“Much of the imagery of Western Orientalism of the past two centuries has a similar message, highlighting a binary difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’,” writes Frederick Bohrer in The Los Angeles Review of Books.
“Would the ISIS videos even exist without the Western establishment and longtime support for such a tradition?”
Read more of this thoughtful piece here: “The Destruction of Art and Antiquities in Our Time”
“Think you have challenges in your life? What do you think the challenges are for a gay, black, Muslim who is the United States’ first openly gay Imam?”
Read more about Daayiee Abdullah, who lives and works in Washington, D.C.: Meet America’s Only Openly Gay Imam
But, isn’t being homosexual un-Islamic? No. As Abdullah points out, “there is absolutely no mention in the Koran about punishing gays, let alone killing them.”
Here’s a provocative assertion:
“The recent Pew survey shows that Islam is the fastest growing religion, not because people are converting to Islam, but because they’re having more babies. The fertility rate is much higher than that of any other religious group. That means we’re going to have more and more children growing up with the default presumption that they’re Muslims.
“I think, however, that it’s not going to be as standard, obvious, or routine for them to stay Muslims when they grow up. Islam has a long, unfortunate tradition of treating apostates very severely, and I think that we’re going to see more of that. And I think that it’s going to backfire.
“How former Muslims or children of Muslims engage in the world in the next 20 years is a very, very important question. And I don’t have any clue as to how it’s going to work out.”
That’s a quote from Daniel Dennett, co-author of Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Faith Behind. Read more of his musings on religiosity in America here: “The end of religion as we know it”
The jury of public opinion is still out about whether ISIS had anything to do with the shootings in Garland, Texas, but there’s no doubt they’re still causing havoc in the Middle East.
This week’s target? The ancient city of Palmyra. (One place to read about it: The Ancient Wonders Of Palmyra Are At Risk Of Destruction By ISIS.)
There has been speculation lately that the videos of this kind of destruction are intended to cover a more sinister crime: these ancient sites are being looted for their treasures to fund ISIS operations, and the demolition is to cover the theft.