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Archive for September 3rd, 2007

Welcome Reuters readers.

With Taliban’s release of Korean Christian hostages, caution for missionaries | csmonitor.com

Views on missionaries whose chief aim is sharing the gospel in hot spots vary widely among the nongovernmental (NGO) and religious communities. But even those who accept missionaries argue that good intentions, enthusiasm, and bravery must conjoin with a professional approach.

To work in dangerous areas you need … deep networks, and deep knowledge,” says Jerome Larchu, a director of the Paris-based Médicins du Monde (Doctors of the World), which has volunteers in 55 countries. “You bring in skilled people, lots of locals – and only then do you send people in.”

In February Médecins du Monde pulled its team out of Darfur for security reasons. But the doctors felt their mission wasn’t over. This summer they put scouts into Sudan for eight weeks to travel, talk with locals, and assess risk – before going back in.

If missionaries or aid workers do not have the proper help and concept, “it is a problem for us,” says Mr. Larchu. “I think anyone has a right to proselytize if they want to. But to locals, an NGO is an NGO; they don’t know who we are. They don’t make a lot of distinctions. They don’t know who is legitimate. So NGOs are interdependent, whether we realize it or not. We have to gain local trust together.”

[…] In the past decade, the number of NGOs has risen sharply, as have incidents of violence against them, say Larchu of Médecins du Monde and Martin of Mercy Corps. “More than 80 humanitarian workers were killed in 2006 – that’s more than UN soldiers,” says Larchu.

The number of religious groups is also rising and work closely with secular groups. “Worldvision, the Aga Khan Foundation, Catholic Relief Services – which makes no attempt to hide its name – they channel their faith into humanitarian efforts,” says Martin. “When they come into a dangerous place, they either sit at the table with us, or work at cooperation. If, like the South Koreans, we don’t know them, and they don’t know us, that makes it more difficult for everyone.”

[…] [Marian McClure, former director of worldwide ministries for the Presbyterian Church (USA), says that] a public misconception abroad is that Christians want to “foist” their beliefs on others. “On the contrary, most Christians today suffer not from a tendency to foist our faith on anyone, but from a tendency to be excessively private about our faith,” she argues. “I have never met a follower of a non-Christian religion who would respect someone who could not and would not express his or her beliefs.”

And she is right… 😦

But doesn’t it look like that the NGOs are blaming the missionaries for their own deaths?

You can read also One Free Korea (there’s an interesting photo inside also):

Various news agenies are reporting that the South Korean government paid a ransom of either $2 million or $20 million. Taliban sources are claiming that it was the higher of those amounts. Either sum is enough to build plenty of IED’s to kill American soldiers. [Another update: Seoul has finally gotten around to denying that it paid ransom — yeah, and Larry Craig’s still denying a few things, too – while the Chosun Ilbo publishes a photograph of the Korean spy who probably negotiated it, and who posed arm-in-arm with the terrorists.]

😯 With these friends who needs enemies??? 😡

We forget that the Taliban helped kill 3,000 Americans in our own country. If our government is serious about halting material support for terrorism, the Treasury Department will track down the South Korean and Saudi entities that funneled this money to the Taliban, invoke Executive Order 13,224, and freeze all of their assets colder than Hillary Clinton’s smile. Ideally, that will happen before the money paid by our “allies” is used by our enemies to kill our soldiers. Government entities, too? Yes, especially government entities.

Now, that would be a good start, if USA want to be considered really tough on terrorism. I personally believe that the war on terrorism is not focusing really hard on the finances of the terrorist groups and there are a lot of people who are making a lot of money with weapons in here. And with markets’ unstability

Are they going to do it? I doubt it. Both South Korea and Saudi Arabia are allies

[…]our alliance with South Korea today is one of the world’s most lopsided in terms of the mutual flow of benefits. South Korea has been useless or worse as an ally against the terrorists, extraordinarily unhelpful with North Korea, an irritant in our regional security framework (since Japan is a part of that), and a self-declared neutral in checking China’s regional ambitions. South Korea is actually cutting its own military, leaving American taxpayers to take up the slack. There doesn’t seem to be much South Korean gratitude for this expensive commitment, either, judging by displays like these, or polls that consistently show South Korea to be one of the most anti-American countries in Asia.

Hmm, curious, isn’t it?? 😡

Were SK women sexually assaulted by the Talibans?

Something that has been left un-said in the media but on most people minds was if the Taliban sexually assaulted the women or not. The hostages are not talking yet but reports are filtering out of Afghanistan that at least four of the hostages were sexually assaulted by Pakistani Taliban which set off a fight between two Taliban groups. The sexual assault of the Korean women would be highly damaging to the Taliban’s effort to cultivate an image of being mujahadeen fighting for a Muslim cause in Afghanistan when they are going around kidnapping and raping women. I’m sure we will find out sooner or later if the report is true or not, but I would not be surprised at all if some of the women were sexually assaulted by these Taliban criminals.

Afghan Lord has more:

Taliban strongly rejected allegations regarding sexual assault on four female Korean captives. Militant spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi told to media they were waging jihad against obscenity, immorality and un-Islamic acts in Afghanistan.

Hmm, so they wage jihad against obscenity, immorality and un-Islamic acts by sexually assaulting girls??? 😯

In a sense, and if you just think about it for a minute, cold way, it’s logical considering their ways

ABC NEWS: I just get sick when I read this kind of comments:

When adherents of any religion are so ill mannered as to venture into another’s area, be it your home or country, with the expressed intention of convincing their targets that they are pursuing the wrong philosophy or way of life, and should adopt the true ways of the proselyte’s, then they should expect, at the very least, rejection. When confronting such as the Taliban,and fundamentalists of any religion, then they should be prepared to reap the harvest of their own ignorance.

Look here. There is NO REASON to kidnap any person, whatever their conditions. And this people are peaceful for God’s sake! They weren’t going to do any harm: if you are Afghan, and don’t want to convert just say so. It’s very simple. It’s called freedom: you use it each time you must decide which option you must follow.

In Spain, there are the famous pairs of Mormons -nearly in all cities-. Well, no one has kidnapped them or anything. Are they proselytising? Yeah. But if they come to me and ask for conversion (I think that three or four times more or less, I have had to hear them 😛 ), just answer them: “I’m a convinced …. I do not want to convert”.

To support the Taliban in what they have done, equating peaceful missionaries with bloody killers and terrorists, is one of the worst equations I have been seeing later.

Last news: From Yonhap:

ANYANG, South Korea, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) — A pastor at the South Korean church whose volunteers were held hostage for six weeks by Afghanistan’s Taliban said some of the captives were “severely beaten” by the insurgents when they refused to convert to Islam.

As JW says, “Feel the love”. 😡

According to the link in Spanish posted below, the Talibans’ spokesman has said that the ransom payed is going to be used to buy weapons and pay for suicide attacks. It also reminds that there are 1 German and 5 Afghans in their power. The German is an aid worker, whose companion had already been killed by peaceful and loving and caring Talibans (hey, Brian, when are you going to film this kidnappings??? 😈 ). The Talibans are also asking Germany to withdraw from Afghanistan and one of their speakers have already said they will not attack citizens from countries which do not have troops on Afghanistan.

Eeh, Zapatero, are you hearing? 😈 What would happen if they kidnap an Spanish? Will you cave in again? What about the Civilizations’ Alliance? Is it also for the Talibans or only for Erdogan’s “Moderate Islam is an offensive and ugly term? What shocking news, eh? Because it means that “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it“. And if you don’t like what there is, hmm, well, just bear it… 😈

Para los que no entienden inglés, podeis leer esta noticia de Reuters:

Lo consideramos (el secuestro) como un brazo que nos puede permitir dar un golpe al enemigo”, declaró a Reuters por teléfono desde un lugar desconocido el portavoz talibán Qari Mohamad Yusuf.

“El secuestro (…) y asesinato de (ciudadanos) cuyos países han venido para la aniquilación de la nación de Afganistán son obras que suprimen al enemigo”, añadió.

Yusuf, uno de los dos portavoces de los talibanes, dijo que no atacarán a los ciudadanos de países que no tienen tropas en este país.

Según el acuerdo alcanzado la semana pasada, Corea del Sur dijo que a finales de agosto retiraría a todos sus ciudadanos de Afganistán, así como al pequeño contingente de 200 soldados e ingenieros a finales de año. La retirada de la misión estaba prevista. [¿A que existe parecido con la retirada de las tropas de Iraq? Si al final han sido los musulmanes integristas…].

[…] Un alto mando talibán dijo hablando a petición de no ser identificado que el acuerdo también incluyó el pago de un rescate de más de 20 millones de dólares (unos 15 millones de euros), que se usarían para comprar armas y financiar atentados suicidas.

[…] En sus manos sigue un cooperante germano secuestrado el mes pasado, al igual que otro alemán secuestrado junto a un compatriota y cinco afganos. Uno de estos dos alemanes fue asesinado por los talibanes, que exigen la retirada de los soldados alemanes.

😯

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Good news from NK:

North Korea has agreed to fully account for and disable its nuclear program by the end of this year, the top U.S. nuclear negotiator said on Sunday.

“We had very good, very substantive talks,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill said after two days of meetings in Geneva to tackle the next phase of an international deal to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear technology and facilities.”One thing that we agreed on is that the DPRK will provide a full declaration of all of their nuclear programs and will disable their nuclear programs by the end of this year, 2007,” Hill told reporters, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim Kye-gwan, Pyongyang’s chief nuclear envoy, told reporters he was pleased with the talks.

Now we have to wait to see if this is true or is a new strategy of Kim Jong-Il…

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Father Samir Khalil Samir: Islam: a plan of world domination? His conclusions:

The Muslim World is going through is greatest crisis. The confrontation with modernity, represented and promoted by the West, which has always been viewed as Christian, a competitor and very often an enemy, chips away at Islam’s stable and uncontested order.

Centuries of intellectual stagnation have made this confrontation visible to all. After Islam’s much vaunted greatness in the period running from the 9th to the 11th century, a feeling of decadence has set in!

Some have escaped into the past when Muslims threw themselves into conquering the world (7th century), giving rise to Islam’s ‘Golden Age.’ Others have sought strength through violence and slid into terrorism in God’s name, thinking that this way they would be defending both Islam and God. Others still have sought a way out of Islam, seen as dead weight, a stranglehold or a prison, opting instead for practical form of atheism and sometimes even Christianity.

In turn the Western World, which is rooted in Christianity no matter what negationists might say, is going through its own great crisis. With God treated as a human invention and religion as an addiction (as the opium of the masses), the West has fallen into an ideological and spiritual vacuum. Some who are idealist find refuge in believing in a brighter future, dreaming a better world; others pursue a form of rationalism devoid of an ethical values and spirituality. Then there are those who seek total freedom, even at the cost of self-destruction. Finally, many simply live by relying on a practical form of materialism.

A clash of civilisation is inevitable under the circumstances. Treating conversion (from Islam) as a betrayal worthy of killing someone is one sign of this. Dividing the world into two camps, separating Good from evil, has turned into an obsession. This is the analytical framework that Professor Ratzinger (who now happens to be Pope Benedict XVI) elaborated and presented in his lecture in Regensburg on September 12, 2006. In it he pointed out that in the West we have a form of rationality that lacks a spiritual content (reason without faith), whilst in Islam we find a type of rationality that has turned into violence (faith without reason). These temptations oppose one another but also run parallel to each other.

The solution lies in the hands of believers who are not fanatical—be they Muslim, Christian or from others traditions. Their openness to all that is human can be the basis on which to build, along with others who may or may not believe, a better world.

Related posts about Samir Khalil Samir: About the Egyptian Convert who wants his conversion to appear on his own Identity card.

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There are a lot of people very worried about a possible Bush’s plan to attack Iran. You can read Debbie and Michael.

Last news:

“We have more than 3,000 centrifuges working and every week a new set is installed,” Mr Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.

“[The world powers] were thinking that with each resolution the Iranian nation would retreat. But after each resolution the Iranian nation presented another nuclear achievement.”

The installation of 3,000 centrifuges is seen by Iran as a key medium-term goal – which it had hoped to reach by March this year – for its nuclear programme.There has been no independent verification of Iran’s claim.

The UN has already imposed two sets of sanctions and the US is leading the call for a third set if Iran’s uranium enrichment does not halt.

Only last week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had agreed a plan with Iran to clear up key questions about its past nuclear activities, calling it a “significant step forward”.

The IAEA has said 3,000 centrifuges would represent a point of no-return for an industrial-scale production of enriched uranium.

But it also suggested last week that Iran had 1,968 operational centrifuges – significantly short of the breakthrough President Ahmadinejad has now announced.

As if Ahmadinejad has also told the truth to UN inspectors….

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The new solution for all your problems. Whether if it is a headache, a heartache or that you’re losing your hair, you can blame it immediately on this. 😆

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Some days ago, I blogged that some Western professors were defending female genital mutilation. Today I have found this article, in which the author quotes Janice Boddy, a female Canadian Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department in Toronto, who defends the practice, calling people against it “Crusaders” and “moralising and polemical“. She also says that the campaign against the practice is  “sustained by imperialistic logic and spurious empathy“.

the women in the village she chose for her anthropological research insisted that she should learn about this practice and see it performed if she hoped to understand them. She followed this advice and eventually concluded that circumcision validates the village women’s lives, safeguards their fertility and establishes “the meaningful parameters of their selfhood.” 😯 [has she passed the experience herself?…]

[…] she boldly addresses this question with her new book, Civilizing Women: British Crusades in Colonial Sudan (Princeton University Press). The fact that she then falls on her face, academically speaking, does not necessarily diminish her bravery.

Her readers discover, almost at the beginning, that she has a limited idea of academic detachment and fairness. A chronology of events at the front of her book twice uses the politics-laden term “propaganda” to describe Britain’s efforts in the 1940s to publicize the harm done by genital cutting. But then she quickly buckles down to her own propaganda project, a storm of disapproval directed at those who argue against the ritual cutting of female genitals.

She also wants the term “Female genital mutilation” changed to “Female genital cutting” (just as abortion should be called free-willing interruption of pregnancy 👿 ) :

She sets the terminology firmly in place, so that she can argue in her own terms. She thinks “female genital cutting” (FGC) properly describes the issue. Apparently she considers that a relatively neutral term. But “female genital mutilation” (FGM) is improperly censorious — an “invidious” label, according to one scholar Boddy approvingly quotes.

As Boddy sees it, those who take a passionately anti-FGM position have no understanding of the context [ 😯 So, what about torture, rape, genocide…??? Well, if you do not endorse them you are not understanding their context?? 😯 ]. She doesn’t much like the argument that FGM can be fatal, particularly when executed by people without medical training, though she won’t quite say it’s false. Nevertheless, that warning is “inflicted on ignorant and powerless women by sadistic men.”

And the article ends:

She obviously can’t endorse FGC, but a careful reading of her book demonstrates that she’s embraced one of the great lies of modern liberalism: Any culture is as good as any other culture and its tradition-endorsed practices (no matter how misguided, harmful and dangerous) deserve respect. Civilizing Women reads in many places like a grotesque parody of academic tolerance but its coherence and its highly detailed account of Sudanese culture reflect years of hard work. The fact that it expresses sympathy for an outlandishly cruel and appalling custom will probably do Boddy no harm in the world of contemporary anthropology.

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