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Muslims in America and Denmark

It is about to be ten years since the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States of America, and some 2.75 million Muslims live in the United States, so what better time to conduct a Pew poll to find out where Muslim Americans stand in terms of quality of life.

Recently, the Pew Research Center conducted telephone interviews with 1,033 Muslim Americans between April and July, surveying their social and political viewpoints, their levels of religious observance and their sentiments about Islamic extremism. On the latter issue, the majority of respondents expressed concern about religious extremism at home and abroad.

The Pew Research Center also conducted a similar poll in 2007, the results from which showed little change in the way Muslims feel they are perceived by the public. Fifty-five percent of respondents from the recent poll said life in the United States was more difficult for them than was before Sept. 11, 2001, while 37% said they felt no difference. Two-thirds of respondents said they believe the quality of life in America is better than in Islamic countries.

Seven out of 10 responders said that they were satisfied with Obama’s performance.

The report read:

“On a variety of measures, Muslims in America are very content with their own lives and with the communities where they live…We’ve seen Muslims move in a different direction than the rest of the country, (with more) believing America is going in the right direction.”

When the 2007 survey was taken, 25% of Muslim Americans said they felt the U.S.-led global war on terror was intended to combat terror and not rooted in ulterior motives, whereas this year’s survey saw that number increase to 43%.

A third of those polled said local Muslim leaders have spoken out against extremism, while seven in 10 believe Muslim communities are cooperating well with law enforcement officials. 81% said that suicide bombings and other violence that used the name of Islam to target civilians was “never justified…” whilst, one percent said it was often justified. Five percent had a “somewhat or very favorable” view of al-Qaida, while 70 percent said they held “very unfavorable views” of al-Qaida.

In other news, a man was killed and two others injured in a shooting outside a Copenhagen mosque following prayers marking the end of Ramadan.

The shooting took place outside the Muslim Culture Institute, in the Danish capital’s western Vesterbro district.

No arrests have been made but police are on the lookout for the perpetrators.

A spokesman for the Muslim institute said the incident took place on a parking lot next to the mosque as hundreds were leaving the 9 a.m. prayer service.

Dig This

A home renovation in the Old City of Jerusalem yielded an unusual Arabic inscription offering insight into the history of Muslim rule in the holy city.
The fragment of the 1,100-year-old plaque was probably made by an army veteran expressing his thanks for a land grant from the Caliph al-Muqtadir, whom the inscription names “Emir of the Faithful.”

In this era, Jerusalem was ruled from Baghdad by the Abbasid Empire. The plaque shows how rulers rewarded their troops and ensured their loyalty.

The Abbasids conquered Jerusalem after numerous wars with the Fatimid Empire in Egypt. The Abbasid caliphs esteemed Jerusalem as an Islamic holy site.

Said excavation director Annette Nagar:

“The caliph probably granted estates as part of his effort to strengthen his hold over the territories within his control, including Jerusalem, just as other rulers did in different periods.”

The white marble plaque measures four inches by four inches (10 x 10 centimeters) and was found approximately 5 feet (1.5 meters) beneath the floor of a home in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

The house’s owner planned a renovation and — in accordance with the law — brought archaeologists to carry out a salvage dig meant to prevent harm to valuable antiquities. The plaque was removed from the site and is now in the care of Israel’s Antiquities Authority.

The writing was deciphered by Professor Moshe Sharon of the Hebrew University, who traced it to 910, during the early part of al-Muqtadir’s 24-year rule.

The finding will hopefully help scholars better understand 10th-century Jerusalem, populated by Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as the methods used by Muslim rulers to solidify their control.

This being said, you will forgive my observing Jewish archeologists’ objective fascination with the history of the city, and for no other drive besides science – which is oh, so Israeli.

Perhaps this find will drown out the Jordanian national whine to possess the Dead Sea Scrolls. And we shall not forget to mention ALL of the archaeological material dating to the First Temple Period (960-586 BC) which was destroyed when Palestinians dumped it into the Kidron Valley like waste, and Jerusalem’s municipal garbage dump.

Go science, go truth, go Israel!

What Would Jesus Do, Really?

As it stands, it is very taboo for Jews to visit the Temple Mount. When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon went up there in 2000, it caused the second Intifada. Jews visiting the ruin, which houses the Dome of the Rock mosque, has been the cause of Arabs rioting in the past. And there have been halachic rulings by orthodox rabbis, forbidding Jews to visit the site. However non-Muslims, during the morning on certain days of the week can scale the bridge from the Old City and visit the other side of the Kotel – but alas are forbidden to pray.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSOfficially, there really is no plan set in stone for visiting there, like there is in Hebron, at the Cave of Machpelah; and such a plan would have a set time for Jewish prayers, however the Islamic Christian Society in Support of Jerusalem says that this would be unacceptable. However, they have yet to explain their reasoning.

If Israel were to give East Jerusalem to the Palestinians, Jews and probably other non-Muslims would be kissing away their dream of holding religious communion at the Temple Mount. Additionally, Christians should fear what would happen if the Church of the Holy Sepulchre became under Palestinian control. Putting the threat of violence on the State of Israel aside, religious tolerance would obviously become enforced in Jerusalem’s Old City.

In Bethlehem, during the Intifada, PLO terrorists fled to the Christian Church, which is the scene of the Nativity for Christians. They held the monks hostage, stole valuables, left feces all over, starved the Christians and all but ruined the site.

In Jerusalem, Muslims built themselves a mosque taller than the holiest Christian edifice in the city, just to undermine it. They built toilets overhanging it and they broke through a wall into a couple of storerooms of the Church, and occupied them. The PLO refused to return the rooms, until after much protest, Arafat finally gave in.

Religious Christians who would like to see Israel lose control of East Jerusalem and holy sites in the West Bank must be out of their mind, unless they are thinking of converting to Islam.

Freedom To Leave Australia Celebrated

John Howard AustraliaMuslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques.
Quote: ‘IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians’.

‘This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom’. ‘We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language!’

‘Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.’

‘We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.’

‘This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE‘.’

‘If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.’

Deeply Shocked and Saddened

Deeply Shocked and SaddenedPope Benedictus XVI appeared sincere enough when he appeared Sunday before the crowds waiting in the rain outside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. His remarks of being “deeply shocked and saddened” by the angry reactions of Muslims all over the world will hopefully calm things down a bit before Muslims resort to further violence against Christians and church property – whether Catholic or not. All Christians were in danger from outraged Muslim mobs, and this was indicative of their burning effigies of the Pope and committing some acts of vandalism against churches in Muslim dominated countries, including two churches in Gaza. The Gaza churches, by the way, were not Catholic; which made the Pope’s quick apology even more important.

The Pope’s remarks, in which he stated that the quoted words from the 14th century medieval text did not reflect his personal opinion, makes one wonder why they were uttered in the first place. After all, doesn’t His Holiness have both speech writers, as well as person advisors in respect to possible Islamic sensitivities that might result from this kind of rhetoric? Even though he said he had ‘felt at home’ within the academic confines of the German university in which he addressed the faculty and student body, he should have taken into account that reporters would be present, and perhaps a number of Muslims as well (academics, professors, and the like).

As a result of this ‘slip of the tongue’ Vatican officials, including the Pope himself, are more acutely aware of the growing strength, and influence, of Islam all over the world; including this reality in Europe. Italy, once under nearly complete dominance by the Catholic Church, who even had control of what was known as the “Papal States”, now find themselves being encroached on by Muslims from North Africa (especially Egypt, Libya and Morocco) and other countries as well. Mohammad Habib, an official in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, said that he accepted the Pope’s apology but “would like to know the Pope’s personal views concerning Islam”.

In light of the events of the past few days, however, these ‘views’ will most likely not be forthcoming; although an acceptance of the Popes apology by one such high official in an organization such as the E.M.B. is a good sign that the international Muslim community is interested in restoring calm. In the future, Benedictus XVI will most likely be a bit more candid in his remarks regarding Islam.

This episode doesn’t begin to hide the fact that there are definite strains emerging between two of the world’s largest religions, whose combined followers make up around 45% of the entire population of this planet. Islamic terrorism, on the rise since the now infamous “9-11” attacks in America, will cause further stress between the world’s Christian and Muslim communities. These kind of remarks, even if made ‘out of context’ do not help efforts to bring about any kind of reconciliation; and only add more fuel to a fire that is now progressing well beyond the ‘smoldering embers phase’.

Faith by the Sword: Remarks by the Pope Inflame World Muslims

Faith by the Sword: Remarks by the Pope Inflame World MuslimsRemarks made by Pope Benedictus IVI on Sept. 12 at an address in the University of Regensburg during his visit to Germany, appear to be creating an even greater storm in the Islamic world than the Danish ‘cartoon incident’ did several months back. Most likely, His Holiness did not imagine the controversy the would be created when he mentioned an early 14th Century Medieval text containing a dialogue between Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleollogus and a Persian academic scholar regarding the true ‘message’ of Islam. The dialogue, reputed to have taken place during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402 by the Muslim Ottoman Turks, evolved a particular comment by the Emperor: “show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you find things only evil and inhuman; such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”.

Obviously, the beleaguered emperor was under a bit of pressure in so much as the last vestiges of the Eastern Roman Empire, a small area surrounding Constantinople, was being besieged by the Turks, who themselves had been subservient to the Byzantine Christian administration for literally hundreds of years, prior to the rise of Islam. While Pope Benedictus went on to say that Manuel II told his “Persian interlocutor” that “spreading faith by violence was something unreasonable, and that violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul” appears to be a bit ‘one sided’ if one looks into the historical spread of Christianity itself.

The Crusades, that questionable period of European Christian history, revolved around attempts by European Christian rulers to wrestle control of the Holy Land and it’s places sacred to Christendom out of the hands of Muslims who had conquered the entire area from the Byzantine Empire in the 7th and 8th Centuries. These crusades, originally led by an itinerate monk named Peter the Hermit, considered even non-European Christians , including Byzantines, to be ‘infidels’ due to their different customs and religious worship practices (the Byzantines were not under the Church of Rome). Literally thousands of Byzantine Christians, Jews, and others were put to the sword or forced to convert to Catholicism during the Crusaders march to what they called Tierra Sancta. This bit of historical reality was not mentioned by the Pope during his address; nor did he touch on another dark period of Christian history, the Holy Inquisition, in which European Jews and Muslims were either expelled from their long residences in Spain, Portugal and Italy; or forced to convert to Christianity. The Inquisition, which officially lasted until the end of the 19th Century, brought untold suffering to those who became its victims; many of whom suffered horrible torture and death. In other words, it appears that Christianity has used the sword a bit throughout history to spread its ‘good words’ as well.

The Pope, while meaning to create a bridge between the faiths by intelligent dialogue, has now created something else altogether. He even went on to note that the ethos of modern Christianity was formed in Europe, and not through their ancient origins, including those of the Greeks, who made the first translation of the Bible into a European language.

What this new theological controversy is boiling down to is a major confrontation between the world’s billion plus Catholic Church, with its headquarters in Rome, and more than 1.2 billion members of the “Umma” or World Community of Islam.

With the growing presence of Muslims throughout Europe, including Italy where the Holy See is located, how long will it be before a future Pope, himself under siege, will have a similar discussion with a scholarly ‘Islamic interlocutor’ like Byzantine emperor Manuel II did upon seeing the ‘Saracens’ gathering outside his castle walls.

(Photograph courtesy of www.geocities.com)

Muslim “Zionism”: Do Muslims have a National Home, like Jews do?

By Maurice Picow

Al Aksa JerusalemMany Palestinian Muslims talk about a ‘law of return’ to the lands they had to flee during the ‘double Naqba’ of 1948 and 1967. They feel that just as Jews have a Law of Return, they, the Palestinians should also have a homeland, much of which includes what is now modern Israel. And in respect to these feelings of ‘Muslim Zionism’ the city of Jerusalem is considered to be no less important to them than it is to the Jewish People.

Jerusalem MosquesMuslims have several reasons to be interested in Jerusalem. First of all, since they have control of the Temple Mount, known to them as Kareem al Shariff, they know that their possession of this place, considered sacred to Jews, will prevent the Jewish People from rebuilding the Temple. Their mosques, Al Aqsa and the Mosque of Omar (Dome of the Rock) are considered by Muslims to be the third holiest shrines in Islam (for Sunni Muslims anyway). The Dome of the Rock contains the large boulder on which the Patriarch Abraham was supposed to have almost sacrificed his son Isaac, until God intervened, and gave Abraham a ram to sacrifice instead.
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Finally the Official Mohammed Cartoons Site and Apology

Finally we have a site that is devoted to the Mohammed Cartoons. It was just a matter of time. I especially liked the official apology from Denmark page.

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