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Bloody Ritual, Modern Meaning

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The Shi’ite ritual of Ashura is one of the most extraordinary acts of devotion in the Islamic world. From the heart of the Shi’ite faith in Iran and southern Iraq, to the mountains of Lebanon, and the shores of Indonesia, millions of adherents mourn the murder of the prophet’s grandson, Hussein, 1300 years ago.

That seminal moment has split the Islamic world in two ever since, between the Shia, who claim Hussein and his descendants as the rightful rulers of the Muslim world, and the Sunni, who espoused the claims of the Caliph, or ruler, in Damascus.

For the first installment of Islam’s Advance, I want to take you into the heart of this ritual and explain what Ashura means today. Throughout the Shi’ite world, adherents express their mourning by beating themselves. In some regions this involves hitting one’s chest with a fist. Afghan Shi’ites practice one of the more extreme forms of Ashura, in which they use knives to flay their backs.

To watch Ashura in Afghanistan is to be plunged into a world that may seem, at first, seem medieval in its intensity. It hasn’t always taken this form. There have been long periods in Afghanistan, under the Taliban and Communist regime in the 1980s, when Ashura observances were banned. Then the rituals were forced underground, and performed in windowless rooms in private homes. Over time, too, the nature of the ritual has changed, with the use of knives prevailing over swords, flails, and the traditional chest-beating.

I met two old men in Kabul, during the build-up to the ritual, who refused to watch. They believed that Ashura in recent years had become “too showy”. The knives they used in their day were longer, they said, and only sharp on one side. “The fashion is for them [the knives] to get shorter and shorter, and now they’re double edged. That means a lot more blood,” said the man, “I think people are forgetting about the purpose of Ashura.”

Their comments, I thought, were a little grouchy. After all, Ashura is a rite overwhelmingly performed by young men, often in their teens, with the older generation cast as onlookers.

But clearly something about Ashura, in its various forms over the centuries, fulfills a deep, human need. I repeatedly asked Fouad Hussein, the subject of this video, what that was - just what made him beat himself. His answer – “for love” – was baffling at first until I witnessed the ritual.

I began to see Ashura as a test of love and devotion: for the Prophet’s grandson, but also for each other and for the community. Over the course of the morning these young men, who lead remarkably complex lives – often poor, with little job security, and caught between the radical voices in the Islamic world and allure of Western consumerism they see on television or the cinema – manage to resolve their tensions in an act of catharsis.

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Comments (92)

Laika's Last Woof:

"What if the Monotheists are wrong and Jehovah doesn't exist."
Then the Jihadis are really up sh** creek. They're sure as heck not going to stop us with prayers and suicide bombs. Without the prospect of divine intervention they're doomed.

"This current power struggle over we American and European peasant superstitious rabbles is just what it looks like."
I can't speak for Europe, but you've obviously never read the American Constitution.
"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion."
The Constitution's explicit promise of religious liberty is quite the opposite of superstition -- it is, should one choose atheism as I have, a promise of freedom from superstition.
It is also the root cause of the war: from our point-of-view Sharia in its political form is treason; from our enemies' point-of-view the Constitution is heresy.
As our enemies felt strongly enough about their doctrine to attack us and we felt strongly enough to counterattack, war was unavoidable, and so long as both our sides continue to feel justified in fighting for our respective doctrines war is inevitable until the last Jihadi or the last democratic secularist is shot dead.
Since we're a lot better at it than our enemies it would behoove them to find a better way than war, but if they want to keep dieing for Sharia we can keep killing them in defense of the Constitution.
"Let's roll."
-- Todd Beamer

"Makes me miss the middle ages."
Makes me thankful for the Constitution. You can keep your Middle Ages -- I'm all about the Enlightenment.

"And the Most Christian King was so concerned about us and our welfare."
Kings? In America? You're joking, right?

"I think the Islamists are catching onto our tricks of tying militaristic expansion wrapped up with the bible(oops they have a different book on the other team) and evil empires."
Huh? Our Constitution doesn't say anything about bibles -- it does, however, say, "Provide for the common defense." As our two wars' strategic objective is to prevent future 9/11-style attacks, our counterattacks post-9/11 fall within the purview of the Constitutional defensive mandate.
Our "militaristic expansion" is likewise defensive in nature, as we can infer from our past successes that it is possible and conducive to national security to transform threatening states into neutral or friendly ones. Japan has been beneficial to our security almost from the moment they surrendered in WWII; likewise Iraq is poised to become a base for America to project power against other hostile governments rather than a haven for terrorists.
They do have a different book on the other team, so at least you got something right.

David Crosby:

What if the Monotheists are wrong and Jehovah doesn't exist. Then what? This current power struggle over we American and European peasant superstitious rabbles is just what it looks like. Spin.
Makes me miss the middle ages. And the Most Christian King was so concerned about us and our welfare.
I think the Islamists are catching onto our tricks of tying militaristic expansion wrapped up with the bible(oops they have a different book on the other team) and evil empires. They are now capable of consuming European nations by numbers and kicking the Church of Rome and their imbred Royal masters out of power. You know what? If they want it they can have it let the French and English fix their own mess.

Laika's Last Woof:

"can an outsider ever understand ..."

Indeed, your conception of "love" is alien to anything we could ever imagine in the West.

To us "love" means teaching our children, sons and daughters both, to be self-reliant, both materially and intellectually, and to think for themselves.

We even teach them to hate war, then when they become adults we ask them to set aside their squeamishness to fight for the life we've given them, the civilization we've built for them, and the love we have for them. And we desperately hope they return safely to enjoy the benefits of life and love in this incredible country they were lucky enough to find themselves a part of.

It was a Muslim who said that we in the West fight because we love life, while they fight because they love death. Other than the violence and intensity of the two loves there is little in common between them. Is it any wonder we don't understand your kind of love?

abbas ali khan:

can an outsider ever understand how two people who are lovers feel about each other? become a lover of Hussien AS and then ask all the questions and have all the debates you want to. the mystery will unravel itself. academic research, books or the mind can not embrace or even begin to understand, explain, answer issues relating to the heart and soul. to begin this debate it is a must love Hussein AS i.e u must believe,,,,

Caliph:

From:

http://www.ezsoftech.com/stories/imamhassan1.asp

.....Once the ruler of Rome asked Imam Hasan (a.s.): "Which are the creations which were born without a mother and father or Male and Female?" and Imam Hasan (a.s.) replied:

These are 7 creations: Hazrat Adam (a.s.), Hazrat Hawwa (a.s.), the lamb which was sent in place of Hazrat Ismaeel (a.s.), the camel of Hazrat Saleh (a.s.), the serpent of Hazrat Moosa (a.s.), Iblees and the crow that taught the method of burial to Qabeel son of Hazrat Adam (a.s.).


Two Ahadith in praise of Imam Hasan (a.s.)


1. Ahmad ibn-e-Hambal, Tirmizi, Nisai and ibn-e-Habban quoted on authority of Hazrat Huzaifa (r.a.) and Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudri (r.a.) that Prophet Mohammad (saw) said - Hasan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) are the leaders of the youth of paradise and Fatimah (s.a.) is the leader of the women of paradise.

2. Tirmizi and Ibn-e-Habban quoted from Hazrat Usama bin Zaid (r.a.) that Prophet Mohammad (saw) said - Hasan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) are my and my daughter's sons. O Allah I love them so you love them too and you love anyone who would love them.


Problems during and after Imam Hasan (a.s.) life
As with the other Imam (a.s.), Imam Hasan's life was also filled with difficulties. From the very childhood he saw the faces and activities of the so called companions of the Prophet Mohammad (saw) who left him alone in several battlefields, who objected to the Prophet Mohammad's (saw) decisions up to the stage that some of them expressed their doubts that he was Allah's Prophet.

Then upon the demise of Prophet Mohammad (saw), he saw that only a handful of his faithful companions were there to bury him and the rest had left him to share political power among themselves. He saw the atrocities of Bani Ummayad in the way they treated the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and hurled accusations against Imam Ali (a.s.) after the killing of Hazrat Usman third Caliph. He lived through the battles of Siffin, Jamal and finally saw the martyrdom of his father Imam Ali (a.s.).

As if all of this was not enough, even after his death the agents of Bani Ummaya continued their work against the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and grafted stories of hundreds of marriages of Imam Hasan (a.s.). Some mentioned that he married 70 times and other said that he married more than 300 times but none could count names of more than 10 wives. Such was the strength of their hatred that upon his death, he was not allowed to be buried alongside his grand father, the Prophet Mohammad (saw).


Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Amr Bil Maroof (Enjoining good)


An old man sat to do his Wudhu / Wuzu (Ablution). But his Wudhu was not correct. Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.) the grandsons of the Prophet Mohammad (saw), then two young boys, watched him. They immediately realized that the old man was not doing his Wudhu correctly, but hesitated to tell him directly. Perhaps the old man would feel humiliated by two young boys, or he might even lose interest in the act of worship.

Sitting next to him, they started to do the Wudhu and during the Wudhu, Imam Hasan (a.s.) said: "Oh Hussain my Wudhu is correct and more perfect than yours."

In reply, Imam Hussain (a.s.) insisted that his own Wudhu was better than Imam Hasan's.

Finally they said: "Let us refer to this gentleman. He is older than us and should be able to decide."

The old man was listening patiently. The boys performed their Wudhu under his supervision, one after the other. And when they had finished, he realized the Wudhu done by the boys was methodical and correct. It was his own Wudhu which was incorrect. Turning to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.), he gently said: "The Wudhu done by you is correct. I am grateful that you chose to guide me in such a beautiful manner."


Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Anger Management


Mubarad and Ibn Aisha narrated that a man from Syria saw Imam Hasan (a.s.) riding a horse and started insulting him. Imam Hasan (a.s.) did not reply to the man. When the Syrian stopped, Imam Hasan (a.s.) proceeded towards him and after cheerfully greeting him said:

"Old man, I believe you are a stranger. Maybe you have confused me with another person. If you ask forgiveness, it is granted to you. If you ask for a means of transportation, we shall provide it for you. If you are hungry, we shall feed you. If you are in need of clothes, we shall cloth you. If you are deprived, we shall grant you. If you are being sought, we shall give you refuge. If you have any need, we shall fulfill it for you. And if you wish to proceed with your caravan be our guest until you leave, it would be more useful to you, for we hold a good position, great dignity and vast belongings."

When the man heard the words of Imam Hasan (a.s.) he cried and said:

"I testify that you are Allah's heir on His earth. Allah surely knows to whom He assigns His Message. You and your Father were the most resented of Allah's creatures to me, but now you are the most beloved of Allah's creatures to me."

The man then directed his caravan and became their guest of the town until he departed while believing in their love.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) Maid Servant and Anger Management
Once a maid of our 2nd Imam, Imam Hasan (a.s.) dropped a hot bowl of soup on Imam Hasan (a.s.).

She was very scared because she thought the Imam Hasan (a.s.) would be angry and punish her.

She immediately recited the Ayah: "...Those who control (their) anger..."

Imam Hasan (a.s.) smiled and said he was not angry.

Then she recited the next part of the Ayah: "...And are forgiving towards people..."

Imam Hasan (a.s.) said he had forgiven her.

She then finished the Ayah: "...Allah loves those who do good..."

Imam Hasan (a.s.) told her she was free.

The above Ayah is from the Holy Quran: Surah Aal-e-Imraan (3), verse 134.

Moral: The Holy Qur'an is not just there to read but to learn from and act upon. It is the word of Allah and teaches us everything we need to know if only we understood it.


Caliph:

J. Kactuz:

We cannot deal with a man of hate.

To know Islam you need to go back several thousand ago as far as Prophet Abraham of present Iraq, Prophet Moses of present Palestine (peace upon all prophets of Islam) and so on.

The day people defied order of God or Moses or heavenly food cannot be described as Jews and same the day people defied the condition of Islam cannot be describes as Muslims. And the condition is to love God, Abraham, Moses and last prophet Muhammad and his children (Peace be upon them all).

Thanks,

Laika's Last Woof:

"[Islam] is/was a religion of hate and violence ..."
Look, I'm fairly anti-religion, but I think if Christians can change, so can Muslims.

Christianity was once a violent religion too, doctrinally incompatible with secular democracy, but they changed, beginning with the Treaty of Westphalia, into the largely benign proselytizers we know today.

There's no reason Muslims couldn't reform in a similar manner, and those who already have deserve our encouragement and support.

Those who have not deserve, as ever, our resistance and contempt.

Bossman:

Jack Fairweather does an excellent job of uncovering the ugliness of a backwards and thoughtless religion without even trying to... exploring "how Islam is influencing and adapting to the modern world." Yeah, and those wonderfully brainwashed young men in the Middle East that suit up in jackets made by DuPont are just trying to share their religion, not high explosives, with others. Muslims are amongst the most gullible of people ever, right up there with those good church-going Catholics that took part in the Crusades. By the way, to all you Arabs in the room right now... my ancestors spilled a river of your ancestors' blood!

Kactuz has the right idea, but I'm sure it will fall on deaf ears. Their beliefs may be contradictory but their ability to stick their heads in the sand is world-renowned. That's perfectly agreeable to me, though. This fatherless bastard of a religion is simply the catalyst needed for a very real and face-to-face meeting with my boss, the jewish carpenter.

J. Kactuz:

Caliph - Sorry, but both armies at Karbala were Muslims -- duhhh. Of course the accounts on each side always call the other side "the enemies of Islam".. As I said it was Muslim killing Muslim.

Riaz Khan: You say 'Islam is a very liberal religion.' I say no. It is/was a religion of hate and violence. Do you think that it is right to treat women as second class citizens? Or non-Muslims as third class people? Are you familiar with Asma bint Marwan? Mohammad conquered her city and then killed her? Is that right? How about Banu Mustaliq? Is if right to enslave half the people and rape the women? Can you justify the murder of the two singing girls when Mohammad conquered Mecca? And do on.. The are hundreds of pages of acts that even Muslims would condemn if the man were not your dear prophet.

Mohammad did not respect non-Muslims unless it was to his advantage. After all he attacked them 27 times and sent out another two dozens raids, very often by surpise and it at night. Read Tabari. He killed his critics and enslaved entire vilages. Read Muslim. Read Bukhari. Read your own traditions. Also, he did not respect his wife. He even hit Aisha. Want some links to these facts? (to Muslims sites, of course). Do you think I cant give them? Ask me, please.

Qamber... The battle at Karbala was not a fight against "oppression, terrorism, and tyranny." Once again, it was two groups of Muslims fighting and killing each other for power. It was a battle. Hussain lost. Period. Or do you agree with Caliph that one group was not Muslims? Oh yes, they, like today's terrorists, are not "real" Muslims, I guess.

Shovan das - Oh yes, the Hindus. There are some interesting Hindu sites that descibe the 800 year occupation of India by the Muslims. And you think the Christian fundies don't like Islam... Look at Pakistan and look at India - Tells you all you need to know about Islam and Hinduism.

The fact is that Muslims believe that Islam is perfect, as well as the Quran and Mohammad. Anything that conflicts with this basic principle is, according to them, not true and a vile lie. The fact that these things are taken from their own writings written by friends and followers of Mohammad means nothing to them. The sad fact is that Muslims are not honest about Islam.

Anon-- Of course Muslims are human. We should treat them like people, but that does not mean we must be silent about our beliefs or (lie Muslims do) pretend that certain facts are not true. It does not help anybody to lie about these things.

The problem with Muslims is that they cannot be honest about their religion. Thus, they cannot change it. Thus things get worse. Thus they have to blame others or silence their critics because they cannot answer them with facts.

You can be sure that I know what I am talking about. I have read most of Islam's scriptures and histories. It took me 3 months to get through the 30+ volumes of Tabari. When I read what Muslims write (see examples above) I wonder how they can say the stupid things they do. I don't think that Muslims are stupid, or necessarily evil, but I wonder how they can say PBUM after the name of a man that did the things recorded in Islams own writings. The problem is that they are either ignorant, in denial or dishonest. Take your pick. Note: I even collect the stupid things I find on Muslims websites:
http://www.kactuzkid.com/stupid.html

How can anybody say that Yazid's armies were not Muslims? How can Muslims say that Mohammad treated non-Muslims well? How can Muslims ignore the many exceptions granted to Mohammad (extra wives, to put away wives, to not keep word of honor, approval for him to burn down mosques, special permission to destroy trees and orchards, etc...?. Everytime Mohammad wanted something Allah came through with a special rule for him -- given by Allah to Mohammad to benefit Mohammad. Doesn't it sound a little suspicious? Didn't even Aisha once snear to Mohammad that "Your God his quick to do thy desires.."?

Muslims have absolutely no ability or desire to read and understand their own writings. The standards they demand for other do not apply to them. It is denial after denial and lie after lie. If you are Muslim and this offends you, so be it. Murder, violence, oppression, hate and lies offend me.

Does anybody want references and/or links for any statement I made? I will be glad to point you to Islamic texts and websites. No problema!

Take care.

kactuz

Laika's Last Woof:

"It is indeed tragic that despite 4 years ... we remain so ignorant ..."
We?! So you're ignorant about Islam yet an expert on what other people know about it?
Isn't it more likely you've surrounded yourself with friends whose knowledge and intelligence are somewhat close to your own? Maybe Paris and Nicole know as little about Islam as you do, but Condoleeza knows plenty.
Perhaps if you were more knowledgeable yourself you could command the attention of more intelligent friends.

"The Pope has never been welcomed to prosperous cities in USA."
Religion has rarely led to prosperity.

Sher Ahmed Khan:

The evenings of the ten days the Imperialists military blocked The Prophets grandson's personal caravan from going towards The Capital vicxtoriously as he announced from a letter that he Husien Ibn e Ali recieved from a city callewd Ku'fa .The days mark tragic events against humanity and the sence of Democracracy! Husien vowed to be a majority that in early Islamic days was prevalent by act of 'bait' placeing hand under another.
Jack you wandered the streat where there is an act during which sentiments are expressed by the great family's subjects and hired mourners who live of the food and Clothes that they recieve as yet from The Home!
Great Masters of Oratory speak every evening and put sympathy for humanism and democracy in public ..............
The throngs cry in Latin America and Chicago when The Pope speaks because their ios only the thought of Jesus and his The Unseen 'Alghaib' God to be with when thier is little hope in ordinary people.The Pope has never been welcomed to prosperous cities in USA.

Riaz Khan:

Even as a Muslim, I feel beating yourself is totally barbaric & serves no purpose as far Islam is concerned. Prophet Mohammad must be rolling in his grave seeings today's Muslim doing the most stupid things which absolutely has nothing to do with Islam. Mohammad's Islam is a very liberal religion, if properly understood by simply reading it. Most of Prophet Mohammad friends were Jews, Christians & Idol worshippers & he had no problem with them. He used to enjoy female company beside he respected women so much that even for his own daughters, he used to get up to
give them respect & importance.

Qamber:

It is indeed tragic that despite 4 years of invasion and occupation in the heartland of Islam-Iraq and Afghanistan, we remain so ignorant of one of the most imp and historic days in the history of Islam -Ashura.
The tragedy of Karbala in 680 AD is an unparralled event of the history of mankind - a fight against oppression,terrorism,tyranny.Processions are taken out in every part of the world incld. major cities in US/Europe.This is accepted by both sunnis and shias although more fervently commomerated by shias today.Even Hindus join in the procession and participate in large numbers in India.

Self flaggelation in it's extreme form as depicted in the video is an expression of grief,loss or condolence.Extreme forms of use of razors or knives is forbidden by certain ayatollahs(leaders),particularly in Iran yet generally performed in the Indian sub-continent.

a good ref: A probe into the history of Ashura by Dr.Ibrahim Ayati Islamic seminary publications

Laika's Last Woof:

"LOOK AT ALL THE HATEFUL THINGS YOU PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN."

As hateful as the note pinned to Theo van Gogh?

Anonymous:

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are all the same thing. One God and that is the bottom line. And believe it or not we are all praying to the same God. All three religions were created in order to keep the people in that certain area from doing wrong. WHAT WENT WRONG WITH RELIGION WAS AND STILL IS HAVING POLITICS BEING MIXED WITH IT!!!

THINK ABOUT IT PEOPLE ... WE SPEND EVERYDAY WITH MUSLIM PEOPLE AT THE WORKPLACE, ETC. AND THEY DO NOT SEEM LIKE THE SAVAGES THEY ARE MADE OUT TO BE

Kingofkings:

If any one's death desrved mourning in Islam - it was that of the prophet Mohammed himself. People who call themselves muslims should think about this for a moment before showing their sorrow by beating themselves. This point and that of the prophet himself who discouraged wailing and showing of extreme emotions at anyone's death leads the adherents of those who do such acts as described in the article for love or any other purpose leads them into a category of those practicing undesirable acts consistent with
pre-Islamic practices better described in Islamas ignorance or jahilliyah.

DontTypeLies:

Faithful Servant.

You are an opportunist. Leave Christianity out of it. It has nothing to do with this film of Ashura. Islam and Christianity are polar opposite religions. If you were an academic or had even a rudimentary understanding of Islam, that would be the first thing you notice about the 2. Stop guessing and being an opportunist. It discredits you.

Roy:

this is some sick sh*t and further proof religion is an evil, stupid superstition that harms more than it helps

faithfulservant3:

Anonymous:

I can't speak for Keith_in_ Seattle, but if you can't see the point in my post maybe it's not worth trying to respond. Nevertheless, here goes.

1. The fact that Christianity and Islam both have histories of self-flagellation proves that there is much more that we have in common than most Muslim or Christian extremists would admit.

2. I proposed ways of showing both your love for God and your willingness to sacrice for your faith that are more productive than self-flagellation. Indeed, these proposals are not only useful to both Muslims and Christians, but also already part of the established doctrine of each faith.

3. Most importantly, far from bashing Christians I referenced the bible, and again urge the reading of Isaiah chapter 58.

DontTypeLies:

We have some sissies on here people. Close your eyes and hide until the monsters are gone sissies!!

candor:

Hussein isn't that Barack Obamas middle name? Strange but interesting!

Anonymous:

LOOK AT ALL THE HATEFUL THINGS YOU PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN.

DOES THIS NOT MAKE YOU REALIZE THAT INSTEAD OF HELPING MANKIND, RELIGION HAS BECOME A CANCER TO HIM.

WE ARE HUMANS FIRST. HATING SOMEONE AND DISRESPECTING HIS/HER RELIGION CAN NEVER EVER DO SOCIETY GOOD.

THIS WALL OF POSTS MAKE ME SICK

Caliph:

For Dick:

From:

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080201/jsp/opinion/story_8844331.jsp

A breathtaking case of arbitrariness gone berserk
Cutting Corners
ASHOK MITRA
The trauma recently gone through by an Indian citizen, Aftab Alam Ansari, is extraordinarily shocking, but not a unique experience, given the pattern of events happening in and around us. To appreciate better the factors underlying Ansari’s travails, it may be worthwhile to recount two tales — one from the distant past, while the other is very much a slice of what can be called a contemporary reality show.

The first narrative occurs in one of the Jataka texts in Buddhist literature. It was a tranquil, ancient country. The king was in his counting house counting out his money. Suddenly he had a shock. A considerable amount was missing from the treasury. Livid with rage, he summoned the police chief: he must immediately catch the culprit, otherwise off with his head. The police chief, trepidation in his heart, summoned his menials: they must catch someone, anyone, pronto. It did not matter whether the person they nabbed was the actual thief or not. What was important was to seize a person, irrespective of who or what he was, so as to propitiate the king. The menials went into action. The first person to catch their eye was a handsome young man, a foreigner, who just happened to be passing by. He was pounced upon, bound hand and foot, produced before the king and ordered to be beheaded before dusk. The tale takes a turn at this point. The capital’s leading courtesan chanced to have a glimpse of the prisoner, and was bewitched. How she manoeuvred to set the young man free and installed him as her lover, together with the denouement of the story, form the corpus of one of Tagore’s better known dance dramas.

The other annal is about something that took place ............Martin Luther King Jr. used to have a dream. Everybody now knows what the great Afro-American dreamed and to what extent it has been realized. Is it not permissible for a small group of people in this part of the world to have a humbler dream, the contents of which will be as follows? A human-rights lawyer, with both conscience and guts, painstakingly assembles the bizarre details of the Aftab Alam Ansari case, prepares a punctilious brief, appears before the appropriate court, and prays that charges of criminal defamation be framed against the police officers involved and, further, the authorities exercising control over these officers are ordered to pay Ansari financial compensation to the extent of Rs 1,000 crore.

The dream has a most happy epilogue. The learned judge grants all the prayers, and slaps a penalty on the authorities for the amount asked for, that is, Rs 1,000 crore

Caliph:

Dick:

Because the power of the following:

From:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abd_al-Qadir_al-Jilani

Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadr Jilani (Persian: عبد القادرگیلانی, Arabic: عبد القادر الجيلانى) (also spelled Abdelkader, Abdul Qadir, Abdul Khadir - Jilani, Jeelani, Jilali, Gailani, Gillani, Gilani) (1077 - 1166) was a noted Sunni Hanbali preacher, Sufi sheikh and the figurehead of the Qadiri Sufi order. He was born during Ramadan in 1078, in the Persian province of Gilan (Iran) south of the Caspian Sea. It is also called Kilan, thus, Abdul-Qadir al-Kilani is also another of his names. Gilani belongs to the spiritual chain of Junayd Baghdadi. His contribution to thought in the Muslim world earned him the title al-Gauth al Azam (the "Supreme Helper")
Raised by his mother and grandfather after his father's passing, Jilani was a descendant of Muhammad from both of his parents-- his father is descended from Hasan while his mother is descended from Husayn. At the age of eighteen he went to Baghdad (1095), where he pursued the study of Hanbali law under several teachers. Abdul Qadir received lessons on Fiqh from Abu Said Ali al-Mukharrimi, Hadith from Abu-Bakar-bin-Muzaffar, and tafsir from the renowned commentator, Abu Muhammad Jafar.

In Sufism, his spiritual instructor was Shaikh Abu'l-Khair Hammad bin Muslim al-Dabbas. From him, he received his basic training, and with his help he set out on the spiritual journey......

shovan das:

Dear Jay ( Kactuz ),

You forgot one more aspect that fanatical Muslims hate - the Hindu religion !

Dick:

Caliph(Allah be please with you).....shouldn't you be in Guantanamo bay...damn bush..give me my tax dollars you told me you got them all locked up.

Dick:

no wonder why Muslims ....are so violent.Read all these stories in the comments sections about killing infants and beheadings from the time of Islam's inception

Caliph:

"And so the heads of Mohammad's grandson (Hussain) and even infant great-grandson (Asghan) and 70 others here carried home in bags as trophies by the victorious Muslim army."

They were not Muslim army and they are worse than Hindus, Christian Jews or any human being and those who love those killers of Ummyad are not Muslims or Sunni Muslim. Those killers were children of killer and eater of the liver of Muhammad's (sa) uncle Hamza and that killer's name is Hind and her son Mabia.

To know true Islam visit:

http://www.al-baz.com/shaikhabdalqadir/

http://www.dargahajmer.com/

Above saints are Sunni.

Regards,


Thanks,

k2:

This custom of self mutilation was never practised by Muhammad (peace be upon him), is never mentioned in the Quran - ever.

It is a custom which was implemented after the time of Muhammad and has no basis in the religion of Islam.

Caliph:

"That seminal moment has split the Islamic world in two ever since, between the Shia, who claim Hussein and his descendants as the rightful rulers of the Muslim world, and the Sunni, who espoused the claims of the Caliph, or ruler, in Damascus."

Above is false statement.
Today’s problem is lack of truthfulness and that no protest from Sunni Muslims for all these propaganda, false propaganda. It is duty of all Muslims to honor Imam Hussain (Allah be pleased with him) and no Sunni Scholar can defy this ruling.

Here is some proof from greatest Sunni Saints.

Greatest Saint of Islam in whole world who is descendent of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (Allah be please with them) in holy Baghdad

http://www.al-baz.com/shaikhabdalqadir/


Greatest Saint of Islam in India who is descendent of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (Allah be please with them) at holy Ajmer, India.

http://www.dargahajmer.com/


Though Umayyad and Abbasid deprived holy family from political and world power they could not deprive them from spiritual power. Imam Mehdi (Peace be upon him) will be descendent of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (Allah be please with them) too.

Holy shoes of above saints and Imam Mehdi are more powerful than all WMD in this World and their holy shoes are able to destroy all WMD. Here is an example of the saint in holy Baghdad

Sheikh Osman Sayrifini and Sheikh Abdul Haq Harimi stated ".We were present before Saiyidina Hazrat Ghousul Azam in his Madrassa on third Saffar 555 A.H., when Hazrat suddenly got up with his wooden sandles under his feet and performed ablution. He offered two Rakats of prayers and with a loud shout, threw one of the sandles into the air. It disappeared from our sight. With another shout, his Holiness threw the other sandle into the air, which also disappeared. None present dared questioning him on the incident. But thirty days after this incident a caravan came to Baghdad from Ajam and said that they had brought some presents for Hazrat. Hazrat permitted the acceptance of the presents of valuable things but these the same pair of sandles which were thrown in the air by Hazrat. They related that on the third of Saffar when they were travelling, suddenly a gang attacked them and plundered their merchandise and murdered some of them in the caravan. The gang then entered the jungle to divide the booty. Then they had halted at the outskirts of the jungle and it struck them to solicit the help of Hazrat Ghousul Azam. Just at that time they had heard two loud shouts which reverberated throughout the jungle. They had mistaken the shouts as the aftermath of a scuffle between the gang that attacked us and a stronger gang of Arabs. We were terror stricken. Some members of the gang came to us and said that a calamity had befallen them and requested us to take back the plundered goods. We went to the place where the booty was lying divided and saw two of their leaders lying dead and the two sandles lying close by. SubhanAllah

Caliph:

"That seminal moment has split the Islamic world in two ever since, between the Shia, who claim Hussein and his descendants as the rightful rulers of the Muslim world, and the Sunni, who espoused the claims of the Caliph, or ruler, in Damascus."

Today’s problem is lack of truthfulness and that no protest from Sunni Muslims for all these propaganda, false propaganda. It is duty of all Muslims to honor Imam Hussain (Allah be pleased with him) and no Sunni Scholar can defy this ruling.

Here is some proof from greatest Sunni Saints.

Greatest Saint of Islam in whole world who is descendent of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (Allah be please with them) in holy Baghdad

http://www.al-baz.com/shaikhabdalqadir/


Greatest Saint of Islam in India who is descendent of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (Allah be please with them) at holy Ajmer, India.

http://www.dargahajmer.com/


Though Umayyad and Abbasid deprived holy family from political and world power they could not deprive them from spiritual power. Imam Mehdi (Peace be upon him) will be descendent of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (Allah be please with them) too.

Holy shoes of above saints and Imam Mehdi are more powerful than all WMD in this World and their holy shoes are able to destroy all WMD. Here is an example of the saint in holy Baghdad

Sheikh Osman Sayrifini and Sheikh Abdul Haq Harimi stated ".We were present before Saiyidina Hazrat Ghousul Azam in his Madrassa on third Saffar 555 A.H., when Hazrat suddenly got up with his wooden sandles under his feet and performed ablution. He offered two Rakats of prayers and with a loud shout, threw one of the sandles into the air. It disappeared from our sight. With another shout, his Holiness threw the other sandle into the air, which also disappeared. None present dared questioning him on the incident. But thirty days after this incident a caravan came to Baghdad from Ajam and said that they had brought some presents for Hazrat. Hazrat permitted the acceptance of the presents of valuable things but these the same pair of sandles which were thrown in the air by Hazrat. They related that on the third of Saffar when they were travelling, suddenly a gang attacked them and plundered their merchandise and murdered some of them in the caravan. The gang then entered the jungle to divide the booty. Then they had halted at the outskirts of the jungle and it struck them to solicit the help of Hazrat Ghousul Azam. Just at that time they had heard two loud shouts which reverberated throughout the jungle. They had mistaken the shouts as the aftermath of a scuffle between the gang that attacked us and a stronger gang of Arabs. We were terror stricken. Some members of the gang came to us and said that a calamity had befallen them and requested us to take back the plundered goods. We went to the place where the booty was lying divided and saw two of their leaders lying dead and the two sandles lying close by. SubhanAllah


Siddique Malik, Louisville, KY.:

I think it is absolutely stupid to cut yourself to show solidarity with something that happened almost 14 centuries ago, and is symptomatic of cultist tendencies. Ashura is not the only time when Muslims’ cultist pre-disposition reveals itself. The belief in 70 virgins, killing non-Muslims to uphold the honor of Muhammad, committing suicides so as to kill innocent bystanders, etc., are also the behaviors of cultists. Muslims need to do a lot of cleansing of their values and it is not going to happen by causing your body to bleed or killing non-Muslims. It is going to happen by keeping things in proper perspective.

Hank Whatever:

A reply to post by Ecumenical Muslim:

"Peace,..."

Over 2o years ago I became interested in a book written by William James called "The Varieties of Religious Experience".

Book explains various methods over the centuries to derive religious experience through self inflicted pain and abuse. It is a gruesome book as I can recall. It focuses on methods used over the years like making a wound and then allowing that wound to fester. Or Impaling oneself on a pole and self or self assisted crucifixtion. As I recall the book focuses on Catholic traditions. These types of behaviors were demonstrated through a recent movie.

William James wrote that for most people religious experience comes through education. However, I have learned that since written language was commonized around 500 Bc a dramatic spiritual experience or awaking has in fact been archive. Those experiences which I write may have been carried by oral traditions thousands of years prior to 500 BC.

Studying ancient judeo-christian writers from prophets, martyrs and assorted early chapters of the practice of christianity like Baptist "sect" of christianity, I realized the significance of the Rite of Baptism itself.

Didache is one such example that teaches neophytes in the ways of a righteous by way of a sponsor through study and actions until candidate is afforded formal membership into the entire church "body" through Baptism ceremony.

Now some branches of Christianity practice Baptism at birth along with circumsion. Some churches still make the choice free to the individual and the process resembles Judism whereby formal training leads candidates to ceremony in early teenage years. Rites of passage ceremonies of teenagers becoming full tribal members through an ancient form of bungy jumping are well known. That's a good one to me, get over your fears now.

However, there is one theme clear to me throughout the ages and that is a gnostic concept I guess, or that it has been labelled that way, that one does not need anything to find a creator which is within and surrounds all things of this earth.

And so, being long winded here, leads me to suggest to you a concept of obtainment of communion with the creator in a flash and practices held in close secret by mystics of many many religious and spirtual orders. I don't think it is a secret though. JC himself said that he was baptised by water but (you) will be baptised by the "Holy Spirit", maybe as a white light flash, who knows.

On the subject of mountain top sitting for spiritual alignment, well some need to remain teachers I guess. I think that the road we are on is the road that leads to where we are going as long as we move on.

Peace to you and Be well.

Georgiason:

While this forum starts out with some warped multicultural viewpoint lauding some barbaric ritual, and contributors follow up with the usual blather about the wondrous Islamic religion, over in the Post's sister blog "On Faith," Irshad Manji has thrown a bucket of cold water on those who proclaim the virtues of Islam with a posting titled "Freedom of Speech? Not in Afghanistan."

She begins with the case of Sayad Parwez Kambaksh, a 23-year-old journalism student in Afghanistan, who has just been sentenced to death by an Afghan court for downloading and distributing a document that offends Muslim clerics. Welcome, she says, to a surreal spin-off of the Bush “Freedom Agenda.” She continues: "Recently, I blogged about the irony of liberating Afghans just enough to create a new constitution that makes Sharia law pre-eminent. Article 3 of Afghanistan’s constitution states that 'no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.' That’s freedom? For whom? Ali in Wonderland?"

Check out Ms. Manji's article as a reality check on the idea of Islam as a religion from which great good flows.

J Kactuz:

I read my posting and I got some info wrong. It didn’t look right. Old age, I guess. Or too many complicated Arabic names.

So I checked my facts and let me correct myself. There were two Ali’s. In this case the first Ali was the husband of Fatima. The other Ali was Hussain Ali, usually known as Hussain, not Ali (as I wrote) who died at Karbala.. I tried to condense the story too much, but it didn't work.

Here is the story, corrected:

As Islam's dear prophet was dying (poisoned?), he lay with his head on Aisha's (his child bride) lap. Next to him was a young man named Ali, who later married Mohammad daughter Fatima.

Within 50 years of Mohammad's death Muslim armies would conquer west to Africa and Spain, east to India and north to the gates of the Byzantines. This is called jihad. It gave Muslims unimaginable riches, power, and captives. They soon split into two hostile fractions fighting for the riches and power. Aisha (Mohammad’s wife) and her family on one side and the family of Ali and Mohammad’ s daughter, Fatima, on the other.

This was the time of the "Four Glorious Caliphs" that Muslims like to talk about. They call it "Islam's Golden years." They forget to mention the violence, conquest and death that was a central part of it. They do not mention that 3 out of the 4 so-called Righteous Caliphs were murdered by Muslims in this fifty year orgy of greed and rivalry.

The first caliph was Abu Bakr, Aisha’s father. He ruled two years and died of natural causes in 634AD. The next Caliph was Umar (Omar), a father-in-law of Mohammad. He was killed by an unhappy slave in 644. The next Caliph was Uthman, who married two of Mohammad’s daughters. He slowly loses control because (a) he was kind and generous and only cared about spiritual things, according to the sunnis’, or (b) he was a decadent coward that lived a life of decadent luxury, according to the shia. Anyway, he was killed by a mob as his blood covered the first copy of the Quran. His body is thrown into a Jewish cemetery in 656. These wonderful folks are usually known as the Ummayad family and dynasty.

Meanwhile, Ali and Fatima and family were unhappy that they didn’t get their share of the riches and power. In 656, after the death of Uthman, they make their move and defeat the Ummayads at the battle of the Camel. Aisha, now old, watches the battle. Her side loses. Ali becomes the 4th Righteous caliph. Ali’s family is often referred to as the Hashimites (?).

The Ummayad’s are still around and they grow stronger. Ali loses his power because he … (a) and (b) again, reversed. Anyway, Muawiya, Uthman’s cousin, an Ummayad, challenges Ali and Ali is murdered in 661. Muawiya becomes Caliph.

Ali has a son, Hassan, that decides that life is really dangerous, so he takes a pay-off and lives a life of debauchery for 2 years until he mysteriously dies. Ali had another son, Hassan’s brother, Hussein Ali, that thinks that it is his turn to be Caliph -- when Muawiya dies, of course. He even says he has an agreement for this with old Muawiya.

Muawiya dies in 680 but Yazid, his son, says he knows nothing about that so-called agreement. The two sides prepare for battle and meet at a place called Karbala. Ali's Muslim army was much smaller than Yazid's Muslim army and as happens so often when a weaker group attacks a bigger and stronger group, he lost. He lost everything, including his head.

At the battle of Karbala - called the Ashura - Muslim fought Muslim on the battlefield. The great feud between Shiite and Sunni was on.

And so the heads of Mohammad's grandson (Hussain) and even infant great-grandson (Asghan) and 70 others here carried home in bags as trophies by the victorious Muslim army.

That is it. Both Sunni and Shia agree on the basic facts -- who ruled and who died and when. It is very complicated and not a pretty story. They do not agree on who were the good guys and who were the bad ones.

That is the story of the Ashura.

Jay Kactuz:


Wrong, loveforall, wrong.

What the Shias do has very much to do with the history of early Islam. No, it is not in the Quran, but a lot of things Muslims do are not in the Quran (and a lot of the bad things they do are in it!).

Let me tell you the story of the the Ashura. I am talking about the Shiite version, not the Sunni rip-off of the Jewish event.

As Islam's dear prophet lay dying (poisoned?), he lay with his head on Aisha's (his child bride) lap. Next to him was a young man named Ali.

With 50 years of Mohammad's death Muslim armies would conquer west to Africa and Spain, east to India and north to the gates of the Bizantines. This is called jihad. It gave Muslims unimaginable riches, power, and captives. They soon split into two hostile fractions fighting for the riches and power. Aisha and her family on one side and Ali and his family on the other. Even so, all were members of Mohammad's household and family -- one by a wife (Aisha) and the other by a daughter (Fatima).

This was the time of the "Four Glorious Caliphs" that Muslims like to talk about. They call it "Islam's Golden years." They forget to mention the violence, conquest and death that was a central part of it. They do not mention that 3 out of the 4 so-called Righteous Caliphs were murdered by Muslims in this fifty year orgy of greed and rivalry. Things were so bad that one Caliph was murdered by a mob and his body thrown into a jewish cemetery. Another was slain as he held the first official copy of the Quran in his hands, his blood covering it. Another was murdered by a slave. And so on.

Open warfare finally broke out between the two Muslim groups on the tenth day of the month Muharram of 680 AD. Husayn ibn Ali (grandson of Mohammad and supported by Aisha) and his family attempted to regain power with a small band of followers from Yazid, the head of the Muslim group called the Umayyads (linked to Fatima) who controlled most of the Muslim empire.

Ali's Muslim army was much smaller than Yazid's and as happens so often when a weaker group attacks a bigger and stronger group, he lost. He lost everything, including his head.

At the battle of Karbala - called the Ashura - Muslim fought Muslim on the battlefield. The great feud between Shiite and Sunni began. By then a very old Aisha watched the battle from a camel. Her side (Ali) lost.

Afterwards the heads of Mohammad's grandson and even infant great-grandson and 70 others here carried home in bags as trophies by the victorious Muslim army.

That is the story of the Ashura. Shia Muslims use the word "martyr" and add many cute but unrealistic details to the battle. This islamic concept of martyr has nothing in common with the western tradition. In Christianity a martyr dies peacefully for his religion; in Islam, a martyr dies killing or trying to kill others.

Muslims dont know their own writings or history -- or they do and prefer to omit details or lie. I get tired of correcting them.

http://www.kactuzkid.com/lies.html

Signing off
Old man kactuz

PS: This may explain why the sunni's don't want to talk about this event, and why the shia's never stop remembering it.


LOVEforALL:

Passion is one thing. However Islam categorically condemns self mutilation or self destruction. Islam forbids any act which damages or harms the body, mind, or soul. Even fasting is forbidden if a person would be physically or mentally harmed by it.

What these Shia's are doing, though passionate and sincire, is completly against the teachings of Islam. This is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact.

I have Love for Shia Muslims as my brothers, but indeed, this act of their's has no basis in Islam.

Laika's Last Woof:

"One word for you: Circumcision."

One word for you: BS.

Circumcision removes a flap of skin no more important than the umbilical cord or appendix. It also serves the minor medical function of making hygiene more convenient.

Female genital mutilation removes a sex organ.

Can you really not tell the difference, or are you just pretending they're the same thing so you won't have to take the uncomfortable step of condemning it?

"If religion cannot bring peace and harmony among people what it is supposed to bring ..."
It's a primitive attempt to explain the laws of physics as well as a means of comforting people as they approach the end of their lives.
Since knowledge of the laws of physics cannot accomplish the latter religion still has its place.
This is also what makes it dangerous: belief in an afterlife allows the believer to supercede the modern materialist dialectic -- individualism versus collectivism, rights versus responsibilities, etc. -- with just about anything. Someone who sees this life as preparation for the "next" may well not value life, liberty, or property as we understand them because their very conception of things like "value" and "life" are different. 72 virgins in the afterlife may be a joke to us, but to that rational actor with the irrational beliefs they are all too real in the moment his thumb depresses the plunger.

Anonymous:

God and Satan(devil) are man made things. Does anybody know the shapes and sizes of the God? We human portray God as human. First of all nobody knows whether there is God or not, even if there is one we don't know what shapes and sizes he/she is. We see things in 3 dimensioanl and perceive imaginery things in 3 dimensional also. By the way religion is supposed to make people wise enough to distinguish between good vs.evil. If religion cannot bring peace and harmony among people what it is supposed to bring in the 1st place instead brings destruction, violence and killings, then I don't such need religion. If religion brings class between people, then I don't need such religion.When people don't have anything point to make then they blame on devil.

Anonymous:

See the love oozing out of the flesh of the worshippers of Satan.

http://sheikyermami.com/photo-gallery/

Anonymous:

If religion teaches violence and killings then I won't follow religion.

Anonymous:

I think all religions have pros and cons. Some has more and some has less. Does anybody know who made religion? From my point of view, some philosophers wrote those religion books thousands and thousands of years ago to guide the future generations by creating some super natural power and to scare them if they don't follow that routine.And the people of that time were not smart enough to ask why they need to follow and who made them to follow but they kept on following as it said. We humans have brain to think what is right and what is wrong. If we cannot think then there is a problem. I know religion made people not to think and just do what it said which will made people dull. If we don't cross question ourselves about our faith and the things we do then we will be stupid and kill each other like animals do.People need to use beautiful brain. Because of some geniuses' hard work and dedication we are here in 21st centuray enjoying all the latest technologies and living longer healthier life than before. If those geniuses would have stopped thinking also, we would still be living in stone age. People, life is too precious, so enjoy it as much as each can so don't waste it. We all will die one day.Everyone is mortal.

Groergiason:

ANONYMOUS, you said in response to my post"

"You obviously have never looked on anyone different as an equal."

My, my. What a bigot you have unintentionally revealed yourself to be.

What if someone on this forum revealed himself to be a black person, and in response to something he wrote, I resonded:

"You obviously lust after white women."

Or, if someone identified themselves as an atheist, and I replied:

"You obviously would commit crimes with no moral conscience to deter you."

Get the point? The very definition of a bigot is someone who believes he can generalize about another person's innermost thoughts and outlook, based on that person's skin color or religion. Or gender, or ethnic group. A bigot, in short, is someone who believes he can crawl inside someone else's brain, and make great generalizations about that person, based on surface criteria. To put it more specifically by using an example: When a white person says that he knows that all black men lust after white women and are criminals at heart, that white person does not know that he is revealing something ugly about himself, but nothing at all about black people.

Just like you don't know that you are revealing yourself as a bigot and revealing something ugly about yourself, with your slanderous generalization that I "have never looked on anyone different as an equal"--and saying nothing at all about me.

That's your response to my very rational analysis that perhaps there's a link between poor, unemployed young males whipping themselves silly every year--and the pathetic state of the society in which they live? You do not deal with my argument on its merits--you reach on the shelf and grab some insulting generalization. Just like some white Southerner, confronted with Martin Luther King's citation of facts about the sorry state of blacks in a segregated South, would respond by labeling Dr. King a rabble-rousing agitator, who wanted to empower black males to pursue their lust for white women.

How pathetic. I hope you are not totally lost in your bigotry.

das:

" Jews also beat their heads against the wailing wall."

No they don't.

In addition, it is forbidden in Judaism to damage one's body and intentionally draw blood unless for constructive purpose (like surgery)

The Wanderer:

Robert,

Before you equate Nazism and Communism (by which I guess you mean Stalinism), please recall that Hitler was raised a Catholic, and Stalin was an Orthodox divinity student.

Christian self-flagellation is an old tradition, but here's one that I don't think got a mention: The Easter tradition in parts of the Phillippines, where young men havethemselves crucified, nails through the extremities and all, during Holy Week to honor Christ's sacrifice.

Tom Heneghan:

I disagree with John D. Most reports about Ashura focus on the blood. This one actually follows a Shi'ite who joins in the ritual and asks why he does it. I think it brought an important insight into the religious belief and group emotions that keep this tradition alive.

John D:

What is the purpose of showing this video? As others have pointed out there are plenty of other religions that also have gorey and showy traditions. There is the Philipinne Christians that crucify and flagelate themselves. There is also a sect that hangs themselves on hooks through their flesh and pierce themselves with daggers and swords. It happens in Phuket Thailand every year. I don't know what religion they are but they're not Christian or Muslim.

This video is just to show everyone the freak show. There is no conclusions to be drawn from this other than people are different. But all you have to do is walk down the street in someplace like San Francisco to know that.

Don:

Laika:

One word for you: Circumcision.

AKA: Male genital mutilation.

Practiced widely in our own society (by atheists, too!)

With no valid scientific basis (the original claim that it prevented penile cancer has been discredited).

So why is it still practiced? I guess we're just a bunch of degenerate scumbags, huh?

Well, yes, and no. We're human, just like everyone else, including Muslims, and Christians, and atheists. We all do stupid things.

So, hey y'all, let's stop with the your-religion (culture)-is-worse-than-mine peeing contest, K?

Peace.

Laika's Last Woof:

"It's a temptation for many - especially in the West - to regard the blood-letting of Ashura as a primitive, even barbaric, custom."

Oh, I pretty much know where the line is between getting your kicks versus barbarism.

I've got no problem with Ashura, Seppuku, stigmata, fasting, flagellation, immolation, anorexic on a hunger strike, hey, whatever gets you off. Don't expect me to join in, but like the song goes, "We all shine on like the moon and the stars and the sun."
Self-flagellation may be one step away from a Jackass stunt video, but if the practitioners are doing it to themselves it's not barbaric. They're just showing themselves a good time, like tripping on peyote for a Vision Quest or handling snakes and speaking in tongues. Nobody's doing anything against their will. No force, no foul.

But that's an easy answer, so I'm not going to stop there. For anyone alive today there are few things worse than being a bigot. But then there are those few things.

The practice of female genital mutilation is cruel and disgusting, performed without informed consent of the victim, and causes permanent injury to the victim's ability to enjoy sexual intercourse.

This vile barbarity marks all those cultures, tribes, peoples, and religions who practice it as the lowest form of savage uncivilized vicious animals.

If saying that makes me a bigot, it is in the final analysis the lesser of evils. Archie Bunker would've never raised a knife to Gloria.

Jay kactuz:


Muslims blame all their problems on (choose one or more...) the Jews, Christians, the Crusades, the USA, Atheism, Israel, Colonialism, Hollywood, Bush, the Pope, Vatican, Capitalism, racism, poverty, sexuality, discrimination, translations, the media, the Neocons, Right-wing radio talk shows, Communism, the Romans, women, Zionists, culture, Imperialism, islamophobia, stereotypes, facism, the Cold War, the War on Terror, ignorance, education, lack of education, misguided education, despair, lack of hope, the suffering of the Palestinian people, bad hair, cartoons, teddy bears and Bugs Bunny. Muslims are innocent victims of circumstances, always.

The facts are that where you have Islam, you have few freedoms and less human rights. The Quran and ahadith are full of hate and villence against non-Muslims. Maybe these have nothing to do with the situation we see in the world today. Maybe. Maybe not.

My guess is that this is just another article from Newsweek to whitewash Islam. Mr Fairweather, be sure to look into the situation of religious minorities in Islamic countries. Ask Muslims about the 27 raids their dear prophet did on villages and caravans. Ask about the men, women and children he captured and enslaved. Ask about the people he killed for criticizing him. Ask about Asma bint Marwan and the people of Banu al-Mustaliq. Ask about jihad and plunder in the "way of Allah". Ask about the hate against the West in the media, schools and the mosques.

Can you be honest, Mr Fairweather?

Things will not change until people start asking Muslims the hard questions about their religion.

Kactuz

DontTypeLies:

M. S. Chaudhary:


WE DID STUDY ISLAMIC HISTORY. That is why we know how to debate. And that is also why we are Islamophobes as you would like to call it.

WE are sick and tired of kuffar phobia. Your burqa has been stolen off of you without your approval!

J Rhinehart:

MTA wrote:
Unless people use the common sense,religion will kill more people in the world than bring peace.
------------------------------------------------
I applaud your sense even though your grammar is childish. You must've learned English as a second language. But your ideas are right on the mark. Bravo!

Anonymous:

"Mr. Fairweather once more reveals the chilling, disturbing, frightening mentality that lies at the heart of the multicultural ethos: find the most outrageous and despicable practice of some third-world backwater and shove it in our faces as an act of nobility and enlightenment."
---------------------------------------------------------------
You obviously have never looked on anyone different as an equal.

Please try to avoid such judgmentalness, in the "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" mindset....

I would also like to point out there are mutilators in every society. Psychiatrists say self-mutilation is a sign of low self-esteem & stress. Google "self mutilation".

Anonymous:

NikFromNYC:

Christianity: 2.1 billion
Islam: 1.5 billion
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
Hinduism: 900 million
Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
Buddhism: 376 million

Thoughts?

NikFromNYC:

The comments so far here are of too high a quality to just jest about toward.

I'll just mention North and South American folk traditions of dog fighting, chicken fighting (razors on their legs), boxing, bull fighting, the extreme "body modification" fad, the top "violence porn" movies of all last decade ('Fight Club' and 'Passion of the Christ'), how old and new National Geographic magazines are full of pictures of "tribes" who bloodily modify their faces to look cooler, sexier, or meaner, and the way young girls "cut themselves" a lot, to deal with their depression. So I'm not too shocked that a ritual like this exists, akin Running With The Bulls. The "civilized" equivalent is merely symbolic, such as spectator sports, wrestling, hang–gliding, are motorcycle racing.

That said, indeed hygiene (I would have preferred to hear "bleach filled" buckets than "water filled") combined with the polygamy-caused homosexuality in Islamic countries (or Jails worldwide), make this seem less than quaint, combined with the huge drowning and disease spreading mess that whatever that "march to the sea" ritual represents.

SALIM wrote:

[Your statment "If Islam wasn't such an idiotic religion ..." speaks lots about the ignorance and never mind the deep pejudice of most posters here. First self flagellation is only practiced by...]

I'll extend the statement. If RELIGION wasn't such an idiotic and archaically obsolete throwback to barbaric times, then I don't know what would be. No religion contains more than 13% of the world's population (except the non-God–based Buddhism, or atheism, tied at 16%). So how the hell can anybody claim they follow the true god. And why doesn't anybody I know worship the original gods, like Zeus or Apollo?

[The Shiites of Islam, a minority cult that represents less than 5% of Moslems...thanks to Bush...is back in vogue in the so called liberated Iraq and Afghanistan.]

So if you had *your* way you would gas them, like Saddam did, and drain the swamps of another culture too, and for that matter allow leaders like Saddam to fill MASS GRAVES whereas now many fewer Muslims die in Iraq a month than before the USA dismissed their unelected leader. Dismissing your neighbors as being members of an "minority cult" makes me glad I'm not your neighbor, for my science-based pagan worship of the Big Bang, and the Sun it eventually created, as well as all those dinosaurs who Noah had to fit on his ship for a week would have you labeling me as a "minority cult." Guess what? ALL RELIGIONS ARE MINORITY CULTS ON THIS PLANET.

Ben:

You know, it's true that some Christians practice self flagellation. And when it is brought up, as in the debate surrounding the Da Vinci code, we view it as a barbarous act practiced by a fringe group that is basically a cult.

So why do we judge Islam by any different standard? If it's barbarous and backwards when we do it, why isn't it so when Muslims do it?

The right thing to do is to hold everyone to the same moral standard, because we're all fundamentally people and we all have to live together. And that means that at times you're going to have to tell people that their religion is wrong. They might threaten you (as Muslims do pretty much every Monday) or riot (usually on Tuesdays) and whine that they're being oppressed (on Wednesdays) and sue you to shut you up (on Thursdays, or Fridays if the Scientologists booked Thursday) but when it comes down to it, you have a duty to the truth.

mta:

Religion is there to make people morally good human being. People need to use common sense. Religion is made thousands and thousands of years ago and we don't even know whether there is really a god or not. If there is a god why christian has different god, why Buddist have different gods, why muslim has different god, why hindu have different gods and many more other religions have different gods? For instance why do people go to the hospital when they get sick, why not those God lover extremists ask the God to cure them. Why do God lovers use advanced technology devices like planes and vehicles to travel from one place to another place, why not they ask the god to come and take them from from one place to other.Why the God lovers have to to work, don't the god provide food for them.Nobody has seen God so far and still people are running foolishly after something which we haven't seen and proved by someone. Aren't human beings supposed to use our brain to figure out what it right and what is wrong. When people do anything extreme then it becomes dangerous poision. Unless people use the common sense,religion will kill more people in the world than bring peace.

omop.:


To be impartial in reporting videos of life in Israel must be included. When ever the Middle East is mentioned, reported on Israel is never mentioned. The last map of the region shown Israel right smack dab in the MIDDLE of the Middle East.

Is this some form of bias? Or are you not allowed or qualified to report on the MIDDLE of the Middle East?

Will thee be any mention of the destruction of the Biblical land of Iraq by mostly non-arab and non-muslims?

celebrim:

"Just study history of muslim civilization."

Unfortunately, the example of Ashura provides a valuable case study in the history of Islamic civilization. It is not for nothing that Islam lends to the English language the word 'assassination'. Leaving aside whatever terrors it may have brought to non-believers, the more Islamic history one reads, the more soaked in its own blood you discover it to be.

Morever, Islamic culture has been as much of a corpse as Hussein for about 1000 years now, and the primary reason for that is that periodicly Islamic civilization decides to purge itself of 'undesirables', and inevitably that ends up including not only the Christian and Jewish scholars and artisans that helped make the society flourish, but thousands and thousands of other Moslems who believe something slightly different. It is one long history of democides. In that it is far from unique, but is also far from uniquely perfect or even uniquely good.

I am grateful for the few short centuries where Islam flourished long ago, because it helped preserve the Greek classics, gave me Arabic numerals, the names of the stars, the lateen sail, and a variaty of other things which were of great benefit to European culture and ultimately myself. However, that culture is dead and it was Moslems who killed and who continue to kill it yearly and daily. Until the 'Islamic civilization', if any such thing can be said to still exist, collectively decides that its problems are primarily internal and cannot be solved with more blood of infidels or otherwise, then such a pattern will continue.

And as for "the peaceful, clean, just, tolerant, helping and a perfect system, that is free of exploitation and takes care of its people and those its umbrella" it is just no where to be found in history, in Islam or elsewhere.

Is this a harsh account? Yes, somewhat. But when you ask someone to make a close study of something with an open mind be careful what you wish for.

celebrim:

There seems to be only two sorts of commments on display here.

Those expressing intolerance toward Islamic beliefs.

And those, using the occassion as they see fit, to express thier intolerance toward Christianity and to a lesser extent against religion in general.

If you must be offended, there are plenty of things to take issue with in Islamic culture of more importance than ritual self-flaggelation.

M. S. Chaudhary:

To CIAP,

If you would only study Islam with an open mind before you pass on such remarks, you would learn that Islam attempts to transform a human being and the society to a peaceful, clean, just, tolerant, helping and a perfect system, that is free of exploitation and takes care of its people and those its umbrella. Just study history of muslim civilization.

Mark:

Seriously, anyone, regardless of their religion, who believes punishing themselves somehow demonstrates their faith needs to really take a step back.
Those who profess to be this devout (again, no matter what faith) scare the crap out of me...

Dan:

Hey free to be you me. My serious opinion is instead of beating your self to show all that love to a corpse why not use all that righteous energy to show love and kindness to those that are still alive. People treat the dead better than they treat their own kids. Hey its a crazy world. Do some thing nice for a stranger.

Ahmed:

For all those trying to morally equate Islam with Christianity or flagellation of nuns - please wake up from your hundred year slumber.

Muslims do this EVERY year and did it in 2008 in New York City! When was the last time Christians hung anyone on a cross, or systematically approved of self mutilation?

Not to mention legalized (sharia) wife beating, honor killings, rape, pedophilia, marriage to minors, killing of civilians, lying (taqiya), just to name a few other areas that conclude the deep, and widening divide between Judeo-Christian beliefs and Islamic beliefs and LAW.

Listen to the Islamic leaders - they are telling you everything you need to know. They want to kill all infidels. They want to expel infidels from all the land (that means the entire world unless infidels convert or submit). Oh did I mention that slavery is not a problem in islam? Forgot that one.

Anyway - this reporter is only helping to spread sharia law and an absurd, archaic view of barbarity also known as Islam.

Wayne in DC:

From :Asim MA, San Antonio

"Sunni/Shia secterianism in Iraq is manufactured by and due to the American occupation-divide and rule."

- Funny, I thought this has been a major divide even before the existence of the USA

From Salim Akrabawi"

"And for you haters of Islam and Moslems just know that thanks to Bush and the sacrifice of thousands of our young men and women it is back in vogue in the so called liberated Iraq and Afghanistan. Go figure..."

- Could it be that the formerly oppressed Shia now have the freedom to do this where before it was forbidden?

And another pearl of wisdom from Asim MA, San Antonio:

"Sunni/Shia secterianism in Iraq is manufactured by and due to the American occupation-divide and rule".

- Again, I was under the impression that this divide pre-dates the current conflict by a few centuries. Also, isn't Iran in the mix too?


You have got be kidding. Lay off the pipe and get real. Islam/Muslims will never be respected until you all start taking some responsibility for the evil and violence taking place in the name of Islam. I am so tired of Muslims living in the US constantly deflecting responsibility and taking defensive positions while at the same time saying what you do to one Muslim, you do to all.

Most Muslims have no credibility with me and many Americans for this reason.

Start taking responsibility, start at least talking like you (Muslims) want to solve a problem rather than deflect blame and criticism of your religion.

CIAGS:

People do strange, desperate things to feel a part of a group or a cause. The human condition is such that we all have an undeniable need to belong to someone, to connect to others on an emotional/spiritual level, to feel important in someone's eyes. The depths to which some will go, (most often adolescent males probably because of unstead levels of testosterone) is a sign of the level of alienation, desperation and oppression in a given society or sector of society. In the US, rich white fraternity boys will only go so far because that's all they have to do to belong, but black fraternities brand and mark themselves. Inner city gang members will harm themselves and random innocents to belong. Why does it surprise us that isolated, economically and governmentally oppressed young men in undeveloped, uninformed parts of the world will harm or kill themselves and others to belong to something larger than themselves?

Agnostic AG:

So, Robert equates atheism with Nazi barbarism... that's the best you can do? Sad! Others seem to use the logic that, if other religions practice some form of sadomasochism, then it must be okay. So by that logic, if everyone else jumps off a bridge...? I admit I can't begin to understand this form of extremism, but I would defend the right of a consenting adult to practice it. What disheartens me is the plight of children who are raised in extremist households, and indoctrinated in these forms of worship, without ever having the opportunity to make an informed choice. And yes, I am arrogant enough to assume that a universally educated practitioner would never choose such a violent exhibition of faith.

Daniel:

This is excellent reporting. Thanks to the reporter and the Post.

Eli:

Jews do not beat their heads against the wailing wall. There is no "Wailing Wall" except in the eyes of people who do not understand what it is. The so-called "Wailing Wall" is a complete misnomer for one (the western) of 4 support walls built around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (there are 3 others aligned with the cardinal points of the compass)where Jews traditionally came to pray at the ruins of the Temple, destroyed in CE 70. The wailing may be attributed to the sound of Jewish praying and/or the fact that life was so terrible for so many Jews for so long, that when those few who managed to get to the remnants of the temple, they did cry or wail while praying. Why the western wall? Tradition and access to a small narrow passage over the years allowed Jews to gather at that particular place. Moslems, in charge of the mount often forbade Jews to enter, and most of the other support walls (Kotel in Hebrew), were covered over by buildings and fill. Nowadays the area has been cleared somewhat and it is possible to see large portions of the other walls, but the western wall, by tradition, is considered the holiest spot to pray at. Jewish tradition places the "Schehina" or "divine presence" there. There is also a kind of ritual on the day of atonement wherein one beats one's chest and says I've sinned, but that does not involve blood letting. Scourging, etc. so far as I know, is foreign to Jewish practice, as is anything to do with blood-letting. Such practices may be acceptable to some. I am turned off by them, but so long as they are done by people to themselves, I suppose its somehow acceptable. Doing it to others, however, is another thing.

APE_MAN:

Oh, so KEITH_IN_SEATTLE, you think that because Christians have practiced such things as well, that makes them not be primitive and barbaric? Ohhhh..Kay!

Asim MA, San Antonio:

Correction:in my post above I meant to say All Muslims are Sunnis because they all follow the Sunnah of the Prophet including the Shia.

Asim MA, San Antonio:

Flagellation has absolutely nothing to do with Islam-it is a man-made barberic practice;all Muslims without exception lament the horrendous murder of Hussein the grand son of the Holy Prophet-as well as his older grand son Hassan who was poisned by the treacherous Ummaids;till that point there was no Sunni or Shia-and now all Muslims are shia including Shai because all Muslims follow the Sunnah(life, traditions,deeds and sayings of the Prophet.

The Ummaids were userpers and did so much to damage Islam:they intrdouced the very unislamic herditory dynastic rule and with all it,s treacherous despotic practices which is still with to this very day.Ummaids did not in any way represent Sunni Islam-they represented their own selfish wordly greed for power.

Shia needs to cleanse its brand of Islam from some very unislamic practices:the infallaibility of the 12 Imams,flagellation-Khomini who was a jurist and a scholar essentially solved the first problem by boldly introducing Walayat AL Faqaih-the government of the jurist;the later should be eradicated by jurists too.

Sunnis and Shia agree on all fundamentals of Islam and signs are very encourging that they are coming closer togther-Egypt was ruled by Shia and until the 16th century IRan was largly Sunni.

Sunni/Shia secterianism in Iraq is manufactured by and due to the American occupation-divide and rule.

GeorgiaSon:

Another example of a writer revealing more about himself and his topic than he realizes. Another example of the unintended but valuable result of free and open debate.

Another example of multiculturalism on steroids. How startling, pathetic, but not surprising that any literate person could find something noble and worthwhile in the exercise of a barbaric, medieval ritual that any civilized society would have relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Is Mr. Fairweather engaging in intended or unintended satire when he proclaims that young, unemployed, probably semi-literate or illiterate males with no past and less future beating themselves silly over some event that happened centuries ago "fulfills a deep, human need."

Is Mr. Fairweather engaging in intended or unintended satire when he proclaims that Ashura is a "test of love and devotion...for each other and for the community." Was this garbage written about human beings who live in a society riven by deep religious, tribal, and ethnic divisions? Where the bulk of the population will live their lives in poverty, squalor, and ignorance? Where all of the above leads to an unending cycle of the most vicious and inhuman violence any where on the face of the earth? Violence that pits Muslim against Muslim, Shia against Sunni, Sunni against Shia, men against women, and each tribe against every other tribe?

Am I the only person who sees nothing but mind-numbing hypocrisy and dishonesty in some commentator who himself does not live like these people--and for damn sure, does not beat himself silly once a year--first telling us that these young males are "often poor, with little job security"--and then using the label "complex" to describe their lives? Let's see now--those slaves on American plantations all those centuries--just leading complex lives! Or black Americans during the period of segregation--just more complexity in otherwise normal lives.

Mr. Fairweather once more reveals the chilling, disturbing, frightening mentality that lies at the heart of the multicultural ethos: find the most outrageous and despicable practice of some third-world backwater and shove it in our faces as an act of nobility and enlightenment. With the implication, of course, that the multicultural Nazis will consign us to outer darkness if we dare point out that, far from being noble, it's just an act of superstitious nonsense that should have been allowed to die a merciful death long ago.

And I'm sure that Mr. Fairweather would never, ever surmise that this type of religious fervor and observance is a powerful factor in making Afghanistan a poverty-ridden, violent-prone third-world backwater to begin with. And keeping it that way. Or that giving up these medieval mentalities and practices is the only way that Afghanistan has a prayer of moving into the modern world.

I see that the multicultural long knives are already out in the responses to Mr. Fairweather's post. Once more we read the drivel that if you can find some similar practice somewhere at some time in some Western culture, it proves that we cannot sit in judgment of the third-world backwater. And the people who pour forth this nonsense consider this a truly intellectual viewpoint.

For the record, you nincompoops, the relevant fact is the fact that we gave it up. We changed. Our societies evolved. We progressed. We decided to allow something called freedom of expression, so that the old ways could be freely challenged, without fear of retribution--much less death. Without, in short, the retribution that would surely befall any Shia in Afghanistan who questioned the practice of Ashura. Or is freedom of expression something that Mr. Fairweather and the rest of you multicultural ninnies are willing to sacrifice on the altar of preserving the culture of some third-world backwater?

cph:

It is amazing to observe how desperate measures are used by men to avoid exhibiting the single greatest human virtue: Compassion. It is left to the Mothers and the Gods. The male ego drives actions that we need not perpetrate. We can avoid this condition by simply growing up. Helping others is the way to Heaven here on earth. When Jesus said "My father and I are one." they crucified him. There was a man of the faith of Islam who 900 years after Jesus said the same and was also crucified. Are we so afraid of being responsible for our own lives that we crucify ourselves?

Vaughn :

I wish the horse liberation from the primates.

Salim Akrabawi:

To CIAP

Your statment "If Islam wasn't such an idiotic religion ..." speaks lots about the ignorance and never mind the deep pejudice of most posters here. First self flagellation is only practiced by the Shiites of Islam, a minority cult that represents less than 5% of Moslems. Second most if not all Sunni Moslems consider this practice alien to their religion if not outright abhorant. And for you haters of Islam and Moslems just know that thanks to Bush and the sacrifice of thousands of our young men and women it is back in vogue in the so called liberated Iraq and Afghanistan. Go figure...

ciap:

JHC, I cannot believe any reputable journalist would try to condone such a stupid practice.

"These young men try to resolve their tensions"

Maybe if Islam wasn't such an idiotic religion that forces young men to suppress their testosterone by not even allowing them to talk to a female outside their family until married they might not need to chop themselves into pieces.

Islam is seriously skrewing up millions of young people and the world has to pay for this with the violent aftermath of such warped raising.

Just say no to the cult.

Get out however possible and lead a decent life free of such barbaric traditions.

Anonymous:

To: Ecumenical Muslim:

Who wrote: "In addition to what Keith mentioned, I'd like to point out that every religion has a faction that practices a form of self-mortification. Jews also beat their heads against the wailing wall."

Jews do not beat their heads against the wailing wall! When was the last time you visited the wailing wall

sjw:

Many leading Shi'ite Islamic scholars recommend acts of compassion such as donating blood instead of blood-letting.

This is a practice that has been underground because of the persecution of Shi'ite minorities throughout the Middle East. Its resurgence reflects a striving for empowerment and recreation of a sense of self after being suppressed and oppressed (economically, in government, property rights, human rights, etc.) for most of the 20th century.

Gorgeous:

hope nobody has a blood borne disease, cuz they'd all have it now. hope no one has AIDS

Robert:

atheist:

"According to cognitive dissonance theory, when we do something that is horrible to ourselves for a belief, it strengthens our faith, because we implicitly reason that the belief must be true if we would do such a horrible thing. In short, such acts make it harder to renounce our faith because that would be admitting to having been an utter fool.

And, of course, some Christians have used similar mechanisms to manipulate people in the name of GOD. Atheists, however, have not."

====================

No, atheists prefer to do horrible things in the name of Nazism, Communism etc.

mark fishel:

I have seen pics from Iran where they are more arranged, it looks more like a production. This thing seems kinda disorganized by comparison. Still, you gotta realize, this kind of logic will never be dealt with across a negotiating table. Either leave these people alone, let them treat their women as property, let them do whatever it is they want to do, or intend to defeat them utterly. I don't think you are gonna change them.

Steve V.:

Hey - whatever floats your boat. It seems a little crazy to me, but certainly no more crazy than rituals that some other religions perform.
Have you ever been to a bris, or questioned the logic behind it?
It's not unlike the recent criticism and sense of superiority that many media types seem to take in Tom Cruise's (and other's) embrace of Scientology.
Aliens from outer space are somehow less acceptable than virgin birth?
Or transubstantiation?
Come on, it's all nuts.
I believe in the power of the natural world, and all that that includes.
But other-than-natural? Hmmm ... I'm not so sure.

Bill Mosby:

Any problems with blood-borne diseases?

Ecumenical Muslim:

Peace,

In addition to what Keith mentioned, I'd like to point out that every religion has a faction that practices a form of self-mortification. Jews also beat their heads against the wailing wall.

Secondly, this form of self flagellation is for a much higher ideal than the growing forms of aberrant multilation on the rise in the West (ex. piercings, nose jobs, face lifts, plastic surgery, enhancements etc). We glorify these practices and the celebrities who partake in them.

Lastly, the Ashura rituals have taken on a separate cultural particularity in every region they have spread. They represent the absurdity and chaos of the karbala event and the emphasis on love and self sacrifice. These practices create great zeal in their adherents and at times go beyond all parameters set by islamic law. I feel that we should respect these practices but also note that a large amount of Shia scholars have opposed them and opposed anything that causes physical and bodily harm. The beating of the cheat should be symbolic, but it is hard to control the zeal of the lay muslims, most of whom are unaware of the rulings and technicalities of the scholars..


atheist:

According to cognitive dissonance theory, when we do something that is horrible to ourselves for a belief, it strengthens our faith, because we implicitly reason that the belief must be true if we would do such a horrible thing. In short, such acts make it harder to renounce our faith because that would be admitting to having been an utter fool.

And, of course, some Christians have used similar mechanisms to manipulate people in the name of GOD. Atheists, however, have not.

Anon:

Never underestimate how stupid a Religoin can be. This and stoning of women makes this one of the worst.

faithfulservant3:

Keith_in_Seatle is right. Not only has self-flagellation been a fixture in the Catholic church as a part of penance; it sill is. In parts of Spain and the Phillipines Christians have themselves either nailed to crosses to emulate the crucifixion or beat themselves.

Learning to sacrifice and endure suffering is important in Christianiy and other faiths.

However, I have a problem with practices that don't result in any pactical results. I prefer a demonstration of quiet, humble faith instead of putting on a spectacle to show others how brave you are.

Showing yor "love" or devoton by beating yourself does not teach you to love your neighbor, to forgive, or refuse to fight back in the name of peace.

Learning to do without material things including food can. Such fasts can teach one to have compassion on those who do not have and can acclimate one to not getting one's way all the time.

In addition, the money one saves by doing without can be given to the poor; see Isaiah chapter 58 (fasting that pleases God).

Rina:

I try as hard as I can to keep an open mind concerning religion. However, acts like those displayed in the video, make it extremely hard to be accepting or objective.

J Rhinehart:

Karen Armstrong, the renowned writer of world religion and a former Catholic nun, wrote in her first book, "Through The Narrow Gate", that at one point in her noviceship she became irritable and agitated. Her superior ordered her to go to the attic, take out a whip in a trunk, bare her back, and flail herself with it until she reached a catharsis of relief. She did so, with an orgasmic relief as a result.

On a documentary about sado-masochistic behavior in New York, I witnessed a man going to prostitutes who he ordered to beat him into submission, which they did. When asked why he did this on a regular basis, he said his mother had often beaten him as a boy to prevent him from misbehaving, and now, as an adult, he found the only way he could keep himself under control was with the beatings.

This is a combination of the physical & the emotional. I don't know that the two can be separated. Religious practices usually combine both, I've noticed.

keith_in_seattle:

It's a temptation for many - especially in the West - to regard the blood-letting of Ashura as a primitive, even barbaric, custom. It should be noted that flagellation and blood-letting has also been practiced by many Christians over the centuries in commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus. Human beings around the world have more in common than the bigots and zealots would have us believe.

Reddy:

If I am not wrong this is also called Moharram in India and is celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims especially around the areas where there is soofi influence.

This used to be one of my favorate festivals although I didnt understand much of it. It involves beating with knives etc and end with walking on Fire. I was always amazed by how they could do it. Lot of hindus participate in that too.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.