Langar – Feeding the People

For the volunteers handing out food here, this is more than just good charitable work. For them this is a religious duty enshrined by the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak, over 500 years ago. At a time of deep division by caste and religious infighting between Hindus and Muslims in India, Guru Nanak called for equality for all and set forward the concept of Langar – a kitchen where donated produce, prepared into wholesome vegetarian curry by volunteers, is freely served to the community on a daily basis.

via BBC News – Why homeless Britons are turning to the Sikh community for food.

As the economy collapsed, more people started showing up at the temples for food.

Today, thousands of free Langar meals are served everyday in Sikh temples throughout the UK. The Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall, thought to be the biggest Sikh temple outside of India, says it alone serves 5,000 meals on weekdays and 10,000 meals on weekends.

It’s Warming Up Everywhere Else

Here’s a map of all the places that are unusually hot this week – Vox.


Ancient rock, sacred space.  Nice piece about Jerusalem from anthropologist Martin Gray.

Maps Lie


No Flogging This Week

Saudi Arabia postponed a planned flogging of blogger Raif Badawi for a fifth consecutive week, Amnesty International said Friday.

The human rights watchdog said through Twitter that Badawi was spared lashes for unknown reasons.

via Saudi blogger Raif Badawi spared flogging again this week – The Globe and Mail.

The End Times

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

via What ISIS Really Wants – The Atlantic.

Who knew that the Koran has its own version of the New Testament’s book of Revelations?  Apparently Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi knew.  He’s the caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the spiritual and earthly leader of the new “state.”

This article is really long, but very informative.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior.

So these End Timers can then be defeated, and their horrific behaviors stopped.

[ ] much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

[ ] pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Took me a while to read and comprehend, but definitely worth it.

The Middle East That Might Have Been – The Atlantic

The Middle East That Might Have Been – The Atlantic.

A report from 1919 proposed rather different borders than what we actually have.  The authors traveled the region, talked to residents, and then made their proposal. Would it have made any difference?

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