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Sunday surprise: Penguins, Turkey

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — a little quiet, serious fun here ]
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Ken aka @chumulu suggested a DoubleTweet to me, and I’m delighted to post it here, Turkey, penguins and all:

and:

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Plus I’m a big admirer of Zeynep.

David Brooks gets his Islamic eschatology wrong on NewsHour

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — why scholarship should inform punditry ]
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I am a bit surprised, I have to say, that I haven’t seen — and Google doesn’t seem to have found, either — a clear rebuttal to one highly significant detail in David Brooks‘ discussion with Mark Shields and Judy Woodruff on Islamic eschatology.

In the PBS NewsHour segment labeled Shields and Brooks on fighting Islamic extremism (above), Brooks makes the statement:

I do think you have to take the religion seriously, that these people are — it’s not like they can’t get what we want. They want something they think is higher than what we want. Their souls are involved. And I’m saying you have to conceive of them as moving, as acting in a religious way.

And you have to have religious alternatives. And they are driven by an end times ideology. They think there’s going to be some cataclysm battle and Mohammed will come down. And if you ignore that part of it, write it off as sort of marginal, that they are being produced by economic dysfunction, I just think you’re missing the main deal.

I’m largely in agreement with this, but the phrase “and Mohammed will come down” is just plain wrong. In Islamic eschatology, it is claimed that Jesus (‘Isa ibn Maryam) — not Muhammad — will “come down” from heaven at the ‘Umayyad mosque in Damascus:

God will send the Messiah, son of Mary, and he will descend to the white minaret in the east of Damascus, wearing two garments dyed with saffron, placing his hands on the wings of two angels. When he lowers his head, beads of perspiration will fall from it, and when he raises his head, beads like pearls will scatter from it.

The return of Jesus and his “breaking the cross” and preaching the one faith of Submission (Islam) may be what Brooks should have mentioned — or perhaps he meant the arrival and recognition of the Mahdi, who does not “come down” to us but is already among us by the time his end times role begins.

I can see how this may seem a slight slip-of-the-tongue to David Brooks, who is after all not solely preoccupied with IS, Islam, and / or apocalyptic — but it’s not something that should go unchallenged if we are to “take the religion seriously”.

Birmingham, a little light relief in tough times

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — all tweets guaranteed safe for the workplace ]
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Steven Emerson made the mistaken claim on Fox News that Birmingham is an all-Muslim enclave — and has withdrawn his claim and apologized fulsomely in the aftermath. While Emerson is not an “expert” I’d follow or trust, I have to admit I’ve enjoyed some of the humo[u]r his claim brought forth under the #FoxNewsFacts hashtag. Here are my personal favorites:

Qibla:

For the record, that’s the Mecca bingo hall on Kingstanding Circle, Birmingham.

Hijab:

Hudud:

Isn’t that Henry V she’s beheading?

Keffiyeh:

Paris: what’s the optimal media response?

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — “publish and be damned” is one thing, “publish and be dead” is quite another! ]
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Sigh. There are two ways or the media to respond in a situation like this, one of which is to defend freedom of speech by asserting it, while the other seeks to minimize the inflammation. Here they are, as examplified in two tweets from two journalists today:

Does the question of which approach is better seem too obvious to require an answer?

Which approach do you prefer, and why?

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I’m an Old School Brit and wouldn’t use this language at the office, but I tend to agree with John Schindler‘s sentiments here:

More generally, I don’t think we think nearly enough about the second and third order effects of our media responses to acts of terror.

A trinity of bomb

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — photojournalistic fakery and a close shave for who knows who? ]
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To paraphrase the Athanasian Creed, which contains such phrases as:

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate.
The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible.
The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal.
As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord.

we might say in this case:

The bomb is Russian, the bomb is Ukrainian, the bomb is Israeli: yet there are not three bombs, but one bomb.

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I am in agreement with Libor Smolik. It is my impression that these three images are not proof of a global similarity of weaponry, but rather of sloppy journalism.

A hat tip to FPRI’s Clint Watts for passing this tweet along. And I have to admit that “triples” such as this can beat out my DoubleQuotes on occasion. Well spotted, Libor!


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