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Slapping the other cheek

So, what if the Monty Python approach was right, and what the innkeeper said to Joseph and Mary  was more like "We don't have any rooms, but we can make you up a bed out back. It'll be a virgin berth!"   Sorry if my sense of humour sounds insensitive, but after watching the reaction already brewing from local reporting of the notion of billboards claiming "Jesus is a prophet of Islam,", my little pun is comparatively tame.

The Sunday Mail report is titled Christians wage Holy war over "offensive" Musilim signs, and quotes complainants as saying such things as  "There is absolutely no chance a `Jesus is the Son of God' billboard would be displayed in Iran." (a line which seems to be regarded as a "clincher" in some Facebook discussions), and that such billboards "give the wrong message to Christian children."

There a couple of important notions such reporting and commentary don't include.  The first is the little detail is that at the time of JC's reported mortal existance, the religion of Christianity did not yet exist   Ir seems to me that this is valid reason enough for it to be permissable for another religion to include him in their theosophy. The second is that, according to the Muslim bible, the Quran, Jesus was indeed a revered prophet, mentioned many times in the book, his mother Mary apparently the only female mentioned in the texts. Unlike in Christianity, though, Jesus is not considered as a God or a son thereof.  He was revered, however, as the instigator of a new spritual path, one based on a love of God.

In other words, nope, you won't see a Jesus-son-of-God billboard in Iran.. The Iranians don't think he is.  However, Christianity has been aware of Jesus' Islamic status for a very long time. It seems to me that suggesting that such a religious philosophy is a new thing could be regarded as a level of misreporting semantically calculated to fuel religious intolerance.

Sure, a Jihad in Adelaide would increase newspaper circulation, but apart from that what good does it do our society if we continue to promote derision of followers of other religions?  The right-wing nationalist thinking prevalent in so much of Australia will doubtlessly respond with glee to a new excuse to express xenophobia, just as they've siezed upon Sydney's "Speeding ticket Burqha lady" as excuse to demand cultural assimilation.

If Jesus Christ was watching us today, I don't think he'd be very impressed.   And the organisation hoping to promote inter-religious understanding by using billboards as a means of seeding distribution of free copies of the Quran might well (pardon another religiously irreverent pun) go broke making a prophet.

Such propoganda being published ias news can't be doing much for the morale of Muslims in Australia, either..


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Humour and Tolerance

Richard, I don't mind your sense of humour, but your tolerance is intolerable.

(And purely incidentally, Mary is by no means the only human female mentioned in the Koran.)

It is not news that Jesus is claimed as a prophet by the Koran.  Everything that might help legitimacy, the claim to be the successor of Judaism and Christianity, was put into the Koran.  That is not a cause of offence, and the fact that Jesus ranks lower than Mohammed is not a cause of offence.  Their delusions are their business.

What is problematic is the Campaign.  Why the "campaign", massively supported, by Muslims directed towards Christians?  As usual, they have sucked another party in, as they sucked the Jews into a joint campaign for the Victorian religious vilification legislation, when the Isaac Isaacs example, the history of Victoria, demonstrated a complete absence of need, and thus both the Jews and Victoria belittled themselves.

Why?  What is it this time?  To "promote religious tolerance"?  Of course! That's what an aggressive, intrusive billboard campaign does!  Promotes tolerance!

 Richard, Wake up! 

 "Islamic group Mypeace"?  Stop and examine the name for a moment.  A campaign organized by "Mypeace"?  Oh, I get it.  Islam is the "religion of peace", right?   I have heard that claim before.  In this country.  Why have I heard it?  Why, Richard?  This is the religion that expanded its military control over the whole of North Africa and half of Asia in the first 50 years of its existence.  So why this refrain about "peace"?  What is behind that?  Nothing?  Wake up, Richard!

An organized campaign "claiming to promote religious tolerance", when such a campaign of necessity will do the opposite?

It is not a campaign to promote tolerance, it is a campaign to promote acceptance.  Acceptance, by as many of the deluded as possible, that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.

Sure, a Jihad in Adelaide would increase circulation, but apart from that what good does it do our society if we continue to promote derision of followers of other religions?

Whew!  How upside-down can you get?  It is the attackers, not the defenders, who are the Jihadists.  It is the brazenly dishonestly named "Mypeace", not those provoked by them.

And why have you intruded those words "followers of"?  You can't blame a Moslem for his or her delusions, you can't blame the victim, but you can, I can, criticize and ridicule the fraud that is the source of those delusions.


Outreach and conversation

I've been thinking about this spreading billboard war about prophets and stuff and did some research:

Turns out Moses, like Jesus, is a highly respected prophet of Islam. 

"In Islam, Moses is loved and respected; he is both a Prophet and a Messenger.  God mentions him more than 120 times, and his story ranges across several chapters.  It is the longest and most detailed story of a prophet in the Quran and is discussed in elaborate detail.  "

And that's straight from the horse's mouth. So to speak.

That is in fact perhaps almost 100 mentions more than Jesus. I know it's not just a quantity thing but on that count, if Jesus is a prophet of Islam, Moses most certainly is. 

So if MyPeace is serious about it's outreach program why not  a few "Moses is a prophet of Islam" billboards, at least.? I mean it doesn't have to be four or five times as many as the "Jesus" billboards, in line with the aforementioned mentions, but none at all hardly seems fair. 

What's more this message is non-controversial. Religious Jews also believe Moses is no more than a prophet no matter how central his story is to the religion. So do Christians. That means MyPeace could kill two birds with one stone with their outreach program. So to speak.

Here's the thing. My place has a large  sundeck that cannot be seen from surrounding buildings. It could easily accommodate a Supersite large format (12.66m x 3.35m) sized sign that if laid flat and face up on the sheltered deck floor could only but easily be seen on a clear day by passengers in jets landing and taking off from the busy regional airport 15 kilometres away. And people in the helicopters and other light planes that buzz around. And pilots of military aircraft that fly along the coast.  And God of course. And anyone else your religion leads you to believe is watching from the sky.

Seems to me the perfect place for this sort of outreach. There is no possibility of offence to anyone. Not even the neighbours. And it's likely to attract a lot of collateral attention especially when picked up by the next GoogleEarth edition.

So here's the deal. If MyPeace want to rent a Supersite sized rectangle of my roofdeck to proclaim "Moses is a prophet of Islam" to anyone looking from the sky then they should give me a call. This would be a straight arm's length business deal. For me religion has nothing to do with it.


He's not the Moshiach. He's just a naughty boy.

Mind you in all fairness I note it's not just Muslim and Christian groups who have slapped up in-your-face inappropriate billboards in the past.

I predict a billlboard war. It will be messiahs and prophets all over the shop. Mark my words.

Good night

The religions of the book espouse basically the same message, but it has done very little to improve the attitudes or eccentricities of people. But then I suppose athiests and members of other religions and subscribers to other ideologies have done little better.

Perhaps evolution will cure it.

Survival of the fittest

Perhaps. But I shudder to think how.

Bad manners

Like all religions I suppose, Islam is both a broad church and malleable. Its political lunatic fringe is especially adaptable to the political climate. They have a lot of lunatics. For instance, Jerusalem, and the Al Aqsa mosque, is currently a focal point  for fervent Islamic religionism. Not up there with Mecca of course but still a real important place.

It wasn't when Muslims ever actually ruled Jerusalem. When that happened Mecca ruled the roost as holy of holies without competition. Jerusalem was a backwater. As you would perhaps expect given that there is not a shred of evidence that the Prophet ever went anywhere near the place in his lifetime. On the contrary.

Not that that is relevant. We are talking about religion afterall..

Things go in and out of fashion with radical Islamism. So Jesus was a prophet of Allah? Ahuh.  They put it on  billboards. But  wasn't Moses a prophet as well according to the Koran? Certainly Abraham was. What's the point of the billboard again?

I sense the clumsy bovine pawprint of do-gooding Christians at play here. My guess is probably Anglicans. I sure hope they know what they are doing. That would be a first.

Fact is I don't mind this stuff going on in the background if it makes some people feel warm with their souls. Who knows -- it might even do some good. However at the end of the day these people -- all these people -- are going to have to accept this is a secular society and that their religion, whatever it is, is exclusively their private business. They have to truly accept this in their hearts. It matters not a whit whether they believe Jesus was a prophet ,or God, or both, or neither. I don't want to know. To misquote Rex Mossop they really should not being shoving their beliefs down other people's throats. It's rude.

Geoff Pahoff: However at the

Geoff Pahoff: However at the end of the day these people -- all these people -- are going to have to accept this is a secular society and that their religion, whatever it is, is exclusively their private business. 

Isn't Islam a special case here?  Officially?  Isn't such acceptance formally impossible?  When an adherent of that religion who abandons it must suffer the death penalty?  How can it be private business?

Or should I say, there can never be a secular society, that can never be legitimate?  To faithful adherents, I mean, rather than to apostates passing as moderates?

Goyish meshuga


 A lot to answer for, these Anglicans. Off at Dibbly, through the vales of Midsomer, there they'll be with their tea and scones, maliciously  plotting the down fall of life as we know it, like  a scene from "Dr  Who".

 Not least,  the wicked Archbishop of Canterbury, recently in receipt of a figurative flaying by the Murdoch press in England for opposing Cameron's draconian welfare-cuts budget. 

"Rock of Ages,

Cleft for Thee,

Let me hide,

Inside of Thee" .

Goyishe kop

I was right.




Breaking bread

You don't like attempts at reconciliation and a (re)discovering of a forgotten common humanity, Geoff?


Scared they might put the guns down and work together instead? 

 A less adversarial tone might help save Israeli lives as well as other people in the region. For my part, I will continue to mourn people like the assasinated Israeli chap who set up an actors coop inclusive of both Arabs and Jews, to establish grounds for dialogue and then got knocked off for his troubles.


Webdiary's 11th birthday today!

Off-topic, but thought folks might be interested.  Margo started Webdiary on July 4th 2000.

[SMH, 2005]

July 4, 2000: Well before blogging becomes a byword on the web, journalist Margo Kingston launches a pioneering weblog from Canberra. 'Webdiary' is a notebook of  happenings in the capital but quickly becomes a valuable forum for debate on the health of the nation. The site is "highly commended" by Walkley Award judges in 2001 

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