Hooray for the Norwegian Muslims!

From the Times of Israel:

“In the wake of a deadly shooting attack at a synagogue in Denmark last week, a group of Norwegian Muslims intends to hold an anti-violence demonstration at an Oslo synagogue this coming weekend by forming a “peace ring” around the building.

One of the event organizers, 17-year-old Hajrad Arshad, explained that the intention was to make a clear statement that Muslims don’t support anti-Semitism.

“We think that after the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, it is the perfect time for us Muslims to distance ourselves from the harassment of Jews that is happening,” Arshad told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK in an interview cited by The Local News website on Tuesday.

She noted that the group aimed to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims.”

The demonstration drew praise from the local Jewish community.”


A fine, intelligent act in an age of rage about religions. Has it always been this way? Across recorded history, it seems many people have been brutally tortured and murdered because of religious intolerance – perhaps more than all the wars from 1700 to the present. Even in the “civilized” United States today, religious intolerance is not above killing over abortion, sexuality, Islam, atheism, theocracies, and still ostracizes Roman Catholics and Jews.

Perpetually, philosophers and behaviorists ponder religious brutality and still have not discovered a way to discuss religious differences in a rational way.

What the mariner finds puzzling is that those who turn intolerance into murder and destruction are not exactly the devoted core of the faith, devoted to their god and seeking a holy world. Rather, it is the opportunists, bigots, self-anointed “religious” warriors, and psychologically unbalanced who make up the army of the “Lord.”

In the Mideast, conflict has become absurd. Belief in the sanctity of life disappeared centuries ago. Every type of zealot, from heads of state to violent, deranged thugs, fight under the same flag: Islam. Added to the broiling mess is the regional prejudice between theocracies and western secular countries.

What fuels this ongoing war is not really Islam per se, though that is important. It is the fossil fuel wealth of the area combined with inadequate governments still depending on sheikdoms (Saudi Arabia) city-states (Libya), and warlord authoritarianism (Iraq, Egypt and Syria).

The western countries went through this violence centuries ago and have evolved into nations run by constitutions and law. While extremists still cause problems in the western nations, the political infrastructure is robust enough to prevent anarchy.

The coming battles for the industrialized world are mercenary values versus the earth itself – a new kind of fervor based on ecology rather than religion and one that ignores national borders.


Some notes from the mariner –

Many do not check back to earlier posts to see if replies have been added. The “Purgatory” post drew some insightful responses:

One reader, self-described as an existentialist, defined purgatory as those moments when a person has lost his/her compass of life. “What do I do next? Where are the signs that will give me direction? Where will I stay for the next two weeks? It is a sense that life has come to a stop and there is no way to move ahead into the future.

Another reader suggested that purgatory could last no longer than the last living person who knew you – approximately four generations at most. After that, no one is around who will pray for your release from purgatory.

Another reader suggested the living have nothing to do with purgatory, that is, purgatory lasts from the point of death to the moment one must answer for one’s life at the Pearly Gates.

All these replies are fascinating and provoke extended thought about purgatory.

Thanks for your replies.

Ancient Mariner


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