Friday, April 25, 2008

Links - April 25

Israel's Air Force Chief: Israel's Air Force Is Ready For Any Threat, Especially A Nuclear Iran
Seems finally somebody takes Islamic Iran's threat seriously!

Stop Iran Going Nuclear
Indiatimes: Iran must be stopped from going nuclear. There are no two opinions on that. India has publicly demonstrated its commitment to a non-proliferation regime by voting for the IAEA resolution and seizing nuclear-grade graphite in transit to Iran. But the US and the western powers appear to think that bluster and coercion will compel Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment programme even as their industries continue to support the Iranian nuclear effort.

Iran agrees to discuss alleged nuclear weapons program
Finally Iranian authorities agreed to talk about their nuclear warheads intentions! we should wait and see, are they gonna be trustworthy?! Well, I don't think so.

Denmark evacuates embassies in Algeria, Afghanistan

cartoons?! This sequel is not gonna end till superstition is part of Islam and Muslims call it holy/sacred!

Underground billion-dollar art gallery in Iran

One of the finest collections of modern art anywhere in the world can be found stored in archives at Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art:

Courtesy ABC

Islamic fashion show vs. daily life fashion in Iran

Courtesy to BBC

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Religion vs. rationality and science

I wrote about my very obvious reasons why religion is totall opposit of rationality and science but today in Guardian you can read two side of story which is answering to the well-known question "Is religion a threat to rationality and science?"

I personally prefer Professor Daniel Dennett's answer, he said:


If religion isn't the greatest threat to rationality and scientific progress, what is? Perhaps alcohol, or television, or addictive video games. But although each of these scourges - mixed blessings, in fact - has the power to overwhelm our best judgment and cloud our critical faculties, religion has a feature of that none of them can boast: it doesn't just disable, it honours the disability. People are revered for their capacity to live in a dream world, to shield their minds from factual knowledge and make the major decisions of their lives by consulting voices in their heads that they call forth by rituals designed to intoxicate them.

It used to be the case that we tended to excuse drunk drivers when they crashed because they weren't entirely in control of their faculties at the time, but now we have wisely inverted that judgment, holding drunk drivers doubly culpable for putting themselves in that irresponsible position in the first place. It is high time we inverted the public attitude about religion as well, finding all socially destructive acts of religious passion shameful, not honourable, and holding those who abet them - the preachers and other apologists for religious zeal - as culpable as the bartenders and negligent hosts who usher dangerous drivers on to the highways. Our motto should be: Friends don't let friends steer their lives by religion.

Right now, Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh, a young student, resides on death row in Afghanistan, sentenced to execution for committing blasphemy. Imagine! We're living in the 21st century, and in "liberated" Afghanistan (not Taliban Afghanistan) blasphemy is still a capital crime. Most of the rest of the world is tongue-tied, unwilling to tell those bent on carrying out this barbaric sentence that they are simply wrong, and should not thus humiliate themselves and their traditions. Where are the peaceful demonstrations of protest? Are people unwilling to hurt the feelings of Muslims? We are quick to condemn other outrages, but religious passion, genuine or feigned, shields people from the moral judgments of their fellow human beings, judgments to which we should all alike be subject.

There is an unbalance in the framing of this resolution, and Robert Winston has the worst of it. He must try to allay a host of concerns, an unending task, while - as everyone knows all too well - in a single cataclysmic day my side could be proven by one fanatical act, not that anyone would be left to cheer my victory. Not just rationality and scientific progress, but just about everything else we hold dear could be laid waste by a single massively deluded "sacramental" act. True, you don't have to be religious to be crazy, but it helps. Indeed, if you are religious, you don't have to be crazy in the medically certifiable sense in order to do massively crazy things. And - this is the worst of it - religious faith can give people a sort of hyperbolic confidence, an utter unconcern about whether they might be making a mistake, that enables acts of inhumanity that would otherwise be unthinkable.

This imperviousness to reason is, I think, the property that we should most fear in religion. Other institutions or traditions may encourage a certain amount of irrationality - think of the wild abandon that is often appreciated in sports or art - but only religion demands it as a sacred duty. This might not matter if the activities that composed religion were somewhat insulated from the rest of the world the way they are in sports and art. Then we could treat religious allegiances the way we treat differences in taste: if you have a taste for kick boxing or heavy metal bands, that's your business. Knock yourself out, as we say, it's only a game. Not so with religion. Its arena includes not just the participants but all of life on the planet. Given that, it's troubling to note how avidly some people engage in deliberate make-believe in order to execute the prescribed duties.

The better is enemy of the best: religion may make many people better, but it is preventing them from being as good as they could be. If only we could transfer all that respect, loyalty and intense devotion from an imaginary being - God - to something real: the wonderful world of goodness we and our ancestors have made, and of which we are now the stewards.

Please follow the whole debate on Guardian Education.

Links - April 22

Clinton: Iran would pay a 'very high price' for nuclear attack
The United States could “totally obliterate” Iran if it made a nuclear attack on Israel.

How she'd deter Iran Nukes - Clinton's Security Umbrella
Massive Retaliation

Al-Qaida No. 2 says 9/11 theory propagated by Iran
Is Iran really trying to discredit the al-Qaida terror network by spreading the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind the Sept. 11 attacks?!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Professor of international law speaks before Congress on Human Rights & Religious Freedom in Iran

Payam Akhavan, professor of international law at McGill University Faculty of Law, speaks before Congress on February 21, 2008, for a hearing on "Human Rights & Religious Freedom in Iran."

It's the honest speak about Islamic regime of Iran on abusing human rights and lack of Religious Freedom.

2nd Video, 3rd Video, 4th Video

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mosque Explosion in Iran

It happened in a city in Iran, Shiraz and there is a massive censorship on this news in Iran. Government agencies shutdown every possible way to get news about what really happened, who was the responsible and how.

These kind of bombings is very well-known in Iran because right after Islamic revolution in 1979, there were series of bombings, suicide bombings and assassinations which later there was rumors that current Supreme leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Hashemi Rafsanjani were eliminating opponents and/or any possible rivals.

Also there were some bombings in civilian areas, seemed just to get attention and/or some sort of message or likely spreading fear in society. Now after years, it seems they are still hold on to their old school way, bombings!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

There is no goldfish this year

Nowruz is the traditional Iranian new year holiday celebrated by Iranian, Turkic and many other peoples in West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Caucasus, the Crimea, and the Balkans.

Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the Iranian year. It supposed to be full of joy and happines for people and all along during Nowruz holidays but for Iranians it has not been during past years, specially last year with track record of executions, imprisonment of students, torturing prisoner, censorship, massive crackdown on worker's union and etc. so Tehran university students gave away a thousand little black fish to people, just to send their message to people's home.

It should be noted that major tradition of Nowruz is Haft Sin which is a table which includes seven specific items starting with the letter 'S' and some other itmes. An item that usually people put on their table is a bowl of water with goldfish which means life within life.

Black fishes were notification to strange bystanders that this Nowruz is not the Nowruz that they were looking for, it's a sad moment in their life and in history of Iran. There is no goldfish this year.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How to defeat Islam

Fellow blogger, Hard To Swallow left me a comment which end me up in Citizen Warrior's blog, and I head to his article about "Ayaan Hirsi Ali Talks Frankly on How To Defeat Islamic Terrorism". I didn't get to read this interview before and it's so amazing how she articulates the current problems form Islam world. I keep it short and just copy and past Citizen Warrior's article, here you are:

In a long interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rogier van Bakel of Reason Magazine brought out her best with some excellent questions. Ali was raised as a Muslim in Somalia, and has since become an outspoken atheist who is now marked for death by Islamic fundamentalists. She is sharp and bold and straightforward. I am excerpting parts the article here. If you have the time, it will be worth it to read the whole article: "The Trouble Is The West."

Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times? Slavery in the United States ended in part because of opposition by prominent church members and the communities they galvanized. The Polish Catholic Church helped defeat the Jaruzelski puppet regime. Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?

Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.
Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

Reason: Militarily?

Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

Reason: Are we really heading toward anything so ominous?

Hirsi Ali: I think that’s where we’re heading. We’re heading there because the West has been in denial for a long time. It did not respond to the signals that were smaller and easier to take care of. Now we have some choices to make. This is a dilemma: Western civilization is a celebration of life—everybody’s life, even your enemy’s life. So how can you be true to that morality and at the same time defend yourself against a very powerful enemy that seeks to destroy you?

Reason: George Bush, not the most conciliatory person in the world, has said on plenty of occasions that we are not at war with Islam.

Hirsi Ali: If the most powerful man in the West talks like that, then, without intending to, he’s making radical Muslims think they’ve already won. There is no moderate Islam. There are Muslims who are passive, who don’t all follow the rules of Islam, but there’s really only one Islam, defined as submission to the will of God. There’s nothing moderate about it.


Hirsi Ali: We have to get serious about this. The Egyptian dictatorship would not allow many radical imams to preach in Cairo, but they’re free to preach in giant mosques in London. Why do we allow it?

Reason: You’re in favor of civil liberties, but applied selectively?

Hirsi Ali: No. Asking whether radical preachers ought to be allowed to operate is not hostile to the idea of civil liberties; it’s an attempt to save civil liberties. A nation like this one is based on civil liberties, and we shouldn’t allow any serious threat to them. So Muslim schools in the West, some of which are institutions of fascism that teach innocent kids that Jews are pigs and monkeys — I would say in order to preserve civil liberties, don’t allow such schools.

Reason: In Holland, you wanted to introduce a special permit system for Islamic schools, correct?

Hirsi Ali: I wanted to get rid of them. I wanted to have them all closed, but my party said it wouldn’t fly. Top people in the party privately expressed that they agreed with me, but said, “We won’t get a majority to do that,” so it never went anywhere.

Reason: Well, your proposal went against Article 23 of the Dutch Constitution, which guarantees that religious movements may teach children in religious schools and says the government must pay for this if minimum standards are met. So it couldn’t be done. Would you in fact advocate that again?

Hirsi Ali: Oh, yeah.

Reason: Here in the United States, you’d advocate the abolition of—
Hirsi Ali: All Muslim schools. Close them down. Yeah, that sounds absolutist. I think 10 years ago things were different, but now the jihadi genie is out of the bottle. I've been saying this in Australia and in the U.K. and so on, and I get exactly the same arguments: The Constitution doesn’t allow it. But we need to ask where these constitutions came from to start with — what’s the history of Article 23 in the Netherlands, for instance? There were no Muslim schools when the constitution was written. There were no jihadists. They had no idea.

Reason: Do you believe that the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights — documents from more than 200 ago — ought to change?

Hirsi Ali: They’re not infallible. These Western constitutions are products of the Enlightenment. They’re products of reason, and reason dictates that you can only progress when you can analyze the circumstances and act accordingly. So now that we live under different conditions, the threat is different. Constitutions can be adapted, and they are, sometimes. The American Constitution has been amended a number of times. With the Dutch Constitution, I think the latest adaptation was in 1989. Constitutions are not like the Koran — non-negotiable, never-changing.

Look, in a democracy, it’s like this: I suggest, “Let’s close Muslim schools.” You say, “No, we can’t do it.” The problem that I’m pointing out to you gets bigger and bigger. Then you say, “OK, let’s somehow discourage them,” and still the problem keeps on growing, and in another few years it gets so bad that I belatedly get what I wanted in the first place.

I respect that it needs to happen this way, but there’s a price for the fact that you and I didn’t share these insights earlier, and the longer we wait, the higher the price. In itself the whole process is not a bad thing. People and communities and societies learn through experience. The drawback is, in this case, that “let’s learn from experience” means other people’s lives will be taken.


Reason: Samir Azouz, another young man in Holland convicted of terrorist plotting, attended a fundamentalist Muslim school in Amsterdam which is still open. He had maps of the Dutch parliament. He wanted to kill me and other politicians. He wanted to cause murder and mayhem congruent with the set of beliefs that he was taught in school using Dutch taxpayers’ money. Now go back in time a little. Isn’t it extremely cruel when you put yourself in the shoes of that little boy? He was just going to an officially recognized school in a multicultural society. Everyone approved — and now he’s being punished for it. He’s in jail.


Reason: Having lived in the United States for about a year now, do you find that Muslims in the United States have by and large integrated better here than they have in Europe?

Hirsi Ali: Since I moved here, I’ve spent most of my time in airports, in airplanes, in waiting rooms, in hotels, doing promotion for Infidel all over the world, so the amount of time I’ve actually lived in the U.S. is very small. But yes, I have the impression that Muslims in the United States are far more integrated than Muslims in Europe. Of course, being assimilated doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be a jihadist, but the likelihood of Muslims turning radical here seems lower than in Europe.

For one thing, America doesn’t really have a welfare system. Mohammed Bouyeri had all day long to plot the murder of Theo van Gogh. American Muslims have to get a job. What pushes people who come to America to assimilate is that it’s expected of them. And people are not mollycoddled by the government.

There’s a lot of white guilt in America, but it’s directed toward black Americans and native Indians, not toward Muslims and other immigrants. People come from China, Vietnam, and all kinds of Muslim countries. To the average American, they’re all fellow immigrants.

The white guilt in Germany and Holland and the U.K. is very different. It has to do with colonialism. It has to do with Dutch emigrants having spread apartheid in South Africa. It has to do with the Holocaust. So the mind-set toward immigrants in Europe is far more complex than here. Europeans are more reticent about saying no to immigrants.

And by and large, Muslim immigrants in Europe do not come with the intention to assimilate. They come with the intention to work, earn some money, and go back. That’s how the first wave of immigrants in the Netherlands was perceived: They would just come to work and then they’d go away. The newer generations that have followed are coming not so much to work and more to reap the benefits of the welfare state. Again, assimilation is not really on their minds.

Also, in order to get official status here in the U.S., you have to have an employer, so it’s the employable who are coming. The Arabs who live here came as businessmen, and a lot of them come from wealthy backgrounds. There are also large communities of Indian and Pakistani Muslims, who tend to be very liberal. Compare that to the Turks in Germany, who mostly come from the poor villages of Anatolia. Or compare it to the Moroccans in the Netherlands, who are for the most part Berbers with a similar socio-economic background. It’s a completely different set of people.

And finally, there’s the matter of borders. In America, Muslim immigrants typically pass through an airport, which means the Americans have a better way of controlling who comes in — a far cry from Europe’s open borders. Forty years ago, when Europe began talking about lifting borders between countries to facilitate the free traffic of goods and labor, they weren’t thinking about waves of immigrants. They thought of Europe as a place people left. America, on the other hand, has always been an immigration nation, with border controls that have been in place for a long time. I know the southern border is difficult to monitor, but for Arab Muslims and Pakistanis coming to America, it’s very hard to enter illegally.


Reason: Tolerance is probably the most powerful word there is in the Netherlands. No other word encapsulates better what the Dutch believe really defines them. That makes it very easy for people to say that when they’re being criticized, they’re not being tolerated — and from there it’s only a small step to saying they’re being discriminated against or they’re the victims of Islamophobia or racism or what have you.

Hirsi Ali: We have to revert to the original meaning of the term tolerance. It meant you agreed to disagree without violence. It meant critical self-reflection. It meant not tolerating the intolerant. It also came to mean a very high level of personal freedom.

Then the Muslims arrived, and they hadn’t grown up with that understanding of tolerance. In short order, tolerance was now defined by multiculturalism, the idea that all cultures and religions are equal. Expectations were created among the Muslim population. They were told they could preserve their own culture, their own religion. The vocabulary was quickly established that if you criticize someone of color, you’re a racist, and if you criticize Islam, you’re an Islamophobe.

Reason: The international corollary to the word tolerance is probably respect. The alleged lack of respect has become a perennial sore spot in relations between the West and Islam. Salman Rushdie receiving a British knighthood supposedly signified such a lack of respect, as did the Danish cartoons last year, and many other things. Do you believe this is what Muslims genuinely crave—respect?

Hirsi Ali: It’s not about respect. It’s about power, and Islam is a political movement.

Reason: Uniquely so?

Hirsi Ali: Well, it hasn’t been tamed like Christianity. See, the Christian powers have accepted the separation of the worldly and the divine. We don’t interfere with their religion, and they don’t interfere with the state. That hasn’t happened in Islam.

But I don’t even think that the trouble is Islam. The trouble is the West, because in the West there’s this notion that we are invincible and that everyone will modernize anyway, and that what we are seeing now in Muslim countries is a craving for respect. Or it’s poverty, or it’s caused by colonization.

The Western mind-set — that if we respect them, they’re going to respect us, that if we indulge and appease and condone and so on, the problem will go away — is delusional. The problem is not going to go away. Confront it, or it’s only going to get bigger.


Read the whole interview "The Trouble Is The West" in Reason Magazine