Thursday, November 1, 2007

Religion: The limits of tolerance

ST Nov 1, 2007

Sexy women are a distraction, says PAS leader

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S Muslim men are suffering sleepless nights and cannot pray properly because their thoughts are distracted by a growing number of women who wear sexy clothes in public, a prominent opposition cleric said.

Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), said he wanted to speak about the 'emotional abuse' that men face because it is seldom discussed, the fundamentalist Islamic party reported on its website yesterday.

'We always (hear about) the abuse of children and wives in households, which is easily perceived by the eye, but the emotional abuse of men cannot be seen,' Datuk Nik Aziz said. 'Our prayers become unfocused and our sleep is often disturbed.'

He has made controversial comments about women in the past, including that women should stop wearing lipstick and perfume to lower the risk of being raped.

Women's groups have slammed his statements. They say comments like his encourage rapes because they put the blame on women.

Datuk Nik Aziz is also the Chief Minister of Kelantan, the sole Malaysian state that is not ruled by the Barisan Nasional governing coalition.

In the northern state, the Islamic party has fined Muslim women for not wearing headscarves in workplaces and implemented separate check-out lines for men and women in supermarkets.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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When Datuk Nik Aziz said 'We always (hear about) the abuse of children and wives in households, which is easily perceived by the eye, but the emotional abuse of men cannot be seen, our prayers become unfocused and our sleep is often disturbed.' , i totally flipped.

So that's what he calls emotional abuse. I suppose when jewellery stores display what seems to be an endless variety of ear-rings, neckless and pendants, that's emotional abuse. Or how about someone munching on his burger, walking past you down the street. That's emotional abuse too. What about the emotional abuse you suffer when someone zips past you in a flashy ferrari down the expressway? I'm damn sure that gives you good justification to steal that insensitive bastard's ferrari. Or bar him from driving his million dollar speed machine at least.

Still on the topic on the inane and not-so-harmless things religious leaders sprout out every now and then, the Vatican surely qualifies as the number 1 clown when they say stuff like "condoms don't stop HIV" despite studies establishing

"It is not established whether the condom is as effective at preventing heterosexual transmission of HIV as it is for preventing conception. An overall estimate of condom effectiveness for HIV prevention is needed. Methods: Information on condom usage and HIV serology was obtained from 25 published studies of serodiscordant heterosexual couples. Condom usage was classified as always (in 100% of acts of intercourse), sometimes (1-99%, 0-99% or 1-100%) or never (0%). Studies were stratified by design, direction of transmission and condom usage group. Condom efficacy was calculated from the HIV transmission rates for always-users and never-users. Results: For always-users, 12 cohort samples yielded a consistent HIV incidence of 0.9 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval, 0.4-1.8). For 11 cohort samples of never-users, incidence was estimated at 6.8 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval, 4.4-10.1) for male-to-female transmission, 5.9 per 100 (95% confidence interval, 1.5-15.1) for female-to-male transmission and 6.7 per 100 (95% confidence interval, 4.5-9.6) in samples that specified the direction of transmission. Generally, the condom's effectiveness at preventing HIV transmission is estimated to be 87%, but it may be as low as 60% or as high as 96%. Conclusions: Consistent use of condoms provides protection from HIV. The level of protection approximates 87%, with a range depending upon the incidence among condom nonusers. Thus, the condom's efficacy at reducing heterosexual transmission may be comparable to or slightly lower than its effectiveness at preventing pregnancy."

Suddenly it isn't so funny anymore.

How about the creationism/intelligent design movement in USA? You can read more about it by clicking on that wikipedia link and find out how much time was wasted by the scientific community in order to debunk those clowns.

This begs the question: What mechanisms can we put in place to protect our society from the damaging effects of those lies?

I have no answer to that. It's a really tough question.

How do we balance the need to respect the beliefs of others with the realities of our world?

According to this wise man H. L. Mencken, "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."

In other words, when you say that your wife, who looks like this



is prettier than Sonija Kwok,


we wouldn't bother shutting you up. We may politely agree with you in your presence and then laugh at your bad taste in your absence. Or we may act in the more politically correct manner and say "You are entitled to your opinion".

But if you were to attempt to take away Sonija Kwok's Miss HK crown and give it to your wife, then we have a problem. Because the fact is that Sonija Kwok is the beautiful one.

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