and demanded that Lot hand over the angels so they could sodomise them, Lot refused and instead offered his two daughters ‘which have not known men’ to do with whatever they wanted. However, he warned them to do nothing to the two men whom he was protecting under his roof! Eventually Lot’s wife is turned into a pillar of salt and Lot commits incest with his two daughters. Dawkins suggests here that parents do not use the bible to teach their children morality. It’s obvious that zealous protectors of the Bible and Qur’an cherry pick chapters pertaining to peace whenever it suits them, because neither of these books can support their claims  that their religion is a religion of peace and morality. Nothing could be further from the truth. And the latest ludicrous claim by some Muslim women that Islam is not only a religion of peace, but also a ‘feminist’ one, is laughable! And how does it help to engender equality of the sexes, when the men of Jewish faith pray and thank god every day, for not making them a woman?

Dawkins provides the reader with clear and concise reasons why he believes moderation in faith fosters fanaticism,  and I found his reasons for this perfectly feasible. He uses the phrase ‘moral zeitgeist’,  spirit of change, or ‘enlightened consensus’, of which the opposite is the dark side of religious absolutism or extremism. His point is, and this is important in 2017,  that even mild or moderate religion helps to provide the climate of faith in which extremism naturally flourishes. It goes without saying of course, that indoctrination begins in early childhood because parents inflict their religious beliefs onto their children.

In his book, Dawkins quotes respected journalist, Muriel Gray, writing in the Glasgow Herald, 24 July 2005, with reference to the London bombings: Everyone is being blamed, from the obvious villainous duo of George W Bush and Tony Blair, to the inaction of Muslim ‘communities’. But it has never been clearer that there is only one place to lay the blame and it has ever been thus. The cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence, terror and ignorance,  is of course religion itself, and it seems ludicrous to have to state such an obvious reality, the fact is that the government and the media are doing a pretty good job of pretending that it isn’t so.

Religious indoctrination and absolutism  has, in my humble opinion, allowed children of all Abrahamic religions to be sexually abused by their own paedophile clerical minders and others of their own faith. Dawkins writes: ‘More generally, (and  this applies to Christianity no less than to Islam), what is really pernicious is the practice of teaching children that faith itself is a virtue. Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument. Teaching children that unquestioned  faith is a virtue primes them, given certain other ingredients that are not too hard to come by, to grow up into potentially lethal weapons for future jihads or crusades. Faith can be very dangerous, and  deliberately  to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong. It is purely and simply a violation of childhood by religion.’

Dawkins quotes another scholar, Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity: The mantra, ‘Islam is peace’ is almost 1,400 years out of date. It was only for about 13 years that Islam was peace and nothing but peace…For today’s radical Muslims – just as for the mediaeval jurists who developed classical Islam, it would be truer to say ‘Islam is war’. One of the most radical Islamic groups in Britain, al-Ghurabaa, stated in the wake of the two London bombings, ‘Any Muslim that denies that terror is a part of Islam is kafir.’ A kafir is an unbeliever ( i.e. a non-Muslim), a term of gross insult…Could it be that the young men who committed suicide were neither  on the fringes of Muslim society in Britain, nor following an eccentric or extremist interpretation of their faith, but rather that they came from the very core of the Muslim community and were motivated by a mainstream interpretation of Islam?

Food for thought: Is the reason Muslims murder and torture those who criticise or make fun of Islam and their prophet, because they know that if Islam endures the same scholarly scrutiny that Christianity and Judaism have in recent decades,  that it will be revealed as the sham that it really is? I urge readers to place their Bible, Qur’an or Torah in their home library on shelves alongside other great classics of  literary fiction.

The other night I watched a news item showing a Muslim child, barely five years old, at a kindergarten, dressed in a black hijab and full length black dress….while the other children around her were dressed in pretty, colourful clothing, their pretty hair tied up in dainty ribbons and bows  …how is this conducive to a small child feeling a part of the community she lives in? And why do Muslim women insist on wearing clothing that makes them stand out from the crowd and attract negative and sometimes abusive reaction from extremists of other religions? Surely religion is a private matter to be celebrated at home or in a church or mosque?

-Anne Frandi-Coory 20 June 2017

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Damascus Gate 

by Robert Stone

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What is it about authors who have been incarcerated in Catholic orphanages and other religious institutions during their formative years? This is another book I found at Clunes Book Festival in Victoria and I wonder, is it the title that attracted me or the intense stories about faith written within its pages? The author Robert Stone has himself a past bathed in religious upheaval and search for identity. He was raised by his schizophrenic mother until he was five, when she was committed to an asylum for the insane. Five year old Robert, whose father abandoned the family, was then taken in by a Catholic Orphanage, who Stone describes as having the ‘social dynamic of a coral reef’. The violence the boy experienced at the hands of men posing as carers, is a heart rending story retold many times over by children raised in religious institutions.  I think it must be the passion and fearlessness with which these authors take on ‘taboo’ subjects that attracts my undivided attention. Someone wrote that books, once written, have no need of their authors. That is true enough, but I must admit to seeking out most books by author, rather than title or genre. I like to know more about the background of the author, particularly if a book has had a deep effect on me, and Damascus Gate is just such a book.   You can never judge a book by its cover in my view, especially when it’s a good read you are looking for.

At the centre of the Damascus Gate story is struggling free-lance journalist, Chris Lucas (Catholic mother, Jewish father), who teams up with a psychiatrist in Jerusalem to write a book about religious zealots, some insane, of all persuasions who come to the Holy City to ‘find the truth’ a condition labelled the ‘Jerusalem Syndrome’. The two men enlist the help of an archaeologist, who himself seems to have caught the ‘combative spiritualism’ endemic in Jerusalem. Little does Lucas realise that he is being followed, photographed and controlled by various groups fulfilling their own agendas. The Jerusalem Syndrome is a label attached to a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are believed to be triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem. Followers of the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam can be equally affected by the syndrome. There is no doubt that with the Israeli army surrounding the city, and with its spies everywhere, the religion of Judaism appears to have the upper hand and control of the city and its environs with the help of its watch towers and road blocks at every twist and turn.  The best known manifestation of Jerusalem Syndrome is whereby a person who seems previously balanced and devoid of any signs of psychopathology becomes psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem. The psychosis is characterised by an intense religious mania and most often resolves to full recovery for the afflicted over time or immediately following their departure from the city.

Even those of little faith, or atheists, sense ‘there is something here in Jerusalem’, but what, they cannot say.

Damascus Gate is set in Jerusalem and surrounding areas, is fiction based on fact; we all know what a powder keg Jerusalem is with its struggle to contain the three religions within a relatively harmonious state. Making the situation even more volatile, are the various sects of Christianity, Islam and Judaism competing to have their ‘truth’ realised, even though archaeological proof is yet to be discovered for any of their respective claims. This book is a great read and highlights the sectarian differences between  Christians, Muslims and Jews whose followers all fight for supremacy over this small historically important city. Each sect has its own neighbourhood and if you’re not one of them, you are forewarned to avoid walking through its streets alone without an approved escort. It can be a very dangerous city and riots between Jews and Arabs can erupt at any time for the slightest of motives. Not only that, this fraught city attracts all manner of religious lunatics hell bent on ‘saving’ their respective Messiah’s or Holy Prophet’s relics from the infidel. Drugs, money and sexual favours add to the heady religious mix, and anything can happen at any time. Herman Melville’s quote sits revealingly on the front page of Damascus Gate: ‘Enigma and evasion grow; And shall we never find Thee out?’

A  Jewish extremist underground movement exists in Jerusalem and it aspires to rebuild the Temple. To achieve this, the mosques must be blown sky high. The Israeli Defence Force and Mossad know that if this happens Armageddon will erupt in Jerusalem which will surpass its many past destructions, the effects of which will be felt across the globe. There is not much going on in Jerusalem that these two forces don’t know about.  The tensions are deep and ancient, with their thousands of years of history fought over every day and at every religious festival. Serious political games are being played out at the very highest levels where murder, intrigue and ‘religious  authority’ are used to control and incite violence which is forever simmering at a very shallow depth beneath the surface of this ancient land.

Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, and the state of Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there. One of Israel’s Basic Laws, the 1980 Jerusalem Law refers to Jerusalem as the country’s undivided capital. All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister, President and the Supreme Court while the State of Palestine ultimately foresees the city as its seat of power. However, neither claim is widely recognized internationally. In latter years Muslim extremists have become more powerful and dangerous making Jerusalem even more volatile than ever. Staff of non-government organisations such as the UN and Save the Children, feature in this story and all play an integral part in the intrigue and hidden agendas.

One reviewer says of Damascus Gate: ‘Stone has a journalist’s eye for detail, but a novelist’s eye for irony’…and I believe that this is what makes the book such a great read. Stone manages to capture all the intrigue, all the religious fervour and menace in his words and all the while there is the ‘festering menace of Gaza’.

-Anne Frandi-Coory 23 January 2017

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Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff – Fighter for free speech

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Updated 21 September 2014

 

Some Australian Muslims want Sariah Law to be introduced into Australia…for some, it’s already here!

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Beware! “Islam is a political ideology disguised as a religion.”

The United West is an umbrella organisation for opponents of shariah law in America, Europe, and elsewhere. Its motto is: “Uniting Western Civilization Against Shariah Islam”    Elisabeth tells us “Violence is deeply embedded in Islamic theology, and especially in Islamic law, or shariah. Violence is endemic in Islam because its scriptures and law require Muslims to be violent in order to protect Islam and extend shariah throughout the world. Shariah has already come to my country (Vienna), and to most of the rest of Western Europe.”

“So now it seems we must all learn to shut up and keep our heads down while shariah descends on our countries.” As Geert Wilders said: ‘The lights are going out all over Europe.”  But it’s not just Europe. Shariah is coming to America, too.  “It begins with little things, like prayer rooms and footbaths and special prayer breaks for Muslim employees. Then comes ‘Shariah-compliant finance’, which sounds so innocuous.  Then come the restrictions on speech that offends Muslims.”

Such restrictions are already here in the United States. Yes, you have the First Amendment to protect your God-given right to free speech, but that has not been enough to prevent ordinary American citizens from being silenced.

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In Vienna the free-speech activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was recently sentenced to paying a fine for insulting a religion by calling Muhammad a paedophile. However, that is the truth. Numerous hadiths contain testimonies by Muhammad’s favourite wife, the child bride Aisha. Aisha literally says: “The prophet married me when I was six years old, and had intercourse with me when I was nine.”

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Source for the article below is Geert Wilders:

Ali Sina is an Iranian ex-Muslim who established the organisation for apostates of Islam Faith Freedom International. In his latest book he posits that Muhammad was a paedophile, as well as a narcissist, a mass murderer, a terrorist, a misogynist, a lecher, a cult leader, a madman, a rapist, a torturer, an assassin and a looter. Sina has offered 50,000 dollars for the one who can prove otherwise. Nobody has claimed the reward as yet. And no wonder, as the description is based on the Islamic texts themselves, such as the hadiths, the descriptions of Muhammad’s life from testimonies of contemporaries.

In his book ‘Psychology of Mohammed: Inside the Brain of a Prophet‘ Dr. Masud Ansari calls Muhammad “the perfect personification of a psychopath in power.”  Muhammad had an unhinged paranoid personality with an inferiority complex and megalomaniac tendencies. In his forties he starts having visions that lead him to believe he has a cosmic mission, and there is no stopping him.  (Sounds like certain other Arab leaders!)

The historical Muhammad was the savage leader of a gang of robbers from Medina  who looted, raped and murdered. The sources describe orgies of savagery where hundreds of people’s throats were cut, hands and feet chopped off, eyes cut out, entire tribes massacred. An example is the extinction of the Jewish Kurayza tribe in Medina in 627. One of those who chopped off their heads was Muhammad. The women and children were sold as slaves. Confronted with the lunacy of Islamic terrorists today, it is not hard to find out where the lunacy comes from.  According to the historian Theophanes (752-817) Muhammad was an epileptic. Epileptic crises are sometimes accompanied by hallucinations, perspiration from the forehead and foaming at the mouth, the very symptoms which Muhammad displayed during his visions.

A Dutch court ruled Wednesday that it will proceed with the trial of Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders on charges of inciting hate and discrimination against Muslims when he compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and called it a “fascist book.”  However, the prosecution has no intention of convicting him.   Public support for Mr Wilders  is huge.  The comparison of books is a good one.

See posts  Hina & Alicia – Victims of muslim fanaticism &    Go Back to the Hellhole…


Hina – A Beautiful Young Woman With Her Life in Front of Her.

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Hina was a beautiful 20-year-old who emigrated with her Pakistani family to Italy.  She lived with her Italian boyfriend, smoked, was happy and free. In other words, she became westernised; Hina came to Italy an Asian girl and grew into a western woman.   And, she had refused an arranged marriage.   Therefore, her father killed her, slitting her throat 28 times because his honour had been sullied.

He then garnered support from members of  his extended family to help him bury Hina’s body in the back garden of his home.  Did he think none of her friends would miss her?  No, because Hina was once again his possession.  He has been sentenced to 30 years imprisonment;  plenty of time to pray to Allah.

The United Nations Population Fund believes that, globally, as many as 5,000 women and girls are killed each year by members of their own family in the name of ‘honour’.  This figure, many believe, is the tip of the iceberg.

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Alicia Gali – A Brave Young Woman From Queensland

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Alicia Gali made the mistake of working in UAE, a muslim country.  She spent eight months in a United Arab Emirates jail for adultery after complaining to police about being drugged and raped by co-workers. Alicia, 29, detailed her harrowing ordeal after filing a Queensland lawsuit against the five-star international resort where the attack allegedly took place in 2008.

Warning other women against going to the UAE, Alicia said she endured eight months in a crowded prison room with up to 30 other women after she complained to authorities about the assault. Apart from her family, no one in Australia knew Alicia had been jailed for adultery and illegal drinking, because Australian embassy staff advised her and her family not to go to the media.

“It was just traumatising,” she said. “Everything that happened was the worst thing that somebody could go through.”

“You’re just totally alone in a foreign country, with no assistance from your employer or the embassy.”  Alicia, a salon manager at the resort, said she had been in the staff bar, where she was told she could legally drink, when another employee put the drug, ice, in her drink.

It was the last thing Alicia remembered before waking the next day in her room with painful injuries. “I didn’t know what had happened. I was traumatised, I felt ill. I didn’t even remember getting there or what had happened”.  It was only when she took herself to hospital did she realise she had been sexually assaulted.

Later she learned she had been heard screaming in the hotel and security guards had found men hiding in her room, where she was naked and unconscious.  When she was discharged from hospital she was asked to go to a police station to make a statement and then speak in front of a judge.   “I realised when I was put in a police car that I was being taken to jail.”

Alicia said she was never warned by her UAE employers that she could be charged with adultery and face prison if she complained of being raped, without having four adult male Muslims as witnesses.   “I didn’t even know what the charges were until five months into my sentence”.

Three of the men Alicia claimed sexually abused her were jailed, but for adultery and not rape.   After serving eight months of a 12-month sentence, Alicia was pardoned, released, and flew home in March 2009.  Since then she has been treated for post traumatic stress disorder, suffered claustrophobia and flashbacks.  “I felt depressed, angry and confused”.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn on Thursday filed a damages claim in the Supreme Court in Brisbane, alleging Ms Gali’s employer failed to warn her of the risk of being drugged, raped, charged with adultery and jailed if she complained.   Solicitor Melissa Payne said it was a complex legal case and they would consult experts in UAE law.

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These two cases represent the clash between dark age religious beliefs and western freedoms.  Islam means ‘submission’ therefore  muslims must submit to the power of Allah and  women must submit to the power of men.

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See post Carla Bruni – The Problem Being Female


The American Pastor Terry Jones, said that the burning of the Koran was a success and ‘a once-in-a-lifetime experience’. One wonders what he meant by ‘a success’.  Pastor  Jones, a fundamentalist Christian,  oversaw the torching of a copy of the Muslim holy book on Sunday, after staging a mock ‘trial’ in which it was found guilty of what he described as ‘crimes against humanity’.  The ‘jury’ in the case had heard arguments from a ‘prosecutor’ and a ‘defender’ of the Koran before sentencing it to ‘death by execution’.   Is he using human terms for the Koran because he is too afraid to ‘try’ the author?

I have never read the Koran, but a muslim acquaintance told me that it is all about interpretation, and unfortunately fundamentalist muslims  interpret verses in the Koran as catalysts for acts of brutality to infidels, ie anyone who is a non-muslim.  The majority of muslims don’t read such senseless violence into what is written in their holy book.  The same can be said of the Christian bible,  both books written hundreds of years ago. Most decent Christians and muslims only want the best for their families; for their children and grandchildren to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment.

How can the pastor’s stance be anything other than an attention-grabbing one?  Or perhaps the man is mentally ill.  It just doesn’t make sense, that an intelligent man could verbalise such rubbish as:  ‘After listening to ‘evidence’ and arguments from both sides, the jury pronounced the Koran ‘guilty’ of five ‘crimes against humanity’ including the promotion of terrorist acts and ‘the death, rape and torture of people worldwide whose only crime is not being of the Islamic faith’.  The Koran’s ‘punishment’ was determined by the results of an online poll. Besides burning, the options had included shredding, drowning and facing a firing squad. Voters had chosen to set fire to the book, according to a video of the proceedings.  Hasn’t this church leader and his small congregation got better things to do, such as helping the sick and the poor?

“It is not that we burn the Koran with some type of vindictive motive,” Mr. Jones said. “We do not even burn it with great pleasure or any pleasure at all. We burn it because we feel a deep obligation to stay with the court system of America. The court system of America does not allow convicted criminals to go free. And that is why we feel obligated to do this.”   Mahatma Gandhi was reputed to have said something along the lines of: “There is nothing wrong with Christianity.  Christians are the problem”.   One could say the same about Islam and muslims.

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All this mindless stupidity on both sides achieved nothing but senseless  killingsNews Item:

Stirred up by a trio of angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at a Florida church, thousands of protesters overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said. The dead included at least seven United Nations workers — four Nepalese guards and three Europeans from Romania, Sweden and Norway — according to United Nations officials in New York. One was a woman.  Five Afghans were also killed.

See  Burning  Books Leads to More…

Burning the Koran; English Al Jazeera

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Mad American Christian Pastor, Terry Jones

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Terry Jones has published a guide called Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran; railed against the rights of women to have abortions; and describes homosexuality as ‘a sin’. When Pastor Jones was in Germany, his daughter Emma, one of his three children, described the church, run by Dove World Outreach, as a cult and accused them of financial and workplace abuse.

Dove World Outreach is funded by the pastor’s furniture firm, TS & Company, which buys vintage items from Europe and sells them in the US. The employees are members of the church, who are understood to work for no wages and live rent-free in run-down properties owned by the pastor and his wife.

Perhaps this pastor should heed an old warning: When you point the finger of accusation at someone, be careful what you say, because there are three fingers pointing back at you.

Karima will leave France if she can’t wear her veil

For Muslim women who cover their faces with veils, it is time for liberation.  Starting April 11, a new law in France banning garments that hide the face takes effect. Women or men who disobey it risk a fine, special classes and a police record.  The fines are greater if a minor is forced to wear the veil against her will.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant put it bluntly Monday:   “This growth in the number of (Muslims) and a certain number of behaviors cause problems,” he commented on French radio. “There is no reason why the nation should accord to one particular religion more rights than religions that were formerly anchored in our country.”   Debate is needed to address evolutions in French society,  such as a growing demand for mosque building and Islamic butchers  since the country’s 1905 law formally separated the state from the Catholic Church.

This is another one of those cases that most of us just don’t get.  Why did Karima (wont give her surname)  go to France if she didn’t want to live as the French do?  I mean, there are many Muslim countries around the world she could have emigrated to, where she could cover her whole body in black sheets, where she would be just another faceless, nameless, woman, with no rights.

Apparently, women are supporting their men in the current riots in Arab countries; riots for more freedoms and less oppression for women and men.  And yet, here we have some 2,000 women in France who wish to cover themselves from head to foot, despite the new law.   The increasing focus on France’s Muslims, who number at least 5 million, comes with presidential elections a year away and support for a far-right party growing. A recent palpable rise in tensions has also been boosted by fears of a mass migration of Muslims due to disarray in the Arab world.

In unusual terms for a secular leader, Sarkozy extolled the virtues of his country’s “Christian heritage” during a recent visit to Puy-en-Velay, the starting point of a famed medieval Christian pilgrimage route.  “Without identity there is no diversity,” the president said. “The (French) republic is secular. It belongs to each citizen without any distinction.”

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Perhaps it is not the fact of wearing a burqa, per se, that is disconcerting to some people.  It just may be about muslims wanting to be superior, to stand out from the rest,  to have their own butchers, mosques,  schools, etc, making European countries seem more like Muslim countries.  We in the West are called ‘infidels’ after all.  I believe that most tolerant people don’t mind headscarfs, at least you can see facial expressions.  The burqa can be very intimidating, especially in black.  And all those mosques popping up everywhere!  It would be just as bad if there were huge Catholic cathedrals and royal palaces everywhere.  History teaches us that to be too different, can be very dangerous, especially in times of food and job shortages.

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Burqa or Crash Helmet

Go Back to the Hell Hole…

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