Monday, December 27, 2010

Why are Muslims and Christians destroying property and killing one another in Nigeria?

On Sunday, 26 Dec 2010, the Associated Press published an article entitled "Pope Lunches With Poor, Denounces Church Attacks."  He denounced the Christmas day attacks on Christians in the Philippines, Nigeria and Pakistan.  

Mr Akawu wondered "Why Christians?" 

As a human rights activist, I deplore all of this violence too.  But somewhere along the line, we must analyse why this constantly occurs.  Please note that groups of scientists who are atheists do not riot against one another and kill one another. Most likely, scientists who are still practicing a religion are also not involved in such violence. That said, why are Muslims and Christians destroying property and killing one another in Nigeria? 

In India, some months ago, Hindus rioted against Christians because the former disapproved of the Christians' proselytising Hindus.  This is a matter of money.  Fewer Hindus, less money to Hindu priests, priests get very angry, sermonise about this during worship services, and as soon as services are over, Hindus go on a killing rampage against Christians.  Even though news reports (created by journalists with a religious belief of their own to protect), do not explain the underlying cause of these endless killing sprees between religious groups.  What can be said about the violent relations between Hindus and Christians, also explains the violent relations between all ideological groups against one another. 

News articles written by religious journalists are far more biased than those written by atheists.  Atheist journalists are more apt to report objectively, but religious journalists have their own theological agenda and biased view of the world.  

But to answer Mr Akawu's question, Christians also have a history of committing gross violence against Jews.  Recalling from memory, it was around 1891, after an Easter sermon, Christians in Pinsk, Belorussia poured out of their church that afternoon and broke into the homes of frightened Jews, maiming and murdering dozens.  The reason: the claim by the Christian priest that Jews killed Jesus.  (So silly, since "Jesus" is only a mythological character.)  This was the basis of many pogroms of Jews before the rise of Adolf Hitler.  The Pope is really not in a position to condemn Muslim killing of Christians.  
We have the reverse now, with Muslims arrogating unto themselves the Divine right to kill Jews, Christians and all other "infidels." So when we think of atheists and scientists who do not start wars against our religious neighbours or against each other, Christians will jump up and remind saying "Josef Stalin was an atheist, and he killed MILLIONS!"  This is true, but there are some fine points here.  Stalin grew up in a Russian Orthodox culture and attended for three years Tiflis Theological Seminary in what is now Tbilisi, Georgia, about 87 km from Russia.  I see this among atheists all the time.  They rid themselves of the god belief, but still retain so much of their earlier life's indoctrination which colours their view of life. Some male atheists are still oppose to abortion, some are still anti-LGBT, some are still male chauvinists, etc. 

What is an atheist?
Like Robert Mugabe, Josef Stalin was intelligent and a bully. Had I been an atheist under the Stalin regime, I would have feared him and joined others to fight his murderous oppression. 
Is Robert Mugabe an atheist?  No, he is still a Catholic and a bully.  Nonetheless, it's not that hard for bullies to substitute one ideology for another.  In Stalin's case, Marxism became his religion--plus the fact that he was an ego maniacal force unto himself.  In 1996 "Mugabe and Marufu were married in a Roman Catholic wedding Mass at Kutama College, a Catholic mission school he previously attended." --Wikipedia 
Atheism is not an ideology.  Words ending in "-ism" are usually ideologies of some sort.  But "atheism" is the opposite because the "a-" is a Greek prefix meaning "without."  Atheists are without "theism" or a god belief.  Greek "god" is Theos. Atheists are simply people who don't believe in a god.  From there, atheists are many other things.  Most of us are rational people in that we see no need for violent conflict between people, and we seek peaceful solutions to problems--including practices leading to population stabilisation. 

Overpopulation caused by religion

The Philippines is 90% Christian, 90% of which is Roman Catholic.  It has a population of 80 million presently.  In 1962, when Uganda became independent, the population of the Philippines was 28 million.  This very rapid population growth is due to Roman Catholic opposition to abortion and artificial birth control.  Catholic women who practice "natural birth control" are called "mothers."  

The land area of the Philippines is 300,000 sq km.  For comparison, Uganda's land area is 2,698 km, and we have 31 million people.  The Philippines has 266.6 people per sq km.  Uganda has 11,490 people per sq km.  When I saw these figures on my calculator, I thought I made a mistake.  But yes, double-checking, my calculations are correct.  I knew Uganda was overpopulated--but good grief!!  No wonder half the population of Uganda is starving!  
And this is my point: hungry people have a choice: a) to peacefully lie down and die, or b) form armed groups and kill perceived enemies.  Religion provides the justification for violence--since there are so many stories of violence in the Old Testament and the Qur'an. Religious violence is caused not only by disagreement over theological interpretations, but by dwindling resources--water, food, land being the most basic. 

Increased population leads to soil degradation and progressively lower annual yields.   India's Green Revolution, starting in 1965, has been overwhelmed by continued population growth and soil degradation.  Today, 230 million people in India are undernourished. "Foodgrain harvest during 2008-09 is estimated to be a record 228 million tonnes. However, the requirement for the national population would exceed 250 million tonnes by 2015."

As an atheist with a focus on ending violence and food hunger, I see it necessary to substitute science education for religious belief.
My favourite quote: "For every morsel of bread given to a stranger in need, hundreds have died from diseases whose cures were thwarted by organized religion's traditional opposition to science."  --Charles Sutherland 

A scientific approach to life would be to look at the world as a whole, to look at 7 billion people and population growth in Third World countries and why these countries remain poor with unchecked population growth. This becomes a vicious cycle.  For certain, the Roman Catholic pope is one root cause of the world's misery.  But let me say that all other religions are working with the pope to continue this suffering of the world's peoples--while these pious scoundrels call for suffering people to keep faith with their oppressors so that they can continue their oppression. This is also called: Mass Insanity. 

To conclude: Your religious belief and your financial contributions to any religious organisation is harmful to everyone--religious and non-religious alike.  Religious belief is selfish, irrational and cruel. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

"How should we handle gays in Uganda"?

Following a strong debate on GLBT rights in Uganda,my online friend sent me this note and I thought,though am not mentioning his names,I thought it will be good for my online communities to read it to. Below is my reply to him.

"Thank you for your commenting about gay rights i never even thought of the perception of many people.thanx to facebook now i have a broad mind .my work as a teacher has made me confront gays and i have expelled some boys in an effort to curb this what is the way forward?? how should we handle gays in Uganda?"

Thank you sir--,  for your email.

1 You made a big mistake for expelling those boys based on your concept of "vice."  A century ago, Webster's defined vice as such:

2. A moral fault or failing; especially, immoral conduct or habit, as in the indulgence of degrading appetites; customary deviation in a single respect, or in general, from a right standard, implying a defect of natural character, or the result of training and habits; a harmful custom; immorality; depravity; wickedness; as, a life of vice; the vice of intemperance. [1913 Webster]

"Immorality; depravity; wickedness," -- right out of the Old Testament. 

What I would like for you to do is to find all those you expelled and bring them to a meeting so that you can apologise for what you did, in the mistaken belief that they were wrong and you were right, based on old European superstitious beliefs.  Meantime, Europe has, for the most part, thrown off the shackles of Christianity--but we, the colonialised, have not. 

As a human rights activist, I see the value in people's brains--or minds--that need to be educated as much as possible.  If all these boys did was to show affection, or sexual affection, to one another (which is far better than boys fighting and injuring one another), then your actions were very harmful and unjust.

I would like to attend this meeting so that all of us, you, me and the expelled boys, can discuss what human rights is, the value of education, and the harm done by religious beliefs. 

At the end of the meeting, I hope that the boys can be returned to school to finish their education, and because they were victims of discrimination based on religious belief, they will make a commitment to devoting the rest of their lives to reforming Uganda toward a more secular nation. 

In David Bahati's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, it is stated: "This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic."

Notice how the word recognises is spelt with a "z".  That's because this bill was written up by Americans, by members of The Family, a radical Christian group in Washington, D.C. 

There are at least 1,860,000 men and women in Uganda who are 100% homosexual.  A larger, additional percentage are bisexuals.  All these people are oppressed because of religion, the condemnations of same-sex affection expressed by the European god in the Old Testament and St Paul in the New Testament. To the fundamentalists, the literalists, St Paul is as much of a god as is Jesus.

It is claimed by religious gays that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.  In a literal sense, that is correct, but Jesus (a fictious character, not an historic figure), said the following in Matthew, Chapter 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true.

5:18 Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with -- not until the end of all things.  

We have in the Good News Bible, 1976, Leviticus 18:22 No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that.

In the American Standard Version, 1901, this interpretation reads: "And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." 
 In theocracies, such as Uganda, if there is to be a discussion on homosexuality, it must be condemnatory.  This gives people like MP David Bahati permission to advocate total genocide or elimination of all gay people.  The Bible tells him so. 

To speak in favour of human rights, including the rights of people who were born gay or bisexual, is to go against Biblical condemnation.  In other words, people like me are regarded as evil or Satanic because I'm going against "God's Will."

Elsewhere in the Bible, this European god destroys whole communities that go against his will.  

So religious people are filled with fear to speak the opposite of what is stated in the Bible.  And this is why the topic of homosexuality is taboo--except for ministers of religion and ardent religionists like Bahati who must condemn gay people.

What is so promising, however, is that the science and technology which lead to the development of the Internet and facilitated easy communication, is breaking this taboo. 

In Europe's Medieval Ages, there was no science.  Finding facts through scientific methodology didn't develop in until Francis Bacon. 

What is the scientific method?  From Wikipedia:

Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

Who is Francis Bacon?  From Wikipedia:

Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works established and popularized inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method or simply, the scientific method. His demand for a planned procedure of investigating all things natural marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, much of which still surrounds conceptions of proper methodology today.

As opposed to Bahati's condemnation of millions of Ugandans (including all those who actively support equal rights of all citizens), an inquiry amongst the people of Uganda to explain their sexual attactions, all will tell you that they discovered themselves based on how their body and mind responded to certain individuals.  In probably the majority of the population, that response will be toward the opposite sex, but in a large minority, individuals find themselves responding to members of both sexes. And in a minority--about 6%--the response is exclusively toward the same sex.  

Sexual attraction is not a matter of will or of good character.  It is genetically-based responses.  The "right woman" is not based on a formula you developed when you were an adolescent.  Your attractions are not based on a list of intellectual or physical expectations of a woman.  In fact, your responses are based only on emotions--some part of your brain is turned on by the right facial and body features, which is what an individual discovers.  "Wow, when I saw that tall, slightly plump woman--my heart went crazy!"  Emotional response directed by the brain--which behavioural scientists are still analysing. 

It matters not whether a man is in a whole village filled with young ladies, if his brain responds to a member of the same sex, there's nothing he can do about it.  That's part of his genetic make-up.  He cannot will a change any more than a black man can change himself into an albino, or a short man into a tall man.  We must accept who we are, and we must demand that society accept our neighbours, our brothers and sisters, just as they are. 

The discrimination against gay men and lesbians is no less painful than what blacks experienced in racist South Africa, or the Deep South in America.  Discrimination based on something one cannot change is very painful.  It can destroy a person's will to apply effort toward reaching his maximum potential.   This is understandable because any effort toward self-development will be destroyed by the bigots around him.  This results in a tragic loss for Uganda.  Gay people, like straight people, have considerable value.  We must protect and nourish their abilities to contribute to their own happiness and the betterment of Uganda. 

Bahati, and most ministers of religion, are destroying Uganda by destroying the lives of millions of people--turning ordinarily happy people into frightened and despressed people because of colonialism--because of adhering to the cruel and superstitious writings of the European holy book.  

I know about discrimination because of my being an indigenous African who sees every day how Indians and Europeans are treated with respect and given preferential treatment here in Kampala by National Resistance Movement, while we indigenous Africans are treated like dirt--in our own country!  From there, I see how women are treated brutally by men, treated with contempt by men.  So from there, I see how gays and lesbians are treated with even greater contempt by the larger religious-heterosexual society.  

As our national motto says: "For God and My Country."  Is Uganda my country when I'm treated like a second-class citizen because I'm indigenous African?  Is Uganda the country of people who were born homosexuals?  Of course not.  Bahati wants to kill them.  Others want all homosexuals to leave--like Adolf Hitler wanted all Jews to leave Europe.  But the world, at the time, didn't want more Jews in their country, so Hitler's staff developed methods of exterminating Jews, homosexuals, Roma, trade unionists, and others.  This is what Bahati has in mind--and so do most member of Parliament.   

And where does all this red-hot hatred come from?  Again, American colonialism that most Ugandans are mindlessly embracing.  This hatred comes from America's right-wing Christians--the same fascists we can read about in Germany's Third Reich. 

  In other words, we're not for the people in this nation, we're for something that doesn't even exist!  A European god. And we punish so many solely because they aren't superstitious.  Again, as an atheist, I know the pain of being a rational person with an appreciation of science in a nation that has only a 50% literacy rate, while the Christians are behaving exactly like the Islamists they so self-righteously condemn!  

There's not a dime's worth of difference between Islamists and fundamentalist Christians (Catholics, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Baptists).  So, in our meeting with the boys you expelled, we will discuss the source of bigotry and hatred in Uganda.  This can be our beginning to reverse Uganda's march to persecution, if not genocide, of a harmless minority group.  We will discuss the importance of education and to devote our lives to human rights and freedom from oppression. I hope to read another reply from you.

© Qs


Sunday, December 05, 2010


 I posted this article here sometime back,but it seems my blog had a problem
and it appeared half published.Am republishing it.

The pope changed his mind about condoms--just a little.The Catholic
Church used to claim that condoms were ineffective in preventing the
transmission of HIV viruses. So now the Church is claiming that condoms
are effective in preventing the passage of viruses.Why the sudden change?

The Church has been losing members and money. The Pope rails against the
secularisation in Europe, but the people continue to question church
doctrine, and more and more are looking to science which is far more
credible.More people are finally realising that religion--any
religion--is a cruel joke. People who cling to religious belief and follow
the Church's dictates are afraid of freedom--the freedom to think on their
own and to direct their own lives.

Everything that any church does is about money. The reason the Church
condemns contraception and family planning is that the Church wants more
Catholics who are poor, illiterate and submissive to the Church. Educated
people create their own purpose in life. Uneducated people with weak
characters and little imagination depend upon religion to give them a
purpose. With particularly the Catholic Church, that purpose is creating
babies--even when parents cannot afford them, even when overpopulation
drives wildlife to extinction.

In a visit to a West African country last year, the pope said that the use
of condoms will make the HIV problem worse. But now he's saying that he
was wrong, that the use of condoms by prostitutes prevents the spread of

The question for everyone shouldn't be "when may I use a condom?" But
"under what circumstances should I not use a condom?" The only time I can
think of when condoms are unnecessary is when there is sexual activity
that does not involve penetration--as in foreplay and masturbation.

A few months ago I did a personal survey of the availability of condoms in
Kampala. I was very disappointed by my having to spend a lot of time
searching for them. Condoms should be cheap and everywhere--if we're
really serious about curtailing the spread of HIV.

The other question is: Why does anyone listen to the pope? The Catholic
Church has been responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS with their
condemnation of all contraceptives. That in itself should be enough
reason for the Catholic believer to excommunicate the Church from their

The Pope’s concession that condoms may be morally justified to prevent the
spread of HIV is a significant modification of the Vatican’s traditional,
hardline stance against all condom use.

The Pope seems to be admitting, for the first time, that using condoms can
be morally responsible if they help save lives. Until now, Benedict XVI
has always insisted that the church’s opposition to condom use was a
fundamental, non-negotiable moral absolute that could never be changed.

This new policy is a volte-face. It appears to be a response to the
widespread criticism of the previous Papal policy, including criticisms
from many Catholic clergy and lay people. Most ordinary Catholics have
long rejected the Pope’s dogmatic, unyielding rejection of condoms. They
realise that using condoms can help protect people against HIV.

Pope Benedict seems to realise that his unrelenting, blanket opposition to
condoms has damaged his own authority and that of the church.

If the Pope can change his stance on condoms, why can’t he also
modify the Vatican’s harsh, intolerant opposition to women’s rights,gay
equality, fertility treatment and embryonic stem cell research?

This new stance shows that the Vatican now realises that it’s earlier
policy was untenable and unsustainable

If we want to rid ourselves of colonialism (which I hear all fellow
Africans claim) we start by ridding ourselves of Christianity and Islam
that NOT ONLY enslaved us for over 400 years,its continuing making our
lives miserable.

Afraid of being sent adrift without religion? There is no reason to fear.
Join and support the Atheist Association of Uganda and its activities.
God will not save you because there is no God at all. Join our family
because only we can save ourselves and each other.

Not the Child My Grandmother Wanted

I have read more and more stories about Prophet Mohammed,these stories are written by EX-moslems and I have observed that, Prophet Mohammed had a mental weakness on addition to his religious cancer in his brains. I would like to read how my Islamic and other religious friends online justify the suffering of this kid mentioned in this article.

December 2, 2010
Not the Child My Grandmother Wanted

One of the earlier and most remarkable memories of my youth is a conversation with my grandmother. I had many conversations with her, or rather monologues, but this particular one stands out as she imparted the most important insights of her teachings. It was the moment when I understood how much I was worth. My value was approximately the same as a piece of sheep fat in the sun.

We were on our front yard of white sand. It was a hot day, like almost all days in Mogadishu. There was nothing unusual about the flies that irritated us or the ants that I avoided for fear of their sharp, agonizing bites. If they happened to crawl under my dress or I sat on them accidentally they would punish me with a sting that made me shriek with pain. That shrieking and hopping about would earn disapproval and even a slap from Grandmother.

I think I was 6 or 7 on that day, maybe younger, but I know I was not 8 because my family had not yet left Somalia. Grandmother was moralizing as usual. On that day, like all other days, she was admonishing me to remember my place.

“Cross your legs,” she said, “lower your gaze. You must learn not to laugh, and if you must laugh then see to it that you don’t cackle like the neighbor’s hen.” We had no chickens but the noise of the neighbors’ hens screeching and hooting and trespassing was enough for me to get the message.

“If you must go outside make sure you are accompanied and that you and your company walk as far away from men as possible,” she said.

To my grandmother’s annoyance, I responded with the question: “But Grandmother, what about Mahad?” My brother Mahad never seemed to invite this kind of endless preaching from Grandmother. She answered me like the obtuse child she decided I was.

“Mahad is a man! Your misfortune is that you were born with a split between your legs. And now, we the family must cope with that reality!”

I thought: There was yet another thing I did wrong and I did not have the ability to set right. If only I wasn’t so dimwitted; if only I understood how I was to blame for the flaw that granny abhorred so much.

“Ayaan, you are stubborn, you are reckless and you ask too many questions. That is a fatal combination. Disobedience in women is crushed and you are disobedient. It is in you, it is in your bone marrow. I can only attempt to tell you what is right.”

Grandmother pointed to a piece of sheep fat on the ground. It was covered with ants, and flies were zooming above it, landing on it, sucking it. It was a vile piece of meat that was being warmed by the sun, and a trickle of fat seeped out of it. She said: “You are like that piece of sheep fat in the sun. If you transgress, I warn you men will be no more merciful to you than those flies and ants are to that piece of fat.”

A lot has changed in my life since those days in the sun with Grandmother. Today when I look back I see that I have proven her wrong. I disobeyed, true to my nature, I transgressed, but I avoided the destiny of the sheep fat.

Sitting in an airplane, I have on my lap the memoir of Nujood Ali. The title of the book is “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.” My reading list contains another book, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is called “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.” The reason I associate the two books is because of their description of marriage and divorce, and particularly the word “painful.”

Nujood was 8 years old when a delivery man approached her father in Sana, Yemen. After the initial expression of hospitality, the delivery man stated his business: He was looking for a wife. Nujood’s two older sisters were already married, so she was the logical bride, regardless of her age. Her father accepted $750 in dowry money and gave away his 8-year-old daughter. When Nujood’s mother and sisters appealed to him, pleading that she was too young to get married, the father responded with the excuse used by all Muslim fathers who marry off their daughters before they come of age: “Too young? When the Prophet wed Aisha she was only 9.”

In fact, Muhammad wed Aisha when she was 6. According to Scripture, the Prophet waited for Aisha to begin menstruating before consummating the marriage. Nujood’s new husband, Faez, showed no such restraint.

In painful detail, Nujood describes a real nightmare on her wedding night: How she runs away, how she seeks help, how she struggles, how he touches her and she wriggles out of his arms, how she calls out to her mother- in-law. “Aunty,” she screams, “somebody help me!” But there was silence. She describes how he gets hold of her, his awful smell, a mixture of tobacco and onions. She recounts the childish threat she makes — “I will tell my father” — and the husband’s reply: “You can tell your father whatever you like. He signed the marriage contract, he gave me permission to marry you.”

From the time Nujood was able to gather her wits about her she set about planning her escape. The story is recommended reading for anyone who seriously wants to understand what Muslim women can be subjected to.

In Yemen, Nujood’s father, her husband, the judges, the policemen and the broader society — with the exception of a very few — view her situation as normal. And Yemen is by no means unique.

When I turn to Elizabeth Gilbert’s description of a painful divorce it becomes clear to me what feminism has accomplished in the West. Gilbert decides to divorce her husband not because he was forced upon her, but because there is something intangible that he cannot give her. She chose to marry him. Every decision she made was voluntary: to marry him, to buy property with him, even to try for a child. Yet still she felt unfulfilled.

The deep sense of dissatisfaction leads her to abandon her marriage, the life of a privileged woman. She goes to Italy to find a piece of herself, the pleasure of eating. She goes to India to find another piece of herself: the pleasure of devotion. In Indonesia she finds yet another piece of herself: the balance between the pleasures of eating and praying. In India she finds a guru who answers her spiritual needs.

Gilbert’s story shows what feminism can achieve elsewhere, especially in the Muslim world.

But her story also demonstrates something else. Those women in the West who, like Gilbert, have harvested what the early feminists fought for have almost no affinity for women like Nujood — and like me when I was a little girl.

This is not to pass judgment on Gilbert. On the contrary, I admire her intellectual honesty and her pursuit of self-knowledge. The woman I have become in the West now feels closer to the Gilberts of this world than the Nujoods. But I find myself asking as I read these two books: What can current Western feminism offer the Nujoods?

I often am asked by my Western audiences: “Where did feminism go wrong?” I think the answer is staring us in the face. Western feminism hasn’t gone wrong at all — it has accomplished its mission so completely that a woman like Elizabeth Gilbert can marry freely and then leave her husband equally freely, purely in order to pursue her own culinary and religious inclinations. The victory of feminism allows women like Gilbert to shape their own destinies.

But there is a price for this victory: The price is a solipsism so complete that a great many Western women have lost the ability to empathize with women not only in the Islamic world, but also in China, India and other countries; women whose suffering takes forms that are now largely unknown in the West, save in the ghettos of immigrants. They are too busy hunting for the perfect prayer mat or pasta to give two hoots about a case of child-rape in Yemen.

The best we can hope for is not for the West to invade other countries in the hope of emancipating their women. That is neither realistic nor desirable (and remains our least plausible war aim in Afghanistan).

The best we can hope for is a neo-feminism that reminds women in the West of the initial phases of their liberation movement. Those phases not only highlighted the subjugation of women, they set out to dismantle the foundations of their cages. For the dream of liberation to come true for women in the East it is imperative that we seek to shatter the underpinnings of their subjugation, which are now enshrined in religion and custom.

 Ayaan Hirsi Ali escaped an arranged marriage in her native Somalia by immigrating to the Netherlands. She now lives in Washington, where she is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.