Sunday, December 31, 2006

Too much data and not enough information, ORACLE Data Mining

Business Intillegence (BI) is now one of the important direction that our company REALSOFT is working in for both local and regional markets. Data warehousing, data mining, OLAP and visualization of spatial information are concept that lie beneath the umbrella of data warehousing. The ultimate goal is : Discover the knowledge hidden in your data to prepare for a more informed decision making

Data mining finds hidden patterns in large, complex collections of data, patterns that elude traditional statistical approaches to analysis.

I was following lately the advent Oracle products in the areana of data mining.
I felt that it has gone a long way.

Oracle Data Mining (ODM) embeds data mining within the Oracle database. There is no need to move data out of the database into files for analysis and then back from files into the database for storing. The data never leaves the database -- the data, data preparation, model building, and model scoring results all remain in the database. This enables Oracle to provide an infrastructure for application developers to integrate data mining seamlessly with database applications.

Data mining functions are based on two kinds of learning: supervised (directed) and unsupervised (undirected).
Supervised learning functions are typically used to predict a value, and are sometimes referred to as predictive models. Unsupervised learning functions are typically used to find the intrinsic structure, relations, or affinities in data but no classes or labels are assigned aprioi. These are sometimes referred to as descriptive models.

Oracle Data Mining supports the following data mining functions:

Predictive models (supervised learning):
Classification: grouping items into discrete classes and predicting which class an item belongs to
Regression: function approximation and forecast of continuous values
Attribute importance: identifying the attributes that are most important in predicting results (Java interface only)

Descriptive models (unsupervised learning):
Clustering: finding natural groupings in the data
Association models: "market basket" analysis
Feature extraction: create new attributes (features) as a combination of the original attributes
Multimedia (TEXT)
Bioinformatics (BLAST)

ODM provides single-user milt-session access to models. Model building is either synchronous in the PL/SQL interface or asynchronous in the Java interface.

Oracle Data Miner Release 10gR2 introduces the popular Decision Tree algorithm for classification problems that can provide human readable "IF...THEN..." rules that communicate the patterns discovered by ODM. The new Anomaly Detection algorithm flags rare events and supports fraud and compliance monitoring. Oracle Data Miner now supports mining multiple tables at once (e.g., star schema) and supports mining unstructured "text" data. Oracle Data Miner also supports PREDICT and EXPLAIN "one-click data mining" predictive analytics. Oracle Data Miner Release 2 adds Receiver Operating Characteristics support for model evaluation and tuning. Oracle Data Miner can automatically generate the Java and SQL components needed to transform the data mining steps into an integrated data mining/BI enterprise application. Lastly, a new Gateway to Oracle Discoverer enables data analysts to publish their results for viewing through Oracle Discoverer. With Oracle Data Miner and Oracle Data Mining, the data never leaves the database: all data movement is eliminated. In addition, Oracle Data Miner and Oracle Data Mining provide the security of the Oracle database. Click here for details. Click here for an image showing key Data Miner windows. Oracle Data Miner Release 10gR2 requires Oracle Data Mining (ODM) 10.2.
Aside of its parctical applications, Data Mining requires both mathematical models to be implemented by software algorithms, this is an attractive combination for a scientifically inclined person.

There are a some application for data mining in our area like

Retail business
Fraud (Credit Card)
Money laundrying
CRM

in addition to many scientific and engineering application

REALSOFT has delivered many projects and services in this field like

1) Jordan Housing and Urben Development
2) Jordan National Human Resrouce Develpment Labour Market
3) Mobilecom Diwan (Customer service management system)
4) Saudi Telcom (STC) Telemetrics and Teletraffic Switch Analysis
5) Al- Balaqa Governerate Water Information Management System (CARE International)
6) Oman Social and Economic Indicators Database (SED)
7) Arab Bank Risk Managment Operational Data Store (ODS)
8) Oman E-Census (Oman Dept of national Economy)
9) Libya NIDC (National Information and Documentation Center) project
10) Libya Census project (OLAP and GIS enabled)
11) Kuwait Census Project (OLAP and GIS)
12) Currently, Bahrain Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) (OLTP,OLAP and GIS)
13) others

We have a group of the finest Software Engineers, Architects, Designers, Developers, QA team around the area who was able to deliver all of these projects successfully.

Ammar Sajdi
www.e-ammar.com

My New Watch

As childish as it may sound, but i am excited about my new watch. Before i describe my new watch, i have to say a few things about watches. In the past, i was never taken or appreciative of watches. As a matter of fact, i used to criticize those who buy fancy / expensive watches. I was never convinced that an expensive (Branded) watch could keep time better than any other 20$ watch (As a fact, this is still true). Additionally, i would argue that expensive watches would not make your nice moments pass slower, nor make you sad moments pass quicker (which shall hold true till end of time). I am embarrassed to say that during the last few years, my argument about watches is changing, i tend to admire the design, the details and the finish of watches. I tend to look at a watch for quite sometime, without noticing the time!! I stop by any watch boutique i go by and look at the watches. I do not know if this is good or bad, I am growing older or growing younger !?! Now let me talk about my new watch One of the most innovative watches of its time due to its touch-driven technology the T-Touch offers a precision instrument at your fingertips, combining high technicality and performance with cutting-edge design and ease of use
It is a Tissot, with TOUCH Screen (Yes touch screen)
It has a barometer reading -- to help me monitor weather changes
It has a compass It has an altitude meter -- i can measure how far from see level I am
It has a thermometer -- i can measure the temperature.
CASE material : TITANIUM
Glass : TACTILE SAPPHIRE
Brecelet : TITANIUM Grey
and BTW it can tell me what time it is



The reason why it is touch screen is that you can invoke the functions i mentioned before, by touching the respective label on the screen. Not only a digital reading is displayed, but its minutes and hours hand move (most visible when set to the compass mode). At this moment i would urge you to run the following flash demo and use the finger shown (with the mouse) to simulate the touching the screen and see for yourself how the arms are moving. http://www.tissot.ch/pages/flashs/demo_ttouch.html I have an unexplained passion for weather and weather changes. The following shall shed some light about its features with this respect Baramotric reading






Atmospheric Pressure (barometric)













Compass















Temperature










Altitude

















There are many derivatives of the same watch, with different casing, colors etc
I bought if from Dubai, i saw it at Amman Airport (but you cannot find all the flavours)
It is around 650 USD and worth it.
This is not the first time i own a watch with some weather features, some 12 years back i bought a Casio from Kuala Lumpur, Malaisia but that one was too bulky and quite unattractive.

Ammar Sajdi

Me Shiekf Mohammed Of Dubai and Tony Blair

UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum received Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair in Dubai.
Well, there is nothing special in this for me to blog about it;
Ok, while i was leaving Emirates tower with Amer Khatib at the exist where Nafura restuarent is located, we noticed a group of people walking out of the restaurent, while the restaurent owners where cheering them good bye at the entrance.
This is the more important part of this blog, it was Shiekh mohammad and Tony Blair walking out of the restaurent. Well, a bit excited to see two states men walking before us. But what really striked me more was that fact that there was no big fuss about it. Very little security setup (if any) No army vehicles or machine guns. Tony got into a car that peacefully left off without (wee wees). Shiekh mohmmand with some of his frinds kept standing by the road side. It felt so normal, that me and Amer got board and left the scene while few people with shiekh mohammad were talking. This does not happen in Amman, what you would see in Amman in similar situation would be armored vehicles, security personnel, fully equipped soldiers and no way for anyone to be within a viewing distance from the scene.

Ammar Sajdi
Dec 19, 2006
www.e-ammar.com

I fell in love with my new SONY notebook - A Stylish support for business and Beyond

Even though it is only 2 month since i bought my DELL 6400, but i always appreciated SONY. I could not resist the latest SONY VAIO notebooks, i ended buying one.
i was confused which model to buy. Two models made at as finalists. Both have the following specs

2GB Centrino DUO
1 GB DDRAM
RW DVD
Memory Stick card
PCMCIA
built-in camera

The first model (http://vaio-online.sony.com/prod_info/vgn-fe38gp/appealing_design.html) VGN FE38GP has a wide 15.4 screen but weighs about 2.8 KG. It seems to have been designed to replace your desktop, but not quite effecient as machine for someone who want something the size and weight of a notebook












The other http://vaio-online.sony.com/prod_info/vgn-sz38gp_c/ VGN-SZ38GP has 13.3 screen - very light (1.6KG) and is equipped with several security feature (Finger printer sensor for login and for decrypting files and directories)



The second one is more expensive (due to miniaturizations) and is around 2400 USD while the fist sells for 1900 USD.

I ended up buying the second one due to the weight difference which makes a difference if you travel a lot and carry your notebook every where. It is truely a Stylish support for business and beyond . Sleek design for a poweful machine with a real long battary life.












To make office usage easier, i bough a docking station.

I am happy about it and it is my Eid present

Ammar Sajdi

Saddam

I am not trying here to discuss whether Saddam was the proper leader for Iraq or not;
I am also not trying to discuss the honesty of his patriotism towards the Arabic nation, but i could not also ignore the fact that among his last statement was "Long Live Palestine."
Nor am i trying to discuss whether his trial was a fair one or not
The only thing i can say is that executing him on the first day of Al-Adha Eid is humiliating for all of Arabs and Muslims.
Everybody condmened this brutal act except the USA, Israel and Iran; does this tell you anything!!!

Ammar Sajdi
www.e-ammar.com

Emirates Palace -- Extravagant bonanza

Abu-Dhabi stiked back by building the Emirates Palace, a Rival to Burj Alarab of Dubai. http://www.emiratespalace.com/en/sub_aboutemirates.htm
I visited this hotel this December (2006) as part of an engagement wedding i attended. It is a huge hotel and conference center; categorized as a 7 starts (*******) hotel. its interior looks rich and expensive, but not necessarily aesthetically appealing (at least from my point of view). People were saying that this hotel costed around 2 Billion $. What is nice is the endless garderns around it, with beautiful landscape. I was wondering how they maintain such gardens during summer time when the temperature reaches 48 C.

Anyway, it something to see

Ammar Sajdi
www.e-ammar.com

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pampered Generation

somebody sent me this article, it is interesting

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE
1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!


First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or locks on the doors or cabinets.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. When we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking .

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents .

We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.



We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned

HOW TO
DEAL WITH IT ALL!

And YOU are one of them!

CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oracle Open World 2006 online for download

Oracle has just release their list of all of their conference presentations at this link.


To download presentations, please enter the following when prompted. Note the Username and Password are case sensitive.
Username: cboracle
Password: oraclec6

It is really exciting to be able to view all oracle presentation from Jordan, it was not easy to travel to San Fransico to attend the event during the month of Ramadan

Ammar Sajdi
www.realsoft-me.com (The winner of the most innovative project in jordan 2005)
www.e-ammar.com

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Oracle Application Server 10g Rel 2 on Linux

Spend quite sometime last sunday with Tareq Haddadin of REALSOFT to install Oracle 10g application server or RedHat 4. The installation failed repeatidly. As the day was winding down (Actually about 9:30) we figured it out. Never remove the following line from the /etc/hosts file

127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost

unfortunately, we removed this line and instead added a line indicating the real IP and Hostname.
It seesm that the Installation scripts uses the first lines and fires an error message that does not lead you anywhwere. To be honest, i reviewed the installation documents, and found out that Oracle clearly mentions the need of the above line. Guess i was too confident and did not care to read the installation document.
I learned that no matter now long your experience is, reading the installation guide could save you sometime

Ammar Sajdi
REALSOFT
www. e-ammar.com

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Aligning Oracle Forms Applet (webform) Right to Left

Today, while i was helping Dubai Police to go live with their new Oracle Forms10g application, we came across a problem when displaying Arabic enabled forms.

Oracle forms typically initializes and launches an applet within a regular IE browser page.
The form we were working on is large in size and its problem is that when it is first displayed, it truncates the right margin of the form (actually the applet is truncated). Since Arabic is Right to Left l oriented language, truncating the right margin means losing the leading and important parts of the labels and field. Of course, the user can still use the scroll bars and view the hidden parts of the screen, but it was becoming more and more inconnveneint for the users.

To fix such problem, one needs to incorporate an HTML tag that switches the browser to Right to Left (RTL) mode.

The tag is

HTML DIR= RTL

the above should be placed within tag sign <>

The question remains where to locate this tag.

Find your formsweb.cfg configuration file
look for
baseHTMLjinitiator variable to locate that base HTML page that embeds the Java Applet. for example the default setting is

baseHTMLjinitiator=basejini.htm

then open the basejini.htm file
and add the tag

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Eighth wonder , microsft finally gives up to LINUX -- Mama does not believe

So many things have shocked me recently, and this is one of them, read on

Extracted from http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/11/03/microsoft_novell_linux_windows/

Microsoft to recommend Suse Linux, sorta

Wolfgang Gruener
November 2, 2006 19:03
Redmond (WA) - No, it's not a misprint: Microsoft today announced one of those if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em decisions and confirmed that it will be working closely with Novell to improve the interoperability and manageability between Windows and Linux. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will even recommend Suse Linux Enterprise for mixed OS environments.
If you are still rubbing your eyes: Yes, Microsoft has officially jumped on the Linux bandwagon. Having taken shots at each other for more than a decade, the two operating systems are growing closer with Windows and a major Linux distribution promising more interoperability for users who are running both packages on their computers.


Ammar Sajdi
www.e-ammar.com
Oracle Consultant

Kindness

اّذا انت اكرمت الكريم ملكته ..............واذا انت اكرمت اللئيم تمرد

In english, if you are kind tto a kind hearted person, you will be overwhelmed with his/her respect, and if you are kind to a mean and malicious person, he/she shall exhibit act of mutiny (ie. stab you in the back)

how true can this be

shirin afifi

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dimensional Modeling in Business Intelligence Env, Ammar Sajdi

Dimensional Modeling in Business intelligence Environment, an IBM RedBook.
(http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/Redbooks.nsf/RedbookAbstracts/sg247138.html?Open)
I came across this book some 3 months back, IBM RedBook series never cease to amaze me for the quality and clarity of their publications. In fact, back in 1999-2000, REALSOFT (where i am a co-founder), was awarded our first Data warehouse solution for the ministry of national economy in Oman social and economics indicators database. Guess what, IBM RedBook came to our rescue with their excellent data modeling techniques for data warehouse (http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg242238.html?Open) , it was THEE book that laid down the ground for our understanding of data warehousing concepts and design.

Ammar Sajdi
Oracle consultant , CEO
REALSOFT / PALCO
Amman Jordan, 2006

Lean Software development, can it be applied in Jordan - by Ammar Sajdi

I ve been recently reading a lot about software development strategies and methodologies revolving around a fairly recent way of thinking. These methodologies also belong to what is now know as Agile Software Development. an interesting overview about Agile software development can be found at wikipedia.
One particular book that i discuss with the employees at REALSOFT (Amman office) is called "Lean Software Development" by Mary Poppendieck and Tom poppendieck (ISBN 0-321-15078-3).
The origin of Lean thinking stems back to the 1940's when taiichi Ohno of Toyota who wanted to know how Toyota (a small car producer at the time) could compete with American mass-produced cars. The father of the Toyota Production System is the mastermind behind the fundamental lean principle, namely, eliminate waste.

The book and others book in Agile realm try to transform the Lean thinking used in development and production of products into lean thinking as it applies to Software development.
Effectively, lean thinking advocates the adoption of iterative software development approach over the traditional water fall approach. However, even though several other studies in software development life cycles (SDLC) favor iterative approach, the agile lean approach has its unique steps.

Lean thinking has seven principlesEliminate Waste
Amplify learning
Decide as late as possible
Deliver as fast as possible
Empower the team
Build integrity in
See the whole.

The are other approaches that also know in the agile arena such as
Extreme Programming (XP)
Scrum

I think that this approach can be applied in Jordan very well, and many of us, most probably apply it without having identified their method as being Lean or Agile. The Lean approach applies best in environment when it is not possible to capture the business requirement of a certain business precisely and comprehensively at the start of the project. The agile approach, then suggests, that the team starts to do early rough releases and present the results to the client as soon as possible, then start enhancing and evolving both the requirement and the software application itself by introducing another iteration that includes the additional features resulting from the first release. (This complies with the Decide as late as possible and Deliver as fast as possible principles)
I ve been recently reading a lot about software development strategies and methodologies revolving around a fairly recent way of thinking. These methodologies also belong to what is now know as Agile Software Development. an interesting overview about Agile software development can be found at wikipedia.
One particular book that i discuss with the employees at REALSOFT (Amman office) is called "Lean Software Development" by Mary Poppendieck and Tom poppendieck (ISBN 0-321-15078-3).
The origin of Lean thinking stems back to the 1940's when taiichi Ohno of Toyota who wanted to know how Toyota (a small car producer at the time) could compete with American mass-produced cars. The father of the Toyota Production System is the mastermind behind the fundamental lean principle, namely, eliminate waste.

The book and others book in Agile realm try to transform the Lean thinking used in development and production of products into lean thinking as it applies to Software development.
Effectively, lean thinking advocates the adoption of iterative software development approach over the traditional water fall approach. However, even though several other studies in software development life cycles (SDLC) favor iterative approach, the agile lean approach has its unique steps.

Lean thinking has seven principlesEliminate Waste
Amplify learning
Decide as late as possible
Deliver as fast as possible
Empower the team
Build integrity in
See the whole.

The are other approaches that also know in the agile arena such as
Extreme Programming (XP)
Scrum

I think that this approach can be applied in Jordan very well, and many of us, most probably apply it without having identified their method as being Lean or Agile. The Lean approach applies best in environment when it is not possible to capture the business requirement of a certain business precisely and comprehensively at the start of the project. The agile approach, then suggests, that the team starts to do early rough releases and present the results to the client as soon as possible, then start enhancing and evolving both the requirement and the software application itself by introducing another iteration that includes the additional features resulting from the first release. (This complies with the Decide as late as possible and Deliver as fast as possible principles)

Friday, October 06, 2006

I am a bit confused, who is the terrorist

Sailor: I watched Marines kill Iraqi civilian CNN Sept 6th
CAMP PENDLETON, California (AP) -- A Navy corpsman testified Friday that Marines in his patrol seized an Iraqi civilian from his home, threw him into a hole and put at least 10 bullets in his head after growing frustrated in their search for an insurgent.

"I was shocked and I felt sick to my stomach," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos.

Bacos, a medic who had been on patrol with the squad, was charged along with seven Marines in the slaying of Hashim Ibrahim Awad last spring in the town of Hamdaniya. But Bacos struck a deal with prosecutors under which he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy and agreed to testify Friday at his court-martial about what he saw.

"I knew what we were doing was wrong," Bacos testified. "I knew we were doing something wrong and I tried to say something."

Bacos, 21, was the first of the servicemen to be court-martialed. The seven others could get up to life in prison.

Prosecutors have said that the servicemen killed Awad out of frustration and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel by the body to make it look as if he had been caught digging a hole for a roadside bomb.

Bacos testified that the squad entered Hamdaniya on April 26 while searching for a known insurgent who had been captured three times, then released. Squad leader Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins was "just mad that we kept letting him go and he was a known terrorist," Bacos said.

The group approached a house where the insurgent was believed to be hiding, but when someone inside woke up, the Marines instead went to another home and grabbed Awad, according to the testimony.

Bacos said the squad had intended to get someone else if they did not capture the insurgent, then stage a firefight to make it appear they had found an Iraqi planting a roadside bomb.

Awad, 52, was taken from the home with his feet and hands bound, then placed in a hole, Bacos said. Bacos said he asked the Marines to let Awad go, but Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda told him in crude terms that he was being weak and should stop protesting.

Bacos said Hutchins fired three rounds into the man's head, then Cpl. Trent Thomas fired seven to 10 more rounds into his head.

Bacos said Hutchins called in to a command center and reported the squad had seen a man digging a hole and wanted permission to fire at him.

Bacos was recently transferred from Camp Pendleton, where the Marines have been held, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar for his own safety.

Military prosecutors had charged Bacos under the theory that he did nothing to stop the alleged crime. In return for his testimony, murder charges and other counts against him were dropped. He was scheduled to be sentenced later Friday.

Along with Magincalda, Hutchins and Thomas, the other Marines charged are: Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson, Pfc. John J. Jodka, Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., and Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington.

David Brahms, Pennington's lawyer, said Bacos' account will be subjected to intense scrutiny. "This is just one guy who is going to tell the story as he sees it," Brahms said.

Former Army prosecutor Tom Umberg suggested that others might follow Bacos' lead and strike similar plea bargains.

"You don't want to be the last guy standing. The first guy gets the best deal," he said.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pope and Islam - by Juan Cole

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pope Gets it Wrong on Islam

Pope Benedict's speech at Regensburg University, which mentioned Islam and jihad, has provoked a firestorm of controversy.

The address is more complex and subtle than the press on it represents. But let me just signal that what is most troubling of all is that the Pope gets several things about Islam wrong, just as a matter of fact.

He notes that the text he discusses, a polemic against Islam by a Byzantine emperor, cites Qur'an 2:256: "There is no compulsion in religion." Benedict maintains that this is an early verse, when Muhammad was without power.

His allegation is incorrect. Surah 2 is a Medinan surah revealed when Muhammad was already established as the leader of the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina or "the city" of the Prophet). The pope imagines that a young Muhammad in Mecca before 622 (lacking power) permitted freedom of conscience, but later in life ordered that his religion be spread by the sword. But since Surah 2 is in fact from the Medina period when Muhammad was in power, that theory does not hold water.

In fact, the Qur'an at no point urges that religious faith be imposed on anyone by force. This is what it says about the religions:


' [2:62] Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians-- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. '



See my comments On the Quran and peace.

The idea of holy war or jihad (which is about defending the community or at most about establishing rule by Muslims, not about imposing the faith on individuals by force) is also not a Quranic doctrine. The doctrine was elaborated much later, on the Umayyad-Byzantine frontier, long after the Prophet's death. In fact, in early Islam it was hard to join, and Christians who asked to become Muslim were routinely turned away. The tyrannical governor of Iraq, al-Hajjaj, was notorious for this rejection of applicants, because he got higher taxes on non-Muslims. Arab Muslims had conquered Iraq, which was then largely pagan, Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish. But they weren't seeking converts and certainly weren't imposing their religion.

The pope was trying to make the point that coercion of conscience is incompatible with genuine, reasoned faith. He used Islam as a symbol of the coercive demand for unreasoned faith.

But he has been misled by the medieval polemic on which he depended.

In fact, the Quran also urges reasoned faith and also forbids coercion in religion. The only violence urged in the Quran is in self-defense of the Muslim community against the attempts of the pagan Meccans to wipe it out.

The pope says that in Islam, God is so transcendant that he is beyond reason and therefore cannot be expected to act reasonably. He contrasts this conception of God with that of the Gospel of John, where God is the Logos, the Reason inherent in the universe.

But there have been many schools of Islamic theology and philosophy. The Mu'tazilite school maintained exactly what the Pope is saying, that God must act in accordance with reason and the good as humans know them. The Mu'tazilite approach is still popular in Zaidism and in Twelver Shiism of the Iraqi and Iranian sort. The Ash'ari school, in contrast, insisted that God was beyond human reason and therefore could not be judged rationally. (I think the Pope would find that Tertullian and perhaps also John Calvin would be more sympathetic to this view within Christianity than he is).

As for the Quran, it constantly appeals to reason in knowing God, and in refuting idolatry and paganism, and asks, "do you not reason?" "do you not understand?" (a fala ta`qilun?)

Of course, Christianity itself has a long history of imposing coerced faith on people, including on pagans in the late Roman Empire, who were forcibly converted. And then there were the episodes of the Crusades.

Another irony is that reasoned, scholastic Christianity has an important heritage drom Islam itself. In the 10th century, there was little scholasticism in Christian theology. The influence of Muslim thinkers such as Averroes (Ibn Rushd) and Avicenna (Ibn Sina) reemphasized the use of Aristotle and Plato in Christian theology. Indeed, there was a point where Christian theologians in Paris had divided into partisans of Averroes or of Avicenna, and they conducted vigorous polemics with one another.

Finally, that Byzantine emperor that the Pope quoted, Manuel II? The Byzantines had been weakened by Latin predations during the fourth Crusade, so it was in a way Rome that had sought coercion first. And, he ended his days as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire.

The Pope was wrong on the facts. He should apologize to the Muslims and get better advisers on Christian-Muslim relations.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Traders in Dubai

I came back from dubai today, and the only thing worth talking about is the Hotel. Located within 15 minutes of Dubai International Airport and close to the traditional Deira business centre, Traders Hotel, Dubai is the 4-star brand of Shangri-La offering a quality deluxe hotel that has the efficiencies, warmth, comfort and consistent personalised service of a Shangri-La hotel. The building is low rise and portrays an Arabic feel in its exterior. The interior of the hotel reflects a modern, clean, contemporary look throughout all guest rooms and public areas.

Additionally, they serve excellent food, truely the facinating Shangri-La style. It is a fairly small hotel and reasonably priced. When i say reasonably priced, it is only 200 USD/night. This price tag is really reasonable when compared to the staggaring accomodation cost prevailing now a days in dubai. 3 weeks back i was in Abu-dhabi Sheraton (5 starts), but honestly speaking, i think that Traders is a better hotel, 2 week before that, i stayed at Dubai Crown Plaza (another 5 starts) and you know what, does not stand a chance. These 5 start have big conference facilities and ball rooms, other than that, i favour Traders

what is always annoying with visiting dubai is that if you have to return to Amman - Jordan via Royal Jordanian, you have to go to the airport at 5:30 AM, which, does not only get me bugged for lack of sleep, but also having to pay the $200 for no value

Ammar Sajdi
www.e-ammar.com

IBM Redbooks

Dimensional Modeling in Business intelligence Environment, an IBM RedBook.
(http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/Redbooks.nsf/RedbookAbstracts/sg247138.html?Open)
I came across this book some 3 months back, IBM RedBook series never cease to amaze me for the quality and clarity of their publications. In fact, back in 1999-2000, REALSOFT (where i am a co-founder), was awarded our first Data warehouse solution for the ministry of national economy in Oman social and economics indicators database. Guess what, IBM RedBook came to our rescue with their excellent data modeling techniques for data warehouse (http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg242238.html?Open) , it was THEE book that laid down the ground for our understanding of data warehousing concepts and design.

www.e-ammar.com
Ammar Sajdi
Realsoft Advanced Application

Knowledge

Knowledge

IBM RedBook

Dimensional Modeling in Business intelligence Environment, an IBM RedBook.
(http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/Redbooks.nsf/RedbookAbstracts/sg247138.html?Open)
I came across this book some 3 months back, IBM RedBook series never cease to amaze me for the quality and clarity of their publications. In fact, back in 1999-2000, REALSOFT (where i am a co-founder), was awarded our first Data warehouse solution for the ministry of national economy in Oman social and economics indicators database. Guess what, IBM RedBook came to our rescue with their excellent data modeling techniques for data warehouse (http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg242238.html?Open) , it was THEE book that laid down the ground for our understanding of data warehousing concepts and design.

Playing around with ADF dataControl

While trying to figure out what one of our ex-colleagues at REALSOFT is programming a business rule engine admin screen for the Health Insu...