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The Darwinian vs. God Contest May 5, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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One day a group of Darwinian scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one Darwinian to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.The Darwinian walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.” (more…)


Virgin Mary in the Koran March 15, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.

This is the story of Mary (peace be upon her) as told in the Koran…

[HERE is a short video of the story]

Hannah, the grandmother of Jesus (peace of God be upon him),

The mother of Mary (pbuh),

The wife of Aaron,

The mother-in-law of Zachariah (pbuh),

The daughter of Fazuka,

On realizing that she is pregnant,

Prayed God in utmost sincerity,

“O my Lord! I do dedicate to you,

What is in my womb for your special service,

Free from all worldly work,

To serve Your temple.

So accept this, from me.

You are indeed All-Hearer and the All-knowing.”


Though she knows that God knew best what she brought forth, when she delivered she said: “O my Lord! I have given birth to a female child. The male is not like the female. I have named her Mary. I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from Satan, the Rejected.” (more…)

Talking about Negative Perception Of Islam Increasing March 9, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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American people are supposed to be among the most educated in the world. Schooling does not only teach us what we don't know, but it shows the way that leads to information, so that we can still learn while out of school. One of the important lessons is that when you hear something, don't just believe it, do further investigation to make sure it is true. Otherwise there is a pretty good chance you will be mistaken. I've learned that in school…

46% of Americans thinks that Islam is teaching violence and Muslims* are more prone to violence then other faith groups are. I can say that this is a result of insufficient knowledge of the faith. I have been studying the Koran since I was seven (along with my formal schooling in secular institutions) and it has never encouraged me to violate anyone. In fact I have never been in a fight even as a kid. There is only one text that Muslims read as their holy scripture,that is to say the Koran doesn't have different versions. Then how come It teaches some people violence, but not me? I can answer that. It does not promote or permit violent act unless it is self defence, but people who have that sick impulse use the text to justify their actions and find supporters around the Muslim world.

They do that simply by misinterpreting the Koran's verses. Koran is a text which consists of chapters, paragraphs and verses. A verse is a sentence which belongs to a paragraph and a chapter. No phrase makes true sense by itself; context matters. It's crucial to know why something is said and in what context it was expressed in order to comprehend the true meaning of it. In the light of that information, one has to read–at least– the verses before and after a particular one to comprehend its meaning. Otherwise major mistakes are inevitable. This blogger cites a verse from the Koran with a couple of serious mistakes. First of all nothing in the Koran was said by Muhammed (pbuh), it is all God's word. Second the context is not considered. The translation is as follows. "And when we would destroy a township we send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation."( Koran, 17-16, Trans: Marmaduke Pickthall). When we read the verse before it we see this: " Whosoever receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit: who goeth astray doth so to his own loss: No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent a messenger (to give warning)." (Koran, 17-15) It is obvious that people are told that they will be warned by messengers from the Almighty, and should they reject the message they will be punished. Verses of this sort are present in all scriptures.

How does that encourage violence? I don't know any Muslim who would claim to be god (he or she would have gone astray, had they done so).

WE (people of all faiths) HAVE TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER in order to put an end to that madness…


*Violent riots took place in a few Arab countries (mostly out of their hatred towards western countries as a consequence of colonialism). There are 200 million Arab people and not all of them are Muslims. Those who rioted in violence are a small group of people in the 200 million. Muslim population is 1.5 billion, so we can say less than 0.01 percent got involved in violence over the cartoons.


Negative Perception Of Islam Increasing

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance

More Questions about Islam? March 6, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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Diane Rehm did it again. She must be one of the most talented radio programmers in the country. On today’s program D Rehm hosted two prominent Muslim scholers; Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies, George Washington University, and Imam Yahya Hendi, Chaplain, Georgetown University. They answered Diane’s and listeners’ questions regarding issues such as obligations of Islam, prohibited behavior, and the role of women as laid out in the Koran.


WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio – The Diane Rehm Show for Monday March 6, 2006

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance

Duke’s Blog: Summarizing the Bible in Two or Three Sentences February 26, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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Duke made a good point. Many people do not consider their faith as a whole, but rather they take some part of it and practice that part ‘passionately’. That implies ignorance and/or ill intention on the adherents’ part.

The ignorant speaks out with hatred and passer-bys judge the whole group of people by their fallacies. Scholars –though only group of people who have the authority to produce knowledge of a doctrine– are not even heard. Ignorance turns into an epidemic and creates more fallacies. Fallacies are newsworthy, the truth is not…naturally fallacies and their ramifications take huge place in media, then more fallacies get produced. We struggle to get out of that vicious cycle by learning the truth and spreading the word of it but, alas, ignorance and fallacies are constantly promoted.

Seeing that common sense still prevails –despite all that madness– really made my day after a long period of studying.

I thank you Duke!


Duke’s Blog: Summarizing the Bible in Two or Three Sentences

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance

The Most Beautiful Names of The Almighty February 21, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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Said Nursi of Turkey, one of the most prominent scholars of Muslim world, saw creatures of God as reflections of His beautiful names. Everything displays the elaborate embroideries of his names. Mankind, as the representative of Makam-al Jam’, reflects each and every name of God, that is to say men and women are cheval glasses for His beautiful names. Manifestation of this reflection is to conduct oneself in a godly way. One can see him/ herself in the mirror as clearly as the mirror lets him/her. If the mirror is not clean enough reflection is not clear enough either. One’s heart will reflect the names of God as clearly as it is purified.

Because He is the common denominator amongst those who beleive in him but belong to different religious traditions, I thought it would be nice to have a better understandig of his attributes.

Here is a list of the most beautiful names of God (according to Islamic sources). I would love to know if there is anything in the scriptures of Christiantity and Judaism with respect to the names of God.

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance

Level of Happiness: 5 February 17, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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Harvard University’s bias test asks the test takers the level of happiness they experienced on this particular day, and 5 is the highest number on the scale. I sure am as happy as i could possibly be today, to have read this magnificent news: Muslims from Middle East offered an online apology addressed to the people of Norway and Denmark, people of Denmark did the same addressing to Muslim world. This is what we call mutual understanding.

I always thought anger and hatred were not and could not be prevailing throughout the entire world. I was right; I still think that love and tolerance will be the dominant emotions, on which we found our relationships, in a very near future.

I believe we’ll learn to listen and talk to one another, with no intention to change addressee’s world view; we’ll achieve success in having a little powwow with respect to the very subjects that we disagree on, while taking sips from our coffees.

It cannot be so hard, can it? After all, the abilities of thinking and speaking are what distinguish us from rest of the creatures.

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance

Global Madness February 14, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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Abu Ghraib scandal took place back in 2004. Shocking pictures were released and many people have been put on trial. The US Senate has responded promptly and with a sense of justice…After almost two years some more pictures are broadcast on Australian SBS channel.
Reflections: No new abuse has occurred since 2004; the pictures depicts the same incidents (they’re either similar to or the same as the ones published earlier).
Question1: Why would a TV channel air these photos which have no more news value?
Ekrem Dumanli, editor in chief of Zaman daily newspaper, draws attention to a possible global provocation through media. I must tell that I agree with him. It looks like media groups decided to diminish the hopes for peace on earth.
Qustion2: Does a secret power control those so-called independent media organs?
I hope not, but untimely and irrelevant news seem suspicious to me.
Australian TV Network Airs More Abu Ghraib Photos

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance

How holy is holy? February 14, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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The controversy around cartoons has sure gone mad…

One of the greatest benefits of internet is, with no doubt, free flow of information. Democracy may have not blossomed, but pluralism is one thing that flourished as the usage of internet has increased. Flow of information is not controllable, that is both good and bad I guess. Good because one can reach information easily. Bad because there is no control over what can be published; lies, distorted information, fabricated news etc…

Reflections of the cartoons in Muslim world were/are violent (although not in every Muslim country), and I –as any knowledgeable Muslim does– condemn the violent riots, destruction of property. I came across some bloggers whose ideas can be summarized as “they’re just cartoons; there are millions of cartoons of my religious figures, get over it”. This may not be exactly how they phrase it, but it’s a close one. Muslims’ perception of holiness is very different from that of Western cultures’; Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) is more beloved to Muslims than themselves. One can say lots of things to a Muslim and be received in tolerance, but when it comes to religious figures, Muslims are far more sensitive (again I am not trying to justify cruelties of some Muslims who were agitated or induced by self-motion).

There are terrorists who claim to be Muslims, I accept, but what these men do is not at all Islamic (I also saw some bloggers ignorantly referring to some verses of Koran and interpreting them in a malicious way, but I’ll touch that later). What does the prophet of Islam have to do with the terrorist acts?

You have a point, use the right arguments to make it.

If Peace is to be established we all have to approach each other with understanding and tolerance. I remember reading something like “kill the m***** F*****s, bomb their countries with nuclear weapons”. Honestly I do not see any good will in that expression. How is that sentence any better than those of rioters’ in some Arab countries?

Considering other people’s sensitivities when speaking, writing or drawing is not compromising freedom of speech for the sake of being accepted, it’s only saying what you have to say in a different, less offensive way…

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance

Hidden Biases February 12, 2006

Posted by Tarık Okur in Uncategorized.
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A recent Washington Post article talks about a research conducted by a group of social psychologists. the study asserts that everyone might have some sort of bias against something. Reading that article I wondered if I had any..I mean, I might have made decisions based on those hidden biases, that wouldn’t be nice.

So I visited Harvard University’s web site and took a couple of the tests, results were shocking.. I demonstrated a slight automatic preference of associating man with science and women with liberal arts, rather than associating man with liberal arts and women with science. Man was I dissappointed in myself…Than took the test again, and this time got the good score, no association at all, totally neutral

there are different tests regarding, gender, race, religion, evolution vs creation etc. The tests reveals the fact that as a result of the circumstances (family, level of education, environment) under which we were raised might have left us with some biases and we may not be aware of them.

Why learn our biases (if any)? Because biases lead to stereotypes and cultural disunity. if I am biased against a group of people or an idea, my decisions regarding these people are effected by my biases. The real trouble starts when a major group a society starts judging people based on their biases. If that happens, alienation of those who are “not like the majority” is only inevitable.

As a Muslim individual living in the western world for a long time, I am deeply worried that media’s and some fellow muslims’ irresponsible attitudes towards political and social occurrences will lead people to stereotyping Muslims as terrorists.


Study Ties Political Leanings to Hidden Biases

Copyright © 2006 The Domain of Tolerance