For quite some time now, I’ve been feeling more and more like a radical center-right extremist, alienated from my hard-lined rightwing militant allies. Whether it’s over John McCain’s apostasy, Barack Obama’s middle name, or on Islam, I feel like those who navigate through the blogosphere are sailing through a world of hyberbole and emotional venting; and of militant partisanship. I used to see it all the time coming from the left- Daily Kos, DU, Think Progress, Air America. But now I am acutely aware of the vitriol that comes from my side of the spectrum. And ultimately, I think it harms the conservative movement and in our credibility.
I’ve been criticized for my approach in dealing with radical Islam; in trying to differentiate Islam from Islamists; in wanting to promote the term “hirab” over the use of “jihad”, to take the language of legitimacy out of the hands of those Islamic terrorists who wish to refer to themselves as “jihadists”.What baffles me the most, are those arm-chair Koranic and Hadith-watchers who study every anti-Islamic text on the market, then ask, “Where are the moderate Muslims? They don’t exist! It is antithetical to Islam.” When moderates are pointed out, they are patronizingly dismissed as “not true followers of Islam” but apostates because “the Koran says this“, the “hadith tells them that”. These arm-chair Koran scholars apparently have the authority to tell Muslims what is and isn’t their faith of worship because they’ve delved into every Robert Spencer book and politically incorrect guides to Islam, Trifkovic’s The Sword of the Prophet, Nonie Darwish, Brigitte Gabriel, etc. “So long as you’re bashing Islam, we’ll listen to you.” is the message I get from many readers of these books- which, make no mistake about it, are extremely valuable information and resources, vital to the war we find ourselves in. But say something positive about Islam, and we’re just not interested in reading about it. Instead, we’ll be suspicious that any book on Islam that isn’t anti-Islamic must be written by Muslim apologists who want to trick and deceive us through smoke and mirrors.
Apparently, if you aren’t an Islamic fundamentalist adhering to strict constructionist interpretation of the written word of God, you are not a true Muslim practitioner of Islam. At the same time, the critics wail away about how Islam needs reform and departure from barbaric, 7th century practices (and I would agree here); yet some of those same critics disavow that a person is Islamic, should that person embrace modernity and separation of mosque and state and a disinterest in subjugating non-Muslims at the point of a sword and dhimmifying those who do not convert to Islam. These critics demand Islam reform for the 21st century and yet when examples of such Muslims are presented, they are rejected as “Oh, he’s not a true Muslim”. They believe that there is no such thing as “radical Islam”. That Islam itself by nature is “radicalized”, and the norm. Any departure from it is apostasy and to be dismissed; not respected and nurtured.
One of the very few talk radio hosts I admire and whose opinions I can usually respect even if I should disagree with them, is Michael Medved. He coined the usage “Islamo-nazism” as more accurate than “Islamo-fascism”. I agree in “labeling” and “identifying” the enemy; but I still believe that using “hirabah” is a more enlightened approach, and the next step up in winning the propaganda war for hearts and minds. Nevertheless, I understand where Medved is coming from, and that he differentiates those who are peaceful, non-threatening practioners of the religion of peace, and those who are sympathizers, enablers, and participants in Islamic terror and in the religion of submission of others.I am reprinting in its entirety, a post from Michael Medved last week (also penned as article). I think it is well-worth reading and reflecting upon.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Posted by: Michael Medved at 3:34 PM Is America’s “war on terror” in reality a war on Islam itself?
Most Muslim radicals insist that it is – as do many patriotic conservatives in this country who believe that any attempts to woo Islamic moderates, or to whitewash the violent and menacing essence of the Koran, distort the true nature of the current conflict.
Some of those who see Islam in all of its manifestations as our ultimate, implacable foe took me to task (in e-mail and phone calls to my radio show) for my recent support for U.S. recognition of the newly independent Muslim-majority state of Kosovo.
To these zealots, it hardly matters that the leading European powers (Britain, France, Germany) strongly support Kosovo’s separation from Serbia, or that the most outspoken opposition to Kosovar independence comes from the increasingly anti-American Putin regime in Russia. To some observers, it’s also irrelevant that ethnic Albanians (mostly non-religious, secularized Muslims) comprise more than 90% of Kosovo’s population and this overwhelming majority ardently desires its own democratic nation state. Though Orthodox Christian Serbs make up only 5% of the populace in Kosovo, critics of Bush administration Balkan policy insist that this embattled minority deserves U.S. protection and support. They discount fervent Kosovar promises that the new nation will guarantee the rights and security of its Christian residents; skeptics believe that such assurances mean nothing when provided by Muslim leaders, no matter how secular or pro-American.
“You of all people should recognize that there is no such thing as a ‘moderate Muslim,’” one correspondent scolded me. “Moderation and Islam contradict one another. Anyone who denies that contradiction is either a fool or a dupe. The tragedy in Kosovo represents just the latest example of state department mistakes based on the consistent denial that Islam, wherever it exists, is the eternal enemy of democratic values and Western Civilization.”
This increasingly popular absolutist position – whatever its historical, theological or anthropological basis – represents a threat to our short-term security and our long-term success in the very real battle against Islamism. If we accept, let alone embrace, the proposition that Islam itself is our enemy, then all of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims become enemies of the United States, and doom us to unending and un-winnable conflict.
It’s true that some serious scholars both inside and outside the Muslim world (or “Umma”) have pointed to Koranic passages and interpretations that seem to command perpetual jihad against non-believers, but other authorities (again, including Muslims and outsiders alike) emphasize more tolerant, less bloodthirsty strains in the teachings of Mohammed. The defenders of Islam point to a few peaceful and surprisingly diverse Muslim societies (Medieval Spain, or al-Andaluz, represents perhaps the most celebrated example) that contrast with the aggressive, convert-or-die approach that appears repeatedly in Islamic history. Islamic apologists point to similar contradictions in Christian history, with literally millions of heathens forcibly converted, enslaved or put to death, not to mention the appalling blood-letting between Catholics and Protestants who slaughtered one another for centuries despite their similar proclamations of loyalty to Jesus.
For Christianity, however, the worst excesses of violent fanaticism in the name of faith occurred four hundred years ago while for Islam they took place yesterday – with suicide bombings, riots, mutilations and tyrannical theocracies in every corner of the globe. No fair-minded person can look at the role played by Muslim faith in contemporary politics, economics, culture, or human rights without questioning the frequently dysfunctional nature of Islamic ideas.
Nevertheless, any public proclamation of overall enmity toward Islam would harm America’s cause in the world at large and undermine our security at home. This approach damages our interest in five ways–
1) It confirms the anti-American propaganda of terrorist leaders. Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and their associates have argued for years that the United States, “the Great Satan,” is the leader of a global conspiracy to destroy Islam and oppress Muslims. Any statement of hostility to Muslim faith would confirm the claims of our most dangerous enemies, enhancing their prestige and credibility. We also harm ourselves greatly if we declare that the idea of a “moderate Muslim” is a contradiction in terms: this echoes the al-Qaeda line almost precisely, as we agree with our deadliest enemies that anyone who chooses to help us or to oppose terrorism is somehow inauthentic in his Koranic commitment.
2) It alienates our allies. Most Islamic societies fall far short of democratic norms or even civilized standards, but several of them provide crucial assistance in the war against radicalism. Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations may be far from perfect as allies, but they would each be profoundly dangerous as adversaries. Our economic and military interests around the world depend to a great extent on some cooperation with Muslim nations and official condemnation of the faith they cherish would make such cooperation vastly more difficult if not altogether impossible. No one’s entirely comfortable with the idea of more than sixty nuclear warheads in the hands of President Musharraf of Pakistan, but imagine those nukes controlled by Islamist leaders of the future with reason to believe that the U.S. wanted to wipe out Muslim belief.
3) It puts the societies of Western Europe at profound risk. With growing and powerful Muslim populations in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and most other European powers, an American declaration of hostility to Islam would force those societies into an impossible choice: either disassociate yourself completely from your necessary American ally, or prepare to suppress the well-established Islamic communities in your midst. Of course, it would be better for our European friends if their Muslim millions simply packed up and went home, but since there’s no chance they will do so any attempt to officially disparage Islam, or even to force instantaneous assimilation and secularization, becomes dangerous and destabilizing.
4) It destroys our tradition of religious pluralism. If we proclaim Islam (or any other religion) as an “enemy of the state,” then we’ve clearly abandoned our cherished First Amendment tradition of neutrality among religious faiths. Constitutional scholars may argue as to whether government may encourage a generalized sense of religiosity or reverence, but no student of the First Amendment suggests that government may select one specific faith for either promotion or persecution. Studies suggest that American Muslims represent a mostly prosperous and assimilated segment of the population, but public hostility to Islam would encourage a disturbing tend toward radicalization already apparent among some young Muslims. If Islam is our enemy, should Homeland Security start closing down mosques? The very idea represents an obvious violation of the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause.
5) It pushes us toward a never-ending war with no exit strategy. Even those of us who have always supported the Iraq and Afghanistan wars wish that the government had learned one of the key lessons of Vietnam which once comprised a key element of the “Powell Doctrine”: never go to war without a clear, practical plan for victory and a reliable exit strategy. If we define Islam as our enemy, then what, exactly, is our feasible strategy for wiping out a resilient religious faith that’s proven disturbingly durable for more than 1,400 years? Even if we succeed in reducing the numbers and influence of the world’s Muslims we’ll still face at the very least, say, ten-percent of the current population: or more than 130 million believers. If that formidable Islamic remnant sees America as responsible for the elimination (either physically or spiritually) of most of their brothers and sisters in faith, the terrorist threat we face may actually intensify, rather than recede.
In all areas of human conflict or competition, the divide-and-conquer strategy works. In warfare, politics, international relations, business or all other contests, you win by uniting those on your side of the battle lines and dividing your adversaries.
Pushing the idea that Islam is our enemy does exactly the opposite: dividing the United States from allied states, and dividing those states at home, while instantly uniting our enemies.
Recognizing that we simply can’t succeed in “a war against Islam” isn’t to say that the followers of Mohammed have built “a religion of peace,” or even that Islam deserves identical respect to other great religions. In truth, even fair-minded Muslims must recognize that Islam today inspires unique concern with its well-documented propensity toward violence, radicalism and authoritarianism. We should encourage any and all Muslim voices against such extremism, rather than insisting that they don’t exist or can’t exist.
The statement that “Islam itself is the enemy” may deliver thrills and satisfaction with its tough, uncompromising, provocative ring, but the advance of that that idea among American conservatives and others constitutes a far more dire threat to U.S. interests than to the power or influence of the terrorists.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.
Suek, from the top of your link:
I’m sure you also bothered to read their “misconceptions” page. I’m sure that will be highly amusing/educational/perhaps not/ to you.
Here’s another outlook:
Suek’s response to Amy:
That used to bug me as well, when I see so much violence committed in the name of Islam. I saw it as so much PC garbage. But now I ask: who should be allowed to define what Islam is and isn’t? Those who are actually at war with us, along with those still stuck practicing political/militant/fundamentalist Islam? Or those Muslims who do practice their faith for spiritual cultivation, and in peace?
Anyway, your response totally missed the mark in what Amy was saying.
Vince P. wrote:
My apologies. But since I don’t know you from Abel, when you responded to me with ” I’m not interested in anything good about Islam.”, I found that rather close-minded. It was a natural assumption and I apologize if I pegged your number wrong.
Yes, absolutely true. I was perceiving your statement in a different manner from the one in which you made it; I now know where you are coming from, and you are correct.
Other than articles, I have read Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, as well as articles by him, and I have The Al Qaeda Reader. Yes, history is very important to them, and it matters that they feel marginalized today from the glory days of Islamic golden age empires.
I didn’t claim biblical basis in the New Testament. The way I was looking at it, is in finding justification to do violence and atrocities in the name of religion. I agree that the New Testament does not contain the kind of militancy and advocacy of violence that can be found in the Koran; yet everything is open for interpretation. People have done great evil and good because of what they see in the Bible and in the Koran.
There are plenty of dark episodes found in the Old Testament with lots of odd practices. How many Christians and Jews wish to return to “strict constructionist” interpretations? There’s a reason why there are so many branches and off-shoots of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Deuteronomy 20 contains Yahweh’s instructions about war. If a city does not accept Israel’s offer of peace and open its gates, then “when the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it” (verse13). With regard to other cities, the command is (verse 16), “Do not leave anything that breathes.”
How does one reconcile such a passage? You can find the best and worst of humanity in any religion.
The Koran itself is a perplexing book, filled with poetry and contradictions. Same with the Bible. In it, you can find passages that condemns warfare, even as it advocates violence and war; beautiful expressions of tolerance even as it rebukes infidels and calls for their destruction.
Islam that is still dated in the 15th century and also driven by 19th century Wahhabi fundamentalist radicalism and 20th century political Islam obviously needs further reformation if it is to coexist peaceably in the modern world.
And by “reformation”, certainly not a backward looking one, where advocates want to regress to fundamentalism and literal interpretations.
The reestablishment of the Caliphate does not seem to be a major priority amongst most officially sanctioned Islamic institutions in the Muslim. Just to those who are influenced by political/militant Islam and a yearning for a return to Islamic past glory.
My response, spliced by your blockquote, was related to your earlier comment. My point was, that not all Muslims are following the tenets of political/militant Islam. The only way I see the majority of the Muslim world move toward the reestablishment and recognition of the Caliphate is if a billion Muslims see the non-Muslim world aligned against them, as would be the case if everyone felt as someone like adriane does, regarding Islam.
Many Muslims think that al-Qaeda made a mistake, not because their call to jihad is illegitimately endorsed (there is no single “lawful authority”), but because
1)Our reprisal in Afghanistan, which saw an end to the Taliban’s rule there (Abu Musab al-Suri, a Syrian who was part of al-Qaeda’s inner circle and “jihad” theorist, lamented that the disaster of warring with the U.S. resulted in the loss of the Taliban, which he regarded as the closest thing to a perfect Islamic government in the modern world); and the kill and capture of much of the al-Qaeda leadership and operatives. Around 80%, supposedly.
2)A decline in support for al-Qaeda, due to their indiscriminate murdering of Muslims.
Also, the reasoning I heard by Muslims in rejecting al-Qaeda was more in line with the indiscriminate killing of civilians and use of “suicidists” by al-Qaeda as being anti-thetical to the teachings in Islam. Of course, many of you will once again refer to passages in the Koran that advocate for violence against infidels, rather than listen to moderates and reformists.
Before, there were some who did perceive Osama and company with a kind of “Robin Hood and his merry men” romantic glow. The tide turns only because now, 6 years later, Muslims are seeing the al-Qaeda ideology as a losing struggle:
Former al-Qaeda intellectual and influential leader, Sayyed Imam al-Sharif, did not speak out against al-Qaeda until after al-Qaeda’s war with America has proven itself a disaster for Muslims:
Vince P. continues:
Apologies for the condescension. Sometimes, when responding to multiple comments, you start to just lump everyone together.
John, in the first comment touched upon distinguishing “moderate” from “reformist”. I’ve been using them rather interchangeably, but can agree to start making the distinctions, for purposes of better communication.
Most likely not, when so many won’t even bother acknowledging Muslims like him exist, all the while screaming about “where are the moderates” and “why aren’t they speaking out against Islamic terrorists”, as well as being intentionally inflammatory toward the whole of Islam.
Rand in comment #44:
Of course! Sufi Islam is just as vile and disgustingly evil as Wahhabism, and Salafi Islam. Let’s round him up…..just watch out for that slow-moving jab and killer sense of humor of his. He’s known to engage in taqqiyah, by calling up fans and telling them it’s “Muhammad Ali on the phone”. What a deceptive Muslim!
When all whities (replace with “Muslims”) subscribe to the KKK (insert here “al-Qaeda”) worldview, then get back to me on this flawed comparative analogy.
I emboldened the “gotcha” part, on why I wasn’t arguing in “bad faith”. Your assumption appears to be that the Muslims I have known aren’t trying to kill me because…gee, they are being sidetracked by busy lives. But should an Islamic Super Caliphate arise and call them to Jihad, they will have a collective mindthink and answer that call; that is, if they are practicing “true” Islam, and don’t have other more pressing business at hand, like going to work and feeding the kids.
Again….flawed analogy here. If we were to go by your logic, the assumption we would need to make in order to make it consistent, is that white people would be out there lynching people as members of the KKK; but the only thing holding them back is that there’s a football game on tv, at the moment.
Wow. Has Muhammad Ali gotten this memo yet? Someone really should tell him.
You go, girl! Just be thankful you weren’t born with a cleft palette….here we go:
*Clap*, *Clap*, *Clap*
That was just….beautiful. I had to blockquote the whole diatribe because It was just too good not to.
Basically, I see your whole logic as flawed. My “Muslim friends” have nothing to do with the atrocities you describe and which I too condemn, anymore than my “white friends” have anything to do with the KKK. Your analogy.
Thank you for your service, Johnny. Not only in serving in our military, but in doing what you can to win hearts and mind, and the overall long war against the real enemies.
People pick and choose what to follow in their religion all the time. The Old Testament says that eating shellfish is dirty. If every Christian actually followed that, Red Lobster would be out of business. If everyone actually did everything that Christ laid out in the Sermon on the Mount, the world would look very different indeed.
Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I am a committed agnostic (I am deeply committed avoiding religious or spiritual practices). I, unlike many of my liberal compatriots, have never been an apologist for Islam. But, I don’t like the idea of any kind of wholesale condemnation of any religion, no matter what it is. Like you said: If a whole religion is the enemy, what do you propose to do with them? Kill them all? Send them to Mars?
Those following this thread may be interested in reading this article today: (warning – very long, but not as long as this thread!)
I keep going back to your original post and trying to determine what your point is. My assumption is that the problem is not islam, but those who are extremists and just using the religion to whip up support, and that there are many good people who are also muslims, but who are not extremists. So ok….assume that ‘s a fact. Where do you go from there?
What I fear is this:
Excellent links, suek. Thank you.
Wordsmith: I have to hand it to you, applaud you, for struggling against the rabid uninformed prejudice in these responses. As you point out, none of these bigots have been educated in Islam, it’s history, its apologetics, the vast forum of debates within its separate sects. What you are tussling with here is blind hatred. I think the only thing that really fights such racism is when the bigot actually meets and gets to know a Muslim family personally. Which is rare, because bigots are born from knowing only their own kind, seeking out their own kind, and ignoring all others. Yet, tolerance will happen. Islam will grow and change, just like Christianity does, and society will grow and change. Especially the longer we’re in this war and the number of Muslim war brides and refugees pour into Wisconsin and Iowa. They will come to know their humanity. Until then, thanks for fighting for reason over bestial hate.
This may be my only post on this thread as I agree with both Word and Mike on points within their views.
However, there is no racism here. Islam is NOT a race. I am sick and tired Islam being referred to as a ‘race’. It is a totalitarian/holistic religion. By this I mean Islam is one of, and may be, the ONLY religion which has a fully defined form of government attached to it along with detailed laws and proceedures. However, Islam is not a ‘race’. Fascists within Islam have a ‘racial superiority” complex, but Islam, like Aryians are not a race.
Both sides on the issue above HAVE received vast education in Islam. I would say that both sides on this issue have more education in Islam than they ever wish to have and probably more than many Islamic people have. Both have come to different conclusions on the nature and extent of the threat.
One conclusion is that Islam has many bad apples and terrible tennents, but can be moved into the modern era. This view holds that Islam can be “reformed” to become less of a holistic/societal religion and more of a individual/personal religion. Under this view, the terrorists are the apostates and hijackers of the faith using certain Hadiths and Suras. They renounce the Suras that do not fit by stating the Sura of Abrogation which follows:
2:106: “Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?”
This Sura, along with many verses in Sura 9, are used for justifications of militant jihad. Under the islamofascist’s take on Islam, all the “peaceful” Suras are abrogated by the later Suras.
According to the view, expoused I think in Word’s post here, the islamofascists are the hijackers and not good followers of Islam. These islamic NAZIs make up a small percentage of Islam, however, they brutalize any who oppose them, including (and especially) other Islamic people. This view is also held by President Bush and the basis for confining the GWOT to certain targets and not a general defensive war which Europe has fought on and off since the Battle of Tours under Charles Martell.
Under this view, Sura 2:106 could also be used to “reform” Islam into a sustainable future where they can exist as equals with other religion. I have yet to see this move forward beyond talk from Islamic reformers with Fatwas against them, but it could still happen as long as the West becomes firm on defending our culture and faith that we have something better than the Taliban Islam our foes offer. Notice I said “becomes” not “remains”. We have to unshackle ourselves from the paralysing self hatred of political correctness before that happens.
President Bush’s policy has been to allow Islam to reform without the threat of violence from Taliban type IslamoNAZIs. The much under-reported successes of Iraq throwing off AQI and Maadi terrorism (after having to live with the stark reality of an AQ/Maadi style government) lend credence to this view. Using this philosophy, President Bush has formed some of the largest diverse coalitions in world history to fight Islamic terrorism (not that he will receive credit for it). Even the Saudi people, who have tacidly backed Islamic terrorism, are fighting against the islamofacists in their own country for fear of AQ or like organizations instilling their form of Islam on Saudi Arabia.
Yes I know AQ is Sunni and the Maadi are Shia, however, in practice, there is little difference when either ‘governs’ and area.
Of note, while in Baghdad, our Sunni translator stated there were four types of terrorist attacks according to Arabs and responses to it.
1. Terrorist attacks on Jews: Everyone shouts for joy and has big parties.
2. Terrorist attacks against other non-islamic targets: Still shouts of joy, but less jubilant as it means the hand that feeds them may go away (or fight back).
3. Islamic Terrorist attacks against Islamic people: Kind of bad, but as long as you are not related or know the victim, Arabs will try to rationalize it away. This point infuriated my translator.
4. Islamic Terror in one’s own country: Bad, terrible, devistating and “how could this happen here!?!”.
The other view:
The other side also looks at all the evidence in the Koran and Hadiths, but does not believe the islamofascists are hijacking Islam. They believe these terrorists/Islamists/Jihadists are explicitly following not only the Koran, but centuries of actual practice by Islam and the many examples of what Islamic people in Europe and other Western nations are doing. They conclude that the “moderates” have no power (like the Ahmaadi) and that a majority of Islamic people support (in different ways) the jihadists and thier view of “convert to Islam; Surrender, pay Jiza, and live as dhimmis; or die”. Many of these Islamic supporters of jihad, however, do not have to live under the government the jihadists desire.
The silence of most Islamic countries to fight jihadists while prominent Imams the world over cry for genocide against Dar al Hab (the House of War: any non-Islamic land) and the actions of Islamic peoples in the Western World backs this view up also.
Also backing this view up is a long history of Islamic jurisprudence and current lessons taught in Islamic schools.
This was written in the 1400s. Notice how Ibn Khaldun stated other religions fight “only for purposes of defense” along with “Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.” Khaldun’s writing are still taught today.
Or this from Egyptian high school books:
“Studies in Theology: Tradition and Morals, Grade 11, (2001) pp. 291-92 …
“Commentary on the Surahs of Muhammad, Al-Fath, Al-Hujurat and Qaf, Grade 11, (2002) p. 9
So the opposing view to WordSmith’s is that the Jihadists ARE the one following true Islam; Islam is not allowed to be “reformed” under Islamic Law; that a majority (or near majority) of Islamic support Jihad so long as they do not have to have it in their backyards (see above); and that Islam demands we non-Islamics (meaning Christians, Jews, Hindus, Athiests, and everyone else) either convert to Islam, surrender and live as slaves, or die.
In other words, they demand our genocide either culturally and/or physically.
Did I miss anything?
Personally, having met many Islamic people in Iraq, I have hope Word is correct in his view. However, seeing what is fed to Islamic people in their schools, what most “schools” of Islamic jurisprudence say, and the ACTIONS of Islamic people in Europe and other places, I have to be prepared for the latter.
So a new form of “trust but verify” with a willingness to defend ourselves if Word, President Bush, and others are wrong on Islam.
Comment #58 is interesting. Go to their blog, and read the comments. Then, in your mind, pretend that these are Christian/Jewish students in a University in any muslim nation, and read the same comments with that mindset.
This kind of thinking pisses me off as much as those who believe all of Islam is evil:
Listen, no one here is advocating hate. That is a small minded generality of the responses. All of us lived through 9/11 and lived through the years of Muslim communities doing nothing to tackle the extremism inside their own ranks and came to the conclusion that all of Islam is bad. To call us bigots, racists (which as Chris pointed out, makes no sense) and full of “bestial” hate is just as hateful as those you are railing against.
I was like most everyone here early on after 9/11….I saw nothing redeeming in Islam. But after educating myself and THEN actually seeing Muslim communities take on the fanatics such as AQ I came to a more reasoned opinion of the religion more aligned to Chris’s way of thinking. Trust but verify. I’m not completely sold that the reformers can change their religion AND culture, but I have hope that they will and do acknowledge that there really are Muslims out there who do not want to chop my head off.
Jihadwatch ran a story today from the New York Times.
The NYT’s did not go into specifics on the “why’s” as Jihadwatch did but this shows an example of both points of view related in this post
JihadWatch take on story with some very good points not brought up in the story.
NYTs original story:
From the NYTs.
In the “Terrorist hyjacked Islam” view, the first two paragraphs support their thesis, as does the third, to an extent.
In the “Islam itself is the problem” view, the last paragraph above is the most telling in the lead of the story. “I hate Islam” is a VERY couragous thing to say, considering the widely held belief that heresy such as this is punishable by death.
Both points of view/philosophies must also see the quote “Iraqis, both poor and middle class, blamed clerics for the violence and the restrictions that have narrowed their lives”. Not “evil American and Zionist crusaders”, ISLAMIC CLERICs!! This level of introspection is rare in Arabian/Persian Islamic history.
Remember what I stated above about terrorism and jihad in one’s backyard……
Again, both points of view can find validation. In this case, I would side with the “Islam is the problem” as every time I see an IED video posted on youtube, “Allahu akbar” is there along with Koranic verses condoning the act.
Of note is the making jokes line. Sadr is often called “The Down Sydrome Boy” because, well, he looks like a muppet with its mouth closed too tightly. This admission by the professor is also punishable by death in both Sunni and Shia Islam.
Just a reminder to debunk some of the NYT’s earlier writings……..
The article is three pages long and worth the read. It may end up being separate post here on FA as it is that important in my opinion. I leave you with two take-aways bolded from above.
Wordsmith, #54. My belief is that it is you that is engaged in false logic, specifically, the Pauline Kael Fallacy.
The fallacy is name for Pauline Kael’s reaction to Richard Nixon’s landslide presidential victory over George McGovern in 1972: “How can that be?” she supposedly said. “No one I know voted for Nixon.”
This video of an interview with the former dean of Islamic law at Qatar University Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on December 9, 2007 will be a hard pill to swallow for those advocating unequivocal opposition to all things Islam. He certainly appears more pluralistic, open-minded and humane than the Muslim-haters.
The cold hard fact is that men like Dr. Al Ansari are a far better antecdote to Islamic extremism than any polemical attacks by English speakers against the texts of the Koran. I hope you will all take the 6 valuable minutes it will take to watch this enlightening interview that gives me a lot of hope for better relations with the Arab world.
In terms of the NYT aricle, the main Islam that is being rejected is extremism and bad clerics who use and promote violence. They are the ones being rejected. It is also normal, in my opinion, for youth to reject anything that puts restraints on them. In the US, they can walk away from Christianity and be done with it. In Iraq, the religion saturates the culture and has for 1500 years.
I would also suggest that Muslims in Iraq have had it up to *here* with violence. They reject clerics like al-Sadr who seek to turn Iraq into another Iran run by mullah rather than elected officials.
Alll this does nothing to address the issue that we hurt the war effort by condemning all Muslims and misinterpreting the difference between the taqfari and devout.
If Muslims want to bring about reform in their religion, good for them. This is jihad. But we cannot win the war on terror with this anti-Islamic rhetoric of “religion of hate” when the fact is that our perceptions are often ignorant.
>This is jihad. But we cannot win the war on terror with this anti-Islamic rhetoric of “religion of hate” when the fact is that our perceptions are often ignorant.
How do you propose we win it? By praising Islam!
Islam will never change if people dont start condemming it and criticizing it.. loudly and publicly.
I find it perposterious that a religion calls for my outright death and there are millions of people around the world who would gladly do it under the right circumstances and *I* am the one who has to be sensitive of *THEIR* feelings?
This attitude is exactly the problem with the West today and the reason why this death cult of a religious has been allowed to take root in our midsts.
Wordsmith: Thanks for your response. I’m sorry I laced mine with a lot of sarcasm and other impolitenesses.
A main reason I have the view I do is because of my opinion on where the future trends go… I’m not very optimistic. In fact I’m downright gloomy.
There will always be a significant portion of Muslims who will take up the banner of Jihad and as the cost and challenge of producing WMD becomes less and less.. I forsee their eventual deployment in all our cities.
The “moderates” will not / can not (even if they wanted to) prevent it. So what factor do they play in the area that concerns me (the future of my country) ZIP.
If I happened to live in a Muslim country, then yes,, i’m sure i would greatly appreciate the existance of moderates… but that’s not an issue that I care about.
And i’m sorry.. i dont think the risk of allowing these people to establish themselves here is worth it. Though it’s entirely too late… they’re here.
I only hope that we in the United States use Europe’s example to give us time to come to our senses… drop political correctness,, drop this multi-cultural nonsense (note: Pluralism is not Multiculturalism IMHO)… and secure our country while we can.
What do you propose? To round them all up and send them off to a distant planet? Kill them all? Islam has been around for a very long time. Muslims have been in America for a very long time as well. Yes, the freaky extremists are scary. It is tempting to respond to your fear by proposing to just “round up and git’ rid of them dirty mooslims!” But I am thinking that that probably won’t work, and would fundamentally go against what America stands for.
Political correctness is mostly annoying, but it can be a good thing when heads are hot and fear is running high. I think if we stop considering political correctness altogether, we start thinking internment camps and wholesale elimination are good “common sense” ideas. Time and time again, we have proven that if we don’t police ourselves, and hold those ideas up for scrutiny and ridicule, we will end up actually carrying out our worst instincts.
Forget internment camps etc. That’s ignorant. What’s needed is a straightforward acknowledgment, recognition, and admission of the threat: Islamic Holy Warriors who commit mass murder in the name of a religion of peace. The common denominator between every Jihadi is that he (and occasionally she) kills under the excuse of doing it for peace. Let’s acknowledge that the acquiescence of truly peaceful Muslims who do not cry out the loudest in defense of their religion are by inaction and/or insufficient action permitting their religion to be represented by a death cult that uses it as an excuse for mass murder. Then let’s recognize that the political excuse the Islamic holy warriors use is based on leftist political positions, supported by leftist positions, and that they in turn support political leftists. Finally, let’s admit that the US cannot just appease these mass murderers and walk away. They’ll find some other excuse to kill Americans. Americans are nothing more than their scapegoats.
I propose a halt to all future Muslim immigration for the time being. I recommend legal changes to facilitate the monitoring of all mosques and legal frameworks for the prosecution of any sharia-motivated sedition. Also a ban on foreign financing of mosque construction and the paying of imams.
If you say that unfairly targets Islam, so be it. Islam is targeting us and we have to realize this new challlenge and come up with ways to guard and fight against it.
Our values about religious freedom, etc, are based on a social contract… you wont be using the freedom to actively work towards the overthrowing of the existing social model. Since Islam, quite explicitly, rejects our social contract, it’s suicide to hold up our side of it.
What’s with this appeal to emotionalism? Sorry, I’m not being “hot” or emotional. I’ve come to my opinions from years of research and observation. Then you jump to hyperbole with some craziness “internment camps”. Talk about spreading fear! You will use fear tactics against those who sounding the alarm while blaming those who are sounding the alarm of using fear tactics. Seems like a disingenious tactic to me.
If you disagree with my opinions, then tell me… what do you propose? And while you form your answer, please keep in mind the situation of Europe as well as this example from history and tell us how your proposal would have mitigated against it.
“More Moslems came, and soon a small mosque was built, which attracted yet others. As long as Zoroastrians remained in the majority, their lives were tolerable; but once the Moslems became the more numerous, a petty but pervasive harassment was apt to develop. This was partly verbal, with taunts about fire-worship, and comments on how few Zoroastrians there were in the world, and how many Moslems, who must therefore posses the truth; and also on how many material advantages lay with Islam. The harassment was often also physical; boys fought, and gangs of youth waylaid and bullied individual Zoroastrians. They also diverted themselves by climbing into the local tower of silence and desecrating it, and they might even break into the fire-temple and seek to pollute or extinguish the sacred flame. Those with criminal leanings found too that a religious minority provided tempting opportunities for theft, pilfering from the open fields, and sometimes rape and arson. Those Zoroastrians who resisted all these pressures often preferred therefore in the end to sell out and move to some other place where their co-religionists were still relatively numerous, and they could live at peace; and so another village was lost to the old faith.”
Boyce, A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism, pp. 7-8;
I don’t think those are good ideas Vince. Better border and immigration security is a surely long overdue, but I’m not sold on the idea that all Muslims are terrorists anymore than the idea that all Christian evangelicals are Republicans
Scott: Who said all Muslim are terrorists?
For those still reading…you might find this interesting.
You never said they were all terrorists, but you propose to treat them all like that. I am not a fan of any religion, I am not proposing that we kiss their asses and accept Sharia law. I do believe that Europe fucked up by not demanding at least a modicum of assimilation. I think if a person wants to come here, he or she is free to practice their religion WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE CONSTITUTION. If anyone’s religious fuckery comes up against the constitution or even just basic human rights, sorry buddy, but the constitution wins….we don’t give a damn what you used to do back in Kabul. I think demanding that immigrants conform to our cultural norms is not unreasonable. Monitoring any kind of religious or political crazy talk is not unreasonable either. Multiculturalism can be cool, in Baltimore, we have ethnic enclaves where certain groups of people set up shop and developed thriving communities.
Here’s another one. Please note that these sites I link to are not “hateful”, but they clearly indicate that whether the actions of islamists are terroristic or simply pushy, they all are directed towards imposing islam on the rest of the world. They have declared war on us – in the _name_ of islam – whether their people want it or not, and we are fools if we ignore that fact. If there are those among them who choose to join our side, then I say they’re welcome, but they have to _condemn_ the efforts of those who work against us, and they have to make it unequivocably clear that they have chosen us – who are the declared enemy according to their religious leaders (at least most of the religious leaders). I agree that there seems to be some movement away from this attitude, but until it prevails, we cannot pretend that the jihadists are in the minority lest we be overtaken and defeated while we wait for the majority to make their will known.
I just keep running across more info!
And whose fault is that? Do you have the magic formulation to detect who is a threat and who isn’t? Is it your contention that therefore since we can’t tell who is bad and who isn’t of a Religion that specificly calls for the destruction of our system of government that we have to allow more immigrants of this ideology into the country?
That’s all well and good. Not very realistic. We already have people in the country whose aim is to subvert the Constitution.. not a thing is being done about it. And I suggest that if you DON’T want Internment Camps in the future then its best to not even let them in in the first place.
We have to use our brains. You want to maintain American values? Well that means you need an America to exist… and if we stupidly keep allowing Muslims to flood into the country then our values are put increasingly at risk. Our society is based on trust.. all our assumptions about other people is that they’ll basically live in a Federal Republic system… we have no frame of reference of a group people whose religious outlook is that even our basic form of government is an affront to god.
People want to give Muslims the benefit of the doubt. Why? Where in the world today are Muslims of one kind or another NOT causing strife, violence, degradation? It’s stupid to assume we’re immune.
I think you’re speaking of Pluralism. Multiculturalism says “Muslims want to establish and live by sharia law in the areas they live. Nothing to see here”. Pluralism says “Though you and I may have diverse heritages and traditions, in areas of law, nationality and ethics we share a common set of ideas”
I don’t necessarily want to give them the benefit of the doubt. People who want to live by religious law rather than secular law are antithetical to a functioning democracy, even if they profess moderation. To me, there is no such thing as a moderate theocracy. I agree with you on that.
As a matter of fact, I agree with you on most of what you said. I just think that if we want to keep our very useful allied nations that happen to have a majority of Muslims, as well as maintaining good relations with the relatively assimilated Muslim citizens already here, we should not take the stance that “Islam is the enemy”.
I am just not convinced that the religion its self is the enemy. Maybe it is. Shit. Now I am nervous.
Lisa, what you are not considering is that islam is not “just” a religion as we understand religion – it’s a political system as well. Sharia is _the law_ which is the only form of law acceptable in islamic countries. It is religious law, and it is enforced as what we would call civil law. Wikipedia may not be the absolute authority on things, but it’s worth while for you to check out this site there and follow it where you choose.
I recommend watching Undercover Mosque.. a news show that was airred in the UK about what the Muslims are preaching in thier mosques:
And also this documentary: Islam: What the West Needs to Know
And on my website , I have a booklist :
I also have a document called “Islam 101” which explains at length why Islam is a problem:
Even a cartoon might help explain why some of us feel like we do…!
I will check those links out, Vince. Thanks. Suek, I am checking your link out too. This has been a good discussion. Thanks.
Here’s a link on the correlation of religion and laws in Afghanistan…civil laws _must_ conform with islam…
(if anyone is still out there!)
Ok…last link…I swear! But I keep running into them…!