Thursday, April 21, 2011

Be Muslim for nine day holiday in Istanbul!! Pray five times a day and fast ~ and then go forth and subjugate your neighbor??

Well I'll be darned.

One can now go on holiday to take part in an Islamic immersion ~ no mention of Muslims taking part in a project where they are Christian for a few days. We know how these things typically work, you do something for us and we do nothing for you. But let's wait and see!

"If we attract people who are predisposed to like Islam, that's fine. I would like to think people aren't so duplicitous that they will see Muslims for a Month as a cheap holiday to Istanbul.

That's getting off to a good start! Deceptive people [infidels] who are simply looking for a cheap holiday ~ while being totally confined by Islamic rules and norms ~ and there is fasting ~ limited food.

There are so many cheap hotels in Istanbul.

"There is no illusion that bowing down to Mecca five times a day makes you a Muslim. It's what the rituals and practices represent – a constant consciousness of the divine."

This guy can barely contain himself ~ he wants to exert Islam's total control over people before they even arrive. You feel like he is going to break your arm if you don't do it properly. But I'm sure allowing others to control your life so completely is kinder than that!

On offer ~ Sufism

Some Sufi sects who renounce violence ~ are not allowed to go on the Hajj to Mecca. And there is a very interesting opium smoking Sufi sect up near Pakistan/Afghanistan way.

But the Sufi order in Turkey is particularly manipulative ~ there was a Catholic Friar who is also an arabist ~ wrote a good article Islam's Trojan Horse? Turkish Nationalism and the Nakshibendi Sufi Order” [+][+]  ~ basically this prominent Sufi order sees outreach or dialogue ~ between the Christian and Islamic world as an opportunity ~ to bring Christianity under the wider umbrella of Islam. It is dependant on Christian leaders renouncing some of their values -- said that the west is expectant with Islam:

The co-operation and dialogue between Muslims and Christians for which Nursi appeals has as its goal the dominance of Islam over Christianity—which he “hopes … will eventually be transformed into a form of Islam”. Nursi is quoted as saying, “The West is expectant with Islam.” He looks to a Christianity subordinated to Islam that will help conquer the world for Islam.

:: ::

Sufism is usually regarded by non-Muslim journalists and politicians as a “mystical” form of Islam that corresponds more or less to monasticism in Christianity —but this is to ignore Muhammad’s own warning that “the monasticism of this community is jihad”. Historian Christopher Dawson comments:

“Nothing could be less mystical than [Muhammad’s] religious teaching. It was a religion of fear rather than of love, and the goal of its striving was not the vision of God … the duty of man was not the transformation of his interior life but the objective establishment of the reign of God on earth by the sword and submission to the law of Islam … it is a militant Puritanism of the same type as the modern Wahhabite movement.

Sufism was a return to the early puritanism of the Kharijites, who reacted against the growing worldliness of Islam. Its founder, Abu Sa‘id Hasan, lived in Basra (643–728 AD). Muhammad Ahmad bin ‘Abd Allah (1844–85) the self-styled Mahdi whose dervish army killed Gordon and took Khartoum in 1885, was a Sufi.

Counter argument

[It is very imaginative to link Sufism to Kharijites, who were a political group emerged in late 7th century rather than spiritual one at that. In 1881, Muhammad Ahmad bin ‘Abd Allah proclaimed himself the Mahdi – the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will appear at end times. He declared a jihad against Ottoman rulers and deemed all "Turks" infidels and called for their execution...]

Probably a well meaning, but somewhat naive attempt to discredit the writer's sources, from the © Affinity Intercultural Foundation. au ~ but Prophet Muhammed called the Turks ugly and made fun of their noses and red faces.

In addition the Sufi group they are protecting, the Fethullah G├╝len ~ has been called one of the most dangerous and insidious Islamist groups ~ by US officials ~ according to wikileaks

Wikileaks shows growing concern among U. S. officials over Fethullah Gulen’s attempts to create a New Islamic World and the “braining washing of students” that takes place at his charter schools within the United States and throughout the Muslim world. [+]

I'd take the Buddhist religious holiday any day. There is too much obsession around the Islamic religion. An indication of a lack of spirituality.

:: ::

It has the ingredients of a conventional holiday – experiencing the culture and hospitality of one of the most exciting cities in the world. But few getaways encourage its participants to pray five times a day or try their hand at fasting, especially when those people are not Muslim.

A social enterprise is offering individuals the opportunity to immerse themselves in Islam, without having to convert, through a trip to Istanbul that takes in the regular sights and sounds but also includes prayers at dawn and midnight and lessons on Islam and its basic practices.

It draws heavily on the country's Sufi traditions – with a particular emphasis on the poet and mystic Rumi. Ben Bowler, from the Blood Foundation, which runs the project, said: "We wanted to focus on Rumi because he is a unifying figure. Turkey has a relatively open brand of Islam and Istanbul is an existing tourist destination.

"There is a willingness to engage with the west. We might not have found it in the Middle East or parts of south Asia. If we were in Saudi Arabia it would have been harder."

The foundation has called the initiative Muslim for a Month, despite it lasting nine days, and wants to offer a 21-day programme in the future. Bowler said most people would find it difficult to take a month off and admitted even the nine-day programme, which offers bed, board, instruction and sightseeing for £600, could have limited appeal.

"We currently offer Monk for a Month, where people spend time in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet. That is successful. The difference is that there's a curiosity about Buddhism in the west. People are attracted to it, people who do meditation for example."

In addition to praying and fasting, participants will forsake alcohol and pork. Smoking is, however, permitted. They will also be expected to carry out pre-prayer ablutions, mastering the art of hoiking their feet into a washbasin as part of the process.

Bowler described the clash between "Muslims and the rest of the world" as one of the most "contentious issues around" and said Muslim for a Month will appeal to "open-minded" individuals who want something educational and cultural.

"Our hosts don't want to make the prayers obligatory but I think if you're going to do something you should dive in. They might work up to five prayers a day – including the early morning one". In mid-May, when the programme is due to start, the dawn prayer in Istanbul is around 3.30am.

An inaugural programme in February involving participants connected to Monk for a Month attracted Catholics, an agnostic, some Jews and a Hindu from around the world. Although nobody converted – and there is no obligation to do so – Bowler said there were changed attitudes and a deeper understanding of Islam.

"If we attract people who are predisposed to like Islam, that's fine. I would like to think people aren't so duplicitous that they will see Muslims for a Month as a cheap holiday to Istanbul.

"There is no illusion that bowing down to Mecca five times a day makes you a Muslim. It's what the rituals and practices represent – a constant consciousness of the divine."

Outreach programmes about Islam are nothing new. The Living Library, which operates in 12 countries and "loans" people out to challenge prejudice and stereotypes, features Muslims in its lending scheme. Deepening ties with Muslim communities is also a central plank of Barack Obama's presidency. Last year he hosted an entrepreneurship summit.

Television has also tried to play a part in improving people's understanding of Islam. Make Me a Muslim, shown on Channel 4 in 2007, featured a gay hairdresser, an atheist taxi driver with a porn habit and a glamour model. Their Muslim mentors guided them in the dos and don'ts of the religion. The BBC's offering – The Retreat – was shown that same year.

The Guardian

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