Saturday, January 14

Maybe the Saudi’s need to know why salafism is so hated

So there is going to be a symposium on Salafism, a Shariah approach and a national demand. Maybe they should start with trying to understand why their extreme ideology, pandering to royalty which is unislamic in the extreme and how the entire world hates their ruling ideology called as Salafism. Bah. These Al Saud’s have much to answer for, descended from thieves and robbers and perpetrating a hypocritical system, what else can you expect?

RIYADH: Crown Prince Naif, deputy premier and interior minister, will attend a symposium on "Salafism, a Shariah approach and a national demand" which will be organized by the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University on Tuesday.

The symposium will cover seven themes. The first will address Salafism, an approach pursued by the state since its foundation and its connection to Islam.

The second highlights Salafism as an approach, the third focuses on misconceptions about the Salafi approach, the fourth addresses the Salafi approach and its connection with the modern religious discourse; the fifth tackles the relationship between the Saudi state and the Salafi approach in terms of originality and application, the sixth covers the link between the Salafi approach and school curricula in the Kingdom, and the seventh sheds light on doubts on the application of the Salafi approach and the response to these doubts.

The scientific committee of the conference has received more than 120 papers. There will be 62 lectures and 22 papers will be presented by postgraduate students.

Rector of the University Suleiman bin Abdullah Aba Al-Khail said the seminar aims to achieve several goals such as shedding light on the doctrinal teachings of the Salafist movement, clear misconceptions of Salafism, clarify the roots of Saudi government regulations and its rightful principles and lastly provide a clear image about the attitude of Islam toward non-Muslims.

The seminar aims to exhibit the role played by the Kingdom in fighting terrorism and maintaining international peace and security. The rector revealed the crown prince would also lay the cornerstone of a number of projects (constructions and technical) costing SR2.3bn.

Ahmed Al-Darwish, vice president for scientific institutes, called on members of scientific institutes and specialists in Shariah sciences to actively participate in the deliberations of the seminar. Al-Darwish said the country’s righteous ancestors adopted a moderate approach.

Abdurrahman Al-Nami, a faculty member and head of the media committee of the seminar, told Arab News that the objectives of this seminar were to clarify the reality of the Salafi approach representing the correct form of Islam adopted by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), to sanitize the concept from allegations made by some deviant groups claiming to be Salafi, and to reveal the essence of the ruling in the Kingdom which is based on proper moderate Islam.

It will also show the scope of the harmonious relationship between the rulers of the Kingdom and preachers in implementing the proper Salafi approach, to rectify misconceptions (extremism and exclusion) about the Salafi approach, to show the real position of the approach toward non-Muslims and that relations with them is based on justice, equality and realizing common interests, and to show allegiance to the country is a matter of instinct, reason, and religion.

He said the concept is the antithesis of some concepts such as tribalism, pan-nationalism, kinship, and other concepts that may come at the expense of religion and proper doctrine.

It also aims to refute all suspicions about the Salafi approach in terms of its impact on curricula and its alleged cause of extremism. The Kingdom’s position on crisis and natural catastrophe is well documented, he added.

“Salafism has many attributes, chief among them are denouncing doctrinal extremism and closure,” said Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Najdan. He said Salafism is neither a new invention nor new label. On the contrary, it is an old concept.

In his paper, “The Salafi approach: origin, continuity, and attributes,” Abdulwahid Al-Darwish refers to the position of Salafism toward other Islamic groups. He said the position of the Salafi group regarding other Islamic groups is similar to the position of any Muslim toward another Muslim. Al-Darwish touches upon the Salafists’ position on politics and collective work.

Ahmed bin Yousif Al-Darwish told Arab News that the objective behind holding this symposium was to clarify the proper meaning of Salafism that is based on both the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.

“This kind of Salafism is based on moderation, rejecting terrorism, fighting corruption, fighting deviant and destructive thought, rejecting extremism and exploitation or dehumanization of others.”

He stressed the seminar aims to clarify that the Salafi approach adopted by the Kingdom is totally different from the kind of extremist Salafism that is not Islamic and does not express the essence of Islam. Correct Salafism is the one that renounces terrorism and murder and is not based on extremism or takfir, he added.

Friday, January 13

A statue of books is idolatrous?

The mind boggles. First the story:

A council member of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) today filed a case at the police over "importing and keeping idols" for the SAARC Summit that wrapped up recently in Addu.

Speaking to journalists after submitting the case, Maz Saleem said the police were asked to look into how the "idols" were imported into the Maldives through Customs and the police "standing guard" around the idols.

PPM Council member, Ilham Ahmed said Customs failed to carry out its legal responsibility of preventing the import of items such as "idols" into the country.

Seems like the recent South Asian association met and the countries donated stuff to Maldives. Sri Lanka presented a statue of a lion while Pakistan, surprisingly, presented a monument shaped like a pile of books on a brick plinth. Guess what? People thought it was idolatrous and burnt it.

Sighs, what a bunch of morons. Do they not know what the first word of the Quran is? it says IQRA. or READ.

Do you think these guys are heading towards a Darwin Award?


Thursday, January 12

How to tame a mountain

I came across two stories, one thanks to Yashasvi (thanks, you are a very smart cookie Smile)


Dashrath Manjhi was given a State funeral last weekend. During his life, however, government indifference remained as much a challenge for him as the rocks of Gahlaur Ghati, says Anand ST Das
He was ridiculed in 1959 when he started hewing a way through the Gahlaur Ghati hills of Bihar’s Gaya district, some 150 km from Patna. It would take 22

FOR THE PEOPLE: Manjhi’s feat will long outlive him

years for Dashrath Manjhi to finish his 360ft-long, 30ft-wide road — little wonder, for he worked alone, his sole tools his chisel,hammer and shovel. What was once a precarious passage just a foot wide is now an avenue that can accommodate cyclists and motorcyclists and is used by the people of nearly 60 villages with great ease. The road has also reduced the distance between Gaya’s Atri and Vazirganj subdivisions from 50km to just 10km. Children from Manjhi’s own Gahlaur and other nearby villages no longer have to walk eight kilometres one way to attend school — they can now study at a school just three km away.
We met Manjhi a few weeks before the cancer that finally ended his life on August 17 forced him to take to his bed. The 73- year-old was frail, but his energy was undiminished as he relived his work on the road. “I knew if I did not do it myself, neither would the government do it nor would the villagers have the will and determination. This hill had given us trouble and grief for centuries. The people had asked the government many times to make a proper road through the hill, but nobody paid any attention. So I just decided I would do it all by myself.”
Before Manjhi’s road, the hill kept the villages of the region in isolation, forcing the villagers to make an arduous and dangerous trek just to reach the nearest market town, or even their own fields. In 1959, Manjhi recounted, this resulted in a family tragedy on the treacherous slope. “My wife, Faguni Devi, was seriously injured while crossing the hill to bring me water; I worked then on a farm across the hills. That was the day I decided to carve out a proper road through this hill,” he told us. The mission he had set himself meant that he had to drop his wage-earning daily work — his family suffered and he himself often went without food. But his wife was not to see the fruits of his labour — a short while later, she fell ill and died as Manjhi could not get her to the hospital in time. “My love for my wife was the initial spark that ignited in me the desire to carve out a road. But what kept me working without fear or worry all those years was the desire to see thousands of villagers crossing the hill with ease whenever they wanted,” Manjhi said. “Though most villagers taunted me at first, there were quite a few who lent me support later by giving me food and helping me buy my tools.” Today, the villagers have nothing but gratitude for Gaya’s mountain man, known almost universally now as Sadhuji.
Dashrath Manjhi belonged to Bihar’s Musahar community, regarded as the lowest among the state’s Scheduled Castes. While other Dalits in Bihar had at least some land rights under the erstwhile zamindari system, the Musahars never enjoyed any such. Nearly 98 percent of the state’s 1.3 million Musahars are landless today. Not even one percent of them are literate, which makes them the community with the country’s lowest literacy rate. For many of them, the day’s main meal still comprises roots, snails or rats, from which the community’s name is derived.

UNDETERRED: Ridiculed at first, Manjhi later became a local hero

After Manjhi completed his road, he worked tirelessly for the betterment of his community. Among his other efforts, he managed to persuade nearly 50 Musahar families of his village to settle on government- granted land, although most of them were unwilling to leave their old homes. But when Manjhi started living on the allotted land, the rest followed suit. This new settlement is now known as Dashrath Nagar. Manjhi’s other efforts have been less successful. Despite his herculean feat, the Bihar government has given him only token appreciation and insincere help.


And second:

A weird love story has come out of China recently and managed to touch the world. It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and love each other in peace for over half century.
Over 50 years ago, Liu, was a 19 years-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu. At the time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.
To avoid the market gossips, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing area.

In the beginning, they had nothing, no electricity or even food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain, and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to lighten up their lives.
Starting the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began, and continue for over 50 years, to hand carve the steps so that his wife could get down the mountain easily.

A half century later in 2001, a group of adventures were exploring the forest, they surprisingly found the elderly couple and the over 6,000 stairs of hand carved ladder.
“My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion for over 50 years and never been apart a single day.” Liu MingSheng, one of their seven children said, “He hand carved more than 6,000 steps over the years for my mother’s convenience, although she doesn’t go down the mountain that much.”

The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu, now 72 years-old, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu sat and prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms.
So in love with Xu, was Liu, that no one was able to release the grip he had on his wife’s hand even after he had passed away.
“You promised me you’ll take care of me, you’ll always be with me until the day I died, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?” … …
Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband’s black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.

The power of love can literally conquer mountains. Salutations and RESPECT!

Wednesday, January 11

Careers in Finance–Voices of Finance

One of my common lectures to the various business schools is to describe an investment bank. Students,for some reason, just think of investment banking as either trading or M&A banker. There is much more to it than just this and frequently I tell kids, you can actually end up making more money over your lifetime in other banking areas than just being in trading or M&A. Anyway, the Guardian is running a series on voices of Finance. Very nice one. Here are the various links to various jobs:

Most recent

Archive (16-30 of 33)

Tuesday, January 10

An update on Assyrians

I wrote about Assyrians before in an essay. Got some comments there as well. I suggest you might want to read that first if interested in the background to this fascinating community.

Was reminded of this when I read this. The Kurds, however much sympathy I have for them, are frankly a bunch of nincompoops. They should know how they have been treated and one would have expected the Kurds to welcome minorities, but no, they are behaving in the same barbaric manner as Saddam Hussein and other barbarians did in Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq. I quote:

Inspired by the violent exhortations of a preacher during Friday prayers earlier this month, hundreds of young Kurdish men in the northern Iraqi town of Zakho went on a riot. Over four days, they set dozens of liquor stores alight, later threatening proprietors with further violence if they dared reopen their businesses. They also attacked an Assyrian church and homes in the neighbouring village of Mansouriyah and destroyed property including four hotels, a health club and an Assyrian social club in Dohuk.

The victims were Assyrians – an ethnically and linguistically discrete people also known as Chaldeans or Syriacs according to denomination – and Yazidis, members of two ancient communities who, like all the vulnerable elements of Iraqi society, have suffered disproportionately in the aftermath of the war.

The staggering upheaval and violence faced by Assyrians has led to a drop in their numbers from at least 800,000 in 2003 to 400,000 today. They represent 35% of Iraqi refugees since the war, as well as an enormous number of Iraq's internally displaced persons.

The sheer ethnic cleansing of Christians from much of what’s the Muslim nations is not mentioned politely but the numbers do not lie. In every country, you will see this happening. Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, etc. etc. Maybe India should offer these Assyrians a refuge, India has a long history of offering refuge to people from the Middle East. If these nincompoops want to kick out their most productive, educated and intelligent lot, then hey, India could help no?

The sad thing is, this pressure on minorities is not going to cease once the Christians have left. These people are cannibals, they devour their own. Once they don't have the Assyrians to go after, they will go after the Druze, the Kurds, the other minorities. When they are gone, they will go after the minority Islamic sects such as the Shia. Oh! I am sorry, they are already doing that (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc.), their behaviour towards the other minorities such as women, gays and the like is already well known. And the Arab Spring has already brought forward the Salafis to the fore.

I welcome this step actually. This Islamism and basic illiberal thought is a boil in the body of Muslims. This shouldn't be lanced before it has gotten seriously ripe and the infection has run its course. So yes, I welcome the Brotherhood and the Islamist Parties taking power and trying to rule their countries with their perverted and bizarre philosophy. Let people know what they are asking for. Let them live in that pressure cooker of religious fanatics and then know that religion is NOT an answer. At this moment, if you go to a cook in a town or a farmer in a village, they will bang their chest and say Islam is the answer because their neighbourhood Mullah has said so (see above on how the pogrom happened).

Iran provides a classic example. See how a bunch of religious morons can drive their country into a ever restrictive circle of hell (Israel provides another example). But rest of the religious sheep need to understand that religion is about you and God. Not about you and the State. When you allow religion to rule your state, then you end up taking the logical step and kicking out or killing everybody who doesn't follow an increasingly narrow interpretation.

You can see when you take the argument ad absurdum infinitum. There will be one man standing in a field filled with empty houses and dead bodies proudly claiming that they have removed all impurity from his society.


Monday, January 9

The thingie

My home life is filled with thingies. Totally. Everywhere I turn to, I have a thingie to fix, observe, bake, cook, kick, hear complaints about, sniff, wear, you name it.

I dont understand this thingie but my wife does. I dont think I can explain this to you but this graph does so beautifully.

We also have invisible men in the house, but that’s for another post sometime.

Sunday, January 8

Slaughter a bull at the Party Conferences UK/USA #ukpolitics

I think this should be a great way to start the UK Political Party Conferences. Sacrifice an animal. First the story.

The ANC centenary celebrations formally commenced on Saturday with a traditional cleansing ceremony in Waaihoek.
Taking place on the grounds where the church in which the ruling party was founded in 1912 lies, several animals were ceremonially slaughtered.
Traditional and religious leaders opened the cleansing ceremony outside the church on Friday evening with an inter-faith service that turned into an overnight vigil running until the sacrificial ceremony took place.
The animals' blood was spilled inside a kraal to the beat of drums and ululation.
Renowned poet and ANC member Walley Serote told reporters the sacrifice is part of "remembering African traditions" in the hopes of invoking the spirits of the ancestors to offer guidance.
"We spill the blood of these animals in the hopes that our ancestors will help us prevent spilling human blood in the future," he said.
Also in attendance was ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, party chairperson Baleka Mbete, Traditional Affairs minister Richard Baloyi and African-American civil right activist Reverend Jessie Jackson.
President Jacob Zuma brought the cleansing ceremony to a close by sacrificing a black bull. He carried out the symbolic slaughter with a spear presented to him by a former Umkhonto we Sizwe member.
Only a select few were privy to Zuma ending the cleansing ceremony as police kept the media and the majority of those attending away.

The stabbing was left to the "young" who could perform it practically, said Zuma.
"Some of the important remarks I made before the ritual was [about] the importance of the spear. The spear was one of the powerful weapons we used in the wars of resistance," Zuma said.
"This is very symbolic because of the struggle. The apartheid government responded with violence, with burning people and arresting people and finally banning organisations, especially the ANC and PAC."
Zuma then recounted how former ANC leader Albert Luthuli along with the national executive committee at the time created the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) in order to defend itself.
"Luthuli said that as an African man, if you are faced with a powerful enemy ... you retreat to [your] own home where there is a spear, which is your last weapon. And once he follows you to your home, you are left with no alternative but to pick up your spear and stab him.
"We have spoken to the ancestors, it is done. The spear once used to fight apartheid is now used to protect our nation. Let us go out and enjoy the centenary celebrations," Zuma told the crowd afterwards.
The Mangaung Outdoor Sports Complex will play host to a series of inter-cultural performances from 10am onwards.

So lets see what will be the equivalent in the UK.

Conservatives have to go for the Pig or Cats given their associations with Hogging Pigs or Fat Cats

Labour has to go for the cow because of the Mad Cow disease and the beef they have with agriculture

Liberal Democrats would, I guess, prefer to sacrifice a turkey because, well, what else can you associate with that party?

Socialists have to sacrifice a bull because that’s what they peddle

Greens have to sacrifice a head of lettuce?

SNP perhaps has to go for sacrificing a deer? a barking deer perhaps?

BNP has to sacrifice a chicken. Because that’s what they are

I cant remember any other political names…

No questions about the USA, they have their donkeys and elephants already. But what about Libertarians? What should they sacrifice? I guess any civil servant will do? Smile with tongue out