Invitation to Think


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Muslims everywhere are angry at The Pope for some comments he made about Islam and demand an apology. He suggested that early Muslims spread their religion by violence. According to The New York Times:

The Pope on Tuesday repeated criticism of the Prophet Mohammad by the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything Mohammad brought was evil "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Now I don't know what The Pope is talking about, because the crusades weren't called "holy" for nothing. It's not as if Christianity and the Catholic Church were innocent... And we all know what it did in many other parts of the world. The Church wasn't exactly friendly in its bloody proselytizing in South and Central America.

At the same time, this kind of a response by Muslims --
Two churches -- neither of them Catholic -- were fire-bombed in the West Bank, although no one was hurt.
-- only serves to indirectly support The Pope's suggestion. Are Muslims so blind as not to see that? Did not the Prophet Mohammed say "The pen is mightier than the sword."? I believe I am right. What happened to that strength of knowledge and respect the Muslims commanded for so many years in the past?

Secondly, if The Pope used the word evil in his criticism of The Prophet, that is wrong. There are ways to express disagreement without wounding the sensibility of a people whose respect for someone is so great as it is for The Prophet.

Having said that, Muslims, and people of other religions, should be open to criticism of their religion and even of their religious leader or God if there is some common agreement about its possible validity. Commanding one's followers to spread the word by the sword may have been important in the circumstances that existed at that time (Unfortunately, I need to read more about different religions, so I can't add or verify any information here), but for it to be made as part of the fundamental tenet is a different matter.

Should such criticism come from someone like The Pope? That's a question to ponder. Perhaps he could have posed his doubts and criticism in the form of a few questions, rather than the way he did. These will always be deeply sensitive topics...

-Rajul Parekh


Thursday, September 02, 2004

I just found out that Cheney was accurately quoting John Kerry yesterday. But apparently, Kerry said that in 1970. He has since retracted his comment as having been that of a young, naive veteran.

But otherwise my comments still hold.



Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cheney just said of Kerry at the RNC: "[He believes our] troops [should be] deployed only at the directive of the United Nations."

And the flock of sheep -- sorry, elephants -- cheered in agreement...

I think it should be obvious to thinking people -- and thinking elephants -- that there is a difference between doing something at the "directive" of the UN, and doing something with the "support" of other nations that belong to the UN.

Perhaps Mr. Cheney can tell us why many countries and most citizens of the world are fed up with and even angry at the United States?


Monday, August 16, 2004

Bush's Own Goal
By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, August 13, 2004

Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than half of corporate profits ultimately accrue to the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers, while only about 8 percent go to the bottom 60 percent.

Ok, let's assume that the total population of the US is 100. And that the total corporate profits were $100.

Does the following scenario sound reasonable?

1 person gets $ 52
4 people get $ 5 each
15 people get $ 0.8 each (80 cents)
20 people get $ 0.4 each (40 cents)
60 people get $ 0.13 each (13 cents)
100 people = $100

Looking at it another way, each person should get $1 on an average, but 80% of the people actually get only between 13 to 40 cents!

What a country!


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Stumping Bush Calls Kerry a Reluctant Ally on Iraq
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times, August 11, 2004

In Niceville, Mr. Bush's appearance took on the air of a revival meeting as the audience chanted affirmation to his description of the rationale for his antiterror efforts and roared at any religious reference. Gary Walby, a resident of nearby Destin, told the president during a question-and-answer session that though he always voted Republican, "this is the very first time I felt God was in the White House."

The consequences of blurring the fine line between the church and the state can be disastrous; God only knows what it can lead to.

What does Mr. Bush think about this? Does he approve of this kind of hero worship?

What do the experts say about it? Or has God silenced them??


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

From The Toledo Blade (Ohio), Saturday, August 7, 2004:

Mr. Bush said America was safe because Saddam Hussein sits in a prison cell.

At what cost?


Sunday, August 08, 2004

Oh, I forgot to mention another thing about the intereview.

O'Reilly said that he was criticized for telling some gay guest on his own show to "Shut up." He said in the interview that what he really said was, "Shut up about sex." He felt that they should have included it when they "quoted" him (and claimed that the full sentence was in the transcript of his show). To give him the benefit of the doubt, we feel that that is only fair and must agree with him.


Saturday, August 07, 2004

Tim Russert's interview on CNBC with Paul Krugman and Bill O'Reilly today was quite interesting.

It seems that O'Reilly gets riled up very easily.

cc: Bill O'Reilly
Tim Russert
Paul Krugman


Friday, August 06, 2004

S. Africa cited as attack target
Nationals arrested in Pakistan raid
--By Paul Haven, Associated Press, The Boston Globe, August 5, 2004

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Two South Africans captured along with a senior Al Qaeda terrorist were plotting attacks on tourist sites in their home country, Pakistani officials said yesterday, a surprising target for Islamic terrorism given the African nation's vocal stand against the war in Iraq and Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

All the good Muslims aspire to go to Mecca for Hajj; and it seems like all the Islamic terrorists aspire to go to Pakistan!

Seriously, isn't it sad that Pakistan, a nation that had such high ideals of becoming a model for a Holy Land for all Muslims across the world, has fallen into such a chasm?

This should serve as a good lesson for extremists of any hue and in any place; and that includes Hindus, Jews and Christians.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bush, Kerry campaigns converge in Iowa
Nedra Pickler and Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press, Thursday, August 05, 2004

For all the campaign hoopla, not everyone in Davenport was focused on politics during the day. Police reported three bank robberies during the time the two candidates were there drawing attention as well as law enforcement personnel to their appearances.

During this election year, everything seems to be politicized and is given a spin.

It's possible that the Democrats and Republicans are planning on blaming one another for this "crime wave" in Iowa, thereby asserting their claim to the Presidency as the party that is better qualified to handle "national challenges" like this one!


The influence of advertising, the media, and partisan politics, among other things, poses great challenges to clear thinking. The demands of work, a lack of time, and the overwhelming flow of information further add to the problem. Can we rise to the challenge and improve the ways in which we think? Our attempts at better thinking can lead to better solutions and a better life.

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