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Problems, solutions and more problems with Islam
Posted by: McQ on Friday, December 30, 2005

Personally, I welcome this article by Abdurrahman Wahid in today's WSJ. Finally someone in the international Muslim community speaks plainly and forcefully about the problem of radical Islam. But, as you'll see, it has left me with as many questions as answers:
An extreme and perverse ideology in the minds of fanatics is what directly threatens us (specifically, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology--a minority fundamentalist religious cult fueled by petrodollars). Yet underlying, enabling and exacerbating this threat of religious extremism is a global crisis of misunderstanding.

All too many Muslims fail to grasp Islam, which teaches one to be lenient towards others and to understand their value systems, knowing that these are tolerated by Islam as a religion. The essence of Islam is encapsulated in the words of the Quran, "For you, your religion; for me, my religion." That is the essence of tolerance. Religious fanatics--either purposely or out of ignorance--pervert Islam into a dogma of intolerance, hatred and bloodshed. They justify their brutality with slogans such as "Islam is above everything else." They seek to intimidate and subdue anyone who does not share their extremist views, regardless of nationality or religion. While a few are quick to shed blood themselves, countless millions of others sympathize with their violent actions, or join in the complicity of silence.

This crisis of misunderstanding--of Islam by Muslims themselves--is compounded by the failure of governments, people of other faiths, and the majority of well-intentioned Muslims to resist, isolate and discredit this dangerous ideology. The crisis thus afflicts Muslims and non-Muslims alike, with tragic consequences. Failure to understand the true nature of Islam permits the continued radicalization of Muslims world-wide, while blinding the rest of humanity to a solution which hides in plain sight.
A Wahid points out, the stakes are not just high for "other faiths" but for the rest of Islam itself. The Salfi ideology is pernicious and the ignorance of many Muslims about the real tenets of their faith leads them into silent support (or if not support at least acceptance) of the radicals.

What is the solution that Wahid says "hides in plain sight"?
The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view--further radicalizing Muslims, and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself.

Accomplishing this task will be neither quick nor easy. In recent decades, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology has made substantial inroads throughout the Muslim world. Islamic fundamentalism has become a well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West. To neutralize the virulent ideology that underlies fundamentalist terrorism and threatens the very foundations of modern civilization, we must identify its advocates, understand their goals and strategies, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and effectively counter their every move. What we are talking about is nothing less than a global struggle for the soul of Islam.
Or to condense his point, it is time Muslim clerics of all sects begin a conscious and deliberate campaign to educate their own congregants as well as other religions about "true Islam" while also loudly and consistently condemning "false Islam". Until that is done, the "soul of Islam" belongs to the only voice out there at the moment ... that of the radicals.

To this point, however, I've not seen such a movement materializing in so-called "moderate" Islam.

There are, probably, several psychological reasons for this which can explain why this sort of campaign has never been mounted in the 3 years since 9/11. One, for instance, is the bulk of Islam is concentrated in 3rd world or developing nations who've always seen themselves 2nd class citizens of the world. Perverse as it may seem, they see radical Islam as a movement that is at least striking out at those who they view as their oppressors (colonial memories are long).

This too is something which has to be overcome.

Then there is the sheer size of the Islamic community not to mention the thousands of cultures in which it is found. While Wahid's point is well taken and correct, overcoming the physical and psychological hurdles also ranks as a very difficult job. So while the solution sounds reasonable and easy, it isn't.

To Wahid's credit, he recognizes some of the problems faced by any movement within Islam and offers 14 "strengths" within moderate Islam which should be used to battle Islamic extremism:
 
An effective counterstrategy must be based upon a realistic assessment of our own strengths and weaknesses in the face of religious extremism and terror. Disunity, of course, has proved fatal to countless human societies faced with a similar existential threat. A lack of seriousness in confronting the imminent danger is likewise often fatal. Those who seek to promote a peaceful and tolerant understanding of Islam must overcome the paralyzing effects of inertia, and harness a number of actual or potential strengths, which can play a key role in neutralizing fundamentalist ideology. These strengths not only are assets in the struggle with religious extremism, but in their mirror form they point to the weakness at the heart of fundamentalist ideology. They are:

1) Human dignity, which demands freedom of conscience and rejects the forced imposition of religious views; 2) the ability to mobilize immense resources to bring to bear on this problem, once it is identified and a global commitment is made to solve it; 3) the ability to leverage resources by supporting individuals and organizations that truly embrace a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 4) nearly 1,400 years of Islamic traditions and spirituality, which are inimical to fundamentalist ideology; 5) appeals to local and national--as well as Islamic--culture/traditions/pride; 6) the power of the feminine spirit, and the fact that half of humanity consists of women, who have an inherent stake in the outcome of this struggle; 7) traditional and Sufi leadership and masses, who are not yet radicalized (strong numeric advantage: 85% to 90% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims); 8) the ability to harness networks of Islamic schools to propagate a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 9) the natural tendency of like-minded people to work together when alerted to a common danger; 10) the ability to form a global network of like-minded individuals, organizations and opinion leaders to promote moderate and progressive ideas throughout the Muslim world; 11) the existence of a counterideology, in the form of traditional, Sufi and modern Islamic teachings, and the ability to translate such works into key languages; 12) the benefits of modernity, for all its flaws, and the widespread appeal of popular culture; 13) the ability to cross national and cultural borders in the name of religion; 14) Internet communications, to disseminate progressive views--linking and inspiring like-minded individuals and organizations throughout the world; 15) the nation-state; and 16) the universal human desire for freedom, justice and a better life for oneself and loved ones.
I've highlighted what I consider some of the critical points in his list. That's not to say that the other points he makes aren't important, but instead to say that the emphasized points may be more important.

The first is probably the most important, and most difficult. The inclusion of women in the battle against radical Islam, given moderate Islam's treatment of women. This goes to a point I've made before about the reformation of the religion of Islam. Not secularization, but reformation, in which the status of women is elevated to that of an equal. While I think Wahid's point about women is critical to the battle against radical Islam, I don't foresee much success in their attempted inclusion without that reformation.

The point of "harnessing" the Islamic schools is also another very important point. This is where the basics of Islam are taught to the young. This is where the foundations are laid of the faith that they will call their own. It is incredibly important, in the long term fight against radical Islam, that these institutions be in the forefront of presenting the reformed, or at least moderate, Islamic ideology. Without them, all the other work is transitory at best. If another generation is not taught that the tenets of radical Islam are a preversion, then all the rest of the program Wahid discusses is for naught.

Modernity and embracing it is also critical (and again points to the need for a reformation within the religion). This is one tough but critical sale. If radical Islam is successful in its attempt to cast modern western life as inimical to Islam in general, it can use that boogey man whenever it sees its support slipping. Of course one method of waging the fight is indeed the internet, as modern a method of communication as one can use. It is not only critical in waging the fight which Whaid outlines, but a great example in the face of the Salfi argument against modernity (and its hypocrisy, since it uses the internet itself).

Can and will Islam as a whole, the so-called moderate Islam, actually engage in such a fight for its soul? I'm really not sure it is able or in fact willing to do so at this time. As I've pointed out, it's been 3 years, and really nothing in the form of a movement to "take back Islam" is to be found. Wahid's article is one of the first stirrings of such a movement, but when you analyze it, you can understand the vast difficulties unreformed Islam has in implementing many of the points he feels are important to success.

While Wahid never addresses the point, I'm left wondering if Islam can wage this fight without the mentioned reformation? Perhaps, at some point, Salfi extremism will force that sort of reckoning within the higher echelons of Islam. But until then, and even with the problem and solution neatly laid out for them by Mr. Wahid, can unreformed Islam respond?

 
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Basic agreement, all points.

One further point that I haven’t heard much of however, is that there is no real hierarchy within the Muslim religious world as there is in say the various offshoots of Christianity. Even the various Christian sects are not nearly as desperate in their beliefs (and thereby the definition of being within the religion) as Muslims would seem to be. This presents some complications in terms of getting the "true Islam" message out; the various leaders themselves because there is no hierarchy cannot seem to agree on the tenants of the religion; Without the strong leadership model, the messages being sent on mixed at best.

This is one reason I’ve always been somewhat uncomfortable with the phrase "Islamic fundamentalism"; there is still a great deal of argument as to specifically what that phrase means, because the fundamentals of Islam are still in the discussion stage.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Oops.
desperate = disperate.
Sorry.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
One further point that I haven’t heard much of however, is that there is no real hierarchy within the Muslim religious world as there is in say the various offshoots of Christianity.

Wycliff, Luther, Huss and Calvin would hardly be considered a part of the church heirarchy, but they are among the many who drove the Christian Protestant reformation.

Heirarchies are less likely to reform what is working for them. Those effected by those heirarchies and who are in disagreement with the direction (or their take on ideology) are.

That being said, I see none of that, at the moment, in moderate Islam either. People like Wahid are certainly taking exception with Salfi ideology, but there is no real questioning of the religion as a whole anywhere that I’ve seen.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I guess the first step is the hardest, and all that. But I was troubled by two of his top three "strengths", both by their nature and by the fact that he places them above the ones McQ bolded:
2) the ability to mobilize immense resources to bring to bear on this problem, once it is identified and a global commitment is made to solve it; 3) the ability to leverage resources by supporting individuals and organizations that truly embrace a peaceful and tolerant Islam;
Perhaps I am simply hamstrung by too many years observing politics and world affairs from a libertarian viewpoint. But that sounds to me like a veiled request for handouts.

I understand his concern. The Saudis have billions to spend on promoting Wahhabism. But throwing money at the problem won’t help.

The "moderate" Muslims must be at the forefront of any reformation. Furthermore, they must be seen to do so for ideological, not financial, reasons.

I’m all for supporting those who do that, once they’ve made their commitment clear. But we can’t do their jobs for them. We can only provide an environment in which they can make progress.

The Iraq War is, of course, a major part of that. It provides the physical and financial environment, assuming continued progress there. And it tells the fundamentalist state leaders that there are limits to their options in promoting fundamentalism. That’s where our resources and capabilities are best used. I don’t think that contribution was even mentioned by the author (if he did, I overlooked it).

Does he disagree with it? Or fail to appreciate its importance? Or agree and understand, but be reluctant to be seen as supportive? If it’s the latter, and he’s not willing to be supportive of what we do, on what basis does he expect us to trust the initiatives of others such as himself?

Our own anti-poverty programs demonstrate the foolishness of throwing money at a problem that we don’t really know how to solve. Such efforts make things worse, not better.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
To this point, however, I’ve not seen such a movement materializing in so-called "moderate" Islam.
This true of many things, not just Islam.

Where is the Christian moderation movement organizing against the likes of Pat Robertson and the religious right? Why arent the moderate Republicans and Democrats taking to the street to decry the idealogical shifts of their parties? Why are elections so polarized when those voters who are registered as independants are at an all time high?

Moderates generally make up the vast bulk of any population, but are almost universally those whose voices are least heard. This isnt particularly unique to Islam. Those with the loudest voices tend to be those most disconnected from reality.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
Wycliff, Luther, Huss and Calvin would hardly be considered a part of the church heirarchy, but they are among the many who drove the Christian Protestant reformation.
Luther, in particular, was certainly a leader of the Lutheran church.
Heirarchies are less likely to reform what is working for them
As a broadband statement that’s true. However, in a religious context they are also less likely to come up with bloody-minded radicalism characterized by Wahabi-ism.
Those effected by those heirarchies and who are in disagreement with the direction (or their take on ideology) are.
...
but there is no real questioning of the religion as a whole anywhere that I’ve seen.
That’s because in a very real sense, there’s nobody to question.

Think about this in comparison;
In your example, Luther had the advantage of having a Pope to proverbally set on fire. A focal point, if you will. I daresay that Luther would not been able to be nearly as effective had he needed to fight a decentralized authority.

OTOH in the Islamic world, there is no such person, no such leader, no such group, even, to ask such questions of. That makes the process of questioning these radicalized versions of Islam all the harder, even assuming one isn’t going to get killed for asking the questions, or rasing challanges. To whom does one go for an authority of view on what, specifically, Islam is? I have asked that question many times in the past and usually get referred to the Koran. That answer of course, is problematic, given the number of different slants on the meaning of the Koran that there are. Certainly there are a number of different slants as well on the Bible, as well. However I would point out that there is still an authority structure in place there, which tends to narrow the Interpretations down by quite a bit.

Say what you will of centralized authority from a libertarian perspective. You won’t get a great deal of argument from me on the point. However, let’s admit that, ironically, having a focal point for such discussion in the form of some authority figure or some authority group, is a distinct advantage to those questioning existing policy, or in the case of religion, tenants of that religion.

Without such a structure, all kinds of things pop up... The religion becomes whatever certain protagonists say it is... such as the afore-mentioned Wahabi... And there’s nobody of authority within the religion to say ’no’.

The Catholic church certainly had its bloody periods. And why did these stop? Someone sitting in authority within the church said "stop".

Who is of the like in the Islamic world? Nobody that I can see.





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Where is the Christian moderation movement organizing against the likes of Pat Robertson and the religious right?
A not-very-relevant comparison. Pat and friends are not out there providing resources and assistance that facilitate the mass death of their ideological opponents.

Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, et. al. don’t have to be organized against. Wider society, including people from other Christan demoninations, have ridiculed them as whackjobs.
Moderates generally make up the vast bulk of any population, but are almost universally those whose voices are least heard.
Doesn’t look that way to me. The last fifteen years of domestic activity by the federal government looks like an almost-unbroken string of appealing to moderates. Certainly the leftists are not happy that we don’t have single-payer healthcare, etc. etc., and the right is unhappy that (1) we haven’t squashed the Department of Education, NPR, National Endowment for the Arts, etc. or taken any other activity to limit the size and scope of government, and (2) their pet agenda for abortion, etc. has not been implemented.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
However, let’s admit that, ironically, having a focal point for such discussion in the form of some authority figure or some authority group, is a distinct advantage to those questioning existing policy, or in the case of religion, tenants of that religion.

But that focal point exists in the form of the Wahhabits or Salfi. What more does the rest of Islam need in that regard(except a reformer or reformers to step forward and, well, reform)? They are the threat to the religion of Islam. They are the reason to do something, and soon.

My question isn’t so much does Islam need to be reformed (yes, it does in my opinion) or even whether it can be reformed (and I’d submit the jury is definitely out on that one) but can it do what Wahid says it must do without being reformed?

I don’t think it can, and that is a major problem.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
But that focal point exists in the form of the Wahhabits or Salfi. What more does the rest of Islam need in that regard(except a reformer or reformers to step forward and, well, reform)?
Kevlar vests, for one thing.

More correctly, at this stage in the game, military power.... and that being the answer, because in the end it is nothing short of military power that the remainder of Islam would be going up against.

As you and I have discussed in the spaces previously, changing hearts and minds is a long slow process. Unfortunately, given what we’re up against it’s probably going to be a very bloody one, too.

One thing though, about that; I figure that was part of the idea, going into Iraq in the first place. Establishing a democracy in such a place, after all, would certainly lend itself to work toward altering, and, need I say it, pacifying, Islamic society, and controlling the more violent and radical elements. My take is that if such a person or group is to rise up against the Wahhabits or Salfi, they will be the product of a freshly reformed Iraq.

Which would do a fair job of explaining why the Syrias and the Jordans and the Irans are so very concerned, just now.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Wahid is typical of a "muslim moderate" because he refuses to accept that traditional Islam, as practised by Mohammad himself and the first Caliphs, may actually advocate violent conquest and archaine laws. Islam needs to be reformed, according to him, by a movement to only address the extrmists themselves rather adress the violent ideology of jihad at all.
He ignores the scriptural motivations of terror and decides insted that "we must identify its advocates, understand their goals and strategies, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and effectively counter their every move." what about causes? why does nearly all terror in the world get carried out by muslims?
Whatever organizations or movements within Islam that try to fight terror must recognize that some actual words of the koran must be ignored or taken figuratively, else they will be beating around the bush for decades wordering why their strategy doesn’t work.

P.S. The Grand Ayatolla of Iran is sort of like the pope of Shi’at Islam. Why does the one guy who is supposed to be the leader of the Shi’ats and the enforcer of Islamic law refuse to condemn terror and in fact praises the "martyrs" of palestine? Could it be those 1400 year old books he likes to read?
 
Written By: Ramen Noodles
URL: http://
A few things puzzle me. If christianity is so hierarchichal(?) and/or structured, how do we get so many variations, from Branch Davidians to Mormons to whatever? There may be a hierarchy, but it doesn’t seem to be very restrictive.
As for Islam, one would think that after about 1500 years the true interpretation would be fairly widespread, or at least some general agreement on whether it is proper to slaughter non-believers. Perhaps there is, and Ramen Noodles is correct. There is certainly no lack of religious authorities in Islam, all of whom have studied it intensely and at length, and a large number of whom have somehow misinterpreted it, according to Wahid.
I think it is obvious that I am more than a little skeptical of the proposition that the problems could be solved by a little more study of the Koran, that the slaughter is all the result of misunderstanding.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
McQ says this:
Or to condense his point, it is time Muslim clerics of all sects begin a conscious and deliberate campaign to educate their own congregants as well as other religions about "true Islam" while also loudly and consistently condemning "false Islam". Until that is done, the "soul of Islam" belongs to the only voice out there at the moment ... that of the radicals.

To this point, however, I’ve not seen such a movement materializing in so-called "moderate" Islam.

There are, probably, several psychological reasons for this which can explain why this sort of campaign has never been mounted in the 3 years since 9/11. One, for instance, is the bulk of Islam is concentrated in 3rd world or developing nations who’ve always seen themselves 2nd class citizens of the world. Perverse as it may seem, they see radical Islam as a movement that is at least striking out at those who they view as their oppressors (colonial memories are long).
And then he says this:
Can and will Islam as a whole, the so-called moderate Islam, actually engage in such a fight for its soul? I’m really not sure it is able or in fact willing to do so at this time. As I’ve pointed out, it’s been 3 years, and really nothing in the form of a movement to "take back Islam" is to be found. Wahid’s article is one of the first stirrings of such a movement, but when you analyze it, you can understand the vast difficulties unreformed Islam has in implementing many of the points he feels are important to success.
Interesting. Maybe one of the problems moderate muslims have in renouncing radical Islam is that the United States sanctions the torture of moderate muslims. The Bush administration literally gives aid to regimes that boil - yes, boil - muslims to death.

Sounds crazy, right? Nope.

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, is defying a gag order from Tony Blair and disclosing secret UK government memos detailing coordination between the US, UK, and Uzbek governments when it comes to torturing moderate muslims. From one memo in ’02:
The Economist of 7 September states: "Uzbekistan, in particular, has jailed many thousands of moderate Islamists, an excellent way of converting their families and friends to extremism." The Economist also spoke of "the growing despotism of Mr Karimov" and judged that "the past year has seen a further deterioration of an already grim human rights record". I agree.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 political and religious prisoners are currently detained, many after trials before kangaroo courts with no representation. Terrible torture is commonplace: the EU is currently considering a demarche over the terrible case of two Muslims tortured to death in jail apparently with boiling water. Two leading dissidents, Elena Urlaeva and Larissa Vdovna, were two weeks ago committed to a lunatic asylum, where they are being drugged, for demonstrating on human rights. Opposition political parties remain banned. There is no doubt that September 11 gave the pretext to crack down still harder on dissent under the guise of counter-terrorism.
Yet on 8 September the US State Department certified that Uzbekistan was improving in both human rights and democracy, thus fulfilling a constitutional requirement and allowing the continuing disbursement of $140 million of US aid to Uzbekistan this year. Human Rights Watch immediately published a commendably sober and balanced rebuttal of the State Department claim.
From ’03:
2. Last year the US gave half a billion dollars in aid to Uzbekistan, about a quarter of it military aid. Bush and Powell repeatedly hail Karimov as a friend and ally. Yet this regime has at least seven thousand prisoners of conscience; it is a one party state without freedom of speech, without freedom of media, without freedom of movement, without freedom of assembly, without freedom of religion. It practices, systematically, the most hideous tortures on thousands. Most of the population live in conditions precisely analogous with medieval serfdom.

....

5. I was stunned to hear that the US had pressured the EU to withdraw a motion on Human Rights in Uzbekistan which the EU was tabling at the UN Commission for Human Rights in Geneva. I was most unhappy to find that we are helping the US in what I can only call this cover-up. I am saddened when the US constantly quote fake improvements in human rights in Uzbekistan, such as the abolition of censorship and Internet freedom, which quite simply have not happened (I see these are quoted in the draft EBRD strategy for Uzbekistan, again I understand at American urging).
From ’04:
1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.

2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.

3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.

....

15. At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family’s links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services.
One of the reasons why moderate muslims have not come forward to denounce the radicals is that they are themselves being tortured - with the assistance and assent of the Bush administration. Of course, Uzbekistan is but one example of the problem. Abu Gharib is another. Still another is the policy of rendition.

Moderate muslims are not ignorant. They are regularly subjected to lectures like the one McQ serves up that tell them they need to denounce radical Islam in all its forms. How they need to break with the radicals, and reclaim Islam as their own. Of course, then they turn around and see that the Bush administration is aiding and abetting the torture of thousands and thousands of moderate muslims. They know that many of them are innocent, and even if they are not, do not deserve to be boiled with Ameican tax dollars. It hardly seems surprising, then, that they are not denouncing those who are waging war against the Bush administration. Not only is the Bush administration not denouncing the torture, they are funding it and lying to cover it up. And they are turning around and using the information obtained from tortured prisoners to detain and render other muslims.

I hold no brief for the Bush administration or radical Islam. But the complete inability of supporters of the Bush administration to see how Bush administration policies are driving moderate muslims toward the radical is as much a problem as anything else. I cannot control radical Islamists; none of us can. But all of us can control who is elected President of the Untied States. And thus we can control whether our support is thrown to those who boil muslims alive and torture their children. Of course, the complete inability to see anything at all wrong with the Bush administration is a key symptom of the acute form of Bush Derangement syndrome. And thus to expect Bush supporters to protest the boiling of muslims may be asking for too much.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Interesting. Maybe one of the problems moderate muslims have in renouncing radical Islam is that the United States sanctions the torture of moderate muslims.

Well the red herring fisherman is back in business, and he’s doing his fishing from his strawman raft.

This phenomenon of Islam’s failure to renounce it’s radicals isn’t something of recent vintage MK, or’d you miss that?

As for my "lectures", they are at least relevant, unlike yours.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
As for my "lectures", they are at least relevant, unlike yours.


And further, do not require the use of tin foil headgear.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Tim;
A few things puzzle me. If christianity is so hierarchichal(?) and/or structured, how do we get so many variations, from Branch Davidians to Mormons to whatever? There may be a hierarchy, but it doesn’t seem to be very restrictive.
Yes, and no. Two things, perhaps need to be pointed out.

First each of the sects as you mention remain quite hierarchal with their own borders, if you will.

Secondly and more to my original point; Those other sects have taken on the hierarchal structure they have because the church they broke away from.. the Roman church... was similarly structured.

I suggest that most of the sectarian differences within the Christian church have originated within the last 200 to to 300 years. Change within these non Roman Sects has, granted, been coming more rapidly the last hundred years or so,

The ordination of women priests for example. The issue of homosexuals being priests for another example, and so on.

Most of these other sects originally took the aforementioned Martin Luther as their guide, though Martin would hardly know them today, Having taken on a decidedly left wing political tone. The Episcopal church, and some of the Methodist offshoots, for example. I’m rather uncomfortable with some of what the ELCA has been coming up with as well... and I’m Lurtheran myself.

However; for all that, with one notable exception, sectarian differences have not devolved into violence. (The notable exception of course being Ireland... and I’d take that to be more culturally influenced than purely religiously influenced.)

The reason for that is reasonably clear; that precepts within the religion were fairly firmly laid down before all the splitting came along. A goodly number of them arise from and are maintained within what can loosely be called the Judeo Christian ethic. Thereby, would splits have occurred have been comparatively minor. With the exception of the aberration called the inquisition , one can seldom find examples of nonbelievers being a beheaded, for example.
I think it is obvious that I am more than a little skeptical of the proposition that the problems could be solved by a little more study of the Koran, that the slaughter is all the result of misunderstanding.
Perhaps so. Ramen Makes some interesting points, and I think it boils down to all cultures are not equal. There is the distinct possibility that the problem is not so much that they don’t understand the Koran, but that they DO.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
This phenomenon of Islam’s failure to renounce it’s radicals isn’t something of recent vintage MK, or’d you miss that?
Of course not. But then neither is US intervention in the Middle East. After all, the Eisenhower administration overthrew the democratically elected and largely secular government of Iran in the 50’s, and installed a dictator in its place. A dictator who specialized in torturing muslims.

As for my comments being irrelevant, I know you would LIKE them to be, but they’re not. And this is what wingers do not understand about our support for torture of muslims. If you want moderate muslims to step up and denounce radical Islam, you cannot expect them to do so in light of reports of torture of other muslims. Or you cannot expect them to do it easily.

Our support for torture of muslims and the willingness and ability of moderate muslims to turn away from and denounce radical Islam are intertwined. They are not, as you would suggested, unconnected.
And further, do not require the use of tin foil headgear.
Bithead does not believe there is a country called Uzbekistan. That’s how he gets around the problem.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
As for my comments being irrelevant, I know you would LIKE them to be, but they’re not. And this is what wingers do not understand about our support for torture of muslims.

We’ve gone on record numerous times about torture.

But to pretend it is the sole mitigating factor which prevents Islam from condemning it’s radicals is so breathtakingly silly that I’m hard pressed to take anything else you might say about the subject seriously.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Can and will Islam as a whole, the so-called moderate Islam, actually engage in such a fight for its soul? I’m really not sure it is able or in fact willing to do so at this time. As I’ve pointed out, it’s been 3 years, and really nothing in the form of a movement to "take back Islam" is to be found.
I disagree. It seems to me that some Islamist regimes are making some moves in exactly that direction.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
“Those with the loudest voices tend to be those most disconnected from reality. “
Good to hear from you again, Rosensteel.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Bithead does not believe there is a country called Uzbekistan. That’s how he gets around the problem.
No, wrong as usual.
I think you are the one with the problem.
The rest follows.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
But to pretend it is the sole mitigating factor which prevents Islam from condemning it’s radicals is so breathtakingly silly that I’m hard pressed to take anything else you might say about the subject seriously.


I didn’t say it was the "sole" factor. I said it was "as much a problem as anything else." But far be it from me to accuse anyone of mischaracterizing what I said.

I have yet to see any serious person on the right acknowledge the role that US support for regimes that torture and oppress muslims plays in deterring otherwise friendly muslims from renouncing radical Islam. The vitriol heaped upon McCain for his anti-torture effors is perhaps the best evidence that the right "doesn’t get it." Instead, they are simply content to heap scorn on moderate muslims who are not standing on rooftops denouncing radical Islam.

Of course, our invasion of Iraq - and our support for a Shia-dominated regime that is as we speak torturing muslims - doesn’t help either. Sure, there are muslims who benefitted from the invasion, particularly those fundamnetalist Shia who now hold power in Iraq. But to Sunni muslims around the world, who are the vast majority of muslims, our support for a fundamentalist Shia regime bent on torturing, kidnapping and killing Sunnis is hardly the kind of thing that is going to cause moderate muslims to denounce radicals opposed to US hegemony.

The problem with your analysis here, McQ, is that it analyzes the issue in a vacuum, without regard to US support for regimes that torture and oppress muslims, particularly muslims dedicated to democracy. Bush supports Mubarak. Mubarak tortures and imprisons democratic activists. Bush supports the Saudi royal family. The Saudi royal family tortures and imprisons democratic activists. We support the radical Shia government of Iraq. The radical Shia government of Iraq finds support from the Iranian government, which in turn tortures and imprison democratic activists. And so forth.

Indeed, any discussion of the need of moderate muslims that does not include a dicussion of US support for torture of muslims is akin to talking about Santa Claus without talking about Christmas.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I didn’t say it was the "sole" factor. I said it was "as much a problem as anything else."

You know, I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night ... if that wasn’t your intent, then why was it the only thing you brought up in answer to why Islam wasn’t condemning it’s radicals?

This sort of disingenuous babble is getting real old.

You have a problem with the Bush administration which has completely taken over your ability to think rationally. You have become a "blame Bush" machine, able to leap gaping logical chasms in a single bound of hate in order to present your twisted nonsense.

It’s become more than tiresome.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
BDS, McQ.
BDS.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I, being on the ’Islam is evil’ side, don’t see how Islam can be reformed without taking Mohammed out of it.. which would be as accepted as the Jefferson Bible.. While there are certainly and observably peaceful muslims, their actions (or lack of action) do not change what the quran says. Mohammed hated peaceful or ’moderate’ muslims. Reading over his ranting comes across as the extreme right wing hawks trashing and threatning the leftist pacifists..

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/009.qmt.html

Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day ask thee for no exemption from fighting with their goods and persons. And Allah knoweth well those who do their duty.

Only those ask thee for exemption who believe not in Allah and the Last Day, and whose hearts are in doubt, so that they are tossed in their doubts to and fro.

If they had intended to come out, they would certainly have made some preparation therefor; but Allah was averse to their being sent forth; so He made them lag behind, and they were told, "Sit ye among those who sit (inactive)."

If they had come out with you, they would not have added to your (strength) but only (made for) disorder, hurrying to and fro in your midst and sowing sedition among you, and there would have been some among you who would have listened to them. But Allah knoweth well those who do wrong.

Indeed they had plotted sedition before, and upset matters for thee, until,- the Truth arrived, and the Decree of Allah became manifest much to their disgust.

Among them is (many) a man who says: "Grant me exemption and draw me not into trial." Have they not fallen into trial already? and indeed Hell surrounds the Unbelievers (on all sides).

If good befalls thee, it grieves them; but if a misfortune befalls thee, they say, "We took indeed our precautions beforehand," and they turn away rejoicing.

Say: "Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector": and on Allah let the Believers put their trust.

Say: "Can you expect for us (any fate) other than one of two glorious things- (Martyrdom or victory)? But we can expect for you either that Allah will send his punishment from Himself, or by our hands. So wait (expectant); we too will wait with you."


I see Wahid’s comments to us about reforming Islam as not unlike the American Left explaining their positions to Europe..
 
Written By: phuknjrk
URL: http://
I, being on the ’Islam is evil’ side, don’t see how Islam can be reformed without taking Mohammed out of it.. which would be as accepted as the Jefferson Bible.. While there are certainly and observably peaceful muslims, their actions (or lack of action) do not change what the quran says. Mohammed hated peaceful or ’moderate’ muslims. Reading over his ranting comes across as the extreme right wing hawks trashing and threatning the leftist pacifists..

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/009.qmt.html

Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day ask thee for no exemption from fighting with their goods and persons. And Allah knoweth well those who do their duty.

Only those ask thee for exemption who believe not in Allah and the Last Day, and whose hearts are in doubt, so that they are tossed in their doubts to and fro.

If they had intended to come out, they would certainly have made some preparation therefor; but Allah was averse to their being sent forth; so He made them lag behind, and they were told, "Sit ye among those who sit (inactive)."

If they had come out with you, they would not have added to your (strength) but only (made for) disorder, hurrying to and fro in your midst and sowing sedition among you, and there would have been some among you who would have listened to them. But Allah knoweth well those who do wrong.

Indeed they had plotted sedition before, and upset matters for thee, until,- the Truth arrived, and the Decree of Allah became manifest much to their disgust.

Among them is (many) a man who says: "Grant me exemption and draw me not into trial." Have they not fallen into trial already? and indeed Hell surrounds the Unbelievers (on all sides).

If good befalls thee, it grieves them; but if a misfortune befalls thee, they say, "We took indeed our precautions beforehand," and they turn away rejoicing.

Say: "Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector": and on Allah let the Believers put their trust.

Say: "Can you expect for us (any fate) other than one of two glorious things- (Martyrdom or victory)? But we can expect for you either that Allah will send his punishment from Himself, or by our hands. So wait (expectant); we too will wait with you."


I see Wahid’s comments to us about reforming Islam as not unlike the American Left explaining their positions to Europe..
 
Written By: phuknjrk
URL: http://
Solutions:

Consolidate a detailed list of countries where Moderate Muslims are tortured. Compile an offshoot of our foreign policy toward those nations. Compile credible witnesses to the acts and I mean CREDIBLE.
Compile US contributions to those said nations.
Compile demographic breakdown of types of tribes (Belief being tortured in opposition to the predominating parties) and compare to other countries of similar wealth and history if any.

Big task. impossible? no bt hard and expensive.

Tell them all that Islam is just not the answer, pretty cheap but does not get you anywhere.

Appease Islam, and die like the rest of them in time - brutally.

It has to get fixed and very, very soon.

This is not a political thing. But remember that interests for all are at stake.
 
Written By: Newc
URL: http://
It’s a little difficult to take seriously complaints about torture of Muslims as a cause for radical Islam, when Muslims themselves were torturing each other as a matter of routine for literally thousands of years before we were ever a gunship on the horizon.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"For you, your religion; for me, my religion."
First time I’ve heard this one. Naturally, my heart palpated a bit. My question: how many Muslim clerics actually endorse this view? Three guys in Detroit don’t count.
 
Written By: ckreiz
URL: http://
Just kidding, Rosensteel.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://

Six Simple Words
 
Written By: alarmclock
URL: http://www.crescentandcross.com/
"For you, your religion; for me, my religion."

Oh it’s in there.. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch summed this up pretty well..

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/009623.php

"For you, your religion; for me, my religion" is from Sura 109 of the Qur’an. Muslim scholars consider it an early Meccan sura. Traditional Islamic theology has held for centuries that on points of disagreement the later Medinan suras take precedence over the early Meccan ones -- and in what most Muslim authorities consider to be the last sura of all, Surat At-Tawba (sura 9), we find the "Ayat as-Seif" (Verse of the Sword, verse 5) and the call to wage war against Jews and Christians until they submit as inferiors under Islamic rule (verse 29). The idea that sura 109 must be understood in light of this material was not invented by Wahhabis: it is taught by the great medieval Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir; by As-Suyuti, another revered commentator, and by many others."
 
Written By: phuknjrk
URL: http://
He clearly delineates the problem.
An extreme and perverse ideology in the minds of fanatics is what directly threatens us (specifically, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology--a minority fundamentalist religious cult fueled by petrodollars).
In recent decades, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology has made substantial inroads throughout the Muslim world. Islamic fundamentalism has become a well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West.


Then he goes all kind of tangential. Saying what is required is reform of Islamic practice to benefit the Islamic people by the coordinated worldwide teaching of inherently moderate Islam.

This is by far the stupidist solution I have seen (this year). That we should commit trillions of dollars to create a UN run World Church of Moderate Islam. (We would need trillions to out spend the Sauds.) And the real beauty is that it might not even work, because is Mohammed in Yemen going to listen when Imman Wilbur from San Jose says he needs to prefer one sura over the one his father prefered, as did his father before that...all the way back 1400 years?

Is this the best answer? NO OF COURSE IT ISN’T.

The best answer is to stop the flow of petro dollars. This can by done by following the Kyoto protocols and reducing petroleum consumption, handing over our economies to control of UN based greenies (just kidding).

The best answer is to delete the Sauds. Two generations of Sauds have promoted this degenerate form of Islam. It has destroyed the lives of millions and killed thousands. Deleting the Sauds will be easy if the Americans do not protect them, but way too hard if the Americans do protect them.

When the petrodollars stop flowing some may still choose to live in abject poverty as a devout followers of their preferred sura, but most will want a TV, Mercedes & really nice shoes and be forced to compromise. It will no longer be possible to have both.

If America continues to protect the Islamofacist Sauds then desperate solutiuons like Mr Wahids may need to be adopted. Right now France is in the lead developing an Islamic education program to produce locally grown moderate Immams and if it works there it could be applied worldwide like Mr Wahid suggests. A French led, UN run, World Church of Islam - looking forward to it already.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
The best answer is to delete the Sauds. Two generations of Sauds have promoted this degenerate form of Islam. It has destroyed the lives of millions and killed thousands. Deleting the Sauds will be easy if the Americans do not protect them, but way too hard if the Americans do protect them.
I don’t suppose that you would see any negative impact from what you propose?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I don’t suppose that you would see any negative impact from what you propose?
Bad effects are on a par with removing Saddam - thousands will die, fundamentalist muslims will be very angry (but they do not like us anyway), the price of oil will increase dramatically for an undetermined period, new & western values of free religious expression will be imposed on a muslim nation.

They use their religion as a WMD.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
No, not just thousands, but millions.
Problem is you’re not thinking far enough ahead. What power structure do you propose putting in place of the Saudis, that isn’t more overtly fundamentalist Islam? What you propose I fear, will only serve to make their covert support for terrorism, even assuming it does exist , more overt and thereby more problematic. More deadly. The remaining states that are Saudi puppets, would join in the fight against us.

Iraq was certainly one of these in many ways. So too, Libya, and Afghanistan. You will note that these are fallen, one by one. If you look closely enough you may deduct that there is a bit of a plan going on here.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
The remaining states that are Saudi puppets, would join in the fight against us.
There are no Saudi puppets. Except possibly Yemen where some tribes are the same as in Saudi. Saudi can only make puppets of those people who are too greedy or in desperate need of funding. True the Taliban were Saudi co-religionists and did get a lot of Saudi funding, because they were desperate. However Libya and Iraq were never puppets of Saudi. Saudi is too weak to threaten them and they too rich to require Saudi cash. Saddam was the largest threat to Saudi for all of the 80s & 90s. Saudis only friends to date have been the Taliban, Yemen, USA and UK.
No, not just thousands, but millions.
Right now we have a state (Saudi) that promotes a form of religious supremacism that demands the death or subjucation of all infidels, the state (Saudi) and its genocidal religion is protected by the only superpower (America). So far this partnership (Saudi/America) has been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people and will kill many more.

How can it get worse?
What you propose I fear, will only serve to make their covert support for terrorism, even assuming it does exist , more overt and thereby more problematic.
If Saudi & Yemen starts openly attacking America, declares war on America - is this a problem? You are scared of this? Why?

In my opinion the armed forces of America are more than adequate to deal with these threats.
What power structure do you propose putting in place of the Saudis, that isn’t more overtly fundamentalist Islam?
A military backed dictatorship, run by a strongman that will be backed by America. It has worked well in Chile, Indonesia & S. Korea.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/

 
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