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Mr. B. Thorpe "Nullifidian" (UK)

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Ethical Challenges Faced by Islam
Ethical Challenges Faced by Islam
Price: £1.08

5.0 out of 5 stars a cool appraisal, 9 Oct. 2014
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When the Roman historian Tacitus began writing his Annals of the Emperors, he promised to write sine ira et studio - without anger or excess of zeal; but his antipathy to the Emperors showed through. The author of Ethical Challenges Faced by Islam succeeds rather better, in that he admits his standpoint as a Humanist from the start, and then goes on calmly and dispassionately to compare the ethical positions of the Koran with those expected in the Western world today.

There is none of the hostility, snideness or jeering evident in some books ; any Muslims reading this should not feel under attack, though the questions raised by the author will make uncomfortable reading for some, and, one hopes, a personal re-evaluation attitudes to the Koran.

Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths
Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths
by Rumy Hasan
Edition: Paperback

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumy Hasan on Multiculturalism, 18 July 2010
The left in this country has had the reputation of championing the cause of anti- racism, gay rights and civil liberties, but now it is seen to be blind to the obvious problems with its own doctrine of multiculturalism, and even paralysed by the hypnotic term "Islamophobia", which it has been persuaded equates with "racism". It is therefore not only reluctant to criticise illiberal and oppressive practices of some minorities, but even manufactures apologetics on the grounds of respect for multicultural differences. Dr Hasan's book drives a bulldozer through this edifice of hypocrisy, misinterpretation and wilful ignorance.
In his book he distinguishes between multiculturalism on the superficial level, such as cuisine, music, films, and fundamentals such as attitudes to personal freedom in matters of religion, marriage and career, the first being welcome, and the second, insofar as they conflict with hard-won enlightenment values, utterly repugnant. When the concept of culture becomes confused - often as a deliberate ploy - with the practice of religion, which is given certain rights in law, then the danger to society is even greater.
In certain parts of the country, monocultural ghettoes are being created, many of whose inhabitants lead parallel lives, unwilling or compelled to share the way of life of the host population. They live in a state of psychic detachment. One symbol of which is the hijab, which the author investigates in more detail in a later chapter.
Multiculturalism as an apparently benign or even laudable concept is being used as a cover for endless demands for religious privilege, while the accusation of "Islamphobia" is used to silence legitimate criticism of certain cultural practices. Dr Hasan takes up a whole chapter on "Islamophobia" as an offspring of multiculturalism.
The last part of the book discusses obstacles to closer social cohesion (which the last government heavily promoted without in the least understanding that its own policies were the greatest impediment to it). There is a section on the pernicious effects of segregating children in schools by parents' religion, white liberal post-colonial guilt, and one on the weakness of secularism as it exists in this country (secular people for the most part, distinctly un-secular establishment).
Finally, Dr Hasan suggests some solutions, including the emphasis on a common identity based on common values, instead of stressing - "celebrating" - differences, and the need to break down segregation.
This book articulates very clearly the dangers and fallacies inherent in the current concept of multiculturalism, illustrated with example after example. It should be compulsory reading for every MP and every government department.

Precision Metal Rim Unisex MSF Radio Controlled Lcd Chronograpgh Strap Watch
Precision Metal Rim Unisex MSF Radio Controlled Lcd Chronograpgh Strap Watch

4.0 out of 5 stars unisex rc watch, 13 July 2010
Bought this as cheap watch to use on hikes; it matters less if it is damaged. It looks well, and of course keeps time perfectly. Suitable for boys and adults with thinner wrists.

WMF Tea Cup Infuser
WMF Tea Cup Infuser
Price: £10.04

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars tea cup infuser, 13 July 2010
It could do with being a bit taller to allow more surface area to meet the water in a mug. No problem with teas such as Darjeeling, but the smaller bits of Assam leak through.

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
by Bart D. Ehrman
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars New Testament 101, 30 Jan. 2010
The author was originally a born-again Christian with deep faith in the inerrancy of the bible. At theological college and later he began to understand the true nature of the New Testament manuscripts, the way they were copied and mistranslated, the mistakes made in copying both deliberate and accidental - hence the title.
This book is a good lay introduction to the challenges involved in understanding the New Testament writers and is easy to read. One thing is missing: the author does not tell us how many of his born-again certainties about Christianity survived his explorations, though the tone of the writing suggests he is still a practising Christian.

How We'd Talk If the English Had Won in 1066
How We'd Talk If the English Had Won in 1066
by David Cowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another book of lists?, 28 Dec. 2009
In 1966, "Punch" magazine, to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Norman Conquest, published a series of three articles by Paul Jennings written in English as it might have been if William the Bastard had been conquered by Harold. He begins: "Full many folk unwitten what had been the tale of this our land if eke our maiden strand had been breached by some mighty, well-found ingang of lusty outlanders, such as might not be offstricken and worsted by our stout yeoman forebears together-standing in a hardy wappenshaw, for all their derring-do."
And Jennings goes on to rewrite the story of the battle of Hastings and the events subsequent to William's defeat.
In doing so he invents such words as farclanger (radio) and kind-strife (class warfare).

D. Cowley, the author of "How we'd Talk...", does not mention the Jennings articles. If he had seen them, he might have written a better book, one that tells us about the indebtedness of English to Latin and its descendants without setting school-room exercises and taxing the reader with philological matters.

The one he did write was not much better than a books of lists, which, combined with the emphasis on philology, is less than entertaining. Translating newspaper headlines, for example, into modern Old English is not going to be as informative or engaging as continuous text.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 5, 2012 11:47 AM BST

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
by Richard Holmes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars The Age of Wonder - science history with a diference, 28 Dec. 2009
"The Age of Wonder" is a continuous collection of mini-biographies of men such as Joseph Banks, Humphrey Davy, Herschel, Faraday ... scientists all - though they would be called that for many years - and yet also part of the literary fabric of the time, which the author, Richard Holmes, does not neglect. Not surprising since his previous books were about people like Coleridge and Shelly.

Dangerous experiments, long voyages, unrealised glimpses of great scientific truths, social triumph, literary celebration .... For example, we all know that Herschel discovered Uranus, but to be told that he also constructed his own reflector telescopes, painstakingly (and painfully) grinding his own mirrors adds a much needed human dimension to the history of scientific discovery.

At 500-odd pages including indexes etc it is a book to read in shortish bursts, and is organised to allow this. Thoroughly recommended, and on my shelves joins "The Fellowship" by John Gribbin (about the early history of the Royal Society), "The Map that Changed the World" by Simon Winchester (on William Smith and the first geological map of the country) and "Scurvy, by Stephen R Brown, about "the greatest medical mystery of the age of sail".

Disbelief 101: A Young Person's Guide to Atheism
Disbelief 101: A Young Person's Guide to Atheism
by S. C. Hitchcock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars written with feeling, 28 Dec. 2009
"Disbelief 101", aimed at young people, was written under a pseudonym at the insistence of the publisher because the author lives in Bigot County, middle USA, and had already received death threats because he wrote letters opposing the Iraq war.
The deeply-felt expression of distaste for organised religion in this book would undoubtedly provoke more: there is, indeed, a chapter headed "Religious indoctrination of children is child abuse"
Although the text has a distinct US flavour, there is little to confuse British young people, who also "deserve better than to be tricked and indoctrinated... to be given the tools of free enquiry."
And this the author does in his clear exposition of the fallacies of religion. Highly recommended; unlike some texts for young people it does not condescend, including as it does a bibliography and index.

Double Cross: The Code of the Catholic Church
Double Cross: The Code of the Catholic Church
by David Ranan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rotting church, 29 May 2007
I have long known about the shortcomings of the Catholic Church, but even I was startled by what David Ranan had to say. This book is a result of deep research, and I warmly recommend it.

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