The world’s Muslims: religion, politics and society part 2

This follows on from my earlier post: The world’s Muslims: religion, politics and society part 1.

Regarding sex, we find most Muslims regard abortion (50-99%, not counting Azerbaijan at 23%), sex outside marriage (53-99%) and homosexual behaviour (67-99%) to be immoral. Opinions on divorce and polygamy varied greatly by geography. There generally wasn’t a majority support for honour killings but it was a disturbingly high minority that felt they were sometimes or often justified. Related to the sex is the notion of gender equality.

In some Muslim countries women are treated as inferior to men with Saudi Arabia having some of the most restrictive laws on what women may or may not do. The issue of women’s rights has also recently been debated in the Afghan parliament with some demanding the law be changed so that a husband cannot be prosecuted for rape within the marriage. Continue reading


Petition for the DNA Bill in South Africa

We have a serious problem with crime in South Africa but there is currently an opportunity to do something about it, or at least put much-needed framework in place. The DNA Project has been pushing for parliament to pass the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill B2-2009 or DNA Bill. Although DNA profiling was first used in 1986, South Africa has no legislation regulating DNA evidence. The DNA Bill seeks to address the issue by creating legislation focussed on biological evidence, particularly DNA, establishing a national DNA database and putting in place the necessary policies and oversight of such a database. Continue reading

The world’s Muslims: religion, politics and society part 1

This serves as a follow up to one of my previous posts, Necessary criticism is not “Islamophobia,” where I gave a briefly discussed the accusations of Islamophobia levelled at some atheists and maintained that it’s not Islamophobic to be concerned about, and criticise, certain ideologies. In addition, I showed the real-world problems certain interpretations of Islam could cause, using events in Bangladesh as an example.

Following on that there are two links I learned of through WEIT that are worth reading. One is from an ex-Muslim who gives his perspective on Islamophobia. Continue reading

Quicklinks: Amazing planet

I’ll share two collections of images that are quite impressive. The first is a collection of .gifs from Google showing Earth over time. My favourite shows the retreat of the Columbia glacier.

Columbia Glacier Retreat (Source: Google)

Perhaps even more impressive are these photos of natural phenomena on Yahoo!. Time to start making a list of cool places to go see.

Lightning strike at the Grand Canyon (Source: Yahoo!)

Discussion – gender reassignment

I can’t quite recall how it came about but yesterday our tea-room conversation turned briefly to when would be the right time to tell someone you had surgery to change your gender. Is it a good idea to do so when you first start dating? April did this in The IT Crowd, humorously being misheard as saying she “came from Iran” instead of “used to be a man.” Of course that could kill any chance of a relationship quite early. Should you then wait? And how long? Would it be seen as a betrayal of some sort? Would it be worse than saying you used to have a different religion or be a vegetarian? And if it would change how you see a relationship does that mean you’re placing more value on a person’s body, or what their body used to be, than the person inside?

I think they’re interesting questions and it’d be good for me not to be the only one writing here. Perhaps this is a good time for such a discussion.

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