Posts Tagged ‘muslims’

Nobody can agree when Eid is and it’s hilarious

Monday, June 10th, 2019 | Religion & Politics

Earlier this month, Ramadan ended and was celebrated by Eid al-Fitr. The problem is that a lot of the Islamic community couldn’t agree when exactly that happened. It is a common problem and illustrates some of the interesting quirks of religion.

We’re used to religions splitting apart over hairs, of course. Is transubstantiation literal or metaphorical? Can King Henry have a divorce? Did Jesus visit America and tell men to take multiple wives?

But this article by BBC News illustrates the issues with Eid, where different parts of the Scottish Muslim community celebrated on different days.

Ramadan follows the lunar calendar, with a month of fasting that ends when the new moon arrives. You may think that science could easily answer this question. We know when the new moon appears because the movement of celestial bodies can be accurately predicted. In this case, in the UK, the new moon arrived on Tuesday, 4 June.

But no.

Some argue that they have to see it themselves. Presumably, in case it disappears or something.

Others argue that because other people have seen the moon, that should be acceptable “because that’s the same moon”.

Still others have argued that seeing in the UK does not matter because the UK is not an Islamic country. Therefore, it only counts when someone in Morocco sees the new moon because that is the nearest Islamic country.

Finally, others have said the whole thing is too complex and that it should be celebrated according to what can be seen from Mecca.

Myth of Islam

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 | Religion & Politics

One of my friends recently started a new blog on the origins of Islam. It challenges the claim that is sometimes made by Islam itself that its origins are factual – as the blog goes on to explain, this simply isn’t the case. Read all about it.

A Muslim in Paris

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 | Religion & Politics

I recently returned from Paris (I’m not bragging or anything), and one thing I noticed was that I only saw two people wearing the hijab (Islamic headscarf) the whole time I was there (four days). I saw nobody wearing a burka either, though that is to be expected given it is now illegal in France.

One explanation for this could be that there are simply very few Muslims in Paris, but given the multicultural nature of any large capitol, that seems unlikely. A more likely explanation, at least if I was to take an educated guess, is that the French have managed to create a society in which is the Islamic community does not feel oppressed (and therefore needs cultural signifiers such as head scarves) and is able to integrate. Perhaps we’ve simply got it very wrong in the UK, and the segregation many communities are seeing, is the result.

Islam is a religion of peace

Monday, February 6th, 2012 | Humanism

I attended Leeds Atheist Society last week. At the event, they were screening the Intelligence Squared debate, “Islam is a religion of Peace”, which is available to stream online if you haven’t seen it.

Overall, though, I’m not sure I would bother. The arguments weren’t put particularly well on either side, although perhaps slightly better for the side against, which swung the audience from being slightly for the motion, to significantly against. I get the feeling that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, as great as she is, is primarily on there because she is an ex-Muslim who isn’t afraid to speak out, rather than the cogency of her arguments. Douglas Murray was a better speaker for against, but didn’t say too much. Despite the victory, I cannot help but feeling that if the late Christopher Hitchens had been with us, he could have delivered a simple unbeatable defence.

What was far more interesting was the discussion afterwards, in which I thought the arguments put forward were far stronger than those featured on the debate. I find arguments such as The Qur’an being directly the word of Allah and the fact that it’s very hard to misinterpret all 524 verses of intolerance in The Qur’an far stronger arguments than anecdotes about how a small minority of Muslims blew up the London underground or the Twin Towers.

Because of course, this is a very small minority. Yes, they were clearly Islamic extremists who perpetrated 9-11, but this was a handful of people in a country which has millions of Muslims – the majority of Muslims are peaceful people.

But it clearly isn’t because of Islam, it’s in spite of it. To understand this, you can’t judge the entire world population of Muslims by the actions of a small radical minority. You can only say this is accurate because when you go back to the core of the faith, you find facts like The Qur’an having 534 intolerant verses, and only 75 verses containing good stuff. Or look at Sharia law states which still have appalling treatment of women, homosexuals and non-Muslims.

It’s important to remember that when discussing such topics, we’re not talking about whether Muslims are peaceful. That is obvious – the overwhelming majority of them are, and although there is a radical minority, this is true of many groups. But the question of whether Islam is peaceful is a question and answer that is detached from the attitudes of the people that identify with it. Unfortunately, the answer here is far less reassuring.

Fonze casting

Friday, January 23rd, 2009 | Friends

Moz having bailed on us last night (to which I though there was then a real lack of Moz jokes made in the show) we settled in for another evening of podcast. This time with a number of celebrity guests including the long awaited return of Fonze. It’s a shame he isn’t on the show as much anymore as there are so many great jokes to be made 😉 .

The discussion topics of the night were “The AHS” and “Be nice to Muslims Day” though by the time we had got through the regular segments at the start of the show, most of the show was gone lol.

Norm podcasting Chris podcasting Fonze podcasting