Nato fears over Dutch Islam film


Nato’s secretary general says he fears the airing of a Dutch film criticising Islam will have repercussions for troops in Afghanistan. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s comments came after Afghans protested on Sunday against the film being made by far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders.

The Dutch government has warned Mr Wilders that the film will damage Dutch political and economic interests.

Mr Wilders says the film is about the Koran but has given few details.

In the past, he has called for the Koran to be banned and likened it to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The project has already been condemned by several Muslim countries, including Iran and Pakistan.

Nato’s secretary general said he was concerned about his troops after the protests against the film in Afghanistan.

“If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire because of the film, then I am worried about it and I am expressing that concern,” he said in a television interview.

‘Kick out forces’

On Sunday, hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to protest against the film.

Demonstrators burned Dutch flags, and called for the withdrawal of Dutch troops from the Nato force.

The demonstrators say they will step up their protests unless the Afghan government expels the troops.

The protesters also criticised the recent republication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in several Danish newspapers, and called for the withdrawal of Danish troops.

“We don’t want our government to have any diplomatic relations with these two countries,” Maulawi Abdul Hadi, one of the protesters, told the Associated Press news agency.

“We don’t want Danish and Dutch troops in Afghanistan. They should be kicked out of the Nato forces here.”

Mr Wilders has said he expects his 15-minute work will be shown in the Netherlands in March and released on the internet.

Dutch authorities have told him he may have to leave the country for his own safety amid reports of death threats.

Submission

Mr Wilders’ film is called Fitna, an Arabic word used to describe strife or discord.

He has said his film will show how the Koran is “an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror”.

Mr Wilders leads the Freedom Party, which has nine seats in the Dutch parliament.

He has had police protection since Dutch director Theo Van Gogh was killed by a radical Islamist in 2004.

Van Gogh’s film Submission included verses from the Koran shown against a naked female body.

“Danish Queen Masterminded Muhammad Cartoon Affair”

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark was the villain behind a hate campaign against Islam and Muslims which culminated in the Danish Cartoon affair. At least that is what some Danish imams maintain. On 30 September 2005 the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. According to the imams it was the Queen who instigated this when in April 2005 she urged the Danish people to resist Islam.

This allegation was made to Arab newspapers, officials and politicians by Danish imams, touring the Middle East nine months ago in order to stir up hatred and violence against Denmark. The imams claimed Margrethe had urged the Danes to fight the Muslim minority in the country.

This information was revealed last Summer by the Danish Foreign Ministry, which had been informed by Det Dansk-Egyptiske Dialoginstitut, the Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute. The imams also claimed that the Danish government and the Danish people were behind the hate campaign. Hanna Ziadeh, the media researcher for the Det Dansk-Egyptiske Dialoginstitut, said the imams’ aim was to make the entire Danish people responsible for the Muhammad cartoons.

The imams also told the Islamic world that their voice was excluded from the Danish media and that more “horrible reviles” against Islam were being planned in Denmark, including blasphemous films and threats to burn down mosques. Ziadeh said the information he gathered was only from about ten interviews given by the imams to as many large Middle Eastern newspapers. However, the imams talked to many more Arab media, including several TV stations. Only a small part of the false information which the imams spread in the Middle East is actually known in the West. Continue reading ““Danish Queen Masterminded Muhammad Cartoon Affair””

PAGANISM-Druids:-Functions and Powers

1. Druids: their Functions and Powers

Druidism

No trustworthy information regarding the religion of the pagan Irish comes to us from outside : whatever knowledge of it we possess is derived exclusively from the native literature. There were many gods, but no supreme god, like Zeus or Jupiter among the Greeks and Romans. There was little of prayer, and no settled general form of worship. There were no temples: but there were altars of some kind erected to idols or to the gods of the elements (the sun, fire, water, &c.), which must have been in the open air. The religion of the pagan Irish is commonly designated as Druidism: and in the oldest Irish traditions the druids figure conspicuously.

All the early colonists had their druids, who are mentioned as holding high rank among kings and chiefs. There were druids also in Gaul and Britain; but the Gaels of Ireland and Scotland were separated and isolated for many centuries from the Celtic races of Gaul; and thus their religious system, like their language, naturally diverged, so that the druidism of Ireland, as pictured forth in the native record differed in many respects from that of Gaul.

In pagan times the druids were the exclusive possessors of whatever learning was then known. They combined in themselves all the learned professions: they were not only druids, but judges prophets, historians, poets, and even physicians, There were druids in every part of Ireland, but, as we might expect, Tara, the residence of the over-kings of Ireland, was, as we are told in the Life of St. Patrick, “the chief seat of the idolatry and druidism of Erin.” The druids had the reputation of being great magicians; and in this character they figure more frequently and conspicuously than in any other. In some of the old historical romances we find the issues of battles sometimes determined not so much by the valour of the combatants as by the magical powers of the druids attached to the armies. Continue reading “PAGANISM-Druids:-Functions and Powers”

The Thinning Veil- Samhain

The Thinning Veil by Copperlion

To the ancient Celts, the year had two “hinges”. These were Beltaine (the first of May) and Samhain, (the first of November), which is also the traditional Celtic New Year. And these two days were the most magical, and often frightening times of the whole year.

The Celtic people were in superstitious awe of times and places “in between”. Holy sites were any border places – the shore between land and water (seas, lakes, and rivers), bridges, boundaries between territories (especially when marked by bodies of water), crossroads, thresholds, etc. Holy times were also border times – twilight and dawn marking the transitions of night and day; Beltaine and Samhain marking the transitions of summer and winter. Read your myths and fairytales – many of the stories occur in such places, and at such times.

At Samhain (which corresponds to modern Halloween), time lost all meaning and the past, present, and future were one. The dead, and the denizens of the Other World, walked among the living. It was a time of fairies, ghosts, demons, and witches. Winter itself was the Season of Ghosts, and Samhain is the night of their release from the Underworld. Many people lit bonfires to keep the evil spirits at bay. Often a torch was lit and carried around the boundaries of the home and farm, to protect the property and residents against the spirits throughout the winter.

Many Irish and Scottish Celts appeased their dead with a traditional Dumb Supper. On Samhain Eve, supper was served in absolute silence, and one place was set at the head of the table “for the ancestors”. This place was served food and drink without looking directly at the seat, for to see the dead would bring misfortune. Afterwards, the untouched plate and cup were taken outside “for the pookas”, and left in the woods. In other traditions, this is the night to remember, honor, and toast our beloved departed, for the veil between the living and the dead is thin, and communication is possible on Samhain Eve
Continue reading “The Thinning Veil- Samhain”

BELIEFS of Druidism

BELIEFS

One of the most striking characteristics of Druidism is the degree to which it is free of dogma and any fixed set of beliefs or practices. In this way it manages to offer a spiritual path, and a way of being in the world that avoids many of the problems of intolerance and sectarianism that the established religions have encountered.

There is no ‘sacred text’ or the equivalent of a bible in Druidism and there is no universally agreed set of beliefs amongst Druids. Despite this, there are a number of ideas and beliefs that most Druids hold in common, and that help to define the nature of Druidism today:

 
Theology

Since Druidry is a spiritual path – a religion to some, a way of life to others – Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life. Some will favour a particular way of understanding the source of this spiritual nature, and may feel themselves to be animists, pantheists, polytheists, monotheists or duotheists. Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.

Monotheistic druids believe there is one Deity: either a Goddess or God, or a Being who is better named Spirit or Great Spirit, to remove misleading associations to gender. But other druids are duotheists, believing that Deity exists as a pair of forces or beings, which they often characterise as the God and Goddess.

Polytheistic Druids believe that many gods and goddesses exist, while animists and pantheists believe that Deity does not exist as one or more personal gods, but is instead present in all things, and is everything.

Whether they have chosen to adopt a particular viewpoint or not, the greatest characteristic of most modern-day Druids lies in their tolerance of diversity: a Druid gathering can bring together people who have widely varying views about deity, or none, and they will happily participate in ceremonies together, celebrate the seasons, and enjoy each others’ company – realising that none of us has the monopoly on truth, and that diversity is both healthy and natural.

Nature forms such an important focus of their reverence, that whatever beliefs they hold about Deity, all Druids sense Nature as divine or sacred. Every part of nature is sensed as part of the great web of life, with no one creature or aspect of it having supremacy over any other. Unlike religions that are anthropocentric, believing humanity occupies a central role in the scheme of life, this conception is systemic and holistic, and sees humankind as just one part of the wider family of life.


 
The Otherworld

Although Druids love Nature, and draw inspiration and spiritual nourishment from it, they also believe that the world we see is not the only one that exists. A cornerstone of Druid belief is in the existence of the Otherworld – a realm or realms which exist beyond the reach of the physical senses, but which are nevertheless real.

This Otherworld is seen as the place we travel to when we die. But we can also visit it during our lifetime in dreams, in meditation, under hypnosis, or in ‘journeying’, when in a shamanic trance.

Different Druids will have different views on the nature of this Otherworld, but it is a universally held belief for three reasons. Firstly, all religions or spiritualities hold the view that another reality exists beyond the physical world, rather than agreeing with Materialism, that holds that only matter exists and is real. Secondly, Celtic mythology, which inspires so much of Druidism, is replete with descriptions of this Otherworld. Thirdly, the existence of the Otherworld is implicit in ‘the greatest belief’ of the ancient Druids, since classical writers stated that the Druids believed in a process that has been described as reincarnation or metempsychosis (in which a soul lives in a succession of forms, including both human and animal). In between each life in human or animal form the soul rests in the Otherworld.
Continue reading “BELIEFS of Druidism”

Christianity and Druidry, strange bedfellows or a match made in heaven?


by David Lindholm

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1)

Being a Christian myself I know full well that the above quote is not one that has enjoyed any greater degree of attention during the last millennia of Christian faith. This is very unfortunate and has created a tension that has estranged most of the modern western world from a natural life and a connection to the natural world and her cycles and rhythms.

I joined OBOD in the roaring 90’s (Imagining being able to say that!) and worked my way through to the Druid grade. It was a transforming journey and the diploma (don’t know if that is an accurate term, but it will do) hangs over my desk where I work daily. Druidry changed my outlook on life drastically and fundamentally in a way that was profound. How does this connect with the title above? Well I have been close to the Christian tradition all my life. My grandfather was a priest and later converted to the Catholic Church with his wife, my dear grandmother. At their knees I heard all about the lives of saints like St. Francis, George, Dominikus and more like them. But I also heard at the age of five the tales of Arthur and his knights from my grandfather, and when the tales were told and I asked for more, he wrote more stories for me to enjoy about these immortal heroes. These were magical and held within them a Christian message, but a bit different from what I later snapped up at the services. It was a Christianity that was filled with good men and women, very few priests and even fewer churches.

These tales stayed with me and I read even more as I grew older, and I learned to read English books at the age of 13 for this very reason. I continued to go to church now and then but felt estranged; all this talk of sin, the badness of the body and the general ugliness of things material rhymed very poorly with what my grandfather had told me. Then I discovered sexuality, and we do not need to go into the general church policy on that issue.
Continue reading “Christianity and Druidry, strange bedfellows or a match made in heaven?”

Christianity and Druidry, strange bedfellows or a match made in heaven?


by David Lindholm

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1)

Being a Christian myself I know full well that the above quote is not one that has enjoyed any greater degree of attention during the last millennia of Christian faith. This is very unfortunate and has created a tension that has estranged most of the modern western world from a natural life and a connection to the natural world and her cycles and rhythms.

I joined OBOD in the roaring 90’s (Imagining being able to say that!) and worked my way through to the Druid grade. It was a transforming journey and the diploma (don’t know if that is an accurate term, but it will do) hangs over my desk where I work daily. Druidry changed my outlook on life drastically and fundamentally in a way that was profound. How does this connect with the title above? Well I have been close to the Christian tradition all my life. My grandfather was a priest and later converted to the Catholic Church with his wife, my dear grandmother. At their knees I heard all about the lives of saints like St. Francis, George, Dominikus and more like them. But I also heard at the age of five the tales of Arthur and his knights from my grandfather, and when the tales were told and I asked for more, he wrote more stories for me to enjoy about these immortal heroes. These were magical and held within them a Christian message, but a bit different from what I later snapped up at the services. It was a Christianity that was filled with good men and women, very few priests and even fewer churches.

These tales stayed with me and I read even more as I grew older, and I learned to read English books at the age of 13 for this very reason. I continued to go to church now and then but felt estranged; all this talk of sin, the badness of the body and the general ugliness of things material rhymed very poorly with what my grandfather had told me. Then I discovered sexuality, and we do not need to go into the general church policy on that issue.

As I grew older I ventured through all kinds of spiritual paths, never feeling at home or being able to believe in what they said. It was all a bit too glib, if you understand my meaning. So by the time I got to Druidry I felt quite disillusioned with the whole idea of spirituality, no matter what flavour, to be frank – and ordinary churchgoing was not an option. But as I worked my way through the coursework I discovered several things. The most important thing for me in retrospect was that there had existed a different Christian tradition, one that was really the Good News, rather then the depressing and life denying rigmarole that you get served on Sundays. I also learned that the nature that I love, man and woman, and the whole Universe had been and could again be viewed in a totally different light.

I read about St. Patrick, Columba, Brendan, and the unjustly wronged Pelagius, the Celtic church and its venerable age and its efforts in spreading the Good News when the world grew darker and colder. This rekindled a hope in the possibility of finding again a Christianity that was indeed Good News to all, not just to a select and isolated few. I am a trained historian and archaeologist with the Middle Ages as my specialty so I know full well that the tradition as such is dead and gone. Or is it?

I went back to the original sources in the years after I completed the coursework. I read the desert fathers, gospel of Thomas, apocrypha, Gnostic works, orthodox works, the remains of the Celtic church in the form of missals and prayers. I read and read and read. Then I went again to the most important work of all, The Gospels themselves and actually tried to read what they said, not what I have been taught that they were supposed to mean. It was a rewarding read my friends. I then turned to those writers of today that are striving to if not resurrect but bring to life a faith that does somersaults of joy for life itself. Some are of a more Celtic vein, others like Matthew Fox more modern. I read Thomas Merton and Willfred Stinnissen, good Christians all with bright ideas.

A new birth is taking place, and it must be so. The old church is dying, literally, only the old are churchgoers today and the reason is that we feel in our hearts that what is preached from the pulpit is simply not true. The tragedy is that even if we want to believe in the Good News, the very institution of the Church kills that longing in the heart oh so quickly. And it was then that I thought again about Druidry. Christianity needs to be reinterpreted in the light of existence; I mean seriously, God himself in Genesis says that creation is GOOD! That he is pleased! How can the church go against that, after all is he not the Boss? Well they can’t and neither can they twist the Good News anymore if you do not let them.

There is a very important little secret that the church does not want you to know. Jesus said “Whenever two or more of you are gathered, I will be among you” and he also said “I will be with you until the end of time”. If you read the Good News and Acts it is quite plain that God is not asking for churches, altars, robes, chandeliers, crosses in gold, and churchgoing once a week. Our Lord is a stern taskmaster he asks for nothing less than your whole life. Period. But the catch is that you must live his words everyday in your daily life, Jesus has some very severe words for the hypocrites that visit him once a week and then act like demons out of hell the rest of the week.

The truth is that if you live his words, you do not need any church at all. Whenever we gather together it should be in joy and simplicity, very much like the early Celtic church. This is where Druidry comes in. There is a great interest in the early Christianity of the British isles and it is not possible to understand it without an understanding of its pagan roots. We need to find our way back to a veneration of God in all things, Panenthesim as Matthew Fox coined it. God is in all things, but things are not God and God is more than them. Druidry stands astride both traditions, Christianity and Paganism, and if Christianity is going to flourish again it must find its way back to the simple life and we must learn to learn from each other.

For too long Christianity has persecuted those who do not agree with them – there is not much love in that. “Do unto others as you want others to do unto you” the Lord said. Well if we Christians mean what we have done, we have a very long and unpleasant reckoning to expect. It is my belief that it is both possible and necessary to come together outside of the established churches. Let them wither as they will, and let us come together, Christian and Pagan as Good Friends that hope for the same things but choose to understand them differently. It is my belief that God in his love (I say his although I believe that God is neither man or woman, or maybe both. Who knows? I sure don’t!) does not really care so much about where we choose to worship, but that we are good men and women. We must become good brothers and sisters to each other, and then we will be doing the Lord’s bidding. To do this we must turn to the Mystical, to experiencing God personally, not settling for a second-hand account once a week. I can think of no better way than to conclude with a short prayer that is one of the most beautiful ever written.

Christ ever with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ to my right side, Christ to my left side
Christ in his breadth, Christ in his length, Christ in depth
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me.

David Lindholm
Stockholm, Sweden April 2005