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F*** 'em if they can't take a joke

With the current furor over cartoon depictions of Mohammed, I've decided to take a step back and look at the big picture. Just how serious is blasphemy taken by some of the other major religions, and just how much respect is accorded other faiths by non-practicioners? (I figure as a repeatedly-self-declared agnostic, I am the closest thing to a disinterested party as there is around.)

Let's look at some examples of blasphemous imagery, and see how they are handled:

First, there's this cartoon I stumbled across a while ago. It is rankly offensive to two major faiths -- Christianity and Judaism. But I have to admit I snorted at it. I even shared it with a select few (OK, just Laurence Simon), who said he was going to post it, but he never did.

How about stuff that's pretty much guaranteed to offend Christians? How is that handled?

Luckily, we have two recent examples -- Andres Serrano's Piss Christ and Chris Ofili's Madonna, made with elephant dung.

How did Christians react to these desecrations of their holiest symbols with bodily wastes? Yeah, there was a hue and cry. There may have been even a death threat or two. But the most extreme reaction I can recall by most people was a denouncement that these had been paid for with taxpayer money -- THEIR money -- and they were outraged over that. I don't recall massive Christian riots over them, burning buildings and calling for death.

Judaism takes a bit more abuse. Partly because they're a smaller group, partly because they're much more in-your-face to the Muslim world, partly out of respect for historical tradition. But take a look at some of the anti-Semitic cartoons collected here, or this award-winning cartoon. Pretty extreme stuff, but again no major backlash.

Then there's Islam.

The Ten Commandments, common to all three faiths mentioned above, says you shall not worship graven images. In Islam, this is taken to the extreme that one should not even create an image of Mohammed. And whether or not you believe in the tenets of Islam or not, they're bound and determined that we shall all live by them.

Therefore, it is an unforgivable sin for ANYONE to draw pictures of Mohammed. Even non-Moslem cartoonists in a Western democracy, acting fully within their legal and moral rights -- for the Danish government to tolerate that is, to much of the Islamic world, a declaration of war.

One of the basic tenets I learned in a class on ethics is that for any ethical system of beliefs to be acceptable, it must be universal. It must apply equally to all, or it is inherently unfair. So, by that standard, it seems that the governing principle underlying the Muslim outrage must be that one must respect a religion's beliefs, even if you don't ascribe to them.

And how does Islam rate on that standard?

Pretty shabby.

The Taliban, who I think we can all agree represented a very fundamentalist view of Islam, decided that its "no graven images" belief extended to two huge statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. And, with great ceremony and glee, they destroyed them -- despite pleas from the world community, not just Buddhists.

In 2002, Palestinian terrorists fleeing Israeli military forces entered and occupied the Church of the Nativity. While the siege lasted, they repeatedly desecrated the Church and abused the Christian staff. And when they left, there were no apologies, no reparations -- just celebrations that they had negotiated their way out, proclaiming it a great victory.

And let us NEVER forget the ongoing extermination of any signs of Jewish occupation of the Temple Mount, undertaken by the Palestinian Authority in contravention of international law and done under the color of "restoration" to the mosque built on top of the holiest site to Jews.

In Muslim nations, there is freedom to belong to another faith. As long as you don't make a point of it. That means you can't display any signs of your faith. You can't build a house of worship. You have to pay a special non-Muslim tax. And if you get caught "attempting to convert" a Moslem (which could mean something as innnocuous as explaining your beliefs to a curious Moslem), you can be put to death.

That's just for Christians. Jews have it even worse -- when they're even allowed entry into the country.

So let's sum up: according to the Moslems, our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and all the rest are secondary to the tenets of a faith the vast majority of us simply don't believe in.

I think not. The Golden Rule applies here: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If the Moslem world wants respect, it must be willing to give it.

I am reminded of a great quote from Mahatma Gandhi. When asked about his opinion of Western civilization, he replied "I think it would be a good idea."

Modern-day Islam, I am sad to say, is reminding me more and more of contemporary gangs. So eager to answer any insult or challenge, incredibly prickly about their "rights" and "turf," and so quick to resort to violence. The Danish cartoons were a "dis" on them, and they seem poised to go to any lengths to avenge that slight.

So what do I think of Moslem civilization? I think it would be a good idea -- but I'm basing that purely on speculation, as I've seen damned little evidence of it so far.


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Comments (150)

Is this a general feeling t... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Is this a general feeling that because one is agnostic one has a keener insight into controversies arising from religious belief?

I think you should change t... (Below threshold)
Amish:

I think you should change the title of this post from "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke."

to

"Fuck 'em."


If they want civil war Europe should give it to them.

You can't have your moral c... (Below threshold)

You can't have your moral cake and eat it to. If you are going to lie, kidnap, torture, and kill, then you can't argue your points from any moral high ground. It's hard to believe anyone sho supports terrorism, and the killing of innocents, is offended by a cartoon. How do they think their victims families feel?
Raymond B
www.voteswagon.com

Dave D.No. But it... (Below threshold)

Dave D.

No. But it may make a difference to some that he isn't speaking from a standpoint of religious bias.

Israel ought to kick the Ar... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Israel ought to kick the Arabs out of Jerusalem, decide it's final borders and expell the Arabs from within it's borders. Finish the wall around her borders. Do not let any Arabs work in Israel or come to Israel for medical treatment. Cut all electrical service to Gaza. Same for the West Bank of the Jordan. The Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza can either:
1-emigrate
2-die
3-drop the phony pretense of "Palestinian" nationalism and revert to what they really are; renegade Jordanians and Egyptians. Let Egypt and Jordan take responsibility for their renegade citizens.

As for Europe and the West it is time for us to remind the Islamic world that they exist at our sufferance, not the other way around. Expel the radical trash from our midst and make it crystal clear that we are quite capable and if need be willing to destroy them if they persist on threatening us. If they insist on forcing us to choose between us and them, then they loose.
57 countries that produce nothing and contribute nothing to the scientific, technical and cultural advancement of humanity. Is there one world class university in the Muslim world? one world class teaching and research hospital in the Muslim world? One world class R&D lab or high tech manufacturing and design facility in the Muslim world? And yet this trash has the insolence to demand that we bow down to them. What nerve. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves that we allow ourselves to be dominated by them. enough.

Jay Tea:So what... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jay Tea:

So what do I think of Moslem civilization? I think it would be a good idea -- but I'm basing that purely on speculation, as I've seen damned little evidence of it so far.

My god you are being incredibly lazy and general here. This is like walking around talking abour "Chistian Civilization" as if that is a meaningful term.

There are, as has been noted time and again, quite a large number of Muslims in this world, and they cannot all be lumped into one category as you continually do. The people in Morocco are not the same as the people in Indonesia. The people in Iraq who are just trying to go about their lives, and who happen to practice Islam, SHOULD NOT be equated with terrorists who proclaim to be Muslims as well.

This is insane, Jay.

By your logic, I should hold you responsible, or characterize you, for what some random poster writes on here, under the pretence that he/she is a conservative. Guilt by association. However, I understand that since you are not posting things like the above post by a certain "cuban," you are certainly not to be held accountable for those words. And I do not assume that you either agree, or support those words, simply because you might share a nominal relation to the person.

Do you get my point?

Fuck 'em, indeed.... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Fuck 'em, indeed.

Ryan, you may be right. I m... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Ryan, you may be right. I might be letting the 80% who are extremists color my perceptions of the other 20%.

Why don't you cite a few examples to enlighten me? Say, a few examples of large groups of Muslims acting in a decent, responsible, respectful manner? Of contributing something of inestimable value to the world? Of doing the right, tolerant, peaceful thing?

I can think of exactly one instance in the last few years, Ryan -- but I'm not going to do your homework for you. And I bet I can easily cite a dozen or more bigger counter-examples for every one you do find.

J.

Fuck Ryan, too.... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Fuck Ryan, too.

Hell, fuck the Glob and all... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Hell, fuck the Glob and all apologists.

http://volokh.com/posts/1139073913.shtml

So what do I think of Mo... (Below threshold)
JP:

So what do I think of Moslem civilization?

Tony Blair beat you to it; his response to the idea of a "clash of civilizations" --

"No; that would require two civilisations."

Via M.M.

Jay:You really bel... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jay:

You really believe that 80% of Muslims are extremists? Doesnt the very word "extremist" imply some sort of difference from the majority viewpoint? I really cannot believe that you think that 80% of the world's Muslims think like these extremists do.

Really?

Why don't you cite a few examples to enlighten me? Say, a few examples of large groups of Muslims acting in a decent, responsible, respectful manner?

Okay, so the current population of the United States is about 295 million, and about one percent of that, according to the CIA World Fact Book, is Muslim. Exhibit A, then, is the almost 3 million American Muslims who go about their lives as everyday Americans, "in a decent, responsible, respectful manner." Of course, it cannot be assumed that everyone in this sample population lives up to that, just like we cannot assume that 100 percent of the American population lives in the ways you describe. So, lets say that 10 percent dont live that way...we still have about 2.6 million or so who do, which I would call a "large group".

Now, there are some 3 billion Muslims throughout the world, and you think that 80 percent of them are extremists who support terrorism. I think you're paranoid, personally, and would imagine that the vast majority of them are pretty much just trying to live their lives like the rest of us. Unfortunately for them, they have been living under the likes of Saddam Hussein, the Ayatolla, Mushareff, the Saudi Royal Family, etc. for decades.

But then, I'll bet you believed the idea that the Soviet Union was filled with America hating commies who just wanted to kill us all. Amazingly, once the USSR fell, we realized that the country was full of a bunch of human beings who had lived under a horrible regime. A bunch of goddamn poor peasants who had been bled dry for 80 years. I think the situation in many Middle Eastern countries is pretty comparable. Let's try to separate the people and the culture from the despots and criminals, if possible.

I count as evidence every single Muslim, out of the 1 billion or so that we have today, who does not engage in this type of activity as proof against your claims.

If 80 percent of 1 billion Muslims were extremists who support terrorism, that would be 800,000,000 people. You really think that 800 million people want to kill us? Seriously, please answer that. (stats from the CIA world fact book).

I do not think that we have a situation where 800 million Muslims are terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers.

^^the first time i wrote "3... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

^^the first time i wrote "3 billion Muslims" it should say 1 billion.

Denny:Fuck Ryan... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Denny:

Fuck Ryan, too.

Brilliant contribution Denny. I'm sure everyone's very proud of you. Great job with the punctuation and capitalization...now we'll just work on expanding your vocabulary.

Ryan, how do you not know t... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Ryan, how do you not know they are not terrorist sympathizers? I think that using the word extremist is wrong. I do not seem Muslims protesting the suicide bombings in Israel. I do not see Muslims preaching against Hate and FOR tolerance. I do not see a Muslim version of Dr. King. I do not see a Muslim version of Ghandi. What I see is hatred, violence from Muslims outside the US. I see civil unrest with Muslims in France. I see CAIR in the US having connections with Terrorism and I hear the Leaders of CAIR stating that Islam and the Sharia should be the law code in the United States. I see Islam for what it is, a religion of hate and intolerance.

Thanks Ryan, I am very fuck... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Thanks Ryan, I am very fucking proud of my post. I do look forward to ex-fucking-panding my vocabulary, but I just finished watching an old George Carlin show on HBO and I'm feeling pretty fucking inspired to use his brand of emphasis.

Surely you know my post was not personal. I'm growing increasingly intolerant of the muslim intolerance--and the Western tolerance of their intolerance. In England you can't keep a copy of E.B. White's books on your desk because one of them, Charlotte's Web, depicts a pig on the cover. Christians and Jews are persecuted throughout the Middle East, yet we can't even draw a harmless cartoon. While you claim mainstream Muslims are not part of this, each of their religious leaders apparently is--and the Muslim contingents of U.S. Universities seem fairly uniform in their support for the one-sided "tolerance" and "freedom."

Therefore, Fuck 'em.

There's no aspect of religi... (Below threshold)
Omni:

There's no aspect of religion that's "reasonable"; anyone else's religion seems ridiculous because there's no proof of any of it, and it plain doesn't make sense, so why would we even EXPECT reason from them from a religious perspective?

It's only overly PC Americans that try to make comparisons and calculate which behaviors are ok; to everyone else, anything they do that's connected with their religion is automatically ok, and it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing because only the faithful count, not heathens/infidels.


(is glad to have a nameless spirituality)

Robert:Ryan, ho... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Robert:

Ryan, how do you not know they are not terrorist sympathizers?

What I can tell you is that I do not assume that they are. I know that terrorist sympathizers are out there, but I do not automatically assume that because a person is a Muslim, they must therefore be aligned with terrorism. It's a HUGE assumption to make, and personally I think thats a good way to make enemies of people who might otherwise be allies.

I see Islam for what it is, a religion of hate and intolerance.

Well, thats your perception of it, and there isnt much I can do to change it. I look at Islam yet another religion, and one that takes different forms in different countries, like all religions. In the Middle East the political situation there has been anything but stable for decades, and democracy is hardly existent. Islam is a widespread belief there...but I would not blame Islam for terrorism in the middle east, the lack or democracy, or the general state of affairs there. Islam has been used by many terrorists to justify their actions, but still, in the end Islam is just a concept and individuals should be held accountable for what they do.

Terrorism comes from the fact that the Middle East has been run by a bunch of criminals for decades, along with the fact that it has been ravaged by wars. People want to blame Islam for the terrorism in Iraq, and I think that's really simplistic and lazy. Maybe the long rule of the brutal Ba'ath Party had something to do with it? Maybe the horrible eight year war with Iran? Maybe the fact that Hussein let the people starve under the sanctions? Maybe the fact that since 1990 Iraq has been in 2 more wars, and the place is pretty screwed up? Maybe the terrorism comes from the lack of democracy, from the destroyed infastructure, and from the fact that the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds hardly get along?

But no...it's all because of Islam. Right...

Denny:For starters... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Denny:

For starters, Carlin rules. Just had to get that out of the way.

I dont take it personally...but it wouldnt be a stretch for a person to take suck a statement personally, considering the fact that you attached the phrase fuck you to my name. But what do i know?

I'm growing increasingly intolerant of the muslim intolerance--and the Western tolerance of their intolerance.

I think that clerics who go around speaking in 7th century rhetoric are about as bad as it gets. I dont find it acceptable, by any means. But I also do not assume that every Muslim believes that shit, and I think that putting them all in the same category might be a mistake.

I will refrain from condemning all Muslims, just in case there are some who, in fact, think in different ways. Otherwise, if we just call them all enemies, well, we've made a little self fulfilling prophesy havent we???

In England you can't keep a copy of E.B. White's books on your desk because one of them, Charlotte's Web, depicts a pig on the cover.

Is that actually encoded in the laws? Pretty ridiculous if it is, but thats the way that democracies work, supposedly. So if it is law I imagine that an interest group got together and pushed that through.

Christians and Jews are persecuted throughout the Middle East, yet we can't even draw a harmless cartoon.

Remember, Muslims get persecuted there too. Terrorists dont kill just non-Muslims you know. And the oppressive governments, like Hussein, have beat the hell out of Muslim civilians as well.

The cartoon: I think that Muslims should choose their battles and I think that this is not one of them. But then, I'm not going to go around propagating that kind of slander because I wouldnt want someone doing that to me. I think that this whole thing is blown out or proportion, and could be diffused by both sides pretty easily.

While you claim mainstream Muslims are not part of this, each of their religious leaders apparently is--and the Muslim contingents of U.S. Universities seem fairly uniform in their support for the one-sided "tolerance" and "freedom."

Well look...they're all offended and paranoid too. This whole post 9/11 thing hasnt been the smoothest of all times. They get all defensive, and upset, and I can see the point, considering how seriously they take the whole image thing in Islam. On the other side, maybe they could try to let it slide instead of making it into the huge battle that it is...why dredge it up. And us Americans, well I dont think that we need to make things worse by throwing more lighter fluid onto the whole thing by calling all Muslims evil and all that bullshit. Jesus.

Do we want to be a part of the solution or a part of the problem? Do you think it really helps ANYTHING to walk around saying fuck all muslims? Well, I dont see how that helps, at all. Feel free to disagree.

Right.... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Right.

To Ryan: Do you thin... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

To Ryan:
Do you think it helps anything to kiss thier ass all the time?

they are so stupid if the c... (Below threshold)
bense:

they are so stupid if the christian jesus was drawn you wouldnt have a bunch of christians goin "arrrrrrr no blood you insult are lord now we are gonna kick some ass, TO THE CHRISTIAN VAN!!!" and for fuck sakes aint anyone realised there is no god eh? come on science out weights them. so all i have to say is fuck em and fuck em hard and for christ sake we would compleatly kick thier god dam asses!
bense

I'm sorry Ryan I believe bu... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I'm sorry Ryan I believe but just not participating in terrorist attacks is not the bar Jay Tea set.

I believe he's looking for an example where Muslims went out of they way to help and/or stop their brothers extremists without political pressure to do so.

grrr.... should read<... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

grrr.... should read

I'm sorry Ryan but I believe just not...

Ryan is typical of the left... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Ryan is typical of the left. wants to see what he wishes too see and not what is actually there.
Rants about the differences between Indonesians and Moroccans all the while failing to note that they each have far more in common with each other than either with Danes and Americans. Yes Ryan there really is a Western Civilization just like there is an Islamic Civilization. And by the majority of metrics ours is the superior civilization. There really are objective measurements contrary to leftist belief in relativity in all civilization's accomplishments.
Notice he doesn't attempt to refute my observation
of the lack of accomplishment in the Muslim world.
Does he really believe it's just a fluke that 57 countries through out the planet who just happen to Muslim are also incapable of producing advances in the sciences, technology and medicine?

He goes on about 80% of the Muslims not being terrorists etc. True and irrelevant. What is relevant is that the 80% do virtually nothing to stop the evil 20%. Indeed they provide the funds and the support needed by the 20%. The Soviet Union wasn't entirely populated by communists, more like 20% who identified with that evil. The Muslim world on the other hand are populated by at least 80% who at the minimum notionally ascribe to that evil .
There is an old Spanish saying " there is none so blind as one who refuses too see".

Imagine if you will, the go... (Below threshold)
EXDemocrat:

Imagine if you will, the good that could come about, if those who are Muslim and their supporters were to stand up, make as much noise, get as much publicity, in as many places in the world as today but, their message was peace.

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

Well, Im sure there were a ... (Below threshold)
Johnny O:

Well, Im sure there were a few million German and Japanese civilians who didnt support what their governments were up to during the second world war. And I am sure that more than a few of those good folks got caught up in the carnage. Oh well. Thats the way history and the world works.

Do any of you who believe in things like freedom, liberty, democracy think that Europe will better off in 20-30 years when the growing Muslim population begins to exert its will?

I laugh at someone quoting John Lennon because in a world dominated by Islam Lennon would have been, at best imprisoned or beaten for a song such as Imagine at worst...well read the placards all those savage barbarians are carrying in response to these laughably mild political cartoons

Hey Johnny,I'm on ... (Below threshold)
EXDemocrat:

Hey Johnny,

I'm on your side. I was just making a point.

I would seriously like to b... (Below threshold)
Dave in W-S:

I would seriously like to believe that the vast majority of Muslims are peace loving individuals who want no part of the violence the radicals tar their religion with. I really would.

All I need to help me believe is to read the stories about the arrests, by Muslim governments, of those responsible for burning embassies, murdering, torturing, bombing, raping, rioting, destroying property and otherwise terrorizing. I may have missed them. Could someone please provide the links? There must be links. About Muslim police forces quelling riots, arresting men who have committed "honor killings". How about the news articles about the suicide bombers being arrested by (pick a Middle Eastern country, except Israel).

There are more than 1 billion Muslims out there. They have to be asserting control over that scant handful of bad seed that is doing those awful things in the name of Islam. Don't they?

I'm still waiting.

That was the point of my me... (Below threshold)
EXDemocrat:

That was the point of my message. I was talking to those Muslims who say they are peace loving and those that support them. I'm still waiting for an answer also.

Ryan,Your response... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Ryan,

Your response to my post was pretty damned reasonable, and it represents a view I've tried to hold since 9/11. I'm struggling, but losing my grip on it. I'm nearly ready to join the anti-Islam mobs as a result of the daily examples of absurdity emanating from the world's mosques. I hate to admit it, but bigotry is moving into my soul--and it seems increasingly justified by recent events. Hell, I could be Archie Bunker soon!

As for the E.B. White thing, that was hyperbolic. As far as I can recall, the British government banned all images of pigs from government offices to show sensitivity to Muslims (as a result of their idiotic demand). Elements of Style is permitted, but Charlotte's Web is out. Beanie Baby pigs are out. The government offices are pork free. I'm no pork fan, but that's asinine!

I do want to congratulate you on your reasoned and respectful arguments, even though I'm tilting the other way at the moment.

Fuckin' A!

There are a loit of folks w... (Below threshold)
Dave in W-S:

There are a loit of folks waiting. And hoping. But mostly waiting. I am not convinced that we will be able to wait much longer.

Where is Charles Martel when you need him?

Ryan, in your response to m... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Ryan, in your response to me nearly every aspect involved Iran, Iraq and maybe the PA/Hamas. That does NOT address the issues of the Muslims in the Phillipiness killing foreigners, that does NOT address the bombings in Bali or other places in Indonesia or the Civil War in Sri Lanka or the Conflict between Mulims and Hindus in India/Pakaistan/Bangladesh. Nor does it account for the situation in Sudan, the former Soviet Union territoris or Lybia.

Like I said. Islam is PART of the cause. Recently Hamas came out and published an article stating that Seville (IN SPAIN) should be returned to Muslim Rule becuase it was once under Muslim Control.

Where is the G-d damned moderate Muslims protesting this crap? All I hear are crickets chirping away.

There is no peaceful resolution with any Muslim who believes in Jihad or believes that all territories that were once under the control of Muslims need to return to Muslim control. Funny, I don't hear the descendent of the Romans stating that all lands under the Roman Empire need to become under the control of them Italians....or the Greeks stating that all territories under the control of the Byzantine Empire need to revert back. Nor do I hear Jews stating that all lands between the River of Egypt and the Euphraties needs to be reverted back under the control of the Jews.

In case you haven't actuall... (Below threshold)
Omni:

In case you haven't actually SEEN the cartoons under discussion, here they are

http://www.faithfreedom.org/Gallery/Mo_Cartoons.jpg

(slightly less controversial)

Ryan Wrote" Maybe th... (Below threshold)
Bolshevik:

Ryan Wrote
" Maybe the terrorism comes from the lack of democracy"
I think, you are on to something here.

Well I stumbled across this... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Well I stumbled across this thread in a Google search, and have read the lefty Ryan go up against some fire breathing red-blooded Americans.

The problem with Americans is that they are vastly ignorant of history. For them life began pretty much when Lincoln walked the streets of Richmond. Prior to that everything is a blurb, and yes there was the somewhat important crossing by Washington in a Morgan pose over the Potomac.

History is a well taught subject in Islamic countries, but focus for some reason is always Western history (a vestige of our colonial past). We however often hear from family members about the great Islamic history, but it is always diffused. It wasn't until after my teen years that I began to explore this history and found that indeed there was much to the banter by elders.

Islamic history was a precursor to the Italian renaissance. Historians will often talk about how Western civilization is steeped in Greek civilization. Yet go dumb when explaining how it was that Greek and Roman history was retained when much of the Western world was nothing but a smattering of fuedal lordships raping and plundering each other (and no its wasn't some obscure Monastary in Germany with SuperComputers data mining everything). They forget to mention that it was the Islamic empire that in the middle ages (dark according to Europeans) collected and enhanced the greek and romans thoughts. That Paper, Algebra, Astronomy, Banking, Hospitals, were all Islamic concepts, uniquely developed by these very countries some of these respondents are today stating amount to nothing. That it was the ability of the ignorant/illierate and backward europeans to study and learn during and after the crusades from the muslims that became the fundamental of european renaissance.

But I won't digress there.

What people conveniently avoid and put aside is that Islam or Islamic empires were not raping or plundering the Christians. It was the Crusades that first brought to Islamic shores an evil ideology of hatred based upon religion. Ask any muslim to say anything negative about Christ or Moses, and you won't get many respondents. The contrary is often exemplified as in the case of the cartoons.

Though I personally believe things have gotten out of hand (cartoons), people should try and understand that for muslims their religion is fundamental to their beliefs. Yes there is a disassociation of understanding between the West and the Islamic world. For muslims there is no concept of secularism. Islam is a code of law and society, not secularist constituionalism. If you are a muslim you must submit to this law. Islam has not acceeded to the secularism as perhaps contemporary Christianity has done. Christianity is more of a commercial entity than a religion today. This fundamental difference stems from the fact that there is no concept of a religious beauraucracy in Islam that gives into economic interest as the Church did in Europe. There is no Church in Islam. A muslim's religion is through personal choice and requires no intermediary institution, priest, or prophet.

So personal belief is important to muslims and no secular thought or constitutionality will dilute that.

What you see today in the Islamic world in terms of countries are colonial vestiges. A deliberate ripping apart of the Islamic empires of East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, and North Africa. Most of which were before the Europeans colonized it under a single confederation of the Ottomon Empire. The unhealthy nature of the the last 60 years is an aftermath of this unnatural dissociation that has bred some much confusion in terms of identity. Not to mention the constant medling in the affairs of muslim countries by european and western interests.

Western interests have just not left the islamic world alone and have plundered her resources. So to the people who said what have they given us. First we gave you our freedom (colonial years), then our taxes (as colonial subjects), then our earned income for your goods (during colonial years local industry was destroyed and imported goods that helped driven European industrial revolution we forced upon a compliant rule native class), then our debt (after WWII, in the post colonial era, huge loans were forwarded and funnelled back to European banks and companies, leaving nations indetured), then our mineral resources, then our policies, and now finally you ask for our souls.

Finally to those who wonder about science. As the Church in Europe was burning people for epileptic seizures as Witches and Warlocks, Islamic scientists were pondering about the expansion attributes of the universe.

"The heaven we have built it with power. Verily. We are expanding it [Quran 51:47]."

Islamic scientists were wondering how the universe began and where life started:

"Do the unbelievers not realize that the Heavens and Earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existance? And from water we made everything" [Quran 21:30]

Over 1400 hundred years ago Quran came up with these words (on evolution):

"Is it not a fact that there was a time when the human being was nothing to be mentioned? We created the human from a liquid mixture, from two parents, in order to test him. [Q 76:1-2]

The Quran has incredible information on science, that baffles the mind. So much for a religion that has had no benefit to science.

"And God created every living creature from water. Some of them walk on their bellies, some walk on two legs, some on four. [Q 24:45]"

And one last thing, on slightly different note. There is more Greek blood (genetically) in a Pashtun in Tribal Belts of Pakistan than there is in a Brit, French, or Nord, Dane, or even a warm blooded American. Sorry just had to through that in... :)

Hopefully I added something to this discourse. And oh BTW my 4 close classmates from my school in this muslim country, one attended MIT (BSc), another (UPenn-BA/Yale-MBA), another (Princeton-BA/Harvard-MBA), another (UPenn-Bsc/Stanford-MBA), and I myself attended an Ivy League school. Just 5 average kids from a school in the Islamic world that are today some of the top performers in their fields in the US, all of whom came from the backward societies of the Islamic world. BTW over a 100 students from my class attended US colleges. Also this school has the highest academic scores of any school in the world and consistently beats the top public and private schools in US and Europe. So much for us raving lunatics producing anything.

Kashif,I would be ... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Kashif,

I would be willing to put up Israeli scientists vs Muslim scientists any day of the week.

I am not ignorant of history. My collection of various books in my library number over 1000 books specializing in general and specific history related topics also quite a smathering of philosophy and some religious studies. Currently I am reading George Ostrosky's History of the Byzantine State.

Please answer my questions in regards to my previous comments. Are you in favor of Jihad? Do you think that all lands that were once under Muslim rule should become Muslim territories? Do believe in the concept of the restoration of the Caliph?

Since the United States is rather welcoming to students and people genuinely interested in getting an education. Do you think that it is not "fair" that there are no synogagues or churches in Saudia Arabia?

Corrrect me if I am wrong b... (Below threshold)
johnny O:

Corrrect me if I am wrong but we do PAY for the oil we PLUNDER from the middle east do we not?

Yes we Americans are vastly ignorant of world as well as our own history but we are not the only ones. Oh by the way, what percentage of the Arab street would question whether the Holocaust actually happened? My guess would be a sizable majority.

Funny how the apologists for islam have to look back hundreds and thousands of years in the past to remind us all of how wonderful things were when Islam reigned supreme. They have no choice but to look to the past because in the present the Arab and Islamic world is a basket case.

Im not in the least impressed by the fact that you attended an Ivey league school. Im am less and less impressed with Ivey Leagues schools every year in general. But of course you had to come here in order to educate yourself.

The only thing about the Quran that baffles my mind is how anyone can recite that crap as evidence of enlightenment.


Robert, I beleive ... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Robert,

I beleive it is ridiculous for anyone to say that lands once under Islamic rule should be reverted back to them. Muslims need to first manage what little they have before they even venture to make such asinine statements. Besides majority of muslims would never take such comments seriously.
So I really think this is a non-issue. Besides I think borders are of the past, the world is too inter-twined for us to worry about his/her lands. We essentially effect each other whether we like it or not.

Also it is dead wrong that there are no synagogues in Saudi Arabia. There should be no restriction on that. SA government is a weird concoction of tribal arabian customs. Some of their policies are way beyond the pale, and there is no love lost for some of what they preach in the majority of the Islamic world. To put it in context the entire population of Saudi Arabia is slightly more than the population of the greater Karachi (single city) area in Pakistan. However they wield far greater leverage due to the oil and money they have, something that buys them incredible leverage in capitals in muslim and perhaps even western countries.

Johnny O - Sure you pay a "buck" for the barrel, but is that what the free-market rates ought to be? Absolutely not. Ask any economist. Oil prices are incredibly subsidized by OILIGARCHY's like the Saudi kingdom. They make enough money for the few hundreds princes to run around in their ferraris in Southern France, but they are certainly not making enough to empower their own people. It is an incredibly disfunctional relationship that the US has with the Saudis. We protect you, you sell us cheap oil. Saudis on the other hand have a second tier relationship with a Wahabbi sect; don't create internal trouble for us and we'll fund all your religious efforts.

In the process people go hungrey, stay ignorant, and subservient to a few local masters who in effect represent a status quo power, serving their own interests rather than their peoples, however extend their lease to life, by buying the strongest boy in the yard.

I'll avoid your jousting on Quran. Your belief, cannot do anything about it, however I would like to agree with you that yes the Islamic world is a basket case, and I guess I did not manage to make my points clear enough.

One thing we learnt in the over-priced Ivy education was that there are no black and whites in life and history. Usually shades of grey prevail. Hence to atribute everything to others will not solve our own woes. However for intellectual discourse it is important to point out that there are causal impacts, predominately negative, when you have 300 years of colonialism, erasing of history, minizing the divisive effect of colonial concepts of divide and rule (clans, ethnic sects, races), lack of education, etc. My point was not to bring up the great Islamic empire. That is the past and though not indicative of the present is nevertheless important if we want to build a people with some sense of identity. It is this lack of identity and the forced indoctrination of secularism that is anathematic to Islam (which in itself is an alternative to secular governance). This oxymoronic diametrically opposed concoction is what causes societies and people to be dysfunctional. On the one hand they have a religion that is not a bunch of stories. It is an elaborate examination of how a society given its humanistic tendencies can function optimally under the Islamic legal doctrine. Then you bring in secular thought and everything goes out the door. Confusion is rife.

The last thing you want is a 1.5 billion people living in global ghettos, being policed by western armies. Some of you yahoos might think that is the way to go, but it is just not feasible. It won't work.

And yes I would too put Israeli scientist above any contemporary Islamic scientist. My point was to counter only those arguments that Islam has provided nothing to the historical narrative.

Then finally, as Americans you live in a fishbowl. Travel the world. Your governments have indoctrinated so much fear of everything. First the native will kill you and rape your pristine wife. Then the Chinamen are coming. Then the black man will get you. Then the commies are coming. Now the raving lunatics with towels on their heads are going to slit your throat. All the while your governments are creating such chaos on other people's shores. Watch Syrianna to get a small dose of what is happening.

********************************
The raving lunatics in Karachi (15000+) just last sunday danced to the likes of Bryan Adams, while Tiger Woods was just hiting eagles at some course in the "Towel Head" country of United Arab Emirates. I guess they really hate our way of life.

You can stay ignorant, it is truly easy. It is white here and black and dark there. Or you can read between the tea leaves, and live and let live others. That is the only way for the future. We are too small a world for us to have such caustic, angry, views about our next door neighbour. It is just not going to work if we give into it.

Look guys if any discussion is going to start with a basic self-righteous indignation of others, then we are not going to go anywhere. Step away from it just a bit and you might begin to see the truth. All sides.

BTW Johnny O, That cheap oi... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

BTW Johnny O, That cheap oil runs your Chevy Twin Cam. And BTW, another nice anecdote to take away. When 5% of the world's population consumes 40% of the world's resources, you are going to have problems. Resource distribution in this world is not equitable.

Are you willing to let that Chevy go?
Are you willing to pay more for those great Walmart goods?
Are you willing to switch on heat only once every other day in your wintery North East?
I would think not.

It is easy to blame others, and this is a human trait, we all do it. But when time comes to look at oneself in the mirror we stand next to a window looking outside.

Hopefully did not ruffle to many feathers.

Finally I as the majority of Muslims certainly think the Holocoust happened. And oh yes before I forget, it was a Christian the last time I remember who was evil one. And though Christian revisionists have come up with some incredibly amazing ideas of how Nazi germany wanted to end Christianity, those who want to consume some wafer of truth know, how deep Nazi Germany was in Christian symbology to justify their evil. That was only 60 years ago!!! Millions killed for a fanatical, germanic, racist interpretation of Christianity.

Continuing on the theme of ... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Continuing on the theme of the holocoust.
So millions killed by the fanatical germanic racist interpretation of Christianity. Strike One.

Millions enslaved during colonial years by predominately Christian countries, openly supported by the Church as a way to spread the "word of our Lord" to the backward dark reaches of the world. Stealing resources comes with the territory. Strike Two.

Hundreds of thosands of Pagan Native American killed, by who? Strike Three.

Incas (the most endearing) native South American civilizations massacred and wiped off the face of the earth. By who. Strike....

Hundreds of thousands of Jews and Muslims killed in the wars of the first, second and third crusades. Strike...

Hundreds if not thousands murdered as heretics, witches, muslims, jews in the inquisition period. By who. Strike...

So before we get on this frothing attack on the beastial nature of these dark people from this far away land, lets check ourselves and our truth potions...We are running majorly short.

Resource distribution is no... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Resource distribution is not equitable. If oil was distributed more equally around the world, the middle east was be a faint afterthought in rest of the world's minds. It has nothing else of any merit to offer.

Hate to burst your bubble b... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Hate to burst your bubble but hospitals date from the Roman era. The concept of zero and Algebra come from India. Paper originated in China.Banking and astronomy pre-date Islam by a thousand years. Oil was discovered by Westerners using western science and technology. Arab oil producers are basically rent seekers.
The Nazi's were pagans and socialists. Bosnian Muslim's eagerly joined the SS in killing Jews and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem openly sided with the Nazi's.
Other than pointing out that in the middle ages that the Arabs preserved Western knowledge most of your comment is factually incorrect.
With several trillion dollars in oil revenues in the last 60 years there isn't one world class scientific university in all of Islam? Or medical research? The fact that you have to come here for an advance education speaks volumes about your homeland. Islam may have been an answer in the 7th through 9th centuries but today in the 21st century it appears to be the problem.

Kashif,What I find i... (Below threshold)
OneDrummer:

Kashif,
What I find interesting is that the pedantic attitude you have towards us fire-breathing americans, and then you comment about how many schoolmates attended Ivy League schools. I guess Americans suck at higher education, huh?

As a Christian who does live in America, I am offended by your statement that 'Christianity is more of a commercial entity than a religion today.'... in American churches, we call that cultural Christianity... not a real abiding faith in Jesus Christ. So, I won't label you as a Muslim who wants to subjugate and kill any infidel, if you don't label all Christians in America as deriving an economic benefit from their faith. Because that, sir, is patently offensive, and if your only view of Christians is from watching Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, they are as whacked out as the fundy Mullahs in Iran....

Why aren't Christians allows to freely speak their minds, to be open about their faith in Morroco, Saudi Arabia, etc, when they can be jailed for explaining their faith as you could do in America? What do Islamic nation states have to fear? I suppose as an American, I need to travel to these places so I can be thrown in jail for asking someone if they know about the redemptive power of having Christ in their lives...

Kashif,Thanks for th... (Below threshold)

Kashif,
Thanks for the input. It sounds like the U.S. puts out a good education. Who's paying your tuition? BTW it's great to hear you open up and let us read between the lines.We can see that deep down YOU REALLY DO HATE US. I don't care what happened in history. The future looks pretty bleak thanks to Islam.

Oh, Kashif, btw...... (Below threshold)
OneDrummer:

Oh, Kashif, btw...

Even though I may not agree with your view of my faith, and though I would be willing to die for it, I'm not willing to kill you, or destroy your property for your having stated view.

"What people conveniently avoid and put aside is that Islam or Islamic empires were not raping or plundering the Christians. It was the Crusades that first brought to Islamic shores an evil ideology of hatred based upon religion. Ask any muslim to say anything negative about Christ or Moses, and you won't get many respondents. The contrary is often exemplified as in the case of the cartoons."

So, does is this your answer? Well, we Muslims didn't start it, so we're not responsible for the violence that happened after the Crusades? As a Christian, I am appalled at what was done in the name of Christ back in the middle ages... don't use the Crusades to jusify the Islamic position vis a vis violence in today's world. Muslims may not state anything derogatory about Christ or Moses, but they don't live by the teachings of these two when they state they want Israel (and the Jews living there) wiped off the face of the earth.

Would it be a better position to state as a Muslim that you renounce any violence that is done in the name of Islam? The funny thing is, in America, we do not see Muslims rising up and stating unequvocably that any terrorist activity perpetrated by fringe Islamists does not meet with our faith, our views and how we want to live as neighbors (here and abroad.) And by doing so, Muslims in America are tacitly supporting the violence. If it is indeed the religion of peace, then where is the outrage against these acts of violence?

Kasihf ought to study histo... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Kasihf ought to study history. Islam originated in Arabia and spread by conquest throughout the Middle East and North Africa. And no slackers were they in the raping, pillaging and killing fields. Evil as the Crusaders were, the were attempting to re-conquer what were recently Christian lands.
Notice when current Islamic atrocities are pointed out the rebuttal is always massacres committed by westerner's centuries ago.
Perhaps he can explain to us why the only middle eastern nation with front line science, medicine and technology is............Israel.
The lunatic Muslims are playing a game of chicken with the West. one that they will loose. Brazil already has an effective ethanol fuel alternative which is now being mandated in all new cars sold in Brazil. Ten years from now I would not be surprised if every new car in the US is required to be able to run on either pure ethanol,methanol and any combination of both as well as gasoline or any combination of the three. the technology already exists. now all we need is the will to do so. Ten years after implementation the Arabs will be back to where they were in the 1920's an 30's.
It appears that God has a sense of humor, alcohol will save the West from the Muslims.

For me it's all very simple... (Below threshold)
Rod:

For me it's all very simple...

The Muslims call the shots in their world...
In the West, Muslims should shut the fuck up!
I am European, and I am tired to see how castrated Europe has become... nothing can be done to hurt the feelings of those sensitive Muslim Bastards... while westerners are beheaded in the middle east.

Europe should present an ultimatum to the muslim world: get rid of the rotten apples yourselves, or go all rot in Guantanamo. I am tired of being a hostage in my own land. Enough is enough!

Go US military... send those fucking ragheads to hell!

Am I the only one who finds... (Below threshold)
TomB:

Am I the only one who finds it almost stupefyingly ironic that Kasihf brags about the superiority of Islamic culture while using his WESTERN Ivy League education to uphold his bona fides?

TomB,No you are not.... (Below threshold)

TomB,
No you are not. I think Kashif is on his way to becoming a fine example of western culture's greatest modern mistake.

Cuban-Bob:I am not... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Cuban-Bob:

I am not going to re-cast my argument regarding what the muslims did in the past. If you care to know about it go do a simple search on Islamic achievements.

The Arab conquest of Jerusalem was bloodless. Tradition has it that the Patriarch Sophronios surrendered the city to Omar, the commander of the Arab forces. In return the Patriarch was granted a writ of privileges which guaranteed the right of Christians to maintain their holy places and pursue their customs unhindered. Infact the Christians went on to help the muslims defeat the Romans in places like Egypt.

Besides I am not trying to justify anything contemporary because of the Crusades. All I am attempting to do is cast this issue in terms other than black and white. That Christianity has in the past quite effectively used militarism. The past is the past and we should look towards the future, on how we can learn to co-exist. And towards that more work needs to be done by the muslims themselves.

Israel is a post-colonial nation. My comments above specify in elaborate detail how (failure in sciences/social affairs) that might be possible in muslim countries. Besides countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, are pretty advanced in sciences. Not to mention muslims all over the world who are scientists in every conceivable country. Don't always think that streets in their cities are strewn with donkey carts, as we almost often see in the news. The news media in the west has played such a negative roll in showing the complete picture.

Finally I hope the US moves towards Ethanol, then perhaps some of these resource rich countries might get a chance to effect internal change without external intervention into their affairs. Till then compliant dictators will rule over their people and serve the interests of others. Have you ever wondered why Hussein was so bad, and Hosni Mubarak, King of Jordan, Houes of Saud, Zia's of Pakitan, Shurato of Indonesia, Emir's of Kuwait, and other compliant dictators were fine and are to this day.

Rod though I agree with the premise that muslims should adjust their expectations when living in western societies, but there is a dicotomy here. As the second largest religios minority they have rights too. Even today millions of muslims in the west have absolutely no familial connections to the developing Islamic world. For them they were born in western countries now for multiple generations. In the US muslims have been hear for hundreds of years. So they are a part of the society. You cannot ask them just to wrap up and leave. It would be as asinine as asking Blacks to return to Africa. Though many racist people do often state such insensibilities. So muslims in the western societies are part of those societies whether you like it or not. And they have equal representation and civil rights as anyone. So get with the program. Besides I for one would protect my fellow western citizen in any part of the world. For most of us our religion is personal. Our societal contract is overt. There is no conflict in any muslim's mind in living and loving the country (west) where they live. Of course there are idiots in every religion, sect or group. And muslims are no exception.

Now one other note Rod, you logic of lets hurt the feelings of muslims cuz they behead westerners is entirely convoluted. In the one hand you argue and rightfully so that beheading is crazy, then on the other hand you attempt to morally justify "hurt feelings" as acceptable given it is not as brutish as be-heading. Both are wrong in varying degrees. One does not make the other right.

Finally I am sorry to hear you are a hostage in your land. How so? Because someone gets up and says don't say misguided hurtful things about another person's prophet makes you feel like a hostage. Doesn't make sense to me.
Ask the millions of innocent muslims living in these western societies how they feel. They have a lunatic fringe in countries miles away that untook a terroristic crime, only to leave these law-abiding productive members of their own societies extremely vulnerable, from hate by their own neighbours. Hate in terms of burning of their mosques, shootings, murders, beatings, unjustified questioning at airports, suspicion. All the while they had absolutely nothing or care about none of this stuff. And you feel you are a hostage.

TomB again you take a thread and make an out of context assumption. Nowhere did I argue that Islamic culture is superior. My points were simply reflective providing a counter point to someone who was arguing that Islam never provided anything positive to the historical narrative. Again historical - as in history/past. Western civilization has for hundreds of years given much postive to the human race. I could not even attempt to put that down it is so far encompassing.

My point is simply guys, we can shout at each other till we go blue. Or we can listen to each other and realize that we today live in too small a world not to figure out how to make things work. I would hate to see my kids raised in world at its throat. The points I am trying to raise is to give those of you who care about a just and peaceful world and alternative context to the "black and white" view. We are all more educated than that. And yes people are rightfully angry as I am at much that goes on and is justified under the guise Islam. But it is not Islam that justifies it. It is often the local cultures and traditions that are passed off under the guise and umbrage of Islam.

When you ridicule a person's religion outright, and when you approach any discussion with a basic premise of self-righteousness, then you are not trying to learn but teach. And the best teachers are often those that do a lot of learning/listening.

This Islam versus West is crap. It will unnessesarily drag down the west (my homeland) into a long protracted battle that will eat up her resources, polarize her societies, and speed up her economic and social demise (racism, islamophobia, xenophobia). All the while civilizations like the Chinese will thrive and effect a power imbalance.

Muslims are a pretty down-drodden lot. They have absolutely nothing to loose. It is the West that has the most to loose if it does not deal with this situation in a the most prudent and artful fashion.

Just take my words for what they are my opinions.

Oh btw Ivy-league education highly over-rated and over priced.... :)

OneDrummer: To your query w... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

OneDrummer: To your query why muslims in the US don't rise up and say this/that in the name of islam is wrong. First and foremost many do, we just don't care to listen, cuz it serves our worldview.

In one of the course I took in college we studied how as people we seek and read and consume information that already supports our views, not the contrarian view. And funny enough that is exactly what I did, until I consciously began to change my process of consuming information. And it is tough. One always wants to go down the route of the well know and not let other point cloud it. That is how we operate as humans.
Which is why I think we just dont listen to the other person when we are so charged.

On this same note: I for one would never be an apologist for the actions of any Saudi or Egyptian terrorist. Reason is simply I have almost as much in common with a person from Saudi/Egypt as an American would have with someone from Yugoslavia. Nothing. Therefore guilt by association, and collective stimatizing is wrong and unfair. Though on the same note if someone were to hurt the US, attack her, or my fellow citizens regardless of their race or religion I would fight. Not for any reason but the simple motivation that I would be protecting my home and my family. Those associations are far stronger than any.

OnDrummer on the note why you are not allowed to prostelize in countries like SA. Prostelizing is not an in-alienable human right. If we expect others to respect us we must respect them, and the surest way to kill any conversation with a person is to say you are going to enternal damnation if you don't believe in Christ. It is their law and their country we must respect that. The same way no one will give a damn about a fatwa passed in Iran in any western country, we cannot reverse it around either. Now when it comes to other issues in SA I think we are perfectly justified in raising those issues. For example freedom of religion. Freedom to practise whatever religion you belong to. Women rights, minority rights, enhancing education, removing anti-semitism etc. We should question those and will be right when we do that. The same way we should question anyone among us here in the US or in any other western country who say "kill all ragheads", or "send them all to Guantanemo" etc.

So before we all long like I said outside the window, lets all of us look at the mirrors.

TomB care to elaborate on h... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

TomB care to elaborate on how a person like me is the western cultures greatest mistake. I hope you don't come up with the cliche' leftist/apologist hypothesis.

Another viewpoint on this C... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Another viewpoint on this CARTOON debaucle:

What Would Jesus Do?

By Remi Kanazi

02/04/06 "ICH" -- -- Picture this: A cartoon of Jesus, with his pants down, smiling, raping a little boy. The caption above it reads "Got Catholicism?" Or how about a picture of a Rabbi with blood dripping from his mouth after bludgeoning a small Palestinian boy with a knife shaped like the Star of David--the caption reads "The Devil's Chosen Ones."

I wonder if people around the world would just consider this free speech? Of course, some would condone or agree with one, two or all three, while others would say "it's free speech," although they "find it offensive and in poor taste." But do you honestly think media outlets such as the BBC, Le Monde, or any media outlet in Copenhagen would pick up these cartoons? The outrage would begin instantly and advertisers would pullout. Yet, those in Denmark and their supporters around Europe call it freedom of speech to have a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed--who is not supposed be depicted to prevent idolatry according to clerical interpretation of the Koran--with a turban shaped like a bomb on his head.

The double standard the West has set for the rest of the world is disgusting. We live in a foolish bubble where we think we are free to say or do whatever we want without consequence. I remember watching Saturday Night Live when Sinead O'Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope. The furor was enormous, which led to NBC receiving a 2.5 million dollar fine by the Federal Communications Commission. Imagine if it was a picture of Jesus--the US Congress would have made the Teri Schiavo intervention look like a joke.

Where are the pictures of the dead soldiers, the dead women and children in the Western media? Some governments won't allow it and other media outlets just fear the backlash. When I need journalistic honesty, I have to turn to Al Jazeera, why is that? One cannot even deny the Holocaust in Europe, question 9/11 in America (unless you want the Ward Churchill treatment), but the West claims they're all about free speech.

It is no coincidence the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is grossly pro-Israeli. It is no coincidence that you never heard the full quotes of Iranian president Ahmadinejad's comments on Israel and the Holocaust--no matter the basis. And it is no coincidence that Arab analysts who are against the war in Iraq, the occupation of Palestine, and America's "war on terror" are insufficiently represented in the European press.

So what are Muslims to do? Violence is out of the question--that would be "an overreaction." So why not boycott? That would be a mistake as well, according to the European Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini who stated, "Calls for boycotts or for restraints on the freedom of the press are completely unacceptable." What Frattini meant to say is that Muslims should choose capitalism over faith. Maybe the European Union will clarify through a cartoon--Mohammed selling the Koran for ten bucks in a Danish pawn shop. But boycotting is a friend of the West. However, they more conveniently title it "sanctions." I'm sure we all remember the 500,000 Iraqi women and children that died because of the UN boycotts on Iraq after the first Gulf War.

Is Europe is willing to continue this new trend against boycotts? Will the European community call on Israel to show Paradise Now in non-independent theatres? It's the only way to stop the boycott of Palestinian freedom of speech. Will the European Union resume aide to the Hamas-led Palestinian government tomorrow? Since Hamas' call for the destruction of Israel is protected under the clause of freedom of speech and the group stopped suicide attacks 18 months ago, it only seems logical.

If Denmark, Norway, France, Germany and the rest of Europe believe in the freedom of speech, it should include all instances and all religions. These nations are carelessly defending their hypocrisy and reinforcing the double standard that alienates Muslims and desecrates the Muslim faith, under the guise of free speech. I guess only one question remains for small Norwegian Christian newspapers like Magazinet that reprinted the cartoons: What would Jesus do?

*** Remi Kanazi is the primary writer for the political website www.PoeticInjustice.net. He lives in New York City as a Palestinian American freelance writer and can reached via email at [email protected]

With regard to the comment ... (Below threshold)
just a thought:

With regard to the comment that 'Islam is a religion of hate and intolerance' please remember that many wars and acts of aggression have been initiated and sold to the public under the premise of doing 'the work of God' by nation's leaders. Some of those instances happened quite recently..

"What people convenientl... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

"What people conveniently avoid and put aside is that Islam or Islamic empires were not raping or plundering the Christians. It was the Crusades that first brought to Islamic shores an evil ideology of hatred based upon religion. Ask any muslim to say anything negative about Christ or Moses, and you won't get many respondents. The contrary is often exemplified as in the case of the cartoons."

Actually what people forget is that the First Crusade was a cry for help from the Byzantine Emporer because Islamic forces were about take his empire. For centuries the Byzantines kept the Western door to Europe closed to Conquering Islamic forces.

This is why Islam spread across North Africa and Only North Africa. They took the path of expansion along the Mediterranean's Southern Coast to enter Europe from the West. In fact they took most of Spain before loosing their Imperialist steam. If Islam was interested in just plain converting people, why not go into Southern Africa?

The First Crusade was a response Islamic Imperialism. The Europeans did something extremely clever with their relatively inferior forces. They took advantage of the fact Islamic forces did not have naval forces worth a darn. That allowed Europeans to insert themselves into what amount to the belly of the Islamic Empire, Jerusalem. This forced a redeployment of Islamic forces away from their expanding borders.

Granted many exploited the opportunity war gave them for plunder which was more true in later Crusades. But, there may have never been a modern Christian west without the first Crusade. Many people don't know this. Our Anti-Western schools in action.

Denny:Archie Bunke... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Denny:

Archie Bunker eh?

Your response to my post was pretty damned reasonable, and it represents a view I've tried to hold since 9/11. I'm struggling, but losing my grip on it.

I hear you man.

I'm nearly ready to join the anti-Islam mobs as a result of the daily examples of absurdity emanating from the world's mosques. I hate to admit it, but bigotry is moving into my soul--and it seems increasingly justified by recent events.

I completely understand. I just try to remember that this information is only a part of the puzzle. Here in the states, where we have a much open media, we have people like Falwell and Robertson...So when I see Muslims acting like psychopaths, I try to remember the fact that what I am looking at is a specific group, and I do not assume that everyone agrees with them. Remember, it's not going to make good news to show a bunch of everyday Muslims going about their lives and NOT acting like this. News and media are selections from reality, and can be true, but they are not always representative of what is going on as a whole.

As for the E.B. White thing, that was hyperbolic. As far as I can recall, the British government banned all images of pigs from government offices to show sensitivity to Muslims (as a result of their idiotic demand). Elements of Style is permitted, but Charlotte's Web is out. Beanie Baby pigs are out. The government offices are pork free. I'm no pork fan, but that's asinine!

I didnt think it was law, but I remember hearing about it. Pretty over the top if you ask me. I dont see how a picture of a pig on a book could cause someone such emotional stress, and I think in that case the Muslims could suck it up and look the other way. Crazy.

I do want to congratulate you on your reasoned and respectful arguments, even though I'm tilting the other way at the moment.

Thanks. There are times when I dont know why I do this, at all. So thanks for saying that. Sometimes I see my fellow Americans getting so enraged that I think their vision gets a bit clouded, and to me thats scary. I think that we need to maintain our rationality, and try to understand the entire situation, instead of hauling off and creating bigger problems.

But people, especially on this site, really misinterpret what I'm saying when I start talking about this stuff. They think that I'm saying we should just be all fuzzy and feel good and roll over and let terrorists do whatever they want. But thats the last thing I'm saying.

My point is that we should stick to finding and prosecuting people who have committed crimes, along the lines of our legal system. I DO NOT think that condemning the entire Muslim world for what specific individuals and groups are doing is the way to go, at all. That just makes more problems, and creates more enemies.

When a murder occurs, the police arrest suspects and do all they can to find the perpetrator. Sometimes they make mistaks and arrest the wrong guy, it happens. But the rhetoric that I hear from people on here is akin to the a police force mowing down an entire neighborhood because one guy in there is a murderer. I vote that we go after the murderer as efficiently as possible, and steer clear from assuming that all of the surrounding neighbors are murderers as well.

Dude, I'm a freaking windbag. Sorry for the long post. Thanks for being cool, and for listening to what I'm saying. It's really appreciated, trust me.

jpm100 I think you should r... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

jpm100 I think you should re-read some of the above comments I have made. In one of them I have specifically stated that Crusades were critical for the Italian Renaissance to happen. However that does not detract from the fact that the Crusades were an un-provoced attack on Muslims, Jews and Christians living peacefully in Jerusalem. Did you know that even the Christians living and practising their religion in the holy land were not spared, even those in the Christiandom's holiest sites.

Not to mention as the crusader came across the anotolian penninsula they murdered raped and plundered the coptic and Orthodox lines of chrisitandom.

Additionally your history is way off on the first Crusade being a call by Byzantinum emperor. It wasnt'. The call began as a way to unify the christians in Europe who were involved in an internicine war against each other. Pope Urban thought channeling this hatred towards muslims was a better way to handle this internal european issue. So quite similar to the Nazis saying the Jews are to be blamed for everything. Urban did the same hundreds of years prior to muslims.

The first, which all four sources mention, is the cessation of hostilities between fellow christians and the unification of Christendom. Fulcher of Chartres reports Urban as saying "Those who once waged war against their brothers and blood relatives should fight lawfully against barbarians (Riley-Smith, 1981:42)". Robert of Rheims account comments on Christians fighting each other and advises "Stop these hatreds among yourselves (ibid:44)". Guilbert of Nogent chronicles Urban as chastising Christians "thus...you have often savagely brandished your spears at each other in mutual carnage only out of greed and pride (ibid:46)". Finally Baldric of Bourgueil narrates Urban as declaring "you butcher your brothers and create factions among yourselves, appealing for them to unite as knights of Christ (ibid:51)".

So hopefully we will put to bed a revisionist view point on the crusades.

BTW Urban artfully used the burning down of a major Church (which was fully rebuilt by the muslims after an apology), as the lincpin upon which we instigated the masses to support his first Crusade.

You are mistaking me for an... (Below threshold)
TomB:

You are mistaking me for another poster. Here is my comment:

Am I the only one who finds it almost stupefyingly ironic that Kasihf brags about the superiority of Islamic culture while using his WESTERN Ivy League education to uphold his bona fides?

Short and simple, unlike others around here.

You brag about the superiority and advances of the Muslim world, yet you must come to the west for your education. I wonder why?

I honestly hope that some o... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

I honestly hope that some of you guys take the time to actually read through what Kashif is saying here. It is a point of view that you may not completely agree with, but I think it's important to understand different perspectives here.

Kashif wrote:

On this same note: I for one would never be an apologist for the actions of any Saudi or Egyptian terrorist. Reason is simply I have almost as much in common with a person from Saudi/Egypt as an American would have with someone from Yugoslavia. Nothing. Therefore guilt by association, and collective stimatizing is wrong and unfair.

The past is the past and we should look towards the future, on how we can learn to co-exist. And towards that more work needs to be done by the muslims themselves.

So muslims in the western societies are part of those societies whether you like it or not. And they have equal representation and civil rights as anyone. So get with the program. Besides I for one would protect my fellow western citizen in any part of the world.

My point is simply guys, we can shout at each other till we go blue. Or we can listen to each other and realize that we today live in too small a world not to figure out how to make things work. I would hate to see my kids raised in world at its throat. The points I am trying to raise is to give those of you who care about a just and peaceful world and alternative context to the "black and white" view.

And yes people are rightfully angry as I am at much that goes on and is justified under the guise Islam. But it is not Islam that justifies it. It is often the local cultures and traditions that are passed off under the guise and umbrage of Islam.

Main point: maybe we should take the time to listen to one another more. Maybe this situation is more complicated than being Islam vs. the West. Hating all Muslims, just by association, is only going to make things worse for us, PERIOD. Honestly, I am confused as to why some people want to hang onto their hatred so much. I see a lot of people, on both sides, doing that, and it is pretty horrible.

There is no justifying what happened on 9/11. That was murder. There is no justifying suicide bombings in Iraq, or anywhere else. Again, murder. And we should do all that we can to find and punish the individuals/groups that committed those crimes.

On our side of the fence, there is no justification for hate speech, for condemning MILLIONS of people for what specific people have done. Why incite MORE violence? What good does that do? I understand the fact that people are angry, upset, and scared by what they see. But lets not lose our minds and become EXACTLY WHAT WE FEAR by letting hatred determine our actions.

Read or listen to the words of your president people. He makes it clear that we are not fighting against Islam, which he calls "a noble faith," but instead we are fighting against radicals who have hijacked that religion.

yes we all remember "piss c... (Below threshold)
johnny O:

yes we all remember "piss christ" and Sinead O's tirade on SNL. We all remember the pubic uproar over whether tax dollars should be used to subsidize such things as "piss Christ" and the millions of complaints phoned into NBC regarding O"Conner's stupidity and the subsequent finebny the FCC. Im not a fan of the FCC fines I think they are silly. But thats where it ended. NO riots in the streets, no calls for murder or death or destruction. So there is no double standard.


Sure we have our own religious hotheads in this country. Pat Robertson and Jerry Fawell and Louis Farakhan, and their like. But how many beheadings have you seen on the 700 club? How many times has Fawell led his congregation in a good old fashioned barbaric riot? How much of Washington DC was burned down during the Million Man March? the answer to all three is of course ZERO.

TomB:You brag a... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

TomB:

You brag about the superiority and advances of the Muslim world, yet you must come to the west for your education. I wonder why?

Oh get off it Tom. He was not bragging about the superiority of the Muslim world, he was trying to bring up examples of contributions that have come from it. That was in response to someone who was saying that nothing of value has come from the Middle East.

Did you read everything he wrote, or did you just skim through and then react? For Christ's sake, try to read and understand the person's point of view before jumping all over them.

The guy has plenty of good points, and is writing in a respectful way. You dont have to agree by any means, but try to listen at least.

However that does not de... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

However that does not detract from the fact that the Crusades were an un-provoced attack on Muslims, Jews and Christians living peacefully in Jerusalem.

The part about unprovoked is crap. It was still the same empire that was attacking Byzantium. The part of attacking Jews & Christians is debatable and more likely a blurring of following crusades.

People are using too many w... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

People are using too many words and brain cells now! Can't we get back to the emotional core of this thread?

Fuck 'em!
Fuck 'em!
Fuck 'em!

Hey Denny is that...humor?<... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Hey Denny is that...humor?

I've heard of that before, I think.

lol

Did you read my reply? It's way up there, somewhere, along with my lost brain cells.

I honestly hope that som... (Below threshold)

I honestly hope that some of you guys take the time to actually read through what Kashif is saying here. It is a point of view that you may not completely agree with, but I think it's important to understand different perspectives here.

It's a point of view based on ignorance, bigotry, and flat-out lies. For example, the claim that Holocaust was motivated in the least by Christianity. Hitler's Naziism was paganist/atheist; the anti-semitism was primarily based on racial theories popular among "progressives" of the day. Hitler held Christianity is as much contempt as he did Judaism, and devout Christians were on his list to be purged.

As for the Crusades -- the surrender of Jerusalem was peaceful because other cities had fallen in baths of bloodhed. The surrender was intended to avoid a blood bath, which the lions of Islam had shown themselves entirely capable of.

The Crusades were not a violent response to peaceful expansion. They were a violent response to violent expansion.

But, hey, that's not the important thing. When the majority of Muslims -- peaceful, moderate, completely compatible in habit and philosophy with the Western world -- stand up against the radical minority, then we can all agree on what proportion are radicals. Until that moment, well, either there aren't that many moderates, or they're just not that interested in resisting the radicals.

-Ryan, I commend you on you... (Below threshold)
Robert:

-Ryan, I commend you on your rational thoughts and feelings about it the situation. However, I believe that you have a pre 9/11 mindset. This is no longer a legal issue but a military situation. We are in a War. We have been since 1993, and probably even earlier than that. Yet, between 1993 and 9/11/01 our nation treated these thugs and terrorists as you suggest now, as a legal matter to be given a trial and punished. That type of thinking gave us 9/11. We are beyond that. We need to take the war where they are and end it as much as humanly possible. The purpose of government is to protect the lives of its citizens. If our government does not do that, then it has abrogatted its duties and responsibilities to its citizens. I voted for W. I would have voted for another candidate who would have been even more determined to carry the war into states that sponswer terrorism. Until those individuals and states that sponswer terrorism are extinguised this battle will continue to rage. Europe is finally reaping the whirlwind of multiculturalism without assimiliation. That whirlwind will get far worse before it gets better, and that is truly unfortunate.

Guys I have written in exha... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Guys I have written in exhaustive details some counter points. Please read them before jumping to conclusions. And don't parse them without context, or implicitlly believe that this "brownie" is deviant and means us harm. Such irrational fears kill conversations. Pure and simple.

All I am saying is there is no historical moral supremacy, and though we can argue about who is better than the other, both sides are pretty bad. I maybe biased but my understanding of history and geo-politics lends to believe that we have played a far better job at RealPolitik than the folks from the Islamic world. And those of you who are students of politics understand what that means.

Second, get off this issue "ragheads", kill all muslims rubbish. There are far too many (in practical terms), and the world is way too small for there not to be a significant blowback, resulting in a MAD like scenario. It serves no side.

Finally you have to understand what is happening globally to perhaps begin to put things into perspective.

Almost 15 years ago I wrote a paper on an impending clash with the Islamic world. Having studied there and grown up I had a better than average understanding of this bottled up aggression that was building up in the Islamic world. My Poli-Sci professor considered my views too far-fetched. I wonder if he would remember that conversation.

Anyways here is what I believe is happening or going to happen in the next 15 years. The Western world first and foremost is not a monolithic whole, and I hate it when someone says that. There are differing viewpoints here as well as there are in the Islamic world which in-itself is not a monolithic whole. If the 1.4 billion muslims in over 50 countries began to think and operate as a monolithic whole things would be quite different.

But anyways before I digress on this tangent let me state what I consider to be the current state of affairs and where I think things are going to progress:

In the very small power groups of the world, primarily in the western countries of US/UK/France/Germany there is an internal struggle on how to define and maintain economic and military supremacy for the next 100 years. They all have different approaches on how to handle that. Some want a more aggressive overt flexing of muscle akin to colonial days. Others want to bridge gaps and accept the changes as inevitable with more distribution of wealth and power around the world. There are varying interest groups all vying to be heard, from religio-fanatics, neo-cons, Zionists, Liberals, Libertarians etc. All viewpoints are struggling to get there interests maintained. In the process we have developed an incoherant policy that makes no sense. On the one hand we'll bomb everyone even our allies in Pakistan, but on the other hand they are critical in helping us and liking us. Haha. Does anyone every think how that is going to be possible. People all over the world are generally rational. You kill them one day and say you love them the next is not going to work. Therefore my point about the incoherance of our policies.

The reason for this massive shift is fundamentally pegged with the economy. It is all about the economy. Western economies just don't have the numbers, and this is a well known secret worry of all geo-political scientist in the western world. The power shift is inevitable. In the next 30-40 years you'll have the Indians and Chinese (both with significant muslim populations) dominating the world economic and political sphere. They will just spew out more PHDs, and MSc than we ever could. There are attempts by western powers to manage and control their growth, but it is turning out to be impossible. India maybe will be managed and controlled in the short term, but China is certainly out of the picture, and India too will begin to assert herself in due course.

This massive shift will impact western economies in incredible ways, and the competing powerhouses in Europe (France/Germany) will adopt a co-optive role vis-e-vis the US. They all are subservient to their own constiuencies. However there is a group that is harking on the baser ideals that the Western ideals or moral supremacy allows for the usurption and in a way exploitation of other reasources purely on the basis of this moral supremacy of our political doctrine. That could have worked in the early days of our colonial historical past, but not today, when resources are further strapped and even colonial powers require to out-do each other in order to maintain their powerbase. Beoing vs. Airbus, and so on. Add to this mix the Chinese and the Indians and things get more murky.

Hence in order to co-opt an inevitable degredation of quality and standard of life and its potential polarizring and debilitating impact on the western societies, we'll see laws be enacted under the pretext of things like terrorism. Again historical analogy is self-evident. The native is here, the chinaman, the black, the commie. Fear equals submission. Submission allows for laws like patriot act and others limiting freedom of expression etc. Also allows for "long wars" in other people's lands. As we have seen on numerous occassions sold to masses as some moraliztic "crusade" always has some other underline reason. These attempts will fail as the other side will exploit this to their benefit. Not to mention capital will naturally oppose this.

I for one as a muslim american feel fundamentally that the america of our ideals is the best system in the world, and one we must fiercely protect. But I am afraid this very system is being eroded. We are but a shell of our ideals, and it makes me sad.

In the end I feel what is bound to happen is that reactionary forces and baser elements and short sighted goals will win out, pitting us and casting us forever as a foe to Islam. People like TomB and Rod will win out. On the other side the reaction will be as cuastic and their ilk like TomB and Rod will win out too.

In the end we'll expend time energy, treasure effort to fight a mindset. Such a war is lost even before it begins.

It is this time lost that will cast us forever in the west into that turning point when the "barbarians" constantly attacked the periphery of "Roman" empire. Chipping away at it. Giving competing power bases the ability to grow, thrive and challange.

We are at that point, unless we realize this. But I guess history has a nagging ability to repeat itself, even when self-evident.

Finally guys we are today subserviant to the most powerful political and economic force, that never existed in its current form (in our past), and that is capitalism as exemplified in capital. Capital flows where there are maximum returns. Our economies and our jobs will fly off the handle into far away lands. It is a matter of time, and time is not on our side.

World is small. Getting smaller by the day. Capitalism is breaking away borders and everything else in its way. To support this argument, I wanted to tell you guys about a project that I worked on, where our Chinese hardware manufacturers were working for a German company, that had hired Pakistani software developers and were marketing the products in the US. When working on that project I had the most sleepless time in my life as all timezones intersected. When the Chinese were about to call it the day the Pak were working on their problems, soon the Germans were ready with their issues and then here in the US the day began.

It is this incredible force of capitalism that we must understand. All of this stuff we talk about is meaningless. Where we live is meaningless. Nationalistic jingoism is meaningless. Cultural supremacy ideals ring hollow.

One man/woman with his or her productivity value. That is the currency of the future. Nothing else.

Hopefully I haven't bored too many with me views.

Also the Crusades were star... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Also the Crusades were started becuase they were an attempt by the Eastern Orthodox Byzantines to try to heal the Schism of 1054 with the Roman Catholics. Alexius Commenus only asked for some Knights to assist him in the containment and reconquest of the lands lost to the Seljuk Turks after the disastrious battle of Manizkert in 1071. Instead Alexius received at Constantople one of the largest armies fielded by Europe. Which had its own motives and agenda quite separate from the goal of Emperor Alexius.

Robert:Ryan, in... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Robert:

Ryan, in your response to me nearly every aspect involved Iran, Iraq and maybe the PA/Hamas. That does NOT address the issues of the Muslims in the Phillipiness killing foreigners, that does NOT address the bombings in Bali or other places in Indonesia or the Civil War in Sri Lanka or the Conflict between Mulims and Hindus in India/Pakaistan/Bangladesh. Nor does it account for the situation in Sudan, the former Soviet Union territoris or Lybia.

Look, those were just a few examples. I admit that I might have to do some research about the government of Indonesia, but I do believe that democracy is less than prevalent there as well. Pakistan: Ever heard of Mushareff? Well, a few years back that dictator took over by military coup. Not a democracy. Sudan: horrible internals warfare, and also not a democracy. Thousands of refugees too. Former Soviet Union: not exactly the bastion of freedom either. If you think so, please disagree. Lybia: not a democracy.

Take a look at all these examples, and let's look for some common denominators when trying to understand where terrorism comes from. Lack of democracy, high rates of dictatorial rule, years of warfare. Hmmm.

Now, I know that this shit is happening in Europe as well, and that cannot be explained by the lack of democracy. I would say that what we have there is the radical contingent spilling over into the west and spreading their message. I think we should deal with them directly, as we should deal with all terrorists directly. And we should not assume that every Muslim, out of about a billion, agrees with the violent and hateful rhetoric.

I do think that American Muslims and others in the west could do a lot to diffuse this tension. But then, are we listening to them? I dont know.

Like I said. Islam is PART of the cause. Recently Hamas came out and published an article stating that Seville (IN SPAIN) should be returned to Muslim Rule becuase it was once under Muslim Control.

More accurately: Hamas' USE of Islam is part of the problem. You're assuming that there's some inherent evil trait in the religion, and I dont see it. When the KKK invokes Christianity, it would be erroneous to state that Christianity, as a belief system, is the problem. The USE of Christianity, by the psychopaths, is the problem. Same goes for Islam.

Where is the G-d damned moderate Muslims protesting this crap? All I hear are crickets chirping away.

I understand that point loud and clear. But how about this: maybe if we werent equating them all with terrorists there would be a more open dialogue. Hmmm?

,i>There is no peaceful resolution with any Muslim who believes in Jihad or believes that all territories that were once under the control of Muslims need to return to Muslim control.

Agreed. But dont assume that they ALL think this way.

Let's stick to the criminals, and try to save room for the idea that many Muslims are caught in between. Let's try to do our best to sort out the innocent from the guilty. Thats my take.

Robert Crawford: I g... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Robert Crawford:
I guess I need to be exact in what I was saying. I really don't nor does anyone else know what was in the minds of Neo-Pagan members of the Nazi party nor Hitler. For all I know they hated Chrisitanity and intended to wean Germany off the Churches.

However my point was not to get into those specifics. I meant to argue that Nazi Germany used Chritian relgious symbology and wrapped Chritian teachings as a means to sell their ideology to the masses. That is the fundamental point I try and make. That religion and ethnic and racial politics are the fastest easiest way for people to consume what is otherwise a more complicated doctrine.

Do I blame Pope Urbane for Crusades I. No anyone who sold "one way tickets" to heaven or burned non-Christians at the stake is hardly a christian. So one cannot blame Chrisitanity, but the people who used it to rape, and plunder.

Hope you understand what I was trying to say.

BTW even contemporary Aryan ideals are deeply set in religious indoctrination. I certainly hope for the sake of intellectual honesty you would not argue that atleast.

Thanks.

TomB, You know as ... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

TomB,

You know as an American Muslim I did not have much of a choice of where I studied. You see I alone did not decide to study in a Western educational system.

My great-grandfather came to California at the turn of the Century. Not this one. The last one!!!
You would never know what I have done for this country so before you begin to question anyone's patriotism I do caution you sir, at your expense of sounding quite ridiculous.

Sorry if I caused any offense.

can we all agree then that ... (Below threshold)
johnny O:

can we all agree then that one must subordinate deeply held religious beliefs for the sake of civility? Thats what radical Islamists must do if they are ever to be treated or thought of as anything other than savage barbarians.

American Muslims are fine. They ARE American citizens and while we may disagree on this or that we all for the most part respect one anothers right to agree and or disagree. I appreciate Mr Ahmad's opinions even though I may not agree with all of them. But I am quite certain that there is nothing Mr Ahmad could say to incite me to violence and likewise there is nothing I might say to cause him to act out violently. Thats the difference between us(muslim, christian, jewish, non beleiver) in the West and them(savage barbarians) in the Islamic world.

Whether all Muslims in the Middle East are supporters of Jihad and or terrorism is irrelevant. The fact is that there are enough who do support such shenanigans to justify the various governments in that part of the world to play upon those feelings for their own purposes. So in dealing with the likes of Syria, Iran, Saudi and such we cant allow sentiments such as "well not everone over there hates us or supports jihad" effect how we act.


Johnny O I totally agree wi... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Johnny O I totally agree with you that the social contract we all sign as citizens far out-weighs any deeply held religious beliefs. Besides following your religion as long as it does not infringe on others rights and the concept of a Republic called the US are not opposing forces. Therefore Muslims in the US thrive and succeed, and though many question from time to time our "EXTERNAL" policies they will never nor should they ever consider hurting the fundamentals of our country.

On the other note: we must be careful that our policies do not push the majority of people in the Islamic world over the presipice (sp).

We should allow freedom of thought and expression in those countries. Don't you find it ironic that these same countries where people are going bananas would crush with brutality any expression of change in the form of governance.

In Egypt people disappear, are killed, tortured, exiled you name it, if they question how a military dictator runs and exploits the nation for himself and his group of close associates. Yet this same government allows for cartoon type riots. I hope you understand where I am going.

The problem is not that the muslim world has too much to say, it is that they often don't have enough. A repressed societies often become dysfunctional, and that is what they are at the end. You mix in illetracy, poverty, and hopelessness and you suddenly have a incredibly explosive mixture that is easily beguiled by dictators and politicians with personal agendas furthered through religious masking.

johnnyO:Whether... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

johnnyO:

Whether all Muslims in the Middle East are supporters of Jihad and or terrorism is irrelevant.

I disagree. I think it is incredibly relevant. And I have a feeling that GW might as well.

So in dealing with the likes of Syria, Iran, Saudi and such we cant allow sentiments such as "well not everone over there hates us or supports jihad" effect how we act.

Tell that to Bush, then. You tell him that it doesnt matter whether or not a group of people supports Al Qaeda. Tell him that it doesnt matter whether or not they support terrorism, it just matters that they are A)Living in the Middle East and B)Muslim.

Your reasoning would be like police going into a hostage situation and saying, "Hell, it doesnt matter whether the hostages want to be there or not, light the building up boys!"

And yes, the whole hostage analogy is pretty good for the current Middle East situation. Dictators abound, democracy doesnt.


Kashif wrote:In... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Kashif wrote:

In Egypt people disappear, are killed, tortured, exiled you name it, if they question how a military dictator runs and exploits the nation for himself and his group of close associates. Yet this same government allows for cartoon type riots. I hope you understand where I am going.

Good point there. I hope people read that one.

Kashif, It is so ... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
It is so wonderful to me to read your well educated responses to these ignorant bigots. I am a 51 year old woman who is married and divorced from a Saudi man. We share a wonderful daughter (no he did not kidnap her) her has been raised here in the United States since she was two. She is now 27 and has had to endure her burdensome share of bigotry on both sides of the divide. Her father and I have tried to raise her to be tolerant of everyone and their beliefs as long as those beliefs are not harmful to others. Personally, I have had to put up with the racist comments concerning marrying a man who is well educated and much more tolerant than those who hurl the insults. You are doing a great job defending Islam and trying to educate those who are responding to you, but I think it is a hopeless cause. It does not help that these people are responding simply by hurling insults at you. You are acting with great dignity and I admire you for that. I only wish that some of those people responding to you would stop to think that thinking up ways of insulting you or your beliefs is only showing THEIR intolerance, the very thing they are accusing you and all Moslems of. Let's stop this hatred swirling back and forth. And remember the old adage, "The only person you can control is yourself". So wake up all you people who can only resort to hurling insults at Kashif and realize that he is trying to hold a dialog, one that respects all aspects. Maybe you should all take a step back and realize that you are sounding more like the "radical Islamists" than you might realize.

Robin

Hi, Kashif.First o... (Below threshold)

Hi, Kashif.

First off, I'm a convert away from Islam. I became a Christian. Even though I am living in the US, should Muslims be allowed to execute me?

Second, your history is way off. But it is quite common: Muslims are fed the same historical garbage that they consume and repeat without question. The same in Muslim lands: I lived in Pakistan for most of my youth.

You accuse Christianity of perpetuating gross inhumanities. True. People have abused Christianity. Yet this is nothing compared to what Muslims have perpetuated over the centuries.

War: In Islam, a jihad may be waged only in defense of Islam. What were the Arabs defending when they spread the Islamic empire over north Africa, the Middle East, and eastwards into Asia? Why did they try to conquer Eastern Orthodox Byzantine? Why did they try to conquer Christian Europe? Even though the religion of Islam did not spread under the sword, the realm of Islam certainly did.

Slavery: Most of the slaves sold were pagans. Guess who sold them. That's right: Muslims. Muslims ran the slave trade, selling the slaves to the Europeans. When the Ottoman Caliph, under pressure from Europe, was thinking about abolishing slavery, Muslim experts rose up in loud protest. Muslim experts wanted to keep slavery.

Women's rights: Nowhere in Christianity or Judaism are female circumcision or honor killing permitted, let alone commanded. Yet Muslims continue to subdue women, depriving them of equality and rights. I have heard Muslims often state that women are equals to men in Islam, but this is simply ridiculous. Women are not equal to men, and it is said so, explicitly, in the Qur'an (which, by the way, tells husbands to beat their wives if the husbands believe the wives may be disobedient).

Renaissance: Indeed, the Muslim empires were somewhat responsible for the Renaissance. But what did Muslims do, exactly? They preserved relics from the past, which European reembraced and improved upon. Muslims preserved, that's it.

For the record, Hitler and the Nazis were adamantly against Christianity. Various Christians, especially Jehovah's Witnesses, were sent to the extermination and concentration camps for asserting Christianity. Nazis sold Nazism under pagan, nationalist, and fascist symbolism and imagery. The swastika, the eagle, runes, even the colors were all taken from pagan civilizations. They never used Christianity. I say this because I have studied Third Reich Germany, and feel it is important to make you aware how skewed your conception of history is.

Also, if you read history, you will also realize that the great Islamic empire existed for only a short time, before breaking up into pieces. At one point, Muslims lived in a number of large empires. In others, there were a number of realms. Besides, the Caliphate is a dictatorship: all rule under one ruler. Would you be willing to say that this is something that was good for the various ethnicities? When the Caliphate was in Iraq or Syria, the language of the government was Arabic. Arabs dominated over and ruled various ethnicities. Then the Caliphate moved to the Turkish lands, where the language of the government was Turkish. Turks ruled over Arabs and other ethnicities. Let us not forget Persian-speaking Moghuls over Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews of various languages. (And the best "Muslim" Mughal emperor was Awrangzeb, who brutally supressed and opressed Hindus. Akbar, the best Mughal emperor, was declared to be a non-Muslim because of his tolerance.) Also, you would realize that the entire history of Islam is full of violence. Islam has had its inquisitions, too. Execution of heretics, massacres against heterodox Muslims (Shias by Sunnis, Sunnis by Shias, Sufis by both).

Let us leave history behind: What have Muslims and "Muslim civilization" done in the recent past that is of renown? Nothing. Muslim realms are in such corruption and lethargy. And don't give me any "they're left behind" garbage. If you're Muslim, you believe God will determine your rise or fall, so you cannot blame the West or anyone else. I refuse to believe any people is so in the thrall of another power that they cannot do anything to better themselves. People need to realize that self-development will lead to social development, that they must not demand to be raised by someone else.

Islam is a very intolerant religion. In the US, you Muslims want to have your cake and eat it too. You speak out against America, the government, the people, the culture, the law. You go so far as to disseminate anti-American literature and agitate others to go on jihad against America. And yet when the government wants to put an end to your anti-American activities, you cry "Foul!" and weep over your civil rights, which you would not hesistate to take from others. You mock and spread lies about Christians, Zionists, and Jews, but when people openly criticize Islam, you raise your voices in ear-deafening clamor.

Islam is just as fundamental to you as our religions are to us. To assume Islam is any different is to be severely mistaken. My Christianity is just a part of my being as Islam is to you. Does this mean I should be burning down Muslim embassies for mocking my faith and perpetuating lies about my religion?

Sadly, it seems you are not aware of what exactly the Qur'an, sunnah, ahadeeth, and shari'ah say. You would realize that your straddling of East and West is prohibitted in Islam, that the "extremists" are actually right. The Salafis are attempting to restore Islam according to how it was practiced and mandated by the salafiyun (Sahaba and Tabi'un and others shortly thereafter).

Many Muslims know this. That is why they are not opposed. How can a Muslim oppose the Salafis when what they say and do are amply justified and supported by the Qur'an, sunnah, ahadeeth, and shari'ah? Deep down, Muslims know that these so-called "extremists" are right.

Open your eyes, Kashif. See reality as it is and was. Leave behind the lies that have clouded your mind, and see Islam as it really is. I know too many people who blind and dumb to reality - family friends and relatives, everywhere. It almost looks like some sort of mental disease.

Robin: You evidently have n... (Below threshold)

Robin: You evidently have not been exposed to true Islam, Islam as it was preached and taught and practiced for centuries, before modernity caused Muslims to become lax in orthodoxy and orthopraxy. There are plenty of lax Muslims in Saudi. An over-abundance of hypocritical Muslims too. (My father works with Arabs, and has had extensive dealings with Saudis.)

Stop lecturing us about Islam, and go read an accurate book on Islam. The "extremists" are not extremists. They are reformers who are attempting to return Islam to its original teachings and practices. This is most clear to anyone who studies them. And they command greater popularity and support than you may imagine.

Muslihoon:You wrot... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Muslihoon:

You wrote:
You accuse Christianity of perpetuating gross inhumanities. True. People have abused Christianity. Yet this is nothing compared to what Muslims have perpetuated over the centuries.

Nothing compared to what Islam has done? Wow even the most fervent respondents on this blog will find that hard to consume my friend. Let's talk facts, not feel good tales. Besides I am time and time again making a single case. That religions themselves are used by people to further their own more worldly goals. Christianity, Judiasm and Islam, Budhism and Hinduism are fundamentally beautiful ideas. All of them are more about humanity that anything.

You wrote:
War: In Islam, a jihad may be waged only in defense of Islam. What were the Arabs defending when they spread the Islamic empire over north Africa, the Middle East, and eastwards into Asia?

Why does any party to a war undertake a war? For political and economic gains. Does the hundred year war in Europe between the English and the French, the Napoleanic wars, The Boer Wars, The Indo-China Wars, The Abroginial Wars, The First World War, The Spanish-Mexican War, The Phillipense War, The Second World War, The War against the Incas, The Second World War, The The First Crusade, The Second Crusade, The Third Crusade, and on and on make the Europeans or Christianity evil? By your logic we could apply this lesson to the Western world given their incredible proclivity to kill and murder others in wars.

You wrote:
For the record, Hitler and the Nazis were adamantly against Christianity.

Just by saying it doesn't make it so. I think I have exhaustively made my view on this clear. The Nazis may have been fundamentally anti-Chritianity. However they artfully used it to rally their people. Also how do you think perfectly good Christian germans managed to support the Nazi party and its evil against the Jews. Here is an excerpt from a paper written on this topic.

"A popular image of the Nazis is that they were fundamentally anti-Christian while devout Christians were anti-Nazi. The truth is that German Christians supported the Nazis because they believed that Adolf Hitler was a gift to the German people from God. German Christianity was a divinely sanctioned religious movement which combined Christian doctrine and German character in a unique and desirable manner: True Christianity was German and True German-ness was Christian."

You wrote:
Islam is a very intolerant religion. In the US, you Muslims want to have your cake and eat it too. You speak out against America, the government, the people, the culture, the law. You go so far as to disseminate anti-American literature and agitate others to go on jihad against America. And yet when the government wants to put an end to your anti-American activities, you cry "Foul!" and weep over your civil rights, which you would not hesistate to take from others. You mock and spread lies about Christians, Zionists, and Jews, but when people openly criticize Islam, you raise your voices in ear-deafening clamor.

My friend you have an incredible amount of hatred. Just incredile. Not becoming of a good Christian. I am sure life would have been rough as a convert to Christianity especially in muslim countries, and I wish you would have embraced some of the truely beautiful elements of Christianity, but it seems like you are going the other route. Your decision to convert is your personal decision, I cannot pass judgement on it. Who am i to do that, but your words regarding American Muslims is way off field, xenophobic to the point that your arguments become a little incoherant and debased. I hope over time you'll get over this deep seeded hatred. In terms of speaking agains the government that my friend is a very American thing to do. As our constitutional and founding fathers believed as I do, that governments inherently covet power. A power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We should work with our governments but most importantly stay true to the constitutional fundamentals of this great nation.

You write:
Sadly, it seems you are not aware of what exactly the Qur'an, sunnah, ahadeeth, and shari'ah say. You would realize that your straddling of East and West is prohibitted in Islam, that the "extremists" are actually right.

This one above really made me laugh. The irony is incredulous. I as a muslim am not aware of the Quran, sunnah and Sharia. But you are. OK!!! I'll pass on this one.

Well on a final note, I will let my own actions, beliefs and treatment of my fellow man judge me in this life and once we pass on. I will not absolve myself of my sins and will be held responsible for what I do by God. I just hope I can squeak through. As in the words of our prophet Christ "Let he who among us has not sinned cast the first stone." I live with that premise as a muslim.

You see muslihoon: as a muslim the sky can go green, and the cows can fly over the moon but I would never ever cast aspersions on Christ his word and that of Moses or any other prophet. You on the other hand can go bananas regarding Mohammad and have not the slightest bit of guilt. I have always found this situation a little bit interesting. I don't know if you will ever understand what I mean.

Robin, really I never write on BLOGs or forum etc. But don't know what got into me. I think it was seeing Ryan struggle with this, that I figured I could give him just a little bit of comfort that there are some (majority) like us who hear and see and understand the pain and conflict, because we too are going through it.

At the end of the day it was only for Ryan.

Too right, Muslihoon, too r... (Below threshold)

Too right, Muslihoon, too right.
Also, let's remember that the lands the Crusaders were "invading" had been conquered by the sword over the preceeding 4 centuries, and began when Constantinople pleaded for help before they were over run.

You see muslihoon: as a ... (Below threshold)

You see muslihoon: as a muslim the sky can go green, and the cows can fly over the moon but I would never ever cast aspersions on Christ his word and that of Moses or any other prophet. Kashif

Then you are a better man than the Muslims that blew up the Bhuddist statues in Afghanistan. Or the ones that desecrated the Church of the Nativity. Or the ones that destroyed and built over the Temple of Soloman. All in the name of Allah and His prophet, Muhamed.
That you understand Islam to be peaceful and willing to co-exist is nice, but compared to the history of Islam and the current actions of much of the Islamic community, it is only a faint glimmer of hope.
Then again, there is a certain encouragement and approval in the Koran regarding lying to the infidels...

SCSIwuzzy wrote:T... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

SCSIwuzzy wrote:
Then again, there is a certain encouragement and approval in the Koran regarding lying to the infidels...

Really there is? Wow I have been leading a really wrong life. Oh man, may God forgive me.

BTW for my edification I would love to know where exactly in the Quran is it stated that we can lie?
Or was your "certain encouragement" the classic say something while not saying it Orviellian speak?

SCSIWuzzy, people like you are scary. Pure and simple.

SCSIWuzzy:I hope w... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

SCSIWuzzy:

I hope writers to this BLOG take your words with strong exception.

I myself wrote in my paragraphs above before any one about the buring of the Chruch of Nativity and how that was used by the Pope to rally the first Crusades. The burning is a well know black spot on Islam. The Church was re-built by the muslims and given back the Christians after apologizes. No one was killed in the burning down of the church when it happened.

Now where SCSIWuzzy losses his credibility is that in his paragraph he speaks one truth but gives two lies. The first lie is that in the Quran is it encouraged to lie to infidels. First and foremost Christians are never called Infidels in the Quran. They are called people of the book (ahl'e Kitaab) who need to be respected. Infact it is stated in the Quran, as a muslim you must respect that religion so much so that if you marry a Christian you must allow that person to practise their religion freely, even if it means you must help that person go to their place of worship. Go figure.

Secondly SCSIWuzzy lies yet again when he says that Muslims razed the temple of Solomon. That act was undertaken by the Romans well before Christianity or even Islam ever came on the horizon.

Like I said SCSIWuzzy, people like you scare me. No purpose but to lie in order to divide. I see no redeeming quality to such actions. Nothing positive.

As far as the Taliban blowing up the idols. That groups itself is representative of a small nutty fringe that even within itself was incredibly conflicted with that decision. This is well known and they were lobbied by many muslim groups to not undertake this action. Also the fact that those idols remained untouched for over 1400 years speaks to nothing I guess.

I'll say again my friend scary. I hope life will give you some other purpose rather than the one you sow today.

1. My comments about war we... (Below threshold)

1. My comments about war were not that Christians are not evil but that Muslims are not so good. Muslims take great pride in the spread of the Islamic realms in early Islam withou realizing it was an imperialist exercise.

2. I do not speak as a Christian here. I mentioned my former allegiance to Islam so that you won't decry me as an outsider who's xenophobic; I mentioned my current status so as not to mislead anyone to think I may still be a Muslim. I speak what I have experienced as an insider in Islam.

3. You said: "I as a muslim am not aware of the Quran, sunnah and Sharia. But you are. OK!!! I'll pass on this one."

Kashif, mera bhai, zara mujhe batadijiye - have you read Muhammad ibn Wahhab? Uthaymeen? Sayyid Qutb? Hassan al-Banna'? Mawdudi? How many tasafir have you read? Have you studied what the Qur'an, sunnah, ahadeeth, and shari'ah say about jihad, ahl adh-dhimmi, women's rights, blasphemy, apostasy, tolerance of religions other than Islam? Are you aware of the differences between Sunni fiqh and Shia fiqh with regard to these issues? Have you read literature in English, Arabic, and Urdu?

If you are not familiar with these - and I am - how can you say you can speak for Islam instead of just your interpretation of Islam?

Kashif says: "Infact it is ... (Below threshold)

Kashif says: "Infact it is stated in the Quran, as a muslim you must respect that religion so much so that if you marry a Christian you must allow that person to practise their religion freely, even if it means you must help that person go to their place of worship. Go figure."

Which ayah? Whenever someone says "The Qur'an says such-and-such," I demand they produce proof. Which ayah?

I myself wrote in my par... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

I myself wrote in my paragraphs above before any one about the buring of the Chruch of Nativity and how that was used by the Pope to rally the first Crusades. The burning is a well know black spot on Islam. The Church was re-built by the muslims and given back the Christians after apologizes. No one was killed in the burning down of the church when it happened.
-Kashif

I'm talking recent history. When militants took the Church of the Nativiyy over, terrorized the occupants and defecated on the shrines and altars. I don't recall the Pope calling for a Crusade over that...

As for infidels, aren't all non-Muslims infidels? People of the book is just a division of infidel. If this isn't true, why do the clerics in Iran and else where refer to infidels so often?

However, early in the Koran, before Muhamed was rejected by the Jews and Christians, he spoke somewhat highly of them. This is where many get the quotes about love and peace between Islam and the peoples of the book
Sura 5:82 which says, "You will find that those who are nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] are those who say, 'We are Christians.'"

But when the Jews and Christians didn't take to Muhamed as the new prophet, the tone changes (seems he didn't like being persona non grata in Mecca, so he shuffled off to Medina. Where he told his own tribe that it was OK to worship the 3 daughters of Allah. That detail got cut out in later revisions of the Koran)

Sura 5:51 commands Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as friends.

Sura 9:29 commands Muslims to fight against Jews and Christians until they either submit to Allah or else agree to pay a special tax.

Sura 2:65-66 and Sura 5:60 contain references to Jews as "apes and swine to be despised and rejected."

Sura 4:34 says, "Men are the managers of the affairs of women . . . Those women who are rebellious -- admonish them, banish them to their couches, and beat them."

Sura 9:73 which says, "O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be harsh with them."

Fight in the way of Allah . . . and slay them [the unbelievers] wherever you find them and drive them out . . . and fight them until . . . religion is for Allah (Sura 2:190-193).

Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war (Sura 9:5).

Fighting is prescribed for you, and [some of] you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not (Sura 2:216).

The Koran also expresses an intolerant attitude toward any person who decides to reject the Islamic faith or convert to another religion. Such persons are to be executed (Sura 9:12). In the Hadith (the oral tradition of Muhammad's sayings) it says "Whoever changes his religion, kill him" (Hadith 9:57).

Sura 5 contains the following command: "Take not Jews and Christians for friends . . . He among you who takes them for friends is one of them . . . Choose not for friends such of those who received the Scripture before you [Jews and Christians] . . But keep your duty to Allah" (verses 51, 55, 57). Extreme intolerance is commanded in Sura 5:33 -- "[For those who do not submit to Allah] their punishment is . . . execution or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet, from the opposite sides, or exile from the land."

BUt maybe I am reading Koran wrong. I don't speak Arabic, for example, maybe there is a nuance I am missing. I'm using this version today, since I am away from my home and lack hardcopy: http://www.hti.umich.edu/k/koran/
But then maybe this gent is reading it wrong too: Al Ghazzali (1058 - 1111), one of the greatest Muslim theologians, wrote: "Know that a lie is not wrong in itself. If a lie is the only way of obtaining a good result, it is permissible. We must lie when truth leads to unplea­sant results."

The Koran on revenge: "If anyone transgresses . . . against you, transgress likewise against him" (Sura 2:194).

The Koran commands Mus­lims to fight non-Muslims until they exterminate all other religions, leaving Islam as the one and only religion in the world (Suras 2:193 and 8:39)

"Strike terror (into the hearts of ) the enemies of Allah and your enemies" (Sura 8:60).

"I will instill terror into the hearts of unbelievers. Smite them above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. It is not you who slay them, it is Allah" (Sura 8:12, 17).

When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. --Koran 9:5 (verse of the sword)

Now, I'd like to hear how you decode these Surrahs(and Hadith). If we disagree, I won't call you a liar. I leave that kind of bull to you.

Muslihoon, care to add your thoughts?
Also, Kashif, interesting coincidence that you share the same name as the young man that sued Denmark for discrimination not so long ago.
Is yours a common name?

Muslihoon, You ... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Muslihoon,
You say I have "obviously not been exposed to true Islam". There one of you guys go again. Just like with Kashif, not asking questions but assuming things you know nothing about. Yes indeed, I have been exposed to "true Islam".
I was married to a Saudi man for nine years and lived in Saudi Arabia for five of those years. Indeed, during those years I WAS exposed to "true Islam". It was however between 1975 and 1980, prior to the fundamentalist takeover of Iran. When you make this statement you make an accusation before getting your facts straight. It would be the same as saying, "You have not been exposed to 'true christianity' unless I homeschool my children and eschew celebrating halloween". There are lax Moslems as you may call them and then there are fundamentalists. You cannot just heap all Moslems into only pile in order to sustain your arguement. During those five years I lived with my inlaws who regularly prayed five times a day, went on pilgramages and practiced ZAKAT (charity). I was also exposed to a culture that was open and accepting of me as a Christian. How can you say this is not "true Islam?' Every religion has adherants of different demeanors and levels of education. My ex-husband has his master's degree and was the single largest personal contributor to the Tsunami relief in Sri Lanka. Why? Because it is part of his religion to give to others in need. My ex mother-in-law is the single most giving person I have ever known, accepted me and my family and continues to welcome me into her home even after our divorce. Is this because she is not a "true Moslem" or is it because Islam has made her the person that she is? You really seem to have a problem and just because your father "works with Arabs" I don't think that gives you the right to go slinging mud. That really is the problem here. Alot of you people are slinging mud against Arabs because it suits your arguement. Yes, I am sure that many people have had problems with Arabs (that really goes without saying). But in that same light, plenty of Arabs have had their fair share of problems with Westeners. Just as you wish to be accepted as an individual, you should be willing to extend this courtesy to others. Remember, you can surely attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.

I find nothing funny in the... (Below threshold)
Aamir Ali:

I find nothing funny in these insulting cartoons and I believe only prejudiced and stupid people will find these cartoons something to laugh about. This whole episode is a demonstration that freedom has limits and does not exist in a vacuum. One must be sensitive and utilize common sense especially when launching unprovoked insults, as these cartoons are. Dont complain of a response if you have attacked someone.

Kashif, I apologiz... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
I apologize if my last blog seemed to criticize you when I said, "just like Kashif". What I meant was that these people are hurling insults at you without getting their stories straight. Many blogs ago, someone wrote, "Where is the Moslem Ghandi or Martin Luther King". Well unless they are and Indian Hindu or American black, how can they make this rediculous statement. God does not judge us by what others of our religions do, but by our own deeds. This is true of any religion. None of you guys can keep on hurling insults at eachother without submitting your own personal deeds. Who really cares what happened during the crusades, the Islamic Empire in Spain or the World Trade Center for that matter accept that these are things that we should learn from and try to make a better future out of them. None of us, Christian, Jew, Moslem, Hindu or Atheist are without the mistakes AND good deeds of our forefathers. It does ABSOLUTELY no good to attack another's religios beliefs. Pointing out someone's faults does not negate their good, as does the opposite tact. When all of us, around the world can realize that it is not what others do, but what we do ourselves, then each will be held responsible. That goes for everyone. As for the Moslem convert to Christianity, Muslihoon, would you please get off your holier than thou pedestal and realize that you made a personal decision for yourself based on your own needs and preferences. Behave as your prophet Jesus would and portray Christians as loving people. Or does it suit you better to be right and everyone else is wrong!

Where can I find an image o... (Below threshold)
charles Sherman:

Where can I find an image of the cartoon with Muhammed with a bomb in his turbin? Why don't you post it?

Robin, please not at all. I... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Robin, please not at all. I had absolutely no doubt where you were coming from. And I thank you for adding something positive to this discourse.

Peace.

Robin, I am the one who pos... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Robin, I am the one who posted where is the Muslim equilivent of a Ghandi or a Dr. King. And, I hate to say it...but if you are looking at just the Race issue then, boy you are just pitiful. I am talking about the sense of the man. The man of peace in a world of violence. There is no Muslim Man of Peace. Dr. King consistently preached nonviolence. If the Palestianian thugs actually practiced non-violence instead of violence they would have already had a two state solution. Instead Arafat preached war. Hamas Preaches War. Islam preaches War from its very founding member, Muhommad who had to fled Mecca to Medina and came back to conquer Mecca. Your religion is one based on conflict, adversity and war. The wars of expansion against Persians and the Byzantines were just apart of the phase of wars. Until there is someone who embodies the spirt and character of a Ghandi or Dr. King within the Muslim community. Someone with the strength of character willing to stand up to the thugs who currently seem to be the predominate forces behind Islam I will have to continue to assume that Islam is a hostile religion that possible needs extinction.

I have been following this ... (Below threshold)
Peter:

I have been following this conversation for several hours now and am quite intruiged by the way in which Robin, Kashif and others are apparently misunderstaning the comments being made in response to theirs. It seems to me that neither Muslihoon nor SCSIwuzzy (nice tag!) are being intentionally insulting or intolerant but are in fact stating the case as they see it. If you disagree with them, fine, disagree and explain why, but don't accuse them of insulting you when they merely disagree with you.

I agree with Muslihoon and SCSIwuzzy for the most part so this may bias me a little but I don't see that Kashif has been intentionally insulting either. Condescending, yes, closed minded, yes again, but not insulting.

Robin - With regard to your earlier comment "Or does it suit you better to be right and everyone else is wrong!" (Which, by the way, is somewhat insulting in its own right.) Christianity claims that Jesus is God, Islam claims that Jesus is not God. These beliefs are mutually contradictory, if one is true the other cannot be true. So in a sense, from his perspective, Muslihoon must either believe he is right and Islam is wrong or he must water down his faith. What would you have him do? What would you have yourself do in his position?

Do I condone the cartoons? No. Do I condone the violence in response to these cartoons? No! Would Christian's respond similarly? No! We have been insulted similarly and even more so yet our protest has never risen to the level now seen in the Islamic community.

Peter: Me condescend... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Peter:
Me condescending?
Close minded?

Wow. I have tried my best to go the other route. But anyways you are welcome to your opinion. The utility of this blog for me has ended. My comments in it are on record for anyone to refer to.

However before I leave (though I might comment in brief) I would like to say:

Also with respect to Mohammad (warlike) popular Western sentiment is quite opposite to the narrative muslims are taught about him. For a man who came in to a brutish society of internecine tribal warfare, killing of girl babies, treating women as property, he brought ideas of stopping tribal divisions, giving women the right to property (1300 years prior to the western world), divorce, and contractual obligation at point of marrige, stopping the tribal customs of killing girl babies, forgiving all those who asked for forgiveness. We were taught that he even avoided stepping on insects if there were in his way. That he once did not wake a cat that was napping on his "shawl" of sorts during a cold night when someone came to see him.

Yet he was a realist, and if his people were in danger he made it obligatory for muslims not to sit on their hands but rally in just response. He defined rules of conduct of warfare that were beyond rare for those times.

Funny you mention Ghandi and King. Both contemporary figures and more a function of modern multi-culturalism than anything else.

Perhaps we should go further back to a great Western figure Winston Churchill, who said the following about your other great Ghandi figure:

"a half-naked fakir" who "ought to be laid, bound hand and foot, at the gates of Delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new viceroy seated on its back"

Finally you don't have ownership over Christ. You can make him out to be whoever you choose, but his greatness is not yours to usurp he is for all humanity. As muslims he is ours as much as he is yours. Try for a moment to understand that.

True you have made him God and we haven't and in those terms you have certainly elevated him to level we are not prepared to for our own fears to contravening something fundamental to us (oneness of God).

Finally people have in the recent responses begun throwing singualr lines of Quranic verses. Though I don't in anyway positively affirm that what has been shown above as factual. However I would like to state on record that grabbing singular lines out of context, with no preceeding lines and post lines makes such references highly dubious.

We can find incredibe lines in the Bible as well quite ill towards non-believers (Jews in particualr), not to mention the rapture and slaughter of most non-believers, but that to me as someone who was taught in Catholic schools is contravening what I have learnt to love and respect about Christianity. For me to do that would be intellectually dishonest and michieveous.

With these comments I will end my input into this BLOG. I thank Ryan and Robin for their support. I wish peace to my other Christian and non-Christian friends, and I hope they would understand and accept at the least one basic fact that is indisputeable.

The world is too small for us not figure this out. And that we need to step slightly out of our shows to see the other's viewpoint. Let us not be so self-righteous, we are at the end of the day humans.

my last para has a spelling... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

my last para has a spelling mistake.

"SHOWS" should have been shoes.

Thanks and goodbye.

Kashif (sorry if you don't ... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Kashif (sorry if you don't stick around to read this):

You said: "Finally you don't have ownership over Christ. You can make him out to be whoever you choose, but his greatness is not yours to usurp he is for all humanity. As muslims he is ours as much as he is yours. Try for a moment to understand that.

True you have made him God and we haven't and in those terms you have certainly elevated him to level we are not prepared to for our own fears to contravening something fundamental to us (oneness of God)."

In response I will say that I, nor any other Christian made Jesus out to be God; He did that Himself. It is the very reason the religious leaders of His time wanted to kill Him.

At the end of the day I remain a human, thanks be to God that through Jesus I am saved from the consequences of that reality.

My apologies, I forgot the ... (Below threshold)
Peter:

My apologies, I forgot the word "neither"

Kashif (sorry if you don't stick around to read this):

You said: "Finally you don't have ownership over Christ. You can make him out to be whoever you choose, but his greatness is not yours to usurp he is for all humanity. As muslims he is ours as much as he is yours. Try for a moment to understand that.

True you have made him God and we haven't and in those terms you have certainly elevated him to level we are not prepared to for our own fears to contravening something fundamental to us (oneness of God)."

In response I will say that neither I, nor any other Christian made Jesus out to be God; He did that Himself. It is the very reason the religious leaders of His time wanted to kill Him.

At the end of the day I remain a human, thanks be to God that through Jesus I am saved from the consequences of that reality.

Apologies, have not read ev... (Below threshold)
jclea3:

Apologies, have not read every blog in etirety, some are a bit too long. A couple of points though.

Regarding history of crusdaes etc. always open to interpretation, so fairly bollocks quoting to be honest.

For me the annoying thing, which has cropped up a few times in this thread, is the lack of real objection from the Muslim community about what is going on. I'm a non practising Catholic, however I would be severly pissed off if people in another country were bombing people and using Catholicism as a justification, in fact i'd be outraged because I'd be implicated by their completely iditoic interpretation of a religion. I don't get the same sense of outrage by the Muslim community.

Being a Brit, I also take offence to the protesters in London over these cartoons (fucking cartoons for gods sake and i don't care about what some book says it is obviously ridiculous, or am I ignorant or stupid or both!), chanting about how the bombings in July could happen again and one protester dressing up as a suicide bomber (I should have been at Euston when the bombs went off but slept in, am thankful that i drink because i had a hangover!)

You know, a couple of days ago a thousand people died when a boat sunk near Egypt due to severe safety failings and a couple of weeks before that, 400 people on a pilgrimage to Mecca were stampeded to death due to poor crowd management and the most enthralling news item is about some bloody cartoons, has perspective been lost?

Is the printing of some cartoons the most important thing in the Muslim world? Surely there are more important things to be addressed, such as proper integration with other societies and religions, which has got to be the main thing holding muslims back? I say this because the Sikh community has prospered very well in the UK.

Rant over, life is far too fucking short to let religion get in the way, I don't want to be converted and I'm not fussed about the colour of someones skin (one of the blogs referred to "brownies").

I disagree with why the cartoons were published, they were right wing papers in Scandinvia that did the deed, but I would implore anyone in their right mind to ask whether this is the most important question facing the Muslim community and if you so yes, you are talking absolute shite.

Kashif,No offense, b... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Kashif,
No offense, but you call me a liar and ask me to back up what I said.

Finally people have in the recent responses begun throwing singualr lines of Quranic verses. Though I don't in anyway positively affirm that what has been shown above as factual. However I would like to state on record that grabbing singular lines out of context, with no preceeding lines and post lines makes such references highly dubious.

Here's you chance. Prove us wrong. Tell me how I am misreading these surahs. I provided the refference, so feel free to open you copy of the Koran and tell me what I am missing. Feel free to find nasty quotes in the Bible all you like, though keep in mind that to Christians the New Testament trumps the Old, so any contradiction between the two is won by the New in their view. Once you find the nasty verses, lets see if we can find any mainstream clerics quoting it as justification for violence or threats.
You threw down a gauntlet, and now you're toddling off when it was picked up?

Personally, I took no offense (nor meant to give any) until the word liar was tossed out, and even that was a minor prick. It's common in the blog world (and before that, Usenet) for someone short on facts or in the weak posistion to resort to name calling.

Robin, at the risk of offen... (Below threshold)

Robin, at the risk of offending you, those through whom you have experienced Islam were not true Muslims. Muslims are forbidden to accept a non-Muslim as an equal. As a matter of fact, the Qur'an explicitly says that Muslims may not befriend Jews or Christians.

Many (most in fact) Muslims are lax or "moderate." But from the perspectives of Islam's classical sources, they are hypocrites at best or apostates at worst. Although proclaiming lax Muslims as infidels is going a bit too far, those who do such takfeer are not unjustified or out of bounds. (Muslim clerics early on decided not to judge a person's Muslimhood. However, this decision was made because judging a person's Muslimhood was difficult and complicated: the rule evolved out of convenience rather than doctrine.)

You say your ex-husband and ex-mother-in-law were very giving people. Was it Islam or humanity? I know many giving people who are not Muslim. One's religion as not bearing on one's level of charity.

(By the way, "zakaat" technically is not "charity." It is a tax on certain goods that Muslims are obligated to give every year. Shiites add another tax, the "khums," that is given to their "marja-e taqleed" (the expert they follow) on behalf of the Imam. If the Imam were apparent, the "khums" would go to him.)

SCSIwuzzy's posts have been excellent. I have been very impressed. Regarding quotes from the Qur'an, many Muslims use them independent of context. However, even when used in context even they retain their militant interpretation and application. For examples, see the commentaries by Daryabadi and Mawdudi. (I'd add that by Sayyid Qutb as well.) I think SCSIwuzzy's posts clearly demonstrates what, exactly, the Qur'an says regarding a number of issues that are germane.

I find it interesting Kashif did not answer my question regarding his expertise in Islam. There are many, many Muslims who are born into Islam, identify with Islam, but know little about Islam. This includes those who think they know a lot about Islam.

Another thing SCSIwuzzy did, that I admire, is that he provided direct quotes from the Qur'an. Many people, Muslim demagogues included, will say, "The Qur'an or the Hadeeth says such-and-such," when, in fact, the Qur'an/Hadeeth does not say anything like it whatsoever. Like Kashif's comment on supporting one's non-Muslim spouse.

I don't say this to attack Kashif but to warn non-Muslims what to watch for and to help Muslims realize the flaws in their arguments.

Kashif, I am al... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
I am alarmed by your signing off of this conversation because you have made so darn many good arguements. Your history is correct and your approach has been dignified.
For the rest of you people, in particular Muslihoon, HOW DARE you say that I was not married into a "True Moslem" family. Just so you get your facts correct, Saudi law is based ABSOLUTELY 100% on Sharia law (for those of you non-Moslems, this is the accompaning law equivalent to the Koran). It is stated in the Koran that a Moslem male may marry a Christian or Jewish woman. Why is this? Because Moslems believe that all three religions are "of the book".
Again for all you non Moslems, they believe first came the Old Testament (which is followed by the Judaic faith) then came the New Testament (which is accepted by the Christians, but not the Jews) and that God's last revelation came through Mohammed in the Koran (accepted neither by Jews or Christians). In order to accept the Koran, Moslems
MUST accept all prophets who came before.) Since my ex-husband and I had to receive special permission from the Saudi government to be married, not because I was a Christian, but because I was a Non-Saudi, are you suggesting that the religious counsel granted us special permission outside the law of the Koran? Sorry but this was definitely not the case. Are you suggesting that the religious HOME to Islam is doing something wrong when granting permission to hundreds of foreign women who marry Saudi nationals. Sorry everyone, but Muslihoon has one Hell of a big chip on his shoulder after ridding himself of his Islaminc shackles in order to become a Christian.
As to the person who wrote that I am defending my faith of Islam, I am NOT a Moslem. I am a practicing Catholic who has an open mind and respect for the right of others to worship their God in whatever means they find meaningful. My own priest said to a large group that he could personally not find it possible that people of other religions will not reach heaven because they don't follow Christianity but are good and kind people. But I guess he was either watering down his own faith or maybe just believing in a benevolent god who is much more loving to humans than most humans are to eachother.
Muslihoon, you really need to stop misinforming people about your former faith. This is not to say that you did not suffer some way and that is why you converted. But it certainly is unbecoming of you to try to tell Kashif what to believe and you cannot possibly go to the extent of telling me I was not married to a "true Moslem". That's just Bullcrap and you know it.
As for someone else saying that I was only looking at the racist issue of Ghandi or MLK, the point I was making is that unless you are going out there and doing something about making peace in the world yourselves, this was a rediculous statement. I certainly do not claim to be a world renown peacemaker, and you cannot claim these two men as your own or as an example to use against the Arabs. There are many moderates in the Arab World but the problem is simply too huge and has infiltrated too many generations for any one man to step forward and solve the issues.
Kashif, once again, I really do hope you at least read here that people are continuing this conversation. I for one am VERY SORRY to see you say "Maasalama". You have been the reason I signed on in the first place and I hate to see you go Remember that this whole thing started with a cartoon and the title of this Blog "F--em if they cannot take a joke". I have seen you painstakingly try to explain the other side to this story and I am sure you have not spent the rest of your time rioting in the streets. For everyone else, Kashif really is the voice of moderation but you should take the time to listen, maybe share a shisha with him and get to know a little bit about another culture.

Another note to all before ... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Another note to all before you jump to conclusions:
In addition to the above information I wish to add that My ex and I were married in a Moslem ceremony (kaatbiktab-sic) Is Mulihoon suggesting that I got hold of a wishy-washy imam in Saudi Arabia, the HOME to radical Islam and Wahabiism?
I don't think so. His facts are just not true. A Moslem male MAY marry a woman of the Christian or Jewish faith.
As for my own Catholocism, I became a Catholic three years ago. For many years, my first 48 to be precise, I struggled with making a commitment to a religion. While my daughter was raised by myself here in the United States with frequent visits back and forth, I could not commit to ANY religion which would condemn her father's. It was while becoming a Catholic that my priest made the above statement. As for the rest of you, you are all completely entitled to your own beliefs.
Yes, Jesus belongs to Moslems also. The fact that they do not see him as God incarnate is of no threat to me as it should not be to you. Muslihoon does not have to water down his Christian beliefs in order to respect others. That is the whole problem here as I see it. No where in Kashif's comments did he suggest that his religion is the only correct path to God. If this is all religion is good for is a fight then I suggest it's very essence is self-destructive. Get a grip here people, there are plenty of people on this earth who believe in different ways and not any one of them is RIGHT, they are just entitled to their beliefs without condemnation or twisting of their faith practices.

Robin:Actually, ye... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Robin:

Actually, yes, any Christian who allows any postion other than that Jesus is God is indeed watering down his or her faith. If Jesus is not God there is no foundation at all for Christianity. If I accept Muslim teaching that Jesus was a prophet but is not God then I am no longer a Christian since I deny the essential truth of the Christian faith. If Jesus is not God He has no power to save. Since Jesus is God He alone has power to save.

Conflicting opinions do not indicate that none can be true, merely that all but one is false.

Getting back to the issue: If Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, as many have proclaimed since 9/11, why then are people dying over cartoons? Where is peace? Where is tolerance?

Actually, it is Catholic do... (Below threshold)

Actually, it is Catholic doctrine that non-Catholics that lead a good life go to heaven. Being a Catholic (following the rules, not just claiming membership, which certain American priests and Archbishops have done a poor example of, IMO) makes things a bit easier, in that if you are good Catholic, chances are you followed the teachings of Jesus.
For Muslims accepting Jesus... they accept him very differently than Christians. They do not recognize him as the son of God, which is a very big difference. The idea that Jesus will come back in a wrathful manner (which many readings of the Koran and hadiths suggest) is also a departure from much of Christian thought.

Hi Robin thanks for the res... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Hi Robin thanks for the response.

I certainly am not shying away from any good discussion. But I can quickly get a sense when people are too entrenched in their views, so much so that they see everything outside of those views as dark, and themselves as pure (often purely on the basis that they are absolved of their sins, hence can judge others). Such people and their views are scary, and historically they are often the most manipulted of all people, used and abused by politicians and religious types. I feel sorry for them.

Most importantly some of the writers here began throwing Quranic verses, as I said out of context and with all the intentions of type-casting Islam and Muslims, nothing more. I am not an evangelist and cannot do a good job of evangelizing. In fact I made a half effort attempt to find my own Quran and could not find it in the house. Ouch.

Therefore what I propose doing is to take sayings of the prophet and put them here countering every item (numerically) everytime mentioned to typecast the Prophet or Islam. Initially I had thought I would find objectionable verses in the Bible, but then the better sense got into me. Why should I denegrate even in pure academic terms a holy scripture like the Bible. My earlier intentions to show biblical references was only to make the argument that all religious texts have items in them that can be construed as objectionable. The Bible is no exception. What is important is that we take those parts from the Bible, Torah and the Quran that bring us together, not push us further apart.

With respect to the Quran one important point I would like the readers to be aware of. The Quran was revealed in stages during the Prophet's life. Whether you believe in it or not, do please realize this, that when Muslims read the Quran they attempt to understand the context of every Surah, and there is often a story behind a Surah. Hence when you have a verse that says things like "Fight" or something we might consider insensitive given our contemporary sensibilities we should realize that the Surah was addressing a particular issue of that time and imploring the early Muslims on how they should react to a given moment in their lives 1400 years ago. Let us not read it with the lenses of a contemporary New Yorker sipping their Caramel Macciatto at Starbucks.

Islam is no different than Christianity or Judiasm in historical terms. The early points of their genesis were difficult moments for those religions and the adherents to them. The Jews faced persecution of incredible proportions from the Egyptians and had to flee into exile in order to survive and protect their scripture. The Christians lost their Prophet who was cruxcified brutally, and though Chritianity has romantizied that act as a fundamental component to salvation, from a purely academic and historical perspective it follows a similar line of early year persecutions of religions in their moments of genesis. The Muslims were no different, the early muslims were murdered, lost their belongings, forced into exile, and even had wars initially waged against them. Hence the Quran offered through (to the early muslim) devine guidance how they should react in those moments in order to survive. If you don't understand this, you don't understand a fundamental aspect of Islam and that the Quran is structured in that way and why it talks to issues of War and Jihad (minimal) among a whole slew of other issues.

Anyways putting that aside here are the first 10 sayings of the Prophet that I will put here for people to read and type-cast this Prophet of Islam:

"The love of the world is the root of all evil.i>"

This saying stemmed from the disparity the Prophet saw between the rich and the poor. It was the love of worldly goods that made the rich callous to the poverty amongst them.

"Women are the twin halves of men."

These words were spoken 1400 years ago in a society that came from tribal rituals of female infanticide. Hence hopefully you can see the incredible power in these words. Such concepts were not even openly accepted in the non-muslim world till contemporary years.

He is not of me who, when he speaketh, speaketh falsely; who, when he promiseth, breaketh his promises; and who, when trust is reposed in him, faileth in his trust.

This one is for Peter, who attempted to allude to the blogers here that Muslims can lie to "unbelievers", hence people on this BLOG should worry about my words if they sound too good.

The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.

I put the above because so many people love to gibe at the concept of Jihad. Well folks hate to burst your bubble on that one.

Verily God hath one hundred loving kindnesses; one of which he hath sent down amongst man, quadrupeds, and every moving thing upon the face of the earth: by it they are kind to each other, and forgive one another; and by it the animals of the wilds are kind to their young; and God hath reserved ninety-nine loving kindnesses by which he will be gracious to His creatures on the last day.

One of my favorites on animals.

No person hath drunk a better draught than that of anger which he hath swallowed for God's sake.

An excellent saying of the Prophet above giving the current happening vis-a-vis the cartoons.

When the bier of anyone passeth by thee, whether Jew, Christian or Muslim, rise to thy feet.

His sayings on the respect we must give to other religions.

To spend more time in learning is better than spending more time praying; the support of religion is abstinence. It is better to teach knowledge one hour in the night than to pray all night.

His words on education and knowledge.

Riches are not from and abundance of wordly goods but from a contented mind.

On riches and wealth.

He is the most perfect Muslim whose disposition is best; and the best of you are they who behave best to their wives.

A finally on the topic of women, another great contemporary western myth o nhow Islam treats women (wives).

Hope I have added some postiveness to this discourse. Again I apologize if I have offended anyone. Those are not my intentions. And I hope Muslihoon and Peter forgive me if I have been too caustic or rude.

Kashif:A few comme... (Below threshold)
peter:

Kashif:

A few comments on your post of 2/7/6 - 7:44

I certainly am not shying away from any good discussion. But I can quickly get a sense when people are too entrenched in their views.

Compare this to:

The Christians lost their Prophet who was cruxcified brutally, and though Chritianity has romantizied that act as a fundamental component to salvation.

Apparently I am not alone in being entrenched in my view. Christians did not romanticize Jesus' death, were in fact surprised by it and were equally surprised by His return to life. Discount the eyewitness accounts as you wish but follow that road too far and even Ceasar ceases to be real.

This one is for Peter, who attempted to allude to the blogers here that Muslims can lie to "unbelievers", hence people on this BLOG should worry about my words if they sound too good.

If you will review this blog you will see that I never said anything about Muslims being allowed to lie to "unbelievers." I hope that you exercise greater care in your quotations from Quaran than you do in your quotations from this blog.

One final note, on this post, if Mohammed was correct in claiming that Jesus is not God then we who place our faith in Him are sorely deceived for we believe what He said of Himself: "I and the Father are one." If He and the Father are not one then He is not God. If He is not God then He lied in all He said and is the worst kind of evil.

The following will attempt ... (Below threshold)
Robin:

The following will attempt to address several of the beforementioned comments.

Robert: I read back to one of your inflamatory comments which postured "Perhaps Islam is a religion that needs extinction". Wow!! that's quite a statement. WWJD? (What would Jesus do?)
That sounds pretty much like what the radical Islamists are suggesting. Imagine yourself a martian looking down on earth (just for the sake of an intellectual look at this crazy arguement).
What would you think of that comment? Better yet, try to imagine what God, ANY god, would say about that? Might he say, "YEH! someone's finally listening to me and is going to destroy all those who worship me in a different manner?" Or would he say as he does in the Christian Bible,
"Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord"? If God is going to get them all in the end anyway for not believing the way Christians do, then we have nothing to worry about except to wait for the day of judgement.

Peter: Kashif is not willing to point out verses in the Bible that contradict your sightings. I very much respect him for that because he is showing respect for your beliefs. But again, for the sake of an intellectual arguement I quote you:
People didn't say Jesus was God, he did". Without challenging your beliefs, can you explain to me(who happens to not agree with your interpretation) why Jesus for his entire life prayed to his father, God, if he was God? Without insulting you this pretty much sounds like a contradiction. Even the Catholic faith, the largest of all Christians denominations does not claim Christ to be God but a part of a trinity. Maybe they got it all wrong though and we better repent of our delusions.

To all of those who claim Islam as a violent religion: Just for the sake of another intelectual conversation, have any of you seen the movie "The New World"? It is the story of Pocahontas. Remember the story, the English came here to settle Jamestown and found themselves starving to death. It was Pocahontas who befriended (and fell in love with) John Smith. She brought them food so they didn't die of starvation. Maybe she wasn't a "REAL INDIAN". (this arguement goes to Muslihoon) Perhaps the story ended many years later in the sad saga of the reservation system and the demonzing of the "savage Indian". But that does not negate the fact that Pocahontas WAS a "real Indian" and that her sense of humanity was what saved the settlers of Jamestown.

Kashif: I am so glad you did not stick with "Maasalama" and you are back. I really feel you are making an absolutely logical and dignified arguement. You are the embodiment of the Moslem moderate approach to solving this worldwide insanity which is boiling down to a Holy War on all sides. This scares the HELL out of me too. It is just so COMPLICATED and it cannot come down to "Your God VS MY God".

FOR ALL: There are voices of moderation and respect out there. I personally would rather take the teachings of Jesus to promote peace rather that admonishing others for not believing exactly as I do. As I see it, so would all those (and there are plenty of them) moderate Moslems.
Hey all you Christians, DON"T SHOOT POCAHONTAS!

Kashif:Just to rei... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Kashif:

Just to reiterate that I am not trying to insult you when I say:

If you will review this blog you will see that I never said anything about Muslims being allowed to lie to "unbelievers." I hope that you exercise greater care in your quotations from Quaran than you do in your quotations from this blog.

But you are basing your life on your understanding of Christianity, Islam, etc. and a decision of that importance must be carefully made.

(Add to the above) Don't t... (Below threshold)
Robin:

(Add to the above) Don't try to put her people on a reservation or turn them into Christians either. They were doing just fine before you came along and stole their land. (Please compare this to our multinationals taking the Arabs primary resource, oil, and then insisting on them
adopting all of our ways) RESPECT,RESPECT,RESPECT is all the moderate Moslems are asking for.

(Add to the above) Don't t... (Below threshold)
Robin:

(Add to the above) Don't try to put her people on a reservation or turn them into Christians either. They were doing just fine before you came along and stole their land. (Please compare this to our multinationals taking the Arabs primary resource, oil, and then insisting on them
adopting all of our ways) RESPECT,RESPECT,RESPECT is all the moderate Moslems are asking for.

Peter sincere apologizes. I... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Peter sincere apologizes. It wasn't you who alluded to Muslim's being permitted to lie. It was SCSCIWuzzy. He wrote:

Then again, there is a certain encouragement and approval in the Koran regarding lying to the infidels...

I should have found exactly who stated this, though I was certain someone did and erroneously defaulted to you since you and I have been going back and forth.

Again Peter (with respect to my quotes on Christ) you took my words out of context. When I was stating that Christian's too lost their Prophet brutally, and romantisized that, I was making an academic analogy of the commonality of religions in their early years being persecuted. Please read my words in the context they are. You have a habbit of parsing words to suit your views.

I am sure you are not aware that in Islam, Jesus was born to a Virgin Mary, and also that in Islam Jesus did not die on the cross either. He was already ascended to the heavens by God before he was cruxified.

Finally I acknowledge that there is a possiblity (given my academic mind never accepting anything as 100% assured or disproved) that Christ was son of God, or God or part of God. However I don't prescribe to that, only because in Islam the unity of God (afterall we are a monotheistic religion) in line with Abrahamic teachings, is the number one most important component. It is called the "Shahadah". And it means that "I bear witness that there is ONE God". Infact this is the simple line one must state when converting, "I bear that there is one God, and that the Muhammad PBUH, is His Prophet."

It is also important to note that there are more surah's about Mary in the Quran than there are in the Bible.

And finally Islamic scholars and Quran and the Prophet stated that the teachings of the Prophet Jesus, were changed and modified by different groups within Christianity. It was based upon this dilution, modifications by man that resulted in the revelation of the Quran as the final word of God. Infact people asked the Prophet once that how come as a prophet you do not have powers of Miracle like Moses and Jesus before you. He simply stated that my miracle is the Quran. The word of God that shall never change for enternity. Which is why today the same book that was revealed to the Prophet exists to this day without the slightest bit of modification in over 1400 years.

Now I don't want to disparage anything, but I find it ironic that purely on the basis of historical accuracy you cannot acknowledge that the Bible's of today were put together hundreds of years after Christ, and that many texts that were ancient were removed simply because they did not suit the political aspects and aspriations of the church of that time, or more importantly might have questioned certain fundamental indoctrinations of the Church. If you want to be historically accurate you cannot deny that. There are NO WORDS of Christ that survived his time. There are people who prescribe what he had said and these people came years after Christ had departed from the world and themselves had never met him (there are no records of writings from early Christians - however later stories about Christ starting emerging that form the basis of the New Testament). Christianity and Christ for the Romans themselves were small bumbs in their historical record. Infact Romans were known for their record keeping yet to-date there is no record that Christ ever existed. NOTE I AM NOT DENYING CHRIST. I CAN NEVER DO THAT. All I am saying is that if records were so paultry in those days pertaining Christ and his teachings (even with some of the best record keepers in our history), how can we be certain that the words prescribed to him as a the SON OF god, were actually his, and not an inclusion by those who came years after his departure. This is the fundamental break between Islam and Christianity, the uncertainty of the word, and this is the reason why Quran was revealed and the word in it protected for all times with no changes or dilution or modification.

BTW here were the prophet's words:

Do not exceed bounds in praising me, as the Christians do in praising Jesus, the son of Mary, by calling Him God, and the Son of God; I am only the Lord's servant; then call me the servant of God and His messenger.

Finally I raise these issues only because I think it is wrong to prescribe to the rigidity of certainity. There is much that questions me and makes me wonder about Islam (and when it does I attempt to find an answer) and for that matter all religions. More importantly I am very skeptical of people who use religion and state it like fact, when it is a personal issue of faith.

The reason why I prescribe to Islam is that it allows me to be personally attached to my God. I don't need a church, I don't need tradition, I don't need a priest or a rabbi or a mullah. I can read the Quran myself, make my judgements on the meaning and lead my life through it, if I choose. As a muslim I shall be held accountable for my actions by God. I cannot absolve or be absolved on the basis of someone's elses sacrifice. If I err, or show pride, or feel self-righteous, or supress, or hurt, or do anything that doesn't become of a humane human, I loose out in the end as a muslim.

That is how I will be judged, and you know I feel very comfortable about it.

It is the ultimate MERITOCRACY. You are who you are and you will be judged for how you tread on this earth.

I leave you with the beautiful words of the Prophet:

Deal gently with the people, and be not harsh; cheer them and condemn them not. Ye will meet with many 'people of the Book' who will question thee, what is the key to Heaven? Reply to them (the key to Heaven) to testify to the truth of God, and to do good work.

Peter: One final t... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Peter:

One final thing. I think your beliefs are beautiful. I respect them and admire your faith.
You know the first holy book I read as a Child was not the Quran it was the Bible. I attended Catholic school, and funny thing is that I never read it as someone elses religion. I read it as mine and would go through with it and its illustrations with my parents. Only thing was that every time I read the English names like Samson, Jesus, Jacob, etc., by parents would just "yes that is Shamoon, Isah, Yacub". And yes this in an Islamic country.

I will never judge you for your faith. There is one simple reason, I cannot as a muslim. I can internalize that you might be wrong on some aspects. But I cannot condemn you in my mind to HELL or anything like that. That condemnation is reserved for GOD, and for fear of encroaching on his domain I shall never go that route.

Additionally as an academic I won't do this either, cuz I am a skeptic. I never prescribe to absolutes. WHAT IF I AM WRONG?

In the end how we live together as co-inhabitants on this earth is how we judge each others actions here on earth.

As a human I will respect you, love you and care for you when in need.

However when there is injustice we must at the minimum feel sorrow in our hearts and minds. That is part of all our faiths be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim.

If we are stronger in faith then we can perhaps speak out against the injustices.

And finally those with the strongests of faiths should act out in means, just and appropriate to end injustice.

Hope you understand.

Kashif: As I said in an ear... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Kashif: As I said in an earlier post, a conflict of opinions does not negate all of them just most of them. Restricting the discussion to Christianity and Islam there is a conflict of opinion. Christians believe that Jesus is God, Muslims do not. Both cannot be correct, Either the Christian is wrong or the Muslim is wrong. If Jesus is God He cannot be not-God. If Jesus is not God He cannot be God.

As far as absolutism is concerned, at some point each of us must be certain enough of our faith that we will be willing to "bet our lives" on our faith. If we cannot, or do not, what is the purpose of that faith? If we cannot, or will not, stand on it why own it? If we are unwilling to say "This is true, all else is false!" why have a faith at all?

^Thanks for all the good po... (Below threshold)
Gary:

^Thanks for all the good posts, especially the lengthy ones.
They have all made me think, To bad you aren't the leaders of your faiths.
This would be a great world

Peter I maybe wrong but I s... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Peter I maybe wrong but I see what you are doing. We both are looking at the same thing, with one view "glass have empty" while the other is "glass half full".

In your case since it is half empty you won't drink it.

Look folks I maybe dead wrong on this, but as a student of history I sort of understand why institutionalized Christianity must segregate its "flock" in order to survive. And what better way to kill a conversation than by saying things like as in Peter's own words:

If we are unwilling to say "This is true, all else is false!" why have a faith at all?, around the premise of Christ as son of God.

Though in Islam too it says Quran is the final word of God, it is not subject to much institutional manevouring. This is critical. No Mullah can get up tomorrow and say Christians will go to hell. They can say it, but the majority of Muslims will laugh that off or disregard it, simple because we can go directly to the Quran and see that is not the case. Or they can see the woman or man right next to them who they have married as being the Christian or Jew.

So I believe very strongly that by putting this litmus test that one (Muslim) needs to believe that Christ was the Son of god, for any chance of redemption, the institution of Church (which in 300AD was an incredibly political organization with economic interests) did a phenomenal job at killing any cross-religion dialgoue and essentially freezing out the non-muslims and freezing in for that matter their cherished followers, which I think might have been a more important component of this act.

Further more they made it into a central tenant. Since only through the acceptance of this son/god relationship and the subsequent sacrifice to absolve of all our sins can we get to Heaven and redemption. So that is what I call a double lock.

This was important since 99.9999% of christianity has nothing to do with this. 99.9999% of Christianity has a message of hope, love, tolerance, peace and justice for the oppressed. So today we religate that 99.9999% of Christianity to the sidelines, and embrace the 0.0001% as evident in this dialogue.

I beg to differ on this. For me the 99.9999% of Chrisitanity and its message is more important that the 0.0001%. The reason why it is important is because that 99.9999% of Christianity reaffirms my own religion Islam. You might find this difficult to undertstand. I see Christianity and Judiasm in Islam, and then I see how Islam as a religion (respects the other two), I also see the commonality of the message, I also see the commonality of the spirit (protect your weakest from oppression). Those elements are what make us into better humans, better Muslims, better Christians and better Jews. Not whether we believe a man was a son to god, and god sacrificed him to absolve us of the original sin, and only through the acceptance of this cruxifiction within this premise of its being, can we be guaranteed ascesion to heaven. Maybe I am just abtuse.

BTW I am sure you realize Peter that you follow what is known as the Nicene creed that started 325AD. Imagine that over 3 centuries after Christ. It thereafter put in amendments in 381AD and added terms like "son of god", and thereby reaffirmed the creed and stated no further changes could be made. The original creed of 325 only referred to "we believe in the holy spirit".

So I hope you understand where we come from in our judgement.

Again as always I hope you realize that I am in no way disparaging your faith. I hope by my words you can understand how Muslims accept theirs (not how we look at yours), and in our own ways re-affirm those elements of Christianity that we feel are central to the message of our Prophet Jesus.

Kashif:Yes, presen... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Kashif:

Yes, present circumstances do indicate that Christianity, Judaism and Islam lead their adherents to become better humans: More loving, tolerant and peaceful. Unfortunately that merely makes one a better person than before, not necessarily a saved one. You mentioned meritocracy earlier and it is very true that members of all three faiths are encouraged to do good works. The Jew and the Christian, however, realize that these good works are the outcome of one's faith, not the substance. It is by faith in Jesus that I am saved, the good works are ancillary.

I do know of the Nicene creed, the Apostle's creed and a host of others and agree that these were formulated centuries after Jesus' death and resurrection. They did not invent or insert any new thought but were simply forumlations of doctrine that had existed since Jesus' time. He Himself referred to Himself as the Son of God, this was not an invention of His followers hundreds of years after the fact. The Bible was essentially complete within the lifetimes of those who witnessed Jesus' ministry, the creeds add nothing to the Bible and do not dispute it.

Hi!Kashif and Peter,... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Hi!Kashif and Peter,
Please excuse me for interupting in this discourse because I do not intend to take away anything at all from what I see as a sincere discussion between two individuals.
Kashif: I have read over and over your last response to Peter. It is without a doubt, the most eloquent response to any Christian arguement that I have ever seen. I too am a skeptic and as I said earlier, took many years to come to the conclusion that it was the time in my life to take a "leap of faith". It was through my two years of RCIA (the Catholic classes one must take in order to convert) that I became aware of much of what you pointed out in your last response to Peter. Yes for all of you reading, there is NO historical record of Jesus, only an account made by followers many years after his death. Those words in the Gospel are words attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, not actually written by any first generation apostles. And yes, there is STILL controversy over which books were accepted in the final compelation of the Bible. This DOES leave many openings for error on what now fundamentalist Christians accept as fact. Christianity though as you know, and state quite rightly is a "Faith" and not a fact. This is why I was able to become a Catholic and still be able to question. It is really amazing that you were educated in Catholic schools as a Moslem but this does not surprise me knowing your faith from first hand experience as I do. Like every single Moslem that I have ever known, you show respect for Christianity but question their worship of Jesus. Maybe I'm a "Cafeteria Catholic" or maybe just too respectful of other possibilities out there to think that I must be right and everyone who denies Christ's divinity is going to burn in Hell. Just so Peter knows, the Jewish faith also has the same problem with worshiping anyone but the one true God. They just go one step further and call him a false messiah and don't accept a SINGLE word he said.
In order to earn respect, one must first give it.
In my eyes the Moslems have given their due respect but they are more than deserving of respect in return. (Just a note, my EX just called as he often does and I told him about this BLOG. We are still very good friends and have a respect/love for each other born out of years of listening to one another with open hearts.)
Peter: with all due respect for you, Kashif is not asking you to accept his point of view and therefore Christianity is a sham. He (as well as I ) is pointing out that there are many different faiths in this world and that in the end we are all judged by the same God. The Christian God is not just the God of Christians, he is also the God of the Jewish faith and the Moslems. We have a whole lot more in common than say a Buddhist and a Christian (no disparage to Buddhists intended because your faith is also one of peace).
I would just like to know what your solution to Christians and Moslems getting along in this world is. If it's that they should accept Jesus as God, I hate to inform you but that AINT going to happen. If on the other hand, you are willing to sit down as all moderate Moslems are and show mutual respect and build upon your commonalities rather than hold onto your insistance on agreement, there really is no solution. I really don't think Jesus would want anyone to force him down another's throat. He did not come to us to teach intolerance, but rather to teach kindness, humility and acceptance of each other as his children. Without trying to argue Kashif's arguement for him (with ALL respect to Kashif),
I believe this is the crux of what he is trying to get across.

Kashif:I forgot to... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Kashif:

I forgot to mention in my last post that your comment (modified slightly):

We believe the man Jesus to be the Son of God, and God sacrificed Him to absolve us of our sin, and only through the acceptance of this sacrifice within this premise of its being, can we be guaranteed entry into heaven.

is about as nice a summary of the essence of the Christian faith as I have seen. It is exactly this that I believe. If it can be proved that Jesus is not God but was merely man the power of that sacrifice will be destroyed and all hope of my salvation is lost. This is why this matter is of such critical importance.

I hope my modifications are satisfactory.

Robin:He also came... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Robin:

He also came to show us how to be saved:

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Peter and John (followers of Jesus) say:

Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

I am not a hater of anyone of another faith but when it is claimed that the One I revere as my God is not God then I must take exception. Just as many Muslims around the world are currently taking exception to some cartoons denigrating their faith, although not so violently. I am trying to be respectful and hope that I am coming across that way, but I will emphatically stand firm on what I know to be true.

Peter and Kashif; ... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter and Kashif;
I just read your blogs that you wrote while I was writing my last discourse. As Kashif well states, Christianity and Islam have 99.99% in common. All of Christ's teachings agree with Mohammeds teachings. All you Peter are INSISTING upon is an adherance that Jesus is God. You never did answer my question "How did Jesus pray to God his father all his life if he IS God" Let me add another question: Jesus told his followers to come to his father THROUGH him. Why didn't he just say "I am God"? Excuse me, but PLEASE show me the passage where he said this and PLEASE don't give me that "I am one with my father" line. I am "One" with many whom I agree with but that does NOT make us the same body. And once again, I ask this question out of sincere respect and waiting for a response. As a little tweek to this discourse, Peter would you please state your exact religious affiliation here so that we all know where you are coming from.

Robin :)All I can ... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Robin :)

All I can say...and you were worried why I left the BLOG.

Folks I think much has been said on this BLOG and it should come to an end.

I just hope at the least people can see a little inside a Muslim from this BLOG, and understand that single line explanations and sound bites may be practical to consume in our busy contemporary lives, but are often antithetical to truth.

And till we empower ourselves with knowledge from a skeptics perspective we shall remain the enslaved.

I will leave you all with my favorite words of our Prophet (PBUH):

Acquire knowledge. It enables its possessor to distinguish right from wrong; it lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our society in solitude, our companion when friendlss; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is an ornament among friends and an armor against enemies.
Muhammad (PBUH) (A.D. 570--632)

Kashif, Yesterd... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
Yesterday when I thought you left I tried an internet search for you. NO I am NOT a stalker. Just very enthralled with your arguements. I hope I have not offended you in ANY way at all. It is just so very rare that I get to express myself in this arena as it has been a very long time (1980) since I left Saudi Arabia. This is the first time that I have ever participated in a BLOG and I must say, it has been very fulfilling.
I have the utmost respect for you and your beliefs and in my lifetime have experienced much joy from my experience with those of the Moslem faith. Maybe you are right to go, but I hope from the bottom of my heart that you continue to express your opinions on this subject to all who you encounter. Someone made the comment a few comments ago that they appreciated the banter. I hope I did not become too arguementative for you. Sometimes I get very defensive when Moslems are attacked, no I'll admit I ALWAYS get defensive. But for everyone out there who has been following, I too hope that you can go back over Kashif's comments and learn something from them, mainly that he wishes you peace. He has shown all of you what a Moslem believes, a true Moslem, not the radical Moslem that makes for a good mockery.
On that note Kashif, since I have never done this before, I don't know what the etiquette is so I'll just put it out there. If you would like to contact me away from this BLOG my address is
[email protected] If you don't, I completely understand. With that, unless anything catches my eye, I'll sign off too. May OUR Lord bless us and may you go in Peace.

Robin:I hope you'r... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Robin:

I hope you're around long enough to read the following response to your last post.

You asked for specific occasions where Jesus acknowledged Himself to be God, here are a few selections. There are many, many more but I hope that these will do for a start.

Jesus on trial before the Jewish council prior to His crucifixion:

Luke 22:66-71 - 66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 "If you are the Christ," they said, "tell us." Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God." 70 They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am." 71 Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips."

Jesus, confronted by demons He was casting out of people, did not deny their proclamation of His being God:

Luke 4:41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

Jesus, subsequent to His resurrection, accepts worshihp from His followers, amidst a Jewish community of faith that allowed worship of God alone:

John 20:26-29 - 26 ¶ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Jesus equates Himself to God and tells His disciples to trust in Him as they trust in God:

John 14:1-6 - 1 ¶ "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

John, the beloved disciple, proclaims Jesus to be the Word, the creator of all:

John 1:1-14 - 1 ¶ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 ¶ And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

I would like to make one fu... (Below threshold)
Peter:

I would like to make one further post here to put out a question that has been nagging me since the Muslim protest over these cartoons reached epidemic proportions:

I have read elsewhere that the Muslime faith believes Jesus to be a great prophet, a lesser prophet than Mohammed but great none the less. I have also read that the current protest is a protest against potential idolatry that could be caused by the depiction of Mohammed in any form and that Muslims take very seriously the potential idolatry resulting from any depiction of any of their prophets.

My question then is this: Why have Muslims not risen in protest over the multitude of derogatory images of Jesus Christ in western culture or any of the other portrayals of the greatest prophet in Islam after Mohammed? Why do only portrayals of Mohammed result in such outrage?

Peter, I must ad... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter,
I must admit that I am only checking this blog to see if by chance Kashif checks in. A simple answer to your question might be that they respect our right to worship as we please. Get it! These cartoon were simply inflamatory. Unfortunatly the Radical Moslems around the world bit the bait. Just so you know, I as a rational and sane person do not promote violence for any reason. Read a many blogs ago, someone said the Moslem world has not produced a Ghandi or Martin Luther King. Well here's a thought: "Would Ghandi OR MLK or any man (or woman) of peace for that matter use a method such as these cartoons to make a peaceful point?"
Now to address your Biblical citings
1) First Luke citing:" Are you the SON of God...you are saying I am" Please show me any dictionary definition which says SON=FATHER. Or for that matter, are you Peter or are you your father?
2)Second Luke passage: DITTO to the above.
3)John: "My Lord AND MY GOD" This was Jesus praying to his father. Why did he have to pray to someone else if he WAS that someone else?
4)Second John quote: "Trust in God, trust ALSO in me" Either he was using some really tricky language here or he was asking us in plain English to trust in God AND him. Remember, as a fundamentalist Christian, you absolutely must take the Bible at it's word.
5)You quote"No one comes to the father except THROUH me. Well, maybe I've got it all wrong but I don't here him saying "just pray to me and that's fine" No, he is saying to go THROUGH him to reach the father.
6)"He was in the beginning WITH God" how can you be "with" someone yet be that someone?
7)How can a "begotten" be the same as the father. Granted, I think we both believe Jesus was begotten of the father, I just don't see the logic in creating a Son and that Son being yourself
Peter I really DO respect your right to your "truth" but for GOSH sakes don't you understand that if you had been born a Moslem you would be arguing Kashif's arguement for him. You want everyone to play by your rules, The only problem is that you want others to admit they are wrong and you are right. I truly hope this is not the way you conduct all of your personal relationships. In this case the stakes are WAY higher, because without acceptance and respect for other's deepest felt convictions, this world is going to go to Hell in a handbasket.
And PLEASE, answer my question as to your religious affiliation. Kashif put himself out there as a Moslem, I put myself out there as a Catholic, the ball is in your court
Note to Kashif: Just in case you're still reading, just not participating. yes I totally feel your frustraion.

Peter, I would lik... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter,
I would like to add to the above response to you that I am REALLY surprised you did not quote the most famous Bible quote of all, "For God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall have everlasting life" Who came to mankind? Jesus.
Who was he? The SON of God. Risking the chance of blasphemy, why doesn't the passage read, "For God so loved the world that he turned himself into his son and came to mankind". It does not say any such thing.

Robin:Well, since ... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Robin:

Well, since you ask, I am a devout Christian, as you have already acknowledged.

You seem to be requesting my specific denomination but that is irrelevant to the point of whether or not Jesus is God. I am a Christian who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, which, as every Jew of His day understood, equated Him with God (as this was the very idea that the Jewish leaders used to substantiate their charge of heresy).

You seem to be missing the foundational point of the Trinity: The three-in-oneness of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is echoed in an other passage that I did not quote:

Matthew 29:18-20 - 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Jesus is here emphasizing that His disciples are to baptize in the name of each individual member of the Trinity. He is telling them to baptize believers in God the Father's name, in the Holy Spirit's name and in His own name and is emphatically announcing Himself as equal them.

You also say with respect to myself that "you want others to admit they are wrong and you are right" but aren't you doing the same to me? You ask me to defend my belief that Jesus is God, which is clearly antagonistic to the Muslim belief that Jesus is not the Son of God but merely a prophet inferior to your own. So you believe, from my perspective, that my Jesus is a false prophet while I believe, from your perspective, that your Mohammed is a false prophet. Why are you allowed to say that I am wrong yet I cannot say that you are wrong? Isn't this what tolerance is all about?

Does tolerance enable me to have free and open discussion with members of an other faith group without resorting to name-calling and violence or does tolerance demand that I agree with all faith groups regardless of my own beliefs? If this last is tolerance then I'm in big trouble for I cannot agree with any belief that runs counter to the truth.

This world is not going to hell because you and I disagree with each other. It is going to hell because of man's rebellion against God. Jesus came to show the way out of that rebellion and back to the presence of God. Those who cannot accept this remain with the world. These are not my words but Jesus' own. He said this at the same time as He said the words of the passage you quoted earlier which I quote here in context:

John 3:13-20 - 13 "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

I hope this puts to rest your concerns about where I stand.

Peter (and Kashif if you ar... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter (and Kashif if you are reading),
For the last couple of hours my conscience has gotten the better of me and I really regret arguing with you. I regret it because I am negating my own value of allowing others to believe as they wish without interferance. I also reget getting baited, because the mere fact that I like a good debate should not have sucked me into a debate over which view of Christ is right or wrong. So rather than discussing the details of our differences, I will return to my basic value of respecting other's basic God-given instinct to seek him and the different manners in which that search can be fulfilled. Maybe though Peter you can see that even within OUR own faith of Christianity there is much disagreement.
I apologize for trying to point out what I PERSONALLY disagree with and will leave you alone. I think Kashif's quote "And till we empower ourselves with knowledge from a skeptic's perspective, we shall remain enslaved"says it all With that said I TRULY am signing off because I just don't feel like arguing over religion, since in the end it is BOTH of our rights to seek our own "truth" and that really IS my last word on it.

Peter OK you got me. I've ... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter OK you got me. I've just got to throw your own words back at you concerning the Trinity. You say that we are asked to baptize in each "INDIVIDUAL" part of the Trinity. Are you suggesting that I don't understand my own faith because as you said yourself, each "INDIVIDUAL" part. If Jesus has "all the power from heaven, who the heck gave it to him, according to my faith it was his father. Yes the Trinity is a tri-part concept and even Catholics refer to it as a mystery, but they are separate, co-equel parts, NOT NOT NOT one thing called God. As you refer to yourself as a "Devout Chrustian" you on the other hand say your denomomination is of no concern because it is the truth. Why are you so darn reluctant to state your exact denomination since it is in your own words, "The TRUTH" . Maybe we would all like to know so we can run on over and get our own salvation since it's really the only game in town!

Peter-I AM DONE arguing wit... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter-I AM DONE arguing with you and your ilk. It is absolutely useless because you avoid answering any direct question I pose to you with a direct answer. You just keep on throwing more quotes that as far as I can see only strengthen my point, my personal point. And this is another of my basic tenets, my own belief in God is my business and my business only. Just as yours is yours. So let's stop this useless conversation because no matter what you say you're not changing my beliefs and I don't wish to change yours. I happen to KNOW you are going straight to heaven in the rapture and the rest of us, well we're willing to take our chances. After all, you couldn't possibly be so sanctimonious and wrong that your God would want you anywhere but by his side!

Robin,This was the... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Robin,

This was the exact reason why I stopped arguing:
For the last couple of hours my conscience has gotten the better of me and I really regret arguing with you.

I wish Peter the best and only hope that he respects Muslims and their religion even if he feels we are wrong. I think he should continue in his passionate defense of his views and I wish him the best on it, only hope he sees that in order to believe in his faith he does not need to denegrate others'. Peter is a good man, an open book.

Robin regarding your email, I would really really like to get in touch with you. Just a bit worried of removing my anonymity. I am somewhat of a public figure in what I do and like to keep my personal beliefs very private. Maybe I'll get the courage.

Peter I wish you the best buddy. Stay true to yourself, and maybe if you get the courage just look at things a tad bit from a different perspective if only for a little while. A fuller picture is often a truer picture.

Finally my dear friend, Robin I wish the best for you. You are truly a beautiful soul.

Robin & Kashif:Sor... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Robin & Kashif:

Sorry that it is over, it has been enjoyable. I would like to clarify, Robin, that I have never called my particular denomination the TRUTH and regret that you misunderstand my statements above. Kashif, I am not closed minded in my beliefs but must admit that have seen nothing in any faith that I have studied that can equal Jesus love for me.

This has been an experience and I hope that someday, maybe, we can meet again.

Kashif, You won't... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
You won't believe how absolutely overjoyed I am to see you read my offer to you and are considering it. I felt like a little kid and actually jumped when I saw your response. My ex-husband is also a prominant figure in his country and I completely understand your reluctance as I am very conscious of his desire to fly in under the radar so to speak.
Just so you know, it is the part of me that respects your beliefs that is reaching out to you. As I said before, I have a daughter who lives here in the United States and I am also VERY protective of her. It has been such a long time since I left Saudi Arabia but it has made me the person that I am today. I am remarried with two additional daughters and quite frankly am about as inocuous as you can get. I'm even a Girl Scout leader if you get my drift. It's just my experience with those of your faith was so meaningful to me and that is why you caught my attention. Your eloquent expression is exactly what I experienced with my ex and my inlaws. As I noted to you, I am still friendly with them and speak to them often. No where in our divorce was there EVER a question of non-acceptance due to our religious or cultural differences. In fact, we celebrated them and grew as individuals by expanding our own personal horizons.
I hope you do get the courage to contact me because I really do think we could have a wonderful conversation. Just an alarming note to you, there is another BLOG going on this Wizbang thing that is dedicated entirely to discussing this BLOG. Ryan (remember the guy who had an open ear to you) is on there defending you and I posted something too but if you got nervous from this sight PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE prepare yourself if you look at that one. Maybe I shouldn't even have mentioned this to you but I feel a certain kindred spirit with you and it REALLY upset me. Evedently this Wizbang thing is an ultra-conservative BLOG.
Boy did I get into a pickle on that one. As I told you, this is the first time I've ever blogged and I guess I'm just REALLY naive to the hate that's out there. I am so very sorry if you are hurt by this because I absolutely know where you are coming from.
Again, PLEASE think about it and get the courage. Salama Alakum! and Maa'salama

Kashif, Just ano... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
Just another note, I went on there looking to see if maybe you might show up. This whole thing of the BLOG is really making ME uncomfortable because I'm the one who put my email out there and I had no idea what kind of people use this thing.

Peter, Yes, indeed... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter,
Yes, indeed the arguement is over. But please let me offer my sincere apologies for some of my more rude comments to you. I was TOTALLY out of place in my last comment and I am really sorry. Kashif is absolutely right, you are a good man. I am coming from the point that since I know what joy my own faith gives me, I should in no way denegrate yours. Just please, on your own, look up Islam's view of Jesus and realize that they respect him as a true prophet and accept his teachings. They just don't agree with the outcome of those teachings which became Christianity. There is much for Islam and Christianity to agree about and this is what Kashif is pointing out. For goodness sake, A Moslem Imam actually presided over the Pope's funeral. These are the building blocks of peace between our two faiths and I hope you grab on and drink that "half-full" glass because it's alot better than going thirsty. Good luck to you and thanks for putting up with me and offering a good honest debate. Peace be with you and God Bless,

Robin:Thank you.</... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Robin:

Thank you.

Believe it or not but I do understand where you and Kashif are coming from having studied Islam for some time. I hope that someday you can understand why I believe as I do.

May God's Truth light your way.

Peter

Peter, Thank God, ... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Peter,
Thank God, Allah and Jesus and all the prophets that we are able to come to a peaceful conclusion to this discussion. I usually have a steadfast rule about debating religion because I have been exposed to so many different faiths and have learned well to keep my opinions to myself. I broke my own rule this time and I regret that. Thank you for accepting my apology. Wow! this feels GREAT. Kashif, Peter and Robin all coming to an agreement to disagree but show respect. If any one out there is reading this, that precise outcome is what I wish for all in the world who are fighting violently to defend or attack another's personal faith. This truly was a wonderful experience. Thank You Peter, and Thank You Kashif. It took a while, but only a few days of honest debate from some well-meaning people on all sides of the disagreement . Peace be with all of you

To All that above posting s... (Below threshold)
Robin:

To All that above posting says posted by Peter but something is screwy with my computer, because it is posted by Robin. Just another note, maybe now we could all share that shisha or a cup of coffee and see what else we have in common besides agreeing to disagree. Good Luck!!!!!

There is a post above, date... (Below threshold)
Peter:

There is a post above, dated February 9, 2006 10:53 PM, that claims to be from Peter but it seems instead to be from Robin. Just want to clarify that I did not post that message.

Robin, I don't intend to offend with this post but just wanted to make sure that anyone reading this blog after we leave realizes that we do politely disagree and that they will not be confused by the apparent mix up of names.

It HAS been fun. I am just sorry that my questions regarding how to address the differences between the Christian's and the Muslim's perspectives of Jesus and Mohammed had not been discussed in detail. Perhaps another time.

Anticipating the the permission of the various participants I would like to post portions of this blog on my own website. Personal information and profanity will not be retained.

Peter, I thought... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter,
I thought I clarified that above mixup in the posting stating it was from you, but thanks for doing it again.
I really don't know how these things work, and I am nervous a bit because I put my email out there. There is a parallel blog going on on Wizbang titled "answering one Moslem" I mentioned this to Kashif above because it upset me so much. Don't be fooled by the subtext under the heading, because it quickly spirals into a lynching of Kashif. It accuses him of leaving this blog because he does not have a basis for his discussion. If you wish to post my postings on your website, I trust you when you say all personl information will be retained by you. But in a way that might dilute my points if people don't understand where I am coming from. I guess what I am trying to explain to you AGAIN is that it isn't about our differences (from my point of view), it's about our similarities and where we can find common ground on which to build. The way I see it if that's what you want to talk about in order to promote dialog between the three of us and others, I give my full permission to you. On the other hand, if you want to only accentuate the disagreements, I think this would only lead to more of the above type arguement that Kashif and I don't wish to participate in.
Note to Kashif: I REALLY don't mean to speak for you at all. I have a sense this might be where you are coming from too, but if it's not,
please correct me.
Politely I await your reply

Peter, Just a not... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Peter,
Just a note on the above passage, when I said
"if you want to use this to promote a dialog between the three of us and others". I am NOT speaking for Kashif. That is my opinion and mine alone. He would definitely have to be the one to say OK to you because God only knows he's been skewered.
On another note, I need to explain something to you about Islam. Just like we say that the US is a Judeo-Christian nation (supposedly), this is also true of Moslem countries. Particularly in a Middle Eastern country or say Pakistan, Islam is also a part of their culture. In the Bible Jesus says "and they shall know us by our deeds" this is also true of Moslems. In this case, most Westerners who have defined Moslems by 9/11 or the cartoon riots. Just imagine if someone from another country defined us by the widespread race riots of the 60's, the Klu Klux Klan and lynchings. Much of what has gone wrong in our own country has been in the name of Christianity.
Manifest Destiny, segregation, abortion clinic bombings and more, have all been perpetrated by people claiming to have Christ on their side. But lets put that aside and imagine that you were to travel to a foreign country, or maybe even an ethnic neighborhood and you were judged by what others have done in the name of your savior. It should be a wake up call to any one who that would occur to here. I am here to emphatically tell you that if you were to travel to a Middle Eastern country as a moderate Christian, you would be welcomed in the most hospitable manner possible. The Islamic culture is one of hospitality and peace and if things have occured in the name of Allah, it does not matter one iota because those people who would welcome you have not perpetrated these atrocities. It also does not matter one even little stinking bit whether or not they believe Jesus is God to make them good people. This is the whole point of what I am trying to tell you. I do not what to make our differences more important than our commonalities and I certainly do not what to make my belief in Jesus get in the way of the good I can experience from reaching ouside of my own safety zone.
I really am not trying to offend you in any way, but this world is not going to hell in a handbasket because they are ignoring God's direction to believe in a certain way. It is going to hell because certain fundamentalists are insisting on their own way or the highway.
Having said this, maybe I'm really not so willing to have you put this on your webpage because I think that your audience might be specific and really not care what I have to say.

KASHIF!!!!! Where ARE you? Last time I felt the needle in the haystack I was looking for jumped up at me. Now I'm just looking at a big old haystack again.

Correction to the above:<br... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Correction to the above:
"And they shall be known to us by their deeds" (By the way, the basis of Catholocism vs. Protestantism)

Folks I haven't ran off in ... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Folks I haven't ran off in the least bit. There is nothing for me to run off about. I just decided that the discussion was taking a turn for the worse, where I began to feel that in order to reinforce their faith people felt they needed to put down mine. There was no point to such a conversation and I thought it best to depart before I said something I regretted.

Also with respect to the Quranic surah's I thought I addressed that in detail as to why I would not go down that route. I think in the multitude of the long responses in the previous BLOG people missed that one.

Look folks, weakness of faith becomes obvious when one needs to put other's down. Your harsh and cruel words regarding Islam and Muslims don't reflect on me or muslims for that matter but yourself and God will judge you for it, not me nor the bloggers here.

I learnt a life lesson many many years ago from a "Christian" friend of mine. Though Christianity or religion had nothing to do with that episode in my life (work related) it reinforced a sense in me that I needed to look within for answers not outside. That the challange to our problems start within us. When I prescribe blame I must look in a mirror and when I assess credit I must look out of a window to others. What good will this do in life, I don't know, just have this nagging belief that this is the way to lead my life, and that in the end things might just turn out right.

Look I am muslim there is no shame in my heart for that. I do squirm when I see the craziness in this world and especially in the Islamic world, and I think I know the reasons (I might be dead wrong). But that is a geo-political and social discussion to have, not a religious one in my estimation.

As the second largest religious minority I also happen to be an American. I love my country and the ideals it represents (though I hate prefacing my arguments with the above statement everytime I state my religion). I have multiple generations of family members here living and working productively trying to pay that next mortgage just like any one of you. My patriotism however is entirely pegged on those ideals (foundational premise), nothing else. No personalities, no individuals, no political party (though I was a Republican before I became an independent). The constitution and what it represents is my social contract that I have with each one of you. I will live by that contract, and I hope you all do too.

Look if we are in this game to put the other down just so we can prove something about ourselves then I become a skeptic for our collective future. I have travelled the world, and though at home (here) I argue and question some of the issues and directions we find ourselves in, I find myself often feeling a weird sense of protectiveness about the US when I travel. Finding myself often in public forums and dinners in these foreign countries defending each and every one of you. Perhaps not each of you, but our citizenry in general, when people opine about the obtuseness of Americans. And this is not Muslims, this includes Latin Americans, Orientals, and believe it or not Brits (some of the fiercest critics) as well. Then I often look over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't too loud endangering my safety.

I am going to say something very simple and I hope you understand.

Islam of today has morphed into Political/Reactive Islam, purely on the basis that the human mass of as some say 1.4-1.5 Billion people, in this world have absolutely no other vehicle to express their sentiments. I have seen this palpable progression bordering on an explosive pent up frustration, happen in front of my eyes in the course of, I would say the last 25 years. Why and where does the blame lie?

Well there is enough blame for us all to share, though given my biases I would prescribe most of the contemporary blame on the two super powers and their tier one allies during the cold war.

You see I absolutely adore the Western culture in its fierce desire to learn, to acquire knowledge, to excel in every aspect of human development. I marvel at the works of Wagner, Mozrat, Paganinni as much as I adore walking through the MET or Louvre, and seeing the Western societies mass of culturalism (I am myself a product of western culture). However having seen the world and touching the poverty with my own eyes and ears I have had to think a lot about why a part of the world that had so much yesterday has absolutely nothing today. I could walk away with the simpleton view of Islam being the cause, but it would not explain the Christian sub-saharah, the Christian Latin America, the Christian Eastern Europe, the Orient before the post-colonial boom, along with the Muslim cresent.

So let me attempt to give you my sense of the world view (simplified - to avoid writing a thesis) that I prescribe to:

All people in this world are the same. We seek to provide for our families. We all seek the same resources, under the economic fact, that resources are limited (ECON 101).

A few hundred years ago a few aspiring powers Spain, Germany, France and Britian decided to venture outside of their neighbourhood and carve out the world as their own. Fundamentally there was no moral constituency behind this effort. It was all about money as most geo-political ventures are. However to make this a reality the populace of these countries (note: contemporary linkage exists), along with diverging interests had to line up in unison. Hence for the poor slobs in Europe it was sold as a righteous effort to spread universal human rights. For the Church and religious group it was an effort to spread the word of our "lord", for capitalists it was an enterprise both in terms of the financial component to build these powers (military ships/bases) but also be able to open up export bases in these massive population centers.

Bottomline different interests aligned to enable the colonial campaigns. No lands were spared in this effort, and this effort continued for many years, decades and centuries.

If any of you ever studied colonial policies you would understand what happened in these local geographies. Rule #1: Divide and Rule. So divisions that were minute were made more stark. Sects, ethinicities, religions, etc., all implements or tools to divide were applied artfully. Results were that millions fell to the enslavement of colonial times at the hands of a few.

Now these very colonial countries and their small populations (in comparison) to the colonies had a parasitic relationship. Local industries were wiped out, and instead goods were imported into colonial lands. Local colonial raw materials were purchased in non-open markets sent back to the colonial "master" country only to be re-processed and brought back to the colonized masses for consumption. Local taxes on production of locally consumed goods. Taxes being returned to the coffers of the Imperial powers. This also BTW fueled the industrial revolution.

Imperial powers locked in markets for their products through their colonial conquests. All the while local divisions were made more pronounced, and entities, like tribal elders, and mullahs, and divisive characters were enhanced in their stature as the primary ruling class seized to exist (kings (who fought) - were assasinated, murdered, as were their children (case: Bahadur-Shah-Zafar (last Mughal) emperor, lost both his sons, their heads were presented to him by the British thereby ending his lineage and that of the Indian Mughal Empire.) Cruel at the least won't you say for a somewhat contemporary quasi-democratic country? You all need to know what has happened and is happening in the world today under our name.

Capitalism often has a sanitizing effect on most cultures, however during the imperial times this was avoided with great precision. It was easier to manage millions of people through a religious cleric, or a fuedal lord, than through representatives of the locals. Hence wherein European societies' feudals either morphed into Industrialist or were passed into history (though incubated natural progressive evolution), colonial policies made certain to maintain the status quo in order to keep societies compliant and not convulse at being essentially enslaved.

Societies in these colonized nations stopped evolving (inherent evolution - which is different from externally forced shifting), stopped addressing concerns of locals, and essentially seized to function properly for decades if not centuries. Great civilizations like the Incas, the Moghuls, the Ottomons, the Chinese simply seized to exist (though they were more or less waning as well). All the while divisions both in terms of wealth and societal advances in thought (soical and political) between the colonies and the colonized became stark. Therein began this wide chasm that today seems unbelievable, this cultural seperation. Think about it guys as in the West the societies were slowly thinking in terms of universal rights and ideals that exemplified those concepts, the masses in the colonized world were still enslaved (by the same west), and bereft of these concepts. Why would you teach your slave that he has any in-alienable rights to self-rule?

So WWI came along and the Ottomons were totally done in, specific to the Islamic world the khalafat seized to exist. In its stead an alien concept of nationhood came into being. This is a very important point. For those of us who take for granted this concept of nationhood need to understand that in the pre-colonial era it simply did not exist in the Islamic world. Therefore post WWI and WWII swaths of land were arbitrailly divided into countries. Nationalism was force fed and it was hoped that the imperial powers could essentially maintain the same level of control through compliant small nations, running often under colonial code of law, managed and operated by colonial institutions now fully manned and overseen by locals.

So essentially the same class that complied (where the conversion from overt colonization to what I call implicit colonization) with the colonist now used the same implements left over by the Imperial powers to rule over their masses. Countries that should have reverted to the rule of law and democracies became police states and military dictatorships in this weird symbiotic relationship with the western powers.

Now I am not of the ilk to think this happened because some sinister Christians wanted it that way. I think the reasons were pegged in RealPolitik, and often other interests are brought into alignment. The day the second world war ended the Cold War began, and everyone scrambled the school yard picking out their team members. Thus there was no impetus to revert and convert these societies into true democracies. In its stead we in the West and for that matter Russia during the cold war, bought favors by permitting brutal dictatorships and kingdoms to rule, so as long as they paid up to their masters the two super powers and their Tier one allies.

Thus began a sad chapter of nearly half a century, where we in the West, supplanted corrupt and brutal rulers over their populations so as to control those countries in their entirety. Resources like oil came into play as western economies became more intertwined with this resource. Hence our policies became pigeonholed. As an overt subscriber to human rights, we went around the world subverting it, just so that you and I here on home side could live our lives the way we do.

Hence that journey returns back to us. To ourselves, where we begin to look at ourselves and question and wonder what we do and what is done in our name, is it right by justice, is it right by morality, and is it right as co-inhabitants of this world.

I have only covered a small portion and over-simplified many concepts here. There are other causal imperitives ((1)Islamic doctrine and its opposition to any secural system given purely on the fact that it provides through its form not just faith but a societal code of conduct and law (note for Islamic societies not for societies where Muslims happen to live (they are obliged as Muslims to follow all laws of the land they live in), (2)The ending of contextual and contemporary based interpretation of the Quran (essentially seizing further legal and moral qualifications) by Islamic scholars around 1500AD (might be wrong with the date) - Locking the code) that result in the situations we have today. The significane of the point is two folds, one don't fall in the trap that the colonial Joe fell in centuries ago (as one of those tangential interests that are being brought under alignment in order to further another great global experiment), and two macro-politics cannot be perceived as uni-dimensional. There are many many components and linkages and interests to a story. Don't prescibe to simple answers to incredibly complex problems. We the citizens of the West are the educated ones and it is our obligation and responsibility to not accept simple "black vs white", "good vs evil", explanations.

"Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."-Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia, 1782)

and finally why I love to be an American:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

ROBIN: I am still here :)

Two additional points of in... (Below threshold)
Kashif Ahmad:

Two additional points of incredible import that I haven't mentioned, but have incredible impact on contemporary politics.

One, the natural oppositive reaction of Muslims in muslim countries to everything western (good or bad), as an unprocessed reactive effect due to their preceived and real oppression, that they rightfully or wrongly assess as being driven by Western greed (not religion). This unfortunately freezes them out of the positive elements of Western culture that they need in order to evolve from their dysfunctional state.

Finally the artfully machination of local Muslim dictators, kings, and military autocrats that balances their complete repressive control over their populations with the controlled and stage-managed release of latent social and political energy through religious expression as opposed to political and societal expression that can potentially encompass then as well, and hold them accountable to their plundering ways.

Herein lies the conundrum. We push too hard to open up Islamic societies and the first natural reaction will be opposed to Western interests. Perhaps even rightfully based upon our past policies, people simply put are pissed. However I am convinced that over time these early democracies will come together to align with western democracies.

We in the US have a very small duration of window where we can take this risk, before the powers of China and India begin to assert their domain of control, and we fall back into the zero-sum game mentality. And if we don't we will have a world violently opposed to us, under the dominative contorl of the ill-perceived benign powers of China and India.

This is all about the next century. Will we keep our stars bright and burning for the next century.

There is a school of thought that is arguing an overt control over people and resources harking us back to the colonial past. As I wrote in a previous entry, that is a doomed policy. Today's world is entirely different than that where Imperial Britian operated.

Kashif and Peter, ... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif and Peter,
PLEASE don't think I'm a nut job for coming on again but I am getting increasingly uneasy about putting myself out on this BLOG. I just watched a CNN report that hackers are attacking multiple sites concerning any picturing or discussing of the cartoons. Since this all started with said subject and this Wizbang thing is VERY public and well-known, I'm rather worried. As I have stated several times, I have NEVER done this before and say what you like, I'm more than jittery.
Peter: with that, give me your website where I can contact you or else there's no further need to communicate. It would also give me the opportuinity to decide rather or not I'm comfortable with complying with your request
Kashif: I REALLY hope you get the "courage" because I'm just too uncomfortable putting anything more on this forum.
Bye! Guys. It's been rewarding and I'll see you somewhere else if you want to.

Kashif: Now you'r... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif:
Now you're talking baby. FANTASTIC job! I might seem like a local yocal in my comments, but I might want to share with you that I am college educated (magna cum laude), and am just shy of my master's degree in education. I have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, but continue to try to educate myself in every manner possibe. I graduated college at age 35 AFTER my stint overseas. Although I was always an avid reader, it was my experience in my marriage which urged my curiosity into action. My BA was in history and poli-sci. That last passage of yours is either a short rendition of your thesis, or the workings of a quick and brilliant mind. (naybe both). In a few short paragraphs you were able to succinctly explain in real terms (minus the religious implications) Exactly what the problem is. As I said above, a culture is often defined or at least greatly influenced by its religion. With your secular definition of the problem, you have added that layer that has been missing from this dialog. You've upped the ante and I applaud you for that (although I couldn't hope to keep up because I'm rather rusty)
I sent the last blog not seeing your last blog. You have piqued my interest. International relations and politics is my hobby and anyone that can put it the way you did deserves a standing ovation! I'm realy not trying to flatter you, I just appreciate your efforts so much. It might interest you to know that it was in the field of international business that my ex was involved. I too have traveled the world and was exposed to much more than just a stay in Saudi Arabia. I was VERY young, but it gave me the opportunity to see outside my own world. I too look over my shoulder as an American. I too look over my shoulder as a defender of Islam. I have also had to defend my bi-cultural daughter and teach her to seek the good in all people. As world citizens we must all seek to find the way in which to make this world a better place in each relation we have. It was my own upbringing which allowed me to be open enough to accept this challenge. But I must say, my experience in living in a different culture has taught me more than any textbook could ever have. It's much more than "when in Rome do as the Romans do" It's : When in Rome, drink the wine, smell the air around you for all the nuances and more importantly, share it with a Roman"
I knew you were out there somewhere Kashif. I know there are many more like you out there too who believe this way. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for sharing yourself with me and others. We all have so much to learn.

Kashif, I just r... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
I just reread your posting for the third time just to make sure I followed it correctly. As a student of history and politics, I 100% agree with your synopsis. You did a wonderful job of bringing us up to the present. I only hope that those who might be reading here understand that unfortunately we are presently repeating this doomed history that Kashif alludes to. As European colonial powers asserted their power over the colonies, along with them came the missionaries. It is important to note that each had its own goal, each had it's own method, and entertwined depended upon each other to suppress those peoples they wished to profit from/convert to christianity Sound familiar? I liked your ECON 101 quote, butI hope all others reading here understand that the quote applies to ALL peoples of the world, not just the US and Christians.

For All: Currently I feel I am witnessing yet another pairing up of those two powers (political and religious) in our efforts in the Middle East. Our current policies are quite frankly pissing people off because remember, that ECON 101 statement goes for all humankind. Unfortunatley by cloaking ourselves in the shroud of religious superiority we are again attempting to control another part of the world through conquest. This is being done in the name of the "war on terror" and the "war on radical Islam" You see if you say that all Moslems are bad you have a moral obligation to bring them into shape. Folks you cannot all be fooled here, it is the Halliburtons of this world who are using you to help promote their colonial conquests of the land and strategic resources we so need. Kashif is absolutely correct in saying that this is a doomed policy. Our deficit is soaring to unthinkable heights, foreigners own a huge percentage of our bonds, and countries such as China can achieve more than we can without dropping all these bombs. You see, China couldn't care less about reshaping the world into a western-style democracy (just remember you better create one that we approve of). They only want to utilize their better sense in dealing with others in a manner respectful of that nation. Just remember, one in every four human beings is Chinese and they are the most rapidly developing nation on this earth.
Back to religion briefly: If your goal is to save every persons soul in the name of Jesus watch out. This whole world mess we are in is being couched as a Holy War by our own country and it scares the heck out of me

Kashif, I just ch... (Below threshold)
Robin:

Kashif,
I just checked the other BLOG to see where it was going and I almost thought I was seeing things to see you posted there. If you notice though, there wasn't anything for two days between my post and yours. I think they ran off and found another rock to hide under. It doesn't really matter because hopefully the really obnoxious parties have fled and folks like Ryan might check back to read it. Good job!
I have been thinking more about your last post and I wanted just to add something for your sake. Although it HAS been 16 years since I graduated from my small Quaker liberal arts college, the one project that I refer to often is my Senior History project concerning the Balfour Declaration (are you familiar?) I chose the subject for obvious reasons but it has come in handy, one of those things you learn in school that you actually use on a regular basis. It was a rather tricky undertaking because my Professor/advisor was a Reform Jew. I'm telling you this because in order to get around the "tricky part" I had to form a strategy: 1) do VERY careful research 2) present the facts in a scholarly and detailed manner and 3) (and most important) posit a rational synopsis of the facts as I saw them. This was probably one of the most difficult of all the countless projects that I had to undertake. I did my job to the best of my ability and the result was a 98%. Since you know just how tricky this could have been, you can see that I can draw the conclusion that it is that very same tactic that should be taken in the case of this discussion and THAT is why I appreciate your change in approach.
You also talked about poverty around the world. My other Senior Project (poli-sci) was Homelessness in America. I was able to accomplish this by spending a week in Washington DC (if you've been there you know how bad it is). I spent my week with Mitch Snyder, a radical homeless advocate (since deceased) who had founded an organization called the Community for Creative Non-Violence. Mitch had spent time in jail prior to his founding this orgainzaion for I believe it was grand theft auto. His cell mate happened to be Daniel Barrigan. He received a revelation from his radical Catholic cellmate and went on to found the above said organization. Mitch had some pretty radical thoughts on the subject of homelessness, he never asked questions, he just fed the hungry and did whatever he could to advocate for housing and services.
The monthafter I returned from my week in DC I began my internship with the Red Cross. This involved being the assistant to a person who was establishing the ---Temporary Home for Homeless Families. Her approach was quite differrent to solving the problem and she was hell bent on making all the rules. She came from a strict Assembly of God background (fundamentalist). She saw the problem in Calvinistic terms which put much of the blame on the families themselves for their predicaments. What did I learn from these similar yet unalike situations, I found that problems are usually solved less completely with the first approach but more humanely than the second.
I think that much of what we as Americans have experienced here in our country is a result of our own nation's Calvinistic value system.
These are just some thoughts. Gotta go do some errands

There are tons of opportuni... (Below threshold)

There are tons of opportunities out there, but the new need to be open to spot something that's just under your nose!

http://www.fatherdave.org/article/article_587.html




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