He wouldn’t have chosen the site if he had known!?!

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: Politicians have poisoned process for Islamic center near Ground Zero

So, now it seems the Imam has admitted he is making a mistake.  I don’t know, but this seems almost as disingenuine as the politicians he is attacking.  As I keep thinking about the mosque issue, all I know is that most people I have spoken with are against it, not because of Islamophobia but because they think it is insensitive.  Shouldn’t he have realized that as well?  Of course, he also says, what’s done is done, so I won’t decide to move it.  I keep saying that I definitely am I glad I don’t have to make a decision to allow for the mosque to be built or moved.  Neither choice will end well.

9/1 Reads

Mind the Grid

This blog piece is another thought about the challenges of modern technology getting in the way of mindfulness, contemplation and spiritual growth.  Personally, one of the benefits of Shabbat is that the phone goes off, the computer goes off, leaving me with a day to read and think.  Granted, I still read the newspaper on Shabbat (the horror), but at least I can do so in a leisurely manner. 

My favorite line was a question the author posed at he beginning of his piece: 

Who knows how much of my newfound calm is due to escaping modern technology and how much is due to immersing myself in an ancient discipline?

You Ain’t Seen This Before

Friedman compares the Israel-Palestinian situation with the Iraqi Sunni-Shiite situation as two potentially impossible to resolve crises.  He is correct in once sense, namely that resolving centuries old conflicts are not something that can happen overnight.  That being said, how does it make sense to compare words to action.  Comparing the inexcusable words of Rav Ovadiah Yosef with the killing of four Israelis by a Hamas terrorist seems unfair.  Most of the time, from what we are told, while the Religious Zionist Rabbis utter hateful thoughts, most situations don’t end in absolute violence.  Granted, there have been times when it has, such as Yigal Amir’s assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, but still, the numbers of terrorists attacks clearly favors the Palestinians.   I sometimes think American leadership is too arrogant, thinking they can find a solution to problems that almost seem genetic. 

A Peace Plan Within Our Grasp

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak offers his opinion on the peace talks to start tomorrow.  He argues that the infrastructure is in place but all that remains is for the psychology of violence to come to an end.  As is typical, while he recognizes the need for Egypt to be part of the solution, the blame ultimately falls on Israel for not being as quick to give up land.  Of course, these words are published the day after another shooting near Qiryat Arba, in which 4 Israelis were killed (Snap analysis: Mideast peace talks jeopardized at starting gate).  So, Israel offers land and blood is shed.  Israel doesn’t want to return land, blood is shed.  I don’t know, but it seems to me that something doesn’t add up.

Cemetery Politics

Allen Nadler reviews some of the summers controversial graveyard issues in Israel, as both the Haredi community and the Arab Israeli community have used the existence of a cemetary to fight for their agendas. 

A Symposium: What Is Moderate Islam?

This symposium is a must read.  The phrase moderate Islam is one fraught with much controversy.  Some of the writers, specifically the Islamic ones, find moderate to imply that somehow they are inauthentic.  They prefer terms like normative Islam or modernist Islam.  All the authors agree that the average Islamic person is not extremist, but someone concerned about living life and making sure to have food on the table.  I often use that argument myself.  However, the challenge we face is that most of us are only exposed to the extremists, who number more than a fringe few. 

Obama Peace Talks for Israel, Palestine Will Fail: Yossi Beilin

Beilin claims that the current American proposal will cause a complete failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.  There is a pragmatic nature to his words as he cautions that too much too fast is not going to work.  Peace needs to be slow and steady.   

Married Couples Grow More Alike, Right? Wrong

This piece presents a debate about whether married couples become more alike or if they simply are alike from the start because we look for similar personality traits.  It could be some of both.  It would be hard for people living together not to begin acting in complimentary ways over time. 

Alcohol and Health: Why the Sober Die Sooner

The study discussed in this piece seems misleading.  The sober die sooner more likely from other factors than because they don’t indulge in drink.  Yet, maybe moderate drinking is healthy, as other studies have shown.

8/30/10 reads

In Israel, Settling for Less

Why do we blame just religious zionists instead of questioning how a government can turn it’s back on blood spilled to conquer and secure the lands being offered back in peace? I think the challenge of peace is not just because some don’t want to give back land. The challenge from the Israeli side is believing giving more land away will actually end the conflict, especially considering that conflict continues after Oslo, Wye, and the Gaza disengagement. At some point, the violent parties all need to be held accountable and not be rewarded for violence.

Five myths about mosques in America

Very simply, this op-Ed is interesting but misguided. The mosque on ground zero for many is not about the mosque but about an anger towards the ideaof a mosque on that location. Nobody is denying the Imam from opening a mosque, just not there, on the location of a tragedy brought about by fanatical Islamic terrorists.

Islamic law and modernity

I saw the following report posted at Elder of Ziyyon.  In it, we find Islamic law trying to find a leniency for people who are breaking the law.  I guess this is a way to confront modern culture.  Whatever, it is, I think I will let the piece do the rest of the talking. 

Women in Saudi Arabia should give their breast milk to male colleagues and acquaintances in order to avoid breaking strict Islamic law forbidding mixing between the sexes, two powerful Saudi clerics have said. They are at odds, however, over precisely how the milk should be conveyed.

A fatwa issued recently about adult breast-feeding to establish “maternal relations” and preclude the possibility of sexual contact has resulted in a week’s worth of newspaper headlines in Saudi Arabia. Some have found the debate so bizarre that they’re calling for stricter regulations about how and when fatwas should be issued.

Sheikh Al Obeikan, an adviser to the royal court and consultant to the Ministry of Justice, set off a firestorm of controversy recently when he said on TV that women who come into regular contact with men who aren’t related to them ought to give them their breast milk so they will be considered relatives.

“The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman,” Al Obeikan said, according to Gulf News. “He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”

Obeikan said the fatwa applied to men who live in the same house or come into contact with women on a regular basis, except for drivers.

 Al Obeikan, who made the statement after being asked on TV about a 2007 fatwa issued by an Egyptian scholar about adult breast-feeding, said that the breast milk ought to be pumped out and given to men in a glass. 

But his remarks were followed by an announcement by another high-profile sheik, Abi Ishaq Al Huwaini, who said that men should suckle the breast milk directly from a woman’s breast.

Shortly after the two sheiks weighed in on the matter, a bus driver in the country’s Eastern Region reportedly told one of the female teachers whom he drives regularly that he wanted to suckle milk from her breast. The teacher has threaten to file a lawsuit against him.

Under Islamic law, women are encouraged to breast-feed their children until the age of 2. It is not uncommon for sisters, for example, to breast-feed their nephews so they and their daughters will not have to cover their faces in front of them later in life. The custom is called being a “breast milk sibling.”

But under Islamic law, breast milk siblings have to be breastfed before the age of 2 in five “fulfilling” sessions. Islam prohibits sexual relations between a man and any woman who breastfed him in infancy. They are then allowed to be alone together when the man is an adult because he is not considered a potential mate.

“The whole issue just shows how clueless men are,” blogger Eman Al Nafjan wrote on her website. “All this back and forth between sheiks and not one bothers to ask a woman if it’s logical, let alone possible to breastfeed a grown man five fulfilling breast milk meals.

“Moreover, the thought of a huge hairy face at a woman’s breast does not evoke motherly or even brotherly feelings. It could go from the grotesque to the erotic but definitely not maternal.”

Al Nafjan said many in the country were appalled by the fatwa.

“We have many important issues that need discussing,” Al Nafjan told AOL News Friday. “It’s ridiculous to spend time talking about adult breast-feeding.”

The original adult breast-feeding fatwa was issued three years ago by an Egyptian scholar at Egypt’s al-Azhar University, considered Sunni Islam’s top university. Ezzat Attiya was expelled from the university after advocating breast-feeding of men as a way to circumnavigate segregation of the sexes in Egypt.

A year ago, Attiya was reinstated to his post.