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Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Today the Boston Globe editorializes on a truly horrific story: in Afghanistan, a young woman flees an undesired arranged marriage to run off with her lover (who happened to be married). The local authorities chased the two down, brought them back to their home village, and executed them both. This is, to the Globe, a reminder of just what kind of evil we are facing with the Taliban.

But there is a single word missing from the piece:

Islam.
 
The Globe didn't think it worthwhile to go into the justification the Taliban uses to justify such heinous conduct: they are following the tenets of a certain interpretation of Islam, which believes in applying Sharia law in such matters.

Yes, this is certainly an extreme form of Islam. But only in one sense -- that the conduct is extremely savage and extremely brutal and extremely inhumane.

But in another sense, the form of Islam practiced by the Taliban is hardly extreme at all. And that is in the sense of popularity.

The Globe, like a lot of other folks, likes to talk about Muslim moderates. They are lauded as the hope for Islam's future, and cited as being unfairly tainted by the actions of other Muslims. But they are relatively few and weak in influence. Hell, it could be argued that they are the "extremists," as they don't practice the most popular form of Islam. In that context, the call the Taliban "extremists" is like calling the Pope "an extremist Catholic."

Sharia law is far more predominant in the Muslim world than secularism. In most Muslim nations, Sharia law holds sway -- not to mention Muslim societies.

The Globe, by omitting the source and justification for the Taliban's savagery, is trying to pretend that there is no connection between Islam and brutality. That Sharia law is just some kooky thing that sprang up from nothing, and has no ties or roots in anything else. They don't want to acknowledge that it is directly derived from Islam, is considered by a large number of Muslims as an inherent part of their faith, and its implementation is a goal of many Muslims worldwide. It is the driving philosophy in Iran, in the Taliban, in Al Qaeda, in Hezbollah, in Hamas, in the Muslim Brotherhood, and in many other places and groups.

To ignore that would be as foolish as trying to fight crime by banning scary-looking guns or fight the spread of drugs by restricting cold medicine or...

...er...

...um...
...whoops, I think I just wrote myself into a corner here.

And this piece was going so well, too. Dang it.

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Comments (23)

I want to see the ... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


I want to see the banner headlines detailing the statements made by Muslim moderates disavowing incidents like this.

I also want my unicorn and skittles.

"they {Islamic extremists] ... (Below threshold)

"they {Islamic extremists] are following the tenets of a certain interpretation of Islam, which believes in applying Sharia law in such matters"

Uh, no.

Shariah law is NOT based upon an 'interpretation' of Islam. It is based upon a direct, unambiguous reading of the Qur'an and Hadith's of Muhammad.

It is the moderates who are 'interpreting' and to do so, they have to ignore what Muhammad/Islam evolved into, long before his death.

In the early years Muhammad started out peaceful, but when that didn't garner him the acquiescence he sought, he turned violent and remained violent... because it worked.

The Qur'an is filled with invocations to jihadic violence against non-Muslims and they far outnumber the early peaceful passages.

By long settled, universally accepted Islamic dogma, the later passages supersede the early passages. Unfortunately, the later passages are the violent ones.

Moderate muslims know this and realize that is the fundamentalists who stand upon the firmer theological ground. That is WHY Islam is violent and why the moderates can never prevail. The moderates are in denial as to the very reality of the 'religion' they embrace.

Finally, Islam cannot reform because of its theological foundations; that God directly transmitted the Qur'an to Muhammad, through the physical manifestation of the Arch-angel Gabiel, making the Qur'an the direct words of God (think the Ten Commandments). Unalterable Islamic dogma is thus that the Qur'an is the perfect word of God (if not then Muhammad was either lying or delusional), which means it cannot be changed by human 'interpretation'.

Change the Qur'an and you unavoidably collapse Islam's theological foundations because any change to the Qur'an directly challenges Muhammad's status as a prophet, for if he got something as fundamental as who wrote the Qur'an wrong...what else did he get wrong? And if the Qur'an is not the perfect word of God, then Muhammad cannot be the final prophet and the 'pillars' of Islam fall.

Just one more example of th... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Just one more example of that wonderful "multiculturalism".

If it hadn't been the Talib... (Below threshold)
Matt:

If it hadn't been the Taliban, the Afghan National Government probably would of done it. They have already sentenced on woman to death for converting to Christianity. Good thing that government is moderate.

Geoffrey:If the We... (Below threshold)
James H:

Geoffrey:

If the West could domesticate Christianity, then surely the Middle East can domesticate Islam in the long term.

OK James what about the sho... (Below threshold)
John:

OK James what about the short term? Do we just kinda sit back and hope for the best?

James H,We may ave... (Below threshold)
SER:

James H,

We may aver that the bible was "divinely inspired," but we do not hold that the bible is the literal "Word of God." That fact makes your "domestication" unlikely.

How do You 'domesticate' cu... (Below threshold)
914:

How do You 'domesticate' cutting someones head off?

The Boston Globe (democrat)... (Below threshold)
Hank:

The Boston Globe (democrat) writers delude themselves and hope to do that to their [remaining few] readers by leaving out the word islam.

As with most on the left, word games matter to them, the truth not so much.

Most of us already enjoy playing "name that party" when a scathing report involves yet another democrat. But "Name that religion" is not going to cut it. When we read of beheadings, stonings, etc., most people will think of one religion and one religion only; islam.

James,Despite some... (Below threshold)
Geoffrey britain:

James,

Despite some surface similarities between Christianity's and Islam's fundamentalism, they are, theologically, entirely different.

Christianity could accept reform because it's theological foundation's are open to interpretation (Jesus taught through parables) and because Christianity's former violence was entirely antithetical to Jesus' non-violent message. Thus Christianity's reform was a call to return to Jesus' teaching.

It's just the opposite with Islam, moderation is antithetical to Islam's innate violence.

Islam's moderates must, by definition, call Muslims away from Muhammad's teaching.

And most importantly, moderation requires denying Muhammad's primary claim to the Qur'an's theological primacy; that it is the direct word of God.

This is fundamental and of utmost relevance; Islam's theology rests entirely upon the theological foundation of the Qur'an's authenticity as God's direct words. If Muhammad lied or was delusional about that, what's left?

Theologically, the answer to that question would be, nothing.

If the Qur'an is changed and it must to allow reform, it loses all claim to authenticity and thus, must collapse.

Which inevitably leads to the logical conclusion that Islam is theologically incapable of reform.

Very, very, very good point... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Very, very, very good points Geoffrey. ww

James HWhen was th... (Below threshold)

James H

When was the last time you saw a Christian chop off the head of another Christian in G-d's name? When did the federal government last order a Christian stoned to death for "sinning?"

James H: "Geoffrey:If the W... (Below threshold)
Drago:

James H: "Geoffrey:If the West could domesticate Christianity, then surely the Middle East can domesticate Islam in the long term."

What actual evidence exists that would cause a thinking person to make this bald assertion?

One waits with gleeful anticipation as James H conjures up a logical, factual, perhaps even historical, argument in support of this nakedly unsupported assertion!

Or is this simply another example of one of our "left of center" brethren simply giving the benefit of the doubt, against all evidence, to a favored group?

How about a thread about so... (Below threshold)
epador:

How about a thread about something more pertinent, like the spending cuts now proposed including all grants and extra payments to Community Health Centers (those centers quadrupled by the evil GWB to combat lack of health care access for the uninsured and Medicaid, Medicare patients).

OK, so I am just a little concerned about my job.

But really, this not mentioning Islam by word in the article stuff - at this point, if any thinking adult doesn't know this is all about Islam when they read such an article, adding it into the verbiage ain't gonna help.

I was going to offer a full... (Below threshold)
James H:

I was going to offer a full-throated answer, but I just got home from work. It's been a long day, and I don't have the energy. I could discourse at length about the schools of quietist Islam, or about various interpretations of Sharia, or even about the intellectual diversity that lies within Islamic thought. But what's the point? I know from experience that readers here will find my arguments precisely as credible as I find theirs. A waste of time. But I will hit a few quick points.

First, I found this series of articles rather informative. The writer offers a sort of Cliffs Notes version of the history of Muslim theological scholarship as well as a thumbnail view of a few points of hope from a Western perspective.

Second, as to the beheadings question. It gets precisely to my point. Apart from the Right Rev. Fred Phelps of the Crazypants denomination, you have relatively few modern instances of Christian violence apart from the occasional flare-up here or there. And when a minister blames natural disaster on a politician's atheism, most of society sees that minister for the utter loon that he is.

No, Christianity has largely left behind auto de fes, crusades, and the hanging and burning of infidels. Over time, the West has, as Christopher Hitchens might put it, domesticated Christianity. It is largely nonviolent today.

Islam is another matter. In the long term, it will likely take the same path as Christianity, eventually settling into some gentler version of itself that lacks beheadings and stonings. Problem is, that's going to take some time, probably on the scale of centuries.

For the short term, as was asked above, I would say the United States should reassess its interests in the Middle East. Politically, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood gain strength and credibility because of the misdeeds of secular, yet corrupt autocrats.

During the Cold War, it made sense for the United States to back some of those autocrats as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. But that time is long past ... and perhaps the United States should re-evaulate its support for the Hosni Mubaraks of the world.

James, I think you got that... (Below threshold)
Rodney:

James, I think you got that backwards. Christianity tamed the west. Yes, I know people claiming to be Christians have done many horrible deeds in the past, so please don't go naming them. They also are responsible for most of the original Universities, it wasn't the atheist that put an end to slavery, I'd be willing to bet that China and Russia under Atheistic rule of the communist have killed more. Hitler, used whatever idea would get him and the Nazi party.

#15They have alrea... (Below threshold)
914:

#15

They have already had a 1,000 years to moderate and if anything, they are now accelerating the beheading practice and making video's.

They are not mellowing with age, they are boiling with rage.

James: For the short term, ... (Below threshold)
John:

James: For the short term, as was asked above, I would say the United States should reassess its interests in the Middle East. Politically, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood gain strength and credibility because of the misdeeds of secular, yet corrupt autocrats.

What on earth does this mean? Are suggesting that we what, stop all aid, sell arms to insurgents, write a strongly worded letter? What are you suggesting? Take a look at history and tell me where you find examples of dicators losing power with out blood shed, even when the die their offspring take over and are usually worse. I'm sorry James your idea here is just more of the same. I don't suggest for a second there is an easy answer but more of the same clearly isn't a good idea.

It doesn't get any clearer ... (Below threshold)

It doesn't get any clearer that this:

Notwithstanding that many individual Muslims are incredibly beautiful people, Islam is as a rapidly metastasizing malignant cancer and either those of us still blessed by being of Judeo-Christian/Western/Human Civilization will recognize that and radically surgically excise Islam from Humanity -- or it will kill us all.

What on earth does... (Below threshold)
James H:
What on earth does this mean? Are suggesting that we what, stop all aid, sell arms to insurgents, write a strongly worded letter? What are you suggesting? Take a look at history and tell me where you find examples of dicators losing power with out blood shed, even when the die their offspring take over and are usually worse. I'm sorry James your idea here is just more of the same. I don't suggest for a second there is an easy answer but more of the same clearly isn't a good idea.

I didn't say "more of the same." To be more blunt: The United States should re-evaluate its relationship with the Middle East's secular autocrats, even the benign despots. To me, this means cutting aid to them unless ther eis a compelling reason to keep it in place. It means developing domestic sources of energy, primarily nuclear power, so that we are no longer so dependent on those dictators to furnish oil. It means not stanidng in the way when a nation's people demand that an autocrat leave power.

"It means developing dom... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"It means developing domestic sources of energy, primarily nuclear power, so that we are no longer so dependent on those dictators to furnish oil."

The above is first and formost. Your other points cannot be accomplished without this.

Individuals in the Muslim f... (Below threshold)
stu:

Individuals in the Muslim faith must stand up and ,clearly, state their disgust with such barbaric practices. Just as Mafia members should stand up and inform the police of the goings on in their groups. BTW, People in Hell want ice water too, but they don't get it...

James, I say it's more of t... (Below threshold)
John:

James, I say it's more of the same because it's no different than all the "talk" we've heard for years. Reduce our dependence on foriegn oil.... then what turn our backs on the whole mess? What happens in the mid east when their primary source of funds goes away? Will that make things better over there? Are you hoping that the populations will turn on their governments and throw the dictators out, what then? They will be even worse off than they are today without customers for their oil. Who do you think will get the blame for their worsening situation?




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