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#Manchester Stronger Than Ever

Manchester. Another city added to the list of horrific attacks by individuals, usually men, who have been misguided into thinking their actions are somehow a salve for whatever torments them, or helpful to those suffering occupation and the terror of non-distinguishing “smart bombs” dropped in the tens of thousands on the homes of innocents. Also bewildering is the tenuous allegiance paid by attackers such as Salman Abedi to groups like ISIS and AlQaeda; whose bastardized modernist twisting of theology and law is no solution to grievances but only compounds and entrenches the multi-dimensional challenges and problems faced by Muslims. It takes God out of the center of din (way of life) and replaces it with jihad. When the hoped for victory is not achieved it often results in greater resentment, extremism and blind victimhood.

We have known that attacks of this kind do not end the vicious cycle of bloodletting but only feed it. The explosive growth industry of the field of “terror studies” and its ties to power, both governmental and non-governmental means that there is little incentive or effort to truly understand what causes “extremism” (aside from a handful of scholars and specialists) beyond the problematic radicalization models that lead to programs such as PREVENT and CVE.  Statistics highlighting that the nebulously defined category of so-called “Islamic terrorism” is less of a threat than dying in car accidents, or of an allergic reaction to peanuts is of no comfort, since Islamophobia is tied to existential and emotional concerns about the decline of Christianity, challenge to white supremacy and rise of minority groups, especially Muslim populations. Rational thinking doesn’t enter the equation.

This is not to say that imperialism cannot and should not be resisted but that the contemporary movements that are wreaking havoc are clearly not the way to respond to the challenge. Any resistance and liberation from the dominant paradigms however must be rooted not only in socio-economic terms but foremost in an authentic and spiritually grounded ethos.

Despite the hysteria and exploitation by the usual fear merchants: Katie Hopkins who tweeted for a “Final Solution,” the never-reconstructed EDL bigot Tommy Robinson claim that the mayor of Manchester is in cahoots with “Islamic radicals,” the laughable stupidity of  a UKIP politician whose brilliant response was to demand the return of the death penalty for suicide bombers, or Israeli PM Netanyahu’s shameless attempt to milk the tragedy by analogizing the Manchester attacker to Palestinian resistance, the overwhelming response of Britons and the City of Manchester has been to reject hate and the politics of division.

Take the message by Islamic scholar Abu Eesa from Manchester that has gone viral.

The comments are heartwarmingly refreshing in their solidarity and the expression of united grief for the victims. The message is clear we will not be divided, we will be stronger.

Also take Aarron Lambo’s viral video:

There’s many more such instances of togetherness and we hope that these attempts to divide us and subvert our democracy whether by terrorists and their Islamophobic dopplegangers will come to naught.

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  • B.D.S.

    white nationalist

  • Alistair John

    I cannot see how you can be offended by atheism. It is simply a lack of belief in something for which there is no evidence.

    I don’t have to tolerate any belief or any idea I think absurd. I am, on the whole, tolerant to those who hold such beliefs, unless those beliefs are what I consider bigoted or dangerous for the well being of others.

    “You can hate Islam all you want, but I doubt that you can simultaneously love Muslims. I’ve never seen it in real life. If you hate Islam, how can you not hate Muslims, who are the personification of Islam?” I literally loved a Muslim girl once, but the relationship ended as a non-Muslim her family would not tolerate a non-Muslim and she chose her family and faith over me. My wife is a Christian and I am not. I find it easy to love her and despise Christianity. A previous girlfriend was a feminist. We rarely saw eye to eye, but she had far more problem with my scepticism of feminism than I did her belief in feminist ideology. I’m fairly easy going and tolerant in general.

    Muslims are selective followers of a religion, its texts, and traditions. They are not a monolith all believing the same thing and all acting the same way. Those Muslims who stone adulterers to death, persecute gays, persecute religious minorities, and blow up little girls at concerts I hate and despise. Don’t you?

    If you wish to claim, as a Muslim, that they are not true Muslims and do not follow Islam properly that is certainly your prerogative. Speaking as a non-Muslim I am not in a position to say which is the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ version of Islam, or indeed any religion. I base my view of any sect of Islam or any individual Muslim based on their actions.

    A Muslim who is tolerant and non-violent I have no problem with, the same as any follower of any religion or ideology. Your position remains that I must embrace an ideology I despise in order that I can love and/or esteem its followers. That is ludicrous. I can despise ideologies which are well intentioned but produce terrible results, such as Marxism. It doesn’t follow that I hate all Marxists.

    I believe you are simplifying Sam Harris’s views but I’m not here to defend him or any other atheist. Muslims certainly suffer from bigotry. Religious intolerance is widespread. That isn’t the same as disliking or criticising Islam as a set of beliefs and practices.

    I think you could easily find hateful things in lots of atheist texts. The hateful things in the Quran, Torah, and Bible are not hard to find either. People have all sorts of ways to explain them away, put them into ‘context’ and reject many those parts they don’t like. Your interpretation of your religious texts is nothing more than your subjective interpretation.

    Ultimately what matters more than the texts is the actions of a religion. It matters far more if you act hatefully than think hatefully. Unfortunately, some of the texts can inspire violence. I don’t think it random chance that Muslims and Christians have tended to be more violent than Buddhists and Jains, Jains in particular.

    You are all essentially looking for universal truths in a book of fairy tales and attempting to follow a set of myths, largely culled from other religions. That is bound to end in confusion and various dogmatically held positions all under the umbrella of ‘Islam’. As no two literary critics agree about an interpretation of a novel it is hardly surprising that things are worse with religious texts.

    No, I am not picking the worst aspects of Islam. I am well aware of the good and the bad. My view is that the bad outweighs the good based on the texts and the way the religion is practiced worldwide. My view is that all superstition is dangerous. Speaking domestically only (to remove issues of imperialistic foreign policy) Islamic countries are all less tolerant and liberal than more secular Western countries. That is the basis of my criticism of Islam as well as other religions.

    There isn’t a correct version of atheism or the secular. That is the point. There are competing secular ideologies but none claim divine guidance. It is all subjective or based on trial and error. The religious, on the other hand, do tend to claim that theirs is the true path based on the divine.

    There is no inconsistency in my view of atheism. Atheism is a lack of belief in the divine based on the lack of evidence for the divine. It doesn’t presuppose you have any particular beliefs other than a lack of belief in God. The ‘version’ of atheism I subscribe to is the dictionary definition of atheist, “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” I don’t know how else to define an atheist. It doesn’t mean I have to be a conservative, liberal, communist, feminist, men’s rights activist, animal rights activist etc. Those might be called ‘versions’ of atheism. I am certainly not claiming any of those is the ‘correct’ one, even if I do think some better than others.

    Many atheists believe in things I do not. Many are bigots, many are fools, many believe without evidence in secular matters. Many atheists may share faults in common, but they are only one type of atheist as a Sufi Muslim is only one kind of Muslim.

  • Alistair John

    No, I don’t think Sam Harris thinks he has divine authority. I believe he is sincere in his disbelief in a divine being so it is unlikely he can believe he is divinely inspired. Atheism can be an ideology, but that isn’t the same as being a religion, although they can share some characteristics and the followers of a secular ideology can be bigots and lack rational thought.

  • Alistair John

    “I am anti white.” Then you are a racist bigot. Congratulations.

  • B.D.S.

    Literally I hate white people. white Jews included.

  • B.D.S.

    >Being anti-Christian, anti-communist, anti-feminist, anti-Islam is not to be a bigot.”

    I am anti white.

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “By your definition of tolerance, I should tolerate all religions, merely because they are religions. I should embrace the Westboro Baptists, ISIS, Wahabis in general, Scientologists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, despite all the bigotry shown by those groups to other people.”

    There’s a difference between tolerating and embracing, Alistair. I’m tolerant of both atheists and atheism even though I find atheism objectionable and absurd. My tolerance of atheism is hardly an embrace of it.

    Alistair John wrote: “No, Islam is an ideology and I can hate it without hating all Muslims. That principle applies to all ideologies.”

    You can hate Islam all you want, but I doubt that you can simultaneously love Muslims. I’ve never seen it in real life. If you hate Islam, how can you not hate Muslims, who are the personification of Islam? It’s similar to Christians who claim to hate the “sin” but love the “sinner”. You’ll invariably find that they actually hate the “sinner” too.

    Alistair John wrote: “To attack someone simply because they are a Muslim is bigotry. To condemn them and their style of Islam because of actions they take in the name of Islam is anything but.”

    Supposedly bigotry-free atheists attack Muslims simply because they’re Muslims all the time and not because of anything they’ve done. For example, Sam Harris believes that we should profile Muslims, “or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.” He also believes “some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them”. Muslims don’t have to actually DO anything, they just have to BE Muslim and BELIEVE Muslim-y stuff. And both he and his dogmas regarding Islam and Muslims are popular with supposedly bigotry-free atheists.

    Alistair John wrote: “There is enough hateful stuff in lots of ‘holy’ texts, in Islam and other religions, to justify all sorts of hateful actions.”

    What “hateful stuff”? Are you confident that the “hateful stuff” that you purport to find in religious texts could hold up under scrutiny better than the “hateful stuff” Jokuvaan purportedly found? And are you confident that I couldn’t find just as much “hateful stuff” in atheist texts?

    Alistair John wrote: “Again, I ask the question, why is a more liberal definition of any religion the correct one? What authority do you have to suggest it is?”

    And again I ask, why is a more liberal definition secularism and atheism the correct one? What authority do YOU have to suggest that it is? As for me, my argument(s) concerning Islam are predicated on facts, not on an appeal to some arbitrary authority. My argument isn’t that Islam is x but not y because I say so. My argument is that Islam is x but not y because x has more evidence for it in the Quran and in early Islamic history, but y is un-Quranic and ahistorical. For Muslims, what is or isn’t Islamic is not left to our whims. When there’s a disagreement between Muslims, it’s referred back to the Quran, which is the most authoritative source and the only source we all have in common. In this way, God (swt) is the ultimate arbiter and tiebreaker.

    Alistair John wrote: “As far as I can see people constantly pick and choose what parts of religious texts they follow and which they don’t with no very great internal logic to the decision.”

    As I said in my previous comment, I believe it’s the critics of Islam who are doing the arbitrary picking and choosing. If you doubt this, just post some of the “hateful stuff” from the Quran and I’ll give you a demonstration.

    Alistair John wrote: “Yes, those prejudiced against any ideology will tend to pick the worst aspects of that ideology to prove a point. It is bad practice. That is not what I am doing.”

    That’s exactly what you’re doing. I can give you a demonstration of if you wish.

    Alistair John wrote: “By definition, you cannot have a correct version of atheism, other than being consistent in a lack of belief in that for which there is no evidence. Neither secularism nor atheism implies any sort of moral code.”

    Do you see why I asked you that question? I know from past experience that atheists either can’t answer it, or they’ll answer it in the contradictory way that you answered it. It’s a blatant contradiction to say that you cannot have a correct version of atheism OTHER THAN THE ONE THAT I SUBSCRIBE TO! As Reza Aslan noted:

    “For a great many atheists, atheism does not merely signify ‘lack of belief’ but is itself a kind of positive worldview, one that ‘includes numerous beliefs about the world and what is in it,’ to quote the atheist philosopher Julian Baggini. Baggini cautions against viewing atheism as a ‘parasitic rival to theism.’ Rather, he agrees with the historian of religions James Thrower, who considers modern atheism to be ‘a self-contained belief system’ – one predicated on a series of propositions about the nature of reality, the source of human morality, the foundation of societal ethics, the question of free will, and so on.”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/11/21/reza_aslan_sam_harris_and_new_atheists_arent_new_arent_even_atheists/

    Again I ask, what authority do YOU have to suggest that your particular definition of atheism is the correct one? And what evidence do you have that atheism is a “consistent in a lack of belief in that for which there is no evidence,” when there’s considerable evidence that the atheist weltanschauung(s) consists of many things for which there is no evidence?

  • Floki

    Do you not think persons such as Sam Harris pretend to possess divine authority themselves? Atheistic, rather anti-Theistic, arrogance itself has become a religion unto itself … a religion of not only intolerance but of hatred most proper.

  • You’re stating your opinions as if they’re facts. It’s your opinion that all religions are devised by mankind. You say there isn’t a shred of evidence, but the creation itself is evidence in my view.

    As for logic, it doesn’t solve the problem of whether or not there is a God. If you follow the philosophy of religion to its final destination, you arrive at agnosticism, not atheism. You can no more prove logically there isn’t a God than I can logically prove there is one. Even Dawkins concedes this point, which is why he always sticks that “probably” in there when he says things like, “there probably is no God.”

    One of the things I really like about Islam is that it teaches humility and kindness. Under that doctrine, it’s wrong to make arrogant statements as if you are God and know everything for certain, and it’s also wrong be harsh with regard to other people’s beliefs. This is the kind of moral teaching that makes for better relationship between people. Our society (here in America) is increasing calloused and harsh in my experience, and I think that’s in part due to leaving behind similar teachings in Christianity.

    I see all around me what happens when we depend on secular/atheist morality, and I don’t recommend it. In fact, the actual results of this religion-free “morality” have caused me to lose faith in secularism and believe the West made a huge mistake in discarding it’s Christian moral underpinnings.

    Communism is a great example of what? It’s atheistic.

    You have made all kinds of assertions about Islam as well. How is it that you came to know Islamic doctrine? How qualified are you to make assessments regarding the doctrine? I find in most cases people commenting on Islam have very little mastery over the topic. To the extent they know anything, it’s superficial and often based on dubious sources. How do you know what you think you know about Islam?

    You say religious people follow their doctrine selectively and they most certainly do because there is no other way. In the case of any fairly complex doctrine, that’s the only way you can follow it. That’s now a flaw particular to religious doctrine.

    Also, what’s wrong with following a doctrine selectively? If someone says, “When I read the Bible, all I see are the messages of love and universal brotherhood,” why would this be problematic?

  • Alistair John

    No. All religions are man made and their moralities are devised by mankind not dictated from Heaven. The difference between secular/atheist morality and those of religions is the former don’t pretend to have divine authority for which is not one single shred of evidence. Both are just as liable to fantasy, stupidity, and lack of logic. Communism is the great example of this.

  • Neither secularism nor atheism implies any sort of moral code.

    And that’s the flaw.

  • CowabungaCreeper

    There is no convenient distinction to be made between a bigot’s intolerance of Muslims and their intolerance of Islam. And it’s hard to take people seriously who claim to love Muslims but hate Islam.

    Counterjihadklan; “Islam is not a race, Islam is a choice. However I can be hateful towards an ideology or religion but not to the people who choose … to follow… it…”

    Yeah, when you put it like that it does sound like utter nonsense.

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “Islamophobia is a stupid, deliberately misleading word. It deliberately seeks to confuse anti-Muslim bigotry with hatred of an ideology, which is a perfectly respectable position. Being anti-Christian, anti-communist, anti-feminist, anti-Islam is not to be a bigot.”

    Uh, I hate to break it to you Alistair, but that’s the very definition of bigotry. My trusty American Heritage Dictionary defines a bigot as: “One who is intolerant esp. in matters of religion, race, or politics.” There is no convenient distinction to be made between a bigot’s intolerance of Muslims and their intolerance of Islam. And it’s hard to take people seriously who claim to love Muslims but hate Islam.

    Alistair John wrote: “Exactly how have ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups ‘twisted’ the doctrines of Islam?”

    Why are you asking that question? Don’t Islamophobes think they already know the answer to that question? The answer, according to them, is that ISIS and other Sunni terrorists aren’t twisting the doctrines of Islam but following them to the letter.

    Alistair John wrote: “From my understanding they find doctrinal passages in both the Quran and Hadith to justify their actions, in the same way that groups like the Westboro Baptists find passages in the Old Testament to support their positions.”

    See what I mean?

    Alistair John wrote: “Religions tend to be messy, contradictory things, with various sects selecting what they think important and ignoring the rest.”

    I think it’s more accurate to say that it’s Islamophobes who select what they think is important and ignore the rest. I just had a lengthy debate about this with some atheist dude named Jokuvaan:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/personalislam/2017/05/manchester-attack-worst-one-yet/#comment-3326461962

    Alistair wrote: ” Who is to say that a more liberal, less violent version of a religion is the ‘correct’ one?”

    Who is to say that a liberal, less violent version of secularism/atheism is the “correct” one? I posed that question to an atheist a while back and he didn’t have an answer:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/truthtopower/2017/02/sam-harris-islamophobia-black-muslim-response/#comment-3157299803

  • Joey Sanders

    You are right. They can’t stop everyone. My thing is, why not just pay the person a visit and say, “We are watching you. Don’t do anything rash.” That could be all you need to deter someone from carrying out an attack.

  • Alistair John

    “What I find interesting is that, in many of these cases, these individuals who carried out these attacks were on the radar for their country’s respective intelligence agencies. No one stopped them before they carried out their attacks. Guess they need bigger budgets to do that.”

    Not just money, but time and manpower. The most obviously vocal Islamists are not necessarily the most likely to be violent. Sometimes the quiet ones who have said and done less than their more vocal brother fanatics are the most dangerous.

    In addition if there are far too many of them they can never really be monitored successfully. It is a numbers game. You will stop some plots, but not all. Nowadays there are just too many fanatical young men who are using religion as a way of dealing with their inadequacy and too much encouragement of them in the wider community.

    There is an issue of civil liberties. There is only so far you can go before you are living in an effective police state.

  • Alistair John

    Islamophobia is a stupid, deliberately misleading word. It deliberately seeks to confuse anti-Muslim bigotry with hatred of an ideology, which is a perfectly respectable position. Being anti-Christian, anti-communist, anti-feminist, anti-Islam is not to be a bigot. There is much to criticise with all those ideologies.

    Exactly how have ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups ‘twisted’ the doctrines of Islam? From my understanding they find doctrinal passages in both the Quran and Hadith to justify their actions, in the same way that groups like the Westboro Baptists find passages in the Old Testament to support their positions.

    Religions tend to be messy, contradictory things, with various sects selecting what they think important and ignoring the rest. Who is to say that a more liberal, less violent version of a religion is the ‘correct’ one? Which is the ‘right’ version of Christianity, the Catholics or the Quakers, the gay hating Evangelicals or the (largely) gay friendly British Anglicans?

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    The War on Terror is a failure. Death and violence has only increased (overwhelming majority, 9:1 Muslim victims), the US and others as you say “look like bigger demons” than ever before. The dumbdown answer that is peddled is that the problem is Islam/Muslims. We know all this. This has many consequences which we know as well: not interrogating the real reasons for violence, how to address it, complicity of west/dictators/oligarchs, who benefits, pushing racism and bigotry, etc.

    What is unsaid? What would leaders/elite rather have be unknown? Answers to this can’t be filled with conspiracies. We do know about systems, about relationships between power and how meaning is made. We know the tools and systems of oppression. These dominant paradigms need to be broken through and that can only be done in my opinion by a worldwide paradigm-shifting movement or religion.

    I also find it it interesting how often these individuals were known for years to intelligence agencies, as equally interesting is how they evade responsibility for their shortcomings by claiming to be “short staffed.”

  • mindy1

    Oddly enough, the man was a supporter of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. He hated Trump AND Hillary :/

  • mindy1

    It is a sad thing that this happens, when all it does is feed into the stereotypes of vicious Muslims wanting to take over 🙁

  • Khizer

    These ‘crusaders’ are ISIS’s useful idiots, they do what ISIS wants, create further division between the western majority and Muslim minorities of western countries after an attack by ISIS.

  • Joey Sanders

    “Also bewildering is the tenuous allegiance paid by attackers such as Salman Abedi to groups like ISIS and AlQaeda; whose bastardized modernist twisting of theology and law is no solution to grievances but only compounds and entrenches the multi-dimensional challenges and problems faced by Muslims.”

    What a great statement written by Garibaldi. It goes to show you how much of a failed experiment the War on Terror is. Firstly, it is amazing that no terrorist group was this powerful before this War on Terror began. Also, the fact that there are Muslims willing to join these groups, shows that the US, and other countries of the Western World affiliated with this war, look like bigger demons to those that choose to join these organizations.

    What I find interesting is that, in many of these cases, these individuals who carried out these attacks were on the radar for their country’s respective intelligence agencies. No one stopped them before they carried out their attacks. Guess they need bigger budgets to do that.

  • Joey Sanders

    One of the positive things you can take away from the Portland attack is the fact that the three men who tried to defend the verbally abused women, were from such different backgrounds. One of the men was a Republican who served in the military. One was a recent college graduate. Another was a 21 year old young man who was taking the bus to get to his job at a pizza joint.

    Decent people of all backgrounds do not like hate. They certainly don’t like attackers who mess with people who are just riding a bus and minding their own business.

  • Floki

    And, of course, the man in question would call this “self-defense”. Heck, he’s called himself a “Patriot”. In my view, he’s not a patriot of the land I call home, but a crusader against all that are not like him. Indefensible.

  • Floki

    When the hoped for victory is not achieved it often results in greater resentment, extremism and blind victimhood.

    True in so many regards. I wish not to say or believe this, but I fear that more attacks even by “Patriots” and white supremacists, “in defense”, will follow as well – adding exponentially to the “War Against the Other”.

  • Raad

    2 dead, 1 injured in anti-muslim attack:
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5929362ce4b053f2d2acaf56

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