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Saturday, 16 February 2008 07:43

Saudis 'threatened Blair with terror'

"SAUDI Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents...The threats halted the fraud inquiry, but triggered allegations that Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties." (Source: The Age). The word got out because of a few courageous individuals like Matthew Cowie, the case officer on the enquiry, stood up against what was happening. Now, anti-corruption campaigners began a legal action on Thursday to overturn the decision to halt the case. They want the original investigation restarted, arguing that the Government 'caved into blackmail.' Comment: The use of violence in our society remains. This is blackmail at the highest level.
Friday, 15 February 2008 15:54

Jihad On Trial In Australia

In Australia a group of men are on trial for terrorism activities. According to a news article, the youngest member of an alleged terror group hand-wrote a will at the age of 19 and asked his "Muslim brothers" to fight jihad if the government tried to interfere with it, the Supreme Court was told yesterday. Prosecutor Richard Maidment took the jury through materials found in the terrorists' possessions. They are:
  1. Videos of beheadings by terrorists.
  2. Handbooks on how to make bombs.
  3. Strategies for setting up an active terror cell.
  4. Lists of the joys awaiting Islamic martyrs in paradise.
"Mr Maidment said some of the group's Islamic-library material argued that while suicide was not permitted in Islam, martyrdom was. It was promised that martyrs would have all their sins forgiven from the moment the first drop of their blood was spilled, would speed across the bridge over hell-fire to heaven and would be wed to 72 virgins in paradise." Seventy-two virgins!? I am currently reading Sam Harris's book The End Of Faith. In page 32, he wrote:
Most people in positions of leadership in our country will say that there is no direct link between the Muslim faith and "terrorism". It is clear, however, that Musims hate the West in the very terms of their faith and that the Koran mandates such hatred. It is widely claimed by 'moderate' Muslims that the Koran mandates nothing of the kind and that Islam is a 'religion of peace'. But one need only read the Koran itself to see that this is untrue:
Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate. (Koran 9:73) Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous. (Koran 9:123)
Religious muslims cannot help but disdain a culture that, to the degree that it is secular, is a culture of infidels; to the degree that it is religious, our culture is the product of a partial revelation (that of Christians and Jews), inferior in every respect to the revelation of Islam. The reality that the West currently enjoys far more wealth and temporal power than any nation under Islam is viewed by devout Muslims as a diabolical perversity, and this situation will always stand as an open invitation for jihad...Insofar as a person believes that Islam constitutes the only viable path to God and that the Koran enunciates it perfectly -- he will feel contempt for any man or woman who doubts the truth of his beliefs. What is more, he will feel that the eternal happiness of his children is put in peril by the mere presence of such unbelievers in the world.
PERSONAL COMMENT I am a migrant. My parents brought us to Australia for a more hopeful future, away from poverty. I am grateful for Australia and its people to welcome us and allow us to become one of them. People migrate to wealthier countries mainly to improve the quality of their lives. Wealthier countries are where they are today because their culture and their beliefs have managed to shape the political and economic landscape of their country that is conducive to the lifestyle you seek. Before thinking ill of the beliefs and the people of your newly-adopted country, you must at least ask yourself this: If your existing set of beliefs were so good then why did your people fail to build a country where you would want to live in? Could it be that your beliefs might have a tendency to choke any progress being made in education, science, politics, medicine and economics? What if all these things you consider 'evil', actually lead to what makes a nation wealthy? Furthermore, what if they are not evil at all?
Thursday, 14 February 2008 19:13

Danish Police Thwart Murder Plot By Islamists

It is quite shocking to hear that certain Islamists plotted to murder a Cartoonist in Denmark for his drawing, published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005. Fortunately, Danish police thwarted their plans yesterday. Today, at least 17 Danish newspapers printed a controversial cartoon of Prophet Muhammed today to stand against fanaticism. "Freedom of expression gives you the right to think, to speak and to draw what you like... no matter how many terrorist plots there are," conservative broadsheet Berlingske Tidende wrote in an editorial. The right to freedom of speech is guaranteed under international law through numerous human rights instruments, notably under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. There are plenty of good reasons why this law was put in place. This is a case example of religion contradicting the moral zeitgeist.
Source: http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/editors-risk-muslim-fury-with-cartoon-reprint/2008/02/14/1202760450484.html
Tuesday, 18 December 2007 16:07

Giant Rat Found In Indonesia

A new species of mammals have been discovered in Indonesia. They look like giant rats, weighing around 1.5 kilos. (Source)
Published in Scientific Advances
Tuesday, 18 December 2007 15:54

Saudi King Pardons Rape Victim

In Saudi Arabia, a 19-year old woman was put in jail for being with a man in a car who was not her relative. Apparently, this is illegal in Saudi Arabia. This fact was established when seven men attacked them and gang-raped her.

Rape under Saudi Arabian law is punishable by law, but from what I understand, the court did not impose it because there were no witnesses and the rapists did not confess to the crime. Furthermore, they also revoked the license of the woman's lawyer and asked the lawyer to appear before a disciplinary panel. (Source)
According to a terrorism expert, Marc Sageman, individuals who join terrorist groups have one thing in common before they commit a terrorist act: they have had 'insignificant' lives. He said, "You have a lot of people who are bored out of their minds. Joining this movement brings significance to their lives. Now they are special, part of the vanguard and better than others."
(Read the article)

This is interesting because two weeks ago I just blogged about the big reasons offered to try and understand terrorism. If Sageman is correct in his assertions, then it means that even though the leaders of terrorist groups may have some philosophy on why they do what they do, the foot soldiers at the bottom of their ranks are mainly taking part for emotional reasons.

MY THOUGHTS

If a person feels inferior because he believes he is insignificant, or that he is living an insignificant life, it is logical for him to presume that to become someone significant, or to live a significant life, he must achieve superiority over others. However, he is neither significant nor insignificant. He is neither superior nor inferior. These concepts only exist because of his perceptions. The truth is, he is simply himself.
Sunday, 20 August 2006 22:24

Frigid sperm still works 15 years on

"Sperm extracted from mice and testes that have been frozen for as long as 15 years have yielded normal, healthy offspring in a study that researchers say heralds fresh hopes for bringing back extinct species." Source.
Published in Scientific Advances
Monday, 01 May 2006 22:54

Catholic priesthood in decline

The number of priests worldwide has decreased by 3.5 per cent in the past quarter of a century, the Vatican said, noting that the overall figure was affected by a sharp decrease in Europe despite a rise of vocations in Africa. Read full article here.
Tuesday, 28 February 2006 22:24

Blood-clotting Protein In Venoms

"A blood-clotting protein found in the venom of nine snakes, including the taipan and the tiger snake, can be used to stop excessive bleeding during surgery and major trauma, the team of Brisbane based researchers announced*."
Published in Scientific Advances
Tuesday, 28 February 2006 21:22

Fig Leaf For A Terrorist Authority

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who wants peace talks with Israel to establish a Palestinian state, says that Hamas might make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to lead. Israel's acting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni says that Mr Abbas "can't be a fig leaf for a terrorist authority".

Full article.