Entries from December 2007 ↓

Barack Obama is not (currently) a Muslim

According to his website, Barack Obama is not a Muslim.

Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ.

The suggestion that Obama is some sort of Muslim Manchurian candidate has been a constant slur against the US Democratic presidential candidate. Given the Muslim connection is considered by some to be political poison, it’s understandable why he and his supporters have gone to such lengths to clarify that he’s never prayed in a mosque, been a Muslim, etc.

However, let’s consider some of the information that has emerged so far:

  1. His father, named Hussein, was a Kenyan Muslim who, according to Obama, lived in a village with a lot of other Muslims but apparently didn’t practice himself. He and his mother (a Hawaiian atheist) chose the name Barack (a derivative of the Arabic word baraka or blessing) for their son;
  2. After his mother divorced his Muslim Kenyan father, she married a Muslim Indonesian. Obama attended a Catholic school in Indonesia and, according to official school records, his religion was listed as ‘Muslim’. He might have just as easily been enrolled as a Christian but his parents chose to advise the Catholic school that their son was a Muslim;
  3. Childhood friends are reported as saying that they remember the young Obama praying in the mosque and occasionally attending jummah (Friday) congregational prayers.

Obviously, Obama is not now a Muslim. He’s a “committed Christian”. But is it true to say that he was never a Muslim?

US Political Candidates spin Bhutto Death

The following two videos, provided to us by Ibn Yaqoub, demonstrates how the American presidential candidates are attempting to spin the death of Benazir Bhutto to their advantage.

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Return of the Fake Sheikh

The Fake Sheikh has written yet another letter to the family of Private Worsley, the Australian soldier recently killed in Afghanistan. This time, “Sheikh Haron” writes a lengthy and rambling letter which culminates in this question:

Dear John Worsley you say that you are proud of your son. Do you think the spirit of your son is proud of the Australian that has said such a big lie against a Muslim priest by taking advantage of Luke’s spirit?

This would be strange enough but now it seems the mysterious “Sheikh Haron” has engaged the services of a Sydney law firm and is sending legal threats [pdf] to News Limited in response to coverage of one of his earlier missives. As the letter, penned by Goldsmiths Lawyers states, he has two complaints:

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The anti-Ron Paul Coalition

Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo on the unholy alliance that has formed between the “extreme Left” and “neoconish Right” in response to the rise and rise of American presidential hopeful Dr Ron Paul:

The Ron Paul campaign has generated a lot of excitement, especially among young people. It has made political history by raising more money in a single day than any other presidential campaign, ever. It has inspired thousands and given hope to those who had given up on politics altogether – as well as thrilling longtime libertarians who have been laboring in the vineyards all these years and haven’t seen anything like this before. On the other hand, it has inspired – if that’s the right word – a counter-movement, an anti-Paul coalition that extends from the extreme Left to the neoconish Right, and all points in between. What’s interesting is that the lies told by these anti-Paulistas amount to pretty much the same tiresome mantra, no matter what the politics of the perpetrator, and it amounts to this: Paul is a secret neo-Nazi.

I kid you not.

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Country Music and Suicide

According to some research [pdf]:

The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability. The existence of a country music subculture is thought to reinforce the link between country music and suicide. Our model explains 51% of the variance in urban white suicide rates.

(via The Frontal Cortex via Yobbo)

Halal eating in Melbourne

Urban Muslim, a new (to us anyway) blog by an Australian Muslim, has some reviews up of various halal eateries in Melbourne that is worth a look. So far, Biryani House, Bali Bagus, Moroccan Soup Bar, Zam Zam, and La Paella have been reviewed but hopefully more will follow.

Insha’Allah, in the new year, we’ll be publishing some more reviews of our own. Baybers has a fascinating tale to tell about one Melbourne establishment — not listed amongst those reviewed at Urban Muslim — and their innovative but somewhat disgusting use of sanitary napkins for plumbing purposes. Not to be missed!

And, aside from the usual suspects, there are a growing number of outlets selling halal food that don’t advertise themselves to Muslims or even service many Muslim customers. In keeping with the maxim that no good deed should be left unpunished, we’ll be publicising a few of these places here on the site. I’m sure our Muslim readers would be interested to know where they can sit in their thowbs and burqas amongst the genteel and blue-rinsed folk in one of Melbourne’s leafy suburbs and munch on a halal steak sandwich.

In the mean time, for readers interested in dining out over the holiday period, we remind them of the two golden rules of halal dining in Melbourne (and possibly the entire Western world) — particularly in relation to Indian and Pakistani food:

  1. The quality and taste of the food is inversely proportional to the filthiness of the toilets. Can anyone name an Indian restaurant in Melbourne that serves good quality, authentic food and where the toilets are clean? Exactly.
  2. Avoid any restaurant that has photos of the Indian cricket team at the front door. This is affectionately referred to as the Rajah Sahib Rule in recognition of the great Rajah Sahib restaurant (non-halal); the entrance of which was famously adorned with photos of various Indian cricketers (amongst others).

Courier Mail: Muslims parody Ibrahim (as) during hajj?

The Courier Mail have a curious article today attempting to draw parallels between hajj and the traditional Boxing Day cricket match. Here’s a taste (emphasis added):

Close to 2 million Muslim pilgrims have or are finishing the great Hajj, or pilgrimage, in Mecca. The Hajj is a compulsory tenet of Islam which signifies one’s highest attainment of faith in this life and is a testament of one’s commitment to God. During the pilgrimage Muslims, dressed in only a white shroud, completed certain rites which included a parody of the stone-throwing of Abraham to ward off Satan. The Aussies will be doing something similar, dressed in white but throwing down stumps, and the Indians will be making a special prayer to ward off that Great Satan Warnie, so he does not make a comeback.

Also the Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the kaaba (the cubed-shaped building) seven times and we all hope that the Aussies will be doing the lap of honour around the MCG after a close game with India.

Leaving aside what one may think of the comparison being made in this article, the use of the word ‘parody’ to describe the stoning of the jamarat is entirely inappropriate. An over-zealous sub-editor, perhaps?

AFIC: Muslims ‘celebrating’ Christmas?

Muslims celebrate Christmas?  Apparently so:

Council president Ikebal Patel says Jesus is a prophet of Islam, and Muslims in Australia do enjoy and celebrate the Christmas period.

“In Islam, Christmas is a time for relaxing with family, for exchanging gifts,” he said.

“It’s also a time when you really reflect on the past year and I think its a time when you take your children into the shopping mall and have Santa put them on their laps and you take photos.”

Mr Patel has invited Rev Nile to have a coffee with him and learn more about Islam.

The Relationship between Charity and Wealth

Portfolio.com has an interesting article on the link between charity and personal wealth:

In John Bunyan’s 1684 classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, the character Old Honest poses this riddle to the innkeeper Gaius: “A man there was, tho’ some did count him mad, / The more he cast away, the more he had.” Gaius solves the riddle thus: “He that bestows his Goods upon the Poor / Shall have as much again, and ten times more.”

Less poetically, the idea is this: Giving makes you rich. A lovely sentiment, to be sure, but quite backward-sounding to an economist. You obviously have to have money before you can give it away, right? Or in the pithy words of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions—he had money too.”

Well, it turns out that Gaius was right, and new economic research backs him up. Emerging evidence—crunchy statistics from real data, not the mushy self-help stuff—supports the contention that giving stimulates prosperity, for both individuals and nations. Charity, it appears, can really make you rich.

Ron Paul breaks another fundraising record

The so-called Ron Paul Money Bomb has exploded yet again with the great Ron Paul, libertarian candidate for the GOP nomination, raising a remarkable USD$4.5 million in one day of fundraising. On the internet.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, an anti-war libertarian who has clashed with his rivals over Iraq, raised a record $4.5 million in a one-day Internet fund-raising event on Sunday, his campaign said in a statement.

Paul’s campaign said the Texas congressman had received more than 41,000 donations by early evening, shattering a $4.2 million record in a 24-hour period last month.

More analysis here.

And as for why I think Ron Paul is so good, here’s a recent interview with the 20/20 program in which Ron Paul summarises his foreign policy views:

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