Closing the week 51 – Featuring Christmas in the Middle East

Most popular on Closer this week:

  1. Een wekelijks portie burgerschap 51 – Een prettig gesprek…met Nazima en Izz ad-Din
  2. The Politics of Pleasure – The Digital Story of the Nativity
  3. Gülenbeweging brengt in Tweede Kamer SP en PVV nader tot elkaar
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Featuring: Christmas in the Middle East
Xmas joy mixed with threats for Mideast Christians – Yahoo! News

Christians in the Middle East prepared on Friday to celebrate Christmas, some in fear of attacks against their community, as in Iraq, and others in the most discreet way possible, as in Saudi Arabia.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians struggle against institutionalised prejudice | World news | The Guardian

Christmas is coming in Giza, but the neighbourhood is far from festive. The road to St Mary’s, the half-built church in the neighbourhood of Al-Talbiyya, is strewn with giant clumps of concrete – all torn from the four-lane highway that towers above.

Christmas in Beirut | Informed Comment

The people of Beirut, Lebanon, are dealing with their chronic political nervousness with bright lights and Christmas cheer. Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri lighted the huge Christmas tree downtown Beirut, and 120 other Christmas trees were spread through the capital. Lebanon consists of Christians, Sunni Muslims, Shiites, and Druze, and has a history of ecumenical respect for the rituals of other groups.

Christmas Trees, Christmas Parties among Egyptian Muslims | Informed Comment

Some 500,000 Christmas trees were sold this year in Egypt, an extremely mysterious statistic. The country’s Orthodox Coptic Church celebrates Christmas on January 7, considers the day distinctly less important than Easter, and does not have a tradition of Christmas trees or Santa Claus. The roughly 8 million Copts are the largest national community of Christians in the Middle East. Admittedly, there are 200,000 uniate Catholics who follow the Pope in Rome but retain their Coptic liturgy (Coptic is a late, Christian-influenced form of the old Pharaonic language of Egypt). But 200,000 is only some 40,000 families or so.

Egypt celebrates Christmas local way | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today’s News from Egypt

Hotels and touristic outlets have long celebrated Christmas for tourism-related reasons. However, over the past few years, the holiday has been visibly gaining ground throughout various strata of Egyptian society.

Pickled Politics » Merry Christmas

According to Christian tradition, today marks the birthday of Jesus Christ. Christianity actually has a very long history in the subcontinent; there have been settled communities of Christians in India for hundreds of years longer than there have been Christians in northern Europe (including Britain). Thomas the Apostle is also believed to have been sent to India by Jesus to spread his message; St Thomas is buried in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Apocryphally, there are some unconfirmed legends of Jesus visiting Buddhist monasteries in northern India and Tibet during the “missing years” between his childhood and his early thirties.

Radical activism and violence
Meet the DICKHEADS, and pity them | afoe | A Fistful of Euros | European Opinion

This is worrying for all the obvious reasons – it shows that they are rationalising the false positive problem by defining-down the very idea of a suspect package, to the point where there is no real distinction between a suspect package and a non-suspect package. But the problem is broader than that. Consider the last few Al-Qa’ida incidents. All of them have been, objectively, pathetic. The common denominator has been failure mixed with futility. Terrorists who regularly and publicly fail to kill people or destroy artefacts are simply not terrifying. But the official narrative has been that this represents a “new form of terrorism”.

Terrorism and the Myth of Santa Claus: Do you believe? | Kings of War

Some guy is credited with giving gifts to children. In the beginning, he did this himself. He gets found out and venerated. Over time the real person fades from the forefront, but the tradition–the idea–lives on. More than that, though, independent of any central organisation or instruction, millions of people each year give gifts in his name around the world. There are lots of variations in the hows and wherefores, but the main idea continues without any direction. While the idea started as a religiously motivated gesture, it is flexible enough to allow for almost anyone to join in. Sure, there are lots of reinforcing messages, reminding people to play along, passed along from relatives, and other community members (like Coca Cola, Mattel, and Walmart). If you look at it from one perspective (say, if you were an alien who had no idea of the historical context) and looked at the events of 6 January, 6, 24, or 25 December each year, you might think that Santa Claus had an army of millions of obedient followers, doing his bidding, while he controls it all from his secret lair at the North Pole.

Self-Inflicted Wounds | Kings of War

The findings are sharp, counter-intuitive and they face head-on the almost paradoxical nature of the threat — to put it bluntly: al-Qaeda became stronger and weaker at the same time. The report should raise a humbling question for the objectives in the war in Afghanistan. What can actually be achieved there against jihadist militancy? – The authors add a note of caution at the end. Recognizing internal divisions enables weakening jihadi groups, they write, but it will not lead to “a grand solution” to the problem of Islamist militancy. “Indeed, acknowledging the divisions means acknowledging that the challenge posed by jihadis has accompanied us since long before 9/11 and will be with us long after.”

Islamophobia Watch – Documenting anti Muslim bigotry – Mail recycles old story about ‘killing for Islam’

“The latest WikiLeaks revelation: 1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam and 40% want Sharia law”, reads a typical shock-horror headline in today’s Daily Mail. The reference is to the findings in a July 2008 report by the right-wing anti-Muslim think-tank, the Centre for Social Cohesion, whose figures were quoted in a leaked diplomatic cable from the US embassy in London.

Mail’s Wikileaks ‘revelation’ about Muslim students is their own 2008 story | Science |

Spot the difference: Today’s Daily Mail carries the headline “The latest WikiLeaks revelation: 1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam and 40% want Sharia law.” If that sounds awfully familiar, it should: back in 2008 the paper revealed that “one third of British Muslim students say it’s acceptable to kill for Islam,” and that “40 per cent want to see the introduction of Islamic sharia law in Britain.”

The Mail in 2010 claim the figures are from a “a survey revealed by the WikiLeaks’ publication of U.S. diplomatic cables,” but in fact the cables simply repeat a survey published in the, er, Daily Mail two years ago.

Daily Mail Scaremongers About ‘Killing for Islam’

Shame the DM reporter didn’t look further afield in researching this story to take note of another report on Muslims students also released in 2008 and authored by Dr June Edmunds of Cambridge University.

The Winterval Myth. | The Disinformed

This essay is not an attempt to debunk every Christmas-has-been-banned story, that is a job for another day. No, this essay is a thorough examination of the Winterval myth, which you may have read about on numerous occasions thanks to the fact that our wonderful media have repeated it over 283 times since 1998. This essay will take you back to 1997 and the man who created Winterval. It will explain what Winterval actually was and how it was never about replacing Christmas in any way – which explains why the first Winterval in 1997 was such a great success. The Winterval myth was created by a Bishop and repeated by a local newspaper, this essay will look at that article and examine just how such a terrible piece of journalism could be published – and how on earth could 8 newspapers churnalise it the next day.

Iraq: An Iraqi girl’s thinly veiled teenage rebellion –

At first, her schoolmates would tease her because she wore sandals to class, not shoes like the rest of them, and because her mother, not her father, drove her to school. Students would jeer, “She’s a Baghdad girl.”

Her teachers forced Ban to wear a head scarf. In her second year, it got worse: The school also ordered her to wear the dark gown called an abaya.

“The ayatollahs go overboard,” she says angrily. “Everything is haram [forbidden]. Nail polish. Makeup. Everything is no, no, no.”

Depressed, Ban combed the Internet for songs and quickly became a fan of Evanescence, a moody goth band fronted by Amy Lee, a woman from Texas with a penchant for black leather, red lipstick and butterflies. Ban memorized Lee’s lyrics: “Fear is only in our minds. But it’s taking over all the time. You poor sweet innocent thing, dry your eyes and testify.”

NOS Nieuws – Somaliërs opgepakt om terrorisme

In Rotterdam zijn gisteravond twaalf Somaliërs opgepakt die worden verdacht van betrokkenheid bij terrorisme. Dat meldt het Openbaar Ministerie.

Sharia4Holland: Ata’s nieuwe partij? – Wij Blijven Hier!: Het schrijversplatform van moslims

Ik verbaas me hier niet over, want natuurlijk zijn er moslims die de shari’ah in Nederland willen. Net zoals er liberalen zijn die de vrijmarkt willen laten domineren, linkse rakkers die de socialistische heilstaat nieuw leven willen inblazen en mensen van de PVV die lijfstraffen willen invoeren en een haast wel religieuze mate van discriminatie in het leven willen roepen?en daarmee de scheiding van kerk en staat van de tafel willen vegen. (Geert Wilders met keppeltje gezien? Bijna net zo fraai als Maxima met hoofddoek).

Niet alleen Allah » Onderzoeksresultaten: Allah bepaalt niet alles

goed-postzegel-foto-froukjeVoor mijn masterthesis heb ik onderzoek gedaan naar de waarden en identiteit van tweede generatie migranten in Nederland. De interviews op deze website hebben als empirisch materiaal gediend. Dit keer gebruik ik het blog om de resultaten van mijn onderzoek te bespreken. Voor mijn onderzoeksgroep is ‘Allah’ zeker niet de enige drijvende kracht achter hun denken en handelen, noch geeft het hun identiteit volledig vorm, zoals in de publieke opinie stelselmatig wordt benadrukt.

‘De moslims, niet de islam’ – AMSTERDAM – PAROOL

AMSTERDAM – Is de islam gevaarlijk? Ongehinderd door de aanwezigheid van moslims op het podium ging het zondag tijdens een debat in De Balie over die vraag. En dan ging het door twee bewakers beveiligde debat in het begin ook nog eens vooral over PvdA-leider Job Cohen. Diens vergelijking van de uitsluiting van de Joden in de jaren dertig met die van de moslims nu bestempelde Frits Bolkestein tot ‘starre waanzin’. ”Waar is de Kristallnacht van moslimwinkels?”

Het islamdebat in De Balie, 19 december

In Het Parool staat een verslag van het Islamdebat, dat gisteren in De Balie werd gehouden. Er waren vele prominenten van Islamkritische huize aanwezig, en maar weinig belangrijke vertegenwoordigers met een positief Islam-beeld. Sjoerd de Jong (NRC-journalist) kun je toch moeilijk als prominente Nederlander beschouwen.

Het verweer moest dus komen van de opgekomen mohammedanen zelf. Dat verweer kwam er ook, maar tegen de wetenschappers en mensen als Frits Bolkestein is het niet gemakkelijk optornen. De emoties liepen bij tijden wel hoog op. Carel Brendel benadrukte via Twitter dat de chaos van de bijeenkomst niet uit het Parool-verslag te destilleren viel.

Homoseksualiteit bij moslims « Onlinejournalistiek

Een paar weken geleden werd een homoseksueel koppel van Maghrebijnse afkomst in elkaar geslagen vanwege hun geaardheid. Waarom moesten deze jongens eraan geloven? Is dit de prijs die homoseksuele moslims betalen voor hun liefde? Zijn er wel moslims die openlijk een partner van hetzelfde geslacht hebben? En zo ja, hoe reageert hun omgeving daarop?

Om een genuanceerd beeld te krijgen over de situatie lieten we verschillende stemmen binnen de islam aan het woord. Een allochtone homoseksueel, een islamleerkracht en een imam geven hun mening en visie op het onderwerp. Ook Merhaba, een vereniging die werkt rond homoseksualiteit, geven wij het woord.

Op zoek naar een holebi-moslim

PVV, islam en vrijheid: De moslim als dhimmi | Dagelijkse Standaard

In beide voorbeelden wordt de individuele vrijheid van godsdienst voor moslims beperkt, en worden moslims meer als groep weggezet. De multiculturele segregatie wordt hierdoor niet beëindigd, integendeel. Voeg daarbij de retoriek van Wilders en de zijne die de godsdienst als geheel verwerpen (de islam is bijvoorbeeld fascistisch), en daarmee impliciet de moslims uitmaken voor van alles en nog wat. (Bijvoorbeeld fascisten. Hoe kan iemand immers een religie die fascistisch is aanhangen zonder fascistisch te zijn?) En voila, moslims zijn geheel tot dhimmi gemaakt.

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