"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Sharia-Sanctioned Death Vs. Western Toleration

From the Wall Street Journal.

"I don't know if you know about honor killings? But this faith—you guys don't understand, Islam is very different than you guys think." So avows runaway apostate Rifqa Bary, the focus of a so-called dependency battle that is expanding into a national debate on the conflict between Islamic mores and American freedom.

The 17-year-old had been practicing Christianity in secret for four years when she fled her home in central Ohio in July, fearing for her life after her parents discovered her defection. The Sri Lankan Bary family has been in the U.S. since 2000.

Having been in Iraq for the last year, I have adopted many Iraqi customs to include giving kisses to males on their cheek as a greeting, putting my hand over my heart when saying hi, and shaking everybody's hand in a room upon entering. I believe it shows a sense of understanding and acceptance of a country's culture.

I have also witness Muslim cultural norms which are as foreign to me, a Christian, as night is to day. While in this country, I accept and practice many Iraqi cultural norms. It is their country. One's which are harmless, like putting a hand over the heart during a greeting, I practice to fit in. One's that are harmful, I do not condone Iraqis for practicing them, nor do I condemn them for practices which, in America, are outright illegal. It is their country. I explain my norms and seek to understand theirs and occassionally get in good debates about both country's norms and practices.

However, just as I do not condone nor condemn their cultural norms in their country, I would not expect Muslims to practice their cultural rituals in an Christian society which are clearly illegal. We cannot have two laws in a country, one for this religion and one for that religion. It would lead to anarchy.

They saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" goes both ways. I have accepted many cultural customs during my stint in Iraq which do not conflict with my Christian beliefs. I would expect Muslims to do the same in my Christian dominated country.

This article is insightful for that reason, but never gets to the heart of the question.

To read the complete article, click here.

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Saudi Monarch Calls On Three Religions To Safeguard Humanity


In a speech at a Riyadh symposium on intercultural dialogue between the Islamic world and Japan, Saudi King Abdallah said that he had received agreement from Saudi Arabia's ulamaa to call on the three religions to hold conferences in which agreement will be reached to safeguard humanity from denigration of moral values and to preserve the institution of the family, and also to restore the values of loyalty to humanity.

The International Herald Tribune has more on the proposed dialogue.

"The idea is to ask representatives of all monotheistic religions to sit together with their brothers in faith and sincerity to all religions as we all believe in the same God," the king told delegates Monday night at a seminar on "Culture and the Respect of Religions."

Abdullah's call is significant and could add weight to sporadic efforts at dialogue among religious leaders in recent years. The Saudi monarch is the custodian of Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina, a position that lends his words special importance and influence among many Muslims. He said Saudi Arabia's top clerics have given him the green light to the idea — crucial backing in a society which expects decisions taken by its rulers to adhere to Islam's tenets.

Wondering if Saudi officials will meet with Israeli officials, prominent Saudi cleric, Sheik Muhammad al-Nujaimi, said,

He saw no reason why any Saudi official, including Abdullah, cannot meet with Jewish religious leaders. "The only condition is for the rabbi not to be supportive of the massacres against the Palestinian people,"

Muhammad al-Zulfa, a member of the Saudi Consultative Council, an appointed body that acts like a parliament, said,

Abdullah's conciliatory was "a message to all extremists: Stop using religion."

It will be interesting to see where these talk lead. The significance of these talks could be tremendous with the leaders of the three major religions sitting down and talking about extremism in their religions and how to lessen extremist influence. Also significant is the fact that prominent Muslim clerics in Saudi are supporting the effort.

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