Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Bloomberg has almost got it right…almost

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 1, 2009

A recent article on the NYTimes reports that the City Council voted to add two Muslim holidays to the public school’s holiday schedule. Mayor Bloomberg has a problem with this:

Spurred by a broad coalition of religious, labor and immigrant groups, the City Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Tuesday to add two of the most important Muslim holy days to the public schools’ holiday calendar.

But the vote, which was nonbinding, put the Council in conflict with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has the final say to designate the days off and has said he is resolutely opposed to the idea.

The mayor told reporters before the vote that not all religions could be accommodated on the holiday schedule, only those with “a very large number of kids who practice.”

“If you close the schools for every single holiday, there won’t be any school,” he said. “Educating our kids requires time in the classroom, and that’s the most important thing to us.”

I agree with this, however, Mayor Bloomberg seems to reach the wrong conclusion. It is true that you cannot accomodate every religion, therefore you should accomodate none! First of all,  kids don’t practice any religion. It is their parents that do so, so this issue is not about the kids who practice and how numerous they are. Second, since when is an argument from popularity acceptable when issues of civil rights and equal treatment are on the plate? Such argument only makes sense to the people on the majority. Furthermore, if the City Council felt pressured to pass this resolution it appears to me that the Muslim population must be quite numerous.

The current school calendar recognizes major Christian and Jewish holy days like Christmas and Yom Kippur, but no Muslim holy days.

Can you say discrimination? I don’t know about you, but I live in NYC and I can tell you that there are many, many practicing Muslims living here. If the state is going to honor Christian and Jewish holidays then they cannot discriminate against Muslim ones, based on some cowardly argument from popularity. In fact they should not be discriminating against any religious belief regardless of how numerous or not it’s followers are. The First Amendment to the US Constitution says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

Picking and choosing which religion deserves to be recognized in the public schools’ holiday calendar is in fact doing the opposite, by firmly endorsing and supporting the Christian and Jewish faith over the Muslim faith. As such the only solution that is in line with the US Constitution and which is equally fair to every US Citizen and resident is not to endorse any religious holidays and exclude all religious holidays from the calendar. If the holiday is so important to the parents of the children they can keep the kids home.

The state’s job is not to decide which religion should be favored over which other religion. It’s job is to be equally indifferent to all religions. Mayor Bloomberg would do well to remember that.

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Skepnews – 8/21/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on August 21, 2008

  • Marla Steele makes pet talk a two-way street – For as long as I can remember I’ve had psychic dreams. And I’ve always had lots of pets — dogs, cats and horses. Sometimes when my cats were away from the house for what seemed like a long time, I would call them home in my mind and they would show up a few minutes later. Or when I was in bed and wanted to snuggle up with my dogs I would do the same thing, call them in my mind and they would come into my room. This happened enough times that I knew it wasn’t just coincidence. The more I paid attention to my dreams and the information I was picking up from my animals while I was awake, the clearer they became.
  • Woman gives birth to cups !!!A Mozambican woman recently gave birth to three cups in the southern province of Gaza, independent television channel Stv reported on Thursday, showing images of the crockery. The Mozambican association of traditional healers (Ametramo) told the station that there was nothing strange about the story.
  • Records show more Texas sect members wed minorsFive men from a polygamist sect raided by Texas authorities in April stand accused of sexually assaulting children, but they may not be the only ones. Church documents disclosed as part of a separate child custody case over the last several months identify at least 10 other men as allegedly having married girls who were 16 or younger. The girls’ fathers and stepfathers blessed the unions and sometimes even presided over ceremonies between other young girls and adult men, the documents show. In all, about 20 underage girls, a few as young as 12, are identified in the documents as having married jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs or one of his followers.
  • Man accused of killing stepdaughters in Satanic ritualProsecutors say 26-year-old Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr., who faces two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing his 8- and 10-year-old stepdaughters in January, was practicing satanism and carefully planned the killings as a part of a spell or ritual from “The Satanic Bible.” Harris owned a spell notebook, prosecutors say, that contained references to and drawings from “The Satanic Bible,” widely considered the founding document of the Church of Satan, “Necronomicom,” the so-called dangerous book of the dead invented by author H.P. Lovecraft and “Pagan Ways,” an introduction to Paganism. Firefighters found the girls, 10-year-old Kendra Suing and 8-year-old Alysha Suing, stabbed and strangled in their bedrooms on Jan. 6. Authorities had been dispatched to the house at 1420 Nebraska St. for a fire in the basement.
  • Increase in measles spread mostly due to anti-vaccination parents The number of measles cases in the U.S. is at its highest level since 1997, and nearly half of those involve children whose parents rejected vaccination, government health officials reported Thursday. Pediatricians are frustrated, saying they are having to spend more time convincing parents the shot is safe. The CDC’s review found that a number of cases involved home-schooled children not required to have the vaccines. In a typical year, only one outbreak occurs in the United States, infecting perhaps 10 to 20 people. So far this year through July 30 the country has seen seven outbreaks, including one in Illinois with 30 cases, said Seward, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases. Of this year’s total, 122 were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. Some were unvaccinated because the children were under age 1, making them too young to get their first measles shot.
  • Nigerian man faces death over his 86 wives – Nigeria’s Islamic authority has told the man who has 86 wives to choose only four and repent within three days or else he will be sentenced to death. Talking to the media then, Mr Abubakar challenged Muslim scholars, saying there is no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives. “A man with 10 wives would collapse and die, but my own power is given by Allah. That is why I have been able to control 86 of them,” he told the BBC.

Skepnews – 8/14/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on August 14, 2008

  • Mob kills 50-year old “blasphemous” Nigerian man – A 50-year-old Muslim man, who allegedly made a blasphemous statement against Prophet Muhammad, was beaten to death in Kano on Saturday. The man was killed at Sheka Aci Lafiya quarters when some angry Muslim youths besieged his house and beat him to a state of coma. He was beaten and left unconscious before the police intervened and dispersed the crowd.
  • Saudi man kills daughter for converting to Christianity – A Saudi man working with the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice recently killed his daughter for converting to Christianity. According to sources close to the victim, the religious police member had cut the tongue of the girl and burned her to death following a heated debate on religion.
  • Saudi mother takes husband to court to stop marriage of 8 year-old daughter to 50 year old man – The Saudi Arabian mother of an eight-year-old girl is trying to stop her marrying a middle-aged man who made a marriage contract with the girl’s father in the province of al-Qasim, in the centre of the country. According to the Saudi newspaper, Okaz, the news emerged after the mother of the child reported her husband and took him to court to prevent the marriage from going ahead.
  • Netherlands allows polygamous marriages for Muslims only – Although polygamy is banned in the Netherlands, the marriages of Muslims who have several wives are recognised by Dutch authorities. Registrars in the major cities, in particular, record dozens of bigamous or polygamous marriages per year. These marriages are prohibited and an offence in the Netherlands. However, polygamous marriages that take place in countries where more than one wife is permitted, such as Morocco, are accepted, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports.
  • Saudi woman arrested for driving a car – Saudi religious police have arrested a woman in the region of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia for driving a car. The woman was later released after her family posted bail, and will now be put on trial. Conservatives argue that if women were allowed to drive, this would lead to women being able to mix freely with men, to corruption and the destruction of family values.

Killing in the name of Islam is acceptable!

Posted in Muslims Against Sharia by Skepdude on July 28, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “MUSLIMS AGAINST SHARIA’

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. No, not the States bunky, Canada! (OK, the States too!)

However, things are not so peachy keen in all parts of the world as this report from the Amsterdam bureau of the Religious News Blog suggests!

Are you ready for this kids?

Killing in the name of Islam is acceptable…. that’s the view of one third of British Muslim students!

I kid you not!

What makes it even more hilarious, (if you can call it that) was that just the other day Britain was told “by a United Nations committee” (and reported first here on Perspective) to take firm action to combat ‘negative public attitudes’ towards Muslims.

(Gee, why are there “negative public attitudes” towards Muslims?)

The nine-member human rights committee also criticised some of the UK’s anti terror measures.”

But while it is a worthwhile to combat discrimination of any kind, one also has to be realistic. In this case that means recognizing and actively combating the very real threat formed by radical Muslims bent on spreading their hateful, violent version of Islam among those who want no part of it.

News from around the around the world shows that the so-called ‘purest’ forms of Islam — various extremist groups do not quite agree on which form that is — is incompatible with democracy, human rights — and indeed, modern life.

When angry Muslims engage in hateful and often violent protests throughout the world against cartoons, teddy bears, and whatever else they feel is an insult to Islam, no one — no person, no committee, and no government — will be able to change ‘negative public attitudes’ toward Muslims. -Ed.

The following news article illustrates the very real dangers the Western world faces from the rise in Islamic fundamentalism:

Almost one third of British Muslim students think it is acceptable to kill in the name of Islam, results of a poll show.

The findings shed light on the extent of campus radicalism and will raise concerns about extremism across British Universities.

The YouGov poll for the Centre for Social Cohesion also found that two in five Muslims at university support the idea of Islamic sharia codes being enshrined in British law, the Sunday Times has reported.

One of the report authors Hannah Stuart said the study’s findings came as an embarrassing blow to those who play down the threat of extremism within Britain’s campuses.

She said: ‘Significant numbers appear to hold beliefs which contravene democratic values.

‘These results are deeply embarrassing for those who have said there is no extremism in British universities.’

Fosis, the country’s largest Muslim student body criticised the report.

But Anthony Glees, professor of security and intelligence studies at Buckingham University, said: ‘The finding that a large number of students think it is okay to kill in the name of religion is alarming.

‘There is a wide cultural divide between Muslim and non-Muslim students.’

‘The solution is to stop talking about celebrating diversity and focus on integration and assimilation.’

The research saw 1,400 Muslim and non-Muslim students questioned and more than 20 universities were visited. It was discovered that extremist preachers regularly gave speeches that were inflammatory, homophobic or bordering on antisemitic.

The research found that 55 per cent of Muslim students thought Islam was incompatible with democracy!

The report also found that 40 per cent of recipients said it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely; 25 per cent said they had little or no respect for gays.This figure was higher (32%) for male Muslim students.

Among non Muslims, the figure was only 4%.

A third of Muslim students interviewed supported the creation of a world-wide caliphate or Islamic state.

On top of this, a number of terrorists have been radicalised at British universities. Kafeel Ahmed, who drove a flaming jeep into a building at Glasgow airport last year and died of his burns, is believed to have been radicalised while studying at Anglia Ruskin university, Cambridge.

If Britain is an indicator of what we will eventually have in store for us here in North America then things are not looking good! Almost a quarter of British Muslims say the London bombing attacks can be justified because of the Government’s support for the ‘war on terror’.

The shocking 23 per cent figure is the equivalent of 370,000 of the 1.6m Muslims living in the UK.

And it is almost double previous opinion polls suggesting 13 per cent believe the atrocity, which claimed 52 innocent lives, could be justified.

It will re-ignite the debate over whether the Government and Muslim leaders are doing enough to tackle extremism.

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don’t want you to know!) and is available as an E-Book H E R E ! and as a paperback H E R E !

Visit the blog “Perspective” at http://allans-perspective.blogspot.com

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “MUSLIMS AGAINST SHARIA’