Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, unapologetic atheist and author of “God Delusion,” recently tweeted a picture of himself in front of the Winchester Cathedral in England, which said,This lit a twitterstorm of tens of thousands of retweets and replies. Numerous news outlets around the world posted opinion pieces, critiques and analyses of his tweets. To correct, or perhaps clarify his initial tweet, Dawkins then retweeted,Both supporters and critics again filled his Twitter threads with heated comments.This is not the first time the Muslim call to prayer has been misconstrued or that Muslims have been attacked for their prayer practices around the world. Muslims have been checked from praying in countries such as Switzerland, France, India and Israel.Suspicions around Muslim prayersThere is a long history of opposition to public airings of the Muslim call to prayer. Starting in 2004, many of the longtime Polish Catholic residents of Hamtramck, Michigan, expressed … [Read more...] about What Richard Dawkins doesn’t get about the Muslim call to prayer
A clear majority, or 61 percent, of Swedes are in favor of a ban on Islamic calls to prayer, a recent survey conducted by pollster Novus on behalf of national broadcaster SVT has shown. A total of 28 percent of Swedes oppose the idea of a ban, while another 11 percent were either undecided or refused to take a stand on the matter. Among right-wing Sweden Democrats and center-right opposition Alliance voters, 96 and 62 percent respectively were in favor of the ban. By contrast, voters supporting the current red-green coalition government comprised of the Social Democrats and the Greens were roughly equally divided on the matter. Despite the fact that a clear majority of Swedes are against Muslim prayer calls, only two parliamentary parties are currently in favor of a ban, the Sweden Democrats (SD) and the Christian Democrats (KD). While the former have been consistent opponents … [Read more...] about Most Swedes Against Islamic Prayer Calls With Few Parties in Favor of Ban
The Yazidis, who were recently the target of massacre, rape and sex slavery by Isis, are now facing forcible conversion to Islam under the threat of death from Turkish-backed forces which captured the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on 18 March. Islamist rebel fighters, who are allied to Turkey and have occupied Yazidi villages in the area, have destroyed the temples and places of worship the Kurdish-speaking non-Islamic sect according to local people. Shekh Qamber, a 63-year-old Syrian Kurdish Yazidi farmer who fled his town of Qastel Jindo in Afrin, described in an exclusive interview with The Independent what happened to Yazidis who refused to leave their homes. He said that some were forcibly brought to a mosque by Islamists to be converted, while others, including a 70-year-old man he knew, were being lured there by offers of food and medical attention. Even the place names of Yazidi villages are being changed. Mr Qamber recounted a conversation he had with an Islamist militant who … [Read more...] about Yazidis who suffered under Isis face forced conversion to Islam amid fresh persecution in Afrin
In February, the Catholic Heraldpublished a letter from Ft. Raymond Hickey, an 82-year old Augustinian monk on mission in Nigeria. In his letter, Hickey expressed his concern about the controversysurrounding the current interpretation of the Latin word ‘temptation’ and advised against the polarization of this issue even though he prefers the new version. I am told that some churches in Malta have already delved intoan adventurous re-interpretation of The Lord’s Prayer and have effected changes using the Italian version of the word temptation as matrix.From a linguistic point of view, the way this sentence has ended up being construed in Maltese is one big mess. But the aim here is not to analyse this new version or how best to represent the concept of temptation in the prayer. I leave that to theologians and experts of the Maltese language. The reason I am writing is another. This controversy sparked in me an interest to look into how the word temptation in … [Read more...] about Lord’s Prayer: Is Temptation in Maltese ‘tiġrif’ or ‘tiġrib’?
Turkey’s president has recited an Islamic prayer in the Hagia Sophia, a historic Istanbul landmark that has become a symbol of interfaith and diplomatic tensions. Speaking for an art festival opening Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited the Quran’s first verse, dedicating the prayer to the “souls of all who left us this work as inheritance, especially Istanbul’s conqueror”. The Hagia Sophia was built during the 6th century Christian Byzantine Empire and served as the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church. It was converted into an imperial mosque with the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453. Read more Turkey warns France may become ‘target’ for backing Kurdish militia Erdogan says Turkey still wants ‘full membership’ of EU Turkey’s Erdogan proposes making adultery illegal Turkey’s secular founder made the structure a museum in 1935, but there have been discussions by Mr Erdogan’s … [Read more...] about Turkish president Erdogan recites Islamic prayer at Hagia Sophia despite historic link to secularism