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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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Look out for your Muslim neighbors and friends

I frequently go off on a tangent about religion. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that I think it’s a waste of resources to be pining for a celestial paradise when living in the here and now requires so much attention. Two, I think that god, if she does exist, does not want people to try to understand the bronze age mythology and morality of a tribe of warriors, sheep herders and Taliban precursors. She wants a major rewrite.

But I don’t really have a problem with average religious people as long as they don’t expect me to participate. I DO have a problem with fundamentalists from any religion. They’re the ones that give the rest of their religious adherents a bad name and that goes for Christianity as well as Islam.

Where I live, there are a lot of Muslims. I see them pushing strollers on the sidewalk, serving shwarma from a grease wagon, at my old place of work and among my friends. The right wing noise machine has a lot of right wing voters convinced that these people, who in total are a tiny fraction of the American population, are going to receive a fatwa and murder us all in our beds. Setting aside the fact that the numerical probability of this happening is about as likely as being sucked down the bathtub drain, it’s just a ridiculous idea. Who has the time to go all jihad on anyone anymore? There’s work, chauffeuring your kids around, going to back to school night, shopping for food, cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn. Muslims are just as exhausted as the rest of us. And besides, not every Muslim is a fanatical, fundamentalist in the mold of Pat Robertson or Jack van Impe.

The timing and severity of the events in the past couple days point to a political motive to me. They are designed to make Obama look bad, to make his foreign policy staff look overwhelmed (too bad that Hillary is as steady as a rock) and to make the less reflective and conscientious Americans among us to take their anger out on innocent people. That would be bad. I don’t care how unhappy I am with Obama, there is no excuse for using innocent Muslim Americans to score political points.

I hope I am wrong about this but as the rioting escalates (and who knows who is behind that really and with how much money) the conservative Fox News viewer, indoctrinated by endless Muslim jihad scenarios, might start to lose it. It’s just the kind of chaos scenario the right wing would delight in. And where has Karl Rove been lately? He’s been entirely too quiet.

So, keep an eye out for your Muslim neighbors and friends. Don’t let the mob impinge on everyone else’s religious freedom, even if all that praying is a waste of time after all.

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Don’t blame Islam

Witnesses to the shootings in Fort Hood are reporting that Major Hasan, the shooter, shouted Allahu Akbar while he was shooting.  I don’t know whether this has been confirmed or not.  But even if it is true, there was only one shooter in Ft. Hood and no one’s God was on his side.  Dr. Hasan is a very troubled man.  His religion is not responsible for what he did.

I live in an area that has a fairly visible Muslim presence.  I work with Muslims.  I am not concerned that there is an impending Muslim jihad against Americans from within.  Islam is no more violent than any other religion.  Fundamentalism is our enemy and that can be found in Christianity as well as Islam. I am not going to condemn a religion or its followers because of the deranged actions of one their members and I caution others who I respect to refrain from doing so as well.  The last thing we need is a backlash to come down on the innocent heads of Muslim men, women and children.

Lover’s nationality is separate from all other religions,
The lover’s religion and nationality is the Beloved (God).

The lover’s cause is separate from all other causes
Love is the astrolabe of God’s mysteries.

-Sufi poet, Rumi

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Can Honour Killing In Muslim Communities Be Ended Through Islam?

Recent events in the United States and Canada, in which fathers and families treat their daughters in an inexcusable manner, compel me to release this draft of an incompletely distilled paper. I apologize for its length, but the topic is not amenable to a series of posts, and it may offer some understanding as to why these practise exist and what might be done to change them.

Aqsa Parvez was strangled to death in her Mississauga home, Peel police said today.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death as “neck compression.” The 16-year-old was taken to hospital Monday morning after a man called police and said he killed his daughter. She died later that night. Friends told reporters that Aqsa fought with her Muslim family over whether or not to wear the hijab. She often stayed overnight with friends, afraid to go home, they said. Her father, Muhammad Parvez, 57, appeared in court today and will face either a first- or second-degree murder charge. He was denied bail and remanded into custody until a hearing via video link on Jan. 29.

Why did Aqsa Parvez’s father strangle her to death? Why is the honour killing of women, over perceived or actual improprietous conduct, a feature of practice among some Muslim communities? Why do these communities enforce such rigourous and strict regulation of women’s conduct? Given that many of these killings violate both the word and the spirit of the Koran and the prophet, why does the practice persist? In this brief essay, I sketch the physical and social conditions that lead to the emergence of the structures that control women’s conduct within the Muslim communities that practice honour killing. I show that the more stringent control structures are artifacts from pre-Islamic Bedouin communities. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the gender-based honour killings that are features of these structures violate Islamic principles and law. In fact, much of the structure of social control goes against the principle that the practice of Islam is a matter of internal conviction. Continue reading