“We can bomb the world to pieces, but we cannot bomb it into peace. Power to the peaceful.”M Franti, Bomb the World
Investing in the latest emerging market and economic miracle?
Ethical engagement, please.
Foreign investors don’t have a great record with direct investment in emerging markets.
All too often, it is a highly exploitative relationship, demanding cheap labour, easy access and complete disregard to ethical and environmental concerns.
Two decades ago, the Asian Tigers. A decade ago, Turkey and UAE. Today Vietnam…
Tomorrow, who knows? A newly independent Scotland and unified Ireland?
Unlikely, unless foreign investors can demand the highly exploitative wages so attractive to them in the latest miracle of the east.
“You’re a Muhammadan!”
Well, I follow the Muhammadan way, so I suppose I am.
“You’re an Islamist!”
Well, Islam is my religion, so perhaps I am.
“You’re a Quranist!”
Well, the Quran is our holy book, so maybe I am.
Evangelicals, politicians, even sectarian devotees… they all want to pigeonhole us with labels of their own creation. But as the years pass by, we realise that their strange sleights are meaningless, indicating the very opposite of whatever they intend.
“You’re a Muhammadan… an Islamist… a Quranist…”
Why not just say, “Muslim?”
Does it not occur to you who benefits from the lies you forward, over and over, now translated into Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, Malay? Who benefits if the health system of your home nation is overwhelmed, wave after wave? Certainly not the residents of those nations, who you unwittingly encourage to shun preventative practices. Do you never contemplate who created the original content you forward, and why? Will you never pause for thought to ask, “Is this even true?”
In 2008, a theologian I admire and hold in high regard spoke on the radio of an apparently brilliant Islamic scholar hardly anybody had heard of. He was one of the most influential public intellectuals of our age he enthused, and a spiritual guide to millions of followers. Why was it, he wondered aloud, that so few knew his name, or were familiar with the tolerant and moderate interpretation of Islam that he taught.Continue reading “The making of a scholar”
I honestly believe we get the leaders we deserve.
I think of a brother depriving his siblings of their inheritance rights, and confiscating their property, enabling him to live in luxury and leaving his brothers impoverished.
I think too of the son, who steels his mother’s pension money, then casts her out, abandoning her with his sister.
I think of elderly parents left to fend for their selves, left behind in the village as their children chase after the world.
I think of men bearing false witness against one-another, cheating in business, lying in the eyes of the law, making off with pay without doing the work it was intended for.
We wonder then why we have leaders that lie and cheat, who take advantage of the poor, double-cross their friends and enemies, make corrupt alliances, living in luxury while their citizens live in poverty.
In your public declarations, you now claim — contrary to what I heard you say in a private gathering twenty-two years ago — that your movement never advocated its followers infiltrating every institution of the state. Each time you are asked about the growing body of evidence that suggests that they did precisely that, you assertively reply: “It was not infiltration, but integration.” You argue that having consistently been such high performers in education, it was statistically inevitable that people with sympathy for the movement would attain the top roles in those institutions.Continue reading “Dear apologist”
Our apparently pious leaders prefer the grandeur of empire to the tradition of the humble trader and shepherd who mended his own clothes.Continue reading “Opulence”
Here is a website which claims to be an independent academic entity, dedicated to studies of a religious movement, apparently delineating fresh insights and critical thought. Here is an article on the website, written by an old friend, who presents himself as an objective observer, cut off from the topic he describes. He is no advocate for the movement, he claims, nor does he defend it, at the start of a very long article defending it.Continue reading “Independent insight”
Make up your own mind. Think for yourself. Don’t be bullied by scholars, acolytes, cultists, proselytisers, politicians, critics, bloggers. Weigh up all the evidence you have gathered and have courage to make your own judgements. Defer to experts in their own fields, yes, but do not subserviently abdicate intellectual autonomy to others in pursuit of piety. You will stand alone on that awesome day, to be held to account for your own deeds. Your leaders, for sure, will denounce you and deny having any influence over you at all.Continue reading “My account”