I have observed how Oman, with a rich Islamic heritage and an embracing society, is learning how to combine its proud heritage and identity with a highly educated and globally inclusive workforce.
Helping Oman achieve some remarkable social and economic goals over the past 50 years is its beloved, Western-educated sultan, Qaboos bin Said, who seems to be the best kind of benevolent dictator.
The first thing I noticed about Oman was the warmth and authenticity of its people. Decorum between persons, especially between the sexes, is respected, but that does not prevent high-level, authentic, interpersonal exchange that seems so sadly lacking in the West, and our Trump-infected times.
The benevolent dictator of Oman does not permit Christians to gather in private homes to pray, nor can church services be conducted anywhere but at benevolent dictator approved locations.
Muslims who convert to Christianity tend to be private about the fact since they stand to lose everything if discovered.
Why, when a person who has X and Y chromosomes self-identifies as a woman, do we take him seriously in spite of the simpler explanation that he is self-deluding not self-identifying, yet, when a terrorist self-identifies as a Muslim, we insist that he is self-deluding not self-identifying, in spite of the simpler explanation that Islam is a fecund breeding ground for terrorists?
The militant Islamic terrorist group ISIS has released a video called A MESSAGE SIGNED WITH BLOOD TO THE NATION OF THE CROSS showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped in Libya. Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians? Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world? As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States. If this concerns you like it does me, share this. The storm is coming.
He is correct, of course; Christian leaders would have unanimously denounced such an evil act by Christians. As it is, since the Archbishop of Canterbury has no contemporary Christian barbarity over which to lament, he is forced to confine himself to wringing his hands over the bombing of Dresden during the Second World War.
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die: Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome
Considering what we have seen since he wrote this, he may have been too generous.
When taking photographs on my travels, I am inevitably confronted with people obscuring famous landmarks by standing in front of them taking selfies. They appear to suffer from the conceit that a grinning visage is of more interest than a 1000 year old cathedral. Consequently, I have developed an intense dislike of selfies. Until now, that is; a Muslim cleric wants to ban selfies. What more incentive do we need to start taking them?
Ensaf Haidar stood beside the kitchen table, urging her three children to eat. Newspapers featuring her husband’s face on the front were spread in the spaces between three pizza boxes, and a banner covering most of the wall showed him as well, with several dozen signatures of those who attended a #FreeRaif vigil in Montreal.
“All he did was blog,” his wife said through an interpreter in an interview with The Globe and Mail on Wednesday. “Until the last moment, I couldn’t believe it. I kept telling him it wasn’t going to happen. It’s impossible, it doesn’t seem real.”
In Saudi Arabia, her husband Raif Badawi, 32, was preparing for the second 50 of his 1,000 lashes on Friday – but, as it turned out, that punishment was postponed, after a doctor concluded he had not sufficiently recovered from the first floggings administered Jan. 9. And according to Ms. Haidar, the Saudi government referred the case to the country’s supreme court, suggesting international pressure might be having an effect.
But Ms. Haidar isn’t holding her breath: “I won’t stop [fighting] until Raif is free.”
As it stands, Mr. Badawi is to receive 50 lashes every Friday for 19 more weeks after prayers in front of a mosque in Jeddah, a city on the coast of the Red Sea. He was convicted of insulting Islam and religious figures on his blog, the Saudi Liberal Network, and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10-year order not to leave the kingdom and not to practise journalism after that. He faces a fine of about $319,000.
Don’t be deceived by the phrase “[h]e was convicted of insulting Islam” or by the fact that the flogging takes place “in front of a mosque in Jeddah” or the “prayers” to Allah before the flogging. None of this has anything to do with Islam: Islam is a religion of peace, love and tolerance.