The “miracle” of survival

Came across a fascinating and poignant observation in a book I'm reading in connection with my thesis, Stephen Sharot's A Comparative Sociology of World Religions: Virtuosi, Priests, and Popular Religion.  Like Islam and (non-Protestant) Christianity, premodern (and some contemporary branches of) Jewish tradition put much stock in the mediation and veneration of saints, generating a rich genre recounting their exploits. Hagiographical traditions in all these religions abounds in accounts of … [Read more...]

A beastly crime of anti-Semitism in France

Ilan Halimi, 23, was kidnapped, tortured over a period of 2 weeks and left for dead, naked, by a gang of French kidnappers-- a young, multi-ethnic group of Muslims and non-Muslims that, with great understatement, refered to themselves as "the Barbarians"--in Bagneux, France.  (See WSJ article ) Halimi was Jewish and the perpetrators' behavior leaves little doubt that anti-Semitism played a major part in this truly ghastly crime.  As more details come out, the … [Read more...]

Descendent of infamous Nazi becomes Jewish

One of the more surreal dispatches on interfaith affairs: Independent Online Edition > Europe Matthias Goering says: "I used to feel cursed by my name. Now I feel blessed."  The 49-year-old physiotherapist, a descendant of Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler's right-hand man, is wearing a Jewish skullcap, with a Star of David pendant round his neck. After being brought up to despise Jews, he has embraced their faith. And although he has yet to formally convert to Judaism, he keeps … [Read more...]

Anti-Semitism and Messianic Doublestandards

Some interesting doublestandards are on display in an overwrought diatribe about the US government's alleged association with Islamic fundamentalists on Daniel Pipes' CampusWatch from July 2004. In it, an anonymous "professor of Islamic studies at a leading U.S. university" blasts the U.S. Institute of Peace for associating itself with two American Muslims leaders that he deems, with the flimsiest of proof, extremists. Like many neocon attacks on the Muslim community since 9/11, this … [Read more...]