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Asra Nomani in The Daily Beast: Spy on White People

(cross-posted from avari)

By Haroon Moghul

So, Asra Nomani writes an(other) embarrasing example of self-hatred for The Daily Beast, applauding law enforcement’s apparent targeting of Muslims throughout the Greater New York City area. Her essay is riddled with simple errors, clear misperceptions of how law and constitutionalism function, an inability to process profiling, and some faulty logic, perhaps the finest instance of which is here:

Indeed, just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don’t police ourselves enough.

The first part of her sentence, about Colombians, is actually right on (by her silly logic); the second part contradicts her own logic (she can call for profiling some Latinos, but she doesn’t have the courage to apply her racializing logic to white America), and everything after “I believe” speaks to how little Asra actually knows anything about the Muslim community, as well as the several seconds of your life which you could have done something better with.For law enforcement to go after white extremism the way it seems to be going after Muslims (at least, with respect to the NYPD), they wouldn’t be going after the KKK, as Asra suggests–unless Asra means to suggest that Muslim student organizations at Yale and UPenn are offshoots of al Qaeda. Law enforcement would instead have to spy on as many white institutions (churches, civic clubs, student organizations, etc.) as they could.

Because, of course, by Asra’s article’s painful logic, a person’s whiteness is a sufficiently significant lead to get law enforcement to pay attention to him, just as a Muslim institution is, on the grounds of its Muslimness, a target of suspicion sufficient to merit law enforcement’s full attention. This is a point Amy Davidson made far more succinctly in an excellent post at The New Yorker:

There is a difference between chasing clues and treating Islam, in and of itself, as a lead.

Does Asra mean to suggest we should be spying on white folks indiscriminately, because they, like the KKK, are white? Should we spy on white Muslims twice, since they are white and Muslim, and so somehow become extremists that hate themselves. I spoke about this issue on a far more relevant basis to Welton Gaddy of State of Belief Radio.

By the way, I’ll be at Fordham’s Manhattan campus today (Monday, March 5th), speaking about the long history of Islam and especially Islam in America. It’s free, and I’ll try to make it fun, educational, and enlightening. We’ll be starting at 6pm at Fordham’s South Lounge inside 113 West 60th Street, right off Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The event ends at 8pm.

Haroon Moghul is a Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. He is an Associate Editor and columnist at Religion Dispatches and writes for the Huffington Post.

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  • MANOJ KUMAR

    @Robin
    Yes robin average persian (farmers,artisans) welcomed islam but you won’t accept it because you don’t want to accept it.You accept that part of history that that suits your scheme of things where as i see history with all its failures and glories.What we have today as a grand human civilization has contribution from all previous cultures and i see islam as one which changed entire history of mankind where you see it as something which only brought deaths and destruction.You see islam only through its kings and queens who manipulated islam for their sake where as i see it through its scholars,poets,sufis,philosophers besides its failures.Do you think Afgans could have been won by swords when even Alexedrer could not defeat them.What you say about mongols and turks.Perhaps you don’t know mongols almost destroyed iraq before they embraced islam.What about islam in south east asia,were they conquered by swords?Why don’t you accept that sufism played big role in spread of islam in india and other parts of the world.Poor and low caste people in india who suffered worst form of racism accepted islam because it preached equality of human being.Even today in india low caste people are discriminated.Why don’t you accept islam when it came, had better ideas as compared to previous cultures.Today we have a global culture that need not be compared with previous cultures as it sum of all previous cultures.Muslims are facing tough time but things will change with passage of time as time is greatest healer.So please don’t poison the atmosphere with your neocon ideas as you people are greatest obstacle to the world peace and you people feed on the ignorance of common masses who in absence of personal moments of glory fall prey to the ideas of your likes and live in reflected glory of the past.For god sake don’t distort history as it can lead to another holocaust and this time it will be more dangerous and gory. Please stop invoking saudi and moral police there,they don’t even constitute one percent of muslim population.What do you think muslim men and women get punished for dating.This happens in few pockets of their world.Turkey,Indonesia,Malaysia,Pakistan,Central Asian countries and even in most arab countries people lead life as in other parts of the world date,romance and have fun.Why do you stick to Saudi.Even muslims don’t think they have anything to do with islam but represents preislamic cultural baggage and patriarchy.Sporadic incidents should not be construed as a general trend.Sharia is problematic at many points and who said it is fixed and it cannot be improved.Islamic laws always changed and many schools of jurisprudence shows that it islam is open for interpretation and innovation.

  • Ilisha

    @Robin

    I don’t see a point in continuing this discussion.

    Muslims will continue to follow Sharia and shape their countries the way they like, if they can at last get out from under the Western boot. They don’t need anyone’s approval.

    You can go one believing whatever you like.

  • Robin

    @ Ilisha

    “Now they want chopping off hands, stonings…”

    These are being asked for in the Egyptian parliament as we speak!

    I don’t think you know anything about Sharia, other than what can be gleaned from anti-Muslim hate sites.

    You’d be wrong here – that’s why I am so worried about the Shari’a – I assumed when I got off the plane from a country that practised it – that I was leaving it behind!!

    Terrified actually that – we could possibly see it here [in the west] – devastated if it is done through the back door without thought and proper debate.

    The ‘racism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ arguments – you’ll find don’t work with me!!

    We stick to real ideas!!

    [Alcohol was on sale there - and in some supermarkets pork was also on sale !!]

    But I think you have spent too much time in the free world – while there – in moderate-Sharia – people were arrested for ‘eating during Ramadan’ and ‘leaving Islam’ also I witnessed first hand a ‘woman arrested for going on a date’.

    Its the kind of thing – no Islamic spokesperson versed in Western norms – can take out of your head – or can make you feel somehow bad – for believing that this was wrong – and in violation of all that I believed!

    Here Shari’a appeared to have stepped outside of the person guidance range – far too much for my liking !!

    And here lies the problem – we assume a healthy separation between church and state.

    [The whole society - rather than freed - looks to be paralyzed by these restrictions]

    ::

    Talk to the Saudis and the first thing they tell you about is how ‘ordered their society is – that they don’t have problems like the west does. [Don't say Islamic police state...] – but in western chaos – we get a lot of things that go wrong – but an amazing amount that goes right as well. That’s why people flock there for its success – and the chance to do the same for themselves – in freedom.

    ::

    As for the prevalence of dictators – Muslims give up their religious freedoms at a drop of a hat – they can’t seem to give enough of their freedoms away – for the purpose of ‘personal religious guidance’ via the state – and you wonder why dictators settle in – it must be like taking candy from a baby!! It’s becoming predictable – the Islamic world has revolutions every 30 to 40 years – like clockwork.

    Look at Al Jazeera – Middle East Muslims have a selection of things which they are allowed to criticize – it would appear – these include mainly the US and Israel – if they paid a portion of that attention to the state of their own countries – if they were able to converse freely – even to a small degree of what you see in the US – they would not need a revolution – because they would have the right to have a say – without resorting to violent revolt. That’s displaced blame that falls on the US!

    Maybe they should let women have a say more over there – for more balance!!
    More self-criticism – is a must!!

  • Ilisha

    @Robin

    “Am I mistaken in thinking that you are looking for utopia??”

    Yes, you are mistaken. As I said, I like living in the US and exercising my rights within that framework.

    It’s not exactly a “utopia,” but I’m not “seeking” anything with regard to the matters we’re discussing, so I don’t know what prompted your question.

    You’re telling me about the US as if I don’t live here myself, which I do. I’m familiar with how things work here.

    “Now they want chopping off hands, stonings…”

    I don’t think you know anything about Sharia, other than what can be gleaned from anti-Muslim hate sites. There is no reason to assume these sorts of punishments are mandated–that is a scare tactic.

    “Muslims are generally in agreement with the Shari’a”

    Yes, that’s kind of right.

    Sharia means “the path to the watering hole,” which as you can imagine, would be essential information in a desert climate. Muslims believe Sharia is a divine guide to life, a blessing and a gift from Allah–not something negative and threatening.

    Also, it’s misleading to refer to this as “Islamic Law” because it tends to create a false impression, as if Sharia is the same concept as American Law or English Law in a formal legal system.

    Sharia governs many aspects of life, like hygiene, diet, prayer, etc. If you eat pork or drink alcohol, you aren’t going to be arrested. So it’s a guide and not exactly the law–it’s followed because the believer is following his or her religion. Of course, there is also Islamic Law, which I’m not going to delve into here.

    The point is that you shouldn’t refer to Sharia as if it’s just something you’d find only in a courtroom, or say that it’s about beheading and stoning people. That’s just nonsense.

    It’s about Muslims actually practicing their faith, and really, it doesn’t have an impact on you.

    As for the dictatorships in Muslims countries, most were installed and maintained by the West, so that’s hardly a reflection on Islam and Muslims.

    “The west doesn’t pretend to offer utopia – that is why we have accountability – and we are pretty good at it.”

    Actually, you’re the one pretending you live in a utopia.

    You are sloganizing (Women’s rights are human rights!!), but you didn’t answer a single question I asked about the problems with American society.

  • Robin

    @ Ilisha

    Am I mistaken in thinking that you are looking for utopia??

    Yeah, that you have the right to seek it, that you have the right to implement it, yes.

    But also you must understand, that a view greater than a sympathetic one must be taken, as these are real ideas with real consequences – and so on that basis do I make my argument.

    Under free law or rights based laws – like the Amish demonstrate – if a Muslim woman wants to live in a conservative fashion – that is in accordance to Islam – then the law accommodates her wish to live freely as she chooses – in the US when a woman’s career makes her the breadwinner – it is common for the man to stay home with the children.

    But unlike Islamic law there would be no US law to compel the woman – to do anything – in accordance with the Islamic religious belief.

    Egypt’s laws have already been based on the Shari’a – as no law can contradict them – under Mubarak.

    Naturally the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salfists-United want to go even further.

    Now they want chopping off hands, stonings – even crucifixion has been introduced in a new bill… which may or may not pass – but the fact that it has been proposed – does make one think of Somalia!!

    ::

    Its okay to say we don’t want to tell people what to do when it comes to themselves – Muslims are generally in agreement with the Shari’a – love it or hate it – but if one wants to leave their religion or if one belongs to a different religion – should they be subject to the same religious law – Egypt’s Copts are natives – why should church building and repairs face restrictions that mosques do not. Why should praying in one’s home as a group be considered ‘unauthorized’ prayer – an arrestable offense.

    One of the latest troubles in Egypt, was that although a church was burnt out by local Muslim residents, when Copts tried to make repairs – it was the Copt preacher who received 6 months in prison for an architectural technicality – his church was a tiny bit taller than was allowed for a church – which must never exceed the height of the local mosque!!

    And why is it that Bahai children can’t attend state school with all the other children in Egypt?

    Let them work it out – but with minorities – the international community should speak out.

    My belief is that everyone should be treated equally.

    Been to Turkey – the larger cities are somewhat modern/western – the vast countryside rural simple people. It is worth noting that the women in the countryside – are pushing for more freedoms – like choosing who they want to marry – so there is a huge rise in honor killings!!

    The west doesn’t pretend to offer utopia – that is why we have accountability – and we are pretty good at it – how many of our countries end up as dictatorships as most Muslim counties do – see Arab Spring.

    Women’s rights are human rights!!
    Keep them!

  • Robin

    @ MANOJ KUMAR

    Yes the Persian aristocracy fled Arabia on the spread of Islam – this was more than a little local rivalry – they had superior knowledge – for example, these Persians farmed or cultivated an area in Arabia – where they had vacation homes – that became known as the green belt.

    They turn the desert green!!

    But with the rise of Islam – they deserted the place – and never bloomed again!

    Whereas – when there was not a passing caravan – Mecca – was reported to have few if any people at all.

    Let along being in any way technologically advanced – the place was largely deserted.

    Are you claiming that when the – New Muslims fighters – reached the gates of Persia – and called out ‘we love death more than you love your wine’ that the average Persia was overjoyed – and welcomed their conquest!!

    Perhaps you are getting your historical accounts mixed up – as these people were said to be glad when Cyrus the Great – conquered them – and after he would establish the Charter of Man – the forerunner of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – which most Muslim nations reject where it comes into conflict with the Sharia.

    The one good bit of church doctrine that Muslims could adopt is one of ‘forgiveness’ – they need to forgive themselves – there was a lot of blood spilled to conquer Iran, Afghan and Hindu regions – [and the regions before and after these regions]. An acknowledgement needs to be made – and then like the ‘minor’ prophet of the Bible said – sin no more – go in peace!!

  • MANOJ KUMAR

    @Robin
    You are again involved in propaganda when you say persians and others embraced islam because they feared life. Persians during the time of islam was under a brutal ruler,it had worst form of serfdom.Most persians especially poor farmers,artisans who formed majority welcomed islam like breeze of fresh air.To them it meant freedom from oppression and perpetual servitude of tyrant kings and queens.It was nobility of persians few in numbers on whom islam was forced upon.Many of these nobles fled away to other kingdoms.These nobility across all the ages and civilzations were greatest nightmare for common masses,who sucked their blood like locust,so please stop your sweeping generalization of islamic conquests. Arabs are their neighbors,so there is going to be some sort of rivalry between them as it is common among all neighbors.As far as your accusation of fixed islam is concerned ,it is an idea propagated by neocons in the modern world.Even church sent their spy to find the cause of superiority of islamic civilization ,it was concluded that muslims gave priority to reasons as opposed to preposterous doctrine of church and this idea is found in various libraries of church.Yes finally muslims resorted to more fundamentalist interpretation of their religion because of political rivalry among themselves,but this does not mean we should just highlight their failures not their achievements.Clear the cloud before your eyes and see it rationally. You appear to be completely overwhelmed by neocons or you are one of them.
    Sincerely
    Manoj

  • Ilisha

    @Robin

    ”But equally you may be in support of religious laws – on religious or sympathetic grounds – which would also violate basic freedoms.
    And you would try to make a case for less right for women – for example.”

    Do I have the “basic freedom” to support religious laws? What if I think the rights of women are best represented by religious laws?

    That’s the problem with you kind of “liberal, secular” thinking. It becomes its own form of tyranny.

    I highly value America’s secular framework and our legal system, which I think is very well suited to our society. In fact, it accommodates religious observation within that framework.

    However, it may not be for everyone, and we have no right to impose our views on others. No right whatsoever! They can take our example–or they can leave it.

    If Egyptians, for example, decide Islam should play a role in their constitutional and legal framework, who are you to tell them otherwise? That’s for them to work out. It is true that minorities must be considered and accommodated, in a way that Egyptians decide will work for them.

    Your meddling and insistence on telling other people what to do actually makes many on the receiving end of such unwanted advise hunker down and become more regressive.

    Why can’t you understand this?

    It amazes me that many Westerners will passionately explain why they don’t want Muslims to take over and somehow compromise their ideals, but in the next breath, explain how and why they should impose their will on Muslims. This makes no sense.

    Also, maybe instead of gazing across the sea deciding what’s best for Muslims, you should take a look at your own society. I admire many aspects of American society—and I was born and raised in the US. However, it’s not a perfect society and we have our own issues to discuss.

    In fact, our own conservatives don’t necessarily buy into the notion of secular liberalism, and some of them feel under siege. Shouldn’t we be having a conversation with them?

    From my point of view, the US is in some ways facing serious social decay and moral bankruptcy, mostly because it’s become a greed-based culture. The thinking is so saturated with consumerism, it isn’t even noticed by most people.

    Take for example this article:

    Women Still an Untapped Labor Force in Turkey
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/world/middleeast/05iht-M05-WORK-WOMEN.html

    Is that what women are? An “untapped labor force”?

    I guess Turkish women also need to dump their children in daycare so they can make a long commute and pull a solid forty every week—the capitalist machine depends on it! But what about the quality of life? What about families?

    If everyone in the US is so happy with this dominant arrangement, why do so many Americans depend on anti-depressants to make it through the day? Why are so many people in prison? Why are so many people living in poverty in this wealthy country? Why are so many of our resources devoted to war and lining the pockets of fat cat oligarchs?

    These are questions we need to answer, and I would say they are more pressing for us than how many seats the Muslim Brotherhood has acquired in the Egyptian parliament.

    Sometimes this “ideal society” we’ve created reminds me of something out of Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World. And speaking of literature, another relevant read is Margret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, which does a fantastic job of showing that there is tyranny at the far ends of the political spectrum—both ends, including on the left.

    I’m not saying anyone has to agree with me, though I’m certainly not alone in this thinking. What I’m asking is this:

    Can you make space for people who don’t see a militantly secular, greed-based society as ideal?

    You are lecturing us as if you are the professor and we are your students, whereas I would prefer to have an exchange of ideas.

    I think you should be able to make space, as I have asked, because you claim you value individual freedom and free expression…as well as self criticism. That cuts both ways, Robin.

  • MANOJ KUMAR

    @Robin
    r u an indian.Here in india i generally find fundamentalists to have such opinions about muslims

  • MANOJ KUMAR

    @Robin
    You are not getting my point.Muslims have always acknowledged the influence of other civilizations on their own.For example they named the number system as hindu numeral because they learned it from indians. They translated greek’s work into arabic and it shows their open mindedness and acknowledgement of other culture as they never lied about it unlike white supremists who never acknowledge contribution of other culture.When you say about islamic civilization or culture it includes whole west asia and central asia because their inhabitant professed islamic religion,not just people who lived in harsh climate of arabian desert.Yes intellectuals and scholars of those region and time included atheists, agnostics,iranian,arabs,even caucasian but you must admit they were part of that environment.Great events happen when different people come together and share their ideas like it is happening in American nation today,would you then say that there is nothing called american culture,oh no: that poet is an irish ,that historian is a french ,that mathematician is an indian.We would not like to think that way,they are all american because they developed their thoughts and ideas in dynamism of american.Islamic culture is a hybrid culture like american culture today and that is beauty of this culture.It is mistake to think that all islamic scholars of middle age were of persian origin,many influential of them like Ibn Rusd, Al kindi and many more were arabs,now please don’t say they developed their ideas in spain as that will be shifting of goal post.Every thing started with the coming of islam and formation of an international community believing in the idea of “tawhid” ,it is appropriate to call it islamic culture rather dividing it into arab,persian,egyptian etc.And when they don’t see it that way, who are we.That way no macroscopic civilization exist as any civilization can be divided into distinct civilization invoking various parameters.Please don’t invoke situation of saudi arabia today to malign islamic civilization as that would show your true intent and pathological hatred for muslims in general and arabs in particular.By the way rise of which civilization on planet has not brought death and destruction,then why to point their share in sorrows of the world.Even mongols conquered the world did it enunciated any civilization of short .Yes muslims with passage of time became inward looking and literalists ,they gave up the idea of “ijtehad” that resulted in their downfall and they recognize it today.So is it appropriate to think that, their fall from grace and glory obliterate their contribution in human civilization.Only a perverted mindset think like that.You need to study islam well,there was so much dynamism,thoughts,exchange of ideas;sheer number of schools of thought shows that it went through a lot of philosophical process that paved the way for one of the most beautiful culture of the world not bounded by race or region but ideas and thoughts.Even today their poetry is most beautiful and deep.

  • Ilisha

    @Robin

    “I think you know Islam has had its day.”

    I think you’re indulging in wishful thinking. There are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, and the numbers continue to grow.

    It’s admirable that you’ve invested so much time in studying Islam and world history. Unfortunately, you’ve been subjected to a very skewed and misleading account.

    Much of what you’ve written is simply false.

  • Robin

    @ MANOJ KUMAR

    That’s the issue, why did the Islamic renaissance in thought – all end??

    Like encyclopaedias for the Middle Ages – if you held onto these books as having the ultimate and perfect knowledge – you would only convince a small group of people.

    And more needs to be examined in how the Islamic conquests produced, this kind of growth in knowledge, for that period [only].

    It was simple, Islam took over civilizations like Persia and Egypt and added their uniqueness to its own.

    Although Muslims threw the contents of the Persian library into the sea/river, the Islamic invaders kept those of the Egypt.

    Imagine Islam – one day managing to take over the United States and then claiming every invention from that point on as being Islamic.

    Islamic war conditions – facilitated the movement of people – you had naturally intelligent guys from Arabia [or in the near], meeting with bright minds from Syria, Egypt, and Persia.

    Once things settled down – those who accepted Islam and saved their’s and their families’ lives – reactions happened. As Islam was new and its rules had not quite been set in stone – these are the points where they were taking in knowledge.

    You simply don’t take over Persia and not learn anything – in fact the Iranians still bemoan the fact that the Arabs had never done anything significant or particularly of note – prior to Islam.

    And that is the same argument now against the assumption that Islam should automatically be in control – is the question of what has Islam contributed lately to the modern world?

    As Islam continued to take hold of more and more lands, it became inward looking – with the belief that everyone outside of Islam was living in ‘ignorance’ – along with severe restrictions on how to deal with the non-believers – they shut themselves off [with the exception of military] from the knowledge of the rest of the world.

    To their surprise – the so-called ‘ignorant’ non-Muslim parts of the world had flourished.

    This is where the breaking away from religious control allowed other ideas to come forth.

    In the Islamic world there are religious police to determine who you can and can’t talk to – who can meet and share ideas. The obsession being with the fact that in these rendezvous someone might commit adultery – worst a girl might lose her virginity.

    But in the west without this invasive religious oversight by the state – we can gather in anyway we want and with whom we want and from this the most amazing things have emerged.

    In a free society these things happen without conquest – without bloodshed!!

    ::

    I think you know Islam has had its day.

    I will tell you why – too much is placed on Islam and not enough has been placed on the talent pool of people who were brought under Islamic rule by conquest.

    I think Islam is a daydream that has latest for 1000 years – you need to start realizing that it was always man who was the real force.

    Today is your day – you can either look forward or look back!!

    Muslims do too much looking backwards.

  • MANOJ KUMAR

    @Asra
    You are mistaken if you are trying to make a point that collectivist attitude is something intellectually boring and saying some something different makes you different.You can also make a fool of yourself if you err in judging the situation.Generally self loathing idiots lack the skills to rise to such occasions.Why you always make idiotic comments that make people shoot sharp barbs at you.Sometime it appears you appear to be a rebel without a cause
    Sincerely
    Manoj

  • khushboo

    Robin, according to the State Dept. Muslim Brotherhood are not terrorists and they have nothing to do with MSA. Muslim Brotherhood is in Egypt only and like Jack said if they were so powerful they would’ve toppled the Egyptian regime years ago. You need to stop getting paranoid and worry about the real issues like our economny instead. Sadly, the wars have caused enough damage. Do you want to start civil wars too now?

  • MANOJ KUMAR

    @Robin
    Perhaps both islamophobes and islamists are mistaken when they compare west with islam.It should be between the east and the west.Though the western civilization are exclusively christian club,it would be wrong to give it religious color.On the other hand east has all major religions including christianity.In that case east are less developed scientifically but they are fast catching up with their western counterpart.

  • MANOJ KUMAR

    @Robin
    I suggest you to go through history books once again or if you know it,you are feigning, may be because you don’t want to accept the contribution of islamic civilization ,reason not difficult to understand.Yes they were inspired by ancient greeks but to say that, they simply translated greek science into arabic and called it their own, is preposterous.Their contribution is accepted by almost all major historians and scholars of the planet except “super natural”scholars like Ali Sina, Spencer and likes.Perhaps you don’t know ,it is a general accepted fact that it was because of Ibn Rusd, that people understood Aristotle.Though Algebra enunciated in india with discovery of solution of quadratic equation ,it reached much greater height in west asia,in fact word algebra has arabic roots.Geography,optics are original contributions of islamic civilization.Besides they developed logic,chemistry,metallurgy and numerous disciples.Robin are you a “good human being” when you are bent on maligning them, some time by denying their historical contribution,sometime by associating islam with an individual act of a rape (for an example;your likes do) if he happens to be a muslim.If you have already made up your mind that they are barbarians and have no contribution in history of mankind,there is no point in crawling like a rat and leaving shit on the web for even barbarians don’t like shit.Open your mind buddy ,it doesn’t matter if you believe in a religion or not but why one should hate it.The people you subscribe as it appears from your writing are hate mongers who mint millions spreading canard.Yesterday it was jew ,today it is muslims,tomorrow it would be some other religion.Stop hate,Spread love ,spread peace.
    Yours sincerely
    Manoj

  • http://thepenofawanderingstranger.com/personal/ Jack Cope

    Robin, your second post;

    I think you misunderstand me. I am not asking anyone to respect my faith but I am asking that if they think they can make comments about it that they state their comments with facts.

    I don’t care what people think of Islam, it is my choice to follow it. However when someone chooses to lecture me about it from a biased or ignorant viewpoint then you can count that I will have no qualms in refuting their stance. They tend to keep quiet after a while.

    But yes, people should be free to think what they will about it, just as I should be free to state how certain views of it are wrong. That is the beauty of free will; a God given gift to think as we wish. I am not going to stand in the way of that.

    As for Saudi, don’t get me started on that. Commentators here will tell you that my view of that particular nation is not very good to say the least. They twist Islam to suite their purposes, on their heads be it.

  • http://thepenofawanderingstranger.com/personal/ Jack Cope

    Robin, we’ll do one post at a time;

    I am going to have to ask you for your sources r.e. the manuscripts etc. It is widely accepted that Muslims translated Greek documents, expanded on some, rejected others and generally built on the science. This data was then transferred to Europe via a number of methods, ranging from conquest to students from Europe studying in Islamic universities. Your ‘new history’ (which sounds like revisionist BS) fails to take into account the shear number of Muslim texts that were used by the Renaissance’s scholars. My personal favourite is the ‘Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices’ by Al-Jazari. Again, your ‘history’ fails to take this into account.

    Granted, plenty of Muslims will spin it the other way, that Europe never invented anything and it was all Muslims. This is just as incorrect as stating that Muslims invented nothing. I am something of a historian by training; it is important that one looks at the facts not the so called ‘new history’ that is based on ulterior motives.

    Finally, you say that science is dead in the Islamic world. This is incorrect, science is very much alive but the Islamic world is a lot poorer than the rest of the world. Thus very little R&D is actually done when compared to the Europe for example. This will change as the wheel of history turns; already we see Europe and the US in decline and Asia on the rise. That is just how history is.

    Islam does not prohibit science, it is people that do in their fight for power. So yes, some people do crap in the name of Islam, but they do crap in the name of an awful lot of faiths.

  • Robin

    @ Jack Cope

    “”I have yet to find a singly ‘ex-Muslim’ who knows his or her stuff when it comes to what Islam is about.”"

    Do you think that it is a requirement to like Islam – in order to have respect for a Muslim person?

    So for example if there were two kids in the playground – one was a Muslim and one was not – would you stop the non-Muslim kid from playing with the Muslim kid – until he receives a lecture in 1000 years of the history of Islam – and only if he agrees with its tenets, can he go and play with the other kid.

    Obviously its preposterous – then why are the same standards being set for adults.

    What you do or don’t think about a religion is protected by your freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

    ::

    Look at the Saudi twitter on Muhammad – we probably would agree he deserves the ‘right to think’ what he wants the religious matter – there as well as here.

    Imagine after what this man has gone through, to insist that he ‘like Islam’ otherwise he is ‘not’ a good human being.

    Come back to the free way!!

  • Christian-friend

    @Jack Cope, I chuckled at your first paragraph

  • Robin

    @ Jack Cope

    The new history – which takes a closer look at what in the Islamic world came from where.

    Now for example – a lot of what was supposed to have come from the ‘Arabs’ was actually translated Ancient Greek manuscripts. Often poorly translated – by Christian and Jewish scholars at the time.

    The Arab/Muslims would sell these back to the Europans.

    You see how the Church is divided into two – the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church – that’s because the Europeans were barred from travelling freely to the East of Europe because of Islamic aggression.

    Remember the Turks tried to take Vienna a couple of times.

    But once the European got those parts back – or gained access to – they got access to the Greek manuscripts and translated them. After which there was a renaissance in Europe.

    The question is why then if the Muslim had access to the same manuscripts – why did the Islamic world only develop these ideas for a limited period only?

    Just like today – someone gets a new idea and they try to make progress – and then there are about 10 Islamic restrictions – as reasons that it should not be done.

    The idea – is self defeating.

    After 1000 years – the proof should be in the pudding!!!

    - theories already established in the ‘Muslim world’ – as in the former Roman Empire, then the Persian Empire and Egypt – trees all have roots – that go somewhere!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    @Jack Cope

    Good points about the Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim extremists in general.

  • Robin

    @ Ilisha,

    But equally you may be in support of religious laws – on religious or sympathetic grounds – which would also violate basic freedoms.

    And you would try to make a case for less right for women – for example.

    ::

    When the type of loud mouth Islamic radical – is enjoying their freedom – spewing hatred about western laws – goes out crosses the line of the law, and he finds himself in jail.

    There is always this amazing demonstration – of going through western laws – with a fine-tooth comb – to stop the Islamic preacher from either being deported back to his old country or extradited to another, for something else he’s suspected of doing.

    So western law is a bit of a safe haven to some extent.

    But in the interest of security – we need to wisen up!

  • http://thepenofawanderingstranger.com/personal/ Jack Cope

    Oh please, not the ‘Muslim Brotherhood coming to get us’ thing again. Please answer me this; if the MB is so powerful then why has it been unable, in a hundred years of existence, been able to topple the Egyptian regime, it’s number one goal? The toppling of the regime might I add was undertaken by some disorganised students in a matter of months… you are scared of the MB?! I also wonder where you get your data on the MB from…

    Anyway, some of your other quotes that I’ll pick up on;

    “Anwar Awalaki was not at all ‘loco’ – and that is what made him so dangerous. He knew the Koran and Hadiths both chapter and verse – in Arabic and English. He got otherwise sane men to do crazy things – so there is a difference.”

    Indeed, perhaps he did know the Quran and Hadiths but that doesn’t change the fact that he chose to manipulate and distort them. Awalaki was in no way a scholar or qualified to be making such statements about Islam, he just manipulated them for the ignorant. Even I myself, with the most basic of Islamic study, can refute his arguments. He simply preached to those who felt oppressed and attacked, manipulating their feelings to carry out his will. And yes, he was loony.

    “Regardless of what his father thought, the Underwear Bomber was willing to carry out this act – and by his own testimony – he did it in the name of his God. ”

    Just stating you do it ‘for God’ doesn’t make it so. It was his completely incorrect opinion brought about by being manipulated by others. I feel sorry for him really, its brainwashing.

    “Hence the police /security issue.”

    Yet as has been proven time and time again there are terrorists and extremists of all colours and faiths. Why are they picking on just the Muslim ones? Have you noticed that Muslim extremists have had little to no success in the west in the past decade? Kinda shows how effective they are…

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