Fatwa draft (also encyclical, etc.)

People with the necessary authority need to get this out soon:

The God of our great faith is all-knowing and all-powerful. God’s strength is beyond the imagining of humans and infinitely exceeds their puny forces.

If anyone shall teach the opposite, that God–or God’s holy prophets–can receive the slightest pinprick of injury from words, deeds, or thoughts of men, whether casual or purposeful; satirical, disrespectful, or directly hostile, that person is a false teacher and enemy of God. Let him be anathema, cast out from the company of the faithful, or taught the truth by real believers. The blasphemy that God or his prophets require protection by humanity is a sin against every truth and moral duty; to believe that God seeks such protection in the form of violence and bloodshed is to believe what is even more evil.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

2 thoughts on “Fatwa draft (also encyclical, etc.)”

  1. The last victim of the Kouachi brothers was a policeman who tried to stop them as they left the Charlie Hebdo offices. His name was Ahmed Merabek, and like them was a French Muslim of Maghrebi origin. His brother Malek has made a moving plea for tolerance; the video is embedded in this Guardian article.

    The Malek brothers represent by far the dominant face of French Islam. To the extent that the Kouachis, and the lone copycat gunman Amedy Coulibaly, had a political strategy (and on the face of it, they look low-IQ freelancers, primed but perhaps not controlled by terrorist handlers), this can only be to "heighten the contradictions", widen the divide with French Muslims and non-Muslims, and drive the Muslims into Salafism. It's not going to work, thanks to Muslims like the Merabeks. The exposure of millions of European Muslims to the values of the Enlightenment, of Diderot, Hume and Kant, and before them of William the Silent, Roger Williams and John Milton, will gradually transform and modernize Islam. No wonder the Salafists fear the process.

  2. This is very good, Michael.

    I have a related opinion that absolute certainty in one's religious beliefs is also blasphemy, because the believer claims to fully understand the divine, which is not possible for humans. Hence religious believers, as a consequence of their faith, are, to my mind, required to be modest in their claims of understanding, and to avoid certainty.

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