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Tweet and response: polling religious interest globally?

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Pew — Iran? Saudis? ]
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Here’s the tweet:

It looks impressive, doesn’t it? The good folks at Pew have obvisouly done their homework.

And here’s the response:

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Even when people try to remember that religion is part of geopolitics, they seem to suffer from selective amnesia.

Aha!

Country-Survey-Map_WEB

The white spaces are either not countries, or not surveyed — a pity either way.

Furthermore, once we’ve got that covered, we’ll need two polls that dig deep & narrow for every one that digs wide & shallow. Oy.

Win some, lose some

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — tensions between Iran and the Saudis extend to the morality police level ]
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Tablet DQ 600 morality police

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There’s a certain irony in the concept of “undercover” cops in a context where, as RFE/RL reports:

Tehran’s police chief Hossein Sajedinia said that the male and female agents — numbering around 7,000 — will focus on issues such as “improper veiling and removal of veils inside cars,” as well as noise pollution and reckless driving.

The tssue of “covering” has also been one of the problems with the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice:

In 2002, 15 girls died in Mecca after the police prevented them from fleeing a burning building because they were not deemed to be appropriately covered.

Sources:

  • NY Times, Saudi Arabia Moves to Curb Its Feared Religious Police
  • Radio Free Europe, Iran Launches Undercover Morality Unit
  • Nuclear sites and religion, flags and clouds

    Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — Oak Ridge, Albi, Bushehr, a Sinan mosque, clouds formation, the Karmapas ]
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    Cheryl Rofer very kindly suggested a DoubleQuote to me today, comparing and contrasting the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, Oak Ridge:

    HEUMF at Oak Ridge

    and the Cathedral of Albi — heart of the district in which the Albigensians / Cathars briefly and most interestingly flourished:

    Albi Cathedral

    **

    I particularly appreciate this juxtaposition because of an earlier DoubleQuote I posted, drawing a similar comparison between Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant:

    bushehr 600

    and the Mosque of the Conqueror in Istanbul:

    mosque-of-the-conqueror 600

    **

    Also notable as a DoubleQuote today is this image at the top of a Lion’s Roar post titled Is that the Karmapa’s Dream Flag over Colorado?:

    Karmapa Dream Flag DQ

    The Karmapa Lama is the holder of the oldest lineage of reincarnated high lamas in Tibetan tradition, and head of the Karma Kagyu stream of teachings. The flag of the Karmapas can be seen below:

    flag of the karmapas 600

    Here’s the brief video from which that cloud-image was taken:

    h/t Jacob DeFlitch

    Note also the resemblance to what is probably my personal favorite DoubleQuote, comparing & contrasting van Gogh‘s night sky and von Kármán‘s vortex street:

    **

    It may be worth adding that the Buddha is not above using cloud metaphors, as this celebrated verse from the Diamond Sutra, here in Red Pine‘s translation, illustrates:

    As a lamp, a cataract, a star in space
    an illusion, a dewdrop, a bubble
    a dream, a cloud, a flash of lightning
    view all created things like this.

    Armageddon: if you can’t hasten it, maybe you can dodge it?

    Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — plus a date-setting video, awaiting The End in 2031! ]
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    Armageddon. Even if you can’t hotwire it..

    SPEC Paz Schindler

    you may still be able to dodge it..

    **

    From the late Israeli analyst, Reuven Paz:

    Jihadi apocalyptic discourse, either by Jihadi-Salafi scholars, clerics, or supporters of global Jihad is one of the main innovations of the Jihadi-Salafi discourse that followed the September 11 attacks. Waves of what may be termed apocalyptic discourse are not new in the modern Arab Islamic world. They accompanied almost every major war or disaster that occurred in the Arab World in modern times. Such major events were the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the last Muslim Caliphate in 1922-24; The 1948 war with Israel — the “catastrophe” (Nakbah) in Arab and Palestinian eyes — which resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel; The 1967 war — the calamity (Naksah) in Arab and Muslim eyes — which resulted in Israeli occupation all over Palestine, Jerusalem, and Al-Aqsa mosque, and marked a humiliating Arab defeat; and the first Gulf war in 1991, following the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, which marked the first round of America’s massive military involvement in the Middle East. These wars, and some additional minor events such as the “Triple aggression” in the Suez canal in October 1956; “Black September” and the sudden death of the most admired Egyptian President Gamal Abd al-Nasser in September 1970, The Islamic revolution in Iran in February 1979; The Israeli-Egyptian peace// agreement the same time; The Iran-Iraq war between 1980-88, or the Soviet collapse in 1990-91, created waves of apocalyptic discourse.

    From John Schindler:

    Fifteen years ago I authored a piece for Cryptologic Quarterly, the National Security Agency’s in-house classified journal, about how close the world actually came to World War III in the early 1950s. Although this was little understood at the time, the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950 was a dry-run for the Kremlin, which was obsessed with silencing Tito’s renegade Communist regime in Yugoslavia. Had the United States not strongly resisted Pyongyang’s aggression, a Soviet bloc invasion of Yugoslavia would have followed soon after.

    Of course, President Harry Truman did send U.S. forces to defend South Korea in the summer 1950, resulting in a conflict that has never formally ended. More importantly, he saved the world from nuclear Armageddon, as my CQ piece laid out in detail. Lacking much Western conventional defenses in Europe, any Soviet move on Yugoslavia would have resulted in rapid nuclear release by a hard-pressed NATO. I cited numerous still-secret files and as a result my article was classified TOPSECRET//SCI.

    However, NSA has seen fit to declassify and release my article, minus some redactions, and even post it on the Agency’s open website. They have omitted my name, perhaps out of fear UDBA assassins will track me down decades after Tito’s death, but I’ll take my chances.

    You can read the article here — enjoy!

    Sources:

  • Reuven Paz, Hotwiring the Apocalypse: Jihadi Salafi Attitude towards Hizballah and Iran
  • John Schindler, Dodging Armageddon: The Third World War That Almost Was, 1950
  • **

    None of which precludes date-setting — something that both Christian and Islamic scriptures suggest is futile.

    I can’t embed MI7 Agency‘s Passage Through the Veil of Time, but it’s an intriguing entry into the prediction stakes, and the first I’ve seen that confirms Richard Landes‘ contention that Christian millennial movements will be with us at least until the second millennial anniversary of the death and resurrection of Christ in the 2030s — and no doubt through the start of the next Islamic century in 2076 AD since, as Tim Furnish has also reminded us, “Mahdist expectations increase at the turn of every Islamic century.”

    Apocalypse soon from Lapido, McCants from Sources & Methods

    Thursday, September 10th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — my latest for LapidoMedia gives Sunni, Shia background, & importantly the shift from Zarqawi to Baghdadi — followed by a chaser from Will McCants ]
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    My latest from Lapido, opening paras:

    TO SENIOR military officers, intelligence analysts and policy-makers, blood and guts are more real than fire and brimstone.

    To the followers of ISIS – which now calls itself the Islamic State – however, not only do the concepts of hell fire and the gardens of paradise seem real, the hope of heaven and fear of hell are powerful recruiting tools, morale boosters and motivating forces.

    While the battlefield is real to them, to lose one’s life on that battlefield is viewed as victory, and as martyrdom rewarded with a painless death, avoidance of Judgment Day and a direct passage to paradise.

    And that vivid expectation of paradise is accompanied by a sense that in any case, ‘the end is nigh’.

    That is why the ‘caliphate’ established by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has named its English-language magazine after the town of Dabiq.

    Indeed, Dabiq’s first issue opens with a quote from Abu Musa’b al-Zarqawi, the brutal founder of the group that became the Islamic State:

    ‘The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify – by Allah’s permission – until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.’

    The town of Dabiq is obscure enough that you won’t find it indexed in David Cook’s Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature, nor in French diplomat-scholar Jean-Pierre Filiu’s Apocalypse in Islam.

    Will McCants, in his book The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State due out later this month, quotes a leader of the Syrian opposition as saying, ‘Dabiq is not important militarily.’

    And yet Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, like Abu Musa’b al-Zarqawi before him, makes it a centrepiece of his strategy and propaganda.

    Read the whole thing on the LapidoMedia site

    **

    Will McCants gave a useful response in his Sources & Methods podcast interview yesterday, at the 35.00 mark — answering a question about apocalypticism in IS:

    I think it’s really important in terms of attracting foreign fighters from the west. If you think about what gets a foreigner motivated to leave their home and travel to an insanely violent conflict zone, there are few things that might motivate people more than the belief that the end times are right around the corner. So I see a lot of that apocalyptic propaganda from the Islamic State really directed towards foreign fighters. But also you know in the Middle East, after the Iraq war in 2003, apocalypticism began to get a lot more currency than it used to have. You know, before the war, apocalypticism among Sunnis was really kind of a fringe subject as compared to the Shia, for whom it’s been an important topic for centuries – for modern Sunnis, they kind of looked down on it, that’s something that the Shia speculate on, but that’s not really our bag. The US invasion of Iraq really changed the ways that Sunni’s thought about the end times. And then with the Arab Spring coming, and all the political turmoil that followed in its wake, it’s given an apocalyptic framework far more currency than it ever had as a way to explain political upheaval in the region.

    Listen to the whole thing at Sources and Methods.


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