Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Religious conversion

If you float around on YouTube for long enough, you'll find videos of anything. Here are three showing people converting to and from different religions.

Converting to Judaism

From non-practicing Judaism to Hasidic Judaism...

Conversion from Judaism to Islam

Conversion from Christianity to Islam

Conversion from Islam to Christianity

Monday, 28 April 2008

The truth is, there are many Islams

Islam, like Christianity, is a religion beset with internal conflicts. Just as there are many interpretations of Christianity with emphasis on different parts of a shared history and a history of conflict, denunciation, accusations of heresy, reformations and counter-reformations, so too with Islam. Accusations of shirk and massacres of co-religionists are, sadly, not confined to just Wahhabists. There are those that see the current rise in terrorism carried out by Muslims are a sign, not of conflict between East and West but a war within Islam between absolutists and those who seek, respect and wish to save a pluralist religious community.

Ed Hussein, author of The Islamist, shines some light on this:

Islam is not a monolithic entity. Inherent within Muslim tradition is a plurality of thought, practice and reasoning that can help create a genuine Muslim renaissance or tajdid in Arabic. Just as scriptural references to stoning and flogging are cited by countries such as Saudi Arabia as justification for their horrid practices, in these same texts, we find that the Prophet Muhammad reprimanded his followers for stoning a person who attempted to flee. He also condemned those who killed innocent people. By drawing on these lessons, mainstream Muslims must illustrate that compassion, humanity and sense should override scriptural rigidity understood with anger and revenge.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Life goes on in Tehran

Life goes on in Tehran is a monthly photo-essay from an Iranian-American working in Tehran. The start of each month sees the author/photographer uploading 20-30 new photos, taken on either a camera phone or digital SLR camera. He seems to capture the mundane and the marvelous, the peculiar and day to day lives of the people he meets.

Being an Iranian-American he's both and insider and an outsider. This shows through in his insights and the oddness and beauty he stumbles upon. Sometimes it comes in the form of high-heeled shoes, apartment blocks, posters, Iranian TV, food, Christmas in Tehran and more.

This really is one of my favourite websites about Iran. It's not treating the country as a theocratic freakshow like some blogs do, but it doesn't try to sidestep "the issues" when they stumble into the photographer's viewfinder. If you've never seen it before, you're lucky. It's been going for over 12 months now, so you've got loads of photos and stories to work through. It's something to look forward to each month.