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Pieces of the crashed chopper used in the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden feature a sophisticated stealth design.  (Source: Reuters via Newscom)

The choppers used reportedly were radar-avoiding modified Black Hawk MH-60 (pictured) helicopters designed by Lockheed Martin and manufactured by Boeing Comp.  (Source: Naval Technology)

Osama bin Laden was almost tipped off thanks to a release of information by Wikileaks just days before the attack.  (Source: The Times)

Osama bin Laden broke with his own procedure and stored hard drives around his house -- as a result, U.S. intelligence now has a wealth of info on Al Qaeda.  (Source: The Long War Journal)
Wikileaks published just days before that the U.S. was on to bin Laden's location, nearly tipped him off

For a decade after his terrible 9/11 attacks, which left over 3,000 Americans dead, Osama bin Laden avoided American authorities, often narrowly escaping bombings and raids by a window of hours.  But on Sunday May 1, 2011 in a raid authorized by U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Navy Seals shot and killed bin Laden inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

I. Stealth Choppers -- Key to the Strike?

According to numerous sources, including a report in the online magazine Army Times, one of the keys to the raid were modified MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters designed for stealth.

The helicopters were still relatively noisy, but they were virtually invisible to radar.  That was thanks to low observable modifications that added "several hundred pounds" of weight to the helicopters.  A UH-60 -- one of the most commonly used Black Hawk helicopters -- weighs about 10,624 lb. when empty.  A MH-60 can weigh between 11,124 and 11,624 lb.  And with the modifications, the empty chopper would be tipping the scales at 11,524 to 12,024 lb.

The modified helicopter bears little resemblance to a traditional Black Hawk, according to those who've seen them -- they have distinct lines.  And most notably their windshield has been painted with a special coating that reduces the radar cross-section.  That coating also presents a danger as it can interfere with the night-vision goggles pilots typically use to navigate at night.

II. History of the Stealth MH-60

The "low-observable" program, which reportedly birthed the unique chopper, had its roots in the stealthy AH-6 Little Bird choppers employed by U.S. Special Forces in the 1980s.  

In the 1990s, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), working with Lockheed-Martin Corp.'s (LMT) Skunk Works division, looked to revamp the design.  Skunk Works, which had been responsible for the F-117 stealth ground attack aircraft, applied its stealth experience to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s MH-60s.  

The work was continued in the "1999 to 2000 timeframe" by the Boeing Company (BA), which was financed by USSOCOM to modify several MH-60s to the Lockheed's stealth design.  The plan was to station the new choppers at a base in Nevada under the command of a lieutenant colonel.  The plan was to assign 35 to 50 USSOCOM warriors to the unit.

Describes a source in the Army Times report, "The intent was always to move it out west where it could be kept in a covered capability. There were going to be four [low-observable] aircraft, they were going to have a couple of 'slick' unmodified Black Hawks, and that was going to be their job was to fly the low-observables."

"[W]ithin the last two years", those plans were cancelled, but not before a few of the stealth copters had been delivered.  Reportedly, the U.S. Military would rotate traditional MH-60 Black Hawk crews -- members of the 160th’s 1st Battalion, headquartered at Fort Campbell, Ky. -- to the Nevada base to train on stealth Black Hawks.  In short, the project was scaled back, but remained partially executed.

III. Launching the Mission

When President Obama gave the order to execute the strike, he may have launched the first major battlefield test of the new chopper design (though it is possible they were used in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts).

One mystery is how the helicopters were able to reach the target and return.  The stealth choppers reportedly lacked air-to-air refueling probes, which would disrupt the radar cross-section.  The maximum ferry range of the choppers was 1,318 miles.  So if they were launched at sea, they would have been unable to return, as the target was ~700 miles inland.  

More likely, the helicopters may have landed somewhere in Afghanistan, though the launch location is still ambiguous.  Also possible is that the helicopters could have been fitted with extended range tanks to complete the trip from sea and back.

According to cables aired by Wikileaks in recent months, it was clear that the U.S. believed senior military and government leadership in Pakistan were consorting with Al Qaeda, bin Laden's terrorist organization.  The operation thus was, according to some sources, carried out without informing Pakistan for fear that bin Laden would be tipped off and escape.

Speaking of Wikileaks, the whistleblowing-cum-espionage organization almost tipped off bin Laden that the U.S. authorities were onto his whereabouts, if only he had read their most recent publication.

Recently leaked profiles of Guantánamo Bay detainees identify the U.S. as recently suspecting that senior-level Al Qaeda were residing in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

According to a Pakistani news report one document reads:

In October 2002, Nashwan Abd al-Razzaq Abd al-Baqi, aka (Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi), contacted and asked detainee (Libi) to work with him in Peshawar. Detainee accepted the offer and spent the next five to six months working under Al-Baqi organizing the purchase of supplies for fighters including medicine, lights, batteries, food, and clothing. In July 2003, detainee received a letter from Osama bin Laden’s designated courier, Maulawi Abd al-Khaliq Jan, requesting detainee to take on the responsibility of collecting donations, organizing travel, and distributing funds to families in Pakistan. Bin Laden stated detainee would be the official messenger between him and others in Pakistan.

In mid-2003, detainee moved his family to Abbottabad and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar.  Between August 2003 and February 2004, detainee travelled to Shkai, Pakistan on three occasions. While at Shkai, detainee met with al-Qaeda’s Sharia Council, delivered funds to fighters and met with Hamza Rabia.

In mid 2004, detainee moved his family from Abbottabad to Bajaur. During October 2004, detainee received a letter from Bin Laden asking about the financial situations in Pakistan and Waziristan. In addition to the letter, there was a video tape of Bin Laden speeches.

If bin Laden had known that U.S. authorities were on to his secret hiding spot, he could have vacated the area.

Fortunately for the lives of Arab nationals and Americans, the hint Wikileaks dropped fell on deaf ears and bin Laden appeared oblivious to the impending strike.

IV. The Strike -- A Crash, but Mission Success

Early Monday morning, under the black of night, chaos erupted.  The helicopters successfully dumped a large team of Navy Seal special operatives, undetected by radar.  But even as the firefight in the compound ensued, one of the helicopters crashed to the ground.

It is thought that the crash may have been due to an unusual phenomenon called "settling with power", which occurs when a helicopter descends more rapidly than intended due to the rotors failing to produce sufficient lift to counter their turbulent downwash.

That might have been the "price" for the great stealth-avoidance characteristics of the chopper.  It is thought that the extra weight of the stealth modifications, combined with the full load of the combat team, likely combined to force the chopper down.

Fortunately no personnel were seriously injured, and the Special Forces operatives were able to destroy the body of the helicopter with thermite grenades.  But the explosion did not destroy all of the craft -- the helicopter’s tail boom, tail rotor assembly and horizontal stabilizers were left intact and unrecovered in a courtyard at the compound.

Pictures of those parts revealed the blocky radar-avoiding design and what might be the true story of the raid, if you believe retired U.S. Military staff.

V. More Questions Raised

The assassination raised many fascinating questions for the U.S. media, academic community, intelligence agencies, military, and government.  

For example, bin Laden was widely thought to be hiding in caves in the Hindu Kush Mountains between Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.  Instead, bin Laden appears to have been hiding in the swank residential compound since 2005.

Another mistaken belief was that bin Laden was suffering from kidney failure and required dialysis.  A search of the house revealed no dialysis equipment or medications, other than some eye drops and Vaseline.  

Bin Laden was also thought to be heavily armed, but was initially spotted unarmed, according to sources, though some claim he picked up a weapon after using one of his wives as a human shield.

And he made a mistake that may dearly cost Al Qaeda -- reportedly he left hard drives with a wealth of documents lying around the house, in direct violation with his own Al Qaeda code of operations he authored.  Those hard drives may provide U.S. operatives the clues they need to ferret out the remaining vestiges of Al Qaeda in the Middle East and Africa.

While there are many new questions, some fascinating dialogues from a tech perspective, and an abundance of theories, perhaps the most interesting is the tale of the stealth choppers and their role in the attack. If true, the operation stands as a great vindication of the U.S. stealth air initiative -- often chastised for its "over-spending".

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Vaseline ?
By ClockerXP on 5/5/2011 10:45:55 AM , Rating: 5
He must have been living good surrounded by slave women and vaseline. What a warrior! LOL

RE: Vaseline ?
By JasonMick on 5/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: Vaseline ?
By ClownPuncher on 5/5/2011 11:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
This only happens in rural areas or generally fundamentalist regions like Saudi Arabia/Afganistan. For the most part, those ancient practices are illegal in places like Iran. Otherwise, on a very minor scale, every country has some issues with this kind of... backwater hick.

Remember, Cletus traded 2 sheep and a rusty pistol to his daddy so he could marry his sister in the Ozarks. Wahabism is basically a system designed for and by backwater yokels. Bin Laden would hardly be considered a good Muslim in this day and age.

Mainstream Muslims think these practices are barbaric too.

RE: Vaseline ?
By dubldwn on 5/5/2011 1:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah he's painting with a pretty broad brush there.

RE: Vaseline ?
By heffeque on 5/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: Vaseline ?
By dsumanik on 5/6/11, Rating: 0
RE: Vaseline ?
By heffeque on 5/7/2011 8:39:38 PM , Rating: 1
To the ones who voted us down...



RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/5/2011 1:27:24 PM , Rating: 5
This only happens in rural areas or generally fundamentalist regions like Saudi Arabia/Afganistan.

CARNAL DESIRES INVOLVING VIRGINS Quran 037.048 And beside them will be chaste (virgin) women; restraining their glances, with big eyes.

VIRGINS THAT NO DEMONS HAVE TOUCHED Quran 055.055-58 Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? In them will be (Maidens), chaste, (virgins) restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn before them has touched? Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? Like unto rubies and coral.

FULL BREASTED OLDER VIRGINS AND ALCOHOL Quran 078.031-34 Verily, for the Muttaqûn, there will be a success (Paradise); Gardens and vineyards, And young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age, And a full cup (of wine).

72 VIRGINS TIRMZI, vol. 2 states on page 138: Every man who enters paradise shall be given 72 (seventy-two) houris; no matter at what age he had died, when he is admitted into paradise, he will become a thirty-year-old, and shall not age any further. A man in paradise shall be given virility equal to that of one hundred men.

Now I'm not a Muslim so I don't claim to be an authority on the matter and maybe could use some clarification, but you don't have teachings like this and get equal rights for men and women without some sort of scripture revision from a living prophet like Moses. If you teach this, then the women are more likely to end up as a meat shield in such stressful situations.

But like I said, I am no authority on the matter so maybe a practicing Muslim can explain. And I am certainly not anti-Muslim. If this does in fact constitute your beliefs, then so be it, and I have to respect that to great degree. We have freedom of religion here in the US. But when your reward in heaven is something so tawdry? How can you have expectations for the men to behave well and treat women fairly?

Again, I'm not hating on Muslims but to dismiss this issue with a comment like that is quite a stretch don't you think?

Saudi Arabia is a big place (pop. 28,000,000) and from what I understand (again, limited knowledge) is the way Islam would have a country run. To say they are just backwoods hicks is a definite stretch (and offensive to Saudis BTW).

Again please correct me if I am wrong as I am not an expert. Don't take this as an attack, but as an opportunity to shine light on the message of peace.

Osama was an outlier. I think most of the non-Muslims out there believe that is the case. So I'm not trying to say that he is typical of Muslims. I just think your comment was too dismissive.

RE: Vaseline ?
By MozeeToby on 5/5/2011 2:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
I could find substantially similar excerpts from the Bible, did it take a scripture re-write for christian cultures to give women (nearly) equal status to men?

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/5/2011 2:34:02 PM , Rating: 4
I am not focusing on the teachings so much as the "goal" of the believer. I mean Buddha or Christ never said, "follow me and you'll get laid!" I hate to put it so crudely but that is what it sounds like to me.

Usually in the various religions of the world the idea of heaven is to be with your family and/or reach a state of nirvana or something kinda noble like that.

RE: Vaseline ?
By ClownPuncher on 5/5/2011 3:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
The assumption that all Muslims practice faith in the exact same way is a foreign idea to me. There are many secular Muslims as well as Sunni, Shi'ah, Sufi, Wahabi even Druze.

And, yes, I do think Saudi Arabia is backwards in their form of law. If a girl gets raped, she can be lashed or worse for dressing "provocatively". Homosexuals are often hung in public.

I'd say out of all of the Muslim countries, they are the most sinister.

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 9:41:15 AM , Rating: 2
The assumption that all Muslims practice faith in the exact same way is a foreign idea to me.

Yeah me too. We are talking about a particular region (just like you with your opinion of SA) and why they are so backward. It seems to me that it is due to seemingly theocratic issues (where church and state are a bit too close).

RE: Vaseline ?
By nstott on 5/5/2011 3:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
Your last quote about the 72 virgins was from the Hadith, not the Qur'an. The Hadith, or Sayings of the Prophet, is a collection of texts that is accepted in varying degrees by Muslims of different sects. Most Muslims consider most Hadith to be false and made up by past rulers to justify their own questionable practices through attribution to Muhammad. In the case of Wahhabi Islamists, the promise of 72 virgins is used to lure young men with sh!tty, hopeless lives into blowing themselves up for Allah.

In Christianity, there are similar apocryphal books of questionable authority, like The Gospel of Mary. Anyway, go read Song of Solomon, what some consider to be "biblical trash" that shouldn't have made the final cut during the lengthy canonization process, in the Bible if you want to read something similar to what you quoted from the Qur'an. (It's rather amusing, such as Solomon describing his beloved as having teeth like a flock of perfectly shorn sheep and breasts like twin roe deer: think "prancing.")

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 9:49:35 AM , Rating: 2
The Hadith, or Sayings of the Prophet, is a collection of texts that is accepted in varying degrees by Muslims of different sects. Most Muslims consider most Hadith to be false and made up by past rulers to justify their own questionable practices through attribution to Muhammad.
Thank you for clarification, but since we are not talking about all Muslims and only those in backward middle-eastern countries that seem stuck in the 14th century, when you say "most Muslims" do you mean most Muslims in the middle east (or we can pick on just Saudi Arabia if you want)? That is the question. I don't question whether or not most Muslims the world over are peaceful people who treat women with respect. We're just talking the ME.

RE: Vaseline ?
By nstott on 5/13/2011 11:37:25 AM , Rating: 2
I really meant most Muslims, but there is variation as to what's accepted among the Hadith based on location (country), tribe, and sect. The Wahhabi sub-sect (cult) of the Sunni sect based in Saudi Arabia pushes the 72 virgins Hadith in order to promote suicide bombing. Most Muslims are also brainwashed from birth such that, even though most of them will say terrorism is wrong, they still sympathize with the causes behind terrorism.

Also, during the Dark Ages, the Muslim empire was far more enlightened than Europe. Amazingly, Jews were even treated better under Islam than under Catholicism during that time. Their current state is based on internal oppression and brainwashing over the centuries.

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/13/2011 5:45:26 PM , Rating: 2
Most Muslims are also brainwashed from birth such that, even though most of them will say terrorism is wrong, they still sympathize with the causes behind terrorism.
Well even I might sympathize with the causes behind terrorism. The problem is the terrorism. I mean we could've used terrorism to free ourselves from the English in 1776, right? So no harm nor foul there.
Also, during the Dark Ages, the Muslim empire was far more enlightened than Europe.

This is in response to some of your other replies as well (which I greatly appreciate BTW) but the "who's more enlightened/righteous?" contest is not what I'm talking about.
Amazingly, Jews were even treated better under Islam than under Catholicism during that time.

Actually not that amazing since they allegedly killed their version (not really but you know what I mean) of Mohammed.

Their current state is based on internal oppression and brainwashing over the centuries.

This is what I (and the rest of the world) is trying to get at. Our question here in other words that are more in line with your response is "Why are they oppressed even after all these centuries?" I mean we've (meaning the Western and Eastern world, Christian or not) freed men, women, slaves/Blacks, gays, and even Black shemale gays, while the Middle East is still oppressed as in the 1400s (maybe even more so). (And I don't mean ALL of the Middle East, just the oppressed counties/areas.

But I guess we are seeing that turn around hopefully with the revolutions that are going on.

Anyway, thank you for your help, but I need to converse more with someone who believes in the Hadith for clarification on my original question regarding the 72 virgins. I know that not all Muslims aren't bad and even that not all Muslims who believe in the Hadith are not bad. But some of them are and so I am interested in those ones. And particularly those who believe in the Hadith. All the others can sleep soundly since I am not talking about them. Cheers.

RE: Vaseline ?
By delphinus100 on 5/5/2011 8:35:15 PM , Rating: 3
I mean Buddha or Christ never said, "follow me and you'll get laid!" I hate to put it so crudely but that is what it sounds like to me.

And it may be that in a society where the more powerful guys (your major terrorist, for example) suck up more than their share of women, the idea of 'martyring' one's self becomes even more attractive if one believes there will (finally) be access to lots of women in the afterlife...

RE: Vaseline ?
By therealnickdanger on 5/5/2011 3:03:33 PM , Rating: 4
The Bible (Hebrew TaNaKh + christian New Testament) is actually pretty clear that men and women are equal - in fact many positive stories of faith in the Bible show women clearly dominating and/or circumventing their husbands or fathers in order to fulfill a command or prophesy of God.

At first glace, you see a patriarchal structure, but digging deeper you come to find that many patriarchs are flawed and foolish, often corrected or even embarrassed by their righteous female counterparts. What people get hung up on in the man vs. woman verses are the different roles that men and women have in respect to day-to-day living and religious protocol.

Even if you're an evolutionary biologist and deny all aspects of God, you know that males and females of the species respond and behave to different situations unequally. This doesn't make males and females unequal.

Like the Quran, you have to read everything in context in order to gain proper understanding. I've done a fair bit of research into contrasting and comparing ancient religious texts - not saying I'm a professional nor have I read them all or written papers on them - but the Bible and Quran are vastly different.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Islam is the tradition of naskh or "abrogation". Basically, verses written chronologically later supercede verses written earlier, even if they are contradictory. This is the basis of progressive revelation. During his life in Mecca, Muhammad's suras (chapters in Quran) were mostly peaceful and tranquil - rather like his life there. However, after the conquest of Medina and further campaigns, his suras took a much more violent tone. To reconcile these differences, early muslim scholars used abrogation for the groundwork of Islamic theology.

Depending upon whom you ask, violent muslims trying to kill "infidels" to further Islam are following the Quran and the proper exegesis of abrogation closely. Others that read only the older, more peaceful verses of the Quran claim that abrogation is not widely accepted.

I work with several muslims that don't even know about abrogation. I also work with many christians that can't even list all 10 commandments. LOL I imagine how closely you follow and obey your religious book of choice has a lot more to do with where you grow up.

RE: Vaseline ?
By nstott on 5/5/2011 4:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
Infidels, or kafir, are pagans. In the Qur'an, Jews and Christians are considered "People of the Book," referring to "The Bible." Islamists have lumped Jews and Christians in with kafir.

Keep in mind, these pagans weren't mere nature lovers but had religious practices that included fertility god worship through ritual prostitution and burning live babies as sacrifice. The Old Testament policy towards infidels (pagans) wasn't any kinder than the Qur'anic one (SEE Deuteronomy 7 as one general example).

Also, the Suras (chapters or sections) of the Qur'an are roughly placed in order of longest to shortest in the book rather than chronological order, which can make abrogation confusing if one doesn't keep that in mind.

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 10:06:38 AM , Rating: 2
Infidels, or kafir, are pagans. In the Qur'an , Jews and Christians are considered "People of the Book," referring to "The Bible." Islamists have lumped Jews and Christians in with kafir.
I think you misspoke...aren't Islamists the ones who believe in the Qur'an? ;-)

RE: Vaseline ?
By nstott on 5/13/2011 11:49:27 AM , Rating: 2
Islamists, who are militant Muslims that want an Islamic state throughout the world, claim to believe in the Qur'an. Muslims believe that "The Bible" has been changed and tainted over time in order to explain its discrepancies with the Qur'an. According to the Qur'an, Jews and Christians are "People of the Book." Under Sharia Law, the Jews and Christians were only to be taxed at a higher rate as an incentive to convert to Islam, not slaughtered like the infidel pagans. The Wahhabi Islamists have rebranded Jews and Christians as infidels, and I've heard that they've even made their own simplified versions of the Qur'an or of its teachings in order to lump Jews and Christians in with the infidels. So, no, I didn't misspeak.

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/13/2011 6:10:50 PM , Rating: 2
Oh you mean Islamist as in an Islamic Fundamentalist.

I read -ist as in Buddh-ist.

RE: Vaseline ?
By dubldwn on 5/5/2011 2:19:21 PM , Rating: 3
All you're doing here is baiting someone to go through the trite exercise of posting even more damning quotes from the Bible, all of which have a historical context. How did we ever manage? BTW, substantial parity in gender rights came about in the 20th century.

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/5/2011 2:58:12 PM , Rating: 3
BTW, substantial parity in gender rights came about in the 20th century.

Yeah, and they were a long time coming!
The whole freedom movement of the revolutionaries in America (beginning back in England with the Magna Chata, etc.) led up to that. I mean you can't say all women are created equal if you can't even say "all men are created equal."

And so I say emphatically that not all men in the middle east are created equal let alone women. But it seems things are at least changing (hopefully for their betterment) in some countries over there.

I'm 'baiting' people into explaining this because this is one thing that Muslims (and especially extremist terrorist Muslims) are known for by many people. It is like Mormons and polygamy. Either give me an explanation or don't comment. I tried to make my self clear that I am not hating on Muslims here or trying to say that Christianity is better. It is a valid question that I expect can be explained, just like the Mormon plural wives thing.

RE: Vaseline ?
By ClownPuncher on 5/5/2011 3:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
I know a few Mormons who abhor polygamy, too. I guess the point is that the individual is ultimately responsible for the individiuals actions.

RE: Vaseline ?
By nstott on 5/5/2011 4:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
Mormon women were never forced into polygamy. Anyone who thinks that doesn't know anything about Mormon women, who were highly independent and "head strong" even back in that day. Women running businesses and practicing law and medicine back in the early Utah Territory before polygamy was ended was far more common than in the eastern US during the same time period.

RE: Vaseline ?
By saadg on 5/6/2011 12:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
Dear "The Raven" san,

I had been hoping some one would reply to your concerns adequately. But it seems that no satisfactory reply has come. You have very nicely addressed your inquiries and I wanted to give an equally decent reply.

To your original inquiry:
We have freedom of religion here in the US. But when your reward in heaven is something so tawdry? How can you have expectations for the men to behave well and treat women fairly?

I suggest some rethinking about how Muslims think about heaven and companions of heaven. I have not met any good Muslims who talks vulgar or uses vulgar terms. So when people think about reward of good female companions, they should not conclude that it has something to do about our manly urges. Maybe there will not be any physical contact such as we have on earth? I have never heard Muslims describe intimate physical relation between husband and wife is any derogatory terms. So should we not think in derogatory terms about heaven. As far I can perceive, Heaven is peace and our companions there will be source of peace.

By expecting reward of good and beautiful companions in heaven, Muslims are expected to not have any sort of desirous or lusty thought. Such perfection of thought is very necessary for Muslims and it really helps to think about beautiful, perfect companions.

I should also mention that having lived in Japan for 2 years, I found that the concept of man-woman physical relationship here is quite different from what is thought by Muslims. So quite possibly people unfamiliar with Muslim culture and ethics may immediately think of sexual urges when "companions of heaven" are discussed, rather than the Muslim perception of "good companions that bring peace".

Sorry, this has gotten a little long.

Regarding your other inquiry
but you don't have teachings like this and get equal rights for men and women without some sort of scripture revision from a living prophet like Moses. If you teach this, then the women are more likely to end up as a meat shield in such stressful situations.

There is mention of being careful of one's wife in the Quran and to treat them carefully. Even at the time of divorce, there is a lot of stress on men to not mistreat them as in the start of verse 229 of Surah 2: "The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness..."

Unfortunately, the words used in Quran are often like in verse 232 of Surah 2: "And when you have divorced women and they have fulfilled the term of their prescribed period, do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on reasonable basis. This (instruction) is an admonition for him among you who believes in Allah and the Last day. That is more virtuous and purer for you. Allah knows and you do not know".

Basically many of the instructions in the Quran are just that:instructions. People may chose not to follow them, and unfortunately many people do so in Muslim world today, which leads to another question of what kind of Muslims are they....

Thank you for reading!

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 2:19:30 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you very much for the respectful effort you put into your reply.

But I still don't get the virgin thing and why so many of them? And what does a woman get? Dominion over the virgins, right? Are these virgins not of this earth or are they formerly inhabitants of earth?

Also, what sect of Islam are you representing and what % agree with this explanation?

Also, I wonder what your thought are on the alleged societal backwardness of the middle east that we have been debating? Especially in light of your comments regarding holding wives in high regard.

The burkha is totally whack right? I know it is not 'traditional' Islam garb.

Also please comment on "honor killings." I hear about them in this country every once in a while (usually Muslim) so I would guess that they go on a lot more over there. Of course every country is different, but I would like to know the scriptural motivation for it as it seems completely against what is taught in most religions (Islam included).

And finally, if I drew a picture of Mohammed would you hold it against me?

I'm sure you know that these are some of the questions that us Islamically naive people have, and I would just like to know if I am completely off base.

Also I could ask question after question about other religions but I don't see them as crazy as Islam (no offense meant, that is just my current thinking). Especially when you look at the theocratic aspects of the middle east. (Again I could pick on the Mormons and point to Utah for whatever reason.)

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 10:02:13 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I replied to this before I read the other replies.
So does this meant that you are of a sect that believes in the Hadith as decribed by nstott above?
The Hadith, or Sayings of the Prophet, is a collection of texts that is accepted in varying degrees by Muslims of different sects. Most Muslims consider most Hadith to be false and made up by past rulers to justify their own questionable practices through attribution to Muhammad.

RE: Vaseline ?
By nstott on 5/13/2011 12:17:14 PM , Rating: 1
I think the problem has less to do with a specific religion, in most cases, and more to do with fanaticism and interpretation of scripture. All religions are susceptible to fanaticism, not just Islam. Look at the brutality under the Holy Roman Empire as one relevant example.

Muslims were forbidden from making images of Mohammad since there was concern that they might idolize him and worship him over God, kind of like Moses’ brazen serpent on the staff had to be destroyed later by the Jews after some of them started to worship it as an idol. A non-Muslim drawing a picture to depict Mohammad shouldn't really matter, but the fanatics have pushed the commandment beyond its intention.

A good example of something similar is how modern Jews are not supposed to eat meat and dairy together. This comes from a commandment to not seethe (simmer) a kid (baby goat) in its mother’s milk, which was a pagan idolatrous practice in the Land of Canaan. Somehow, this was later pushed to the extreme of not consuming any meat or dairy together rather than sticking to the specific commandment and the intention behind it. Extreme Orthodox Jews even have separate dishes, cutlery, and even dishwashers for meat and dairy. I once heard a story about a non-Jew staying with an Orthodox Jewish family who decided to do the dishes when the family was away in order to help out. The grandmother later found the separate dishes mixed together between the two dishwashers and then proceeded to break all of the dishes. Of course, at least they didn't kill their guest over the mistake.

RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/5/11, Rating: -1
RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/5/2011 12:47:35 PM , Rating: 4

Err... Osama. And I even checked over my preview... -1 please.

RE: Vaseline ?
By nstott on 5/5/2011 4:59:14 PM , Rating: 1
Freudian slip? :P

RE: Vaseline ?
RE: Vaseline ?
By The Raven on 5/5/2011 1:52:14 PM , Rating: 2
I always say, that a lot of the barbarism and problems of the Middle East can be understood if you compare it to (Christian) Medieval Europe of the 1200-1300s
but fortunately the Middle East seems destined to modernize at some point and abandon these ancient traditions.

I know it sounds like I am on a down with Islam kick, Muslims are just as good as Christians and Buddhists in my eyes. But these are not simply 'ancient traditions' they are religion in most cases. With Christianity in Europe it was Gutenberg and Martin Luther who rebelled against the establishment who changed everything as far as religious tradition goes. Hopefully the Internet is the Gutenberg bible of the Muslim world and they are just waiting for a Martin Luther.

If you or I am wrong then any suggestions are welcome. I don't think anyone wants to see Muslims (not just women) oppressed/controlled in the Middle East because of manipulative laws disguised as religious tradition or commandments as was/is the case in other religions like Christianity or Buddhism.

There is something going on that has held back such social development as you say ~700+ years.

And remember, the religious reformers like Martin Luther didn't destroy Christianity, they just reformed it so to speak. So I am not suggesting something like "Islam must be destroyed!"

At any rate the death and oppression that goes on over there saddens me and here is to finding a solution.

RE: Vaseline ?
By Ammohunt on 5/5/2011 2:15:35 PM , Rating: 2
Cultures clash not religions! Islam suffers from a culture created by a primitive people and a literal interpretation of the Koran. The same is true for various Christian sects.

RE: Vaseline ?
By Solandri on 5/5/2011 2:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
The above chronicles his wives -- there were five of them. One was reportedly killed in the raid, but ironically not the youngest one, whom he reportedly used as a human shield (or who voluntarily rushed at the attacking solider according to another account). She was only shot in the leg.

The human shield report was disavowed pretty early on. Basically, anything reported within the first hours after the raid/President's announcement almost had to be speculation. After an op like this, they're going to thoroughly debrief each and every man on the mission, which would take hours. Until that debrief is finished, nobody outside would know what exactly transpired.

A labmate of mine in grad school married a woman from a muslim family (she herself didn't believe). She told him that the muslim rule of thumb is that 5 is the best number of wives to have:

1 is not enough.
2 always argue with each other.
3 - two gang up on one.
4 will split into two groups of 2 and can't reach a decision.
5 is the right number.

The key to Europe modernizing was the birth of the middle class (arising from artisans)... the key to that transformation in the Middle East -- long separated into impoverished masses and a handful of wealthy oligarchs -- will likely be similar.

Agreed. Interestingly, oil is both a blessing a curse to them. It blesses them with huge amounts of basically free money. But it curses them in that the oil revenue is controlled by relatively few, who use that money to keep a tight grip on power. As a side-effect, that prevents the development of a thriving middle class.

If you look at the Middle Eastern countries which have experienced revolution in the recent unrest, all are relatively oil-poor. Tunisia is the highest, with oil accounting for 5% of their GDP. All the countries whose oil exports account for a significant fraction of their GDP have clamped down very hard on any protests (Libya, Yemen, Bahrain), and have thus far successfully squelched any revolution.

RE: Vaseline ?
By foolsgambit11 on 5/5/2011 8:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
That's funny, considering that (with the exception of Muhammad), the Quran limits the number of wives a Muslim can have to four (at any one time?), and even then, it has been interpreted by some that the second through fourth must be widows who you marry to help support.

RE: Vaseline ?
By ekv on 5/5/2011 4:02:31 PM , Rating: 3
the Middle East can be understood if you compare it to (Christian) Medieval Europe of the 1200-1300s.
And yet, Medieval Europe progressed where the Middle East has not. There is no guarantee it will happen in the Middle East. For example, Lebanon used to be the jewel of the Mediterranean, relatively peaceful and prosperous. But look at it now; If it ain't nailed down it's a-walkin'.

What is the impetus to change the status quo?

RE: Vaseline ?
By v9s on 5/6/2011 11:41:56 AM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I am wrong, but Europe was going through a period of renaissance at that time.

They were questioning their religious clergy, thereby breaking the power they held.

In the middle east and south asia, the religious clergy are using religion as a tool to control the masses. Now people are beginning to's just the start, but it's happening.

RE: Vaseline ?
By ekv on 5/6/2011 1:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at that time period, yes, of course, there was a Reformation going on and the Catholic church (and clergy) stood to lose power. Artisans were not as tied to the feudal system. And so on.

In the middle east and south asia ... you see a marked influence by Wahabbism, the rather more radical form of Islam, based out of Saudi Arabia. The roots of this are interesting, but suffice it to say, the Wahabbi movement has significant funding and they use that money the world over. I've read estimates that up to 75% of all mosques are accepting Wahabbi money in some form or other.

The flip side of that is regimes in the Middle East tend to be of the President-for-life variety. Centralized power w/o balances and checks. So vicious crack-downs are entirely plausible, perhaps even second nature [given how muslim women are beaten, er, treated in the home?].

Hence the question, with such strong institutional inertia to maintain the status quo, where's the impetus for change? Questioning their religious affiliation may be a start. Though keep in mind, the US is called The Great Satan because of our cultural influence over there. If your kids are watching Britney Spears or Madonna or Lady gag, etc., what do you think is going to follow? I can see their point-of-view to some extent.

Given that kind of patriarchal society, they've got the women under-foot and for "infidels" to change that ... bad news. Explosively bad. This is rather far-afield. I'll stop.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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