Posts Tagged ‘off the derech’

I just got off the phone with my cousin from out of town. He’s very bright, intelligent, and all around awesome. And he is religious. There. I said it.

He asked me why I wasn’t religious. I said it started off as “I don’t give a shit”, but gradually transformed into “It’s complete bullox.” Reason being because it can’t be that God cares about trivial things like (more…)

Advertisements

I’ve pasted an article from the NY times.

I guess Muslims, like Jews refuse to believe that one who leaves religion is a rational person. I’ve put that which I thought important or similar to the Jewish OTD, in blue.

QALQILYA, West Bank — It is hard to imagine that a dingy Internet cafe buzzing with flies in this provincial Palestinian town could have spawned a blogger who has angered the Muslim cyberworld by promoting atheism, composing spoofs of Koranic verses, skewering the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad and chatting online using the sarcastic Web name God Almighty.

But many people in Qalqilya seem convinced that this Facebook apostate is none other than a secretive young man who spent seven hours a day in the corner booth of a back-street hole-in-the-wall here. Until recently the man, Waleed Hasayin, in his mid-20s, led a relatively anonymous existence as an unemployed graduate in computer science who helped out a few hours a day at his father’s one-chair barber shop. Several acquaintances described him as an “ordinary guy” who prayed at the mosque on Fridays.

But since the end of October Mr. Hasayin has been detained at the local Palestinian Authority intelligence headquarters, suspected of being the blasphemous blogger who goes by the name Waleed al-Husseini. The case has drawn attention to thorny issues like freedom of expression in the Palestinian Authority, for which insulting religion is considered illegal, and the cultural collision between a conservative society and the Internet.

While Mr. Hasayin has won some admiration and support abroad — a Facebook group has formed in solidarity, along with several online petitions — others on Facebook are calling for his execution.

In his hometown, the reaction seems to be one of uniform fury. Many here say that if he does not repent, he should spend the rest of his life in jail.

“Everyone is a Muslim here, so everyone is against what he did,” said Alaa Jarar, 20, who described himself as not particularly pious. “People are mad at him and will not respect the Palestinian Authority if he is released. Maybe he is a Mossad agent working for Israel.”

Aside from his Facebook pages, which have now been deleted, Mr. Husseini, the online persona, also posted essays in Arabic on a blog called Noor al-Aqel (Enlightenment of Reason) and in English translation on Proud Atheist, identifying himself as “an atheist from Jerusalem — Palestine.”

The essays offer some relatively sophisticated arguments in a blunt and racy style. In one, titled “Why I left Islam,” Mr. Husseini wrote that Muslims “believe anyone who leaves Islam is an agent or a spy for a Western State, namely the Jewish State.”

He added, “They actually don’t get that people are free to think and believe in whatever suits them.”

He went on to describe the Islamic God as “a primitive, Bedouin and anthropomorphic God,” and Muhammad as “a sex maniac” who bent his own rules “to appease his voracious desire.”

It all seems a far cry from Qalqilya, a conservative low-rise town of more than 40,000 people where horse-drawn wagons plied the streets this week and the market was bustling ahead of the Muslim holiday marking the end of the annual pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The arrest of Mr. Hasayin has caused a sensation since it was first reported by the independent Palestinian news agency Maan. But there are also some who question whether he could have written all this material alone.

Mr. Hasayin’s father, Khaled, was reluctant to talk. Clearly upset and ashamed, he said that his son was in treatment and had been “bewitched” by a Tunisian woman he had met via Facebook.

Before shooing reporters out of his barber shop, where a framed Koranic verse hung on the wall above tubs of hair gel, he said that his son’s literary Arabic was not at a level where he could compose fake Koranic verses.

One relative of Mr. Hasayin said, “It is true he studied computers, but he is not a philosopher.”

At the local intelligence headquarters, officials seemed to be treading carefully. Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the case’s potentially explosive nature — Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” led to riots and death threats in the 1980s, as did cartoons of Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005 — the officials said they could not release any details since Mr. Hasayin was still under interrogation. They said they had to act fairly and with sensitivity in case the suspicions proved false or exaggerated.

They said Mr. Hasayin had not been allowed any visitors and told them that he did not need a lawyer. Mr. Hasayin, they added, was being detained partly for his own protection.

Palestinian human rights groups in the West Bank have so far remained silent about Mr. Hasayin’s arrest. But Majed Arouri, a human rights expert in Ramallah, said he believed that the way in which Mr. Hasayin had been detained and his correspondence recorded “contradicts human rights principles and existing Palestinian laws” regarding individual privacy.

If Mr. Hasayin is to be tried, Mr. Arouri said, it would be according to a 1960 Jordanian law against defaming religion, still valid in the West Bank.

Some bloggers are already comparing Mr. Hasayin, or Mr. Husseini, to Kareem Amer, an Egyptian blogger who was sentenced in 2007 to four years’ imprisonment for insulting Islam and the Egyptian president.

At the Internet cafe that Mr. Hasayin frequented, youths played online billiards and looked at pictures of girls on a recent afternoon. The owner, Ahmed Abu Asab, said that six weeks ago he discovered that Mr. Hasayin was “not a regular client.”

Mr. Abu Asab had grown suspicious because Mr. Hasayin would not let anybody come close and see what he was working on. Mr. Abu Asab said: “At first I thought he was looking at pornographic sites and chatting with girls. That would be normal and none of my business.”

But Mr. Abu Asab said he used software that allowed him to check what the client was up to, and among other things, he came across the Facebook page on which Mr. Hasayin appeared to be speaking in the name of God. Mr. Abu Asab said that he and three friends knew what was going on and that “maybe somebody” informed the authorities.

Mr. Abu Asab kept copies of the pages, and Palestinian Authority officials came and downloaded the material. Next, they came for Mr. Hasayin, who asked for a moment to close what was on his screen.

This pic has nothing to do with the article...it was just too awesome not to post it!

Ever heard the expression “foot in mouth”? This guy has his foot stuffed in there. The whole goddam thing.

Here is an article from Matzav.com I came across. Words cannot be sufficient in pointing out the authors blatant ignorance and utter stupidity, so instead I’ll show the areas in red where he makes sure to clearly let us know just how cult-like he sounds. I’ll add my comment in blue.

By Elisha Ferber, Matzav.com

I address this to Matzav.com readers for their thoughts on the ever disturbing trend of kids in our communities going off the derech.

There is a misnomer, I believe, when it comes to analyzing the trend of kids going off the derech. I have heard many people, including so-called educators and some commenters on Matzav.com, claim that the more sheltered children are, the more prone they are to go off the derech. I agree that there are people who are driving kids off the derech. These are the people – to take one recent example – who are telling girls not to wear makeup on their wedding day (see the story from yesterday here onMatzav.com.) These are the people who prefer to forbid everything in sight, as opposed to presenting Yiddishkeit as the beautiful lifestyle it is. (It is? Or can be?) There are people and yeshivos that aren’t recognizing the needs of our kids and responding appropriately to them. (No shit, Watson!) There are those who just don’t get it.

But then there are those who do. We do have people who are sterling role models and can imbue our kids with the right message and attitude (The right one, if only life would be that easy.) My nephew was fortunate to attend the Philadelphia Yeshiva where he witnessed the hanhagos of the rosh hayeshiva, Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, and his son, Rav Shalom Kamenetsky. His father always told him, “Watch Rav Shmuel, and watch Rav Shalom. These are the people you should try to emulate. They are true representations of Torah and what Hashem wants us to be.” (They for sure know what God wants)

But I digress, dear Matzav.com readers.

Getting back to kids going off the derech… I have heard so many times that it’s the “yeshivishe” kids who go off the derech. (Others say it’s the chassidishe kids, but I will not comment on that, because, being Litvish myself, I have limited knowledge of the trends in thechassidishe kehillos.)

To be clear, the claim that yeshivishe kids go off the derech more than, say, Modern Orthodox kids do is simply misleading for numerous reasons. The main reason is because those who go off thederech do what any Modern Orthodox kid does “beheter.”

A good friend of mine, a social worker of our community, attended a conference of Orthodox therapists. She was surprised to learn that problems with off-the-derech kids are much, much worse in Modern Orthodox communities. Whereas our unhappy boys mostly rebel by wearing colored shirts and sneakers, or even going to the malls or the movies, the Modern Orthodox kids aren’t satisfied until they’ve sunken into drugs and more. (Because wearing colored shirts and – gasp – sneakers, is a gross sin) And you know what those kids, who were raised on TV, unlimited internet, etc., say to their therapists? That their parents were so terribly restrictive, so fanatical and old-fashioned, that they had no choice but to rebel.

Of the very few yeshivish or chassidish off-the-derech kids who went all the way, so to speak, with chillul Shabbos and tarfos r”l and otheraveiros chamuros, most did teshuvah after a few years and settled down on a Modern Orthodox level or came back all the way (MO isn’t ALL THE WAY enough for them. You have to wear shoes and white shirts to be fully religious.) One reason is because they’re unequipped to deal with the world out there. I’d say that at least 90% of them are kids from broken homes or boys with learning disabilities that weren’t adequately addressed. Their secular education is almost non-existent and they’re not smart enough to get ahead. So they come back to our communities. (Read: We know that the only way to keep children from becoming secular is to make sure they are unequipped to deal with the real world, and have no choice to return to the cult called Yeshivish Judaism.)

A smart kid from a good home in our communities going off-the-derech is almost unheard of. (Because it isn’t Judaism itself that’s flawed, it always needs to be blamed on something else.) Can it happen? Yes. But it is rare. The overall off-the-derech rate is a small percentage. Granted, every boy who leaves our path is one too many, but in the vast majority of cases, their rebellion stemmed from a family problem, a learning disability, abuse, or something of that sort.

So when we discuss the issue of teens at risk and kids going off thederech, let’s keep this all in perspective. (ignorance is bliss).

{Matzav.com Newscenter} (News is objective. An opinion column is subjective. My blog isn’t news. Apparently neither is Matzav.com)