Archive of ‘Religion’ category

Conjuring up the secterian demon

A coptic jewlery shop owner was gunned down, him and 3 others in his shop in Zeitoun, by 2 gunmen wearing sunglasses and wigs. The incident is problematic because the gunmen didn't attempt to steal anything, and the whole thing has the air of gangland assassination.

 Two men in wigs and
sunglasses shot dead four Coptic Christians jewellery shop workers in
the Egyptian capital on Wednesday in an apparent gangland-style
killing, a security official and witnesses said.

The shooting happened at
around 12:30 pm (0930 GMT) in the mixed Christian-Muslim district of
Zeitoun in northeast Cairo, the official said, adding that the
attackers escaped without stealing anything from the shop.

Eyewitnesses said that the
men arrived at the shop on a motorbike, walked in and shot dead the
shop's owner and three employees before driving away, in a rare act of
brazen bloodshed in the capital.

"Preliminary investigations
show that the motivation behind the attack could have been revenge,"
the official said, adding that the owner had frequent disputes with
local residents.

The official had initially said the killings were the result of a drive-by shooting.

Police, who swiftly cordoned off the area, found 15 revolver shell casings at the scene, the official said.

Now, I received over 5 calls from different coptic friends all frantic and all talk about how they believe this was done by muslims and that we are on the doorsteps of a fantastic case of sectarian strife. While their ranting has the air of conspiracies and panic to them ( no one knows the identity of the shooter and whether this is related to religion to begin with), this kind of talk is a harbinger in itself. A panicked coptic population that believes that muslims are out to kill them- with their general distrust of the egyptian authorities ability to protect them- could end up taking matters into their own hand, which could elad to catastrophic results. The other problem lies in the location: Zaitoun is a neighborhood with lots of christians, and it has 4 big churches there. But it also has the "AlAziz bellah" street, which is a hub for "Ansar Al Sunnah" a wahabi salafist islamist group in Egypt. That street houses tons of stores that sell nothing but inflammatory islamist speeches on tape (usually not very copt friendly) and it houses the "AlAziz Bellah" mosque, which, let's say, is an Ansar Al Sunnnah dominated mosque. There are usually tensions there to begin with between the christians and the muslims because of them, so if anyone commits any rash action, this whole area could explode in full muslims-chiristian conflict. It's still early for such talk, but one thing is true: whomever committed this crime, no matter what their reason might be, they are conjuring up the secterian demon, and that is never good.

No more Whiskey at the Grand Hayatt

I got lots of e-mails on this last piece of news: A Saudi owner of an egyptian Hotel has decided ti impose his religious belief on his establishment and prevent the serving of Alcohol in his Hotel. Some people naturally applauded (moronic unappreciative of alcohol people) the very islamic decision and others freaked out and talked about how Saudi is flexing its financial muscles and spreading their brand of Islam in the region. The later group is a bunch of mornonic fuckwits who haven;t been paying attention this past 10 years: Spreading their image of Islam? Really? Anymore than they already have? 

Look around you, you fuckin Morons. They have exported it already.  They even had you believe that Niqabs and Hijab's are parts of Islamic faith, and that Qaradawy is a moderate. Let's not ignore their television sponsored activities on the different MBC's and their numerous other channels (censoring kisses, blurting out words, re-editing entire Music Videos on MTV Arabia), or the amount of piss their directly deposit into people's brains by the fantastic islamist channels such as Al Nas and Al Resalah. And please, while we are at it, let's also mention how on Rotana they have been trying for the past 5 years to make Khaliji music and dance hip and cool, and failing miserably at it, because whether they like it or not, they are not artistic people. They understand the formulaic ways in which you can make something liked by the mass population, but they don't actually get it. However, they did manage to create a market for it in Egypt, sure it's a market that requires you to have lived in one of their countries to enjoy their tribal drivel, but it's a market nonetheless. Anyway… back to the original problem.

Me, personally, I ffind no problem with what this guy did. It's his hotel. He paid for it. He could serve rotten pigs' blood as a drink for all I care. The people, at the end of the day, have the right to either go to him for service or not. It's his money at the end of the day, and if he ends up losing out because of it, hey, one less gulfie with money to waste. How is that possibly a bad thing?

Now, if you are concerned that this will lead to other Hotels refusing to serve alcohol, well, simply start drinking alcohol more. Go to Hotels and order many many bottles of Liquor. Demand that the government issue more liquor licenses and open bars in your neighborhoods and streets. Send a message: Alcohol is still popular here, so Saudis can suck it! Anything short of this is folly and a waste of time. Or you can also get totally drunk as a group and go burn the fucker down. That should send a message as well.

Makari just got famous

While it is illegal to do so, there are evangelical forces operating in Egypt to convert Muslims to Christianity. The two very famous ones are the Protestant Qasr El Dobara church in downtown Egypt, and the Coptic St. Mark Church in Shobra. Qasr El Dobara does good old evanagelism through usually really good sermons, and if you ever go there, you would find that the first 3 rows usually have Hijabis in them. It is rumored that Muslim Evangelist Superstar Amr Khaled actually spent 2 years attending the Qasr ElDobara services in order to learn the ins and outs of evangelistic speeching. One of m christian friends once told me that when he first heard Amr Khaled he thought it was one of Qasr El Dobara's tapes. But that's not our Story. Our Story has to do with St. Mark's church.

You see, St. Mark, on the other hand, doesn't really count on sermons: they convert through exorcisms. Yep, that's right. Exorcisms. I once saw a video of one of his conversions (By the way, there is a whole underground thing with movies and plays in the egyptian coptic community. Forbidden plays, testimonials of the recently converted, and tons of other stuff. And they usually don't share them. Hmmph.. Copts are no fun!) where he did the exorcism on a muslim boy, and then told him to do the mark on the Cross on his chest, and when the boy refused, Makari told him that he should do it, because it was Jesus who kicked the demon out, and then left the boy's side, who eventually, and kind of defeatedly, ended up doing the mark of the cross to joyous applause from the congregation. And stuff like this supposedly happens, like, every week.

And now AFP did a story on him:

Every Friday, thousands of Christians and a handful of curious Muslims pour into Cairo's St Mark's Coptic church to hear Father Makari Yunan preach, drawn by his power to exorcise demons.

Vigorously splashing holy water from a gardening can, the white-bearded
Makari has been healing the sick and casting out demons for 32 years.
People come from all over Egypt and even from as far afield as the United States.

Throughout the three-hour service, shouts and screams can be heard from the affected, writhing amid the pews.

Some of the people eventually faint, collapsing to the floor.
Unconscious, they are picked up by attendants to be unceremoniously
dumped near the altar pending their exorcism.

[...]

Makari says some Egyptian newspapers and television stations have taken
him to task over the presence of Muslims in his congregation.

"I don't heal people, Jesus does. For me there is no difference between
Muslims and Christians. Everything is done in the name of Jesus.

"People know I do this for Jesus. I don't ask for anything in exchange.
I perform a service and it doesn't matter if people accept it or not.

"It's normal that Muslims and Christians come to the church," says
Muslim teenager Nur. "Muslims come to be healed by the priest. He's
really very kind, he heals us when we need it."

Needless to say that writing this story puts that church under the spotlight, which is something I am not sure Makari or his congregation wants. And if this article gets translated into arabic, some newspapers in Egypt would have a field day stoking sectarian fire and talking about the Evil Coptic Priest who tricks simpleminded muslims.

Hmm.. 

Moses was high?

This Israeli researcher says so..

High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God
deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study
published this week.

[..]

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious
rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of
cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

"As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural
cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe
either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined
Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush,"
suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

"The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a clasic phenomenon," he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to "see music."

He mentioned his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazil's Amazon forest in 1991. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Shanon said.

He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those
produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is
frequently mentioned in the Bible.

Isn't that nice!!!!!! 

Shadia Ibrahim released

The Christian woman who was arrested for ..well..it's too stupid for me to explain it. here it is:

CAIRO: A Christian woman who was
sentenced to three years imprisonment for allegedly fraudulently
stating that she is Christian on her marriage certificate, was released
Monday, her lawyer told Daily News Egypt.

Shadia Nagui
Ibrahim, 47, was unaware that legally she was a Muslim as a result of
her father's conversion from Christianity to Islam when she was two
years old.

Ibrahim was initially charged in 2000 with forging her
official identity card in order to state that she was Christian, and
was sentenced to three years in absentia before the case was
subsequently dropped.

She was detained again in August 2007 on
the same charges and the following November, she was handed a
three-year prison sentence after a brief court session, her legal
representative said at the time.

Ibrahim's lawyer Peter El-Naggar
told Daily News Egypt that his client had her conviction suspended
Sunday after the defense proved that the identity card in question
never actually existed.

The Court of Cassation is now due to issue a new verdict, though this will take years.

I am just glad she is released is all. 

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