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Culture & Religion

The Bible: Colonising a metaphor

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The Bible tells me so. Lurking behind the Middle East's problems -- and not only -- these days is the misuse of the Bible to further unscrupulous political ends, argues Eric Walberg
 
29/11/7 -- "There is a cry of anguish from the depth of my heart, to my spiritual relatives. Please, please hear the call, the noble call of our scripture," Bishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize beseeched Israelis at "The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel" conference sponsored by Friends of Sabeel North America, a Christian Palestinian group in Boston recently. "Don't be found fighting against this god, your god, our god, who hears the cry of the oppressed," Tutu said.

For more than a century, archaeologists and historians have attempted to confirm beliefs of both Christians and Jews about their common past using the Old Testament (OT) and New Testaments (NT) as starting points. Christians, while embracing the OT as a harmless precursor of the NT, insist that the combined texts prove the truth of Judaic monotheism, with its covenant with God, a covenant that was renewed with the resurrection of Jesus as the Christ. Jews, of course, stick with the basic OT texts, insisting they alone prove their role as God's Chosen People and their right to create a Jewish state, Israel, in the Holy Land.

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The attraction of Islam: Finding the inner Muslim prince

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In the third of his Ramadan articles, Eric Walberg looks at the increasing attraction to Islam on the part of Westerners
27/9/7 -- In part I we saw how the Crusades and their modern equivalents -- imperialism and neo- imperialism -- brought the West's agenda forcibly to the Muslim world, first via missionaries and armies, then businessmen and armies. In the past two centuries the West did much to undermine the raison d'être of the Muslim world, but the increased contacts also opened the doors for Western intellectuals to study its rich cultural heritage and, with the help of sincere translations of the Quran and other religious books, to discover Islam from the inside, not only with an attitude of superiority and hostility.
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The Quran in translation: Reading Islam's holy book

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In the second of his Ramadan series of articles, Eric Walberg looks at the Quran in English

20/9/7 -- The great conundrum of Islam for the non- Arabic speaker is: Can the sacred text be translated without losing its sacredness? Is the true meaning "lost in the translation"?

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Islam and the West: Ever the twain shall meet

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In the first of a series of articles on the occasion of Ramadan, Eric Walberg traces the historical roots of Western-Islamic misunderstanding since Christianity's great rival swept across the Middle East and beyond in the 7-8th cc, culminating in continued attempts to conquer the Muslim world, both physically and spiritually
13/9/7 -- The world today is experiencing unprecedented crisis, with war raging and environmental degradation threatening the entire planet. Who is responsible? The West argues
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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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