Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Emory University
The media coverage of the terrorist atrocities of Friday November 13 in Paris would seem to promote an almost mythical image of the Islamic State (ISIS). What humanity needs, however, is to demystify ISIS as a criminal organization. And that need is particularly important in my community – the Muslim community.
The vast majority of Muslims almost certainly (we do not have exact figures) feel moral revulsion and outrage about the violence perpetrated by ISIS. Indeed, Egypt’s top Sunni cleric, to name just one example, was quick to denounce the perpetrators of Friday’s “hideous and hateful” attacks.
However, the truth of the matter is that ISIS leaders and supporters can and do draw on a wealth of scriptural and historical sources to justify their actions.
Traditional interpretations of Sharia, or Islamic law, approved aggressive jihad to propagate Islam. They permitted the killing of captive enemy men. They allowed jihadis to enslave enemy women and children, as ISIS did with the Yazidi women in Syria.
I am a Muslim scholar of Sharia. It is my contention that ISIS' claim of Islamic legitimacy can be countered only by a viable alternative interpretation of Islamic law.
Ruth Wodak, Lancaster University
On both sides of the Atlantic, right-wing populist parties are enjoying another moment in the sun. In Europe, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) recently doubled its vote in a state election. Fellow travellers are making headway across Europe – France’s Front National, Hungary’s Jobbik, Bulgaria’s Ataka, and the party formally known as True Finns.
Many explanations for the European surge point to a xenophobic knee-jerk reaction to the refugee crisis, but that’s far too simplistic; the phenomenon is hardly confined to Europe. Look at the surprising success of Donald Trump in the US’s Republican party primary campaign. Many of his fellow candidates are struggling to keep up with his firebrand pronouncements, not least his proposal to deport millions of illegal immigrants.
So why exactly are these leaders and parties enjoying such success – and are they really all birds of a feather?
The following is an email from Michael Moore I received yesterday evening and I'm very happy/keen to share it through this blog as it somehow shows that, contrary to what some Right Wingers and (of course) Far Right peeps seem to believe, some of the "leftists" who support the #RefugeesWelcome hashtag on Twitter are also willing to help them with housing by actually welcoming them into their homes... Restoring our faith in Humanity in the process.
Big oil companies would not want people to see this video.
Let's make sure it goes viral. Click to watch and then share it with everyone -- it's only seconds long.
The V-3 “supergun” was meant to win the war for Germany. In 1943, for the first time since World War II began, Hitler was on the back foot. Allied bombs were devastating German cities and the Fuhrer was rattled. His proposed V-3 cannon would be the biggest gun the world had seen.
The V-3 was built in a truly enormous bunker buried deep in a chalk hill in northern France. Millions of tonnes of rock were excavated by hand and among the workers were hundreds of slave labourers. In its original conception, 25 barrels were to point at London – about 100 miles away – delivering up to one bomb per minute and to create an environment of fear that would turn the course of the war back in Hitler’s favour. And it was a doomed secret “drone” mission to destroy the V-3 that led to the death of Joe Kennedy Junior, a pilot and older brother of the future US president, John F. Kennedy.
John Jewell, Cardiff University
You can trust the Daily Mail to lead the race to the bottom and its coverage of the Paris terror attacks was no different. On November 17, while the world was still reeling from the atrocity in which 129 people died and hundreds more were injured, the paper carried a cartoon featuring imagery sickeningly evocative of 1930s anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda.
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