Fake Image of Islam Threatens Historical Heritage of Islamic Civilization

Iran Review, June 7, 2016

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has urged leaders of the Muslim countries to take the lead in creating a world free of violence and extremism.

“In this critical juncture in Islamic history… a harsh and fake image of Islam threatens the historical heritage of Islamic civilization and philosophy and our co-existence with other religions,” he said.

Religions against Terrorism

A Paper by Walter Schwimmer, Co-Chairman of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, Secretary General of the Council of Europe (1999-2004), delivered at the “Religions against Terrorism” International Conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, on May 31, 2016

The horrific bloody trace of terror from 9/11 to spring 2016 in Brussels produced many different reactions throughout the world. No continent was spared out by the repeated attempts to destroy our common values. But on the one hand the terrorists have only strengthened our resolve to root our values even more firmly across the world. This conference is a part of this response. This reminder of our values is also the finest tribute we can pay to those who perished or were wounded in the terrorist attacks. On the other hand, the fact that most of the terrorists hijacked religion, claim to murder in the name of God raised stereotypes and prejudices and created a wave of Islamophobia which is a matter of concern not only for Muslims, but for all believers and even non-believers. Islamophobia is as dangerous as Anti-Semitism or any other kind of intolerant attitude against a certain group of people.

A Few Comments on the Mis-imagined War on Terrorism

By Zygmunt Bauman, Social Europe, March 29, 2016

Has “the heart of Europe” been targeted with success, as so many opinion makers (for instance, a most authoritative and widely read The New York Times columnist, Roger Cohen, in his entry of 22 March) insinuated after the most recent terrorist assault in Brussels? Or should we condemn and avoid this symbolism so appreciated by terrorists?

That “heart” which the terrorists select, target and lean over backward to hit are those places in which TV cameras are plentiful, always around, and so are the press correspondents, forever thirsty for new shocking sensation guaranteeing high ratings for a few days. Ten times more victims murdered somewhere between the Tropic of Cancer and that of Capricorn (the likes of Somalia, Yemen or Mali) would stand no chance of amplification and magnification that the assaults on New York, Madrid, London, Paris, or Brussels offer. It is in the latter places that whispers acquire the power of thunders; for a minute amount of expenditure – a flight ticket, a Kalashnikov, a primitive home-made explosive, and lives of one or a fistful of desperados – an aggrandizement-seeking schemer can obtain endless hours, days or weeks of free TV time; and, what matters most, trigger a new series of blows delivered by local rulers to the democratic values that they are called to protect and that the terrorists are bent on destroying.

Critique and Communication: Philosophy’s Missions

An Interview with Jürgen Habermas taken by Michaël Fœssel and published at Eurozine

Decades after first encountering Anglo-Saxon perspectives on democracy in occupied postwar Germany, Jürgen Habermas still stands by his commitment to a critical social theory that advances the cause of human emancipation. This follows a lifetime of philosophical dialogue.

Read more

International Mother Earth Day

22 April

This year, Earth Day coincides with the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which will take place at UN Headquarters in New York. The Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. The signing ceremony takes place on the first day that the Agreement will be open for signatures, marking the first step toward ensuring that the Agreement enters into legal force as quickly as possible.

The General Assembly, recognizing that Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit, and noting that Earth Day is observed each year in many countries, decided to designate 22 April as International Mother Earth Day in 2009, with resolution A/RES/63/278.

Read more

Yuri Gagarin, the First Man to Travel into Space

12 quick facts on him and the mission

India Today, April 12, 2016

“The feeling of weightlessness was somewhat unfamiliar compared with Earth conditions. Here, you feel as if you were hanging in a horizontal position in straps. You feel as if you are suspended.” - Yuri Gagarin

Russian-Soviet pilot and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who is well-known as the first human to journey into outer space, became the first human to cross into outer space with the launch of Vostok 1 on April 12 in the year 1961.

On the 55th anniversary of his travelling into space, listed are some lesser-known facts on Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the first man to touch the sky: