Archive for July 4th, 2008

Prestasi Sekolah Terbuka berbasis Ubuntu

Kabar gembira dari SMP Terbuka Firdaus – anak-anak didik nya berhasil merebut berbagai gelar juara di lomba cerdas cermat se Jawa Barat.
Selamat untuk semua kawan-kawan yang telah terlibat dan memungkinkan ini semua menjadi kenyataan ! :)
Terlampir email terimakasih dari ibu Ida Sitompul :
Saat ini sedang berlangsung lomojari (lomba cerdas cermat) antar SMP terbuka se Jabar. Tiga orang wakil dari SMP terbuka Firdaus lolos di tiga besar di tingkat kota. Satu orang menjadi juara satu, dua orang ada di kelompok yang jadi juara tiga. Ketiganya akan jadi wakil dalam lomba tingkat propinsi, dua sebagai tim inti, satu sebagai cadangan.

Dalam lomba kemarin, anak-anak ini lolos dengan flying colors dalam pelajaran TIK. Ini tidak lepas dari tangan-tangan Isneter yang telah memungkinkan mereka mendapat akses terhadap komputer dan tangan dingin Mbak Enggar (aka Mrs, Kuncoro) dan Mbak Novi, temannya Wisnupraba (anggota baru Isnet).

Two thumbs up for the people who make it possible!!! May Allah bless you all!


Misinformation on / Propaganda against Islam

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.
— Thomas Paine

As a man with belief (Islam), I fully agree on that statement. God has bestowed us with a superior brain, therefore we should really try to fully utilize it. This is one way to say “thank you” for the gift.

A bit about a belief system, like Islam – there are parts of it that can be made into (you can probably describe as) dogma. Therefore, you just believe, no need to ask questions. This can save a lot of hassle of thinking about so many things. You just do. However, of course, this makes us susceptible to liars & soothsayers.

Islam, although can be viewed as a literal “Human’s Guide to Life”, it prefers us to use our brain. The first phrase ever revealed was “iqra” – meaning: “read”. And there are also numerous commands in Quran telling us to think about things – “afala ta’qilun”.

Yet, not many are doing this. Many of our current problems may very well caused by us being led ashtray by our “leaders”. They took advantage of our inability to think critically, and lied to us for their own gain.

This has caused many to defect from Islam.

I have friends who became agnostic, because she/he really hates how our Muslim “leaders” have prohibited us from thinking. Some have become atheists. Some have changed religion. My own experience have been written partially here. Many have suffered from the dogmas.

Naturally, I’d assume that they, these intelligent defectors, will be more able to think more intellectually. Most are. But some are actually actively misleading others. This is worse – they act as the superior intelectual beings, but in reality they’re acting like those they hate most. These are the Islamophobics.

Their intelligence has been consumed by their hate. Still pretending to be rational, but most of the time it’s their ego talking. It is really sad to see these people, consumed alive by the fire within themselves. But more dangerous is that they’re trying to bring down others with them as well.

An example can be found here.

The level of misinformation on that single-post is truly astounding.
They’re easy to debunk if we care to spend a bit of time and think. Let’s see what we can find :

1. Islam means peace

As any translator can tell you, translating is not always an exact science for many reasons. For example, I was not able to find an equivalent of “pseudoscience” in Indonesian.

A rich language such as Arabic will have words which may have no parallels in other languages. In this case, sometimes we’llĀ  have to settle with words which are closer to its actual meaning.

And in the case of “islam”, it is indeed can be translated as “peace”. Permutations of the word can also be translated as different meanings.

So indeed Islam means peace, and saying not so is either ignorance or a lie in itself.

2. Christ is a prophet of Islam

Jesus Christ, or known as Isa, is indeed a prophet in Islam. The author complained about why we don’t care about his teachings then ? Well, the problem is that his original teachings has been altered. This is quite well documented & researched. Also try searching for “council of nicea” for a bit more details on the subject. However, the original alterations were already made by Paul even before that, so if you’re interested on this subject, then you need to focus your research on the person.

Anyway, all prophets are teaching about monotheism, a single God. In this case, both Isa & Muhammad are exactly the same.

3. Allah means God

I really don’t understand why he’s complaining that the word Allah was originated from Aramaic language. It even strengthens our link with other Abrahamic faith, effectively annuling his #2 complain even.

4. Islam allows free thinking

This is a fact, even encouraged in Islam. There are numerous advantages to those who would think. It is even declared that those who also think are siginificantly better off in God’s view than those who just pray.

5. Islam is Universal

Indeed it is. It’s being taught and practiced all over the world.

It’s even already practiced out of this Earth :)
Recently one of the shuttle’s astronaut is a Muslim, and he continued to be able to practice Islam on the space.

6. Islam is pro-equality

SirArthur claimed that : “Islam is based and supports many kinds of hierarchies with high levels of discrimination and enslavement.”

No idea why, how, where did he got such ideas. If he’s willing to spend even a bit of time looking at the original sources, he would have a different ideas.

For example; he complained about “hierarchies”. I was confused, what hierarchies? Even Muhammad himself was not happy if he arrived and people stood up to respect him. He declared that everyone is equal in front of God. He didn’t even prescribed any power/control system for us (democracy, monarchy, etc) until his death, leaving that up to us.

7. Islam isn’t racist

SirArthur said that “he (Muhammad) compared the black people’s head with raisins” as the base of his argument that Islam is racist.

When I looked for the source, here’s what I found :

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah’s Apostle said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.” (Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 256)

Well, it suddenly become totally different isn’t it. You thought an agnostic would know better than quoting something out of context / cherry-picking verses like this… anyway, SirArthur could be an agnostic in disguise.

The source even strengthen our #6 argument that Islam indeed is pro-equality. Where else a black slave could become ruler for others ? This is completely unthinkable in even America up to the 60’s, and it still never happened that a black man become a president there. While Islam has preached about this since 14 centuries ago.

8. You can try Islam and if you don’t like you can quit

SirArthur claimed that “The penalty for leaving Islam is death.”

In Quran itself it’s claimed that “there is no compulsion in religion”. Muhammad himself has pardoned apostate, not execute him. And there’s is simply no historical record that indicates Muhammad or any of his companions ever sentenced anyone to death for apostasy.

A more detailed discussion on the subject can be read here.

9. Islam allows Christians and Jews to live free within Muslim controlled countries

It is. At one point of time, some Christians even preferred to live under the rule of Muslims, since they will receive better treatment.

SirArthur complained that “They do under a tax and several cut off of citizenship rights“. I was laughing reading it, as if he’s not paying any tax ? :) Come on.

Anyway, the so-called “evil” jizyah is to be paid by non-muslim, because they’re exempt from Zakat. So, muslim pay Zakat, and non-Muslim pay Jizyah. Equality again here. So what’s the problem?
The mind boggles.

And lack of certain “citizenship rights”, I was suffering under the same term when I lived in UK. It is very well expected that non-citizens are not to have the full rights of a citizen. For example, I paid the full tax, but I didn’t get any benefit (example: children welfare support, etc).

In reverse, there was no such discrimination in Islam. Non-muslims who are on good terms with Muslims are expected to be treated equally. Even at war, muslims will prefer to die protecting them, rather than letting them be slaughtered by the attacking army.

10. Taxes may be lower with Islam

SirArthur claimed that “tax is addressed to religion, not to the public benefice or infrastructures“.

Um… no. Tax (Zakat) is supposed to be first addressed to the poor ones. More details here.

Other uses of Zakat follows after that one.

11. Islam is about charity

SirArthur claimed “but Muslim charity can only be addressed to other Muslims. In order to a Muslim to aid a non-Muslim this last one has to convert first (or die starve)“. This is simply a lie.

Muhammad was very well known for his generosity to all living being. Including non-muslim.

In one case, there was once a blind Jewish beggar who kept cursing Muhammad in Medina and say bad things about him. What he did in return was he make sure the beggar is well fed, he will even fed the beggar himself. All without revealing his identity at all to him.

When Muhammad died, Abu Bakr decided to try to continue his habits, including feeding this beggar. The beggar however instantly noticed, he screamed that Abu Bakr is not the usual person, that the previous one was treating him with more care & gentleness.
This made Abu Bakr to cry, and he revealed that it was Muhammad who was giving the charity to him. It’s easy to predict that the beggar was deeply touched by all this, and at the end he converted to Islam.

These are what Muhammad has been teaching to all of us. Compassion to others. Excellent manners.

It’s a pity that many Muslims missed it, and therefore causing others to hate us. We need to sort out our act, and the sooner the better indeed.

Re: Misinformation against Islam — there are so many others out there. It’s so easy to create a lie, there’d be no way I’d be able to counter all of them.

But the point of this post is to implore you, dear readers, to not blindly belief everything. God has given us brain for us to use. Not to be disused. To those who doesn’t belief in God, then please examine the quote from Thomas Paine which I’ve mentioned at the beginning in this post.
It will help ensure our, your, own well-being.

Hope you have found this post useful.


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