Noah’s Ark 2

In the year 2005, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said, “Once again the earth has become wicked and overpopulated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans, thy sons and their wives.” 

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, “You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard — but no Ark. 

“Noah!” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?” 

“Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed. 

“I needed a building permit. I’ve been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision. 

“Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it. 

“Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls — but no go! 

“When I started gathering the animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. I am required to apply for 834 different licenses to keep wild beasts on private property. 

“Then the EPA ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on Your proposed flood. Further, the pitch to water-proof the ark has been banned by the EPA as inimical to the environment. 

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew. 

“Immigration and Naturalization is checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work. The scaffolding to build the superstructure is not OSHA-approved and is forbidden to use except for private structures less than 5 cubits.. 

“The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience. 

“To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species. 

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 100 years for me to finish this Ark.” 

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”. 

“No,” said the Lord. “The government beat me to it.”

UK Foreign Secretary Calls 1939 White Paper That Limited Jewish Immigration to British Mandate Palestine a ‘Black Moment’ in History

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Israel’s right to defend itself is “absolutely unconditional,” UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s Annual Parliamentary Reception, Hunt called the controversial 1939 White Paper limiting Jewish immigration to British Mandate Palestine on the eve of World War II a “black moment” in history — marking what was believed the first time a UK foreign secretary has expressed such a sentiment.

Hunt praised Britain’s “very strong deep-rooted friendship” with Israel, based on “a huge historic admiration” for what it has “achieved against all the odds.”

The UK’s top diplomat also vowed that his country would “always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in stamping out antisemitism.”

via UK Foreign Secretary Calls 1939 White Paper That Limited Jewish Immigration to British Mandate Palestine a ‘Black Moment’ in History

Hugh Fitzgerald: Ed Husain on the British Museum and “The True Face of Islam” (Part Four)

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Then he mentions several examples of figurative art found on Islamic artifacts. First, a “centuries-long collection of tiles and jugs and other objects shows us that figurative art was normal in the Islamic world.” How does he know that figurative art was “normal” in the Islamic world? Where are these tiles and jugs from? He does not claim they were from all over, which leads one to suspect that they may all have originated in one area — it could even have been a very small area — of the vast Islamic world. And from when do they date? Tell us exactly what “centuries-long” means. Were these tiles and jugs, with figurative art on them, produced over a span of 100 years, or 500, or 1,400? We need to know. All Husain can legitimately conclude from this particular exhibit is that some tiles and some jugs had figurative art on them. A convincing study would require many thousands of examples, from all over the Islamic world, since the beginning of Islam.

via Hugh Fitzgerald: Ed Husain on the British Museum and “The True Face of Islam” (Part Four)

A War to Achieve Modernity

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This article is not for the faint-hearted. I do not share a single sentiment with a single religious extremist, Jamal Khashoggi included. My heart is closed to them.

As a Muslim woman, my anger against them became especially determined when three of my relatives in Yemen, young brave, men, had left their homes and families to protect them. They joined the Saudi-backed Yemeni military to fight against Iranian imperialism, to fight for Yemeni independence, to fight for love and freedom. One was killed by a bullet; the other two on sand dunes when they stepped on landmines. Their bodies were so dismembered by explosions that it was difficult to identify them. Their families had to flee their homes; one woman, also terrified of stepping on a landmine, carrying a newborn baby in her arms.

This episode was all the more affecting as the youngest of the three men, Abdullah, wanted to marry me. Therefore, when a religious extremist such as Khashoggi is lost on the front line, my thought to him is: You got what you deserved.

When the night is quiet, in my mind, I see the symbol of France, “Marianne”, as she is known, in Delacroix’s painting, Liberty Leading the People, raising a blue, white and red flag and standing on the corpses of fallen enemies. She encourages me to hope.

via A War to Achieve Modernity

#NoHijabDay Campaign Fights Women’s Subjugation, Indoctrination

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The first time my friend Nour appeared in public without her scarf, a neighbor commanded her to put it on. When she refused, he grew enraged. “Then you are no longer Muslim!” he called out after her as she continued down the street.

The year: 2008

The place: New York’s ultra-hip East Village.

But when Canadian human rights activist Yasmine Mohammed removed her hijab during a 2004 visit with her mother in Vancouver, Canada, the fury was even greater. “That was the day,” she recalled recently, “when my mother threatened to kill me.”

Now, with worldwide demonstrations planned on Friday to celebrate Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab, Mohammed is leading a protest, instead, in support of those who don’t.

via #NoHijabDay Campaign Fights Women’s Subjugation, Indoctrination

“She deserves to be murdered according to Sharia”: Muslims in Pakistan enraged over new acquittal of Asia Bibi

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Asia Bibi spent eight years in prison on death row in Pakistan for supposedly blaspheming Muhammad. But even now, some Muslims there are determined not to let her live in peace, and will be satisfied with nothing short of her murder.

“‘Do not compromise the Prophet’s honour!’: Islamic hardliners call for protests in Pakistan following Christian woman’s blasphemy acquittal amid claims ‘powerful people want her DEAD,’” by Sam Greenhill and Chris Dyer, Mailonline, January 30, 2019:

via “She deserves to be murdered according to Sharia”: Muslims in Pakistan enraged over new acquittal of Asia Bibi

The Rise of Populism in Europe Ahead of the EU Elections

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: European politics is showing a distinct trend towards populism, as evidenced inter alia by the electoral results in Italy, Sweden, and Austria. The main reason for this shift is widespread insecurity over the outcomes of the migrant crisis. The rise of populism is likely to be a major factor in the 2019 EU parliamentary elections.

Populism in Europe as a civilizational legacy has a deeply rooted history dating back to Greco-Roman antiquity. As was recorded by classical historians like Livy, the overarching political structure of the Roman Republic was pierced by populism that arose as a result of loopholes in the system. The opposition of Publius Claudius to Roman nobility during the late Republic reflected the way populist discourse functioned in the classical world.

The principles that emerged after WWII in Europe – such as systems of social welfare, social democracy, and cultural integration – tempered the power of populist discourse as a political tool. Moreover, the mass migration of political refugees from eastern to western Europe during the Cold War encouraged the acceptance of refugees and asylum seekers, which came to represent a display of European values.

via The Rise of Populism in Europe Ahead of the EU Elections