I don’t know about where you live, but it’s a glorious day here in Southwest Washington. I can’t really imagine that you have your nose stuck to the screen. But if so, I hope you’re outside–and here are some good articles I’ve run across recently in my meanderings around the Internet.
Why you may want to read it: Britain’s Economist runs a feature called Graphic Detail: a new chart or map each day, often interactive and with interesting external links. Oh, I know, it sounds a little wonky, but take “Sharia Do Like It.”
What exactly do Muslims who support sharia law mean by that, anyway? How does Islam in Afghanistan compare with Islam in, say, Kazakhstan? And how do fans of sharia feel about religious freedom, anyway?
Excerpt: Almost 80% of Egyptian Muslims say they favour religious freedom and a similar number favour sharia law. Of that group, almost 90% also think people who renounce Islam should be put to death. Confused? So are they.
This God creates a world in which it is possible for children to be mistreated in extreme and unmentionable ways — even gunned down at elementary school. This God creates a world in which women are allowed to be abducted and enslaved to sex purveyors who not only have them continually raped and abused, but see them turned to stone — their hearts destroyed and every dream of a good married life with children forever denied them. This God creates a world where people can starve and die of malnutrition and dysentery moment to moment . . . by the millions.
“What sort of God would do this?” asks the doubter, the sensitive soul who desires justice and fairness and a good life for everyone. Who can believe in or worship this God? Isn’t it better to tough it out, deal with doubt and grief, and do something rather than passively believe?
I’ve tried for years to explain to my friend Willie—an Arkansawyer who spent years in sunny California—just what it is about the Pacific Northwest that feeds my soul. The weather here has character, I tell her. And I love the way the fog hangs in the tops of the firs on a fall morning, I tell her.
But it’s hard for outlanders to see past the rain.
Maybe I’ll send her South of Seattle: Notes on Life in the Northwest Woods. Author James LeMonds, son and grandson of loggers, has worked on a railroad section crew, as a logger, in a brewery, and at R. A. Long High School in Longview, Washington, where he taught Shakespeare for almost 20 years. Except for four years at Western Washington University, LeMonds has lived his entire life in the small town of Castle Rock, Washington. In 15 observant essays he conveys a sharp sense of place.