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Bloggingheads
01-13-2008, 05:49 PM

1swellfoop
01-13-2008, 06:52 PM
Great diavlog...
The more I think about it, the more inclined I am to agree that Eli's supremecist idea is solid... Certainly much better than the fascism label, which makes no sense and is useless for analysis. Calling islamic extremists supremecists opens up a whole host of interesting issues, particularly as kind of way of thinking about religious activism transnationally...

Two thoughts:
First off, from a global perspective, this would nicely unify the trends you see across western and southern asia towards political movements based on cultural legitimacy, like Shiv Sena in India, Hamas in the middle east, etc. Which isn't to play down the differences, but if you see them as being motivated by cultural change/modernization, growing out of older organizations, getting support from newly urban populations and justifying their dominace by adherence to a superior, even supreme creed, then there you go.
(Granted, Shiv Sena is nationalist, and their ideology is specifically rooted to India, but in terms of the specific thing that grants their creed legitimacy, it is unquestionably and openly supremecisism about Maharashtran (or at least Hindu) power.)

Also, it would let us think about these guys as being, in their own way, actors who function well within democratic socities, much like the KKK, who exploit democracy by operating through fraternal organizations that provide a wide range of services to members, social networks, etc. This is particularly troubling, since those fraternal organizations function in many settings as the absolute bedrock of democractic socities... (and here we would circle back to Eli's modernity bit)

jmcnulty
01-13-2008, 07:52 PM
Eli is correct. It is misleading to call it a "war on terrorism" since you cannot really be at war with a tactic. You can't call it a "war on radical Islam" because that gets you into discussions what is the real Islam is and how do you square the picture of an aggressive, lethal Islam with the millions of peaceful Muslims? Calling it a "war against Islamic supremacy" is correct, but perhaps a mouthful for those who have not read the Qur'an or writings by scholars. Calling it the "war against Islamic facism" really does not mean much, since nobody really knows what facism is except an insult to hurl at anyone who disagrees with you. And Bin Laden has no political ideas to speak of - no description of the economy, political rights, how to order society -- except Islamic law, beginning with the Qur'an. If you read the Qur'an, you will find Islam described as ruling over other religions. The practitioners of any other religion, except "people of he Book," Jews and Christians who pay the special tax for protection, are "infidels" who, if they reject conversion to Islam, are deserving only of death and Hell. Supremacism? When the Qur'an sanctions raids against non-Muslims, suppression of women (treat them as men's "tillage"; beat them if necessary, but not where the bruises will show), destruction of other faiths, slavery, second-class citizenship for Jews and Christians? That's really the problem. There is no way Islam can accept other faiths (except to destroy them by conversion or war), except dhimmi Jews and Christians who "feel themselves subdued" and pay a special tax for protectgion, and live in peace with "Infidels." All this talk about Islam as the "religion of peace" only shows a lack of knowledge of the Qur'an and what it commands.

TwinSwords
01-13-2008, 08:01 PM
I believe this is Uncle Fester's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_fester) first appearance on BHTV! What a coup!

TwinSwords
01-13-2008, 08:11 PM
If you read the Qur'an, you will find Islam described as ruling over other religions.

"You shall have no other gods before me." — Deuteronomy 5:7

"3 Do not have any other gods before Me.

"4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

"5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

"6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments." — Exodus 20:2–6


The practitioners of any other religion, except "people of he Book," Jews and Christians who pay the special tax for protection, are "infidels"

You put quotes around the word "infidel." What is your source for the quote?


who, if they reject conversion to Islam, are deserving only of death and Hell.

Death? False.

Hell? That makes them exactly like Christians, who promise the exact same thing: Hell for non-believers. Let me ask you McNulty: Do athiests go to heaven?


Supremacism? When the Qur'an sanctions raids against non-Muslims, suppression of women

And the Bible doesn't?


All this talk about Islam as the "religion of peace" only shows a lack of knowledge of the Qur'an and what it commands.

Is Islam itself the enemy, or only the radical Muslim extremists?

TwinSwords
01-13-2008, 08:28 PM
From Kevin Drum (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_09/012009.php):


IS OUR BLOGGERS EDUCATED?....Just to follow up on Matt (http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/09/travel_much.php) and Atrios's (http://atrios.blogspot.com/2007_09_02_archive.html#6384052054451150328) point about media obsessions with bloggers as semiliterate ranters, here's a quick list of the highest traffic liberal political blogs and the educational attainments of their proprietors:

— Josh Marshall: Princeton, Brown PhD
— Markos Moulitsas: Northern Illinois University, Boston University Law
— Ezra Klein: UCLA
— Duncan Black: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Brown PhD
— John Aravosis: University of Illinois, UParis, Georgetown Law
— Jeralyn Merritt: UMichigan, UDenver Law
— Matt Yglesias: Harvard
— Arianna Huffington: Cambridge
— Brad DeLong: Harvard, Harvard PhD
— Mark Kleiman: Haverford, Harvard PhD
— John Amato: Hunter College
— Glenn Greenwald: George Washington, NYU Law
— Jane Hamsher: USC (masters)

I'm the dimwit in this crowd, boasting only a bachelors degree from Cal State Long Beach. On the other hand, I do manage to read a book or two each year, and I've traveled outside the country several dozen times in my life so far.

And before anyone gets mad, yes, I'm sure I've stupidly left someone important off this list. It's just a quick reality check for any roving journalist wondering who's behind the pixels that account for the vast bulk of liberal blog traffic.

And blog readers? Here's the 2006 BlogAds survey (http://www.blogads.com/survey/2006_political_blogs_reader_survey.html). It's a pretty select group.

—Kevin Drum

jmcnulty
01-13-2008, 08:59 PM
Do you really know so little about Islam? It has Hell just like Christianity. It even describes what happens between death and final judgment.

I don't know what happens to atheists when they die. Tell me when you find out.

The word "infidel" is word for an "unbeliever." Ask any Muslim if he knows what an "infidel" is. The Qur'ans that I have seen call such persons "pagans" or "unbelievers" or "idolaters," not "infidels." I suppose that they were trying to avoid the word.

Are you seriously denying that the concept of the "infidel" exists in Islam?

The Bible says many things about God prohibiting idol worship, but I do not think that you will find anything about killing adherents of any other religion GENERALLY AND FOR ALL TIME. I know that you will not find it in the Gospels. There is a major change in the conception of God between the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament God is a God of law, in many ways like Allah in Islam.

Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus propose raids against other religions. The difference in the Qur'an is that it commends that adherents of other religions, except "people of the Book" or converts, be killed and sent to Hell -- not the observation that unbelievers are bound for Hell. Quite a difference.

You cannot compare the status of women in Christianity (covereng their head in church, not preaching in church) will Islam, which begins with the statement, from God, that women were provided to be used by men like their "tillage." This reduces women to the status of a plowed field to be used by men as whey wish. Therefore, women exist only for men's use. Islam also says that a woman must provide her husband with sex upon command. A Muslim is also allowed up to four wives and may divorce one with a simple statement and placing her shoes outside the door.

I have never said that Islam or Muslims in general is the enemy. But there is a problem in that Islam cannot be reformed and modernized. To paraphrase Solzhenitsyn, "Osama Bin Laden-ism is Islam practiced by experts."

I do not see what importance should be attached to advanced degrees by bloggers. Are you implying that what they say is wiser because they are better educated? Or that somehow to have gotten through graduate school makes you fit to rule? Are they, because of their degrees, more insightful than some union member blogging after working a shift at the auto plant? What has happened to the Democratic Party? I guess to be a Democrat there days you have to have a graduate degree and have had an abortion. Maybe you should tell us how many of them drive a Prius?

TwinSwords
01-13-2008, 09:16 PM
I do not see what importance should be attached to advanced degrees by bloggers. Are you implying that what they say is wiser because they are better educated? Or that somehow to have gotten through graduate school makes you fit to rule? Are they, because of their degrees, more insightful than some union member blogging after working a shift at the auto plant? What has happened to the Democratic Party? I guess to be a Democrat there days you have to have a graduate degree and have had an abortion. Maybe you should tell us how many of them drive a Prius?

It's funny watching you spin from a misunderstanding about why I posted the list of educational accomplishments of bloggers, to plaintively asking "What has happened to the Democratic Party?"

I posted the list of bloggers' degrees in response to Eli and Robert's discussion about the education levels of liberal bloggers (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7939?in=00:22:18).

1swellfoop
01-13-2008, 09:33 PM
I disagree so strongly that I don't even know how to reply beyond chanting "interpertation matters" over and over again and pointing at the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the First and Second Great Awakenings, the Shiite-Sunni split, the entire history of China, etc. But somehow I imagine that wouldn't be enough.

So I guess the only real question I have is what what what real policy conclusions could you draw from your view... If violence, cruelty, savagery, and intolerance are embedded in the true character of Islam, and Islam is not going to go away of its own accord, then it would seem that our options are limited to permenant economic or military aggression, forced conversion, or eradication. I assume you're not in favor of the last two; but I'm puzzled if you think that the first is actually feasible over the long run, since that's so obviously not going to be an option.

TwinSwords
01-13-2008, 10:00 PM
Do you really know so little about Islam?
Do you really think you know anything about Islam?


I don't know what happens to atheists when they die. Tell me when you find out.
I thought Christian doctrine held that you only go to heaven if you have accepted Christ (you might say, if you have submitted to Christianity) as your personal savior. You're a Christian, aren't you? And you can't tell me what the bible says about how people get into heaven? Are you just running from your God because you're embassased that it is just as "enlightened" on the fate of non-believers as Islam?


The word "infidel" is word for an "unbeliever." Ask any Muslim if he knows what an "infidel" is. The Qur'ans that I have seen call such persons "pagans" or "unbelievers" or "idolaters," not "infidels." I suppose that they were trying to avoid the word.
So you were, in effect, lying when you put quotation marks around the word "infidel." You were attempting to create the false impression that the Koran itself uses that word to describe Christians and Jews. In fact, Muslims condemn the use of the term "infidel" to describe Jews and Christians. Use of the word "infidel" to describe Christians and Jews is even a violation of Islamic law. Instead, Christians and Jews are to be referred to with the respectful appellation "People of the Book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_of_the_book)."


Are you seriously denying that the concept of the "infidel" exists in Islam?
It does, but you have totally misrepresented how it is used. It should never be applied to Jews or Christians, according to Islamic law.


You cannot compare the status of women in Christianity (covereng their head in church, not preaching in church) will Islam, which begins with the statement, from God, that women were provided to be used by men like their "tillage." This reduces women to the status of a plowed field to be used by men as whey wish. Therefore, women exist only for men's use. Islam also says that a woman must provide her husband with sex upon command. A Muslim is also allowed up to four wives and may divorce one with a simple statement and placing her shoes outside the door.
Neither religion is enlightened on the status of women; I'll leave it to you to figure out which one is worse.


I have never said that Islam or Muslims in general is the enemy. But there is a problem in that Islam cannot be reformed and modernized.
Then let me ask you this: Is our Iraq project doomed? Are our efforts in Afghanistan doomed? Are we just wasting our time and money by trying to reform these two nations?

David_PA
01-13-2008, 10:57 PM
JM -

I can't figure out whether you are a fear monger, whether you are just scared silly yourself, or both.

If the situation with respect to radical Islam were like you seem to think it is: hoards of Muslims would have already infiltrated the US and would have been exploding bombs daily, Israel would have been wiped from the map, and the surge in Iraq would have never had a chance of working. The only solution to the hellish problem of Islamo-whatever-you-are-calling-it-today would be to bomb the entire Muslim world out of existence. Since this is what you really want to do - be honest and just say it.

Baltimoron
01-14-2008, 04:54 AM
I'm not replying to "Fear". I just hit the bottom link to post. This is a new thread.

Logically, the response to Eli's right hook about Obama retaining the Clintonistas while grafting Powers into his foreign policy team is the same one Hillary used about healthcare reform: we screwed up and now we know how to make it right!

We should compile a list of the notables the Dems will dredge up for cabinet positions, to prepare for any Dem versions of Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz.

Baltimoron
01-14-2008, 05:44 AM
The Bush administration has never had enough unity to rise to the level of the cabal.

Does anyone esteem the CIA?

Aside from Weiner's savage attack in "A Legacy of Ashes", the best criticism of the CIA comes in Nuclear Jihadist (about the AQ Khan network). The CIA argued against stopping AQ Khan in the mid-70s from spying from his full-time job at FDO and transferring uranium-centered nuclear technology from The Netherlands to Pakistan, because, since the CIA had no intelligence assets on plutonium-centered efforts to get the Bomb, they needed AQ Khan' unsolicited help. Intelligence is not law enforcement.

I thought the Republicans didn't want to to re-live the Iraq chronology in the entire 2000's, but, if Eli is any indication, it's alright to use the Netroots against Obama. Save us from a 2008 political campaign full of revisionist riffs.

Anarchists, Eli! I think non-literary crit types should be banned from coining new words and phrases. If a writer like Eli lake can't lend an old word new relevance, why should I subscribe to any publication? Stop word inflation!

Every new convert is a supremacist (my little nephew becomes a supremacist every time a new cartoon character debuts on TV)! But, only anarchists revolt against authority.

Eli, say state, say government, not society. You're so post modernist and lit crit-esque.

Globalization? Connecting economic liberalization and political authority, scream it guy! Ooops, then Eli retires into his pocket guide to anarchist groups.

No, we should say we have a group of state-lets looking for legitimacy, and what do we need to do to make politics, and not bomb-throwing, relevant to people and to do in a way that follows their democratic agendas.

Khatami was no democratic martyr.

Iran's paramilitaries worked fine when they destabilized Iraq for the US.

Farley gives the conservative criticism of the concept of GWOT: it unites anarchists into a convenient force.

And, whenever the USSR became economically nonviable, the US never knew. The US inflated rhetorically the missile gap, and now Eli is inflating anarchists more fractious against each other into a weapon more effective Osama bin Laden could ever accomplish. Intelligence!

North Korea, please show me a contingency plan that can save the gulag prisoners, not lay waste to the entire peninsula, and not anger Beijing into a proxy battle over Taiwan.

We stop nukes by putting teeth into the NPT regime, and not by only allowing friends, like India, to have nukes and enough fuel to weaponize. Actually, a foreign policy is better than this alphabet soup of isolating a few states for attention while ignoring the rest of the world.

The history of the AF is right, but it's the Army that should be downscaled. The AF and Navy have air-and-sealift and global reach. The Army needs only a slimmed-down skeleton of divisions and mostly SF groups, as Kaplan has argued. What the US does not need is an imperial army, but rather state-builders and conflict defusing warrior-diplomats. The Army also can't go to outer space.

People who use English without inflation, Eli, watch bhTV. We have to cut through the crap!

That is All!

jmcnulty
01-14-2008, 11:02 AM
I never said that "infidels" included Jews and Christians, who have their own category in the Qur'an as "dhimmis," a "protected" class that pays a special tax and feels itself subdued. I think that I explained this. I used the word "infidel" in quotes only in deference to its Islamic meaning. I haver implied that it appeared in the Qur'an, anthough synonyms for it -- "pagans," "unbelievers," "idolaters" -- ARE used. The Qur'an also says that Christians are closer to the truth than others. Jesus is the most important prophet aside from the final messenger, Mohammed. I pointed this out repeatedly. If we were "infidels," under the Qur'an we would be worthy only of conversion to Islam and, if we refused, death.

Your comments on Christianity and Islam and the staus of women-- that neither is enlightened regarding women -- show that you know little about either faith. Feminism itself came from the Christian idea that women as well as men were equal in the sight of God, while Islam explicitly says that women were created to be used by men like "tillage." There is a stong hadith, second in authority only to the Qur'an itslef, that says that an angel will not remain in the presence of an uncovered woman. Therefore, women must remain covered. How can you compare Christianity's treatment of women with Islam"s esplicit description of women as being created only for men's use?

In Saudi Arabia recently, a woman was gang raped by strangers. When she reported it to police, she was arrested since her testimony meant that she necessarily had been in the presence of men not her relatives. She was sentenced to 70 lashes (a possible "death" sentence). The King of Saudi Arabia commuted her sentence because of the international outrage. Give me an example of a similar incident recently in Christianity. Saudi Arabia has no written criminal code, just Sharia. Her lawyer was disbarred for trying to defend her. In Islam, rape is just another form of "adultery."

With regard to atheists, I am a Christian, but I do not know what happens to them. I know what the Bible says, but I would not presume to dictate to God in any particular case. I know Christopher Hitchens is an atheist. I also admire him. Am I sure whether or not he is "saved"? No, because I do not know what he is or believes in private or what he might believe at the moment of life's end. His salvation is a matter between him and God. No true Christian will condemn another person (Jesus said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."). I have a hard enough time getting to Heaven myself; I am certainly not going to spend time condemning you. I hope we both make it.

What is your favored policy? Doing nothing and hoping the Islam will reform itself over time? Hoping that globalized economics will somehow bring about international comity? What is your policy? Are you in favor of "creeping Sharia" on an informal basis to make our society more acceptable to the Muslim world? Is it your position that the nature of Islam should be denied because we do not want to provoke an unnecessary world religious war? That seems to be Bob Wright's position.

The impulse here seems to be that since we cannot show him where he is wrong, we will instead accuse him of things that he never said. I never said "infldel" included Jews or Christians. I never called for unleashing the bombers on the Muslim world to kill woman and children whose only "crime" is that they are Muslim. I even asked Abu Noor Al-Irlandee -- presumably from a Muslim family -- to point out where I have misrepresented Islam. He punted by saying that I was so wrong (he never said how) that it wasn't worth the time needed to correct me. I only know what I know. I am no expert and would be glad to be corrected by someone who speaks Arabic and grew up in Islam.

What you are doing here is making ti impossible to have any "responsible" policy on this issue, clearing the way for the real "Islamophobes." To use Great Britain as an example, if the Labor Party is mad, and the Conservative Party is delusional, and the Liberal Democrats are chanting in a circle, what are you left with -- the British National Party?

Believe what you will. I get tired of this constant adolescent atheism. I have more respect for any Muslim -- with whom I may disagree on the nature of God and the way to live -- than I do for this shaking of one's fist at God. Instead of seeing it as Protean, I only see it as egotistical and foolish and tiresome.

1swellfoop
01-14-2008, 11:24 AM
What is your favored policy? Doing nothing and hoping the Islam will reform itself over time? Hoping that globalized economics will somehow bring about international comity? What is your policy? Are you in favor of "creeping Sharia" on an informal basis to make our society more acceptable to the Muslim world? Is it your position that the nature of Islam should be denied because we do not want to provoke an unnecessary world religious war? That seems to be Bob Wright's position.

That is not an answer to the question. What would you do if what you say is true, and Islam itself is irrevocably violent?

jmcnulty
01-14-2008, 12:21 PM
I have already spoken at length regarding what I would do, which may well be impractical (it was a policy between outright war and doing nothing). I am not going to go over it again. I do not believe that Islam is "irrevocably violent," only that there are elements of Islam that lend themselves to violence against "unbelievers" (while claiming that one is practicing the pure Islam). I have favored a policy of complete separation from the Islamic world. Islam cannot be changed. It cannot be accommodated within the Enlightenment framework of the West. This is seen in Bin Laden's condemnation of the United Nations and the whole Western concept of "human rights" (there are no rights except those given by Allah and all other "rights" are man-made and invalid). I still ask, where I am wrong? What is that I hear -- crickets?

1swellfoop
01-14-2008, 12:26 PM
Do you think that interpertations more amenable to modernity are possible?

jmcnulty
01-14-2008, 01:19 PM
Muslim scholars -- no matter what stain of belief they follow -- agree that the "Qur'an cannot be changed, that the "gates of revelation" closed HUNDREDS of years ago. From where are you going to draw your more modernistic interpretations? I can think of few doctrines in Islam that are more firmly set in stone that that the "gates of revelation" are closed. It would take a new prophet, and how would he even be recognized, and how would his appearance be squared with the idea that Mohammed was Allah's final a greatest prophet? It is all well and good to talk about "interpertations more amenable to modernity," but from where would they come? What authority would be available to support them?

garbagecowboy
01-14-2008, 01:57 PM
I even asked Abu Noor Al-Irlandee -- presumably from a Muslim family -- to point out where I have misrepresented Islam.

From what Abu Noor Al-Irlandee has posted on this board I believe that he is in fact an Irish-American convert from Catholicism to Islam, coming from a Catholic family. As he has pointed out his handle on the board in Arabic literally means "Father of Noor [his daughter] from Ireland."

jmcnulty
01-14-2008, 02:12 PM
If you are correct, I stand corrected. The point still remains. I was not corrected by a Muslim. I wasn't sure that he was a Muslim or just came from a Muslim family (it would not be surprising to find an atheist with a Muslim name commenting here). If he is a convert -- someone who set out to learn about the faith -- he is in a even better position to correct me, although he may not speak Arabic. Presumably, he has read the Qur'an and Hadiths.

1swellfoop
01-14-2008, 02:13 PM
First off, the real question here is whether those extreme elements are right. Your earlier posts would seem to have suggested that you thought they were, particularly when you said that

"There is no way Islam can accept other faiths (except to destroy them by conversion or war), except dhimmi Jews and Christians who "feel themselves subdued" and pay a special tax for protectgion, and live in peace with "Infidels." All this talk about Islam as the "religion of peace" only shows a lack of knowledge of the Qur'an and what it commands."

Secondly, what I'm thinking of has less to do with revelation per se and more to do with how people think about that revelation... It seems like the issue is that you're taking Wahabist interpretations and saying that the represent the fundamental tenants of the faith most accurately... (Or at least, that wahhabist extremists can make claim to being true adherents, as opposed to other Muslims.) But my point is that Wahahbists represent one interpertation of that revelation, that is (a) comparatively recent (b) largely a creation of the saudi government's attempts to appease extremists and (c) an interpertation that glosses over the the more tolerant sections of the book as secondary to those that are more extreme.

I would also point out that there are many, many, many different ways of approaching these texts, some of which take those tolerant sections as central, and others which do not. Yet in saying that the Wahabists are right (which is what I took you to be saying; please clarify if you disagree) you seem to be dismissing that these versions of the faith can be compelling and can serve as the foundation for an Islam that is more capable of being alongside the west.




I'm also kinda curious how you would describe your own beliefs, if you are a christian (as you've said elsewhere)... the things you've said would lead me to think that you are inclined to a single-right-interpertation-stemming-directly-from-revelation way of thinking about religion... I just wonder if that's also influencing your take on all this.

bjkeefe
01-14-2008, 03:04 PM
Baltimoron:

I'm not replying to "Fear". I just hit the bottom link to post. This is a new thread.

I hate that bug about the video page "post a comment link."

May I suggest that n the future, you use the "visit forum" link, and start a new thread by replying to the initial (blank) comment? Seems like less work than typing a disclaimer at the top of your comment, and it keeps the threads cleaner. No biggie, of course. Just a suggestion.

jmcnulty
01-14-2008, 04:55 PM
It really does not matter if the Wahhabist school is "right." I think all the schools agree on the basic nature of Islam and "infidels." They represent orthodox Islam. Any other voice, such as that young blogger, is subject to being declared outside the umma. He will be fortunate not to be killed for "casting corruption upon the Earth." Maybe he could hide out with Salmon Rusdie. The Wahhabis could be compared to Puritans who like occasionally to cut throats.

Wahhabism predates the Saudi regime by 140 years, although its worldwide influence does relate to Saudi oil money. They have the money. They build the mosques in the West. They train, select, and support the imams. No wonder Wahhabism is gaining influence. The tolerant Sufi Islam of the Balkans is being replaced by Wahhabism because the Saudis have funded rebuilding all the mosques destroyed during the Balkans War.

We would not care that some Arab holy man is ranting in the desert, but with billions being pumped into a region that produces little else but oil, his preaching can send 19 hijackers to New York.

What you are really trying to say is that I am a Christian extremist; therefore, my view of Islam must also be extremist. But you point out an interesting fact: Christians see the Bible as Divinely "inspired." leaving room for human interpretation. In Islam, the Qur'an was dictated by God and represents the actual words of God, an Earthly version of golden tablets in Paradise. Therefore, there is very little room for interpretation since the book itself contains the actual word choice of God. That is why a mere rumor -- later disproved -- that a Qur'an had been flushed down a toilet was enough to cause riots in Pakistan. To Christians, any Bible is just ink and paper, but even a paperback Qur'an is so much more. To a Christian, this seems close to idolatry, making the mere mediium holy.

I wish that Islam could become just another pacific Abrahamic faith and a vehicle for "personal" salvation, but this would take such a change that Islam would then no longer be Islam.

Baltimoron
01-14-2008, 05:00 PM
Yes, I understand this trick now.

1swellfoop
01-14-2008, 05:10 PM
My asking about your faith wasn't intended as a rhetorical trap. I'm not trying to corner you argument-wise here... In fact, I really need to stop procrastinating so this will likely be my last post on this thread. I'm just geniunely interested in how much of people's religious background impacts their view on this issue. Growing up in a liberal catholic household, I feel quite comfortable saying that interpertation can defuse the dangerous elements of a religion. (Lord knows this is true of catholicism) But I wonder if my view would be different with a different background; hence my question.

If you're not comfortable spelling out your commitments don't feel obligated to reply... just poking around the old ideologies.

jmcnulty
01-14-2008, 05:59 PM
I really do not know how to answer this. I am an evangelical Protestant, although I have great respect and affection for the Catholic Church. I believe that the Bible is inerrant in matters of faith and belief, but I am also glad that there is a Pope to decide issues (since Protestantism makes every man his own Pope). One reason that I take Islam so seriously is that I have respect for the beliefs of Muslims -- they really believe this. They are willing to kill and be killed for it, as Bin Laden observes. We will not solve this problem by hoping that it goes away or thinking that technology or improved economic opportunity will solve it. It is a matter of belief and identity. I don't spend my time condemning others to hell or -- as some Salafi Islamists do -- actually killing those with different beliefs. I think that we are better off praying for unbelievers, rather than imprisoning them (some atheists seem disappointed to be denied the opportunity to stand up for their unbeliefs) or killing them, as some Islamists do. I believe that the Jews are our older brothers, the established olive tree roots onto which the new shoots of Christianity have been grafted, as the Gospels say. As Paul, a Jew, said, I do not believe that the coming of Jesus revoked the Jews' covenant with God. As Jesus commanded, I believe that it is the role of Christians to be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. What will happen on the Final Day? I do not know, but the Bible says that the Jews will be converted, which makes sense since they will recognize Jesus as the Savior when he comes again, trailing glory.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-14-2008, 07:07 PM
jmcnulty,

I am really tempted by your statements that you "would be happy to be corrected" but you have repeatedly shown yourself to be insincere in such claims. I have referred you to specific articles you could read as well as to scholars and authors who write on Islamic topics that could broaden your understanding. Have you referred to a single one of these?

It is obvious from every silly sentence you write that your knowledge of Islam comes solely from pamphlets of anti-Muslim propaganda, or maybe Robert Spencer. If you want to read those things, fine, if you were sincere you wouldn't mind reading other sources as well.

The word dhimmi does not appear in the Qur'an.

Islam does not order the killing of anyone is not Muslim.

Women are spiritually equal to men in the Qur'an. The verse you are trying to quote, since you seem to be so fond of quoting it, to a question that was raised regarding whether different sexual positions were permissible for Muslims. So, the Qur'an artfully expressed the ruling that Muslims can have sex in whatever position they wish as long as it is vaginal sex. That is what the actual verse is about, it has nothing whatever to do with any notion that woman are only there to be used by men. Any cursory understanding of Islam will teach you that the revelation of the Qur'an tremendously strengthened the position of women in the Prophet community and that women were among the first and most enthusiastic converts to the faith, much like slaves and the poor. (And this is true of all true prophetic religion). There is no doubt that societies of Muslims, up until today, have on the whole had extreme problems with sexism, but this is not because of Islam. Again, any honest study of the facts will show that the Prophetic society was much more egalitarian and had woman playing a much larger role even in the public sphere than most "Muslim" socieities have up until today. This is a problem of Muslims, not Islam.

I don't claim to know much about the bible but you are as ignorant of it as you are of the Qur'an if you think pulling out notions of covering or of wives submitting to their husbands will show the Bible to be differerent and better for women than the Qur'an.

I know of no such hadith about angels not remaining in the presence of an uncovered woman...I think you are thinking about something from the beginning of 1st Corinthians.

jmcnulty, just because people have determined that reading and responding to your insincere ignorant diatribes to correct all the mistakes is not worth their time becasue you have proven yourself utterly uninterested in actually learning about the topic you seem to be so interested in, does not mean that you can somehow claim that your statements must be true because they have not been challenged.

I hate to think that people believe what you are saying, but really I don't believe it is productive to engage with people who are not sincere. That's just the way it is....ya know, I really don't think too many people do believe what you are saying.

Peace,

Abu Noor.

I never said that "infidels" included Jews and Christians, who have their own category in the Qur'an as "dhimmis," a "protected" class that pays a special tax and feels itself subdued. I think that I explained this. I used the word "infidel" in quotes only in deference to its Islamic meaning. I haver implied that it appeared in the Qur'an, anthough synonyms for it -- "pagans," "unbelievers," "idolaters" -- ARE used. The Qur'an also says that Christians are closer to the truth than others. Jesus is the most important prophet aside from the final messenger, Mohammed. I pointed this out repeatedly. If we were "infidels," under the Qur'an we would be worthy only of conversion to Islam and, if we refused, death.

Your comments on Christianity and Islam and the staus of women-- that neither is enlightened regarding women -- show that you know little about either faith. Feminism itself came from the Christian idea that women as well as men were equal in the sight of God, while Islam explicitly says that women were created to be used by men like "tillage." There is a stong hadith, second in authority only to the Qur'an itslef, that says that an angel will not remain in the presence of an uncovered woman. Therefore, women must remain covered. How can you compare Christianity's treatment of women with Islam"s esplicit description of women as being created only for men's use?

In Saudi Arabia recently, a woman was gang raped by strangers. When she reported it to police, she was arrested since her testimony meant that she necessarily had been in the presence of men not her relatives. She was sentenced to 70 lashes (a possible "death" sentence). The King of Saudi Arabia commuted her sentence because of the international outrage. Give me an example of a similar incident recently in Christianity. Saudi Arabia has no written criminal code, just Sharia. Her lawyer was disbarred for trying to defend her. In Islam, rape is just another form of "adultery."

With regard to atheists, I am a Christian, but I do not know what happens to them. I know what the Bible says, but I would not presume to dictate to God in any particular case. I know Christopher Hitchens is an atheist. I also admire him. Am I sure whether or not he is "saved"? No, because I do not know what he is or believes in private or what he might believe at the moment of life's end. His salvation is a matter between him and God. No true Christian will condemn another person (Jesus said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."). I have a hard enough time getting to Heaven myself; I am certainly not going to spend time condemning you. I hope we both make it.

What is your favored policy? Doing nothing and hoping the Islam will reform itself over time? Hoping that globalized economics will somehow bring about international comity? What is your policy? Are you in favor of "creeping Sharia" on an informal basis to make our society more acceptable to the Muslim world? Is it your position that the nature of Islam should be denied because we do not want to provoke an unnecessary world religious war? That seems to be Bob Wright's position.

The impulse here seems to be that since we cannot show him where he is wrong, we will instead accuse him of things that he never said. I never said "infldel" included Jews or Christians. I never called for unleashing the bombers on the Muslim world to kill woman and children whose only "crime" is that they are Muslim. I even asked Abu Noor Al-Irlandee -- presumably from a Muslim family -- to point out where I have misrepresented Islam. He punted by saying that I was so wrong (he never said how) that it wasn't worth the time needed to correct me. I only know what I know. I am no expert and would be glad to be corrected by someone who speaks Arabic and grew up in Islam.

What you are doing here is making ti impossible to have any "responsible" policy on this issue, clearing the way for the real "Islamophobes." To use Great Britain as an example, if the Labor Party is mad, and the Conservative Party is delusional, and the Liberal Democrats are chanting in a circle, what are you left with -- the British National Party?

Believe what you will. I get tired of this constant adolescent atheism. I have more respect for any Muslim -- with whom I may disagree on the nature of God and the way to live -- than I do for this shaking of one's fist at God. Instead of seeing it as Protean, I only see it as egotistical and foolish and tiresome.

jmcnulty
01-14-2008, 08:00 PM
Wat does the comment about "tillage" have to do with sexual positions? You are grasping here. I have read the Qur'an, not just comments about it, and I have to believe that I have struck a nerve since your adopted religion is apparently not important enough to you to correct misinformation.

You know that the Qur'an sanctions the killing of infidels. Even defenders of Islam do not try to cover that up, only saying the the "verse of the sword" applies solely to defensive jihad. By the way, Bin Laden calls the current "war on terror" a defensive jihad. Next you will tell me that Mohammed did not deflower Aisha when she was nine. What about the murder of the poetess in the early days of Islam? Was that an example of egalitarian Prophetic society?

You seem so angry that I almost believe that you could kill me, but of course, that would be inconsistent with taqiyya, wouldn't it? You still have not said that I misrepresented anything, only that it is too unimportant to you to bother to correct me.

You said, "The word dhimmi does not appear in the Qur'an." So what? I never said that it did. Isn't that what Islamic society calls "People of the Book"? Are you really saying that there are no dhimmis in the Muslim world? Why did so many Christians convert to Islam in the Balkans? Was it because they ALL discovered the truth of Islam, or that they wanted to avoid the jizya tax and second-class citizenship? You forgot to tell me how Islam passed on the knowledge of the Greeks and gave birth to so many developments in Medicine. Go ahead. Give me the entire "Islam Means Peace" speech. It seems to have fooled smarter men than I.

And don't expect me to be impressed when you cite me to such Islamic apologists as future dhimmi Karen Armstrong.

The idea that women are equal to men in Islam is silly. Does that explain the exalted position of women in the Islamic world? Maybe someday they will be able to drive in Saudi Arabia, the "land of the two mosques."

The Hadith about angels and women is from Buckhari's collection, with with I am sure you are familiar. This was an incident involving Mohammed and Kadijah and an angel that only he could see.

Why do you consider me insincere? I have written several times how much I admire some aspects of Islam. I think alleging that I am insincere is just another way to send me into outer darkness and not deal with the arguments that I make, so it gives you a perfect excuse not to "engage" with me.

I have never claimed to be an expert. If what I say is wrong, tell me. But don't give me some cock and bull story about sexual positions and "tillage" and expect me to ignore the clear language of the Qur'an. I do not think that just denouncing my "insincere ignorant diatribes" (Diatribes? Your comments were more like a distribe that anything that I wrote. I have never charged "insincerity" or that someone who disagreed with me was "uninterested in actually learning about the topic.").

What you are really saying is that anyone who disagrees with you is, by definition, ignorant and insincere. I have always capitalized "Qur'an" and "Hadith," but I notice that you do not even capitalize "Bible." Interesting. Who is being "insincere" now?

Point out something derogatory in the New Testament that I missed about the role of women in the church (since I am so "ignorant," it should be easy).

I do not care if the querulous posters at Bloggingheads.tv believe me or not. The problem is not what they don't know. The problem is so much that is wrong in what they think they know.

Salam.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-14-2008, 08:28 PM
jmcnulty,

It is you who is not important enough to me to waste my time in pointless discussion, not my religion.

As someone who has studied Arabic and dozens of commentaries of the Qur'an I told you what the verse means, you refused to accept it because, um, I guess because it doesn't fit into your little theory. That is the proof that you are insincere and what makes it ridiculous for you to continue to say you want to be corrected when wrong.

I am familiar with Bukhari's collection and have no idea what you are talking about, so you'll have to refer me to the actual text, on second thought, don't bother, because I will not spend time responding to you again after this post.

Again, check 1st Corinthians, I think that's what you're thinking of.

Oh, so now the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is supposed to represent true Islam in your view, huh? I just saw the King of Saudi Arabia getting kissed on the cheeks by Bush and then they both stood for the U.S. national anthem. If he's our standard for Islam, shouldn't he have killed Bush? Or guess what, maybe what some U.S. stooge king and his regime do are not necessarily consistent with Islam...shocking, isn't it? Guess what, jmcnulty, there are Muslims who don't pray 5 times a day and Muslims who drink alcohol...but Islam still prescribes 5 time daily prayer and forbids alcohol...Is that hard for you to understand?

No more time for your nonsense,

Peace.

quote:
----------
Wat does the comment about "tillage" have to do with sexual positions? You are grasping here. I have read the Qur'an, not just comments about it, and I have to believe that I have struck a nerve since your adopted religion is apparently not important enough to you to correct misinformation.

You know that the Qur'an sanctions the killing of infidels. Even defenders of Islam do not try to cover that up, only saying the the "verse of the sword" applies solely to defensive jihad. By the way, Bin Laden calls the current "war on terror" a defensive jihad. Next you will tell me that Mohammed did not deflower Aisha when she was nine. What about the murder of the poetess in the early days of Islam? Was that an example of egalitarian Prophetic society?

You seem so angry that I almost believe that you could kill me, but of course, that would be inconsistent with taqiyya, wouldn't it? You still have not said that I misrepresented anything, only that it is too unimportant to you to bother to correct me.

You said, "The word dhimmi does not appear in the Qur'an." So what? I never said that it did. Isn't that what Islamic society calls "People of the Book"? Are you really saying that there are no dhimmis in the Muslim world? Why did so many Christians convert to Islam in the Balkans? Was it because they ALL discovered the truth of Islam, or that they wanted to avoid the jizya tax and second-class citizenship? You forgot to tell me how Islam passed on the knowledge of the Greeks and gave birth to so many developments in Medicine. Go ahead. Give me the entire "Islam Means Peace" speech. It seems to have fooled smarter men than I.

And don't expect me to be impressed when you cite me to such Islamic apologists as future dhimmi Karen Armstrong.

The idea that women are equal to men in Islam is silly. Does that explain the exalted position of women in the Islamic world? Maybe someday they will be able to drive in Saudi Arabia, the "land of the two mosques."

The Hadith about angels and women is from Buckhari's collection, with with I am sure you are familiar. This was an incident involving Mohammed and Kadijah and an angel that only he could see.

Why do you consider me insincere? I have written several times how much I admire some aspects of Islam. I think alleging that I am insincere is just another way to send me into outer darkness and not deal with the arguments that I make, so it gives you a perfect excuse not to "engage" with me.

I have never claimed to be an expert. If what I say is wrong, tell me. But don't give me some cock and bull story about sexual positions and "tillage" and expect me to ignore the clear language of the Qur'an. I do not think that just denouncing my "insincere ignorant diatribes" (Diatribes? Your comments were more like a distribe that anything that I wrote. I have never charged "insincerity" or that someone who disagreed with me was "uninterested in actually learning about the topic.").

What you are really saying is that anyone who disagrees with you is, by definition, ignorant and insincere. I have always capitalized "Qur'an" and "Hadith," but I notice that you do not even capitalize "Bible." Interesting. Who is being "insincere" now?

Point out something derogatory in the New Testament that I missed about the role of women in the church (since I am so "ignorant," it should be easy).

I do not care if the querulous posters at Bloggingheads.tv believe me or not. The problem is not what they don't know. The problem is so much that is wrong in what they think they know.

Salam.
----------

David_PA
01-14-2008, 09:57 PM
I am addressing this to JMcnulty to whom I am tipping my cap for his being open enough to engage in this dialog about how the West should deal with the terrorism coming out of the Islamic world, even though he thinks we should extricate ourselves from dealing with the Islamic world.

If the approach of having the West completely disassociate itself from the part of the Islamic world lead by radicals, particularly in Afghanistan, Iran, and Palestine, were possible, I certainly think we would want to consider whether this would be the wisest path. If the US were energy independent, such choices could be realistically considered.

But, given that the US, as long as it's economy requires oil, is inextricably intertwined with the Middle East, it must deal with the realities of that world. Were it only Egypt, Saudi, Qatar and similar counties with which the US had to deal, it would be almost easy. But, the fact that such almost-Western countries in the Middle East exist, tells us that because these countries aren't obsessed with dealing with radical Islam, we don't need to be either.

It's a very complex path we need to walk as long as we remain obliged to be economically linked to the Islamic world of the Middle East, particularly of course in deciding how to maneuver around the extremely dangerous state and non-state radical anti-West parts of it, But, it is a path that can be walked without existential danger to the US, though there is unquestionably quite a bit of danger however we step.

jmcnulty
01-15-2008, 01:00 PM
I stand corrected. The Hadith that I mentioned is not from Bukhari. It is from the first birgraphy of Muhammed, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah by Guillaume. This hadith appears on page 107 of the book. You are quite right. I confused it with Bukhari, but it does not appear there. My apologies. I may be guilty of mistakes or even stupidity (after all, I am a Christian looking into another faith), but I do not think that I am "insincere."

David_PA
01-15-2008, 06:34 PM
Here's the thing, JM ... The Koran is being interpreted today differently than in the recent past - and in ways not previously, or today, considered valid by mainstream Muslims.

It wasn't until Osama launched the jihad in the late 1990s that - radicals - began to interpret portions of the Koran as calling for attacks against the West, in the US.

If the Koran so clearly calls for attacks on non-Islamics living in Islamic territories, or interfering with Islamic life even if not living there, then why didn't Muslims begin launching violent attacks in the West against Westerners starting when the West began to have a strong presence in the Middle East, in the early in the 1900s?

My answer: because today's radical interpretation of the Koran by extremists is just that - a radical interpretation. It's a political movement much more than it is a religious movement.

jmcnulty
01-15-2008, 08:13 PM
It goes back before Osama's birth. Hassan Al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood have been around since at least the Forties. The doctrine of taqfir -- that anyone, including non-practicing Muslims, can be justly killed, goes back at least to Sayyid Qtub and the Fifties. He had been hostile to the West (feeling that the West has caused a new time of paganism in the Muslim world, aided by Muslims "hypocrites," like Kings and Emirs) since he had visited the United States in the Forties. For example, he found a church dance to be full of sexual innuendo and the shamelessness of men and women dancing, swaying to the music, during the Fourties! Read "The Looming Tower" by Lawrence Wright (no rightwinger, he is a writer for The New Yorker). Two things caused this to become a worldwide problem: (1) the Afghan War, where Arabs united to fight an invasion by the pagan Soviet Union, and (2) Arab oil money, which has made worldwide influence possible. Bin Laden writes that Muslims and Allah solely defeated the Soviet Union; he never acknowledges the role of the West, which provided the Stinger missles that turned the tide. He now thinks that we will be easier to defeat, since we will not sustain the casualies that the Soviet Union did. Sayyid Qtub was hanged by Nasser in the Sixties and became a martyr to the Islamic cause. His last visitor before the hanging was Anwar Sadat, who begged him to accept Nasser's compromise that would save his life. Incredibly, Wright says that during that meeting Qtub was told that he could become Minister of Education in Nasser's government. He refused. He said that he had spent years trying to achieve martyrdom and was not going to be talked out of it at the last moment by pagans claiming to be Muslims. Hassan Al-Banna was shot in the street, probably by secret policemen of the Egyptian government, in the Fifties. This is not just a reinterpretion of sources. It is a reformation, a return to the pure Islam. We represent an obstacle to them.

David_PA
01-15-2008, 10:08 PM
It is a reformation, a return to the pure Islam.
Bin Laden and other proponents of radical Islam would like their followers and those they are recruiting to believe that what they are advocating is a pure form of Islam. But, we've heard many respected Islamic scholars and religious leaders dispute the validity of these interpretations of the Koran that the radicals are pitching, pointing out that they are mis-using Koran passages that -- while they do for call for violence, do so essentially only against invaders who pose an existential threat to Islam.

In a sense the US did invade the Muslim world in the big "for instance" - Iraq. By going into Iraq we played right into the radical recruiter's hands and made it easier for them to fallaciously interpret the Koran.

jmcnulty
01-16-2008, 10:19 AM
Bin Laden, Zawahiri and company where claiming defensive jihad long before the occupation of Iraq. For example, Bin Laden claimed that the West was "stealing" the oil of the Middle East. This was back when oil was $15.00 a barrel. Now, it is $100.00 a barrel, and Saudi Arabia, for instance, has an additional $500 million PER DAY to invest. Are we stealing their oil, a natural resource that they neither found nor developed? Oddly enough, in English they claim defensive jihad (that they are just reacting to our aggression), to fool the Ron Pauls among us, while in messages in Arabic to the Muslim world they claim offensive jihad, the conquest of the infidel West for the greater glory of Islam -- the next step after defeating the Soviet Union, the more powerful pagan superpower. Yes, you can find Muslim scholars who say this is not the real Islam and Bin Laden and companu are not faithful to "peaceful Islam," so why are the redicals not consigned to obscurity as being outside Islam? Are they part of the Umma or not? When the Ku Klux Klan was lynching blacks 100 years ago, and black leaders charged that the white majority, by doing nothing, was showing its own racism, were they wrong?