View Full Version : Taliban attitude

24th Aug 2001, 05:01
For those that haven't heard, the Taliban are currently holding some aid-workers, two of which are Australian, who have been accused of 'preaching Christianity'. Foreign diplomacy has been denied access to the aid-workers. The 'crime' has a maximum penalty of death. This is particularly poor, given that the aid workers are there cleaning up the mess where the Taliban have shown little interest.

The press in Australia has been fairly down on the Taliban regime, but mostly on account of their treatment of women. There has been little, or no, criticism of the Taliban punishing Christianity with death.

I have noticed in Australia there has been a growing lack of tolerance of Christianity especially in the workplace. The NSW Labor government is considering a bill to ban the discussion of Christianity in the workplace, branding it as harassment.

This attitude seems to be reflected in the general community. There is no tolerance of proselytising Christians. The argument is that we must all be tolerant, and therefore Christianity has no right to seek to convert others. Religion is private and should never be allowed to enter the public arena.

This, however, is not tolerance. This is intolerance toward Christians. Conversion is at the heart of Christianity. No-one is born a Christian. They are converted. So, to ban conversion is to ban Christianity. This is hardly religious tolerance. Are we unhappy with the way the Taliban treat women, but have no real concern with their treatment of Christians?

What do you guys think?

Bob Hawke
24th Aug 2001, 05:56
Sorry guy, but I disagree. Religion doesn't belong in the work place, I believe, and having someone trying to convert me at work is strictly harrassment as I see it. By no means do I mean I wouldn't enjoy some discussion on the subject, but it depends on the type of discussion. If you start preaching to me about "you sinner, your going to hell, you can only be saved by Jesus, etc, etc, etc." and all that hoot, well then, I don't want to hear from you.

As far as your right to call yourself a Christian, and do what you believe, go for it. But in you own time, please. I might add, there are so many variations of it, it's a wonder you can keep up with it. Schism here, split there, and so on.

Let's twist the question alittle bit, how would you feel about Muslims in your workplace, or Hare Chrishnas doing the same thing to you, because they believe they have a right as well.

Work is for work, so keep it that way. If your work mate wants to engage in a bit of philosophical debate along religious lines, then so be it.

My perception of those that proselytise is a person of utter contempt for other peoples beliefs. That's the way it is, from the Mormons to the SDA's to the JW'S. You going to tell me and all of us, your not the same. Well you are if you do it the same way, doesn't matter what brand you are.

Sometimes I think Christians like to minimise the importance of humanity by saying those that express there concern about the exploitation or suppression of another group, other than themselves, is of lessor importance. I.E. the woman of the Taliban. This is as an equally important issue, and certainly not less than those being condemned for being Christians. It is nothing short of disgusting that the Taliban regime would consider that death is the only suitable punishment for those that "believe" in something else. My thoughts are for them.

The Taliban, is a basket case, even the other world Muslim organisations acknowledge this. Despotic Religion out of control. Christianity was like this in the Dark ages of Europe.

Secularism, is not a religion, but allows you, me, and others to believe and practise what they want without fear of persecution, or that matter harrassment. Thank God we are moving towards a more secular society.



[ 24 August 2001: Message edited by: Bob Hawke ]

24th Aug 2001, 06:18
Guy, your question is but one sentence long, the last in your last main paragraph.

My answer is simple. Assuming the truth of the allegations, I am with you. I am not happy with what the Taliban does to Christian missionaries.

That said, what then? I used to belong to a denomination that maintained a hospital in a Moslem country. A young girl from our congregation had a great desire to be a medical missionary. Lovely young lady. She worked hard, qualified as an RN, undertook missionary training, and off she went to the hospital.

After her first tour of duty she came home on furlough, and gave a talk to the congregation. Very interesting. The mission/hospital had been there eighty years. It did great work, especially in diseases of the eye caused by sand abrasion.

She told us about Islam. Seemed not too bad, really, and not so very far from Christianity. They had God, and none of that stuff from the Council of Nicaea. Given a choice, I was not so sure which one many of us would have made. That bit about paradise, for example, was Okay, and there were a few reflective expressions when she addressed the topic of divorce.

In the said eighty years they had made Christian converts of 12 patients, of whom 4 became backsliders once they were discharged. The medics liked to work on children, cure their diseased eyes and other troubles, give them a boost of Christianity, and hope that when they got home they would work on Dad and Mum.

If the hospital was a selfless work of Christian charity, it seemed to me and others, it was a great success. If it was a source of conversions it was a great failure. Given the failure/success ratio, it did rather seem that Islam and the locals were well suited to one another, and that the effort to wean them from Islam to Christianity was ill-conceived, no matter what the Great Commission may say.

If Christians want to make a real point of the matter, given the attitude of the Taliban, the solution sooner or later must lie in a renewal of the fixtures previously played out at the Battles of Tours and Vienna. Is that not so? Of course, the new “ethical” basis (i.e., whatever we say we think is good and proper) for foreign policy as in Kosovo, as opposed to the sordid “economic interest” basis of the most recent few hundred years, does suggest that we are moving back to the tradition that brought us all that the excitement between say the 9th and late 17th centuries, of which the Balkan tensions are just a continuation in any event. Maybe that is what we want, but I wonder if it has been thought through.

So, although I am not happy about it, what else did the missionaries expect? And what do they want me to do about it?

24th Aug 2001, 08:49
Bob Hawke,

I apologise Bob for those Christians that proselytise by jamming their opinions down others throats. I think that's harassment in all its contexts. There are Christians out there that aim to be sensitive to workmates, and in appropriate contexts share in discussion about what they believe. Are we to ban both? They are both proselytising.

I think secularism is a religion. It is just as dogmatic, ritual and credal as any form of Christianity. God might exist, but is irrelevant to life and not to be discussed in polite circles, and definitely not in the public arena. Philosphically, secularism has all the hallmarks of religion and is promoted wherever it can be with evangelistic fervour.

I have no problems with Muslims and Fare Chrishnas talking with me about what they believe. I would expect the same courtesy from them as I would expect a Christian to show. But, providing work is being done, and not jeopardised, I can't see why religious matters should be any more off limits than politics, values, sport or even what you did on the weekend.

I agree that the Taliban mistreat women. I think western society has done a lot to improve the lot of women, who get a rougher deal amongst most of the other cultures not influenced by Christianity. But it seems from the media coverage that this is the central issue with the Taliban. The fact that they kill their own people just for becoming Christian and kill foreigners over there helping the people they exploit, cleaning up their own mess, because they shared their beliefs with the neighbours, or even worse, the people they were helping, seems to be of little consequence. As long as foreign aid workers (who keep their religion to themselves) can work without threat, than what does it matter if they kill a few Christians?

It disappoints me to see our collective apathy (and thereby tacit approval) of their actions.

24th Aug 2001, 09:06

I think an appropriate response would be to pray for them. I don't think we need to mount some kind of power struggle to gain their freedom. But joining society in their apathy is again to give tacit approval.

I think this apathy may be an indicator of the times we live in. It may be an indicator of a growing lack of tolerance of Christianity, in the name of tolerance. (I'm sure everyone now thinks I'm a nutter.)

To say there is very little difference between Islam and Christianity requires one to squint really hard, if not to close your eyes completely. Where in Australia have you seen religious police roaming the streets, ensuring that women are dressed correctly and that everyone is saying there prayers at the same time. How many Christians do you know that kill their family member for changing religions, or in lesser situations just hold a funeral for them and pretend that they are dead. Islam is based on fear and submission, biblical Christianity is based on grace and love. Ask Muslims how they treat their women? Would you want your daughter to marry a Muslim and move to Saudi Arabia?

I don't want a war, I just don't want our media to turn a blind eye. This is a cracker story being completely ignored because it's not tolerant to criticise someone's religion, unless of course they mistreat women.

collective bias
24th Aug 2001, 10:58
Its interesting that Labour are 'banning' religion in the workplace.
Our western society is founded on the principles of Christianity. Its the fabric which defines our right from wrong. It an important factor in the 1st world status we enjoy. If we are not permitting christianity in our everyday environment then what do we think our society will relate to.
What I am trying to say is that its obvious that the beliefs of the Taliban don't fit in the NZ/OZ mindset. If we systematically remove christian belief...what do you propose its replaced by?
Personally, I don't look good in orange, I think Budda promotes obesity and I can't afford the airfare to mecca... :D

Bob Hawke
24th Aug 2001, 15:07
Guy, thanks for the reply. Secularism doesn't come packaged as a religion, at least the way I see it. It does not promote any deity, afterlife concepts, karma, or specific rituals, i.e. holy communion, or pilgrimage to Mekah.

Just life, human respect and responsibility. It is as good or bad as you make it, and the Government you let run it. It is not overshadowed by God ordained orders, or Enshallah.

It is not the evil empire, or the new world order that is prophesized in Revelations. I know you think it is, but it's not. It is merely people recognising that people are important (and hopefully the environment), that the needs of ALL the community, irrespective of race, color or religion should be allowed to exist without fear, or favour.

This is not the case of religious based Governments. The seperation of Church from State was one of the greatest, and no doubt bravest acts of the then legislatures. In my mind it removed the primative shackles of the past and has allowed the Western world to develop at an exponential rate (a relative opinion here). Some good, some bad, but hey, it's only just started.

The legacy of Religious Governments, Empires, whatever, has left an extremely nasty scar on the face of humanity, for that matter the world. (I remember being taught that the worlds resources were there for our taking, God provided, hang the consequences).
No such utopia. We all have to pay for what use, irrespective of the religion. It is not our God given right to exploit.

I see you, and many like yourself have a need to fill what is unfortunately called the Godhole. This is a space in the mind that needs to filled with a Greater than thee being. Many many people need, have it, and depend on it. Maybe it's God given, who knows but each to their own. Secularism, doesn't deny you that right, but allows all to chose how to fill it.

Yes, I have been harrassed by those type of Christians, and I remember as a younger man being approached by so called Born Again Good Christians, and there is nothing I can say about them that could promote their cause. A bit like OCB really.

Watching the quite achievers of Christianity, and I think the whole world knows this one in particular; Mother Theresa, brings nothing but joy to me knowing that of all the debased human activities and actions there are some wonderful jems of selflessness out there.

So no, I don't take exception to your beliefs, but I don't have to abide by them, nor be part of them, at home, or at work. The statement that Australia(?) was built on these beliefs, being the greatest foundation of a nation; perhaps that is what is wrong with your country. Think about that. I am not being derogatory, just giving a different view point.

Being fat doesn't make you buddhist, in fact quite the opposite. As far as the cost of going to Mekah, EasyJet will be offering discount flights there soon. You'll get more prayers for your shekell then, and can afford to go more often.


gravity victim
24th Aug 2001, 16:13
When I suggested to a Muslim mate that there was a slight tendency for the sons af Islam to get a bit over-heated, excessively fervent etc about the whole thing, he made an interesting point - that unlike Christianity, which at 2000 years old is showing some signs of flagging, Islam is only about 1500 - and he invited me to contemplate what a head-banging, crusading/slaughtering/intolerant religion Christianity was at the same age. Fair point?

24th Aug 2001, 17:23
Makes me proud to be born again ( a born again atheist that is )
All you god bothering pricks from any religion make me laugh!

[ 24 August 2001: Message edited by: maximus ]

Celtic Emerald
24th Aug 2001, 18:36
I recently went along for a while to an American Evangelistic rock concert, I have to admit that the rock music was a bigger attraction than being wished to be converted. After one excellent rock band had played it's lead singer started sermonising :rolleyes: which I sat there & endured till the next bit of music :) He admitted thrilled with himself that in his role as rock singer/missionary he spent alot of his time on planes & proudly admitted that he spends the journeys trying to convert the poor unfortunate sitting beside him :eek: Maybe he'll be sitting beside our Slash someday :D I really felt like giving the man a smack, I mean talk about an invasion of someones privacy. He admitted that he knew the only escape route for them would be the loo :mad: Looks like some people would be spending more than their fair share of those flights in the jacks.

Religious fanatics from my experience are so preoccupied with the next life that they barely have time for their fella man in this life unless it is to ram their beliefs down others throats whether there wanted or not :mad:


25th Aug 2001, 19:10
People talk about religous folks trying to convert them but I have only ever had one Jer-whadyamacallit-Witness knock on my door and he was there for forty five minutes listening to me trash every arguement he had for believing in what he believes in!
He showed me a diagram of a gene and asked me (with slobber coming outa his cakehole!) if I thought it so amazing if this "wonderful discovery of science" could reverse itself! "Errrr, well I don't think that could happen!" I said. "Well it can" he boldly announced! "And...." he continues "those Jer....Witnuisences who believe will have their genes reversed when armaggedon arrives and will live for ever!" "Pretty dark stuff you're into ain't it mate...have you heard of Gregor Mendel?"
"No - who's he?" he asks "bye then" came my reply.

Oh I wish these folks would try and convert me more often. I love discussions like them but they just don't call round anymore...... :rolleyes:


[ 25 August 2001: Message edited by: VFE ]

26th Aug 2001, 16:32
Bob Hawke,

You're right, Bob, secularism doesn't have any God concept, afterlife concepts karma or holy communions, but I think it has a lot in common with religions just the same.

It has a very specific doctrine: God is not relevant to public life. This doctrine is defended fervently, showing little room for alternate opinions. By alternate opinions I don't mean that it's ok to be a Christian, but opinions like, 'Christianity has something to input into public life', or even more so, the central message of Christianity, 'Everyone needs to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.' These comments fly in the face of secular doctrine and are certainly not tolerated by those that hold to it's ideals.

(Small point of interest: the bible never teaches to exploit the environment)

I agree that church and state should never mix. But, in unshackling the church from the state, I think we have also unhelpfully unshackled the church from all public life.

Secularism promises a lot. It promises as close to utopia as you can get here and now, if we just do it well. How many utopias have we seen so far? Is it harder to believe that there is a paradise to come after death, or to believe that with the right social policy we can have paradise here and now, or as close as is humanly possible?

26th Aug 2001, 16:41
gravity victim,

I wonder what makes someone a Christian? If Australia was to go to war with Indonesia, most of the Muslim world would see it as the Christians vs the Muslims. But would you call Australia a Christian country? There are plenty of Aussies who post here who would definitely not call themselves Muslim.

So what makes someone Christian? Surely they would follow Christian teaching. What does the bible teach about crusades? There is no justification in the bible for what was done under the banner of Christianity in the crusades. In fact the bible urges non-Jewish Christians to be respectful and considerate of all people, but especially the Jews (Romans chapter 11).

Compare this with the Koran, which calls the faithful to war. Death in Jihad (holy war)is the only guarantee for a muslim into heaven. Islam and Christianity are chalk and cheese. Even a cursory read of the bible and the Koran confirms this.

26th Aug 2001, 16:48
Celtic Emerald,

Funny you should mention that. I feel much the same way about quite a few American evangelists myself.

Your point about that style of religious fanaticism is interesting. Jesus had much the same opinion of the self-impressed, holier-than-though, shove-it-in-your-face, religious fanatics of his day. They were called the pharisees. He preferred to hang out with the low-lifes of society rather than them. That's because Christianity isn't for those that think they are good enough, but for those that know they never will be.

It's also about relationships. A relationship with God first and formeost, but also relationships with your mates, your family and even your enemies.

27th Aug 2001, 06:08
Well, to get back to the Taliban and their tunnel vision view of religion, they have now banned, along with pictures of people and animals and allowing women to go on picnics, the Internet. Access will be only allowed at one government office run by a responsible individual. Bye the Bye, the Taliban's own website was hacked and defaced today.

casio man
27th Aug 2001, 14:46
Guy...I feel sad that there are people like you around the world. The Taliban are lost. They are not Muslims in the real sense of the religion. You quote the Koran without really understanding the full context or meaning of it.
The workers had an ulterior motive coming to Afghan, not so much to help, rather to convert.While I, and many Muslims do not condone the actions of the Taliban, they are just doing what the Christians had done at one time or the other.
As a student in a small town in Britain, my family was "forced" to attend church on sundays. And that was back in the 80's...not too long ago.
Let me reiterate, what the Taliban are doing is not right...but the Christians have no right using their better position (either be it via medical or finacial aid) to 'force' conversion of people they have set out to help.
How sincere are their actions ?

An interesting point, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe and North America...

I strongly believe what we need to do is find a way to live together, as human beings, brothers, instead of putting others down just because of their religion. My closest friends are catholics and we all believe that one day we shall still be together as friends, up in the big 'aerodrome'.

Keep well

27th Aug 2001, 23:37
Thank you casio man. As much as I want to intervene and correct guy with respect to the remarks he has made, I'll do the best thing and allow somebody (with a slight less bias than mine) to answer his wild claims on the basis that he is not versed nor in a position to judge.

To make remarks like that with no time or effort put into understanding pure islam (The Quran) is highly foolish and very dangerous. I refute: "Islam calls the faithful to war". "Jihad" bears no resemblence to your definition.

This is not the place for me to preach (my religion) although OCB has always done it (where is he by the way, how come he never jacks my thread - whats he scared of?)

28th Aug 2001, 01:03
Part of me hesitated to respond here but the other part of me has won!!

Religion seems to have a major role to play in the lives of many, but not all. To have someone, anyone, attempt to force-feed their beliefs is unacceptable. Whether that person be an aid worker, a door-step evangeliser or a colleague. In 2001 we are all in a position to choose but we need, of course, to know what are our choices. I am relatively OK listening to religious/moral debates but...I don't want to be forced to sign on the dotted line at the end of listening! If aid workers have been taken into custody by the Taliban, and I believe from Muslim friends that the Taliban are the extreme of the extreme, then they should be deported not held.

A nation that is incapable of trusting its citizens to have access to the Internet, international news media, knowledge and information has to ask itself...what is it afraid of?

In the USA in the '60s, anyone who stepped out of line was a "Commie sympathiser" and in many instances this meant loss of job, earnings and status.

If we, as humanity in 2001, can achieve anything it must be the recognition that there is one truth, that open-ness of knowledge and information is key and as a society/humankind we have to believe that we can be the best we can be!! Sure, nations need security and frameworks of operation but reality is that truth will OUT!!

This could easily become a ramble so I will cease/desist here!

Thank you for reading!!



29th Aug 2001, 04:53
Casio man,

Perhaps we both speak out of ignorance. I admit I do not know anything about Jihad: all my information about that is second-hand. But I have read the Qu'ran in its entirity. There are several things I noticed of interest.

One is that Mohammed is constantly calling the faithful to join in him in war. In fact Islam (as I understand it) was established through a series of battles.

Compare this with Christianity, which for nearly its first four hundred years suffered under Roman oppression and persecution. Nowhere in the bible does it condone the use of violence or coersion in order to convert people.

The second interesting thing I noticed was that in Surah 3 (about 3:5 ish) the Qu'ran recognises the bible as the Word of God. My understanding of Islamic doctrine, though, is that they reject the bible as a corruption. Given that the bible Mohammed had access to in the sixth century is four centuries after the bible we currently have access to, how can Islam claim that today's bible is a corruption, when clearly the Qu'ran says that it is not?

I cannot understand why you were compelled to go to church in the 80s. It makes no sense in western culture to start with, and certainly is not in accord with the bible.

I find your logic confusing. You claim the Taliban are not acting in a truly Islamic fashion and so therefore are not a true representation of Islam. Yet you claim that when people committed atrocities under the banner of Christianity that there lies the essence of Christianity. How can the Taliban not be true Muslims for their actions and yet you claim that those who did the same under the banner of Christianity are true Christians. It must be one or the other.

Let me categorically state again that I do not know for sure the intentions of those being held by the Taliban. But it looks as if they came in to give aid and share the gospel with the local population. Having said that let me answer your claims. How are the Christians in a 'better position'? The Taliban rule Afghanistan. The Christians, in personal and financial sacrifice, bring aid in to help the population survive while under Taliban rule. They don't 'force' conversions on anyone. They offer people the truth as well as aid. They may have to give their lives for their convictions. How sincere do you think they are?

You sound like a nice guy casio man. But I can't lie to you about the truth. The bible does not condone the view that all monotheists go to heaven. It says that Jesus is the only way.
That does not mean we can't live together in harmony. It just means that Islam and the bible can't both be true at the same time.
(If they are both true than why is Christianity banned in the mainstream Muslim countries?)

casio man
29th Aug 2001, 14:29
Hi there Guy,
Just got back from a long tiring flight. Wished they improve on the HF reception around these parts.
Anyways...let me put it to you simple and short( English not my first language anyway). GOD is one. We might go about it in many different ways, but He is only one.

You are right, the Quran makes mention of the Bible and the Torah or the first testamant. And we recognize Jesus and Moses and Abraham and so on as prophets, just like Mohamed.

And yes, we do believe that the Bible was corrupted, hence the reason why God sent Mohamed down to clear the air. That is how we look at it.

In many Islamic countries (Iraq is a good example) Christianity is allowed. So is the case in Indonesia and countless other places. We don't have Muslim aid workers offering salvation and a bowl of hot soup here !

Help is given to all that require it, without expecting anything in return. When u give help in one hand and hold a religious pamphlet in the other...I won't call that sincerity.

Why can't we live next to each other in peace and respect a person for who they are?
The best means of converting a person to your religion is by allowing the person to view himself/herself on how u live your life. Not by telling them what is best for their soul salvation.

Guy...the Afghan's are a basket case. Don't judge Islam based on one singular race. That is not the right thing to do.

Good nite and God bless

29th Aug 2001, 15:37
All these misleading notions, I can't bear it much longer.

Jihad is the name given to the struggle faced by the prophets in their quest to spread Gods message…read that again. This includes the hardship they face, the pains and torture they endure for being outspoken. Noah was mocked, Abraham was thrown into the fire, Moses brought the message to Pharaoh and was driven away and Jesus was ridiculed by the Jews. Jihad is not a holy war which calls the faithful to commit bloody and viscous attacks on the least unsuspecting – far from it! Others on this forum will tell you this is the traditional view the media holds of Jihad and about the coined phrase “holy war”.

The suicide bombing can hardly be considered a religious act. These are people protecting their own land seeking and doing so IN THE NAME OF GOD.

One is that Mohammed is constantly calling the faithful to join in him in war. In fact Islam (as I understand it) was established through a series of battles.

To understand that you have to understand the way in which the Quran was revealed. It was revealed verse by verse over a period of 23 years. One of the following would happen in order for a verse (or answer if you like) to be revealed to Mohammed by Angel Gabriel on the Authority of God:

1.) The Sahaba (followers) presented a question (about whatever thing)
2.) They done something which they were not entirely sure about
3.) They were facing hardship through fighting with the pagans of Mecca (who were the only enemies at the time of the Prophet) and needed guidance.

This is why the language of the Quran will take the form
..Oh Mohammed, they ask you concerning..(x)..tell them..(y)

You are quite right Islam was established through a series of battles. These were battles against clans and tribes who where certain about killing Mohammed. Therefore the Quran gives you quotes like “find them and kill them” else Mohammed’s purpose in life would not be fulfilled – logical enough?

From that Muslims understand that if certain people were to come into your land and establish oppression then you have a God given right to fight and protect your land... Hello Palestine.

The second interesting thing I noticed was that in Surah 3 (about 3:5 ish) the Qu'ran recognises the bible as the Word of God. My understanding of Islamic doctrine, though, is that they reject the bible as a corruption.

The word the Quran uses for the revelation given to Jesus is ‘injeel’ which means “Good news” which as you know is the meaning of “The Gospel”. The Quran also mentions the Torah as the book given to Moses. The Bible is a collective group of books, which not only contains the four Gospels (of which oppose Quranic teachings) but also contain a whole load of other unverified passages. Over 100 different versions! so which one is supposed to be the word of God?

Muslim’s and Bahai’s have labeled the Bible as corrupt since it goes against what is taught by God in the Quran. Namely: “The Son of God” theory, “The crucifixion” which resulted in Christ’s death and that Christ died for the sins of mankind. To place the burden of mankind on one man such is hardly fair is it? Muslim’s and Bahai’s liken no power, authority or intercessor to God. Were as the Christians have raised Jesus to be a near-associate of God…which is associating a partner to God or “Polytheism”.

Given that the bible Mohammed had access to in the sixth century is four centuries after the bible we currently have access to, how can Islam claim that today's bible is a corruption, when clearly the Qu'ran says that it is not?

how can you be so sure your Bible is older than the one present in 650AD? This is the issue in debate, after all.

Islam is based on fear and submission, biblical Christianity is based on grace and love.

If Jesus was a messenger from the same God than we Muslims must also follow the teachings of Jesus. That is enough to say that Islam is based on fear and submission and love and grace and whatever Moses taught…
we make no distinction between them.

Ask Muslims how they treat their women? Would you want your daughter to marry a Muslim and move to Saudi Arabia?

Ask me..

I think western society has done a lot to improve the lot of women, who get a rougher deal amongst most of the other cultures not influenced by Christianity.

:D :D I don’t know if you have been paying any attention to BBC2 lately the “Empire of Faith” series of programs where Western and Eastern researches and historians have said Islam has established everything we enjoy today in the West. From women’s rights to coffee. From paper to hospitals. From art to science and yet you pay no heed whatsoever and continue to take for granted your everyday luxuries.

You must turn your face away from the cultured bigots in the East who out of their own desires create false forbiddens. The message in the Quran is simple and pure. To be a Muslim is a condition in the heart, whereby you appreciate Gods absolute authority and lead a righteous life, nothing more than that. You are on Earth to build your character through hardship and trial. Your degree of faith is not reflected in your appearance, image, clothing or language. It’s people like you who create such distances between the religions on the basis that they look different, speak different or behave different.

[ 29 August 2001: Message edited by: G-OODY ]

29th Aug 2001, 18:06
I’ve lived in both Muslim and Christian dominated cultures and countries – in both I’ve encountered and suffered from ignorance, bigotry and restrictions and intolerance towards non-believers. This was mostly from the authorities and church elders (though also from fundamentalists on both sides, as well as people who truly believed anyone 'outside' the faith deserved to suffer up to and including torture and death) - in this ocb and his ilk are the equal of the Taliban. I’ve also experienced harmony, enlightened wisdom and tolerance for others. From ordinary people like G-OODY and Casio man or Bio and HugMonster – all genuinely caring people who do their best to dispel the myths, though a bit disingenuous to proclaim that Islam is responsible for every luxury we enjoy in the West. Some of these may well have originated from Arabic lands, but Islam was not responsible for establishing these, nor for our enjoyment of them now. Any more than Christianity was responsible for women’s rights etc.

As for the aid workers in question – yes, I met people like them food in one hand and a bible in the other (you can eat if you learn a passage from the Bible). I doubt very much if these aid workers were there just to ease the lot of the Afghans suffering under the Taliban – since there are other aid agency workers who have not been arrested. Their primary mission was to convert, and now the 16 Afghans will pay the price for the arrogance of western missionaries:

Under the law, the foreigners face a short prison term followed by deportation for the crime of trying to persuade an Afghan to renounce Islam, if convicted.

But the law for Afghans stipulates death for anyone who converts as well as for the person who instigated the conversion.

Whilst pressure can be placed on the Taliban for the release of the western aid workers, nothing can be done for the Afghan colleagues probably suffering immense hardship at the very least, with the certain knowledge of their ultimate fate (and possibly that of their families).

It is noticeable that the Taliban have not given up all their ‘comforts’ they still like the large black Mercedes – beloved transport of all despots.

That said, Muslims cannot evade responsibility for what is happening in the name of Islam. Too many Muslims (especially in Middle Eastern countries) use the Quran to impose strictures upon Islamic observances and to restrict both believers and non-believers.

I have learned more (and been more inclined to follow those precepts) from those who live their belief, than those who try to make me live it.

[ 29 August 2001: Message edited by: Velvet ]

30th Aug 2001, 04:45
Casio Man,

You are right. God is one, and three. And there is truth.

Jesus said, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.'

and 'I have come... to testify to the truth. All on the side of truth listen to me.'

Islam and Christianity do not worship the same God. The God of Christianity says that all must come through the Son of God who are going to be saved, so that then they can truly call God their Father. These words are offensive to most Muslims. We believe different things. We worship different Gods. Only one can be right.

That's not to say that you are not a nice guy, who is tolerant and sincere. It is to say that the message of Islam and Christianity, while sharing things in common, fundamentally believe two different things.

I think the caricature of Christian aid-work is unfair. How do you know that these people were holding back their aid to only those that subscribed to their message? These people are there, living as an example before the people that they offer their message to. Their example is personal sacrifice in order to ease others' suffering. Their efforts are utterly other-person centred. What better example do you want?

In Iraq are you allowed to tell someone what the message of the bible is, or is this against the law? What about in Saudi Arabia? Does the local population have the choice of not being Muslim? Are Christians allowed to tell anyone what they believe?

How about the Sudan, where the government is trying to introduce Islamic law throughout the country by murdering the southern Sudanese?

What is the role of the religious police in Saudi Arabia?

30th Aug 2001, 05:09

So we are agreed then, Islam was founded by war. A threat to Mohammed was successfully defended, which allowed Islam to be established.

You are quite right Islam was established through a series of battles.

Compare then the beginning of Christianity. The central figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ, also had enemies determined to kill him. Did he rouse his followers to defend him, and so secure the successful continuation of Christianity? No, he died on a cross, possibly the greatest symbol of shame and defeat the world has ever known, and then rose from the dead. His followers followed in a similar patter (the death bit that is). For several centuries they were persecuted, many to death, by the Roman Empire, and yet Christianity did not die. Islam was established by force, by the sword. Christianity was established by grace and love and with their own sacrifice.

We can be sure that our bible is older than 650AD because it is based on over 10,000 manuscripts of the bible, the earliest having been dated at around 100AD(+/-10 years).

Jesus was not a messenger from the same God. Refer to my post to casio man. While we are on the subject of Jesus, as I understand it, Muslims reject the fact that Jesus died on the cross. They claim that he was taken to heaven and Judas died in his place. To claim this one must also claim that all of the apostles were liars and that the Roman historians and Josephus were either liars or wrong. This is to reject the historians by which we gather most of our knowledge of the Roman empire and Palestine in particular. It is an assertion without any supporting evidence.

The message of Christianity is simple. No-one can live a life righteous enough to get to heaven. But God put on humanity (the God-man Jesus Christ), lived a perfect life and died on the cross as a substitute for all who put their trust in him. He rose triumphantly from the dead and is now seated at God's right hand as Lord of all that is. He will come again to judge all humankind, and anyone who has put their trust in him and turned away from their rebellion to him will be saved.

It's people like Jesus who create such a distance between religions. I follow him. He says that he alone has the truth.

30th Aug 2001, 06:36
The Afghanis who are afloat off OZ at the moment...they were refused landing rights in Indonesia. Which is an Islamic country. So are those Afghanis. How strange!

They then sailed on toward OZ.
The Ozzies are being lambasted for not taking them in. Mainly this criticism is coming from fellow western nations (Norway) and the western media.

Funny isn't it, how Western democracies will gut wrench themselves over the issue, and rip each other apart, while meantime the Muslim nations play dumb, or even reject their own brothers and sisters as the Indonesians have done!

The reason Western Religion and society will eventually lose to Islam is the innate sense of fairplay (PC'ness) that Muslims just don't have.

casio man
30th Aug 2001, 07:35
'Casio man reads the posts above and starts praying...

God grants him the wisdom and with it the serenity to accept things (or people) that he can't change.

Casio man moves on with life'

Good nite all

30th Aug 2001, 11:00
Just out of curiosity casio man, and let me know if I'm prying, what does casio man pray?

Bob Hawke
30th Aug 2001, 13:37

You have unwittingly demonstrated the point about excessive religion in the workplace, or anywhere else, for that matter. Your arguments are not even close to being logical, but merely regurjative of your beliefs.

By saying that Muslims are not fit to entitled to the afterlife because of their non-conformity in your beliefs, makes you, and your beliefs, no better than that being practised by the Taliban, except you don't run a country.

No matter what you believe, both the faiths, without moderation; have caused more problems than any other issue on this miserable planet, in human history.

Get some humanity back into the world instead. I think there might be a message in that for all us.

Bob Hawke
30th Aug 2001, 13:41
Oh, athiests don't have any of these problems.

You want it when?
30th Aug 2001, 14:26
Being an atheist I naturally expect to go to hell.

However - Anyone (religious or not) who goes somewhere and try's to impart / force their belief is running the risk of consequences, both to them and to their converts. I'm not sure I believe in god or almighty but I'll listen to arguments IF I have the time and then make my own choice. I object to having it forced upon me, but given the right circumstances I will listen - if only out of politeness.

In general I believe Religion is a real touchy subject and is too often used for oppression or violence, as a pathetic excuse or as a crutch for the weak.

My in-laws are devout Catholics - when they come for dinner we say grace, and I'll drive them to church. My Mother is White Witch and follows the circle path to Mother Earth / Gaia or something like that. Christmas is kinda fun - tolerance in all things!

IF you choose to stand up in front a crowd and say "Hey listen to me..." then you also choose perforce to be argued with - and some people argue with guns. Fortunately in the UK freedom of expression exists and the worse you will get in most circumstances is "So what"

In essence - "Hey I'm sorry it's happening - but it was their choice"

30th Aug 2001, 16:12
Guy without upsetting you or any of my Christian brothers and sisters, I will say to you: The Christian concept of God is what made me run from the whole confusion in the first place. For years I was in search of answers I just could not find, so I decided to abandon all religion and enjoy life to the fullest. Until, by the grace of God I found the concept of God I was so much in need of.

I am a son of God in the same manner Jesus is the son of God, in the same way Adam is the son of God. We are all a substance of the Father and there is a bit of God in us all. God is much greater than the idea of “begetting” – he created the whole concept, after all. Did Eve have a mother? Or a father? God is capable of everything and anything, we cannot interpret everything with respect to earthbound and humanlike realities.

God is very private and personal and as a Muslim I am fully aware that there are people on this Earth who have never heard of Jesus, Mohammed, the Bible or the Quran. How can they be saved? Therefore in my eyes there is no religion. We all have our ways of seeking God and no one method brings us closer than the other. To say you can only be with God through Jesus makes for me more of a fairy tale than truth and always has done. Many bigots in the East say if you reject Sunnah (the life of the prophet documented, supposedly) then you are destined for hell-fire! I reject this idea too and am fully aware how Islam is being corrupted as well.

Jesus said, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.'

Obviously I will refute that Jesus ever said that in the same way that I refute Jesus ever said: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”, because I am all too aware of how easily people can interpret and vary meanings to suit there own vain desires. Take for example the refinements made at the council of Nicea, where marriages to cousins up to the fifth generation were banned when Jacob married both of his! This is why I have promised myself to learn and understand both Aramaic and Arabic and if you really would like to know the truth you should also think about doing so.

So we are agreed then, Islam was founded by war. A threat to Mohammed was successfully defended, which allowed Islam to be established.

..in order for the truth to prevail...indeed.

30th Aug 2001, 19:43
G-OODY, thanks for that excellent post. There is far more that sensible, moderate muslims have in common with sensible, moderate christians than any ditto christian or muslim has in common with a fundamentalist follower of either religion.

I'm prepared to accept that Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life."

I don't, however, take that as negating the validity of other religions. I believe that people who find their own way to God merely get to the end of the path and will then discover that the path they have been following was that of Christ. Any other interpretation argues that anyone who has not had the dubious benefit of being evangelised (perhaps by the like of ocb) has no chance, however much of a good life they lead, of salvation. And therefore, such interpretation has to be rejected by anyone who believes that God is a God of mercy as well as a God of justice.

True Islam is a wonderful religion. Like Christianity, it is full of compassion for those less fortunate than oneself, of humbling insights and means to form a personal relationship with God. Sadly, like Christianity, it also has the capacity to be hijacked by the fundamentalist, by those who wish to use it as a whip with which to beat anyone who is "different", and by those whose self-image, whose understanding of themselves and their relationship with God is so poor that they use their BLIND faith to invalidate others before they try to find themselves and to validate themselves and their relationship with God.

The Guvnor
30th Aug 2001, 21:47
Religion is the opiate of the masses.
Karl Marx

30th Aug 2001, 22:14

Yes, undoubtedly true when Marx wrote it.

Unfortunately one could say these days that "Opium is the religion of the masses"

Personally I think the social costs of heroin etc are far higher than the consequences of mild religiosity. The Taliban, amongst others show what happens when extreme fervour takes over.

31st Aug 2001, 04:21
Bob Hawke,

Yes, it is true. The athiest leaders of the world have brought us peace and prosperity, and a fair go for all. Take Stalin, for example...

31st Aug 2001, 04:42

Yes, it always feels nice to believe what you want. But something isn't worthy of belief just because you like it. We need to believe in the truth.

What do we know of God? Who are we to say what God is and isn't. We need someone to tell us what is true. Someone who knows God. That is where Jesus Christ fits in. He was sent from the Father and can tell us the truth. This is a claim he makes for himself.

God is the God of all the earth. He is personal, but he is not private. He is the same, regardless what people believe. He has been the same from eternity to eternity. You can believe what you like, just know that it is not the truth. Jesus can be a fairy tale to you, if you so choose, but in truth you will meet him, like it or not, as judge.

There are concepts in Christianity that I don't like, but believe because they are true. Hell is a fine example. I don't like the idea of hell. But Jesus says it's true. So I will believe it.

The Council of Nicea is not a good argument. We have manuscripts from the bible prior to the council of Nicea. We know what the bible said before that council. Why should I learn Aramaic and Arabic? Surely Greek and Hebrew would be better, so I can read the original texts directly, instead of english translations.

So you see the fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam. Christianity is inherently a religion that spreads regardless of persecution, even of the government. It, in essence, is non-violent. All Christians are called to give up their life for the gospel, whether that be literally, in martyrdom, of through a life of self-denial, or both.

On the other hand Islam is spread by force. It is introduced in countries by militants, who eventually gain control of the government, and then inforce Islam upon their congregations. Sure, their are a few exceptions, like Indonesia. But what is happening in Sudan is equally under the banner of Islam. It is then maintained in those countries by religious police, who enforce the observance of Islam amongst the population.

One should never argue for or against a religion on the basis of its abuse, and so I take the point of the Taliban. But, are we to say that Saudi Arabia is an example of the abuse of Islam?

31st Aug 2001, 04:54

It is very trendy today to believe something, just because you like it. Far better though to believe in the truth.

To say that there is more than one way to God is to call Jesus a liar, and make a mockery of his death. Why did Jesus have to die if there was another way? You probably don't intend it, but you are defaming Jesus Christ.

Why do you accept that Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life', but not the next sentence: 'No-one comes to the Father except through me.'? What is your basis?

How do you know what God is like?

Muslims may be nice, but that is not the issue at stake. The question is, 'What is the truth?'

I take it that last sentence was aimed at me. Faith is only blind when you don't look at the facts. There is nothing great about me. I just believe in someone who is.

31st Aug 2001, 07:05
Afghan aviation system on brink of collapse

By M. Ismail Khan
PESHAWAR, Aug 29: The Taliban on Wednesday warned the foreign airlines that the civil aviation and navigation system in the war-ravaged Afghanistan was on the brink of collapse on account of UN sanctions and that they should not be held responsible for any air disaster.
"Our aviation system is on the verge of collapse and if the UN does not respond positively to our proposals, we may no longer guarantee the safe passage to the foreign airlines through our airspace," Afghanistan's Minister for Civil Aviation, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor told the official Bakhtar news agency. "We should not be held responsible for any air accidents and I warn the foreign airlines not to use the airspace of Afghanistan," Mansoor said.

The UN Security Council slapped sanctions on Taliban through resolution 1333 for refusing to hand over Saudi dissident Osama ben Laden to stand trial for his alleged role in the bombings in Nairobi and Dares Salam in August 1998. The sanctions barred the Afghan Ariana from carrying out international flights and
its accounts in foreign banks were also frozen.Mansoor said that the 'unjust' sanctions had seriously affected the civil aviation system and warned that failure on the part of the UN to respond 'positively' to the proposals submitted by his minister could cause complete collapse of the air traffic services, communication and navigation and air traffic control systems.
"To avoid the complete breakdown of the system, we presented a whole set of reasonable proposals to the UN Security Council but regrettably, we have not received any positive response so far. The UNSC has done nothing in this regard." The aviation minister said that Ariana, on account of operating humanitarian and Haj flights, incurred $1.2 million expenditure payable to Iran, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for using the airport facilities etc. He proposed that the expenditure so incurred must be recovered from foreign airlines using the Afghan airspace for international flights. The income from transit air facility, he said, had not been included in the UNSC sanctions.
On average, 110 to 115 international flights of 35 foreign airlines pass through the Afghan airspace in 24 hours, he said.
Mansoor pointed out that the international community had turned a blind eye to the plight of thousands of Afghan deportees stranded in the Arab countries, the repair of Ariana planes in Jordan and IAT loans. He estimated that 2,250 Afghan deportees were at present being held up in the UAE for want of transportation since Pakistan too had banned the entry of Afghan deportees into its territory, while 400 Afghans were stranded in Saudi Arabia and another 200 were awaiting deportation in Muscat. He said that Ariana be allowed to transport their compatriots back to their homeland.

Just to get this back to something resembling an aviation theme. :(

I think I want to spend Xmas on Christmas Island, some year.

Edited for a thought.

[ 31 August 2001: Message edited by: Rollingthunder ]

31st Aug 2001, 14:18
Guy, the whole world is on it’s hand and knees in search of the “truth” and “the answers”, you think you have it sussed just like that?

Well, I can only hope and pray that we do learn to be more tolerant of each other, pretty soon!

31st Aug 2001, 14:36
Some people are going to be really surprised in the afterlife ;)

31st Aug 2001, 16:10
I think that all of us will be surprised when we experience the afterlife. We will be surprised by who is there and who is not there but, above all, we will all be surprised to learn of the extent of the unconditional love which has been available to us throughout our lives if only we had believed. All of the great institutional religions teach this but have then spent centuries making it conditional and have become more obsessed with drawing lines (rules) and attacking those who fail to accept them than they have in teaching individual people to experience this love which can save us from ourselves. Incidentally Velvet, I have always thought that your signature is excellent and very thought provoking in this respect.

Christ is a clear and absolute demonstration of the unconditional love of God and, when he said 'I am the way, the truth and the life', and 'No-one comes to the Father except through me.' I think he meant that you can only experience this overwhelming love if you BELIEVE in it. This is a life changing experience which many are afraid of, and many of those who do experience it then assume that their way is the only true way it can happen, i.e. it immediately becomes conditional.

In my experience people who experience the love of God often develop a strong desire to help people in practical ways, presumably like some of those in trouble in Afghanistan. Christ was put to death by religious bigots and it appears that some things in human behaviour will never change until……

You want it when?
31st Aug 2001, 16:33
I'm trying to ignore this thread, but I keep feeling that I have to comment. Why is it that Christians (espically) feel the need to bring enlightenment to others?

I'm happy. Why bother me, (and yes I like Velvets signature too) I don't care what happens next, I can't affect it, touch it, or change it. What will be will be.

31st Aug 2001, 17:20

I would pay full fare to see him siting next to Slasher- just to listen!

Singer, " Are you saved?"

Slasher, "@#%^knob polishing &*#$%<!?"

Singer, "Jesus loves you!"

Slasher, "Nam flying @#{^&% lose woman &*%!"

Singer, " Miss can I get another seat?"

PA Announcement, " Hello, this is Capt. PPrune- There is some confusion regarding our beverage service- Each cart is limited to 100 drinks- at 100 drinks the cart locks itself and is returned to the inflight server area. A new cart, also with a 100 drink limit, will be started right where the first server left off. Has to do with A/C capacity, speed, etc. Thank you."

On a more serious note- we have had a couple people here in the neighborhood find God- It is bothersome how self righteous people become when they are "saved". We are a pretty collegial group, with lots of visiting and street parties, missionary work is a wrinkle I (and I believe others) would prefer not to experience.

I go to church and subscribe to the "to each his own"- as I've mentioned before- God loves an honest agnostic with integrity more than he loves a hypocritical christian.

Edited for additional content.

[ 31 August 2001: Message edited by: OldAg84 ]

31st Aug 2001, 19:10
guy, I'm not making Jesus out to be a liar.

I'm pointing out that, in your arrogance, you are incapable of admitting that there may be another interpretation of BOTH sentences of Jesus'. We don't KNOW which is true. Yes, I know, you believe that only your interpretation is the correct one. I don't.

Furthermore, I don't believe in things because they're "nice". I think Buddhism is a wonderful religion. That doesn't make me want to follow it, however.

Your exclusivity clause in your beliefs invalidates everyone who does not exactly follow those beliefs. Do you do that to try to validate yourself? I try to see God in people around me. You see only "falsehood" and "incorrect belief".

You say "faith is blind only when you don't look at the facts". Wrong. Faith is also blind when you are unable to distinguish facts and truth from unsubstantated belief.

31st Aug 2001, 22:31
Velvet, dearest:

I`m already really surprised, so I imagine the afterlife will be a doddle...but then I wouldn`t be surprised if it proves otherwise.

1st Sep 2001, 00:08
If any of you Aussies need a copy of the Koran, I understand theres a few hundred of them floating up North somewhere.

1st Sep 2001, 03:15
Well if God and Jesus are all they're cracked up to be then I guess they won't flame the non-believers when they arrive in the afterlife hey? :D


Bob Hawke
1st Sep 2001, 06:43
If only we could get some common sense into this debate, then it would be resolved rather quickly.....where's OCB????

Bob Hawke
1st Sep 2001, 07:05
Guy, Karl Marx was a Jew, is it any wonder he became an athiest.

G-OODY has some excellent arguements about your faith, I would take note, although I neither suscribe to his, but he certainly is more convincing. Note that he distinguishes his belief by arguement and research, and does not condemn those who do not believe.

You, on the otherhand, do exactly what you say you wouldn't do. You made all others exculsionary on the basis of your belief, on one book.

It is this type of arguement that offends most thinking people. Yes, thinking does condemn one, if one chooses not to believe you and your's but that is my/our right. But also it frees one (me too), from the rigor mortus (spelling police pls) of your doctrinal damnation of all others.

The legacy of religion is far more disgusting that that of Communists in regards to historical time span....You religious people have had a longer chance at it, than our red brothers. They are also disgusting too, but I don't call that a religion, just the s*it side of humanity.

As soon as you wake up to the fact that it is not a demon haunted the world, the better off you, and the rest of us will be. Essentially man is responsible for his own mess, and he is responsible for fixing it. No point labouring it onto to some other individual, mythical, historical, or real, including Jesus.

That doesn't go just for Christians, but of all faiths.

Door knocking Christians are fun, sometimes they even bring the newspaper or offer to cut the grass, and they never drink my beer. What more could you ask for?

[ 01 September 2001: Message edited by: Bob Hawke ]

3rd Sep 2001, 03:43

I'm not claiming to have all on my own have everything worked out. It's not about my claims. Jesus claims to know the truth. He claims to be the one who has everything sussed. Read the gospels (especially John) and you will be left in no doubt that at least he claims these things. The question is: is he trustworthy?

3rd Sep 2001, 04:11

unconditional love... All of the great institutional religions teach this

I don't know what you claim to be the great institutional religions, but I think this statement is demonstrably false.

Where do you come up with the idea that God loves unconditionally? It is not a self-evident truth. We live in a massive universe, in which we are a small and insignificant speck. Not to mention the amount of destruction humanity has reaped on itself and each other. If God were even to notice us he surely would be incredibly angry with us.

It is Jesus Christ who teaches the unconditional love of God. He also teaches that he is exclusively the only way to God. How can one interpret, 'No-one comes to the Father except through me' to mean that one must believe in unconditional love, but need not believe in Jesus Christ? 'No-one comes to the Father except through me.' It all hinges on the words no-one and me. No-one means none. Not anyone. Zero people. Me means Jesus Christ. This is a clear, straightforward saying.

According to Jesus we can receive God's unconditional love. We can do this by trusting in him and turning away from our rebellion to him. It is a great message.

3rd Sep 2001, 04:20

The bible is interpreted just like any other book. You use the natural meaning of the words. You look at how they are grammitically arranged. You check the context of the statement. Sure, there can be infinite numbers of interpretations. But some interpretations are clearly wrong. And the aim of interpreting the bible is to work out what Jesus meant when he said it. It is a clear and simple statement. How can Jesus mean 'all roads lead to God' when he says 'No-one comes to the Father except through me'?

The bible makes exclusive claims. Jesus makes exclusive claims. We don't like exclusive claims anymore. But such is the way with truth. That which is not truth is false. I don't want to sound arrogant, like I've got it all worked out. But the Jesus claims to be the only one who can really tell us the truth about God. If we ignore him, then we ignore the truth.

What facts do you have to show that all religions lead to God? Just a cursory glance will show that the religions make entirely contradictory claims. How can both be true?

3rd Sep 2001, 04:23

Hell is mentioned 12 times in the New Testament. 11 times it comes from Jesus Christ. If you take Jesus on his word (and we hope he would not be a liar), then hell is real.

3rd Sep 2001, 04:30
Bob Hawke,

The twentieth century was the bloodiest century of all time. More people were killed last century than in all recorded history. Would you say that all those people died because of religion? Was world war 1 and 2 about religion? Were the millions killed at the hands of the Soviet communists and Chinese communists about religion? One must close their eyes pretty tight to claim that athiesm is a non-violent religious alternative.

Don't single out the fascists and communists as somehow different from the rest of us. Germany, USSR and China were / are full of normal, educated people who willing go / went about committing these atrocities.

If you're after an interesting read, try Viktor Klemperer (sp?) in his book, 'I shall bear witness'.

6th Sep 2001, 09:31
Just when you thought that it couldn't get any worse....

The Taliban's chief justice yesterday warned that eight foreigners on trial for preaching Christianity in Afghanistan could be hanged if found guilty.

Mr Mawlawi Noor Mohammad Saqib spoke on the second day of the trial of the two Americans, two Australians and four Germans.

"We will give them punishment according to Islamic law, whether imprisonment or hanging," he told the Pakistan-based news agency Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).

"We will punish them according to the laws they have broken. If they have broken the law and should be hanged then we will punish them like that."

The aid workers were arrested along with 16 Afghan colleagues more than four weeks ago, but the charges and likely punishment have not been fully explained. The Afghans are likely to face a separate legal process.

At the end of the second day of deliberations between judges and senior Islamic scholars, which constitutes a trial in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Mr Saqib reiterated that the accused were innocent until proven guilty.

"The punishment will be decided by the highly qualified judges and ulemas (scholars) and only if the accused are proven guilty," he said in a statement.

He said the trial would be fair, although in a speech at a mosque on August 10th he called for "exemplary punishment" to "end such un-Islamic practice by any foreign group in Afghanistan".

Mr Saqib said the court had not decided whether to allow independent monitoring of the trial. But he said the foreigners could hire lawyers if they wished.

The son of a jailed Islamist leader in the US said yesterday his family had proposed his release in exchange for the aid workers.

The wife of Mr Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was jailed for the World Trade Center bombing, sent letters to the US president and the Taliban leadership to agree to such an exchange, he said.