CAIRO: An Islamic cleric residing in Europe said that women should not be close to bananas or cucumbers, in order to avoid any “sexual thoughts.”
The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Senousa news, was quoted saying that if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.
He said that these fruits and vegetables “resemble the male penis” and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex.”
He also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.
The sheikh was asked how to “control” women when they are out shopping for groceries and if holding these items at the market would be bad for them. The cleric answered saying this matter is between them and God.
Answering another question about what to do if women in the family like these foods, the sheikh advised the interviewer to take the food and cut it for them in a hidden place so they cannot see it.
The opinion has stirred a storm of irony and denouncement among Muslims online, with hundreds of comments mocking the cleric.
One reader said that these religious “leaders” give Islam “a bad name” and another commented said that he is a “retarded” person and he must quite his post immediately.
Others called him a seeker of fame, but no official responses from renowned Islamic scholars have been published on the statements.
Religious leaders are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse course and offer clergy a role in the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Rudy Washington, a deputy mayor in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani‘s administration, said he’s outraged. Mr. Washington organized an interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me,” said Mr. Washington, who has suffered severe medical problems connected to the time he spent at Ground Zero. “I feel like America has lost its way.”
City Hall officials, who are coordinating the ceremony, confirmed that spiritual leaders will not participate this year—just as has been the case during past events marking the anniversary. The mayor has said he wants the upcoming event to strike a similar tone as previous ceremonies.
“There are hundreds of important people that have offered to participate over the last nine years, but the focus remains on the families of the thousands who died on Sept. 11,” said Evelyn Erskine, a mayoral spokeswoman.
But the mayor’s plans this year have drawn increased scrutiny and some disapproval, as the event will attract an international audience and President Barack Obama will attend.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has publicly criticized the mayor about the list of speakers, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has quietly sought to play a larger role.
But the exclusion of religious leaders has struck some as particularly glaring.
City Council Member Fernando Cabrera, a pastor at New Life Outreach International, a Bronx church, said he is “utterly disappointed” and “shocked” by the event’s absence of clergy. When the terrorist attacks occurred, people in the city and nationwide turned to spiritual leaders for guidance, he said.
“This is one of the pillars that carried us through,” he said, referring to religious leaders. “They were the spiritual and emotional backbone, and when you have a situation where people are trying to find meaning, where something is bigger than them, when you have a crisis of this level, they often look to the clergy.”
Mr. Cabrera described the religious leaders’ exclusion as “wiping out the recognition of the importance that spirituality plays on that day.”
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis and one of the participants in the September 2001 interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium, said it would be difficult to include all faiths in the ceremony.
“I understand the feelings,” he said. “[But] I don’t know how we make it possible for everyone to have a place at the table.”
“Who’s going to agree as to who the representatives of the faith…will be? We have all the different groupings. If we have four denominations, what about the fifth denomination?” he said. “There are practical considerations when planning something, where you want to be as inclusive as possible but sometimes you find it impossible to have everyone present who should be present. It’s very difficult.”
A spokesman for Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the city’s most prominent religious leader, said he had no knowledge that Mr. Dolan had been invited. On Sept. 11, the archbishop plans to celebrate Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the morning, and later in the day he’ll be at St. Peter’s Church in Lower Manhattan.
Many religious institutions will be holding events to commemorate the anniversary. There will be an interfaith event recognizing first responders on Sept. 6.
During the 2001 “Prayer for America” service at Yankee Stadium, leaders from the major religions—Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Sikhs, Greek Orthodox—addressed the crowd of thousands and an even larger TV audience from a podium atop second base.
“I brought every major religion to this event in Yankee Stadium,” said Mr. Washington, who is considering holding a news conference on Sept. 11 to object to the exclusion of clergy.
“I’m very upset about it,” he said. “This is crazy.”
Evangelical Christians in Brazil have banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers.
Evangelical Christians in Brazil have apparently banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers (Hat tip: Fernando Frias). Apparently the revelation came after the evangelists noticed that the USB symbol resembles a trident. Presumably they’re not great fans of Britain’s ballistic missiles either.
Here’s the story, though be aware that aside from being repeated on a bunch of Brazilian websites, I’ve yet to find much to back it up, so if this turns up on Snopes don’t blame me.
The evangelical cult “Paz do Senhor Amado” (“Peace Beloved of the Lord”) in the interior of Brazil forbids its followers to use any USB technology by contending that it uses a symbol that makes apology to the devil.
According to its founder, the “Apostle” Welder Saldanha says that this is just a symbol of Satan, is always present in all Christian homes.
“The symbol of that name (he even likes to pronounce) is a trident, which is used to torture souls go to hell. Use only a symbol of those shows that all users of this technology pífia are actually worshipers of Satan” – explains the” Apostle”.
Measures were taken so that all the USB connections of his followers were exchanged for common connections and even the Bluetooth (sic), which according to Saldanha Welder is permitted, for “Blue was the color of the eyes of our savior Jesus Christ”.
O culto evangélico “Paz do Senhor Amado” do interior de SP proibe seus fiéis a usar toda e qualquer tecnologia USB, por alegar que a mesma use um simbolo que faz apologia ao demônio.
De acordo com seu fundador, o “Apóstolo” Welder Saldanha diz que isso é apenas mais um simbolo de satanás, estando sempre presente em todos os lares cristãos.
“O simbolo daquilo (nome que ele sequer gosta de pronunciar) é um tridente, que é usado para torturar almas que vão para o inferno. Usar um simbolo daqueles apenas mostra que todos usuários dessa pífia tecnologia são de fato, adoradores de satã” – Explica o “Apóstolo”.
As medidas tomadas foram para que todas as conexões USB de seus seguidores fossem trocadas por conexões comuns e até mesmo pelo Bluetooth (sic), que de acordo com Welder Saldanha é permitida, pois “Azul era a cor dos olhos de nosso salvador Jesus Cristo”.
Publicly funded daycare operators in Quebec are welcoming the province’s announcement it will ban religious instruction in government-subsidized daycares.
Quebec Family Minister Tony Tomassi made the announcement Wednesday, one day after saying he would not prevent daycare centres from teaching religious beliefs.
“The mission of [early-childhood education centres] is really to help families integrate into Quebec culture,” said Annie Turcot, spokesperson for a coalition of publicly funded daycares on the island of Montreal.
On Tuesday, Tomassi had said that Quebec’s public daycares reflect family values and religious instruction was normal in the province.
But on Wednesday, he said the practice will be prohibited.
He said an internal audit has revealed about 20 daycares, which receive public funding, include religious instruction in their educational programs.
“So we have to verify it,” said Tomassi. Once that’s done, he said he will meet with the daycare administrators, and work with them to eliminate religion from their program.
Tomassi refused to commit to withdrawing the permits of centres that do not comply.
A few years ago, Tomassi’s department, which was then run by current Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, granted a permit to an Islamic association so it could open an 80-spot daycare centre in Laval, north of Montreal.
The organization’s objective is to “spread Islamic education among Muslims and non-Muslims.”
Another example is that of the Beth Rivkah centre in Montreal, which is run by Rabbi Yosef Minkowitz. Its website states that all “daily activities are driven by the spirit of Torah and the Jewish tradition.”
Go further: PQ
The opposition Parti-Québécois is demanding the government go even further and declare all daycares secular.
“A lot of people in Quebec [think] this should change,” said party critic Nicolas Girard.
Girard accused the Liberals of being so out of step with public opinion that they have resorted to insulting him as a tactic. During question period, he said one minister called him a racist.
The Quebec government has gone too far, said officials with the Quebec Jewish Congress.
“I don’t see these secularists taking down the cross on Mount Royal, I don’t see them asking for the cross to be removed from the National Assembly, and I don’t see them going to work on December 25th,” said the group’s president Adam Atlas.
Atlas said he is hoping to meet with ministry officials to discuss the ban.
The daycare brouhaha has unfolded amid the controversy surrounding a Muslim woman in Quebec who was kicked out of a government-sponsored French class because she refused to remove her niqab — a traditional face covering.
OTTAWA â€” Ottawa Council has voted to allow advertisements on the cityâ€™s bus fleet that question the existence of God.
Councillors voted 13-7 Wednesday to overrule OC Transpo management, which had not permitted ads that read: â€œThereâ€™s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.â€ The ads, from the Free Thought Association of Canada, are running on buses in Toronto, London and Calgary.
Bay Councillor Alex Cullen, chairman of councilâ€™s transit committee, said the right to express opinions is fundamental to a free society and a precious part of Canadaâ€™s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
He said that while the ads might make some council members uncomfortable, a free society must be prepared to permit expression of dissenting views.
And he said that city buses are not a trivial matter, since it was on buses that American black people gained civil rights in the 1960s.
Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes said itâ€™s a good thing to have an open discourse about religion with diverse views, as long as those views do not express hatred.
The only councillor to speak clearly against the move was OrlÃ©ans Councillor Bob Monette, who said that council should show respect for the church and should never condone the placement of offensive ads on public property. Transpo management had rejected the ads on the grounds that they were offensive to some people and the company has a policy of not running offensive ads.
Some other councillors didnâ€™t want council deciding what is allowed or not allowed. The transit company is going to review its policy for taking ads.
The cityâ€™s solicitor, Rick Oâ€™Connor, gave councillors a legal opinion that if the city goes ahead with banning the ads, the move could be challenged in court and the city would likely lose.
â€œIt will be difficult for the city to justify its rejection of the ads,â€ said Oâ€™Connor in his legal opinion.
He said such a legal case would cost the city between $10,000 and $20,000.
Cullen presented a motion to have OC Transpo accept the ads which was approved by: councillors Clive Doucet, Christine Leadman, Peter Hume, Diane Holmes, Jan Harder, Michel Bellemare, Peggy Feltmate, Steve Desroches, Jacques Legendre, Georges BÃ©dard, Gord Hunter, Shad Qadri and Cullen. Voting against the motion were: Marianne Wilkinson, Bob Monette, Rainer Bloess, Eli El-Chantiry, Doug Thompson, Rob Jellett and Mayor Larry Oâ€™Brien.
The matter was before full council after a split vote at transit committee.
The mayor voted against the motion at council even though he said he had met with religious leaders in the community who said they were not bothered by the ads and welcomed expressions of free speech.
A crowd of people wearing T-shirts with the advertisementâ€™s message sat quietly throughout councilâ€™s deliberations and seemed pleased with the outcome.
â€œDo we have the right to be non-religious? Council has voted that yes, we do,â€ said Paul Bendus.
Supporters of the ads had argued that the city has run religious advertisements before and city councillors were allowing their personal religious beliefs to influence their handling of the issue.
David Burton, director of the Humanist Association of Ottawa, said that the council decision isnâ€™t just about the ads. He said the decision was a victory for people with all kinds of religious beliefs and faiths.
Organizers hope to get 1 million Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, evangelical Christians, Sikhs and Hindus to post lawn signs supporting Prop. 8 in unison next month.
Early on a late September morning, if all goes according to plan, 1 million Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, evangelical Christians, Sikhs and Hindus will open their doors, march down their front walks and plant “Yes on Proposition 8” signs in their yards to show they support repealing same-sex marriage in California.
It is a bold idea, one that may be difficult to pull off. But whether or not 1 million lawn signs are planted in unison, the plan underscores what some observers say is one of the most ambitious interfaith political organizing efforts ever attempted in the state. Moreover, political analysts say, the alliances across religious boundaries could herald new ways of building coalitions around political issues in California.
“Pan-religious, faith-based political action strategies . . . I think we are going to see a lot more of [this] in the future,” said Gaston Espinosa, a professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College.
The greatest involvement in the campaign has come from Mormons, Catholics and evangelical Christians, who say they are working together much more closely than they did eight years ago when a similar measure, Proposition 22, was on the ballot.
Mark Jansson, a Mormon who is a member of the Protect Marriage Coalition, said members of his group are also reaching out to Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.
Organizers say the groups turned to each other because of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in May allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in the state. Thousands of gay couples have wed in the state since June 17, the first day same-sex marriages became legal.
“This is a rising up over a 5,000-year-old institution that is being hammered right now,” said Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church, an evangelical congregation in La Mesa. Garlow said that, while he supported Proposition 22, he was not nearly as involved as this time around, when he has helped organize 3,400-person conference calls across denominations to coordinate campaign support for the proposed constitutional amendment.
“What binds us together is one common obsession: . . . marriage,” Garlow said.
He added that many people of faith, regardless of their religion, believe that “if Proposition 8 fails, there is an inevitable loss of religious freedom.”
Other religious leaders vehemently disagree with Garlow and are working just as furiously to defeat Proposition 8. But their efforts have not been as carefully orchestrated as those of the initiative’s religious supporters.
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration Thursday announced plans to implement a controversial regulation designed to protect antiabortion healthcare workers from being required to deliver services against their personal beliefs.
The rule empowers federal health officials to pull funding from more than 584,000 hospitals, clinics, health plans, doctors’ offices and other entities that do not accommodate employees who refuse to participate in care they find objectionable on personal, moral or religious grounds.
“People should not be forced to say or do things they believe are morally wrong,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “Healthcare workers should not be forced to provide services that violate their own conscience.”
The proposed regulation, which could go into effect after a 30-day comment period, was welcomed by conservative groups, abortion opponents and others, who said the measure was necessary to safeguard workers from being penalized.
Critics including women’s health advocates, family planning advocates and abortion rights activists said that the regulation could create sweeping obstacles to family planning, end-of-life care and possibly a wide range of scientific research as well as to abortion.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Robyn Shapiro, a bioethicist and lawyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “The impact could be enormous.”
The regulation drops a draft version’s most controversial language, which would have explicitly defined an abortion for the first time in a federal law or regulation as anything that interfered with a fertilized egg after conception.
But both supporters and critics said the proposed regulation remained broad enough to protect pharmacists, doctors, nurses and others from having to provide birth control pills, Plan B emergency contraception and other forms of contraception. And both groups said the regulation would explicitly allow workers to withhold information about such services and refuse to refer patients elsewhere.
Leavitt said he requested the new regulation after becoming alarmed by reports that healthcare workers were being pressured to take actions they considered immoral. He cited moves by two doctor organizations that he said might require antiabortion doctors to refer patients to abortion providers.
An early draft of the regulation that leaked in July triggered criticism from women’s health activists, family planning advocates, members of Congress and others who feared that the definition of abortion could be interpreted to include many common forms of contraception.
“Words in that draft led some to misconstrue the department’s intent,” Leavitt said in a telephone news conference Thursday. “This regulation . . . is consistent with my intent to focus squarely on the issue of conscience rights. This specifically goes to the issue of abortion and conscience.”
When pressed about whether the regulation would protect workers who considered birth control pills, Plan B and other forms of contraception to be abortion, Leavitt said: “This regulation does not seek to resolve any ambiguity in that area. It focuses on abortion and focuses on physicians’ conscience in relation to that.”
David Stevens of the Catholic Medical Assn. said: “I think this provides broad application not just to abortion and sterilization but any other type of morally objectionable procedure and research activity. We think it’s badly needed. Our members are facing discrimination every day, and as we get into human cloning and all sorts of possibilities it’s going to become even more important.”
The regulation, which would cost more than $44 million to implement, is aimed at enforcing several federal laws that have been on the books since the 1970s, aimed primarily at protecting doctors and nurses who did not want to perform abortions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, Leavitt said.
But critics said they remained alarmed at the scope of the regulation, which could apply to a wide range of healthcare workers — even those who, for example, were responsible for cleaning instruments used in an abortion.
Â God hates dogs and cats. He especially hates you and I. I wonder when God will ban eyeballs, you know, we can’t have people looking at each other, it simply leads to promiscuity.
RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday.
Othman al-Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa, told the Saudi edition of al-Hayat daily that the commission has started enforcing an old religious edict.
He said the commission was implementing a decision taken a month ago by the acting governor of the capital, Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, adding that it follows an old edict issued by the supreme council of Saudi scholars.
The reason behind reinforcing the edict now was a rising fashion among some men using pets in public “to make passes on women and disturb families,” he said, without giving more details.
Othman said that the commission has instructed its offices in the capital to tell pet shops “to stop selling cats and dogs”.
The 5,000-strong religious police oversees the adherence to Wahabism — a strict version of Sunni Islam, which also forces women to cover from head to toe when in public, and bans them from driving.
The Swedish government is making it illegal for schools to teach religious doctrine as if it were true
The Swedish government has announced plans to clamp down hard on religious education. It will soon become illegal even for private faith schools to teach religious doctrines as if they were true. In an interesting twist on the American experience, prayer will remain legal in schools – after all, it has no truth value. But everything that takes place on the curriculum’s time will have to be secular. “Pupils must be protected from every sort of fundamentalism,” said the minister for schools, Jan BjÃ¶rklund.
Creationism and ID are explicitly banned but so is proselytising even in religious education classes. The Qur’an may not be taught as if it is true even in Muslim independent schools, nor may the Bible in Christian schools. The decision looks like a really startling attack on the right of parents to have their children taught what they would like. Of course it does not go so far as the Dawkins policy of prohibiting parents from trying to pass on their doctrines even in their own families – and, if it did, it would certainly run foul of the European convention on human rights. It does not even go as far as Nyamko Sabuni, the minister for integration – herself born in Burundi – would like: she wanted to ban all religious schools altogether. But it is still a pretty drastic measure from an English perspective.
The law is being presented in Sweden as if it mostly concerned fundamentalist Christian sects in the backwoods; but the Christian Democratic party, which represents such people if anyone does, is perfectly happy with the new regulation. There is little doubt that combating Islamic fundamentalism is the underlying aim, especially in conjunction with another new requirement that all independent schools declare all their funding sources. This would allow the inspectors – whose budget is being doubled – to concentrate their efforts on those schools most likely to be paid to break the rules.
In the background to these announcements comes the release of a frightening documentary film on Swedish jihadis, which follows young men over a period of two years on their slow conversion to homicidal lunacy.
The question is whether we in Britain will come to see this as a necessary move in the struggle to contain Islamist ideologies. Can a defence of freedom convincingly be mounted by a state that takes such a firm view of what is or is not true? Or can freedom not be preserved without such measures? The dilemma makes no sense from a completely liberal position, where it is assumed that the truth will always win out in fair competition, and that the state is almost always to be distrusted. But Swedes have never really been liberal in that sense, notwithstanding the fact that the two ministers involved here are members of the Liberal party.
A mayor’s plan to end her town’s ban on the 1979 Monty Python film Life of Brian are being opposed by the local vicar, who says it pokes fun at Jesus.
Sue Jones-Davies, who played Brian’s girlfriend in the movie, was amazed when she became mayor of Aberystwyth that it was still barred at the cinema.
But Reverend Canon Stuart Bell said Christians he spoke to in Ceredigion were still against it being shown.
The mayor declined to respond, but will still press for the ban to be lifted.
Long before she donned her mayoral robes in Aberystwyth, Ms Jones-Davies played Brian’s girlfriend in the cult movie.
However, when it was released, critics accused the Python team of blasphemy with its story about a Jewish man who was mistaken for the messiah and then crucified.