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Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

How Do Americans View Eidul Azha?

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eidul-azha

This year, a controversy surrounded the arrival of Eidul Azha, the second most important holiday in Islam, involving the holiday’s date, as the Express Tribune reported: American Muslims on edge as Eidul Azha looks set to fall on September 11th.

Muslims abroad, especially in the United States, faced the prospect that celebration would coincide with a day of mourning of those killed at the World Trade Centres. As a result, some Muslim leaders prepared for tension between their community and anti-Muslim bigots. In the New York Times, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said…(continue)

 

Written by Caleb Powell

September 24, 2016 at 9:09 am

Posted in Express Tribune, Islam

Tagged with

Why the US should welcome Syrian refugees without prejudice

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Syrian Refugees

I wrote about Syrian refugees at The Express Tribune Blogs. Friends who are/were refugees/immigrants, like Ali A. Rizvi & Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, support secularism and diversity. Their voices add to the cultures of Canada and the United States. To assume that 10,000 Syrians are unable to criticize religion, and will blindly follow fundamentalist ideology, is ridiculous. Most will take advantage of their new freedoms.

Here’s my take, Why the US should welcome Syrian refugees without prejudice:

“A meme circulating the internet these days goes,

“Before you condemn Syrian refugees, make sure you never said ‘All Lives Matter’.”

The irony is clear. The fate of Syrian refugees fleeing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been put in limbo in the aftermath of the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, as seen by an increase in the US of anti-refugee rhetoric…(more)”

Also, other blogs at ET worth reading by and :
Why Muslims should empathise with Islamophobia
#ParisAttacks: Blaming the refugees for the attacks on France is like blaming the victim for escaping the abuser

 

 

 

 

Written by Caleb Powell

November 27, 2015 at 3:23 am

Tahera Ahmad: Drama Queen or Victim?

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Tahera Ahmad ExTrib

Drama Queen?  From the dust up over Ms. Tahera Ahmad and the Diet Coke, there’s a compelling case that she overreacted and may be more drama queen than victim. And she will lose all credibility if she pursues a lawsuit. But does that matter or excuse bigotry? I write at the Express Tribune:

“If you have been following the ‘Tahera Ahmad and the Diet Coke’ saga, you know that a United Airlines flight attendant refused to serve a Muslim Chaplain, Ms Ahmad, on the grounds that the can could be used as a weapon, a disagreement followed, and a fellow passenger made profane comments aimed at her religious identity… more here”

Related:
Tahera Ahmad and the curious case of Islamophobia – The Nation PK
It’s just a can of soda – Dawn
My name is Tahera and I need Coke! – The Nation PK

Written by Caleb Powell

June 14, 2015 at 9:07 am

Posted in Express Tribune, Islam

Sarah Haider’s “Islam and the Necessity of Liberal Critique”

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Sarah Haider, above, articulates the dialectics between not only Islamists and the West, but within liberals who fail to use one standard for religion. A great speech. May she be invited to universities and public forums all over America.

Bigot Deepa Kumar uses “Native Informants” to describe ex-Muslims

Apostasy:  The choice to leave religion. Those who persecute apostasy violate human rights. Hatred of apostates is similar to misogyny, racism, genocide (religious, ethnic, or national), and hatred of homosexuals. Such countries, cultures, and individuals must be challenged. Thanks to Sarah Haider for her courage to tackle one of the most pressing moral issues of our day.

Highlights:

2:20:  “Ex-Muslims, arguably more than any other group are deeply familiar with the problems entrenched within Muslim communities and inherent in Islamic scriptures. As most of us happen to be both people of color and first or second generation immigrants, we are doubly affected, both by hatred and violence from Muslims, but also bigotry and xenophobia from the broader American public.”

2:50:  “I always expected feeling unwelcome from Muslim audiences, but I didn’t anticipate an equal amount of hostility from my allies on the left. For example, when I first published a piece fact checking Reza Aslan (Patheos – Reza Aslan Is Wrong About Islam and This Is Why)…on his dismissal of female genital mutilation as only an African problem, not a Muslim one. I got many response from people unhappy with what I wrote, almost all of whom questioned my motives rather than addressing my claim. To my surprise, most of my critics were not Muslim, rather, they identified as liberals…Now remember, I published a fact check. It seems to me it would be easy to verify my claims:  fact check the fact check.”

4:01:  “Atheists and secularists can feel secure in the knowledge that their allies on the liberal left will stand with them when their target is the far-right Christians….But when the same scrutiny is applied to Islam you find that, inexplicably, some people on the left begin to align themselves with the Islamic religious right.”

7:02:    “Dean Obeidallah, who is a comedian and author and a liberal Muslim, attempted to defend the Muslim countries by pointing out errors (CNN – Bill Maher’s Muslim Problem) in the statistics Maher used. Let me quote his piece on CNN. He says, ‘a 2013 Pew poll actually found only 64% of Egyptians supported this.’ By ‘this’ he means the death penalty, ‘still alarmingly high, but not 90%….while only 13 Muslim nations have penalties for apostasy, while 34 do not.”

8:34:  “Why is my life worth less?”

EXMNA

Written by Caleb Powell

May 28, 2015 at 10:37 pm

Honor: A Murder in the United Arab Emirates

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“Al Ain Appeal Court upheld the execution sentence of the Jordanian man after it found him guilty of killing Palestinian Eman Ibrahim Kagila…” from 7Days in Dubai

Over four years ago a friend and former student of mine from when I taught in the UAE, Ceza (a pseudonym), told me her friend, Eman, had been murdered. This became a catalyst for my work-in-progress about Islam, from the fatwa against Salman Rushdie to now, and the role Muslim women play in the future of the world; as well, this led me to write for the Karachi based Express Tribune. Excerpts of my work-in-progress are forthcoming or in these print literary journals: Harpur Palate, New Madrid, Pleiades, and Whiskey Island Magazine. And online, The Doctor T.J. Eckleberg Review recently published “Honor,” an essay introducing Ceza:

Honor

Sharaf – الشرف

“It is what is called a crime of honor, Jamirat el Sharaf,
and for the men of my region it is not considered a crime.” – Souad…more

Written by Caleb Powell

January 26, 2015 at 9:43 am

Posted in Islam

Tagged with , ,

Judging Aasia Bibi, Judging Islam

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State Sanctioned Murder:  The Pakistani courts, after a lengthy trial, verdict, sentencing, and appeals regarding Aasia (Asia) Bibi’s alleged blasphemy, ruled in support of “Judicial Murder.” The accused will not be the only one to receive judgment. My take at the Express Tribune:

“Aasia Bibi, mother of five, sits in prison hoping one last appeal will save her from death row. If she is executed, as with the lynching of Shahzad and Shama Masih and the assassination of Salman Taseer, Islam will be judged…” Will Islam be judged if Aasia Bibi is executed?

Further Thoughts:  The injustice with blasphemy cases are two fold. First, they often are flimsy, the guilt of the accused is dubious, and the accusers often are settling scores. Second, even if the accused is guilty, the accused should not face capital punishment, not to mention that any penalty can seem absurd from the outside. More later.

Related:  Pakistan’s blasphemy laws legitimize intolerance – The Economist

Pakistani Woman Facing Death – The Guardian

Blasphemy Law Highlights Pakistan’s Hypocrisy – The Daily Beast

Written by Caleb Powell

December 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Express Tribune: Interfaith Gestures

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My first post at Pakistan’s Express Tribune, “Interfaith Gestures:  Moral Placebos or Progress?

On November 14, 2014, Muslims prayed at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. South Africa’s US Ambassador, Ebrahim Rasool, gave a sermon and declared that, “never again must there be intolerance towards Christians or any other faith,” and media observers heralded this breakthrough in interfaith relations, though not all cheered. The prayers were interrupted by a heckler screaming that America was “founded on Christian principles”…more

Written by Caleb Powell

November 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

A Conversation with a Pakistani Feminist

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Saadia

“We need to focus on the more progressive areas of Islam.” – Saadia Haq

Saadia Haq was born in Karachi and has worked in development and media with Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan, Internews Pakistan, FM radio, peace-building and lobbying the UN on the rights of women and religious minorities. She has traveled and worked in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Caleb Powell:  Tell us about your experience with Westerners.

Saadia Haq:  Respecting cultural diversity as a female journalist granted me opportunities to find the unknown stories. During my developmental career I worked with various Westerners; including several American journalists, male, during their stints in Pakistan on floods and quake issues. I found them to be very fair, professional and good humored.

However working with Western women is mixed. Basically they’re obsessed about hijab as opposed to other topics like economic, educational rights and how to their provide assistance. Western men didn’t care whether I wore jeans and T-shirt during desk work which is the usual attire for most of us, or national dress in the rural conservative settings where I’d wear a chadoor; it’s our version of covering.

Although this might be off-track, in September, 2010 UNHCR’s Goodwill Ambassador Ms. Angelina Jolie visited flood struck Pakistan. She was modestly dressed and offered compassion to people by sitting in dirt, debris – offering handshakes to rural people who didn’t even know she’s a global sensation. She respected our cause and thus is appreciated by all Pakistanis.

But most Western women showed annoyance when they’d be forced to wear it during their visits in villages/conservative areas. They’d insist that I am self-contradictory for both wearing Pakistani dresses and jeans. However I’m south Asian and very proud of it, there is “indirectness and distance in our culture” and I can appreciate and criticize its finer and not so fine parts.

I don’t think my body is a mannequin to be viewed, admired, and touched by all and sundry and I don’t require lessons from Western women teaching or belittling me.

Powell:  How did they belittle you?

Haq:  Well, it’s like why push your totally opposite values in someone else’s country? My feminist coworkers tried entering the Shah Faisal mosque, a tourist attraction, in very revealing clothes in our Europeanized capital Islamabad. That is an insult to not only religion, Islam, but also shows superiority or worse off ignorance. I feel that women in West, however concerned they are for counter-parts in less free places, must also realize that radical protests and campaigns against hijab won’t really work.

Bra burning topless women protestors might work in Western countries, but these stunts won’t really do any good for women rights debates in the less-women friendly countries including Muslim countries. One cannot impose ideology, this creates an East-West divide.

Caleb, probably you have been in Pakistan or Iran, do you think this will work?

Powell:  I’ve been to Karachi but not Iran, but I think it wouldn’t work in both places. And I think protests like FEMEN might work to a degree in the West, especially to bring attention to certain problems, but they risk losing followers at the same time, especially with conservatives, who need reform the most.

Haq:  Although I’m not a hijab user, I was extremely disturbed that FEMEN activists in France said things like “better naked than the burqa.” They use the removal of clothes in public to promote women’s rights. This reinforces racist discourse and causes damage rather than supports the struggles of the women they call their sisters. Thanks to such public stunts the good that Muslim women feminists could do and already are trying to do gets undone, because the message becomes, like…see, Western women are naked and they want our women to also become naked. In red light districts in Amsterdam or Copenhagen there are all these pictures of naked women and rampant prostitution. Sex trafficking is a global problem. Why not fight that?

Hilariously, I had a strange conversation with a German female coworker who said, “Well, if we want to prostitute ourselves we will as we are free.” I am totally in agreement, but this doesn’t work in Pakistan where women are forced into the prostitution industry.

I am the first one to criticize violence against women within my country, which is getting more and more dangerous with Islamist takeovers. I think feminist groups from East and West have to sit down to debate a middle ground for supporting women in countries like Tunisia, Pakistan, Jordan, etc etc.

Islam has not yet undergone a revolution like Christianity. It would be useful if, globally, feminists united to develop innovative measures of using both Islam as religion and Eastern tradition for women’s rights, instead of rejecting Islam completely. Economic rights  in Islam like inheritance from father/husband, even if lesser share for daughters is advocated, is better than nothing and its better than killing daughters in their sleep like what is happening in many parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Right to education and also right to choose partner are equal for both Muslim men and women, but distorted versions of Sharia and gender inequality are promoted and taught by radical Islamists. To undo the harm we need to focus on the more progressive areas of Islam. If we are able to do that many Muslim feminists will not hesitate to stand with feminists from the West; we need a relationship with trust and respect.

It is hard to be rejected and belittled and face intimidation in our own home countries, because most Muslim feminists stand at a middle point. We are targeted by our own culture for NON CONFORMING and targeted in the West for not doing enough.

Written by Caleb Powell

January 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

Posted in Humanitarianism, Islam

Tagged with ,

May’s Selection for Seattle’s Gay & Lesbian Book Club: Stories for Boys by Gregory Martin

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Gregory Martin’s Stories for Boys (Hawthorne Books) follows the trauma his family suffered after his father revealed a promiscuous gay lifestyle. In societies awakening from the time when homosexuality has been regarded as taboo or worse, his book will be included as one in a succession of catalysts provoking homosexual men to shed the duplicity and masquerade of presenting themselves outwardly as heterosexual.

Gregory Martin visited Seattle recently to discuss his book at the Seattle Public Library’s Seattle Reads program. I met Greg at Elliott Bay Books on Seattle’s Capitol Hill and we discussed Jason Collins’ coming out, the films of Ang Lee, and the implications of Stories for Boys for future generations.

 INTERVIEW:

Caleb Powell: Your book hit home from the outset with your father’s attempted suicide, coming out, and then divorce. Your narrative interspersed with strong essayistic momentum, the presence of Whitman, watching M*A*S*H with your father…these interludes complemented the whole. Well done. But I want to focus on one thing you wrote, that nothing is more important to our society than our treatment of homosexuals. We face terrorism, economic disparity, environmental issues, poverty and so forth, so why do you think homosexual rights deserve to be at the forefront?

Gregory Martin:  I guess the first thing is that I don’t think the issue of sexual identity is in competition with any of those other things. In the sense that—the fact we may have no more polar bears in the future…is awful. I don’t think it’s more or less awful, necessarily, it’s just awful. I was speaking in respect to civil rights issues. I wrote that it was “the most important moral issue we face as a country since Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.” Like just today, in basketball, Jason Collins coming out as an active NBA player.

Powell:  Definitely.

Martin:  Yeah. And Kobe Bryant, who was called out a few years ago for making a gay slur, Tweeted yesterday in support of Collins. There’s this domino effect happening, right now, a beautiful thing. Brittney Griner, an amazing basketball player, probably the best women’s basketball player in the country, can come out.

Powell:  In the early eighties Billie Jean King, married to a man for years, came out as she retired, and Martina Navratilova came out in the early eighties at about the same time. Women are a little ahead of us men in that respect.

Martin:  True, and that’s why the Jason Collins thing is important. Hopefully stories like my dad’s will be more infrequent. I mean, I think there’s always going to be this very conservative, fundamental aspect of our society where being openly gay isn’t possible without tremendous courage. I can see thirty years from now that that’s still being very hard. In Alabama, Texas, the Bible Belt; certain places. But ten years ago we weren’t having this conversation in this country. We really weren’t.

Powell:  Have you followed homosexual rights in Europe? Ten or fifteen years ago, more, many European countries had put into place a lot of what America is doing now. Gays in the military, etc.

Martin:  You know, I haven’t.

Powell:  Politicians like the late Pim Fortuyn in Holland; openly gay. But, right now, the clash is between religion and homosexuality, fundamental Christianity and Islam, Jerry Falwell or the Westboro Baptist Church. In Ian Buruma’s Murder in Amsterdam, about the assassination of Theo van Gogh, mainly for his outspoken views and filming of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Submission, Buruma makes a compelling case that Islamic leaders see European acceptance of homosexuality as proof of Western decadence.

Martin:  I don’t know anything about that, but I’m interested. I remember reading about Theo van Gogh’s killing, being affected. I know, in France, just yesterday, they voted to have gay marriage be the law of the country. I think it overwhelmingly won, but there was a strong vocal minority. But actually, it’s embarrassing how little I know about European history.

But for my father, who was born in the forties, grew up in the South, a Southern Baptist home, there was no opportunity for him to explore sexuality. He basically met my mom and thought this is an opportunity for happiness. He didn’t see another path. And our kids, they’re going to have a lot more paths. I think we’re all, as parents, going to be a lot better at helping them find their way for who they are.

Many homosexual men, in the past, would lead two lives. They would experiment or participate in life as a heterosexual person, not just going through the motions, but having sexual relations, marriages; children. You know—Stories for Boys was just picked by the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Society’s Book Club as the Book of the Month for May, and their email talked about how common it was for members to have lived as my dad lived. To have a heterosexual relationship. And I think the tragedy for my dad is that the companionship he had with my mom was pretty beautiful—authentic. It didn’t have anything to do with his sexual identity.

Powell:  Are you familiar with Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet?

Martin:  I’m not. Just Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger.

Powell:  It’s about a Chinese man living in New York City with his male lover, his parents live in China and always are asking him when he’s going to get married and have children, and they decide to visit. The gay Chinese man knows a Chinese girl, she needs legal status for immigration, so he grabs a stone and kills two birds by marrying her.

Martin:  I love that.

Powell:  There are a few pretty wicked twists. The father turns out not to be so rigid.

Martin:  I’ll check it out. The thing that I love about Brokeback Mountain is that western stoicism, my mom’s family—they’re all from rural northeastern Nevada, a town of thirty people—

Powell:  Your first book, Mountain City.

Martin:  Yes. That notion of people never having really any cosmopolitan view of anything, much less sexuality, and at the same time being intelligent in other ways. They’re incredibly competent, smart, stoic in a good way, forward looking but not introspective, but I thought that movie got that right.

Powell:  Definitely. Still, about your book, I wonder if you gave your father too much leeway. You created sympathy and empathy, you humanized him—I’ve got two ways to attack. Number one, he wasn’t having loving relationships, his secret life involved multiple sex partners, hedonism, unprotected sex, and endangering your mother. Like a heterosexual man who frequents prostitutes and thinks that okay because it’s outside of love.

Martin:  Absolutely.

Powell:  Judgment is crucial and can be benevolent. You addressed his moral failings, but I felt you almost gave them a pass.

Martin:  I love to tackle that question and hear that response. There’s a very brief section in the book where I basically say to him, you know, did you ever worry you were going to give mom AIDS?

Powell:  Ten years without a physical relationship.

Martin:  Right. But the whole time he was having kids he was having affairs. And this is through the early stages of the AIDS crisis. And he did worry, but not enough to stop. Here’s the thing, I think the really difficult line that you walk, as a memoirist, you want to portray everyone, including yourself, as compassionately as you can, but with clear sight. That means not letting people off the hook, allowing the reader to form complex judgments. One of the things I tried to do was to show how frustrated, betrayed, confused, and angry I felt. But the point you’re making: shouldn’t he be held even more accountable for endangering my mom—you made that judgment.

Powell:  I did.

Martin:  And that’s okay.

Powell:  I wasn’t ready for the group hug or grandpa building forts with his grandsons, because I hadn’t resolved my emotions. But he’s not my father.

Martin:  You know, I appreciate hearing that, but from other readers—they felt that, well—how could I be so angry? They wondered—why weren’t you more accepting? Can’t you understand where your father’s coming from?

What you try to do as a writer is build this world of moral possibilities where the reader gets to participate. They bring their own thoughts and feelings and you’re basically asking them to say here’s what I acted on. And that forces the reader to play the game. What would you have done? I mean, Tim O’Brien has this great essay where he talks about the story as a form of situational ethics. Forcing the reader to say, “What would you do?” Would you let him off the hook?

Powell:  This leads me to the next problem:  I didn’t get enough of a sense of your mother. You evoked her, brought her in, but I wanted more. It was like, “She’ll be fine. She’s strong—now about my dad.”

After the divorce your father drained her bank account. That’s insult to injury, yet your point was: “Look at his suffering.” But what about her? Your father never got it.

Martin:  He can’t see, in some ways, outside of his perspective. He knows how much he hurt her, but he’s still, you know, he just visited us for Evan’s tenth birthday, and he said, “It’s been six years. You’d think she’d talk to me now.” He cannot fathom the degree to which she has said, “We’re done. No more”

And I don’t think he even, in the months afterwards, really understood. He thought, “Well, you know, I tried to kill myself. That’s how bad I felt. Why can’t you take me back?”

So, you’re right, I think in some ways how you see my dad is the way I was trying to characterize him, but at the same time I did not want to write a story about my mom’s experience.

Powell:  What was your mom’s reaction?

Martin:  I’m going to back up here and then I’ll tackle that. I think a book can be strengthened by what you leave out as much as by what you leave in. The more you focus the more depth you get. I wanted to focus on my reckoning, my reconciliation with my dad. That’d be the through line. I was trying to balance and give the reader enough about my mom so that you couldn’t say she’s not in the book. But let’s not make her an equal topic in terms of time, of rendering. What you’re telling me as an editor/reader is, “I want to know more about her.”

Powell:  No more giving dad rope, let’s hear what mom thinks.

Martin:  That’s a valid reading. It’s not the first time I’ve heard your reaction, and that’s okay. There’s this great quote about the novel by Randall Jarrell. He said that,  “A novel is a prose narrative of a certain length with something wrong with it.”

Powell:  The perfect novel doesn’t exist. It can’t.

Martin:  It’s a flawed thing that I made about a time in my life I was trying to figure out. But it was guided by a principle of selection that asked, what’s the main relationship that you’re investigating? The one with your dad. Your mom needs to be a character, but not a major one, she’s important but minor.

One of the fears I had was that if I wrote too much about my mom’s experience that my book would stray. But in terms of what my mom felt, she’s been to readings. At the Utah Book Festival she sat in the audience. Someone asked, “What does your mom think?” And I said, “Let’s ask her?” And so she fielded the question.

Initially, well, she felt reading it was like taking a scab that had formed and just ripping it off. It was very hard for her. So my mom, she’s kind of a perfectionist, and she’s fierce about the truth, and she felt that if you’re going to do it, you need to make it as good and as full of conflict as it needs to be. Many of the details come from me sitting down with her. A lot. Yeah.

Powell:  That brings me back to Jason Collins and my own take. Evidently, Collins was with Carolyn Moos, a woman’s basketball player he met at college at Stanford, for eight years. They were engaged but he broke it off a few years ago. Recently she said, “Every morning, he woke up and put on a mask for thirty-three years. . . I just can’t imagine going through thirty-three years of your life and denying yourself out of fear.”

This segues to my wife, who married in her early twenties to Mark. Within a year they divorced and Mark came out. Mark’s a nice guy, he sent a gift to my wife when our baby was born. Mark even introduced us to her real estate agent, Shane, who’s gay and he’s almost fifty. My wife said, “Shane’s always been gay. He never married a woman, and that’s a big difference compared to what Mark did.” Mark’s apologized, my wife’s understanding, but the experience was pretty troubling. Mark wasted years of my wife’s life, Jason Collins wasted years of Carolyn’s life, and your father…he grew up in the fifties, he was abused, lived in a conservative culture, but…this taints how I perceive your father.

Martin:  Sure. And you bring that sympathy and wish to protect your wife.

Powell:  Yeah.

Martin:  Hold on (pulls out his smart phone). I want to show you something, I got this email today, 1:08 in the afternoon, look—I’ll read it out loud: “I’m a sixty-three year old mother of two, I’ve been married forty years to my husband, a wonderful man who’s gay. I learned that a few years ago after decades of no intimacy.”

Today. This woman sent this a few hours ago. And the story you just told me, or the story about Jason Collins, I’ve had that story told to me over and over since I’ve started working on this and after publication. A lot of people have personal experiences with—someone who was lived a secret life—or that feeling of being betrayed by infidelity, or having someone they love come out. It’s really common.

Powell:  And the opposite never happens. You know, two gay people together for years, and one says to the other, “You know, I’ve been living a lie, I’m really heterosexual.”

Martin:  (Laughs) That needs to be my line. Awesome. But I would say, as an author back to you, that that kind of criticism is what I appreciate, a strong response. That hopefully I created a story that came alive and that you have really strong feelings about.

Related:  Jason Collins and When Coming Out Won’t Really Matter by Gregory Martin, Seattle Times

Written by Caleb Powell

May 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

Imam Steve Carell vs. Reverend Stephen Colbert

with 5 comments

Tonight’s topic: Islam vs. Christianity – Which is Right?

A transcription of an Even Stevphen skit from the The Daily Show:

Imam Steve Carell:  Islam.

Reverend Stephen Colbert:  Christianity.

Carell:  Islaaaaam!!!! There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet! Stephen?

Colbert:  Steve, this debate is about religion, let’s discuss it rationally, now…think about it, if you were God would you manifest your divine glory to a shepherd in a cave in Saudi Arabia in the seventh century? Or as the son of a carpenter in a manger in Judea in the year zero? C’mon, use your mind.

Carell:  Stephen, what part of “there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet” don’t you understand? Look. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that your God is the one true God. That would mean Allah is not the one true God. Which we know he is. Don’t you see your logic eats itself!

Colbert:  First off, it’s not my logic, Steve, it’s God’s logic as written in the Bible, every word of which is true. And we know every word is true because the Bible says that the Bible is true, and, if you remember from earlier in this sentence: every word of the Bible is true. Now, are you following me here, or are  you some kind of mindless zealot?

Carell:  You know, there is one way of settling this.

Colbert:  Crusade.

Carell:  Alright, there are two ways of settling this. The one that I was thinking of – a pray off. You pray to your…god. And I will pray to mine, and we will see which one of us gets smited.

Colbert:  Great, let’s do it.

Carell: Is your God ready?

Colbert:  My God was born ready…er, not so much born as begot-not-made-one-being-with-the-father ready.

Both:  On your mark, get set…pray!

(Both pray. Revered Colbert drags his finger across his neck, “slitting” as he points to Imam Carell)

Colbert:  Done!

Carell:  No no n-n-n-no. I’m done, too, and I appear to be unsmoted.

Colbert:  For now, but let me tell you, when you die and go to hell you’re going to wish you weren’t dead.

Carell:  Hmm. Interesting. And I’m going to be doing that after I go to Paradise to join my bevy of spotless virgins for all eternity. You know, I just want to give them a heads up where I’m going for eternity.

Jon Stewart:  Guys, I’m sorry, I’m starting to think that this religion thing we’re not going to settle in three minutes, so if you can just wrap it up and find some common ground…that would be great.

Carell:  Maybe the Jew’s right.

Colbert: Yeah, maybe so, which is funny ’cause I normally don’t care for Jews.

Carell:  We don’t either.

Colbert:  Really?

Carell:  We seem to find them kind of…scheming.

Colbert:  We’re very big on that too.

Carell:  Really!

Colbert:  Yes.

Carell:  We’re not so different after all.

(Both laugh maniacally)

Written by Caleb Powell

March 9, 2013 at 7:49 am