Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
Saudi Arabia hopes to put imprisoned Al-Qaeda militants on the right path and make them drop their thoughts of jihad by offering them spa treatments, exercise and counseling at a new luxurious rehabilitation facility in the capital, Riyadh.
As part of the program de-radicalization program, inmates will be able to relax in the center in between sessions with counselor and talks about religion, reports AFP.
The Riyadh rehab center is designed to accommodate 228 prisoners: 19 inmates in each of the facility’s 12 buildings.
The facility spreads over an area equivalent to around 10 football pitches (over 10 hectares) and includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, a sauna, a gym and a television hall. The prisoners will also have access to special suites where they can spend time with visiting family members. Besides that, as a bonus for good behavior, they could get a two-day break with their wives[…]
[…]Another similar facility has already been opened in the western port city of Jeddah, while three more are planned for different parts of the kingdom.
The Riyadh center though is the first one to offer jailed Al-Qaeda members – or the “deviant group,” as they are referred to by the country’s authorities – a lap of luxury as a boost to reconsider their beliefs.
It is planned that during the day prisoners will attend seminars on religious affairs.
“In order to fight terrorism, we must give them an intellectual and psychological balance… through dialogue and persuasion,” said the director of the rehabilitation centers, Said al-Bishi.
So far, some 2,336 Al-Qaeda prisoners have been through Saudi rehabilitation schemes, he said. No more than 10 per cent of former inmates rejoin extremist groups, Bishi noted, adding that such proportion is “encouraging.”
However, the program does have its opponents, especially given that some there have been some high-profile returns to the ranks of jihad. For instance, Saeed al-Shehri - a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who went through a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia - upon his release traveled to Yemen and became deputy leader of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.
Liberals are particularly unhappy with the religious content of the program, saying that it draws on an ultra-conservative version of Islam – which not so different from Al-Qaeda’s own.
Black guy kills some people.
Muslim guy kills some people.
Latino guy kills some people.
White guy kills some people.
Society: Mental illness. (lost soul, complicated psyche, quiet loner, misunderstood, frustrated with life, experienced recent, traumatic, life-altering events that set him off; not to mention all the positive descriptors that are attached to him, i.e. intelligent, PhD candidate, honor roll student, etc.)
Anti-abortion violence has been a critical part of the so-called culture wars since the 70s. And it raises profound issues that as a democratic society, built on a constitutional system and carefully constructed culture of religious pluralism, we have dealt with poorly.
Although the vast majority of anti-abortion leaders condemn violence and consider acts of violence to undermine their cause; serious crimes, including acts of violence against abortion providers continue. Most recently, there have been three burglaries and two arsons against Atlanta area clinics and the offices of ob gyn physicians, making regionalnews. However, the doctors who have been victims of the burglaries and one of the arsons believe that although they do not perform abortions, they were being targeted in retaliation for public opposition to antiabortion “fetal pain” legislation recently signed by the governor.
These are the actions of terrorists.
Terrorism for damn sure.
The failures of Congress, or for that matter the (to quote…ahem…Sarah Palin) “lamestream press” to pay any heed to these myriad [transpartisan] voices [of dissent against the NDAA] suggests a process problem even beyond military detention. If our elected leaders are beholden to executive power and hellbent on eroding the judiciary’s (and their own) ability to check future abuses, does it even matter what We the People do?
It’s a bit like watching a Republic fall apart at the seams, in slow motion.