Tuesday, December 01, 2009

On Minarets and Spires

That I agree or disagree with the Swiss' vote to stop the building of minarets in their country is beyond the point of this article. My opinion, pure and simple, is that it is their business and their business alone. Had I been living in a democratic country where referenda of such nature are held I would probably vote against the construction of many architecturally and functionally out of place structures, including but not limited to bars and brothels near houses of worship, for instance, and vice versa. I see no point in crying foul play when the logic behind the reasoning of those who disagree relies on another form of intolerance. When a fellow Muslim openly condemns Saudi Arabia for banning the construction of churches on her scourged piece of desert he or she might possess the minimum legitimacy to discuss and criticize the Swiss vote. Until then, however, they should keep looking the other way as they have been doing all along.

It is indeed ironic that an increasing number of Syrians consider the emergence of the new religious and conservative propensity in our society as a resurrection of old and cherished values while we deny the Swiss their right to be xenophobic. Monotheist religions in Syria are certainly part of her recent history but do not constitute founding elements of her ancient civilizations or her varied cultures. How can we, Syrians, trace our heritage, values and history to 1,400 years past and arbitrarily stop. Archeological evidence suggests that Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, predates Judaism by some 7,000 years, Christianity by 9,000 years and Islam by roughly 9,600 years. How can we selectively choose to obliterate 87% of our known past and reduce our identity to one usurping trend within a singular faith? The first fermented beverages were discovered in this land, the earliest beer and the primeval wines. We hatched passionate gods, literary epics and love stories while most of humanity was barely afloat in a sea of ignorance. We invented the Alphabet. The 4,250 years old literature of Ebla predates Genesis and subsequent accounts of creation by long centuries. Unlike early claims by “Christian” scientists that the cuneiform tablets found there uphold the authenticity of biblical history, the people of Ebla “authored” almost all of the stories thought to be of divine origin. In one of the rarest occasions of modern times the authorities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam agreed on one common goal, that of stifling the findings of Ebla. They collectively marginalized the significance then obstructed making it common knowledge that the Story of Adam and Eve as it exactly reappeared more than 1,500 years later, was written by an Eblaite playwright, no more no less.

That the Swiss singled out minarets and did not include church spires in their ban is an indication of their deep rooted  intolerance perhaps. That some oppose secularism in Syria, earthly cradle of civilizations, is a manifestation of their shallow bigotry.

49 comments:

Shadi said...

Always a privilege reading you Abu Fares, thank you!
I would like to add my favorite place in -and evidence of - historical cosmopolitan Syria. This is of course Dura-Europos!
It had a special room in the national museum in Damascus which is always my favorite place there (I couldnt find it in my latest visit to there last spring, may be because of renovation works)!
The synagogue frescoes are still there and they are just great (and deserve their special room) and the fact of finding so many temples in such a small area is just wonderful!

(( Avec l'afflux d'habitants de toutes origines, de nombreuses divinités sémitiques sont introduites à Doura-Europos et associées aux dieux grecs : Zeus Megistos à Arsu, Artémis à Nanaia. Les diverses communautés élèvent des temples dans lesquels elles se reconnaissent : temples de Bêl – dont l'un découvert récemment – d'Aphlad-Haddad, d'Azzanathkona-Artémis, d'Atargatis – fille de Haddad et sœur-épouse d'Adonis – des Gaddé – fortunes de Séleucos Ier et de la ville – de Zeus Théos-Bêl, de Zeus Kyrios-Baal-Shamin ou d'Adonis. Le culte était célébré sur un ou plusieurs autels à degrés, face à l'entrée du temple où dans une cour particulière. Parfois, une salle à gradins servait à l'organisation de cérémonies réservées aux initiés. Tous ces temples se conforment à un même type paraissant relever d'une tradition mésopotamienne préhellénistique réélaborée.
))
http://www.clio.fr/BIBLIOTHEQUE/doura-europos_sur_l_euphrate.asp

also on wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dura-Europos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dura-Europos_synagogue

Anonymous said...

This is very important article,I'll forward it to my swiss friends.
Thank you Abufares.

Omar said...

Yislam timmak Abufares. A number of the voices crying out "racism", "xenophobia" and "ignorance" fail to put themselves against the same standard.

I have learned much about Ebla through this post. You have intrigued me about the history of the ancient literature that came out of our beloved Syria.

Philip I said...

There is more logic and humanity in this little post than in all the world religions combined! OK I exaggerate a little but am very glad that there are still people on this planet who think like you do.

Isobel said...

Fantastic post, Abufares. You make very compelling arguments. Frankly I think all symbols of religion should be banned and I wish that were the motive behind the Swiss vote. Obviously that is not the case.

I found what you wrote about the history of religion fascinating to read. Although I knew bits and pieces of it separately, I have never seen it all in one place. It really hits home. Thank you for broadening my knowledge...again! :)

Gabriela said...

You made me look at this issue from a completely different perspective. Thank you for that.
I guess it's true that saying: it all depends on the point of view.
Once again, a wonderful post.
¡Saludos AbuFares!

saint said...

I do respect the people decision even if I don’t like it. The other thing is that minaret is not essential part of practicing or even building a mosque, a lot places around the world have mosque without one. A lot of places have ordinance that does not allow for high building and all respect that. Recently a large group of Muslims bought big warehouse in our area and turn it to Mosque. The whole city welcomed them and the authority visited them. The Arab and Muslim world in general showing great interest in the west local issues while people inside this world have no say in all matters of their lives and even can not voice condemnation for killing their own people, it is great plan of exporting steam.

Yazan said...

Abu Fares,

While I completely respect Swiss democracy and the right that a majority holds to create a social system to its own liking. I find it very difficult not to think of this ban as bigoted.

I did not like your comparison, simply because one does not compare to the lesser standard. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and whole host of countries have dragged the rights of Arab Christians through the gutter, true. But is that an excuse for a country that is built upon the value of diversity to stifle such diversity, and target a single minority community? I certainly think not. And the Swiss ought to be condemned for it. And condemnation is as far as I can go.

Your comparison is akin to the excuse everyone here finds very handy when one criticizes the political establishment in our country, and they point you towards ones that are even worse off. It doesn't work like that.

The decision was not one of architecture, nor of convenience (Minarets do not broadcast the call to prayer), it was, as evident in every poster I had the chance to see and in the very written statements of their sponsors, a symbolic gesture to the Muslim community, You are not welcome here. And I find such use of democracy repugnant.

How would you feel if an Islamic majority in our dear Syria ruled against the public selling of Arak?

Karin said...

Very logical, compassionate and convincing Abufares .. as always, brilliant! My own humble opinion? Knowing the Swiss rather well (they are lovely folks indeed but not necesarily known for their openmindedness) I would probably have fallen from the chair had they agreed! It would have been so TOTALLY opposite to the way I know them ... and again - I love'em dearly!! I just think to allow the building of two minarets would not have been SUCH a great deal for them (nor turned Switzerland into an Islamic country!) - but for Muslims living there to experience acceptance and more openness. I am always for reaching out ...

Then again - you are absolutely correct with your reasoning concerning the Arab world ...

I do accept the decison of the Swiss people ... even though I find it a bit unfortunate to say the least.

BuJ said...

God Bless Syria.

Very well-written.

BuJ said...

PS: on a historical note.. the first mosques in Islam built the Prophet had no minarets. Muslims should not allow a simple minaret to define their faith.

abufares said...

@Shadi
Thank you for pointing out another jewel of Mesopotamia (Syria).
Dura Europos (303BC - 256AD) is an exquisite example of coexistence, hard to find even today in the heart of modern democracy.
I think any learned European must feel humbled that the name of his continent was given to this tiny archaeological site on the bank of the Euphrates river (in the middle of nowhere today) over 2,000 years ago.

abufares said...

@Anonymous
You're more than welcome.

KJ said...

Abufares, comparing Saudi Arabia's tolerance of Christianity to the Swiss tolerance of minarets is like comparing apples with beavers.

KSA holds the reputation of intolerance to everything, whether it be other faiths or the role of women as human beings, while the Swiss operate on a different level of values, a country that is politically neutral and floating on pots of gold.

Though they have the right to do anything they want in their country should they disregard outside influence, their decision to ban minarets, seemingly bigoted as it is, also defeats the purpose of having the country holding a globally neutral position.

As for the second part of your article, indeed, we are the product of our cumulative past, but you're probably aware that this generation is too focused on the present, and it only takes older or more mature people to appreciate the past

abufares said...

@Omar
Ebla is the most significant archeological discovery of all times once the full scope of the findings is exposed and understood. Ebla was originally discovered by Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae in 1964. In the early 1980's when initial translations were leaked out the Vatican, Israel and Saudi Arabia combined their pressures (and incentives) to conceal the real meaning of Eblaite literature. The Syrian government shifted the focus toward the commercial importance of this historical city rather than let the true impact on the 3 monotheist religions become household knowledge. Yet most scholars know the truth and it is there for everyone to see in the Damascus National Museum (if we look hard for it). There is not a single account of originality in the old testament. Even those stories, plays and fables that were not conjured in Ebla itself were footnoted with proper credit in the Eblaite archives.
Instead of proudly saying we made it all up we chose to abide by the rules of the game imposed by the superpowers and those who obscurely hold the strings in the background.
Before Syria became the cradle of heavenly religions, as we now advertise, she was the cradle of earthly literature.
Only when we fully grasp the gravity of inventing the Alphabet would we be able to realize that literature first then "heavenly" religions were the natural outcome.

abufares said...

@Philip I
Thank you so much for your exaggeration. There are so many of us but unfortunately we tend to be too quiet for our own good.

abufares said...

@Isobel
That was my point exactly. If given the choice I might probably vote against all public display of religious symbols, in a democratic way of course.
That was obviously not the motive behind the Swiss vote. They made their choice based on xenophobic preferences.
You should, when you have the time, dig deeper into Mesopotamian history. You will find that monotheist religions were a manifestation of social evolution and that secularism is the next step in the ladder of human development.
There is no more pleasure than seeing you here, always.

abufares said...

@Gabriela
You see my friend... that I made you look from another vantage point was and is always my main intention.
Thank you for your kind words.

abufares said...

@saint
That's all there is to say. Their country, their choice.
I've never been to Switzerland. However, I do realize that people who inhabit a landlocked and mountainous country tend to harbor isolationist tendencies.
I think I should close my Swiss bank account and bring their economy down to its knees :-)
My point is Swiss banks are full of "Muslim" money. Instead of verbally objecting, threatening and making this big commotion a simple boycott would've been much more effective.

abufares said...

@Yazan
It was not intended to be a comparison at all. It's not fair to compare Saudi Arabia to any other country in the world. What I'm saying is that those Muslims who accept Saudi Arabia's policy shouldn't even get into the argument for or against the Swiss. And you know my friend that there are many of these around.
That the Swiss vote was a bigoted one could very much be the truth but I don't find myself compelled to either agree or disagree with it. My opinion in this case is similar to an American arguing for or against the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan while always maintaining that the safety of the "boys" is the most important point to consider.
Americans have no right whatsoever to agree with their government decision to invade those two countries. By the same token, I have no right to butt in the Swiss vote.
That it singled out an Islamic symbol is proof of xenophobia but this is as far as I would go.
I'm home in Syria and the moral majority is already infringing on my meager rights. When they ban Arak it will be time for me to leave :-)

abufares said...

@Karin
Thank you for your comment. I can use it as my own reply to those who disagree with me. The way I personally evaluate an issue doesn't necessarily impel me to always voice an opinion. I disagree with so many things around me for personal reasons. If I choose to follow a course where I actively seek to point out my grievances I wouldn't have time to enjoy myself with the few remaining things that I like.
Had I been living in Switzerland with the right to vote I would've opposed this bigoted decision. But my concerns about how the 3 major religions are negatively affecting my life today are more real to me. Wasn't the Swiss vote driven by Christian fervor??? Well so were the cannibalistic Crusaders.
Wasn't the creation of Israel and the organized murder and extinction of Palestinians masterminded by Jewish fanaticism? So is the constant and perpetual threat to any American president who dares offend Israel.
Wasn't the invasion of Spain the result of Islamic self-righteousness?
So were the Madrid bombings of 2004.
The second part of my article is about what concerns me more as an individual. Meanwhile, I will refrain from eating any Swiss cheese in retaliation.

abufares said...

@BuJ
Thank you for your comment. The first mosques in Islam were more in line with the original message. One of the most enlightening facts about Islam is the absence of a clergy. It is this new and parasitic class which imitates Christians and Jews with illusions of grandeur. The larger the mosque the more imposing, the higher the minaret the more powerful. There is an ongoing competition in Muslim countries to build humongous and extravagant mosques. I wonder if it is to glorify God or the names of those who build them.

abufares said...

@KJ
Well as I said my comparison was intended only to make a point about certain people who are arguing against the Swiss vote for the wrong reason.
The shortsightedness of this (Islamic) generation is a result of my generation's failing to deliver anything of cultural value. This generation is also hostage to a global policy of manipulation. Who is financing Neo-Islam but Saudi Arabia? Who is setting the Saudis loose to spread their mutated form of Islam but the US? Who is pulling most of the strings in Congress but Israel? Who is so dumb to embrace this game and turn the whole world against us but this generation?
Catch 22!

The Cilician Dragoman said...

Great post Abufares, as enlightened and insightful as ever! Being myself a Syrian living in Switzerland I volunteer to give you the view from within. Most of the Swiss I know in major cities, and most of Switzerland's political parties opposed this initiative, even the Swiss government did. But what can you do when the moral majority is composed of those living in far flung villages and who know nothing about Islam except for what they see on their TV screens? they are the ones who cast the vote thinking Muslims are coming to eat them alive, like the Crusaders once did in our beloved Levant, as you rightly mentioned. (By the way, the Crusade was used as an example in one poster campaign opposing the vote)

I was delighted to read what you had to say about Ebla (but to me it does sound like a conspiracy teory to claim that the Vatican, Israel and Saudi Arabia joined forces to keep a lid on it, any demonstrable proof of that?), and to follow the thought you've developed. Indeed we come from a land where most of the premises of our modern civilisation were born, and yet we stop at a decaying moral code that hinders our society from reclaiming the inventive character it once enjoyed. Unless we come to put Human Rights above everything else morally, we cannot give any lectures to any other country, and certainly not to Switzerland.

What this stupid vote falls into is a mere battle of the extremes. Pity those fools, but let's keep working on enlightening our peoples.

BuJ said...

Abu Fares.. ya3teek alf 3afye!
must be tiring to type all these replies.

men make religion bad and intolerant, but if you look at the true message of all religions they are all the same. love. honesty. fairness. being good. etc.

hence.. i am a lover of all religions but a hater of all clergymen!

أنا سوري said...

I wonder if the swiss did what they did to Judism and their temples and synagogues...what would've happened? France and other countries want to ban head scrafs and Hijab, what would've happened if they tried to ban yamakas and orthodox jews dress code? The whole world would've turned upside down and anti-semitism chants would've filled the news and streets. Europe and the USA for that matter, have begun noticing that we DO NOT CARE and they're starting to act accordingly. You don't have to be religious or a zealous muslim to know this is wrong. It represents the top of bigotry and intolerence. I agree with Yazan, and very shocked at your opinion my friend. This all became possible because we do not react when we are insulted, we just keep going like nothing happened. I wish we fought for our causes like the Israelis and Jews do. Fighting for your principals is not carrying a weapon and killing innocent people, it's letting your voice be heard with reason and whatever economic and diplomatic power you have. Many Arab countries have that, but they will never excercise it to defend an attack on their principals. Shame.

abufares said...

@The Cilician Dragoman
Thank you for your comment and for the inside look at Swiss society which I frankly was not aware of.
There is no claim of a conspiracy theory on my part. The significance of Ebla was very well documented in the early 1980's in various articles and papers. The one that stirred the controversy was written by a member of the Italian team who claimed that they were under tremendous pressure from the Vatican to keep a significant part of the discoveries unpublished and that Syria received collective "guarantees and pressures" from the United States and Israel and economic incentives from Saudi Arabia to shift the emphasis from "religious" significance to "commercial" and more broadly "historic importance. This claim was common knowledge among historians and archeologists in Syria at the time. To rebuff these common ideas several articles were published, of which I remember one in particular in Time Magazine where it was argued without success that "au contraire" Ebla proves that the old testament is authentic and briefly mentions that the resulting tension of the discoveries in Ebla were due to political reasons since they do not coincide with either Israel's or Syria's point of view regarding their historical conflict.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,953100,00.html

Apparently the Israelis did not like the fact that Ibrahim turned out to be a Syrian rather than a Jew.

Be that as it may, one has to wonder, even if we assume that it did not occur within a literary context, how was this knowledge of events, names, dates and places documented in Ebla prior to Judaism and what does that directly imply regarding the Old Testament being the word of God.
Genesis, a cornerstone of "heavenly religions" was another story from Ebla, along with other mythologies, fables and histories.

abufares said...

@BuJ
Oh, but I fully agree with you. The true message of religion (all of them) is one of Goodness. I am not disputing that at all. But like you, I think monotheist religions were mutated by the clergy and politicized for their own advantage.

abufares said...

@Ana Sourie
I don't think that the Swiss or any other Western country dare to flirt with the idea of banning or controlling anything remotely related to Judaism.
The Swiss vote is wrong from our point of view as Muslims (even secular Muslims in case some people wonder whether we exist or not), I fully agree. But, is it not their right to decide on this matter? This is what I am arguing only. Sure they are acting as bigots but who am I to deny them their right to be so? I have also already suggested in a previous comment that if all Muslims who have significant deposits in Swiss banks and who felt offended by this vote withdraw their money it would have been much more productive than directly butting in the internal affairs of a sovereign country.
I never considered the Swiss vote as an insult to me, neither the ban on Hijab in France, to be honest with you. What I find insulting and demeaning is that they don't dare do it to the Jews.
If given a choice I'd rather live in a place where all public manifestations of religious symbolism is strictly controlled, certainly not that of Islam alone.
Thank you for your comment, always great to read your thoughts.

The Cilician Dragoman said...

Abufares, thanks for the references on the Ebla issue, they do shoe clearly that's it's not a theory, but an actual conspiracy.

Ana Souri, please note that the ban on the hijab in France was not specifically a ban on Islamic religious signs, but it included all religious affiliations including christian crosses and jewish yarmulkas.

Fantasia Lillith said...

This is a tough one for me. I am not one to get into these debates. I find words often fail me.

I lived in Switzerland for 4 years. I think it's easy on the outside to see this the way you have written but there is a hugely different issue here that, you may not truly understand.

In my years there I found the Swiss to be one of the most open minded and wonderful people. In fact they love to be neutral it's really apart of who they are. Yes, Churches exist - but more as a part of a historic past, like museums. Few Swiss practice. As I recall there was one priest that had to "manage" 12 villages in a cycle because there simply aren't any more pastors.

The issue, already in existence when I was there, was in precisely having a choice now to speak up as a people. Swiss don't like religion. Period. They haven't built new churches, or any other type of place of worship in a long time. Land is too prescious for that.

They banned the ringing of church bells in he town I lived in - and many if not most other villages and cities followed.

I am sorry - but I think they did the right thing. I know I'll get flack for that - but I do. I see what has happened in France, with entire areas that can't and will not tolerate anyone other than Muslims being created inside the cities. It's a terrifying thing to watch. Not to mention the auditory invasion of the call to prayers for those that do not practice. This isn't once on Sunday we are talking about here.

Where I am the towers above mosques exist - but there is no call to prayer allowed, and only the old Cathedral on occasion rings it's bells for weddings - and you have to pay for that, to pay the city for the "disturbance".

So bells and towers ... have lost their purpose in a world that respectfully requests you don't wake citizens - that as a majority is atheist - up at all hours with a call to prayer - in any religion. It's not needed - so why build it?

As for the history … I learned much in this post. I always found Africa and Greece to be the cradles of civilization … so I am surprised.

Abu Kareem said...

Abu Fares,
What happened in Switzerland is pure xenophobia fanned by bigots. There is no way of softpedalling that fact. For me it is especially painful as, at least genetically, I am half-Swiss.

On the other hand, I agree with you that we tend, collectively, to become outraged by others' misdeeds while ignoring the putrid smells emanating from our own back yard.

abufares said...

@Abu Kareem
You may be right but I still don't have any particularly strong feeling toward their decision. I really think it's none of my business.

Unfortunately, a significant part of us has willfully or not been moving backward in time. I hope they keep their regression cause if they go back far enough they will reach a more advanced state than the whole world is at right now.

abufares said...

@Fantasia
I'm not into debates at all, not of this type or any other. However, if you noticed that the first part of my article was in a way an introduction to what I consider the real subject. I started with a clear statement:
"That I agree or disagree with the Swiss' vote to stop the building of minarets in their country is beyond the point of this article."

Yet even this non-committal position proved debatable. Many of my friends and regular readers did not like my attitude toward the Swiss but what can I do? I really don't feel strongly for or against their vote. I repeat that it is their business only.

As for the second part of my article which is a short introduction to Ebla (I would like to write more about it in the future) you must realize that Greece was the gate between East and West and is the cradle of Western civilization. However, it borrowed heavily from Mesopotamian successive cultures. Even the Greek Gods are all incarnations of older Syrian Gods.

Three independent civilizations rose roughly simultaneously. Ancient Egypt, China and Mesopotamia. Each left it's unique mark on our collective human history. That of Mesopotamia, Syria, My Land, is responsible for what I consider the most significant achievement of the human imagination: The Alphabet. With this linguistic dexterity Syrians (of old) created poetry, prose and finally the concept of a monotheist religion itself. The Western Civilization dependence and reverence to NUMBERS and TEXT to this date owes its origin to Syria. While Damascus and Aleppo brought the first spreadsheet to the world, Ugarit (near Lattakia) and Amrit (near Tartous) gave us all the first beautifully written love story.

abufares said...

Dear Readers

I rarely delete comments unless they are outright racist, chauvinistic and bigoted and unfortunately I had to do just that with a commentator who insisted to display all 3 traits. Religion is an explosive issue. That I am a self-proclaimed Secular does not imply that I tolerate venomous attacks on what people hold dear.
Anybody is welcome to comment here but within the bounds of good taste and manners.
There is a fine line I drew myself for this blog and in rare cases I don't give a damn about freedom of speech. Human courtesy, respect and tolerance always take precedence.
I don't delete comments because they disagree with me. I delete them because they are disrespectful and sick.

BIL said...

Abufares,
First, I would like to say thanks for taking this explosive subject to task. We as people seem only to want one side or view of a subject presented (our own). That tolerance is an ever precious commodity becoming more precious as the days go by. If one wants to have their own views taken in a serious manner, one must also be open to other views, though they may differ from what you personally believe in. The fact that the Swiss voted down allowing the building of “religious symbol(s)” does not give the right for others to decry that as unfair oppression when in fact they commit the same oppressive acts themselves. That I agree or disagree with their decision is unimportant…all I am trying to say is that a little tolerance and respect from all would be a welcomed breath of fresh air. That religion was/is the root cause for most of the world’s conflicts…Well one just has to wonder – what if ? I could go on but will stop here and just say I enjoyed the post (one of your best) and look forward to reading more. Peace my dear friend:-))
BIL

abufares said...

@BIL
Glad you're back and happy that we agree.
Before I announced my non-committal point of view I gave myself a mental test. If I had the opportunity to vote on what is to be constructed in my neighborhood, will I vote against certain "public" buildings?
And the answer was YES!

I can't blame the Swiss, nor do I have the right to. Whether I agree or disagree with them is totally irrelevant.

Bubidu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dubai Jazz said...

Abu Fares,

Great post. I find the story on Ebla (and the script of Adam and Eave) most fascinating....

On the issue of minarets, I am agreeing with Abu Kareem: this is a classic case of xenophobia and bigotry. It's none of my business to interfere, protest or burn effigies, but I can still have an opinion.

On the other hand, I think the collective reaction of Muslims around the world is much better and more mature this time around than it was towards the Danish cartoon debacle.

Probably because this was a popular vote, and Muslims needed to stop and ask themselves: "why are they wary of us? why do they feel threatened by our religious symbols?"..etc..

But in any case, we need to work hard on accepting others and allowing them their freedoms before we expect them to treat us like-wise.

Dare we also demand more freedom of thought for intellectuals in the Arab world? with all due respect to Muslims in Switzerland, what pisses me off more than their minarets getting banned is the fact that an Arab thinker like Sayed Elqimni is harassed (and threatened) day and night for what the clergy deem as apostatical writings and research.

Personally, I wish they'd just STFU and mind their own business. And if they can't, somebody should make them.

(sorry for the long comment and the little off-topic)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the swiss vote, there should be no bells no minarets, times had changed , one can use the cell phone , or his micro ,

there are so many important things to save than to discuss religion, bringing back to life the EUFRATES, is more important than all the humanity together,all religions, the time will come when humans will realise that one drop of fresh water is beter than all civilizatins togethe,

ps. since it is forbiden to make cherchs in arebia saudita, I think it is more than fair for the swiss to vote against the minarets,

I LOVE THE MIDDLE ESTERN CITYS WITH THE BEAUTIFUL MINARETS, BUT EVERY THING AT IT PLACE,

le

abufares said...

@Bubidu
When you single out one of the 3 monotheist religions and describe it as the "worst" then go on insulting a symbol held so dear by billions of people you are being a racist, a chauvinist and a bigot.
My knowledge of these 3 religions is extensive and equal. I did not choose to become a secular person for lack of alternatives or learning. These 3 religions share the same basic core of "goodness" and the same logical "failings".
I cannot allow the word "worst" describing Judaism, Christianity or Islam on my blog. Yet I accept any criticism to religious or secular thoughts.
That you harbor racist, chauvinist and bigoted feelings toward "one of these 3 religions" is your own business. But I won't allow it on my blog. And I hope this is the end of it as I'm not going to go any further into this debate. You have to at least accept and respect that not only we do not agree but that we have different ideas of appropriateness (not political correctness) but human courtesy. I could be wrong but I have the right to be so on MY blog.
Thank you for visiting my blog but let's put an end to this, now.

abufares said...

@Dubai Jazz
The story of Ebla was supposed to be the main idea behind the post. I guess I have failed to make this point clear enough as most of the comments were concerned with the causal prelude.
I agree with your assessment in general. The only point I made and seemed to attract criticism is my lack of "feelings" toward the Swiss vote.
To a degree we all possess some xenophobic tendencies and perhaps this made me not only indifferent but tolerant and accepting to the right of others to decide what they deem right on their own turf.
The rest of your comment was not off the point at all. It was very enlightening indeed.

abufares said...

@le
One drop of water is indeed more important than all human ideologies put together. Our planet is under a lot of pressure. While the Euphrates is suffering from decades of human abuse and shortsightedness many coastal rivers in Tartous and Lattakia have completely vanished. The olive trees, the citrus orchards, the natural habitat of several species are disappearing. Even within cities, architecture and taste were dealt a deadly blow as Syrian cities are turning more and more into urban slums with no character at all. The small mosques built in Damascus and Aleppo during the Ottoman era are much more beautiful and in harmony with their surroundings than the new giant lavish mosques being built by the "nouveau riche" of Syria to immortalize their misbegotten names.

Anonymous said...

a good example is DUBAI, it is an artificial city it will become a fantasma city, no way , it is not a place where humans can live.
EDEN , (HUMANS INVARNMENT) IS A PLACE WHERE RIVRES RUN THREU THE GARDENS,
when will we undertand that ?

Bubidu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
[ j i m m y ] said...

hi abu fares,

i think the swiss are myopic. their vote is a pathetic act of xenophobia against a reality that they cannot change and which they refuse to comprehend. instead of banning minarets, they should embrace the reality and the diversity within their country. swiss muslims are as swiss as swiss atheists or swiss catholics. also, in my opinion, a vote is an unfair way to address the social debate about minarets. a democratic ballot is unfair towards minorities. the state and the judiciary system should have acted to protect the minorities. referring to a vote is coward.

i strongly agree with you about the comparison with saudi arabia. every person who condemns the swiss vote should also equally condemn the revolting situation in saudi arabia and other countries who discriminate against certain religious groups. any dissociation of the comparison between switzerland's and saudi arabia's attitude towards religious diversity is a relativist fallacy.

again, i think there is only one way out of this, it's called humanism. and there is only one weapon, it's called tolerance.

abufares said...

@ j i m m y
Thank you for your comment.
I really have very little to add to what you said. Your last words about Humanism and Tolerance summed it all.

Anonymous said...

http://www.greenwych.ca/evidence.htm

Anonymous said...

http://www.20min.ch/news/dossier/minarett/story/27286120