Zahra is a young girl who should be known to every person cares about liberty and the plight of young girls in many traditional Islamic areas. Zahra wanted to go to school and follow her dream but she lived in Afghanistan where girls are often treated like commodities. She ended up being transferred to a family as part of a dowry at 11 and married off while in the sixth grader. She was later allegedly burned alive and died in a Kabul hospital — she was four months pregnant. The reason was that the family (which reportedly beat her savagely) was mad that she was not working hard enough.
We have followed the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has single-handedly destroyed Turkey’s secular traditions and rolled back on civil liberties. With the support of Islamic parties, Erdogan used the recent failed coup to complete his work in arresting his critics, forcing the resignation of thousands of secular academics, and suspending all civil liberties in a proclaimed state of emergency. The United States helped create the tyranny rising in Turkey in its support of Erdogan as he systemically dismantled the only secular, free country in the Arab world. Now, Erdogan is threatening the United States that he wants his greatest critic, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, delivered to him and that a failure to yield to his demands would be a “big mistake.” Now, one could easily dismiss this threat as the ravings of an egomaniacal, delusional dictator with a persecution complex. However, Erdogan already forced German Chancellor Angela Merkel to reject basic free speech rights to appease him.
Saudi Arabia’s top Islamic clerics have renewed a prior religious edict or fatwa that warns against playing Pokemon in order to expressly denounce the playing of the wildly popular mobile phone application Pokemon Go as UnIslamic and evil. This will come as a shock to my kids and their cousins who recently coerced me to drive around the neighborhood to bag a few Pokemon (while correctly me that it is not pronounced “pokeMAN.”) One would have hoped that with Sunni following the Saudi Wahhabi sect beheading people and enslaving girls, Pokemon Go would seem fairly low on the list of “to do” subjects for clerics.
The latest Islamic “honor killing” has claimed a feminist and YouTube star in Pakistan. Qandeel Baloch who challenged many religious and cultural norms for women in Pakistan was strangled to death by her brother, who has now admitted to the murder. Waseem Azeem told police that he was tired of ridicule by other Muslims for his nonconforming sisters and “I was determined either to kill myself or kill her.” Despite the universal view that the former option would have been far better than the latter, he decided to choke the life out of his own sister to uphold his view of Islamic morality.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
A fortnight ago we featured an article reporting that the The Pacific NW Annual Conference voted to not enforce church law proscribing homosexuality. Now, The Western Jurisdiction Conference elected the first openly-lesbian United Methodist Bishop.
The Rev. Karen Oliveto, senior pastor of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco was elected on the 17th ballot which included The Rev. Frank Wulf, another openly gay candidate.
Such ordinations are in direct contravention to The Book of Discipline which reads as follows:
304.3 Qualifications for Ordination
“While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.
1. “Self-avowed practicing homosexual” is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual.
With several Annual Conferences adopting non-conformity to enforcing bans against gay individuals, the election of gay bishops I believe certainly shows evidence of effective inertia toward acceptance of our gay community members
Israel is in the midst of a growing controversy over the replacement of chief rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, of the Israeli Defense Forces. His replacement will be Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim, who has been denounced for suggesting that Israeli soldiers are morally justified in raping Muslim women during wartime as well as other misogynistic statements.
We have previously discussed cases involving the view of many Muslims that dogs are unclean. Now, Saudi Arabia has again taken Islamic values to a far extreme by arresting two men for simply organizing a dog pageant in Jeddah. That’s it. They simply wanted to pick the 10 best dogs in the Kingdom so they were arrested for an “un-Islamic” act .