the Qur'an shooter

The US military has officially apologized for the actions of a sergeant who used the Qur'an for target practice.

The incident was earlier strongly condemned by al-Hashemi and the Association of Muslim Scholars, which represents many of Iraq's mosques.

"This heinous crime shows the hatred that the leaders and the members of the occupying force have against the Quran and the [Muslim] people," it said.

It added that it held both the US military and Iraqi government responsible for the incident.

The US army earlier said the staff sergeant, who fired bullets at the Quran and wrote graffiti inside it, had already been removed from Iraq and was to be disciplined.

A heinous crime? good grief. Personally I think that it's literally impossible to demean the Qur'an - the most anyone can do is destroy a copy, but that's an impotent gesture indeed. What need have we of apologies such as these? Why should the empty symbolism of an unbeliever concern us?

If anything is an insult to the Qur'an, it's this compulsive obsession with how the exterior of the physical book is treated rather than what's inside.

UPDATE: President Bush will also make a personal apology.


Pipes' dream

As noted previously, the "Obama is a muslim" smear has evolved into the "Obama is an apostate" smear. The reason for the latest mutation is probably the Wright affair, which put OBAMA - PASTOR - CHURCH in giant headlines for most of April. Hence, the smear has had to adapt, from "he's a muslim" to "he's an apostate". Actually, Luttwak isn't the first to push the Smear v2.0, Daniel Pipes was blathering about it just a few weeks ago:

Obama's Kenyan birth father: In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Only Muslim children are named "Hussein".

Eteraz already refuted the assertion about birth fathers:

Islamic law recognizes abandonment by the biological father. Obama's Kenyan father abandoned Obama. As such, any religious imprimatur he may have had over Obama -- which is already a stretch since the man was an atheist -- is null and void. In such a situation, Obama's mother's religion is controlling. She was not Muslim. Even if someone makes the argument from patriarchy: that Obama's paternal grandparents were his rightful guardians, that would fail since they also constructively abandoned him.

There is a corollary issue here: what about the fact that Obama's second father, the Indonesian, was a "non-practicing Muslim." Doesn't his faith transfer over to Obama? The answer is no. Under Islamic law, step-fathers do not acquire ownership over the child. Their relationship to the child emanates from their relationship to the child's mother. Again, Obama's mother was not Muslim. If a practicing Muslim man marries a Christian woman with children from a previous marriage, her children wouldn't automatically become Muslim. Here, the new father wasn't even practicing.

Luttwack and the other fake experts promoting this new smear do not understand Islam. Religion is not hereditary as it is in Judaism. Islam is not a race. Just because a child has a Muslim father -- which, again, Obama didn't -- doesn't mean anything unless the child is being raised as a Muslim. At the time of birth, Muslims engage in a symbolic act -- of saying the Call to Prayer in the child's ear -- that renders a child Muslim. If Obama's father was agnostic/atheist, then he wouldn't have done such a thing.

Pipes claims to be an expert on Islam, but none of the traditional practices or concensus views above seems to penetrate his analysis. I think people of Pipes' ilk are confusing muslims with Jews. Or with Klingons (we already know muslims are Orcs).

As far as Pipes' assertion that only muslims are named Hussein, I wonder what he thinks of these shady characters:

Gen. Omar Bradley, who bore a Semitic, Muslim first name, and shared it with the second caliph of Sunni Islam, was the hero of D-day and Normandy, of the Battle of the Bulge and the Ruhr.
What about other American heroes, such as Gen. George Joulwan, former NATO supreme allied commander of Europe? "Joulwan" is an Arabic name. Or there is Gen. John Abizaid, former CENTCOM commander. Abizaid is an Arabic name. Abi means Abu or "father of," and Zaid is a common Arab first name.

It should be noted that by Pipe's logic, this fellow might also be an apostate:

Look at that beard! And he's named after a Prophet in Islam, to boot.


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Muslim Smear v2.0

Obama is falsely accused of being an apostate in the New York Times.

Ali Eteraz refutes at the Huffington Post:

people that appear to be Muslims, but don't follow Islam and choose another religion, are permitted under Islamic law to leave Islam without penalty. A major case in Malaysia recently handed down -- a woman who was Muslim for some time in order to marry an Iranian was permitted to go back to Buddhism -- is an example. Obama, unlike the Malaysian woman, didn't even make a profession of faith to Islam, so it makes even less sense for him to be considered an apostate.
No call to prayer in the ear, not raised as a Muslim, born to an atheist father, and then abandoned to a Christian mother both by father and his family, equals not Muslim. Obama is right to say he had no religion until he became a Christian.