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Comment: Re:Tax evasion (Score 1) 318

I wouldn't exactly call it voluntary. For one thing, Qu'ran is pretty harsh on people who refuse to pay it when they have the means, to the point of calling such munafiq. For another, a state-administered system of collecting it (which was not voluntary) was in place from a very early time, since the second Caliph.

But, yes, the original intent was charity, and specifically a form of guaranteed basic income.

With jizya, yes, it was positioned as a monetary compensation for lack of armed service. On the other hand, the reason why armed service was not expected was also telling: non-Muslims were prohibited from owning and bearing weapons in general.

Comment: Re:More like the "Laptop of Muwhahhahahahaha..." (Score 1) 318

It's not very clear from TFA, but if "virus" is supposed to refer to plague, the hopeful jihadist seems lacking in even basic microbiological knowledge.

Since the hopeful jihadist probably wasn't writing in English, it's just possible that "virus" was a translation error.

Comment: Re:Looking for a real conversation (Score 1) 318

Those quotes are correct. The problem is that taking them like that completely ignores their context. For example, take by far the most widely known verse advocating such things, known as ayat al-sayf, or the Sword Verse:

"So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

The context of this is a war that Muhammad and his followers are waging against a hostile pagan Arab tribe in Mecca (while Muhammad himself is in Medina, where he escaped from Mecca due to persecution). There was a truce in effect at that time, but it was violated by the Meccans, and Muhammad gave them four months to make amends, or else hostilities would be resumed.

Now, most Muslims today interpret this quote in that context - that it was a specific commandment given to the followers within the boundaries set by that particular conflict, and that it ceased to be relevant afterwards. Some - in particular, Salafi - interpret it the way you did, by saying that the context doesn't matter, and that the commandment is generic and applies to the entire Ummah from there on.

The governments are, in fact, fighting the propaganda war - for example, make the state-approved Islamic authorities condemn such interpretations, and issue fatwas against following them.

Comment: Re:Tax evasion (Score 1) 318

No, it's not. GP is entirely correct, zakat is a tax on Muslims, jizya on non-Muslims.

Also, Islamic rulers in the past have extended the notion of "People of the Book" to pretty much any religion that fell under their control in practice - Zoroastrians, even Hindus. The only ones that they truly cannot tolerate is the ones that appeared after Islam and are derived from it or borrow from it heavily (like Yazidi, Ahmadiyya or Ba'hai).

Comment: Re: But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 318

What made you believe this is meant to target USA? ISIS has killed one American so far, and what, around 10K Syrians and Iraqis?

How about Shiite-dominated areas of Iraq, for instance? I doubt their hygiene and medicine is on par with US - can it combat such a threat?

Comment: Re:Can the executive branch be held in contempt? (Score 1) 240

What would happen if the executive branch (which is supposed to enforce the law) simply refused to comply with a judicial order?

Does the phrase "Trail of Tears" mean anything to you?

How about "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!"?

Note that the quotation is likely apocryphal, but it pretty much conveys Jackson's attitude toward the Supremes in regards to the Trail of Tears....

Comment: Re:this would expose an enormous state secret. (Score 1) 240

the deficit is shrinking at a staggering rate.

Yes, it's now the sixth or seventh largest in history...

Note that the only reason the deficit is "shrinking" is that it ballooned enormously (to over twice the previous record) a few years back. It has yet to get back down to the level that was considered "normal" (which most of us considered "too damn high")....

Comment: Re:It'd be nice... (Score 1) 240

half of these is probably about whether or not he slept with that woman... he he...
- Not that I ever cared one bit....

The only thing even remotely interesting about whether he slept with that woman was that, since she was an employee of his, it was a textbook example of workplace sexual harassment.

Even if she was willing....

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 807

by shutdown -p now (#47786509) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

I can't tell about Vietnam and Americans, but I can assure you that e.g. fighter pilots on both the UN (Americans) and the North Korean (Soviets) side knew full well who they were aiming to. And in Vietnam, it was most certainly presented as an American puppet regime with direct involvement in the USSR, so any Soviet troop fighting there would also know full well that he was killing Americans, not just South Vietnamese (indeed, to him, South Vietnamese would be the people that he came to save from American imperialism).

Comment: Re:Her work (Score 1) 1190

It's not enough to merely show suffering if there's no path to rectify the suffering.

It's a bullshit argument, sorry. Not every piece of entertainment is supposed to be a full-fledged women studies teaching material.

But most importantly, there's a question as to the value of this 'realism', even if it were accurate. A lot of terrible things happen in the world that we see fit to ignore. Physics, for one thing. We also don't seem to care about going to the bathroom, cancer or getting oil changes. We're willing to suspend disbelief; this is probably an area where we could live without the casual gendered violence that we've really become accustomed to.

Different games draw the lines differently here. There are some where dying of old age is a possibility, say, and racing games do include oil changes sometimes. With respect to physics, many games are actually trying to make it as real as possible.

Ultimately, the value of this particular bit of realism as a whole is drawing attention to the problem. You can complain that it's not sufficient, but it's way better than nothing.

Comment: Re:Discrimination (Score 1) 541

by Pharmboy (#47785875) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Wikipedia's WikiProject Editor Retention has looked at the same problem, but from a retention point rather than the perspective of attracting new women. There were no real answers, just lots of speculation. Lots of people blame the culture, or say the place is too "rough and tumble" but I found that conclusion rather sexist, as it says that women can't compete for ideas in the same environment as men. There doesn't seems to be a difference in retention of men and women, they just aren't coming to Wikipedia to begin with.

"Now here's something you're really going to like!" -- Rocket J. Squirrel