10th Circuit slaps Oklahoma anti-Sharia law down like bug on a wall

JISHOU, HUNAN — Oklahoma’s anti-Sharia law violates the US Constitution, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The ruling states that the law — which amended the state constitution — violated the Establishment clause of the First Amendment by singling out one religion, Islam. In addition, the court noted that the proponents of the law, which passed November 2010 in a state referendum, could not identify one occasion in which Sharia was used in Oklahoma. Too bad courts can’t comment on the stupidity of laws, too. Oklahoma’s Islamophobic factions took the lead nationally in pressing for such a law, creating a nontroversy about “creeping Sharia” and Muslim infiltration of the USA. After the Sooner State’s successful ballot initiative, other states jumped on the bandwagon, fabricating Muslim threats from whole cloth. The 10th Circuit got to the heart of the matter in its ruling: “Sharia? What Sharia?” Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such ...

Voters in Queens: hand this putz Turner his walkin’ papers

[UPDATE: Well, nevermind. The putz won the election with 53% of the vote. Hope you like what you got, Brooklyn and Queens.] This is an actual campaign flier sent out by the New York Republicans on behalf of NY-9 candidate Bob Turner. I can’t think of a more crass exploitation of the 10th anniversary of the Twin Towers attack than this. Turner is running against Democrat David Weprin in a special election to fill the seat of Rep. Andrew Weiner (D-NY-9), who resigned his seat after a sexting scandal. It’s supposed to be a tight race. I hope this flier backfires on Turner big time. Aside from the obvious bigotry, it lies like a dog. The Park 51 project is not at the site of World Trade Center (the so-called Ground Zero), is not a mosque, and doesn’t look anything like the gold-domed edifice in the flier. The project additionally does not violate any laws, local or national, and has even been approved by the local community zoning board. Turner is a putz. Look it up at urbandictionary.com if you don’t know what it means.

As-Salamu Alaykum (السلام عليكم)*

JISHOU, HUNAN — Maybe you heard the news report about a Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt, being bombed by Muslim terrorists recently. Did you know that Alexandria’s Muslim community served as “human shields” to protect Copts during their Christmas services last week? “This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.” Good advice for us in the United States. A photo slideshow is at Ahram Online, an Egyptian news site. —– * Peace be upon you; hello; goodbye — the equivalent in Hebrew is “shalom“

Oh, give me a break! 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — The Muslim haters in the USA are now up in arms about Campbell’s marketing soups that are halal — halal is to Muslims what kosher is to Jews. They believe that the evul Mooslims have infiltrated Campbell’s (and Kellogg’s, it seems) to sell halal food in preparation for some imagined large scale Mooslim takeover of the US of A. Raving lunatic Pamela Geller (of anti-“megamosque” at “Ground Zero” fame) is encouraging a boycott of Campbell’s. Considering she has maybe 100 or so loyal followers — and that’s being generous — I doubt Campbell’s will much care. Apparently, in their conspiracy-plagued minds, Geller, Robert Spencer and other wackjobs, if you connect the dots, somehow offering halal foods to American shoppers somehow translates into aiding and abetting terrorists and an Islamic takeover of the US legal system. I buy halal hotdogs in my local supermarket here in Jishou, mostly to avoid eating yet more pork. (They are labeled “Muslim food,” so maybe they are not officially halal.) So, if we follow the “logic” of Geller, et alia, Jishou will soon be a satellite state of the Taliban, or something. How long has kosher food been sold in the USA? ...

In case your local paper pulled this comic …

Apparently, some local papers, fearing an uproar from readers, pulled this syndicated comic by Wiley Miller so no one would see it. The comic of course is a play on the Where’s Waldo? children’s books. Then, there is the current phobia about anything even vaguely Muslim, Islamic or Arab. “The sky is falling! Terrorists! Mosques! AAGGGH!” You could also consider it a snark on the Muslim ban against depicting the image of Muhammad anywhere. Or the unsale-ability of the book title. But, there’s another angle. You can’t find Muhammad (as in a common name for a Muslim guy) in the picture, because he probably looks just like anyone else. Just a regular guy, and not some crazy extremist ready to force sharia law on US citizens. Of course, if you’re paranoid or watched too many spy movies, maybe you’d think Muhammad is disguised as the ice cream guy, who’s got a bomb in his cart. If you think that way, you need to get out more. Seriously.

Rifqa Bary rejects chemo, family reunion

JISHOU, HUNAN — The Rifqa Bary saga continues, but I fear there will be a tragic ending to an already tragic story. Bary, the Christian convert teen who ran away from home last year alleging her Muslim parents would kill her, apparently is rejecting chemotherapy for her uterine cancer, claiming she was cured by a faith healer. She is also rejecting a reunion with her family, whom law enforcement officials say pose no threat to her safety. The teenager became a poster child for the anti-Muslim and/or born-again religious crowd after she ran away from her Columbus home to Orlando, Florida, claiming her parents would kill her because of her conversion to Christianity three years before she fled. She eventually ended up in foster care back in Ohio. In May, the 17-year-old Sri Lankan native was diagnosed with uterine cancer, and has since had three operations. According to news reports, documents filed by her parents in Franklin County Court state that Bary is refusing chemotherapy because she claims she was healed at an event in Youngstown last month. She was allegedly taken there without her parents’ consent, and her parents want the court to force Bary to undergo chemotherapy if ...

A voice of reason about the New York mosque frenzy 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — The developer of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” sat down for an interview recently with a blogger at Beliefnet.com. Compared to the frothing-at-the-mouth demagogues opposing the project, Sharif el-Gamal espouses true American values: rational discourse and freedom of religion. His interview is worth reading, because it contradicts the wild assertions made by the likes of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, co-founders of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). Geller and Spencer consistently object to proximity of the project, which includes a mosque, to the former site of the World Trade Center about two blocks away. They claim the Muslim-backed center will somehow “desecrate the sacred ground” of the ruined buildings which entombed about 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001. el-Gamal’s response: We are not at Ground Zero. In fact we’re as close to City Hall as we are to Ground Zero. Lower Manhattan is pretty small. You can’t see Ground Zero from our current building and on completion of our planned building some years from now, there won’t be any views of the Ground Zero memorial from the building. To honor those who were killed on September 11th, we have planned for a public memorial within our future ...

I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore! 4

JISHOU, HUNAN — I am going off-script here because I am fed up with hearing about the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in Lower Manhattan. Let’s get some facts straight first. I am a native New Yorker. I visited the World Trade Center at least twice before it became a pile of rubble and a tomb for 3,000 people. I was one of the millions of Americans who watched in horror as a part of my hometown – my hometown! — was destroyed live on TV. The people, the terrorists who committed this horrible act are dead. They were extremists, crazy people. They happened to be crazy Muslim people. Now, a group of Muslims in NYC want to convert a old, nearby building that was also damaged in the attack into a community center with mosque. Local community officials have approved the plan. The neighbors have no problem with it. And I don’t either. Read the third and fourth paragraphs again. Then read my lips. I don’t care if they build a mosque near the former WTC site. (I refuse to call it Ground Zero. Sorry if I offend anyone. It’s not fucking Hiroshima.) Now that we got that straight, it’s ...

Christian runaway Rifqa Bary treated for uterine cancer

JISHOU, HUNAN — Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, who made headlines several months ago after she ran away from her Muslim parents claiming they would kill her as an Islamic apostate, is being treated for uterine cancer. The Sri Lankan-born high school graduate has had two operations already, and awaits a third. Bary ran away to Florida in July with the help of a Christian pastor who had befriended her. Once arriving in Orlando, the girl, who says she converted to Christianity at 13, lived with married pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz for nearly two weeks before the Lorenzes told child welfare officials where Bary was. In interviews, Bary claimed that her parents were upset with her conversion and that she was afraid that her father would kill her if she returned home. Law enforcement officials from Florida and Ohio, however, reported there was no credible threat to her safety. Nevertheless, Bary has lived with foster parents in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, after her court-ordered return to Ohio in October. She turns 18 in August, at which point she will be able to leave foster care. Her conversion and flight to Florida have become a rallying point for anti-Islamic Christian ...

The Rifqa Bary saga ends with a whimper

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — Here’s the short version. Fathima Rifqa Bary, the teenaged Muslim-to-Christian-convert runaway, does not have to rejoin her parents in Columbus, Ohio. She and her folks agreed that she will stay in foster care until she turns 18 in August. Bary became a minor celebrity several months ago when she ran away from her parents, saying she feared she would be put to death for being an “apostate,” someone who had abandoned Islam. Aided by Christian church leaders in Columbus, she boarded a Greyhound bus for Orlando, Florida, to stay secretly with husband-and-wife pastors, Blake and Beverly Lorenz, for a week or so. Once her whereabouts became known, Bary entered the world of child protection services in first Florida, then Ohio, and became a poster child for religious nutjobs building up anti-Islam fervor. In the aftermath, the Lorenzes have lost their jobs. (Their church board took issue with the Lorenzes breaking the law by harboring a runaway child without notifying the proper authorities.) Her parents have lost their privacy and a great deal of their reputation. (Law enforcement investigations found the parents posed no threat to their daughter’s safety, but Bary’s anti-Islam fans still trumpet that the girl’s ...

Barys have to discuss differences, but Rifqa won’t meet parents

JISHOU, HUNAN — Child welfare workers in Ohio have recommended that teenage religious runaway Fathima Rifqa Bary and her parents sit down and talk about their religious differences. Trouble is, the girl does not want to see her parents ever again. Rifqa fears her parents will have her killed for converting from Islam to Christianity. Her parents say they will do no such thing. Here is the Associated Press story on this latest chapter in the Bary family drama. There’s some mostly rational discussion at the Volokh Conspiracy. And some mostly unhinged ranting at Free Republic.

Poignant story of one unfortunate family’s Thanksgiving 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — The Bary family of Columbus, Ohio, had one place setting empty last Thursday, because religious hysteria and rightwing busybodies have interfered with return of their runaway daughter to their care. That’s the tale told by Shayan Elahi, the attorney for Fathima Rifqa Bary’s father, in today’s Orlando Sentinel. Rifqa Bary ran away from her home at age 16, assisted by Christian pastors and Facebook friends who enabled her to take a bus to Orlando, Florida, where she stayed with another Christian pastor and his wife for nearly two weeks before anyone notified child welfare authorities — or her parents — of her location. Fueled by unfounded allegations that Rifqa fled her home to avoid an “honor killing,” a complete “Save Rifqa Bary” movement has blossomed from whole cloth, led by a combination of Christian activists, Muslim-haters, and otherwise well-meaning folk who think they are saving a teenage girl from certain execution. In any other situation, had a teenager been lured away from her home by friends she met on Facebook or while unescorted by her family, assisted in her flight to a different state and housed (illegally) for two weeks, her return home would have been swift ...
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