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Open Thread: ISIS #ParisAttacks and #BeirutAttacks and Elsewhere


Loonwatch staff

Peaceful Parisians were attacked by ISIS militants, the group has claimed responsibility for massacres not only in Paris but also the downing of a Russian airplane killing over 200, as well as bombings in Beirut. If true, the group has massacred 400 people on three continents in two weeks. Of course Muslims hate this group more than anyone else, as one prescient tweet sums up:

The Paris attacks are front and center news everywhere. There are many thoughts and reflections one can make on the scourge of ISIS, imperialism, wars, invasions, Islamophobia, how they are tied and linked, who and what are to blame but really what can be said that we haven’t already?

It’s not the first time that there has been such wanton violence and chaos nearly everywhere in the world but maybe due to our globalized reality, where events from even the remotest regions of the earth are streamed instantaneously onto our mobile phones, laptops, etc. it seems that violence has increased exponentially. Our thoughts are with all those innocents killed, the casualties, to the oppressed, the victimized, and the murdered, anywhere on earth.

This is an open thread for loonwatchers to share their thoughts, reflections and comments.

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  • Ilisha

    Muslims, too, preferred, when Mohammed was assembling his new religion, to adopt parts of the OT, not the New, which was the religion of the poor and enslaved.

    I don’t think so. The Qur’an makes reference to the Bible, but it’s not really like the Old or New Testament. This concept doesn’t exist in Islam, which didn’t just tack on a third peace–a “New New Testament.”

    Of course I don’t agree with this secular approach to Islamic doctrine in any case, which as Muhammad “assembling his new religion.” Rather I see one continuous revelation, ending with the Qur’an. But that’s a view I don’t expect you to share.

    it’s just that the variety with the most rigidity and violent expansionism is the one getting the most money & attention these days. It’s been growing since the 1980s and it isn’t going to vanish any day soon.

    I agree, more or less. The reasons WHY this is the case are what I find interesting.

    A storytelling worshop in the mountains sound intersting. Hope you have a safe, enjoyable trip. :)

  • Ilisha

    Thank you for acknowledging that misugided policy plays a role in this cycle of violence. I understand that’s not the dimension you came here to discuss, but I perceive you as being more fair minded and am willing to invest some time in what I hope will be a good faith discussion.

    Saying the ISIS is using Islamic doctrine to justify their actions is not the same as saying, “Da’esh is acting out the bits you’d prefer to sweep under the carpet.” The second statement indicates there are “bits” that need to be swept under the carpet, and which we refuse to acknowledge. I don’t feel the need to sweep any portion of the Qur’an under the carpet.

    For years we’ve been challenging vistors to provide a single verse from the Qur’an that commands Muslims to engage in unprovoked violence and no one has ever met the challenge. To do so requires going to secondary sources, none of which are universal to all Muslims. The Qur’an alone common to all Muslims.

    The fact ISIS cloaks its actions in Islamic garb is not in question. They do, but if that’s an automatic indictment of Islam, then few things escape similar indictments, including Christianity, as well as “freedom and demoracy,” which have also been used to justify violence. As I’ve pointed out here before, even the word “no” has been mistinterpreted by some people to mean “maybe” or even “yes,” prompting others to coin the phrase, “no means no.”

    You say that Islam is and always has been expansionist. I would say humanity has always been expansionist. If you look at all or recorded history, you see various empires rising and falling. Here is a great paper which I think puts things into perspective:

    You have implied that Christianity doesn’t lend itself to the same behavior as Islam and briefly mentioned the Crusades. But we need not go back to the Crusades when we have a present-day example of Christian doctrine being used to justify violence and injustice.

    Christian Zionism, I believe, was spawned in the 1600s, and became more prominent after the founding of Israel. Through this interpretation of the Bible, millions of Christians have supported land theft and ethnic cleansing in Palestine to make way for a Jewish supremacist colonial project. They continue to support that project to this very day. Even though their scripture all says not to kill and not to steal, they have supported a Zionist project which requires an endless stream of both of these major sins.

    Not only have many of these Christian Zionists supported Israeli racism and lurch toward outright apartheid, they have justified invasions of surrounding countries, including Iraq and Iran, in order to hasten the armagedden or whatever it is they think they’re doing.

    This has caused enormous suffering. And it absolutely has been done “in the name of Christianity” with Christians quoting scripture as justification. This has contributed to unfathomable suffering for decades.

    Today in America it’s often right wing Christians who are opposed to helping the poor, prefering to support policies that are plainly greedy. I asked a preacher I met once to explain to me why this is, and he gave me a lecture in social Darwinism. He said more or less that if all the money were taken away tomorrow, the same people would get rich and the same people would be poor. Is that really a Christian idea? I don’t think so.

    I could go on with example after example, both historically and in the present day, of Christianity being interpreted in ugly, harmful ways and Christians acting on those interpretations, but to make my point, my examples will suffice.

    Other Christians have argued against Zionism, pointing to perversions promulgated in the Scofield Bible. Other Christians have refuted greedy notions, though it hardly seems necessary in my view. I would like to see someone really make the case Christianity support greed because, while I’m no expert on the matter, my understanding of Christianity is that it promotes the EXACT opposite–that is to say Christianity promotes sharing and generosity and specifically warns against the perils of greed and excess materialism. The fact some Christians have twisted Christian doctrine into a prescription for laissez fair capitalist greed is, in my view, more a reflection of those Christians than of the doctrine itself.

    If we turn to secular ideology, which is supposedly “better” according to many anti-theists, we have to ask why it is the US is less religious and still so violent. Why are secular concepts like “freedom and democracy” now used to justify invasions of countries that have never done anything to us? Wars of agression.

    For his secular audience, George Bush talked “freedom and democracy.” But he also said that God told him to invade Iraq. What are we to make of this?

    My point is that any doctrine can be twisted with almost infinite creative license, so that human beings are capable of interpreting black and white, up as down, and wrong as right. No doctrine is immune when even the simple, two-letter word “no” can be interpreted to mean “yes,” the exact opposite.

    I have never, by the way, confronted Christians in an aggressive way. I’ve never suggested that I know their doctrine better than they do, and I’ve NEVER rejected their explanation of their own scripture. What a Christian tells me his or her views depart from some of the objectionable views of their fellow Christians, I accept that answer. Whether or not that person is getting down to brass tacks, explaining the meaning of scipture in proper context, of the person is essentializing the Christian faith with something like “love God with all or your heart and love your neighbor as yourself,” and the rest is commentary. If they intepret their faith in a way that contributes to peace and harmony, I accept that. Why would I not? I have no need to ram unsavory interpretations down their throats and no desire to play a game of “my religion is better than yours!”

    I see Christians in my town doing many generous things, and I have a deep appreciation for that. They are there for the homeless and drug addicted. They are there for the new immigrants, teaching them English and helping them settle. They are the ones providing community services to people it seem no one else seems to cares about. A living example of the light of faith that I respect. Why would I want to go to these people and shove in their faces the crimes of others, just because they share the same faith? I don’t see how that’s helpful.

    Yet it seems in the current climate, we have more and more people aggressively challenging Muslims, and even refusing to accept anything but the most regressive, violent interpretations of Islam as authentic. They are often more arrogant regarding their facile interpretations than qualified Islamic scholars, who have the humility to end their commentary with “and Allah knows best.” What sort of behavior is this? How is this helpful?

    The mere fact ISIS justifies its behavior based on Islam doesn’t tell us very much.

    That doesn’t mean, however, that all doctrines are EQUALLY LIKELY to be used to justify violence. I don’t think it would be responsible to argue that a group of Wiccans is equally likely to rise of “in the name of Wicca” and go to war. We can have a sober, good faith discussion about Islam in particular, what is a reasonable interpretation–and even in what ways the doctrine seems to contribute to malevalent interpretations.

    I personally dislike the “religion of peace” slogan. I also dislike it when Muslims say ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam.” I dislike the slogans becuase as slogans, they don’t say very much.

    Islam is not a pacificst religion. It’s a religion FOR peace because it’s quite reasonable to glean a just war doctrine that substantially comports with international law. It isn’t reasonable to say the ISIS has “nothing” to do with Islam, mostly because it’s obviously untrue. They didn’t borrow their ideas from Wiccans. They aren’t quote the Hindu Vedas. They are quoting Islamic doctrine.

    Not only that, but even some scholars are comparing ISIS to the Khawarij. You will seen ISIS supporters countering that accusation. The Khawarij go back to the earliest days of Islam, and their like has arisen periodically every since. They are always curtailed, eventually, by other Muslims. But to portray these malevalent forces as representative of Islam is simply wrong. They are a minority within a minority within a minority.

    Their views are a minority even within the branch of jurisprudence and theology, with some intervening figures since then developiong a dervative ideology. That’s a long, complicated discussion. I don’t know if you want to go there or not, but if you do, then I don’t mind.

    I’ve waited for about four years to talk to someone regarding these matters. I’ve asked people to have a serious discussion with me about what all of this has to do with Islam and so far no one has accepted. You can be the first. :)

  • Ilisha

    Cassandra, I’d like to write a thoughtful reply but don’t have time at the moment. I’ll get to this as soon as practical.

  • 1DrM

    Oh I can distinguish very well. Anybody in 2015 can safely claim they were against the Iraq war, I have no reason to believe you given your anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim rubbish. I’ve exposed you already so your feeble reply is too little, too late to salvage your “reputation.” You’re a filthy Zionist. That is all. Your hasbaRattery won’t fly here.

    PS- It is your idol, the terrorist state”israel” which needs to go, then the American
    secular monarchy of Saudi Arabia(“israel’s” twin), and other puppet states can follow into the trash heap of history.

  • Alejandro Rodríguez

    Yes, which is what precisely shows how it is not the Sermon of the Mount that influenced those ideas.

  • Ilisha

    In fact, I have read several issues, as well as the Inspire Magazine that came before and both are absolutely full of foreign policy grievances which you seem to consistently ignore.

    Also, just because something appears in a terrorist magazine doesn’t make it so. If they complained of the Iraq war and there was no Iraq war, the complaint would be baseless.

    If they argue something comforts with Islamic doctrine when a consensus or near consensus of scholars both historically and in the present say says it does not, why should we conclude the terrorist version is most reasonable?

    Finally if the atrocities Muslims commit are solely or even mostly due to interpretations of Islamic doctrine, why is this behavior so common among non-Muslims? The crimes of the Western imperial powers dwarf anything Muslims are doing. The stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction, the morbid fascination with grotesque violence, and the constant resort to military force traces to what? Are Western leaders consulting Islamic doctrine to write policy prescriptions?

  • Cassandra

    I can hear the pain in your voice as you argue, and I’m sorry that you feel your beautiful, peaceful religion is being traduced. But it’s not just me who fails to understand, is it?

    Those of your co-religionists blowing up or shooting ordinary unarmed people in India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Kenya, France, Spain, the UK, the USA, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Mali, etc. also seem not to have quite grasped it either.

    What does it matter if I understand your belief system or not? I’m never going to be a Muslim. However, I’m not going to go around abusing or hurting people because they don’t believe what I believe.

    Da’esh and other such groups do feel they have the right to chalk ‘N’ for Nasrani on Iraqi Christians’ doors, to signify that their property is no longer theirs; they drive out of the Middle East communities that had been there for thousands of years before Islam was even invented – the Yezidis are virtually extinct now – and they destroy the cultural legacy of the world because they want the next generations to grow up ignorant that there was ever anything other than their barren totalitarianism.

    Muslims often tell me that Allah made the religion to be easy for them, and that it doesn’t need the equivalent of a Pope. So why is it apparently so difficult for self proclaimed Muslims to understand? They’re the people you should be preaching to, not I.

    As an academic, I rely on original sources and peer-reviewed scholarly articles for my information. As part of my ongoing research, I read Daesh’s Dabiq magazine. You might try reading it, too, and see if you have any convincing arguments to counter theirs, which refer extensively to the life of the prophet, the hadiths and the Qur’an in order to justify their atrocities.

  • AJ

    There is no such thing as an ‘Islamistism’ kind of organization. There are terroristic organizations that run on money. Religion doesn’t pay but imperialism and colonialism does and specially the one that depends on oil.

    Nothing makes someone a senseless merciless killer except bad upbringing and bad circumstances. Peaceful people do not turn killers overnight by reciting scripture and the Paris ones didn’t have anything to do with scripture anyway as their own family tells.

    Stop calling things that make sense conspiracy theories. I am glad these states don’t run police departments. They would never look for motives, circumstances, evidence or anything of the like. Only a call from the criminal and them loudly uttering what motivates them would be the evidence.

    Morons! (not you) but the liars that lead the sheeple and the sheeple that get led.

  • The greenmantle

    ISIS believe in SF ? how so Dr M?
    Not that I doubt your good self but as a fan of SF I would be interested* in which authors they admire

    Sir David

    * read amused

  • Marinater

    cos they dont wanna send their troops to cancun for spring break i guess? no oil there

    some questions
    1) Wouldnt joining an ‘Islamistism’ organization forbid the vices above?
    2) What would motivate them to turn into senseless,remorseless killers?

    there’s no logical explanation for it and i refuse to delve into conspiracy theories like patsies and stuff

  • The greenmantle

    To rely on GW Bush seems a bit ironic . Bit like quoting the devil . Maybe they are short of hadith ;-)* to justify their actions .

    Sir David


  • Ilisha

    Elsewhere they quoted George W. Bush, prompting Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi to say they were not on the Prophetic methodology, but the “neocon methodology of George W. Bush.”

    I’m reading Yaqoubi’s book, “Refuting ISIS: A Rebuttal of its Religious and Ideological Foundations,” which includes then refutes ISIS statements, one after another.

  • The greenmantle

    I must admit when IS revealed there economic policy and quoted Paul Rand as there inspiration I fell about laughing as either rand is medievil or IS are really quite modern

    Sir David

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Thank you. As I said, you have your heart in the right spot.

  • AJ

    So let’s see so far – the guy who was/is absconding likes to frequent gay bars, then we had the nipple-selfie-in-the-bathtub jihadi that had not read the Quran and had lots of boyfriends. We also had the ones that liked clubbing and doing drug binges. Why are we blaming Islam since none seemed to practice it? We should blame illicit sexual behavior, homosexuality, drugs and immoral behavior for the actions of the so-called Paris terrorists.

  • JD

    The illegal U.S.-led invasion of Iraq
    led to the deaths of at least one million people, destabilized the entire region, and created extreme conditions in which militant groups like al-Qaeda spread like wildfire, eventually leading to the emergence of ISIS

    In Afghanistan, Anglo-Afghan War ,Soviet war in Afghanistan resulted in the deaths of over 1 million Afghans, mostly civiliansthe ongoing U.S.-led war and occupation
    — which the Obama administration jusg prolonged for a second time — has
    led to approximately a quarter of a million deaths and has displaced
    millions of Afghans.

    The disastrous U.S.-led NATO intervention in Libya
    destroyed the government, turning the country into a hotbed for
    extremism and allowing militant groups like ISIS to spread west into
    North Africa. Thousands of Libyans have been killed, and hundreds of
    thousands made refugees.

    In Yemen,
    the U.S. and other Western nations are arming and backing the Saudi-led
    coalition that is raining down bombs, including banned cluster
    munitions, on civilian areas, pulverizing the poorest country in the
    Middle East. And, once again — the story should now be familiar —
    thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been
    Iran and Opration Ajax which put Ruhollah Khomeini into power

  • JD

    The anti muslim ahole show his true racist color about time

  • JD

    Oh so

  • JD

    Fugitive Paris jihadist loved gay bars, drugs and PlayStation

  • ShunTheRightWhale

    The first time I read this term was in a journal written by a German priest, who visited the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul in the early modern period, in which he described how some young children bothered him as he travelled through a Muslim village and called him “Kafir! Kafir!”. I used the term ironically, to show that everybody, especially Nonmuslims can inform themselves. It isn’t alone the obligation of Muslims to distance themselves from terror, it should be obvious that the average Muslim is no terrorist, in reality he’s more prone to be a victim, one should also look at Islamic scripture to see things, that are deemed good even by one’s own (Nonmuslim) standards.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Ah, I see.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Oh, please, don’t call ypourself a kafir (unless that was meant as irony) Youhave your heart in the right spot, that’s all that counts.

  • Ilisha

    What most of the jihadis appear to have in common is a lack of any serious religious training: according to most studies, there is an inverse relationship between Muslim piety and attraction to jihad.

    Not at all surprising. AJ just mentioned this in her comments.

    Excellent article. Thanks for posting, Sir David. :)

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