Archive for Dalai Lama

Breaking News: Dalai Lama converts to Islam

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by loonwatch

Tenzin Gyatso. Who!? The Dalai Lama. Oh ok!

Many Faiths, One Truth

WHEN I was a boy in Tibet, I felt that my own Buddhist religion must be the best — and that other faiths were somehow inferior. Now I see how naïve I was, and how dangerous the extremes of religious intolerance can be today.

Though intolerance may be as old as religion itself, we still see vigorous signs of its virulence. In Europe, there are intense debates about newcomers wearing veils or wanting to erect minarets and episodes of violence against Muslim immigrants. Radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold to religious beliefs. In the Middle East, the flames of war are fanned by hatred of those who adhere to a different faith.

Such tensions are likely to increase as the world becomes more interconnected and cultures, peoples and religions become ever more entwined. The pressure this creates tests more than our tolerance — it demands that we promote peaceful coexistence and understanding across boundaries.

Granted, every religion has a sense of exclusivity as part of its core identity. Even so, I believe there is genuine potential for mutual understanding. While preserving faith toward one’s own tradition, one can respect, admire and appreciate other traditions.

An early eye-opener for me was my meeting with the Trappist monk Thomas Merton in India shortly before his untimely death in 1968. Merton told me he could be perfectly faithful to Christianity, yet learn in depth from other religions like Buddhism. The same is true for me as an ardent Buddhist learning from the world’s other great religions.

A main point in my discussion with Merton was how central compassion was to the message of both Christianity and Buddhism. In my readings of the New Testament, I find myself inspired by Jesus’ acts of compassion. His miracle of the loaves and fishes, his healing and his teaching are all motivated by the desire to relieve suffering.

I’m a firm believer in the power of personal contact to bridge differences, so I’ve long been drawn to dialogues with people of other religious outlooks. The focus on compassion that Merton and I observed in our two religions strikes me as a strong unifying thread among all the major faiths. And these days we need to highlight what unifies us.

Take Judaism, for instance. I first visited a synagogue in Cochin, India, in 1965, and have met with many rabbis over the years. I remember vividly the rabbi in the Netherlands who told me about the Holocaust with such intensity that we were both in tears. And I’ve learned how the Talmud and the Bible repeat the theme of compassion, as in the passage in Leviticus that admonishes, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In my many encounters with Hindu scholars in India, I’ve come to see the centrality of selfless compassion in Hinduism too — as expressed, for instance, in the Bhagavad Gita, which praises those who “delight in the welfare of all beings.” I’m moved by the ways this value has been expressed in the life of great beings like Mahatma Gandhi, or the lesser-known Baba Amte, who founded a leper colony not far from a Tibetan settlement in Maharashtra State in India. There he fed and sheltered lepers who were otherwise shunned. When I received my Nobel Peace Prize, I made a donation to his colony.

Compassion is equally important in Islam — and recognizing that has become crucial in the years since Sept. 11, especially in answering those who paint Islam as a militant faith. On the first anniversary of 9/11, I spoke at the National Cathedral in Washington, pleading that we not blindly follow the lead of some in the news media and let the violent acts of a few individuals define an entire religion.

Let me tell you about the Islam I know. Tibet has had an Islamic community for around 400 years, although my richest contacts with Islam have been in India, which has the world’s second-largest Muslim population. An imam in Ladakh once told me that a true Muslim should love and respect all of Allah’s creatures. And in my understanding, Islam enshrines compassion as a core spiritual principle, reflected in the very name of God, the “Compassionate and Merciful,” that appears at the beginning of virtually each chapter of the Koran.

Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever. As a species, we must embrace the oneness of humanity as we face global issues like pandemics, economic crises and ecological disaster. At that scale, our response must be as one.

Harmony among the major faiths has become an essential ingredient of peaceful coexistence in our world. From this perspective, mutual understanding among these traditions is not merely the business of religious believers — it matters for the welfare of humanity as a whole.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is the author, most recently, of “Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together.”

 

Daniel Pipes’ Unhealthy Obsession with the Hijab

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2009 by loonwatch
Daniel Pipes: Bizarre Fixation on HijabDaniel Pipes: Bizarre Fixation on the Hijab

(Read an UPDATE here)

In a running column entitled, “Hijab on Western Political Women,” failed academic turned zaney anti-Muslim blogger, Daniel Pipes, sets out to (in his own words):

For fun, how about collecting those instances when female political leaders, especially leftist ones, don the hijab (Islamic headscarf)?

(What normal person sitting before a computer thinks up of such a bizarre thing to do when trying to “have fun” anyway? Welcome to the world of Pipes I guess. )

Pipes then includes photos of princess Diana, queen Elizabeth, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Angelina Jolie, among others, wearing a Hijab when at various mosques.

This caused us to wonder, surely Mr. Pipes is not sexist. Surely, he would invite the same scrutiny to the men in their lives: princess Diana’s husband and queen Elizabeth’s son (prince Charles, heir to the British throne), Laura Bush’s father-in-law and husband (George H.W and George W., both U.S. Presidents), Chelsea Clinton’s dad and Hillary Clinton’s husband (Bill Clinton, U.S. President) and Angelina Jolie’s dad (actor Jon Voight). Surely Mr. Pipes would not want to give those men a pass, especially given all of them (but the last) are far more important politically than their women.

Well since Daniel Pipes is not very good at holding a mirror up to his face, we here at loonwatch volunteered to do that for him. Seeing that Mr. Pipes is Jewish, we put together the following photo display (true to a Daniel Pipes style presentation) – one that is relevant to his own religion not someone else’s – to see what he thinks of it and what he reckons it signifies.

So “for fun”, Mr. Pipes, how about  collecting those instances when Western (and Eastern) male political (and non-political) leaders, especially leftist (and rightist and centrist) ones, don the kippahor yarmulke (Jewish skullcap)?

We start with the most politically powerful men on the planet, U.S. presidents:

President Bill Clinton wearing a yarmulkeU.S. President Bill Clinton wearing a yarmulke

President George Bush wearing a yarmulkeU.S. President George Bush wearing a yarmulke, flanked by Israeli ministers Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert

President Barack Obama wearing a yarmulkeU.S. President Barack Obama wearing a yarmulke while praying at the Western Wall

President George Bush the father wearing a yarmulke as he kisses the Western WallU.S. President George Herbert Bush (the father) wearing a yarmulke as he kisses the Western Wall

President George Bush wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western WallU.S. President George Bush wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western Wall

President George Bush wearing another yarmulkePresident George Bush wearing another yarmulke

American Senator Joe Lieberman puts a yarmulke on the head of former presidential candidate senator John McCainAmerican senator Joe Lieberman puts a yarmulke on the head of then presidential candidate, senator John McCain

And other politically powerful world leaders:

British prime minister, Gordon Brown, wearing a yarmulkeBritish prime minister, Gordon Brown, wearing a yarmulke

Then British prime minister Tony Blair wearing a yarmulkeThen British prime minister Tony Blair wearing a yarmulke

French president Nicolas Sarkozy wearing a yarmulkeFrench president Nicolas Sarkozy wearing a yarmulke

Then Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western wallThen Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western wall

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin wearing a yarmulkeRussian prime minister Vladimir Putin wearing a yarmulke

Prince Charles of Wales, regent to the British crown, wearing a yarmulkePrince Charles of Wales, regent to the British crown, wearing a yarmulke

And other American political men:

"America's Mayor" Rudi Giuliani, mayor of New York City, wearing a yarmulke“America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City, wearing a yarmulke as then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon looks on

Clinton's Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross wearing a yarmulkeClinton’s Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross wearing a yarmulke

US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, wearing a yarmulke, not in a temple but at the Republican National ConventionUS ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, wearing a yarmulke – not in a temple but at a Republican National Convention

And to match Angelina Jolie, how about some entertainers including her own father:

Evangelical Christian actor Stephen Baldwin wearing a yarmulke not at a temple but at a Republican National ConventionEvangelical Christian actor Stephen Baldwin wearing a yarmulke – not at a temple but at a Republican National Convention

Actor Jon Voight holding up his yarmulke at a Republican National ConventionActor Jon Voight (Angelina’s dad) holding up his yarmulke at a Republican National Convention

Michael Jackson wearing a yarmulkeThe king of pop, Michael Jackson, wearing a yarmulke

And how about other world faith leaders:

His holiness, the Dalai Lama, wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western WallHis holiness, the Dalai Lama, wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western Wall

And speaking of political mixing with religious:

The "Mccippah", a play on "McCain" and "Kippah" which means yarmulke, a feature at the Republican National Convention 2008 The “Mccippah”, a play on “McCain” and “Kippah” (yarmulke), a feature at the Republican National Convention 2008

Now, we have a few simple questions to ask Mr. Pipes:

First let’s get real: clearly, Mr. Pipes is not interested in some irrelevant, uneventful “fun” on that merry temple of love and good times of his, danielpipes.com. Everything he writes and puts on there he does so with a purpose in mind. It seems that his “little fun” hijab photo display was yet another sorry attempt to cry “Islamization” and “dhimmi” and all of the favorite concepts he and his friends love to evoke.

So here goes the questions:

1. Do you believe that non-Muslim Western women who wear a hijab when visiting mosques or other Islamic religious settings are doing it as a sign of respect, or a sign of capitulation and a consequence of Islamization?

If the former then what’s the point of your running photo display? And if the latter which more logically seems to be the case, then:

2. Do you believe that non-Jewish Western men who wear a skullcap when visiting a temple or other Jewish religious settings are doing it as a sign of respect, or a sign of capitulation and a consequence of Judaization?

If the former, then why the double standard? And if the latter then why haven’t you sounded the alarm to save the West from Judaization.

More questions:

3. What would you say and how would you react if Western political women not only wore the hijab at the mosque but prayed there while they are at it? Would you see it as a lovely sign of camaraderie, an expression of tolerance, a sign that we all share a common God? Or would you cry “dhimmi”? Justcurious.

(If the latter then kindly educate us: what is the “dhimmi” equivalent of a Western political man – a head of state no less – who does the same but within the context of Judaism rather than Islam?)

4. You seem to gloat about the reporter who took off the “Chador” (a traditional Islamic dress worn in conservative Iran) and threw it at Imam Khomeini whom she was interviewing. Now, I personally believe that Khomeini was a loony Imam. But I am just curious, would you also gloat if a reporter threw a yarmulke at some loony rabbi like say, Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef or Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiraor Rabbi Jon HausmanJust curious.

5.  Are you aware that Eritrea is not an Islamic country and that it has as many Christian citizens as it does Muslim. Are you aware that Hillary Clinton is not necessarily wearing a hijab in the photo of her in Eritrea, but a traditional Eritrean loose shawl worn by both Muslims and Christians there? Are you aware that every other American woman in that photo (and there are at least three) are not wearing a similar shawl clearly proving that it is Hillary’s choice not some enforced evil Islamic spell on Western women as seems to be implied. Q: So if it’s neither enforced, nor a hijab to begin with, why do you use that photo. A: expediency. Typical of Mr. Pipes.

6. Lastly, if some blog put up a display like the one above with the insinuation that there is some insidious force at play, would you not cry anti-Semitism? SO, given your photo display and the accompanying shady commentary, aren’t readers then well within their rights and the bounds of reason to cry Islamophobia? Just curious.

Mr. Pipes, we await your response to our questions. For the rest of our dear readers, this has been a little peek inside the  paranoid mindset of an Islamophobe and the convoluted, often petty, ways in which it processes our world.

(For the record, LoonWatch, unlike Mr. Pipes, takes the consistent position that both non-Muslim women wearing hijabs in Islamic religious settings and non-Jewish men wearing yarmulkes in Jewish religious settings is a sign of respect and nothing more. And that wearing them outside religious settings is indeed strange but a personal choice that is no cause for alarm or geopolitical analysis).

– Zingel


Author’s Note: Daniel Pipes makes a lame attempt to address the hijab/yarmulke comparison in a 2008 addendum to his article in which he “rejects” the comparison altogether, stating in typical Pipesian delusional style that such a comparison is irrelevant, and positing that the “tallit” the Jewish prayer shawl is instead more comparable to the Hijab.

This is nonsense.

The tallit is not worn in public everyday life the way Muslim women wear the Hijab in daily public activity (for Hijabis); however, Jewish skullcaps are worn in daily public living (for Jewish Orthodox men). The yarmulke, not the tallit, is the closest Jewish analogy to the Hijab.

He also implies that half the pictures of Western women wearing the Hijab is not in a mosque while most Western men who wear the skullcap are in a temple. Not true, they are exactly analogous and proportional. Most of the pictures of the Western women wearing a Hijab is in fact in a mosque or mosque setting and it is usually a simple headscarf not some full body chador as he implies but even his collection of pictures clearly contradict (Iran, a conservative theocracy, being the exception not the norm). On the flip side, our photo display has photos that debunk his insinuation that Western men wear yarmulkes only in temples.
READ AN UPDATE HERE