Making excuses for violence, while demonizing those who question violence

Tauriq Moosa responds to a deplorable opinion piece by Anjem Choudary that accuses satirists of provoking violence.

Because free expression matters more than any one group’s feeling of offence. Because I imagine most Muslims are adults capable of handling criticism of their beliefs – even if they feel offended. Choudary is painting the picture right wingers want: an entire group of people, perched on the spring of outrage, ready to march with billboards at the slightest case of “offence”.

Muslims must speak out against this caricature and be on the frontlines defending free speech, even and especially if it offends them. And media spaces must improve and find better spokespeople.

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Automatic rifles & rocket launchers vs. cartoons: no contest

In a disgraceful act of cowardice and hatred, fanatics murdered at least 12 members of the staff of the French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo. I don’t hesitate to call this cowardice; the gunmen faced no real threat, killed people, and then ran away. They seemed to think this was a triumph of some sort.

In the video, the gunmen can be heard shouting “Allahu akbar” between bursts of gunfire. The gunmen also shouted “we have avenged the prophet,” according to police.

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I’m not seeing a difference between Hinduism and Christianity here

It’s not just the Christians who have a persecution complex, but also other religions? Say it ain’t so! But read this remarkable whine about poor, picked-upon Hinduism — did you know that only Hindu beliefs get mocked?

…why is it that only Hindu practices and traditions are targeted for censure and ridicule? How is what Smriti Irani did more superstitious or unscientific than a Muslim kneeling to pray to a black stone in Mecca or a Catholic imbibing bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ?

Here, I’ll make Ms. Aditi Banerjee feel a little better: all of those practices are absurd, superstitious, ritualistic baloney.

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A local poll, created by me

You can’t imagine how much I hate the loud, cheesy, obnoxiously sectarian chimes that ring in the cemetary near my house — they’re so loud that we have to close up all the windows in my house all summer long, unless we really want to listen to hymns every 15 minutes. They were briefly shut off for a while last year when someone cut the cables — really, I’m not the only one who hates them — and that ass, Ted Storck, who had them installed and lives nowhere near them had them repaired, and then wrote to accuse me of having done it.

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Answers In Genesis scuttled their big boat: it just became too obvious that the Ark Park was going to be a sectarian religious establishment to proselytize their weird little sect, so Kentucky will not grant tax incentives to the Ark Encounter. There goes $18 million!

“As you know, since the filing of the original incentive application in 2010, we have strongly supported this project, believing it to be a tourism attraction based on biblical themes that would create significant jobs for the community,” wrote Stewart in a letter to Ark Encounter’s attorney. “However, based on various postings on the Answers in Genesis (AIG) and Ark Encounter websites, reports from Ark Encounter investor meetings and our correspondence, it is readily apparent that the project has evolved from a tourism attraction to an extension of AIG’s ministry that will no longer permit the Commonwealth to grant the project tourism development incentives.”

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A peeve: can we retire the phrase, “Bible Belt”?

It vexes me. The official definition says the Bible Belt is the deep South, but that makes no sense. Dwight Moody, of the influential Moody Bible College, was from Massachusetts. William Riley, the pastor who invented fundamentalism, was from…Minneapolis. Saddleback Church is in Orange County. New Saint Andrews College and Doug Wilson are in Idaho; Mars Hill, before its founder’s meltdown, was based in Seattle. The burned over district? New York.

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Faith kills

Every time I hear these stories, I’m horrified: parents who are so besotted with their dumb-ass religion, that they watch and pray and do nothing more as their children die of easily treated diseases. Type I diabetes symptoms go away with a shot of insulin; appendicitis can be quickly treated with a simple surgery; food poisoning leads to vomiting leads to a ruptured esophagus leads to painful death; childhood cancers are not so easily treatable, but dying slowly of blossoming tumors strangling your organs, without even so much as palliative care, is a misery. But the parents watch, and are no doubt suffering themselves, but the suffering of their children is less important to them than doubting the power of their nonexistent god to cure them. Strangely, never in the history of the world has a god magically intervened to make a cancer disappear, or an acute infection to vanish, or diabetes to simply go away.

So here’s a heart-rending and familiar story of ignorant faith healers betraying their own children, in the name of God.

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If you think the Pope is endorsing science, then you must agree with this guy too

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, explains that good ol’ polytheistic Hinduism is fully compatible with science, just like the Pope finds Catholicism compatible with evolution.

We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time, the prime minister told a gathering of doctors and other professionals at a hospital in Mumbai on Saturday. We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.

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