Archive for What if they were Muslim

How Christian Fundamentalists Plan to Teach Genocide to Schoolchildren

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by loonwatch

Child with Bible

While many in the West are myopically focused on Muslim extremists, another form of religious extremism is poised to reach thousands of children in public schools across the US.

Aside from the disturbing implications for those who advocate a clear separation between church and state, the alarming content of the curriculum begs a question about the sponsors: What if they were Muslim?

How Christian Fundamentalists Plan to Teach Genocide to Schoolchildren

By Katherine Stewart, Guardian UK

Good News Clubs’ evangelism in schools is already subverting church-state separation. Now they justify murdering nonbelievers.

The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.

The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:

“Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. “In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,” writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).

This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

There are now over 3,200 clubs in public elementary schools, up more than sevenfold since the 2001 supreme court decision, Good News Club v Milford Central School, effectively required schools to include such clubs in their after-school programing.

The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that “the Amalekites were completely defeated.” In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

“You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.”

“That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?” the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:

“The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment.”

The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

Asking if Saul would “pass the test” of obedience, the text points to Saul’s failure to annihilate every last Amalekite, posing the rhetorical question:

“If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, ‘I did it!’?”

“If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!” the lesson concludes.

A review question in the textbook seeks to drive the point home further:

“How did King Saul only partly obey God when he attacked the Amalekites? (He did not completely destroy as God had commanded, he kept the king and some of the animals alive.)”

The CEF and the legal advocacy groups that have been responsible for its tremendous success over the past ten years are determined to “Knock down all doors, all the barriers, to all 65,000 public elementary schools in America and take the Gospel to this open mission field now! Not later, now!” in the words of a keynote speaker at the CEF’s national convention in 2010. The CEF wants to operate in the public schools, rather than in churches, because they know that young children associate the public schools with authority and are unable to distinguish between activities that take place in a school and those that are sponsored by the school.

In the majority opinion that opened the door to Good News Clubs, supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned that the activities of the CEF were not really religious, after all. He said that they could be characterized, for legal purposes, “as the teaching of morals and character development from a particular viewpoint”.

As Justices Souter and Stevens pointed out in their dissents, however, the claim is preposterous: the CEF plainly aims to teach religious doctrines and conduct services of worship. Thomas’s claim is particularly ironic in view of the fact that the CEF makes quite clear its intent to teach that no amount of moral or ethical behavior (pdf) can spare a nonbeliever from an eternity in hell.

Good News Clubs should not be in America’s public elementary schools. As I explain in my book, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, the club exists mainly to give small children the false impression that their public school supports a particular creed. The clubs’ presence has produced a paradoxical entanglement of church and state that has ripped apart communities, degraded public education, and undermined religious freedom.

The CEF’s new emphasis on the genocide of nonbelievers makes a bad situation worse. Exterminist rhetoric has been on the rise among some segments of the far right, including some religious groups. At what point do we start taking talk of genocide seriously? How would we feel about a nonreligious group that instructs its students that if they should ever receive an order to commit genocide, they should fulfill it to the letter?

And finally, when does a religious group qualify as a “hate group”?

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Burmese Buddhists Attack Muslim Pilgrims, Killing 9

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

The attack on Muslims traveling to a mosque must be viewed in a much larger perspective, the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (i.e Burma).

Authorities are saying that “anti-Muslim sentiment” played a roll in at least one of the attacks:

Muslims killed in attack in Burma’s Rakhine province

(BBC)

Buddhist residents in western Burma have killed at least nine Muslims as sectarian tension worsens in the region, police say.

Reports say a crowd attacked a bus in Rakhine province after blaming some of the passengers for the gang rape and murder of a Buddhist woman.

In another incident, at least 10 people were injured in the state capital Sittwe when police broke up a protest.

It is the worst violence to hit the province in recent months.

Sectarian and ethnic tension persists in the country despite a new, supposedly tolerant climate introduced by the civilian-led government which came into power 15 months ago.

Mob attack

The bus attack took place near the town of Taungup in Rakhine province, which borders Bangladesh, on Sunday evening, police and residents said.

It was thought to be carried out by mostly Buddhist ethnic Rakhine people.

“More than 100 people beat and killed those people,” a resident told AFP news agency. “The residents even torched the bus.”

The reason for the attack is unclear, but some residents say it was a revenge attack following the rape and murder of a Buddhist girl in another part of the province last month.

Map

But the Burmese Muslim Association said most of those killed were Muslims visiting a mosque from central Burma.

That account was corroborated by unnamed residents quoted by Reuters news agency, who said those killed were not from the area.

No arrests have been made. A police investigation is under way.

In another, apparently unrelated incident at least 10 people were injured after police fired rubber bullets at a mob who attacked their police station in Sittwe, reports said.

A 13-year-old protester was among those injured, witnesses said.

There were contradictory reports about what triggered the protest, but some accounts suggested anti-Muslim sentiment could have played a part.

Rakhine is home to Burma’s largest concentration of Muslims, including much-persecuted Rohingya Muslims, and their presence is often deeply resented by the majority Buddhist population.

In a joint statement quoted by Reuters, eight Rohingya rights groups based outside Burma condemned the attack on the Muslims on the bus, whom they termed “Muslim pilgrims”.

Although it appears those on the bus were not Rohingyas, the groups said the attack followed months of anti-Rohingya propaganda stirred up by “extremists and xenophobes”.

Ultra Orthodox Vandalize 1600 Year Old Synagogue Mosaic

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by loonwatch

Part of the Israeli Mosaic and Synagogue that was damaged

Recently we had Pat Robertson giving sanction to the destruction of Buddha statues. Now we have a slightly different and bizarre case of desecration. A suspected group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews have vandalized and caused “irreparable” damage to a rare 1600 year old mosaic in an ancient synagogue. They seem to be protesting archeological digs that they claim involve ancient grave sites.

If this group of vandals had been Muslim one surely would have heard of it all over the news. Discussions about the irreconcilable nature of Islam and modernity would infest the looniverse.

What if they were Muslim?:

Israel Zodiac Mosaic: Vandals Damage 1,600-Year-Old Art At Synagogue

Diaa Haddad (AP)

JERUSALEM — Vandals badly damaged a rare 1,600-year-old mosaic in the northern Israeli city of Tiberias that formed the floor of an ancient synagogue, smashing parts to rubble and scrawling graffiti, antiquity officials said Tuesday.

Experts suspect extremist Jews who object, sometimes violently, to excavations they claim involve ancient grave sites. There was no claim of responsibility. Police are investigating.

Guards found the damage on Tuesday morning, said archeologists involved in the site.

The mosaic, dating 400 years after the birth of Jesus, was one of the best preserved and beautiful of its period, according to archaeologists.

It featured illustrated zodiac signs and the traditional symbolism of a fourth-century synagogue: ritual candelabras and palm fronds. The synagogue’s ruins, including its ancient mosaic floor, were in a fenced-off area of a national park in Tiberias, next to the Sea of Galilee.

It listed the names of the synagogue’s chief patrons in ancient Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

Israel Antiquities Authority deputy director Uzi Dahari said a fringe group of ultra-Orthodox Jews were suspected of causing the damage, much of it irreversible. Dahari said the graffiti scrawled across parts of the archaeological site and previous threats against the Antiquities Authority suggested they were the perpetrators.

Photographs issued by the Antiquities Authority showed parts of the mosaic floor reduced to gray chunks of rubble. Other photographs showed blue spray paint scrawled over the mosaic, covering ancient Hebrew and Greek letters spelled out in blue, red and beige tiles. Graffiti was also scrawled along rock walls beside the mosaic. Perpetrators also punched a hole in the mosaic between two candelabras.

“On every grave, a site,” one neatly written Hebrew slogan said.

ferred to constant accusations by a tiny Jewish hard-line group that the Antiquities Authority was digging up Jewish graves. Disturbing Jewish graves is a deeply offensive act for devout Jews.

Archeologists said they have found similar graffiti on other sites. The Hebrew word for “site” is also shorthand for an archaeological site, as in English.

An archaeologist who frequently works in the Galilee area, Gilad Kinamon, said ultra-Orthodox Jews frequently turned up to his sites to demonstrate against his work.

“It was the best of Jewish art of its time, of the late Roman and early Byzantine period,” said Dahari. They … destroyed what was in front of them without thinking,” he said.

Settlers Shoot Palestinian, Attack Mosque Imam

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by loonwatch

More anti-Palestinian violence from fanatical settlers who believe the land has been deeded to them by God, and therefore they have right to intimidate Palestinians into leaving:

Israeli settler shoots Palestinian in West Bank

NABLUS (Ma’an) — An Israeli settler shot and wounded a Palestinian man on Saturday in a clash that began when a group of settlers set fire to fields belonging to a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, officials said.

Najeh al-Safadi, 22, was handcuffed by a guard from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar who threw him to the ground and shot him while other settlers kicked him, a relative said.

Muntaser al-Safadi said people from his village, Orif, which is near Nablus in the northern West Bank, arrived and rescued the young man. He was transferred to Rafidia hospital with severe injuries.

Residents said about 25 settlers, some of them carrying guns, set fire to wheat fields and an olive grove near the Orif school. Settlers fired at people who were trying to put out the fire, they said.

Villagers came out to extinguish the fire and ended up clashing with the settlers, said Nablus official Ghassan Daghlas. Eight people were injured and four of them were hospitalized, he told Ma’an.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that a settler shot and wounded one Palestinian, adding that security forces were sent to the scene to break up the violence.

“The Israel Defense Forces regards this incident as severe and will thoroughly investigate it,” the spokesman said.

The military is investigating a similar incident from last week in which a video distributed by an anti-settlement group appeared to show a settler shooting and wounding a Palestinian during a confrontation with rock-throwing Palestinians, as soldiers stood by.

Daghlas said Saturday’s attack was a direct assault on civilians, and part of a pattern of incidents sparked by gun-toting settlers.

The official expressed surprise at the “international silence” toward Israeli violations, particularly the silence of the United Nations.

It is also being reported that Settlers attacked an Imam in the Ain Silwan region:

Settlers attack mosque Imam, IOF arrest a boy

(Palestine-info.co.uk

AL-KHALIL– A number of Jewish settlers attacked on Saturday the imam of Ain Silwan mosque in Silwan town in Jerusalem after storming the neighboring area.

Jerusalemite sources stated that the settlers attacked the seventy-year-old imam of Ain Silwan mosque, Adam Samreen, under the pretext of enabling tourists to enter the place. Meanwhile, the Zionist settlers raided the neighboring area, and attacked the guard causing him injuries.

It is noted that the ongoing Zionist attacks against Jerusalemites aim at forcing them to leave their lands and properties.

Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks Want to Demolish Muslim Community Building in Colombo

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Is this going to be Dambulla 2.0? (h/t: msmrishan)

Any opportunity that the anti-Muslim blogs get, they attempt to castigate Islam as a whole for the actions of a minority of fundamentalists. Can you imagine them even calling out these Monks actions and tying it to Buddhism?

What if they were Muslim?

Buddhist Monks Want To Demolish A Muslim Community Building In Colombo

by Colombia Telegraph

Buddhist monks took to the streets yesterday again demanding the demolition of yet another Muslim community building in Colombo, claiming it was illegal, Ceylon Today reports. Meanwhile Divaina newspaper claims that the building is a illegal cattlekilling place belong to Islam fundamentalists.

Over 250 protestors led by Buddhist monks staged a demonstration yesterday in front of Galvihara Road, Dehiwala, calling for the demolition of the Madarasa ‘Darul- Qur’an lil Baranil Iman. The protestors charged it is an illegal construction and a place where goats are scarified.

One of the monks leading the protest claimed the Madarasa should be demolished as the Muslims had constructed it illegally; a claim many Muslims in the area are disputing.

In response to this a member of the trustee board, Hizni Mohamed said the Madarasa named has been situated here for over 13 years. “It is a place mainly to teach and educate the children on religion and the Qur’an,” he said.

He said the monks’ claim that the Muslims were rearing goats and sacrificing them within the premises of the Madarasa, but nothing of that sort happened. “It is not an illegal construction. We have accurate deeds and the building has been there for so many years,” he said.

According to the Western Province UNP PC member Mujibur Rahman, this Madarasa has been frequented by the Muslims for 13 years and this problem of demolishing has begun all of a sudden. “Nothing illegal or unlawful is happening,” he confirmed.

When Ceylon Today contacted the Mayor of Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Municipal Council Dhanasiri Amaratunge said that a group of monks had complained to him regarding an illegal construction.

“I sent a team to inspect the area and we have found that the Madarasa is an illegal construction and we have summoned them to court on Monday. Even before the legal aspect could be done the villagers and the monks have begun a protest,” he said.

Settlers, Amongst IDF Soldiers Shoot at Palestinians

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by loonwatch

Fanatical Yitzhar Settlers have once again attacked Palestinians. One Settler was armed with a “Tavor” rifle only used by IDF infantry soldiers. They were also accompanied by soldiers who according B’TSelem didn’t do enough to protect Palestinians from Settler violence.

Video: Settlers, amongst soldiers, fire on Palestinians

(Ma’an News)

An Israeli human rights group released footage on Sunday of settlers firing on a Nablus village a day earlier, and called on Israel’s military to investigate the assailants, as well as the army’s role.

Settlers entered Asira al-Qibliya on Saturday and threw rocks at properties in the village, which borders Yitzhar settlement, before the arrival of Israeli forces, a Ma’an correspondent said.

In the ensuing clashes Nimir Fathi, 24, was shot in the neck, while Ahmad Jaber Jibrel, 30, was hit in the face with a rock.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem released footage by volunteer photographers showing the settlers, some of whom were masked and armed, arriving in the village.

Palestinian youth from the village arrived and threw stones at settlers, and Israeli forces arrived at the scene, while rounds of live ammunition are heard, B’Tselem said.

The group said the footage raises “grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians … and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.”

B’Tselem said the one settler used a “Tavor” rifle, only used by Israeli infantry soldiers, and called for the army to investigate suspicions that the assailant was thus a soldier on leave.

Another two settlers were armed with M4 rifles, and one with a pistol while another appears to be wearing a police cap, the group said.

B’Tselem said it had written to police and military authorities calling on them to apprehend the shooters and investigate the “suspicion that the soldiers did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence.”

An Israeli military spokeswoman said at the time that settlers has clashed with Palestinians in the village, and she was looking into further details.

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Presidency Tayeb Abdel Rahim, visiting the wounded men in Rafidia Hospital in Nablus later Saturday, condemned the “barbaric attack by settlers.”

The Palestinian Authority will not stand idly by while these “completely unacceptable and reprehensible actions” take place, he said.

Abdel Rahim demanded the international community fulfill its responsibilities towards such “crimes that will lead to the collapse and security-destabilization of the region as a whole.”

In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.

Settler violence against local Palestinian communities is widespread, but figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.

Yitzhar Settlers Torch Palestinian’s Car in Nablus

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by loonwatch

Settlers from Yitzhar torched a car in Einabus village in the Nablus district.

Fanatical religious settlers who believe God gave them the land have been attacking Palestinians who they hope to intimidate into moving away.

Settlers Torch Car in Nablus

NABLUS (Ma’an) — A group of settlers on Thursday set fire to a car in Nablus, a PA official said.

Three settlers from Yitzhar settlement set fire to the car in Einabus village, PA official Ghassan Daghlas told Ma’an.

The owner, Zain Mustafa Allan, said the car was parked outside his home when the attack took place.

Earlier, settlers threw rocks at Palestinian cars driving near Yitzhar settlement, Daghlas said.

The Nablus district experienced the majority of settler violence in 2011, The Palestine Center says.

In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.

Settler violence against local Palestinian communities is widespread, but figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.