Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Muslim Business Card of Death edition.

One leg up Christianity has over Islam is that most practitioners have long ago abandoned the prosecution of blasphemy laws whereas it’s still a serious crime in many Islamic nations. It doesn’t help when the authorities take a zero-tolerance approach to anything that could possibly be conceived as being blasphemous whether that was the intent or not. Take, for example, the otherwise innocent act of disposing of an unwanted business card:

Naushad Valiyani, a Muslim doctor in the southern city of Hyderabad, was arrested Friday after a complaint was lodged with police alleging his actions had insulted the Prophet Muhammad, said regional police chief Mushtaq Shah.

The case began Friday when Muhammad Faizan, a pharmaceutical company representative, visited Valiyani’s clinic and handed out his business card. He said when the doctor threw the card away, Faizan went to police and filed a complaint that noted his name was the same as the prophet’s.

Shah said police were investigating whether Valiyani should be charged with blasphemy.

How convenient for Mr. Faizan that he just happens to share the name of the prophet and thus can exact retribution against people who piss him off.

Dozens of Pakistanis are sentenced to death each year under the blasphemy law, though most cases are thrown out by higher courts and no executions have been carried out. The law, however, is unlikely to be repealed because the government’s ruling party — largely secular — relies on the support of Islamist groups.

Which is one of the bigger problems with laws like this is that they often are used to settle petty grudges rather than actually defend the honor of some long-dead prophet or mythical deity. Not that the latter is any more acceptable than the former.

They must believe in a pretty weak God if he needs to be defended by his followers from perceived insults against him. You’d think any God worth worshiping would be able to handle that on his own or, even better, be above worrying about it to begin with.

Which way is it to Mecca again?

One of the inherent risks in getting overly specific in how your religious ceremonies are performed is the chance that someone will screw it up and call everything into question. For example you probably shouldn’t get too specific about things like which direction to face while praying:

Mecca mosques ‘wrongly aligned’

Some 200 mosques in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca, point the wrong way for prayers, reports from Saudi Arabia say.

All mosques have a niche showing the direction of the most sacred Islamic site, the Kaaba, an ancient cube-like building in Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

But people looking down from recently built high-rises in Mecca found the niches in many older mosques were not pointing directly towards the Kaaba.

Some worshippers are said to be anxious about the validity of their prayers.

Oops.

It says something about how deep the delusion among some Muslims goes that some were worried that their prayers would be invalid because they were facing the wrong direction when saying them. Think of how silly you’d think someone was being if they said that they had to dress in all blue robes and wear a bee bonnet and stand on one foot while praying otherwise God wouldn’t consider their prayers.

Naturally the religious leaders are trying to reassure everyone:

Tawfik al-Sudairy, Islamic affairs ministry deputy secretary, downplayed the problem in remarks quoted by the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

“There are no major errors but corrections have been made for some old mosques, thanks to modern techniques,” he said.

“In any case, it does not affect the prayers.”

Of course it doesn’t affect the prayers. Praying to a non-existent being isn’t affected by which direction you’re facing or what clothes you’re wearing or how you prostrate yourself because there’s nothing there to pray to. If it makes you feel better to beseech your invisible sky friend then by all means do so, but don’t sweat the details cause it isn’t going to matter.

Iraqi woman orders the rapes of 80 women to make them into suicide bombers.

Here is what unwaivering belief in a paradise in the afterlife can lead someone to do:

A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame.

Samira Jassam, 51, was arrested by Iraqi police and confessed to recruiting the women and orchestrating dozens of attacks.

In a video confession, she explained how she had mentally prepared the women for martyrdom operations, passed them on to terrorists who provided explosives, and then took the bombers to their targets.

“We arrested Samira Jassim, known as ‘Um al-Mumenin’, the mother of the believers, who was responsible for recruiting 80 women’‘, Major General Qassim Atta said.

“She confessed her responsibility for these actions, and she confirmed that 28 attempts had been made in one of the terrorists’ strongholds,’’ he said.

Got that? This Muslim woman is so convinced that Allah is real instead of just a figment of her imagination that she ordered 80 of her fellow women to be raped specifically so they would be vulnerable to being pressured into becoming suicide bombers. She not only was convinced that suicide bombing was justified by her religion, but she felt justified in having her fellow Muslim women raped to further the cause she believed in. She is so convinced of the rightness of what she’s done in the name of Allah that she’s confessed to the crimes on video. She sees nothing wrong with it. It was a necessary thing to do because women are less likely to be searched at checkpoints making them more likely to get through with explosives under their robes.

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could consider this even remotely conscionable, yet here’s someone who’s convinced it was perfectly reasonable because she believes in an invisible sky fairy who will reward the women in the afterlife even if their sacrifice was coerced through rape and manipulation. What’s a little rape and exploitation when Allah will reward them for eternity once they blow themselves up? Only a True Believer™ could think like that.

Muslim cleric says Mickey Mouse must DIE.

Actually he was talking about mice in general because they are, apparently, “Satan’s soldiers” and thus evil incarnate. What he’s upset about is the fact that Walt Disney and many other creators of cartoons have turned the horrible little critters into characters loved by children:

According to a translation prepared by the Middle East Media Research Institute, an American press monitoring service, he said: “The mouse is one of Satan’s soldiers and is steered by him.

“If a mouse falls into a pot of food – if the food is solid, you should chuck out the mouse and the food touching it, and if it is liquid – you should chuck out the whole thing, because the mouse is impure.

“According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?

“Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice.

“Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases.”

While it’s probably not a bad idea to throw away foot that’s been trampled on by wild mice, it’s hard to take the rest of this nonsense terribly seriously. The sobering reality is that this man is perfectly serious in his pronouncements and, if he had his way, not only would there be an effort to eradicate mice altogether, but any positive portrayals of mice (such as the aforementioned Mickey and Jerry) would be prohibited under pain of death. If this isn’t indicative of how deluded his religion has made him then I don’t know what else would be.

Jesus to return in 20 to 25 years, but as a Muslim.

Apparently worried that Evangelical Christians were hogging the Creationist Wackadoo spotlight too much, a Muslim creationist by the name of Harun Yahya is pushing books touting the Islamic version of creationism to various scientists and academics around the world. He’s also predicting that Jesus will return “really soon now”, but it not as a Christian:

Oktar said Koran verses and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed about the end of the world revealed Jesus would return soon as a Muslim to help Islam’s savior, the Mahdi, defeat the Dajjal or Islamic Anti-Christ and establish Islam around the world.

“Our biggest project right now is to lay the grounds for the coming of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We understand this is going to be in the next 20 to 25 years.”

The idea of Jesus returning as a Muslim is standard Islamic teaching about the end of times. But Muslims normally stress the end times less than evangelical Christians do, and Oktar’s focus on this has prompted rumors he thinks he is the Mahdi.

“I do not make such a claim,” he said. “Because of parallels in what I have written and the hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammad, some people have thought I could be him… but in Islam it is forbidden for me to make such a claim.”

Well, if nothing else, it’s refreshing to get a new take on the same old story I suppose. Though I imagine if it actually comes to pass there will be a lot of very disillusioned Christians out there. It’d almost be worth it just to see the looks on their faces.

Islam is the “religion of peace and love”… eh… not so much. Part Two:

Here is the sort of peace and love the religion of Islam promotes:

My daughter deserved to die for falling in love’ – The Observer

For Abdel-Qader Ali there is only one regret: that he did not kill his daughter at birth. ‘If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her,’ he said with no trace of remorse.

Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British solider in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant. Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city’s Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death.

Abdel-Qader, 46, a government employee, was initially arrested but released after two hours. Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. ‘They are men and know what honour is,’ he said.

[…] It was her first youthful infatuation and it would be her last. She died on 16 March after her father discovered she had been seen in public talking to Paul, considered to be the enemy, the invader and a Christian. Though her horrified mother, Leila Hussein, called Rand’s two brothers, Hassan, 23, and Haydar, 21, to restrain Abdel-Qader as he choked her with his foot on her throat, they joined in. Her shrouded corpse was then tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.

‘Death was the least she deserved,’ said Abdel-Qader. ‘I don’t regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion,’ he said.

Sitting on a chair by his front door and surrounded by the gerberas and white daisies he had planted in the family garden, Abel-Qader attempted to justify his actions.

‘I don’t have a daughter now, and I prefer to say that I never had one. That girl humiliated me in front of my family and friends. Speaking with a foreign solider, she lost what is the most precious thing for any woman. ‘People from western countries might be shocked, but our girls are not like their daughters that can sleep with any man they want and sometimes even get pregnant without marrying. Our girls should respect their religion, their family and their bodies.

‘I have only two boys from now on. That girl was a mistake in my life. I know God is blessing me for what I did,’ he said, his voice swelling with pride. ‘My sons are by my side, and they were men enough to help me finish the life of someone who just brought shame to ours.’

Not that Christianity doesn’t have its share of passages in its holy book with similar punishments for perceived crimes, but it sometimes seems as though a majority of Muslims still cling to such barbaric teachings. I suppose they deserve credit for sticking to what their religion teaches, but somehow I’d prefer they’d take the more hypocritical approach of the majority of Christians and just cherry pick the good parts of their religion.

Found via Pharyngula who put things a bit more eloquently than I did.

Fasting Muslim falls asleep while driving, dies.

For a month every year Muslims are supposed to fast (i.e. not eat any food) during daylight hours – this is known as Ramadan. Most cope with this fine (and if you’re ill you can eat food). But one guy from my home town, despite feeling rather tired, decided to drive. And fell asleep. Alas, he hit a lamp-post and later died in hospital.

Bradford Coroners Court was told Maurice Gent, 59, was fasting for the Muslim festival of Ramadan and was “feeling tired” at the time of the collision.

The court heard how Mr Gent, of Waterside, Bingley, was taken to Airedale General Hospital where he told Accident & Emergency staff he thought he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Mr Gent, a civil servant, had complained of stomach pains in the ambulance. He was stable on arrival at hospital, but his condition started to deteriorate and he died of multiple organ failure on October 5, 2007 – six days after the collision.

Ramadan is actually getting earlier each year and this means that daylight hours will be getting longer, so it’ll be interesting to see if more accidents happen as a result of people fasting who really shouldn’t.

Islamic body in India declares health insurance illegal.

Man, it sucks to be a sick Muslim in India:

NEW DELHI: Comparing the benefits of health insurance policy to gambling, key Islamic organisations have termed the policies as “illegal” and directed Muslims to keep away from them.

At a seminar to deliberate whether insuring health was permissible under Islamic law Shariat, the Islamic Fiqh Academy (India) decided that availing such policies was illegal.

Representatives from around 300 Madrasas, including Darul Uloom Deoband, Jamiat Islami participated in the three-day meet, where they reached a conclusion that seeking insurance cover was only another form of gambling.

Health insurance schemes have turned a noble service in to a business activity, hence under Islam it is not permitted, they said.

If you live in India and are a Muslim, well, try not to get seriously ill.

Islamists call for the death of a British teacher over a teddy bear.

One of the big news stories over here in Britain at the moment is the jailing of a British schoolteacher in Sudan for ‘insulting Islam’. Her crime is that, during a classroom exercise, she asked her pupils to name a teddy bear, and the children chose the name ‘Muhammad’. As well as being the name of one of the pupils, Muhammad is also the name of the Muslim prophet and in Islam it is frowned upon (to say the least) to create idols or images of Muhammad – you may remember the furore surrounding the cartoons that some European newspapers published last year which depicted the prophet as a suicide bomber.

Though it’s obvious to most sane people that the teacher didn’t intend to cause offence when the bear was named (and she has apologised), complaints were made, she was arrested, and has now been jailed for 15 days and will be deported upon release.

That’s bad enough, but now at least a thousand of Sudanese people have demanded a tougher punishment – some going as far as demanding death by firing squad.

The reaction in the UK has been of almost universal condemnation – from Muslim leaders to politicians – and the government is trying to intervene where possible. But should the Sudanese judiciary give into the protesters’ demands, we could see a woman shot to death, over a teddy bear.

Man sees Allah’s name on a chapatti.

It’s not just Christians who find Jesus or the Virgin Mary on pieces of toast – a Muslim man from Bradford in England has found the arabic script for Allah, the Muslim God, on a chapatti.

He showed it to his stunned family and since then neighbours and members of the Muslim community have flocked to view it. All agree that the markings on the food appear to spell out the holy name.

Mr Iqbal said: “It was definitely an unusual event. A lot of religious leaders have come to check it and they have confirmed that it is very clearly the name of Allah in Arabic.

“In every other respect it is just a normal chapatti. This has never happened before. We left it as it is, it has gone a bit hard now but it is still clearly visible.”