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In the Name of God بسم الله


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  1. Folks, this guy is only here to insult your religion and waste your time. Don't fall for it.
  2. Because Christianity is not a religion of practice in the way that Islam is, it doesn't have a concept that can be neatly compared with bidaa' as Muslims understand it. Yes, there might be practices Christians recognize as not inherent to the faith in its earliest forms. But Christians don't necessarily see that as problematic per se, because in Christian practice, there's not a belief that believers must adhere to some perfect, pure, original form of worship in every detail in order for their worship to be accepted. (There may be some exceptions, obviously, but the general principle stands.) For Muslims, the issue of bidaah revolves around protecting the form of worship that we know is accepted by God from being distorted such that it's no longer accepted. So we have reason to carefully protect every step of salah, wudhu etc., and to reject any religious practices that could creep in and overtake or distort what we know is waajib or sunnah. But there's not really a Christian equivalent to the idea of prayers or fasting not being accepted because of a ritual error, for instance. So if a Christian comes up with some new method of worship or some new devotional practice that they feel brings them closer to God, that's not necessarily considered objectionable in the Christian religion. Christianity focuses much more on faith itself than on ritual practice, and that's something that sets it apart from both Judaism and Islam.
  3. Nasrak haz aldinni and yaa wa3ad Allah. Of the older ones, yaa aba 3bdallah and hyhaat yaa ma7tel.
  4. This sounds like a question that would be worth asking both a religious authority and someone who knows about the psychology/physiology of dreaming. Hasanhh I believe what you're referring to is called "lucid dreaming," but I'm not sure from Askari's description if that's really what he's referring to.
  5. Perhaps I'm missing something as a non-native Arabic speaker, but could this not simply be a figure of speech, the way in English we might refer to someone as having a lustful eye or a wandering heart? Obviously in those cases the reference to the organ is a figurative allusion to an attribute of their owner. But as common sayings, they're useful for concisely illustrating a point. It makes me wonder if the phrase "lying forelock" or "sinful forelock" might have been a similar figure of speech, or close enough to others to be commonly understood, by the community of the prophet at the time of revelation.
  6. I'd add that there are also many people who've reached atheism because they've been mistreated by, or seen too many cases of shoddy behavior by, religious people — often in the name of religion. That's probably why many come off as hostile or arrogant. If you grow up in a place where people cite scripture as an excuse to beat their wives and children bloody or harass people of a different race, or where they steal or kill and then use their faith in Jesus as a get-out-of-hell-free card because their sect says they'll be saved on the basis of faith alone regardless of their actions, it can be hard to see much benefit in religion. Scandals that implicate clergy (I'm thinking the Catholic Church's pedophilia scandal here, but there have been plenty of others in other faiths) drive people away too, especially when clergy cover for each other at the expense of the faith's laity. Some athiests in non-Muslim countries are also rebelling against seeming inconsistencies or absurdities in their own faiths that Muslims would find objectionable as well; for instance, people who are born to protestant Christianity in the U.S., but reject it because they can't believe in the trinity or the idea of the earth being 6000 years old, or they see speaking in tongues and practices like snake-handling as the ridiculous shams that they are.
  7. I could probably join in if it's on Saturday. Time of day would be flexible for me.
  8. Apparently none of those guys were really Hezb. Prothero doesn't know what he's doing. He's been in the region for years and doesn't speak any Arabic, and he doesn't know the Party. Read this (from Dr. As'ad AbuKhalil's blog): http://angryarab.blo...-hezbollah.html. on paintballing with Hezbollah A well-placed source in Lebanon sent me this. The source is in a position to know but I can't reveal more on it. But I want to add this: Mitch is more than welcome to respond to this and I would be willing to post his response in full. Here it goes: "Mitchell Prothero's latest story on paintballing with Hezbollah has been blown out of proportion and its time to speak out. Prothero is a self proclaimed expert on Hezbollah, and he believes he is an expert on Jihadist insurgent movements in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he has been living in the region for almost 8 years and doesn’t speak the language. How can an expert be called an expert on anything if he doesn’t understand the spoken language of the subject he is specialized in? Prothero is unique in his reputation of [here he talks about Mitch's work at the National but I deleted that reference]. He had a fixer who used to do all his street work, or as its known "investigative journalism," then Prothero spiced up the quotes his fixer got him. Prothero almost never left his office, and when he did he took make the rare trip to the South of Lebanon it was driving around with his sectarian driver who hated Shiites. That’s how he considers himself to be an expert on Hezbollah by driving into the South every once in a while. On to the Paintball Story. Prothero knows a man from Dahyeh. He likes to call him D, but we will keep this man’s identity hidden for now. In the future we might expose D’s true identity. D is basically a thug who got deported from the US and continued being a thug here in Dahyeh. Prothero met him once on the street in Daheyeh. D saw in Prothero a stupid "Ajnabi" [foreigner] similar to a walking bag of money, and you know the rest. D used to live in Atlanta, Georgia, and he was sent back to Lebanon (this as well we might expose in the future). D is the type of Lebanese man who will sell any rumor or news about sectarian tension, Hezbollah news, or expected clashes to Prothero for a price. Prothero should mention how much money he had to pay D to set up this Paintball game, or should we refer to him as Prothero did in his made up story: “Ali, one of my lower-level contacts within the group”. But who are the rest of his higher contacts or other contacts in the group? None. The alleged Paintball game with Hezbollah was all set up by D who is not a member of Hezbollah and has nothing to do with the party/resistance. D, just like any other person who lives in Daheyeh knows people in the Hezbollah and in the Amal movement. What D did is use some dollars from Prothero and recruit some of his neighborhood friends, to play a free unlimited shooting game of paintball, at the cost of pretending to be Hezbollah fighters. Imagine a fighter from the resistance called Coco! An expert on Hezbollah will never buy into this; a ten years old child from Lebanon will never buy this story. Ask Prothero why this story was not published since 3 years the time it was done? Why would such an out of the ordinary story take three years to get published in the west and only in Vice magazine? Why would Hezbollah would play with and expose their fighting tactics with a journalist who publicly calls them a terrorist organization (Torino bar in Gemayzeh witnessed the Prothero's bigotry). How come Prothero who doesn’t speak a word of Arabic infiltrated the ranks of Hezbollah’s fighters and convinced them to join him and a bunch of white journalists: one of them used to serve in the invading American Army? Prothero thinks that any man in Daheyeh is a Hezbollah fighter. PS: If Prothero was such a journalist how come he missed the whole Arab spring? Maybe because of his reputation among editors that he makes things up, who knows what other stories were made up. We still have so much more on Mitchell and his Dahyeh fixer D!"
  9. It's not the people coming on 2 week vacations, most of the time, that you seriously need to worry about. And anyhow, say Lebanon required visas for a short stay. What do you really think the Lebanese intell services would turn up in the process of reviewing a routine visa app? The US intelligence community does know how to create enough of a "cover story" to get past amn al-3am. (That's not saying much. If you have any experience with amn al-3am, you know what I mean :rolleyes:.) The level of investigation that it would take to reveal professional foreign agents before they entered the country would be so extensive that you'd never be able to implement it on a large scale, and most of the time, it would be impossible to reveal those people through any such kind of "background check" anyhow. You'd have to just completely close the borders if you want to keep spies out of the country (and even that isn't foolproof.)
  10. "Out of business" as in no longer able to operate with any level of effectiveness -- "busted," so to speak. It's impossible to keep them and their informants out of the country, but it's not impossible to keep them out of the loop.
  11. I'm guessing I'm not the only one here who can make an educated guess as to which Pizza Hut that would have been. Dummies. :rolleyes: I love this part: "In 2010, U.S. counterintelligence officials determined that the CIA's Lebanese agents could be traced the same way, the source said. But the station chief allegedly ignored the warning. 'He said, 'The Lebanese are our friends. They wouldn't do that to us,'' the source said." What the hell do they think the Hezb guys they're spying on are, Swedish?? Just shows you how completely oblivious they are about the nation they're operating in and its politics -- and they have people's lives in their hands. Even if I was pro-US (i.e., pro-US policy in the region), I would never work with these people, because it's like playing Russian roulette. Even if they did care about their sources' welfare (and in general, I highly doubt that they do), as an organization they're so inefficient and bumbling that they get people compromised out of sheer idiocy. I'm sure they have bright people working for them, but jeez, how do people like THAT get to be station chief?? And then there's the whole 'right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing' issue, too. It continually amazes me that people in the Middle East continue to sign up to work for them. (Probably a lot of that is blackmail, actually.) The CIA's presence is bad for the whole country -- not only the Party (actually, in a way, they've done the Party a favor by showing them where the internal enemy is, whereas Hezb otherwise may have had no way of knowing who might be looking to stab them in the back), but also to those who are "on their side," and to the innocent people who might fall under a potentially dangerous cloud of suspicion if an acquaintance goes down for spying. I'm glad they're "out of business."
  12. This is not a scholarly opinion by far, but I say get the papers so that you can move back home without worry and without freaking out your family. Your family members in the US are probably just worried that if you return to Iran without US citizenship, you could at some point get barred from re-entering the States to see them, right? I know a family that happened to. One of the parents left the country, and then tried to reenter and was denied entry and banned (because, apparently, of some kind of visa problem that the family didn't understand). Now the family will be separated -- for at least 10 years, I think -- unless they all move to the other country together, which is basically not possible. Stuff like that happens on stupid technicalities all the time -- and you're Iranian, for God's sake; they could give you a hard time re-entering just out of spite. Plus, there are other benefits that come with a US passport. You can travel pretty much anywhere, for one thing; its easy to get a visa if you have a US passport.
  13. Here's the oath: "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God." When you say it, you don't place your hand on the Bible; you raise your right hand. Note that although you state that you are renouncing allegiance to any foreign "prince, potentate, state or sovereignty," you typically still keep your original citizenship and become a dual national :rolleyes:. Makes the statement that you're renouncing foreign allegiance look kind of silly, in a way. Another thing I find interesting about the oath is that you don't actually pledge to support and defend the United States. You pledge to ". . . support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States. The same phrasing is used when politicians take an oath of office or when someone swears into the military. It's interesting wording; there's a message there that you might want to think about.
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