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Aslan explores religious identities, Islam and ISIS

first_imgMichael Yu | The Observer Reza Aslan speaks in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business on Thursday night.“You are, according to the FBI statistics, more likely to die from faulty furniture, than to be killed by a terrorist. You are more likely, in this country, to be shot by a toddler than killed by a terrorist,” Aslan said. “However, we cannot dismiss this fear by calling it irrational, we must recognize it and we must confront it.”According to Aslan, one percent of Americans identify themselves as Islamic, while 73 percent of American’s identify as Christian. The prominence of a religion in any state makes it easier to dissociate violent acts with religion, he said.“We live in a country where, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 73 percent of [people] consider themselves Christians,” Aslan said. “When you live in any kind of society where you are surrounded by Christianity in all its diversity, it becomes very easy to dismiss fringe versions of Christianity.“It is much easier to disconnect that behavior with the religion of Christianity. When we see acts that represent the fringe of Islam, as we are not familiar with normative Islam, we are unable to dissociate it with the religion.”According to Aslan, there are two typical responses to Islamic extremism; the first is “Islam is not like that,” and the second is, “Islam is exactly like that.” However, Aslan said both these answers are incorrect.“I understand the impulse of any community of faith when confronted with extremists to say ‘that is not us,’” Aslan said. “But this is wrong. It is incorrect because a Muslim is whoever he or she says is a Muslim. Those who act violent in the name of Islam — we must take that seriously.”Aslan emphasized that all religions have violent fringe groups. He credits this to the rise of religious nationalism around the world. According to Aslan, the failure of secular nationalism led to this religious nationalism.Aslan also made a distinction between Islamism and Jihadism. He noted that these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a remarkable difference between them. Aslan defined Islamism, as a type of religious nationalism, that most contained within the borders of a pre-determined state.In contrast, he defined Jihadism is transnational, yet anti-national. According to Aslan, Jihadists do not want to create an Islamic State, Jihadists want to rid the world of states in general, and re-organize the global as a single world order under their control.“There is a fundamental misunderstanding of what we mean when we say religious. We get caught in this polarization,” Aslan said. “Religion, it’s important to recognize, is not just an order of belief and practices. Religion, above all us, is a matter of identity.“It’s about how you are, how you identify yourself in an indeterminate world,” Aslan said. “It is not a faith statement; it is an identity statement.”Tags: Dean’s Fellows, ISIS, Reza Aslan According to Reza Aslan, more than 49 percent of American’s are scared of becoming a victim of terrorism.Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, spoke on campus yesterday in a lecture titled “Islam and ISIS” hosted by the Dean’s Fellows of the College of Arts and Letters. The lecture, in which Aslan tackled the topics of religion and violent extremism, attracted to many students that there were more than four filled overflow rooms to accommodate those who would not fit in the Jordan Auditorium in Mendoza.last_img read more

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Soil Sensors

first_imgFarmers know water is a valuable resource, and many farmers are now using soil sensors in their fields to control soil moisture content.Small-plot and home gardeners can take a cue from professional farmers by becoming more conscientious about when they apply irrigation to home landscapes and gardens throughout spring and summer, says Andre da Silva, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension vegetable horticulturist.Just as soil moisture sensors help farmers to understand when additional irrigation is needed, da Silva believes that home gardeners should use similar sensors on a smaller scale. He says even sensors with minimal technology are adequate to tell someone if and when water needs to be applied.“Nowadays, homeowners have manual control panels in place for their irrigation systems and it’s easy to just turn them on and keep them on automatically,” da Silva said. “We have access to better technology where you can install small sensors that can be synced up with your control panel. These sensors can tell your sprinkler system if water needs to be applied or not.”Such sensors range in cost from $30 for simple watermark sensors to $1,500 or more for advanced capacitance soil moisture sensors, depending on the level of technology. A higher level of technology allows more expensive sensors additional capabilities, such as systems that sync to smart phones.“We have the technology available, so let’s use it,” da Silva said.One misconception da Silva hopes to clear up about irrigation involves “field capacity,” or how much moisture remains in the soil after excess water has drained away.“Usually people see that it rained one day, but believe they still need to apply water the next day because it’s been a day and it hasn’t rained. When you have had rainfall, if your soil is full of water, it usually takes two or three days for it to return to field capacity. This means the soil still has enough water to supply the demand of your plants,” da Silva said.Watering plants too much can be as harmful as underwatering, as excessive watering creates ideal environmental conditions for plant diseases, he said.For more information about home gardening, see UGA Extension Bulletin 577, “Home Gardening,” at extension.uga.edu/publications.last_img read more

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