Mar. 22nd, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)
The CBC informs us that, yes, Ann Jones was quite right to argue in her recent Winter in Kabul that the only differences between the Taliban's Afghanistan and contemporary Afghanistan is that the violent religious bigotry is just a shade quieter. It's still not a good idea to be a Christian convert from Islam in Afghanistan, not at all.

Abdul Rahman became a Christian 16 years ago while working in Germany, but he was charged with rejecting Islam only in February, when his family denounced him during a custody battle over his two children.

Rahman, 41, is now in jail in Afghanistan and faces the death penalty unless he agrees to convert back to the faith in which he was raised, said the judge at the Shariah court. (Shariah is the legal code of Islam, based on the Qu'ran.)

"We will invite him again [to renounce Christianity] because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance," trial judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah told the BBC on Sunday. "We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so, we will forgive him."

The accused man's mental state will also be taken into account before the court passes sentence, Mawlazezadah added.


There is a certain measure of hope for Rahman, as an anonymous writer at Islam Online notes.

Prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi had said that all Muslim jurists agree that the apostate is to be punished. However, they differ regarding the punishment itself.

Well-known Azharite scholar Sheikh `Abdul-Majeed Subh had said that the punishment for apostasy is dependent on the public interest of the Muslim nation and the assessment of scholars to each case.

"If the apostate does not harm the Muslim society, there may be no need for killing him."


It just happens to be completely outrageous that he needs to feel wildly optimistic hope in order to believe that he might not be judicially murdered. Mawlazezadah's definition of tolerance clearly isn't congruent to any definitions of tolerance which might pass inspection by international human-rights bodies. More's the pity that he appears to be a moderate.

The people who are running Afghanistan right now happen to be Voltaire's wolves. These people control their country. As it happens, my country has helped put these wolves into power over their country.

Why are we Canadians still supporting them with armed force, again?
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Via [livejournal.com profile] dsgood, the perhaps unsurprising news that humpback whales are language-using creatures: "Researchers have now mathematically confirmed that whales have their own syntax that uses sound units to build phrases that can be combined to form songs that last for hours. Until now, only humans have demonstrated the ability to use such a hierarchical structure of communication."

  • Crooked Timber covers the bad reaction at Harry's Place to Johann Hari's apology for supporting the Iraq War. Traitors are never popular, it seems.

  • Elsewhere on LJ, [livejournal.com profile] tullysatre takes on a homophobic senator in Virginia, and wins the argument.

  • Kylie Minogue's live performance in 2003 of the mashup "Can't Get You Out of My Head" is available here for download in mp3 format. It's catchy.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[I]t's important to remember why they're upset: Bush isn't murdering enough people, or, to put it a bit more accurately, they're getting the impression from Fox News that he's not. Bush has said some not-absolutely-vicious things about cleaning up New Orleans, for example, and that's right out; he hasn't attacked Iran yet; abortion is still technically legal; Iraq isn't the free-fire zone it needs to be; etc. Things cannot be getting worse fast enough for the American Phalange. Nobody to the left of Franco is going to be able to exploit those cracks. It just means that McCain will have to beat off a challenge from his right during the 2008 primaries. Ha, you didn't know there was anything to the right of McCain? The American right is described by an 'inflationary' cosmology - no matter how radical the current establishment of the party, the territory to the right will expand the boundaries of the political universe at an astounding clip.


Can this possibly happen?

On an unrelated note, I plan on catching V for Vendetta tomorrow at Yorkdale.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
I've just read Max Weber's famous 1905 tome The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It's an impressive piece of scholarship; I can see why it's still so frequently cited.

The biggest problem with this The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, apart from Weber's unsupported assumption that the mass of capitalists actually behaved the way that they were supposed to behave, is that it is (ironically) historically uninformed. In one of his footnotes, Weber refers to the religious situation in Ireland as confirming his thesis about Protestantism's relative virtues. This judgement is, to say the least, historically naïve, not taking into account the way in which Irish Catholics were systematically deprived of any ability to enter capitalism, or the historically contingent nature of Irish Catholicism (imagine what could have been if Ireland followed the Welsh route towards vernacular Protestantism), or for that matter the traditionally dependent position of the island of Ireland upon larger, wealthier, and more powerful polities. I don't have the time or, frankly, the inclination to examine this book's theses in greater detail, but I think I could find a few more problems like this.
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