All entries by this author

Bari Called ‘the Leader of Britain’s Muslims’ *

Nov 15th, 2007 | Filed by

Who knew there was such a person?… Read the rest

Pure as the driven snow

Nov 15th, 2007 11:28 am | By

Speaking of Saudi Arabia

“The essence of Wahhabism is purity,” says Lawrence Wright, author of a Pulitzer-prize-winning book about al-Qaeda. “They are only interested in purification – and that’s what makes them so repressive.”

So if you get a nineteen-year-old girl who gets herself raped fourteen times by seven men, that’s a lot of dirt that needs purifying. It takes 90 lashes, and if she yips about it, it takes 200.

I looked at the role of Wahhabi literature – used in Saudi schools and exported round the world – in promoting suspicion and hatred of non-believers. The Saudi ambassador in Washington, Adel Jubeir, assured me a series of steps had been taken to reform the country’s educational

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A short way with sluts

Nov 15th, 2007 11:22 am | By

Well that’s nice. Reasonable; fair; compassionate; useful; sensible; impressive.

An appeal court in Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of lashes and added a jail sentence as punishment for a woman who was gang-raped. The victim was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes – she was in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack.

She was raped fourteen times. The seven men who were convicted got prison sentences but

the victim was also punished for violating Saudi Arabia’s laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man. On appeal, the Arab

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Follow the leader

Nov 15th, 2007 10:43 am | By

Why does Ruth Gledhill call Bari ‘leader of Britain’s Muslims’? Why would anyone (apart from aspiring MCB aparatchiks at least) call him that? Britain’s Muslims don’t have a leader, as I imagine most of them would agree. Britain’s Christians (for instance) don’t have a leader, so why say Britain’s Muslims do? In fact why even talk about ‘leaders’ at all? Think of who else liked to bandy about the word – there was the dear Duce, and the dear Führer – but anyone else? It’s not really a very exact term, so why use it? (Because it’s not an exact term. Yes I know, but that’s what I’m complaining of.) We don’t even call heads of state ‘leader of … Read the rest

Nova on ‘Intelligent Design’ and Dover Case *

Nov 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Hear seven experts briefly describe the essence of science and how it differs from religion; more.… Read the rest

Christianity Today Poll (scroll down) *

Nov 14th, 2007 | Filed by

‘What do you think is the most compelling argument for Christianity?’ Where is ‘none of the above’?… Read the rest

Sue Blackmore on the Danger of Belief in God *

Nov 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Beliefs that succeed are like organisms that use tricks to ensure their survival and propagation. … Read the rest

Onward Science Soldiers *

Nov 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Religious assertions about the natural world have no special immunity from the cold light of critical analysis.… Read the rest

‘Teach the Controversy!’ *

Nov 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Like bacteria adapting to antibiotics, creationism has slimmed down again, shedding mention of ID.… Read the rest

Evangelism in the US Military *

Nov 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Chaplain ‘suggested’ cadets tell tent mates they would burn in hell if they did not receive Jesus as savior.… Read the rest

Why Pigs Don’t Have Wings *

Nov 14th, 2007 | Filed by

Jerry Coyne, Philip Kitcher, Daniel Dennett take issue with Jerry Fodor on natural selection.… Read the rest

Oh yes, very compelling

Nov 14th, 2007 10:53 am | By

This is quite funny. Christianity Today did a survey asking ‘What do you think is the most compelling argument for Christianity? ‘ The choices are: 1) The exquisiteness of the physical world; 2) The reliability of the Scriptures; 3) The life and character of Jesus; 4) Christianity’s positive influence on culture and individuals; 5) The experiences of individuals; 6) Something else.

Notice anything about the arguments? They’re not arguments! They’re so not arguments. They’re not even gestures at arguments – they wouldn’t be arguments even if you generously supplied some missing steps. Well I suppose 2 could be if some facts were completely different – if the ‘Scriptures’ actually were ‘reliable’ and if they didn’t contradict themselves all over … Read the rest

Scientists Do Succumb to Groupthink *

Nov 13th, 2007 | Filed by

Scientific pronouncements should begin: ‘At our present level of ignorance, we think we know…’ … Read the rest

Busted for Offending Royal Family *

Nov 13th, 2007 | Filed by

Slandering or defaming the Spanish royal family can carry a sentence of up to two years in prison.… Read the rest

Maori Priest Shocked by Exorcism Death *

Nov 13th, 2007 | Filed by

You have to be very careful, he notes.… Read the rest

Onward Christian Teachers? *

Nov 13th, 2007 | Filed by

A C Grayling on the influence of Christianity on teacher education and thus education in general.… Read the rest

The Secular Society and its Enemies *

Nov 13th, 2007 | Filed by

Susan Jacoby wonders why US media pay so little attention to serious secular and political thought.… Read the rest

Report From the Secularism Conference *

Nov 13th, 2007 | Filed by

Jacoby, Hecht, Goldstein, Dawkins, Tyson, Druyan, Kaminer, Goldberg, Tabash, Stenger.… Read the rest

The demotic Supreme

Nov 13th, 2007 10:20 am | By

Jeffrey Toobin wonders why Clarence Thomas is so pissed-off. (Why indeed. He is a Supreme Court justice after all – what more does he want? Universal adulation? Well – sorry, but that’s not owed to anyone.)

A touchstone of Clarence Thomas’s career on the Supreme Court has been his hostility to what he calls élites…“All the Law School cares about is its own image among know-it-all elites.”…“Nothing but an interest in classroom aesthetics and a hypersensitivity to elite sensibilities justifies the school districts’ racial balancing programs,” he said. “If our history has taught us anything, it has taught us to beware of elites bearing racial theories.”

One wonders what he thinks he is, if not a member of a … Read the rest

Clarence Thomas’s Memoir is a Howl of Rage *

Nov 12th, 2007 | Filed by

Beyond belief that Thomas’s success owes nothing to the affirmative action he has come to despise.
.… Read the rest