Persecute the gays! ... says Muslim DJ on Ramadam Special

I don't normally do stories like this but sometimes rules a made to be broken 

Reproduced from the National Secular Society:

Muslim radio station fined £4,000 for saying homosexuals should be tortured and beaten up

Muslim radio station fined £4,000 for saying homosexuals should be tortured and beaten up
A Muslim radio station in Leeds has been fined £4,000 by the media regulator Ofcom after one of its presenters said that homosexuals should be tortured and beaten up.
Rubina Nasir told listeners to Asian Fever's Sister Ruby Ramadan Special in 2011:
"What should be done if they do it? [practise homosexuality]. If there are two such persons among you, that do this evil, the shameful act, what do you have to do? Torture them; punish them; beat them and give them mental torture. Allah states, 'If they do such a deed [i.e. homosexuality], punish them, both physically and mentally.
"Mental punishment means rebuke them, beat them, humiliate them, admonish and curse them, and beat them up. This command was sent in the beginning because capital punishment had not yet been sent down."
The following day she said:
"What happens when a Muslim man or woman gets married to a Mushrak [a follower of another religion]. Listeners! Marriage of a Muslim man or woman with a Mushrak is the straight path to hellfire. Have my sisters and brothers, who live with people of bad religions or alien religions, ever thought about what would become of the children they have had with them – and the coming generation?
"Where the filth of shirk (the sin of following another religion) is present, where the dirt of shirk is present, where the heart is impure, how can you remove apparent filth. How many arrangements will you make to remove the apparent filth? We are saying that Mushraks have no concept of cleanliness and uncleanliness."
She was on air while giving her interpretation of a Qur'anic verse and Ofcom got an independent translation from the original Urdu into English.
Ofcom said it regarded the comments as serious breaches of the broadcasting code and therefore a financial penalty should be imposed.
It added: "The content of the programme broadcast on 17 August 2011 included two statements which Ofcom considered were likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime against homosexuals and were likely to encourage others to copy unacceptable behaviour towards homosexuals."
Despite the severity of the breach, the regulator said that it "would not be appropriate to shorten, suspend or revoke Radio Asian Fever's licence".
Responding to the fine, Jabbar Karim, Managing Director at Asian Fever radio, said: "We at Fever FM would like to sincerely apologise to the gay community and to everyone else who have found this news disturbing. This was a one-off incident which will never be repeated."

Pizza Theme Pack (Preschool/KG)

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Students can have lots of delicious fun with this theme pack insha'Allaah! A favouite food with students, you can plan to complete this theme pack on a Friday when your school has its usual pizza day or whenever your homeschool schedule permits.

If you have questions about how to use any of the activities please leave a comment insha'Allaah.

Included in the pack are:

  • 3 emergent readers with activities
  • Reading Response journal page for 1 emergent reader
  • Mini Pocket Chart Activity for 1 emergent reader
  • Fractions worksheet (separate download - not in the pack)
  • Sight word work (students/children use Letter Tilesfor this activity or you can use Scrabble letter tiles)
  • Handwriting practice
  • Work with content words
  • Two piece puzzles for children to work on content word recognition.
  • Writer's Workshop Activity: Learning about the exclamation point
  • Build a pizza activity (Following Directions)
  • Math work: Review of more than and less than; Ordinal numbers to 5
  • Writing centre pictures, word cards, and writing prompts.
  • And more alhamdulillaah!
*Please be familiar with the Terms of Use for materials on

A Muslim Child is Born before downloading*


**When you click on the above link you may need to download the file in order to see it. A preview may not be available.** 

    Speed of light (32:5) miracle examined...half-heartedly.

    Some Muslims (let's call them bucailleists) insist that verse 32:5 in the Qur'an, if properly interpreted, can be seen to refer to the speed of light, and thus prove beyond doubt that the Qur'an is divinely inspired.

    Here is 32:5 (in the translation preferred by the bucailleists):
    He regulates the affair from the heaven to the earth; then shall it ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years of what you count.
    another (Assad) translation runs like this:
    He governs all that exists, from the celestial space to the earth; and in the end all shall ascend unto Him [for judgment] on a Day the length whereof will be [like] a thousand years of your reckoning 
    "Whoa! Hang on!" I hear you say. "How on Earth do you manage to get the speed of light from that?!"
    Now believe me - I understand your incredulity, but let's examine the claim in detail to see how and why so many apparently sensible and sane people have been convinced.
    Their reasoning goes as follows: what you count refers to the movement of the moon since, the claim goes, the moon is what the people used to help them count time -what you count. Let's stop for a moment and consider our first, and to my mind, insurmountable objection.

    First objection - the translation "a thousand years of what you count" cannot, in a thousand years of ours or anybody else's time, ever be made to mean the distance traveled by the  moon.

    The Qur'an is supposed to be clear. If Allah had meant us to understand the distance covered by the moon by 32:5, there is no reason why he should not have said exactly that. It's hardly a difficult notion to grasp, after all. The people of the desert could have understood it. The verse is simply referring to Allah's immensity by comparing how a short period time to him is a long time to us.
    Let's look at some other translations:
    He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. (Picktall)
    He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go up to Him, on a Day, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning.(Ali)
    He manages and regulates (every) affair from the heavens to the earth; then it (affair) will go up to Him, in one Day, the space whereof is a thousand years of your reckoning (i.e. reckoning of our present world's time) (Khan)
    He arranges [each] matter from the heaven to the earth; then it will ascend to Him in a Day, the extent of which is a thousand years of those which you count.(Saheeh International)
    Él dispone en el cielo todo lo de la tierra. Luego, todo ascenderá a Él en un día equivalente en duración a mil años de los vuestros. (Julio Cortes) ("equivalent in duration to a thousand of your years")
    And I could go on and on, but the point has been made. No other translator ever thought to suggest the line referred to anything other than time.
    To stretch the meaning in such a way that the what of what you count refers not just to the moon but the distance traveled by the moon is patently ridiculous. But when has that ever stopped the desperate attempts of the miracle seekers? 

    But what could possibly have put this notion into the heads of the miracle seekers in the first place? A slight but hardly accurate or earth shattering coincidence is what.

    Second objection - a coincidence Jim - but not as we know it.  Somewhere in the vast reaches of space there are desperate people hopefully trawling through the 300 odd pages of the Qur'an in the hope of finding ...SCIENCE. And you don't get mush more "sciencey" than the speed of light. So when some sad geek came up with the notion that if one takes the distance traveled by the moon in a thousand years and worked out how quickly it would have to go to travel the same distance in a day and realised that one gets something approximating  to the speed of light... he saw a gold dust. Now I say approximating because in fact when one does the maths we find that rather than the figure being 299 792 458 m / s (the actual speed of light) we get 266 815 288 m/s a difference of a whopping 32 977 170 m/s (11%). Now even the most ardent miracle seeker would have to admit that should he have meant to show us a miracle by revealing the speed of light hidden in a verse in the Qur'an then Allah should have done the bloody maths a bit better. Which leads us to our third objection...

    Third objection - skew the physics to fit the need. Now, of course the bucailleists were aware of this difference. Here's a quote from the most professional (if I can use such a word in this context) speed-of-light site: 
    when we compare the nominal speed of light with 12000 Lunar Orbits / Earth Day inside the gravitational field of the sun (non-inertial frame) we get 11% difference
    So they admit  to the difference: either the moon is "too slow" or the speed of light is "too fast" - by a margin of approximately 33 million m/s!
    How then do they get around this seemingly insurmountable problem? The clue is in the word nominal- meaning in name only...not actual/real.  It's only the supposed speed, they say. To find the real speed of the moon or of light is a bit more tricky.
    In fact a bit more tricky is an understatement since their explanation requires a knowledge of advanced physics, the Theory of General Relativity (notice how Muslims are happy to accept "theories" when it suits them but reject the "theory" of evolution as "just a theory"because it contradicts the Qur'an...), "ocean friction", and the difference between inertial and non-inertial frames of reference.

    Now I was going to examine all of the above but to be honest I've sort of lost the will to carry on - and I've got side-tracked of late by (another) shocking mail from my convert friend who still thinks that 9-11 and 7-7 were not terrorist outrages carried out by Muslim extremists but rather were false flag operations by Mossad and US and UK services.

    So that's what's coming next. Be warned...

    Angels and wormholes in the Qur'an - would you believe it!

    It seems my last post rattled a few cages - and at least one reader remains convinced that angels travel at the speed of light and this amazing fact is miraculously revealed in the Qur'an.
    So to try to drive the point home (I was hoping not to have to do this because this bit is just plain embarrassing)  let's look at the second half of the claim (yes -we only did half of it!) and see if it becomes any easier for the miracle seekers to agree that it's all - for want of a euphemism - b*llocks... There is no maths or science in this part because....well because there isn't any maths or science in the claim to rebut in the first place (despite the impressively whizzing ballcock in the cartoon wormhole and phrases such as time dilation and neutron stars -oo-er!) It's all hocus-pocus and wild unsubstantiated nonsense which is essentially meaningless - so my carefully researched and impartial explanations (in red for ease of identification) won't tax your brains too much.
    Note to miracle seekers: this is just a bit of fun (since this deserves nothing more). A proper debunk of the one day - one thousand years speed of light claim (which seems to excite the bucailleists) to follow...
    Inside gravitational fields: This time dilation shows angels crossing a wormhole (معراج) at a few meters/sec.This is a picture of a wormhole. There was me thinking wormholes were tricky concepts to grasp, but your graphic has cleared it all up, fellas. There it goes - boing! Oooh!- there it goes again - boing! The Quran says that angels use these wormholes to reach any place in the universe. Where? WHERE? I just love the way you lot make these preposterous claims with (presumably) a straight face and an expectation that your poor gullible readers will be so impressed with your jargon that they'll just swallow it all... An observer outside gravitational fields sees (SEES? are you sure?) those angels passing by him at 99.99999...% of the speed of light (relativistic speeds, very close to the local speed of light), that is at Spot the deliberate mistake? Fellas, these angels are travelling at the speed of light, remember? But when those angels enter the gravitational field of a wormhole this observer still sees (!!) those angels entering the wormhole at 99.99999...% of the speed of light however that would no longer be at This is because in the presence of gravity the speed of light becomes relative. Ah - yes - relativity. I'm just amazed Einstein didn't "revert" as soon as he'd thought of his General Theory and was told of these verses in the Qur'an.  If he sees the speed of light in a wormhole at 10 meters/sec, for example, then he would see those angels traveling at only 9.999999...meters/sec, flapping their wings in slow motion, reddish in color and very dim (and in turn they would see him in fast motion, bluish in color and very bright).Yup - I'm picturing it now. It's so much easier to believe now that I can see the angel "flapping his wings".And by the way, have you thought why an angel would need wings in a vacuum? A smaller time dilation (say 100 or 1000 years vs. one day) can also occur if we stand on Earth and angels stand on a neutron star (or resist their fall into a neutron star; gravitational time dilation). This just gets better and better - angels standing on neutron stars!  The guy obviously thought, "No-one's going to read this far. I can basically just say what I want. Let's shove an angel on a neutron star. I bet I can get them to swallow that!" This makes their velocity relative to us to be zero (and not 299792.457999... km/s). But naturally occurring wormholes connect distant black holes; however at a lower time dilation (100 or 1000 years vs. one day) the two entrances of the wormhole cannot connect; hence a wormhole cannot form. Do try to keep up at the back - they'll be a test at the end. So with the time dilation stated in the Quran (50,000 years vs. 1 day) Oh! I love it. The sheer chutzpah of the seamless segue into  "time dilation" and the fact that angels are moving then those angels have to be crossing a wormhole. Cuh! Obvious isn't it, when it's explained to you! The angels "have to be crossing a wormhole" because no other explanation makes sense! The pulsar scenario or any other combination cannot do. Damn! - and there I was, hoping to use the ol' "pulsar scenario"... Learn more (what...more??) Quran 32.5 is time vs distance; this gives us speed of angels which turned out to be the speed of light. However Quran 22.47 and Quran 70.4 are time vs time (no distance); this is time dilation. We know from Einstein that my clock and your clock will not run at the same rate. Time (or rate of our clocks) depend on acceleration and/or gravity. If my clock accelerates and/or is in a strong gravitational field then it will run slower than your clock. So time is relative. Quran 22.47 compares time of Earth with time at Paradise/Hell (1 day vs 1000 years). While Quran 70.4 compares time on Earth with time in wormholes (1 day vs 50,000 years).How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have figured out Time Dilation and the core of Relativity? How indeed! It'll just have to remain a mystery. Because this is the biggest load of cretinously inane, pompously soporific, unadulterated gibberish I have ever read. 
    And let's not forget the three simple phrases (which incidentally contradict each other and thus prove the Qur'an is of human origin) whence all this pseudo scientific guff originated:
    And [so, O Muhammad,] they challenge thee to hasten the coming upon them of [God’s] chastisement: but God never fails to fulfill His promise - and, behold, in thy Sustainer’s sight a day is like a thousand years of your reckoning. 22:47
    He governs all that exists, from the celestial space to the earth; and in the end all shall ascend unto Him [for judgment] on a Day the length whereof will be [like] a thousand years of your reckoning. 32:5
    all the angels and all the inspiration [ever granted to man] ascend unto Him [daily,] in a day the length whereof is [like] fifty thousand years… 70:4
    and which were (depending on your preference) plagiarised from/inspired by the Bible in any case!

    For a thousand years in your sight  are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the nightPsalm 90:4
    But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.2 Peter 3:8

    Give me strength.

    Bad time for a War

    This shocking footage was released by the IDF today. It is footage of the assassination of Ahmed Jabri, the head of Hamas' military wing who was killed in yesterdays attack. The situation may now lead to a full scale war between the IDF and Hamas controlled Gaza similar to that which we saw in 2008. I am not surprised that Israel has assassinated this man. But I am surprised at the timing. The Middle East is a very different place today than 2008. Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak has been controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. This completely changes the game. If this war does escalate into a violent confrontation in which hundreds of Palestinians are killed it may be the trigger that finally pushes Egypt firmly into the extremist camp in which case the 1979 pace agreement between the two nations will come to an end. In addition the situation in Syria is deteriorating to the extent that the Syrian army and the IDF actually exchanged fire last week. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been hanging on by his fingernails over the last year. A war between Israel and Palestine might be the only thing that could save him. And in the north Hezbollah is still capable of launching a large scale attack just as it did in 2006. The prospect of Israel facing a three front war in the near future appears to me to be a very real possibility. As for the war itself I believe as I always have that Israel is entitled to defend itself, aggressively if necessary. But I hope it doesn't come to that both for the innocent Palestinians who will die and for the Israelis who as I explained above are in a precarious position. Lets hope things calm down over the next few days.

    Remembering the Poppy

    I spent much of remembrance Sunday watching the many poignant ceremonies in Britain and elsewhere that commemorate the staggeringly high loss of life suffered by British and commonwealth forces during the the two world wars. During this time of year the commemorations, and the symbol of the poppy itself always sparks a debate in Ireland about why we do so little to participate in remembrance activities despite the fact that 35,000 Irishmen were killed during the First World War. I have blogged here in the past on why I believe we should participate more actively in these ceremonies and personally I was delighted to see the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore travel north last Sunday to represent the Republic. The Tanaiste went to Belfast where as the Taoiseach was in Enniskillen to mark not just remembrance day but the 25th anniversary of the outrageous IRA bomb that killed 11 people in that town. So these are my views on the poppy and on remembrance Sunday.

    The Taoiseach lays a wreath in Enniskillen on Remembrance Sunday

    However I do want to add the following. I am not in agreement with some people who are highly critical of the Irish state and its cold history toward commemorations. There are some on the revisionist side who I believe use the poppy issue, or lack of, to unfairly demonise the Irish state. They do this by portraying a picture of persecution of those who did not and do not share the nationalist ethos of the Irish state. Revisionists such as kevin Myers would have us believe that the thousands of Irish that returned from the western front after WW1 were harassed and persecuted by the new nationalist majority on the grounds that they may be loyal to the crown. In my view this is one aspect of a sinister campaign by certain individuals who have been intent, particularly since the EU/IMF bailout of 2010, on deligitimising the Irish State. For them, Irish independence was a disaster and the brutal recessions is vindication of this. And part of their narrative is that the Irish state since its birth has been a sectarian entity that punished those loyal to the former administration. Myers and his followers are perfectly comfortable illustrating the history of Irish Independence as being like that of the angry natives keen to exact revenge on their oppressors similar to the ANC in South Africa. This is of course completely untrue and the commemoration issue demonstrates this. All that happened in 1922 was that Southern Ireland changed jurisdiction from British to Irish rule. It was natural that people who had served in the army of a different nation would not subsequently be in a position to participate in public or state commemorations under the new administration. This would be true anywhere but particularly in a situation where there was enmity between the two countries. This is why it is sad. It is very sad. But it is not an example of persecution or oppression. The same happened all over Europe after WW1. Millions, literally millions of soldiers from the European continent found themselves living in different jurisdictions than the ones they had fought under during the war due to the collapse of the Russian, Turkish and Austro Hungarian empires. As I made clear in my first paragraph, and as I think regular readers of Gubu World will be aware, I greatly honour all those who fought and died in the British Armed forces during the world wars. I personally have worn a poppy and will wear one in the future. I hope to see more widespread commemorations in Ireland in the coming years. I think they are long overdue. But I do reject the notion that persecution or bigotry, historically lie at the heart of Ireland's failure to enthusiastically commemorate our war dead.

    The American President

    The reelection of Barack Obama last week surprised me. I never believed that the polls were accurate as far back as the summer. I was wrong. The polls were deadly accurate. My belief that the American people would turn on the President because of the economy was incorrect. The first thing I want to say to my more conservative readers is that they need to relax. Barack Obama will not destroy America. As long as he confronts the debt crisis, which if we take him at his word is a priority, and even if it's not the Republican controlled House will force him to, then the American economy will likely be much stronger in four years time. After the brutal recession of 2008 the US economy is on a natural upward trajectory. Secondly, in terms of Foreign Policy I want to say that the reason Obama was always ahead in FP polls was because the Republican Party were, and most conservatives still are all over the place when it comes to the most monumental world event of the last four years, which is the Arab Spring. Nobody saw the unrest in the Arab World coming but Barack Obama was in the Oval Office when it happened and it was he who had to confront it. This he did in a calm and competent manner. I think the electorate recognised this and largely saw the Benghazi controversy as an attempt to take down the President. Finally I just want to say that the reelection of Barack Obama is significant for the following reason. He is now a two termer. I can't help thinking of that episode of The Simpsons when during Mr Burns' birthday party former Presidents Nixon and Reagan enter the party with presents but Presidents Carter and Bush Senior are refused entry by the bouncer on the grounds that "no one termers" are allowed in. This will never happen to Obama. 2008 was not a fluke. We must face the fact that he is now a giant of American history and the right need to stop demonising him. It is beginning to look petulant. America, the second greatest country on earth (after Ireland) will thrive and survive. Of this there should be no doubt.

    Special relativity and speed of light miracle in Qur'an...debunked!

    the speed of light = 299 792 458 m / s

    A reader of Rational Islam? has asked me to look at a surprisingly common miracle claim: that the speed of light is foretold in the Qur'an. "Varma", whose blog has the admirably succinct title, Debunking Bucailleismand which I thoroughly recommend, referred me to this Islamic miracle seeker site, Miracles in the Qur'an and to this miracle claim in particular.
    Here's the introduction:
    We know from Einstein that my clock and your clock will not run at the same rate. Time (or rate of our clocks) depends on acceleration and/or gravity. If my clock accelerates and/or is in a strong gravitational field then it will run slower than your clock. So time is relative. Quran 22.47 compares time of Earth with time at Paradise/Hell (1 day vs 1000 years); while Quran 70.4 compares time on Earth with time in wormholes (1 day vs 50,000 years).
    And here's 70:4:
    The angels and the Spirit ascend to Him in a day, the measure of which is fifty thousand years.
    Now, call me an old nit-picker if you wish, but I don't spot any mention of worm-holes here. But perhaps I'm just being too literal ... expecting to read the phrase worm-hole when a claim is made that "the Qur'an compares time on earth with time in worm-holes".  Anyhow, let's see how the miracle claim continues. (Don't worry - it's not as bad as it looks!)

    Here angels will experience 1 day while humans will measure it as 50,000 years (time vs. time and not time vs. distance as the other lunar verse). This can happen if:1) Angels accelerate to relativistic speeds.2) Angels are in a strong gravitational field.1) Outside gravitational fields: This agrees with Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which says that a faster moving object appears to experience slower time. Moslems use Einstein’s theory of special relativity with the following verse in the Quran to check whether those angels really accelerate up to the speed of light or not. Given this time difference (time dilation) we can calculate the speed at which that object traveled. We can verify if those angels really accelerate up to the speed of light, as claimed by Moslems, or not. Outside gravitational fields this speed turned out to be 99.99999999999981% of the speed of light:∆t= ∆t0/(1-v^2/c^2)^1/2(Where ∆to is the time measured for a mover by a mover; ∆t is the time measured for a mover by a stationary frame; v is the velocity of the mover relative to the stationary observer):∆to is the time experienced by angels (1 day).∆t is the time as measured by humans (50,000 lunar years x12 lunar months/lunar year x 27.321661 days/lunar month).v is the velocity of angels in this case (which we intend to calculate and then compare to the known speed of light).c is the nominal speed of light 299792.458 km/s.From the above equation we can solve for the unknown velocity:v =c (1-∆t0 ^2/∆t^2)^1/2   This time dilation (time difference) shows that angels indeed accelerate to relativistic speeds; outside gravitational fields this is the same speed calculated from the previous lunar verse also outside gravitational fields.We cannot calculate our local speed of light from this time dilation however we can calculate at what percentage of the speed of light those angels are traveling relative to an observer on Earth. By this we can compare a time dilation (50,000 years vs. one day) with a speed (12000 Lunar Orbits/Earth Day). We can do this by translating both of them to a common speed in km/sec. Outside gravitational fields 50,000 years vs. one day shows angels traveling at 12000 Lunar Orbits/Earth Day; it is the same speed in km/sec.
    Oh boy! Where do we start? This all looks a bit daunting doesn't it? Isn't easier just to accept what we're being told and BELIEVE? That's exactly what the miracle seekers expect you to do...

    I'll try to keep this simple.

    The equation states that the speed of angels is equal to the speed of light divided by 1 minus the sum of: 1 divided by 16,392,000 (50,000 x 12 x 27.32) squared. 
    Let's do the math (as the Americans say):
    One divided by a very large number is a very small number - so one divided by 16.4  million is very, very small number indeed.
    If we then square a number smaller than 1 we get an even smaller number. 
    If we take an exceptionally small number away from 1 we will always get very, very, very nearly 1.

    In other words, the very large number we start with (which the miracle seeker in this case has taken from a random verse in the Qur'an) can be just about anything over 100 and you will arrive at the desired answer (depending on how close to 1 you want to get).

    If you don't believe me, let's put a totally different set of numbers into the equation and see if we come up with... the speed of light!
    Here's a verse from the Holy Book of Spinoza which describes how long a day is for my magic hamster:
    His Magic Hamster ascended to him in a day - the measure of which 37 years
    37 x 365 = 13, 505. 
    1 divided by 13, 505 =  0.000007405. 
    Now let's square that ...which equals 0.000000000007505. 
    Now lets take that away from 1. Wow - it's very nearly 1 (0.9999999999245)! 
    Now if we times the speed of light by 0.9999999999245 we get.... 
    299 792 547. 977 m/s!

    So I am now claiming my magic hamster miraculously travels at very nearly the speed of light and therefore you must worship me!

    Either the author of this miracle claim knows no maths whatsoever, or he (and I'd bet my house it's a he) is a  lying charlatan who knows full well what he's doing  - which is trying to mislead gullible, vulnerable people into believing Islam is rational and scientific. 

    What a despicable b*stard.

    PS If you're a Muslim and still believe the speed of light is contained in the Qur'an do please get in touch. 
    Or failing that, you could try thinking for yourself.

    Says it all really !

    President Obama has been reelected. The polls were remarkably accurate. And that tells us that Romney was winning last week but the storm may have turned it for Obama. More to come later today. And a big thank you to the DOUCHE BAGS at the Sugar Club in Dublin who promised us wifi at the Levianthan political cabaret last night. My plans to live blog until 6am were dashed. Instead I was forced to drink all night and get in arguments with minor celebrities.

    When Islam discusses the deficiencies of women...

    Sheik al-Zindani explains why women can't talk and remember at the same time

    The following is taken from an article by a "recent convert" to Islam, "Karim", wherein the author makes a valiant attempt to explain away the infamous Bukhari sahih ahadith which seems to tell us that the Prophet thought women were less intellectually capable than men: (Mohammed asked some women, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half that of a man?" The women said, "yes," He said,"This is because of the deficiency of the woman's mind. " Vol. 3:826 Mohammed to women: "I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you*." Vol. 2:541)

    Let's see how poor old "Karim" tries to defend the indefensible...
    When Islam discusses the deficiencies of women, it is neither insulting them nor belittling them. Note to self: Must try this with Mrs Spinoza - "Darling, when I'm discussing your deficiencies, I'm not belittling you. It's evidently your paltry intellect which leads you to misunderstand me..." Some men, unfortunately, do precisely that when they quote the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that women "have a deficiency in their intellect and their religion". They take these words out of context as a means of oppressing women and putting them down. Really?  Who'd have thought it? The Prophet (peace be upon him) meant something quite different. Oh? Do go on...He said: "I have never seen among those who have a deficiency in their intellect and their religion anyone more capable than women of swaying the intellect of the most determined of men." He is actually asserting here the power of women to influence men and sway their opinion. This is one of the distinctions that women, in their natures, have. Yes - but he is ALSO saying that women are a group characterised by their deficient intellects. Now who could POSSIBLY find offence in that? 
    He then went on to define precisely what he meant by these deficiencies. Listen, Muhammad old chap, as Mrs S says - when you're in a hole, just stop digging! In the remainder of the hadîth, some women asked him: "O Messenger of Allah, what is this deficiency in our intelligence and religion?" What a pity the hadith doesn't report the tone of the question of these long-suffering women .."Oh Messenger of Allah - do tell us why we're so stupid, won't you?" He replied: "Isn't it that a woman's testimony as a witness is half of the testimony of man?" They said: "Yes." He said: "This, then, is the deficiency in her intelligence. Q: Why is a woman's testimony worth half of that of a man? A: Because she is deficient in intellect Q: How do we know a woman is deficient in intellect? A: Because her testimony is worth half that of a man. Isn't it true that when she is in her menses, she leaves off prayers and fasting?" They said: "Yes." "Yes"?? Sisters! Come on for f*ck's sake! "Yes"?!? Is that all you can manage? "Must be your time of the month, dear!" "Oh- thank you for pointing that out. Thank goodness I have a clever, intellectual man in the house to remind me of these things." Jeez! He said: "This is the deficiency in her religion."
    The Prophet, peace be upon him, simply used this phrase “deficient in mind and religion” to alert them to what he wanted to say to them. Er - as opposed to using words to confuse them, perhaps? The Prophet, peace be upon him, frequently uses such a method, inserting some words that may not be relevant to the point he wants to stress, so that they serve to attract the attention of his audience. OMG, girls! - he WAS using words to confuse you!
    And what about the hadith which says Muhammad saw that the majority of those dwelling in Hell were women? This should be good...How are you going to argue your way out of this one, "Karim"?
    To start with, the Hadith does not say that most women are in hell. It says that the majority of hell dwellers are women, which simply signifies that more women fail in this worldly test than men. And you think that's somehow BETTER?! Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, points out their failure, which I'm sure went down REALLY well...which is not based on denying God. Rather, it is denying kindness, particularly in marital situations. Here's the spade...there's the hole - we'll just leave you to it, oh Prophet. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has pointed this out in more than one Hadith, warning women against grumbling and frequent complaints. I do the same, Muhammad - but do they listen? Do they? No! They just carry on moaning and whingeing and complaining and...she's standing behind me, isn't she...He is also warning them here against denying kindness by their husbands, highlighting a failing that is often expressed in denying past kindness.
    Now all this patronising drivel may seem risible to those of us lucky enough to live without the hegemony of a ridiculous, medieval, clerical diktat. And indeed ridicule is often the only weapon we have to combat the evil of such hateful misogyny. But at the risk of sounding trite - remember that there are influential people, like Sheik al-Zindani in the video, at the heart of Islam who still regard it as acceptable to say (for example) that women are incapable of talking and remembering at the same time. And they use Muhammad's sayings and actions as reported in the ahadith (such as the ones above) to spread their obnoxious beliefs.  

    Photo of the Day

    A beautiful image of the sky line over Cork City Center

    The Swing Voter

    I am the typical swing voter. If I was American and if I had a vote I believe I would be categorised as a conservative Democrat or a moderate Republican. I can go either way. So, given that this election will be decided by the swing voter in Ohio, Florida and Virginia I thought it would be appropriate for me to lay it out in the clearest possible way what exactly is in my head one day before the Presidential election.

    Reasons to vote for Obama
    President Obama seems likable and honest. He is good for Americas image. He appears calm and in control during a crisis as we have seen with Sandy and in Egypt and Libya. On international affairs he has been aggressive on the war on terror whilst leaving a small military footprint. On the economy Obama has done several things which can reasonably be argued have helped the situation. His critics constantly point out that this is the slowest economic recovery since the great depression which seems to me to be a strange point to make since we are living through the greatest recession since the great depression. Obama regularly points out that America is doing its best when everybody gets a shot referring to the 1944 GI Bill which helped drag millions into the middle class and contributed significantly to the greatest economic boom in history. This resonates with people and has some logic. It is clear to me that many Americans do see Obama as an FDR of sorts who does not want poorer Americans to bear the brunt of a brutal recession that was caused by less than 1000 people at the top. This is appealing. If you are not economically idealistic then the Obama claim that the stimulus circulated enough money to prevent a recession becoming a depression strikes a cord. The downward unemployment trajectory backs this up. Obama believes correctly in my view that the financial sector should be regulated, many Americans agree. For all the talk about health care reform over the decades President Obama is the only President to actually pass a bill which in theory makes health care more affordable and results in 30 million Americans becoming insured. Finally, the sheer unmitigated hatred that many have for President Obama leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me want to see him reelected, just so I can tune into Sean Hannity the following day to watch him squirm. I accept this is not very logical, but it is how I feel and lets face it, many people will vote based on their perceptions and feelings.

    Reasons to vote against Obama
    There is a strong perception backed up by evidence that Barack Obama is hostile toward the private sector. That he believes that the main engine of the economy should be the public sector. In such a scenario one can only envision a second Obama term with more government "investment" in industries that will be costly, inefficient and act as a drag on economic recovery. American debt now stands at 16$ trillion. One thing I have learned over the years is that some things that you think could never happen actually can happen. The 9/11 attacks and the global financial crisis thought be that. I fear that if Obama spends in his second term in any way similarly to how he did in his first then one day America could wake up and find itself with so much debt that it cannot pay its bills. I am not convinced that Obama takes this threat seriously. In addition I believe that in a time of great recession Obamas liberal agenda, some of which I agree with, should have taken a back seat to economic recovery. Obamas priorities have been wrong.

    Reasons to vote for Romney.
    I believe, as most Americans do that a robust private sector is what drives economic growth. Mitt Romney clearly believes this too. You cannot beat the knowledge and experience of a successful business man to turn deficit into surplus. A successful business man understands how to get rid of waste because he would not tolerate it in his own enterprises. I have also come to think of Romney as likable and think he has a pleasant manner. The Obama efforts to portray him as a cruel capitalist have not worked on me. His foreign policy is ideologically similar to Obamas and while I have no way of knowing what his judgement in a crisis would be like I have no reason to think it would be bad.

    Reasons to vote against Romney.
    There is a valid perception out there that the Mitt Meister is trying to please everybody. I was not impressed at his constant criticism of Obamas foreign policy only for him to virtually endorse it during the final Presidential debate. It makes me wonder if he wants to be President a little too badly, possibly to fulfill an ambition
    that his father was unable to achieve. Furthermore I think his promise to roll back regulations on the financial sector is a mistake as is his position that he would repeal Obamacare. The former makes it look like he is in bed with wall street and the latter ignores the reality that affordable heath care is a massive problem. Perhaps he would have been better advised to argue that he would reform Obamacare. His wider economic programme also concerns many voters. His plan to close the gap in spending is not exactly foolproof. It seems to be to be based on economic growth forecasts. But if these fall short he will have to reevaluate his tax versus cuts ratio in a major way that will likely end up hitting the middle class hardest. He has not been forthcoming in this regard which has made many Americans feel very uneasy about him. He has given them reason.

    Relax America, there are two decent competent guys running for President. You'll do ok whoever wins. However my prediction is as follows. I believe that that as the swing voters enter the polling booth they will ask themselves one crucial question, is the American economy more likely to come roaring back under a Romney Presidency or a second Obama term. I believe most will choose Romney and am therefore predicting that despite the polls giving Obama a slight edge I think that Governor Romney will take it by a nose.

    Now lets have some fun at the expense of the undecided voter.

    Vincent Browne's "cancer" remark

    Most evenings I watch the Vincent Browne show on Ireland's TV3 Channel. I was not watching two weeks ago when during a discussion on the third Presidential debate Browne stated that "Israel was a Cancer in Foreign Affairs". Browne has claimed that he was not referring to Israel itself when he used the word cancer and that the true meaning of his statement was that Israel has a cancerous affect on US foreign policy because both political parties "bow" to Israel. For a short time I was willing to lay off Browne and take him at his word that the grumpy, but likable uncle figure had his words to some extent taken out of context. But on reflection it is clear to me that this is nonsense. I know what he meant. He knows what he meant and the viewers know what he meant.

    The use of the word "cancer" was reckless, irresponsible and bigoted. A cancer is something that kills everything it infects. It has to be destroyed if everything around it is to survive. For Vincent Browne to give in to the narrative that dominates much of the Arab world is unforgivable. The narrative I speak of is the one which we see from Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and others. This narrative seems fit to blame literally every problem that exists in the Muslim world on Israel and Jews. It is a similar narrative to that used by the Nazis in the Third Reich. It is truly mind boggling that a prominent Irish TV personality would give credibility to this narrative. And that is what he has done. This story has already made the Israeli and Palestinian media and by making this statement Browne has reinforced the perception in Jerusalem that Ireland is vehemently anti Israel while simultaneously making it harder for Palestinian elements to moderate toward Israeli recognition. This is what I personally find unforgivable. Ireland is a country that has overcome a conflict that was once thought to be as equally intractable as that in the Middle East. We have overcome that conflict and instigated what is regarded by many as the worlds most successful peace process. One would hope that the Irish nation has learned from this and that our contribution to other world conflicts would only be positive. Not Vincent Browne however. In his mind our contribution should be no more sophisticated than "Israel is a cancer". It amazes me that he sees this as reasonable. "Israel is a cancer", not religious extremism, not Islamic fundamentalism or even authoritarian rule, to Vincent Browne the cancer is the democratic state of Israel.

    Browne's response to date has been pathetic. He has fallen back on the old false grievance that "criticism of Israel is not anti Semitic", as if all he had done was merely criticise Israeli policy. He of course did much more than this by referring to the whole nation as a cancer. Can we imagine the reaction if someone had said the exact same words about Palestinians. Or if someone referred to blacks, Ireland, or members of the travelling community as a cancer, the latter being a cause which Vincent Browne himself has been vocal about. Vincent Browne has let himself down with these comments. As a political pundit who speaks to the Irish people for an hour every weeknight he is in fact quite a powerful man who has the ability to shape public opinion on many issues. On the issue of Israel he has not only fallen on the wrong side of it but has put himself in the same category as the bigots and anti Semites that relentlessly bash Israel out of all context and proportion and by doing so he has associated Ireland with these views. He has done the country a great disservice in this matter. My estimation of him has decreased significantly in the wake of this controversy. Below are the comments.

    Photo of the Day

    A nice image I took yesterday from Portrane in North Co Dublin, I believe that is Lambay Island in the distance.

    Sorry for my abscence last week. It was unavoidable. Will be blogging overtime during the next week.

    Embryology in the Qur'an -"mudghah" or "chewed flesh"?

    Here's the frontispiece of Hamza Tzortzis' (chief miracle seeker of the iERA, Islamic Education and research Academy) turgid study of embryology in the Qur'an. Notice the picture chosen to illustrate the study. Seem familiar? Of course it does...
    ...because it comes from the infamous illustration in Moore and Sheik al Zindani's text book, The Developing Human (3rd edition with Islamic Additions). The illustration appears in countless Islamic websites (and was copied in the first mail my convert friend sent to me to "explain" how miraculous the Qur'an was.) The picture is supposed to convince Muslims and putative converts that the verse 23:14 (“...Then of that leech-like structure, We made a chewed lump.”) predicts microscopic knowledge impossible for anyone in the 7th century Arabia to know. Notice how the somites (the segmental mass of mesoderm which look like the vertebrae) are particularly noticeable in the clinical illustration and which are equated with the chew marks on the picture of the piece of gum.

    Now study the following photographs of three actual 28 day embryos. 

    One is the embryo of a cat, one of a pig and one of a human. 
    Spot the difference? It's tricky because at this stage there really is none. (The zygotes and early embryos of mammals are virtually indistinguishable from each other until the organogenesis process begins and the embryo begins to assume its future characteristics. This is an awkward fact for those who believe that humans were specially created by God and that we don't share common ancestors.) 

    But where are the somites, those structures so evident in the clinical illustration beloved of the miracle seekers? Well they're there, of course, but they hardly look like the tooth marks in the piece of gum added by al-Zindani for the Islamic edition of Moore's text book, because they are internal structures.
    In fact, the embryos look nothing like the chewed gum picture. 
    The phrase "chewed lump" is not miraculous; it is not even particularly apt; it is inaccurate. How ironic that the miracle seekers should have drawn our attention to a translation of a verse that suggests that the author of the Qur'an was a fallible human being.

    Of course, the further irony is that, as the guys at embryologyinthequran.blogspot have so clearly and tellingly pointed out, the arabic word mudghah doesn't mean chewed flesh anyway.
    The actual definition is that it is a noun for something that is intended or suitable for chewing (such as a small “piece of meat”).
    Here's the definition from The Hans Wehr Dictionary:

    Thus we have a lunatic (al-Zindani) - renowned for his bizarre pronouncements (cure for AIDS etc.) and for his dubious and desperate attempts to con/buy western scientific respectability for his weird ideas - spotting Moore's clinical illustration of a 28 day embryo and thinking that the somites looked vaguely like teeth marks.
    He adds a picture of a piece of chewing gum and hey-presto! - A MIRACLE!

    What he forgot/didn't realise is: 
    1. the embryo is approximately the same size as a grain of rice (4.5 mm!! - hardly a lump of flesh!)
    2. the somites aren't nearly as visible as in the clinical illustration
    3. that if they were visible at all, they'd be convex if anything, not concave like actual bite marks!
    4. and that the word mudgah doesn't mean chewed lump anyway, but rather a lump/piece of meat of a size suitable for chewing

    Those who choose to base their belief in God upon such dubious descriptions and inaccurate translations are fooling themselves, and their self-deception is aided and encouraged by idiots like Tzortzis and his acolytes at iERA who continue to spout this nonsense about tooth marks on the embryo.

    PS I thoroughly recommend this site if you want to see further wonderful pictures of embryonic development.