Political vs Politicised


by Sid (Faisal)
29th February, 2008 at 6:00 am    

Salam ‘aleikum Asim Siddiqui, I agree with you completely:

The Islamic movements dominated Muslim political discourse in the 20th century. Political models coming from the west, such as representative democracy and accountable governments, were at best seen as tools to achieve an Islamic theocracy or at worst dismissed as unIslamic. Meanwhile monarchies, dictatorships and tyranny were able to thrive in the name of Islam. Much of the last 100 years has been spent politicising Islam rather than working for a just polity: the rule of law, equal citizenship and democratically accountable governments. The 21st century will see Islamist ideas dismantled by Muslims and western political models incorporated. Parallel to this, however, will be the Muslim challenge to present ideas emanating from the west as not un-Islamic but rather universal – a job in the past made difficult by colonialism and now by the west’s “war on terror”.

One of the reasons why ‘Islamist’ political parties are being flatly rejected in the few Muslim-majority nations where the democratic experiment has been allowed to flower is because voters have learnt:

  • Religion alone (and Islam as the case in point) is not equipped to build a stable, liberal, pluralist society.
  • Hard-won rights (in particular gender parity and the concept of free speech) are more likely to turn to dust in the hands of Islamist parties.

In response, Inayat Bunglawala points out that ‘Islamism’ is at the very heart of Islam.

But my main point is about this word ‘Islamist’. What do you take it to mean and can you let us know whether you believe the Prophet Muhammad was an ‘Islamist’. After all, he was a statesman as well as a religious leader, he negotiated peace treaties and conducted wars. He established a state based on Islamic laws. Did he ‘politicise Islam’ or was Islam from the outset political?

Asim’s response:

Thanks for your comments. The only real criticism so far has come from Inayat, bless. Our Beloved Prophet was both a temporal political leader and a recipient of revelation. There were numerous occasions when he would be asked by his companions if an opinion he had was from revelation or from his own judgement – where it was the latter the companions would be free (and did) to challenge him and suggest alternatives. There were also occasions when ‘political’ decisions were made guided by revelation.

However, revelation ended with him. No subsequent leader can claim divine guidance or an insight into God’s mind on any political decision they make. Hence, my point is that all leaders must be accountable to the people, not claim they are accountable to God (which in reality means accountability to no one and allows them to get away with murder, literally).

It is the conflating of the two roles the Prophet held simultaneously that has so adeptly been manipulated by many Islamists to pursue their own political agendas. My definition of an Islamist is anyone who seeks political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others.

What’s yours, dear?

And later:

Inayat – the Prophet was involved in politics, I have already said that. However that does not make Islam a “political faith”. We must not conflate the two roles he had (as I said earlier). Surely you can see the dangers in doing so? You don’t need to be a Muslim to seek social justice – I’m sure you will agree? Many of the most humanitarian people are non-Muslim. Islam is a religion (like any other) which has a set of moral guidelines that urges believers to do good works – but its up to the believer how s/he goes about doing that. In my view, the role of ulema (Muslim scholars) is to act as the moral conscience of society, i.e. a modern day pressure group. Their role is not to vet/approve legislation – otherwise they would be above the law and accountable to no one. Do you see where this is going? Inayat, seriously bro, you do not want to live in an Islamist-run ‘Islamic state’. For us it’s academic living happily in the secular west, for others it’s a matter of life and death. So just chill out on the Islamism and promote some love.

This exchange on the role of politics in Islam highlights the two contrasting dynamics at the heart of Muslim discourse today. Whether Islam is a political religion or whether it is a religion that has been hijacked by ‘Islamist’ geo-politics is a debate that has been raging in Muslim-majority nations since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Muslims who want to see the growth of stable, pluralist states tend to gravitate to Siddiqui’s corner; the evangelists of the Islamic state to Bunglawala’s. Western Islamists enjoy life in liberal democracies while sermonising about the political benefits of the Islamic state modelled on some abstract Muslim country and given “religious credibility” by being based on arbitrary interpretations of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Their ideas are patently unrealistic, unworkable and, most importantly, unpopular. Other terms like ‘naive’, ‘utopian’ and even ‘sentimental’ figure in there too. If on the other hand you see sense in Bunglawala’s ideas, your mileage may vary.

But the fact remains that Muslims who have tasted democratic process after decades of suffering in totalitarian dictatorships of one form or another have voted with their feet to keep religion out of politics. No wonder there is no room for democracy in an Islamist state.


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  1. bananabrain — on 29th February, 2008 at 9:10 am  

    great post, sid. i agree entirely.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  2. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 9:32 am  

    Well Sid, this is the debate that is raging, and will continue to rage on and on.

    Asim Siddiqu, along with his father (a more dysfunctional family than Bart and Homer Simpson) are lightweights in this area, evidenced by this.

    “Hence, my point is that all leaders must be accountable to the people, not claim they are accountable to God (which in reality means accountability to no one and allows them to get away with murder, literally).”

    It is commonly known that the Caliphs were not divinely chosen (as in European Divine Right theories), and where accountable to the people, in fact the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, said so in his first speech. Hence Asim is demonstrating his rather parochial ‘insights.’

    In fact, your approach, that ‘Islamism’ just isn’t workable is a debate more worth pursuing.

  3. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 9:40 am  

    Some good points raised there Sid.

    You know there’s going to be a BUT, don’t you?

    When you say “at the heart of muslim discourse” what do you mean exactly? Do you mean “at the heart of WESTERNISED muslim discourse”??? You are aware that there is no ‘heart of the muslim discourse’ without representation and debate from all parts of the world right?

    The other thing I am wondering about here is whether or not this viewpoint is simplifying the main problem in the so-called muslim-majority nations you speak off. And that is, corruption and poverty. Address these 2 issues, and the argument about Political Islam will rapidly dwindle. Arguing that betterment of life is a choice between democracy (which tends to reward people who are part of the system and ignore those who aren’t) and Islam is an obfuscation in my opinion. A dead-end debate.

    I love how the above exchange between Inayat and Asim don’t take this into account and are arguing about semantics which, lets face it, they have little hope of effecting in a real-world environment. Unless either one of them backs up their arguments with solid, current real-world examples that prove their points, at best this debate is more a popularity contest than anything else.

  4. Sofia — on 29th February, 2008 at 10:34 am  

    Saqib, you need to stop judging Asim by his father..you’ve mentioned this before and really you should be focussing on Asim’s points rather than an inherited name.

    I think the article is bang on when it talks of Muslims going on about how wonderful Islam is, where there is very little “political” Islam that seems to be functioning well. The humanitarian side of it is all run by muslim charities, and justice is pretty much non existent in contemporary muslim societies. Why has this happened? When did this happen? Why have we not moved on from maltreatment of human beings? (and again, maltreatment of women again and again…). When the HuT brigade go on and on about Caliphates, it makes me laugh. It’s the funniest thing that these stupid people go on about caliphs maybe having read a couple of books and then thinking they know all about it…Muslim communities are not the same as they were hundreds of years ago. There are more entrenched communities in Western Europe, living in non Muslim countries (so please don’t mention Muslim Spain)…ethnic diversity within communities and generally a lack of understanding or commonality between variant groups is also an issue that has never been addressed. Instead of being celebrated, we’re all being turned into arabs, with arab dress, version of Islam and culture.

  5. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 10:34 am  

    This is a debate worth having.

    Couple of observations:

    Why has so-called ‘islamism’ become a focal point only over the last 100 years? If Asim was to evaluate the political and economic situation over that period, we would get an informed debate.

    I think Ken Livingstone did raise the question of interference and manipulation in the muslim world but he only mentioned the last 80 years.

    Why does Asim even attempt to patronise Inayat? It makes him sounds like he’s cheerleading:

    Observe

    ‘The only real criticism so far has come from Inayat, bless.’

    and

    ‘What’s yours, dear?’

    ‘So just chill out on the Islamism and promote some love.’

    Even Eteraz made the point about the impact of economics and global politics, albeit in passing – when he repeated the essence of this article.

    The quality of the commentary has got to be measured by the ommissions – and there are plenty.

  6. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 10:36 am  

    Excellent questions from Sofia.

  7. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 10:58 am  

    I like your post Sofia. Especially w.r.t the difference between preaching and practice.

  8. fugstar — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:02 am  

    Its important to give Asim his due for being a nice bhaiya and doing good works. but he’s an accountant, not a political creature, he’s political to the extent of submitting to the dominant press narrative.

    Playback the argument another way, where liberal secularists, or skin deep muslims believe that Islam is just personal belief and damned from arenas of legal philosophy, social norms, development paradigm, social policy, political ethics and what not… then you’ll see a different Asim, less of an apparently aggreeable coconut. He isn’t you Sid. its quite funny to see confused and confusing people making two camps out of the CiF technocrats.

    Shows how completely out of touch people are and how little they really give a stuff about their own discourse. Nobody is really talking about islamic states as the solve all anymore and folks realise that the UK is the stupidest place to incubate such an idea..

  9. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:18 am  

    It was only a matter of time before the Islamists would start attacking personalities rather than the ideas. I wonder why that is? Nothing to do with the fact that they’re bereft of a clue and locked into a crumbling edifice, is it?

    They will malign the ideas by insinuation. We secularists are inherently haramis (sinners) and therefore unqualified to discuss Islam. They seem to forget the old hadiths about men judging the faith of others. Leave that to Creator will you and engage with the political ideas that you yourselves are keen to promulgate, there’s a good chap.

    Asim’s article was about Abdal Wahab el-Effendi’s new edition of ‘Who needs an Islamic State’. The fact is Islamism, and by extension the Islamic state is being popularly rejected by ordinary Muslims. What can you say about that?

  10. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:26 am  

    Sid @ 9:

    Evidence/specificity required on the term ‘ordinary muslims’, countries and demographics, before I could even think about saying something about it t.b.h.

    Are there solid statistics anywhere?

  11. Sofia — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:28 am  

    “Nobody is really talking about islamic states as the solve all anymore and folks realise that the UK is the stupidest place to incubate such an idea”

    Actually all of the HuTs are..and although there aren’t a lot of them, they are everywhere..also many muslims do think of muslim utopia and that involves khilafat

  12. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:31 am  

    Random Guy – well how about the recent elections in Pakistan, where in spite of terror and intimidation tactics of the Islamists, they have been singularly rejected in favour of secularism by the voters?

  13. M Khan — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    Why is it that Asim himself is very selective and won’t debate or discuss with scholars who have knowledge in this area. Asim has been challanged even on his own blog at CityCircle and won’t answer the points Sid.

    Sid if you knew anythign about Islam you would know clearly that the leader is accountable to his people.

    Further more Sid yours and Asim’s silly argument is deafeated by the hadith of the Prophet “Take from me and my companions”

    Hence Sid an easy example of this is the 20 Taraweeh in Jamaat which was put in place by Umar (RA) and was based upon the actions of the Prophet.

    As you know so little about Islam and its systems I suggest you read the works of classical scholars on this subject before shooting off with your falsehoods.

    You are presenting gross distortions of Islam as facts.

    If anything the last 100 years have been domintade by nationalism of states set-up by the British.

    People like Asim are as detached from mainstream Muslims as is possible. Hence he is covering himself with people that have contact with the community.

    I challange you and Asim now lets have this debate with the scholars and put your points to them. Are you both men enough to debate with people who have knowledge in this area or will you shy away again and fire falsehoods from afar claiming to know about Islam.

    So lets do this you and Asim say against one of the major scholars in the Middle East – either prove your point or be quiet but don’t twist what Islam says. You are just another Islamist in wanting only your way and pretending it is part of Islam.

  14. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:45 am  

    I don’t remember any teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) where it was ordered to bomb and use violence as a means of gaining political traction – although I can see where these people would obtain justification for it. How these parties equate to anything Islamic is beyond me. If your binary comparison is between Politicised Self-Proclaimed ‘Islamic’ Parties and Secularism, I think the winner is very obvious.

    Secularism-wise, I think it would be a good move for people to go down that route if their only alternatives are intimidatory and violent parties.

  15. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:49 am  

    great post Sid – especially your last paragraph.

    And it has been an interesting exchange, very interesting indeed. Asim of course makes brilliant points and i’m glad this reasoned debate is being had – here. Some sensible points finally. (its been happening elsewhere for much longer, which is why i found it so suprising people were still going on about caliphates in the UK, and appealing to quite a few young people ) i think the ‘western’ muslim discourse has appeared one-sided for too long)

    yes good points sofia.

    corruption is very definitely linked to a lack of accountability and transparency – Random guy – wouldn’t you say? involving Religion tends to muddy the waters and hasn’t been known for encouraging scrutiny, accountability or transparency in institutions, in the past, anyway. Perhaps people can point to how they think this is going to change in the future. As to whether the Caliphs were accountable to the people – there is significant disagreement as to whether thi sis really the case. Rather, shall i say, in those days, murder appeared to be the main means of removal of those deemed to have abused powers ( or wanting to take up power instead) Certainly what is clear is that there weren’t many ‘peaceful’ and agreeable methods of dispute resolution eh? I think this is significant.

    And the differences of religion makes it too easy to impose injustice on some people and not others, and have it religiously sanctioned ( e.g. Ottoman use of concubines captured through war and ‘the spoils of war’ and women as war booty is a prime example of this one rule for one lot, and one rule for another lot, allegedly sanctioned by religion. All goes to increase corruption and injustice, not lessen it. Of course people I.e. Inayat and co. should be encouraged to point to how they envisage these sorts of problems – would be avoided.

  16. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:54 am  

    11. – as Sofia says, so it is significant, the utopia thing is really the key here.

  17. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:55 am  

    Sid,

    ‘It was only a matter of time before the Islamists would start attacking personalities rather than the ideas. I wonder why that is? Nothing to do with the fact that they’re bereft of a clue and locked into a crumbling edifice, is it?’

    Looks like its going to turn into another many-post thread.

    You too are in danger of turning it into a personality thing. If you actually look at the responses they haven’t done what you are saying.

    As for me I don’t care for Asim’s spectacles. I had a similar problem with Khaled Dhiab – he too wears non-NHS glasses.

    Oh, and that Eteraz – the upturned collar, thinks he’s Travolta.

    Personal enough?

    So do get back to the important debate you’ve started – prevarication is not needed.

  18. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 12:11 pm  

    All goes to increase corruption and injustice, not lessen it. Of course people I.e. Inayat and co. should be encouraged to point to how they envisage these sorts of problems – would be avoided.

    Sonia, that’s exactly it.
    We see a lot of outright rejection of liberal democracy but nothing on how the Islamic state will solve problems like accountability and representation. The Shura Majlis model simply does not work. The concern, of course, is that Islamist governments in power will offer “one person, one vote, one time”, as Edward Djerejian famously put it.

  19. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 12:11 pm  

    Sonia @ 15:

    I completely agree that corruption is always linked to a lack (or an omission in most cases) of accountability and transparency.

    If the country was prosperous and people were not being subject to these evils, then I think this debate would be non-existent. Currently, the example of Western ‘democracies’ are seen as a means to prosperity, hence the red herring of a debate pitting so-called Political Islam against Secularism in some imaginary clash. In my opinion of course :)

  20. fugstar — on 29th February, 2008 at 12:26 pm  

    not personal, just occupational. i dont expect wisdom on the blackness of my heart from a computer scientist, not do i expect insights on horizons in contemporary islamic thought from accountants or brown sahibs. You’d be expected to grasp the nearest ‘right sounding’ cliche because it in terms of those that you think. I’m just saying that these folks are shopping in the wrong area of the souq.

    The rejection of islamists is probably an ok thing, mainly because they need to buck up and improve. Muslims in most countries are held to ransom by the big powers, so its hardly a fair vote. As people get a little less hungry, hopefully less materialistic, more learned and see through secularism for the basic disbelief that i tend to think it is, some better ideas and practices will come up.

    Not many purely secular parties actually exist in muslim south asia either, its basically a marketting slogan to garner western support and shift attention from the problems of the people. Eastern secularism/atheism is important to write off because it just distorts the field of ideas. Even Moulana Bhashani got pissed off at the athiests who started to use him and told them to get out of his party.

    Sofia,
    Did you know that even people like Gandhi were into the Khilafat idea back in the day? hardly a crime now is it? More of a marker for a desire to raise the dignity of Muslim. If people are interested in solving the problems of the Ummah, they dont go around attacking ideas that aren’t directly part of the issues at hand. It is rentboys who do.

    If people in the east join HT, its better than a lot of the other options open to the young and is a sign that the secular confusion has reached its end. (most ht people come from secularist or similarly dopey parentage).

    Muslims who believe and haven’t been rendered skin-deep by the passing of time and their own lack of spine find better things to do. The secularist-islamist pseudoschism is one stupid inheritance that our generation can do without. 50+ states and only about 3 of positive integer value. sheesh.

    Khilafat in the individual sense means custodianship and expresses the role God gives humankind in creation. Bandying around anti islamist rhetoric is not cool, because you end up devaluing religious concepts and shooting yourself in the heart. Mislamism is over anyway.

  21. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 12:58 pm  

    Secularism is not atheism folks. This is a fundamental comprehension error which isn’t limited to the Islamists. A Muslim Secularist is one who calls for the separation of religious law from machinery of public administration and government.

    To some that is “Bandying around anti islamist rhetoric”. and this is a common knee jerk because its an emotive issue. This has been implemented in a half-hearted way in Non-Arab muslim-majority nations, and the battle is to go all the way. This is key to creating representative and pluralist governments.

  22. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:13 pm  

    Like I said, if parties proclaiming themselves as Islamic end up causing people to suffer, its natural that the people will gravitate towards the alternative. That people are able to gravitate is an excellent thing and is the catalyst for this process. However, saying that the unpopular groups are practicing a correct form of Islam, rather ‘Political Islam’, is wrong.

  23. Ashik — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:19 pm  

    Islamism is not a comprehensive ideology. Islamists almost never take the lead in talking about bread and butter issues like schools, jobs, education. Exhorting women to cover up, implementing Shariah and helping Palestine are not issues which lead to an increase in GNP.

    Some 3rd world secular groups like Bangladesh Awami League and BNP also focus too much on personality politics rather than the issues the electorate is interested in.

  24. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:23 pm  

    ‘Saqib, you need to stop judging Asim by his father..you’ve mentioned this before and really you should be focussing on Asim’s points rather than an inherited name.’

    Not really, for Asim and Ghayasuddin (his father) are actually coming from the same perspective, not just the same family, evidenced by both their works on issues pertaining not just to Islam and Politics, but wider theological issues. Since they air these views in public, I am entitled to challenge them, and also point out the inconsistency in their thinking, not just at present, but over a period of time. And if this can be done with some homour, well that is great. Though I am not sure where ‘Marge’ would fit in.

    I have made a substantive point about his argument on political authority, which has shown his rather poor reasoning. Perhaps this is linked to his father’s earlier championing of the Iranian revolution back in the day, when he was a self-declared Islamist, for the Shite conception of Political authority is indeed akin to divine right theory. However this is not the case in Sunni Islam.

    At a wider level, there is nothing wrong about talking about ideals, i’m a Muslim, I have my ideals, which i may not necessarily measure up to favourably. However this does not stop me from contributing to the practical problems of my society. Even Liberals will talk of ideals, and rightly so, many of which i share, however, we can see, that liberal democracies also fall short of some of their ideals, not as spectacularly as many Muslim societies, but there are concerns.

    Asim, and if anyone reads his other writings, along with Ed Husain, Maajid Nawaz et al talk of Islamism not synonymous with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, but with all post-colonial, actually pre-colonial movements which work to develop an Islamic polity, fit for the modern world. One of the foremost has been the Muslim Brotherhood, which has in many Arab countries done much social and educational work, particularly in Egypt. Most of the major Muslim charities in the UK have been influenced by the Brotherhood, hence I again beg to differ with Asim on:

    ‘Much of the last 100 years has been spent politicising Islam rather than working for a just polity’

    If this was the case then Brotherhood would not have been as active in social work as i have just articulated above. Not just the brotherhood actually, as there have been many other influences like the Salafis’ on going back to scripture, which have build the foundations for a more concrete theological basis for social and political engagement.

    Hence i reject Asim’s point here, and believe he has simply invented a strawman argument, which he himself refutes, to create this binary distinction between the secular humanist Muslim in juxtaposition to the inward looking Islamist, when actually this is not the case.

    Hence i stand by my contention that Asim is a lightweight in this debate of theologically and politics.

  25. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

    some people may be pitting a clash – the original HuT crew certainly did for example, – of course it is not anywhere near as simple, is it really. It keeps coming back to challenging authority and the basis on which you can do that.

    You can have corruption anywhere you have humans and you usually do.

    however the point is to do keep trying to do our best and there are some models that are definitely going to work better than others, e.g. leaving “God” out of it -which in my humble opinion, makes it all that much easier – for dissent – if nothing else.

    Blasphemy is a huge weapon against dissent. What happens after that – is still notoriously difficult, democracy is not a ‘simple injection’ style thing you just achieve clearly – but involving religious authority as somehow ‘absolute’ just makes it pretty much impossible, in my humble opinion.

    The kinds of authority that we keep propping up are definitely problematic – as an anarchist that’s what i think – and religious authority is at the top of that ridiculous game – with your ultimate authority unseen and unchallengeable. Why would we let ourselves in for that? when challenging existing “human” authority is difficult enough.

    The question also goes back to of course, what people mean by the ‘khilafah’, and what mean by ‘secular’. What is significant, is the role of religious authority. So it keeps coming back to authority – do we give ‘religion’ authority in a country, and how that plays out. Seems like a bloody stupid idea to me, but perhaps that’s because i’m biased against religion and its dictat, and i want as little authority over my person as possible. But the point is seeing as most people clearly don’t actually agree on anything much within even the same ‘religion’ – giving power and to someone who is supposed to be God’s representative’s representative -or interpreter of said representative – is extremely dangerous. Challenging such authority is too often a deadly game, and the terms don’t allow for it anyway.

    yep sid. may as well call it a council of elders or something.

  26. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:28 pm  

    Safeguards, Sonia, are lacking. What works beautifully over here is a system that provides a fairly high level of immunity against corruption and malpractice. In a tribal system, or a corrupt hierarchy, this is non-existent.

  27. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:28 pm  

    Ashik:

    ‘Islamism is not a comprehensive ideology. Islamists almost never take the lead in talking about bread and butter issues like schools, jobs, education. Exhorting women to cover up, implementing Shariah and helping Palestine are not issues which lead to an increase in GNP.’

    Ashik, some Islamists, like HT and others probably have been ‘top-heavy’ in this regard, however others are clearly doing more than their secular compatriots. In the Arab World, once the dust of secular nationalism was dying down, Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood worked at the grass-roots level to uplift society.

  28. Random Guy — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:29 pm  

    Where a system means legislation and a robust form of monitoring and logging of transactions etc. Especially commercial-related stuff. Watchdogs and all…

  29. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:36 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘We see a lot of outright rejection of liberal democracy but nothing on how the Islamic state will solve problems like accountability and representation. The Shura Majlis model simply does not work. The concern, of course, is that Islamist governments in power will offer “one person, one vote, one time”, as Edward Djerejian famously put it.’

    Good point Sid.

    However Islamist politics goes beyond simple assertions of wanting Khilafah – it is about political engagement at all levels. This is reflected by the diversity of their work.

  30. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:40 pm  

    21. sid, yes you think you wouldn’t have to point that out, would you?

    seems to me, the ‘correct’ form of Islam appears to the be other main point of contention here

  31. Bikhair — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:01 pm  

    This isnt my area of expertise but had many Muslim governments not completely failed when implementing Western style political models, producing the same results that are on a daily basis witnessed by Muslims in the Western world, Islamism would not have been as popular or tempting to the polity? Most of the Muslim governments have yet to deliver. Many Islamist political parties can only play one tune.

    or;

    Isnt Islamism another failed Western political model?

    What the hell is Islamism?

  32. M Khan — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

    Sid – answer the question why do you think that you and Asim know more than a scholar? Why is it you won’t debate with a scholar who can refute your views?

    The justice system in Islam is all about being just to all. The fact that people implement it incorrectly can’t be blamed on Islam.

    The liberal democracies you highlight are responsible for the way Africa has been raped and for subjucating by force many nations so their mineral wealth can be raped.

    That is what you are advocating Sid.

  33. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

    Bikhair

    ‘Isnt Islamism another failed Western political model?’

    The most intriguing of all the questions on the subject.

  34. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:11 pm  

    Refresh:

    I think the comments of being personal may have been directed at me, for my caricature of Asim and his Daddy as ‘Bart and Homer Simpson’. However i don’t want to be accused of plagiarism,

    The original is from this Extract from Sister Karima Hamdan:

    ‘Ghayasuddin Siddiqui who requested Ayatollah Khomeini to issue the death sentence on Salman Rushdie nearly 20 years ago, and yet using his extraordinary chameleon-like abilities Mr Siddiqui has now metamorphosed into a leading authority on social cohesion and Islamic reformation….’

    This revisionist thinking appears to have a genetic component with his son Asim Siddiqui – Chairman and Founding trustee of The City Circle – muscling in with some featherweight views about reformation himself. According to Asim Siddiqui, “it is for progressive Muslim scholars to ensure the more liberal and tolerant interpretations that are rooted in the Islamic tradition…become dominant over time.” Not since Homer and Bart Simpson entered the world’s consciousness has there ever been a father and son team that exudes such fortitude and gravitas.’

    http://ummahpulse.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=325&Itemid=96

    ‘As for me I don’t care for Asim’s spectacles. I had a similar problem with Khaled Dhiab – he too wears non-NHS glasses.’

    Actually his dad’s glasses are better in appearance, though the NHS could help him with speech therapy.

  35. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

    Bikhair/Refresh:

    Interetsing indeed.

    In reality, Islamism should have been dead and buried long time ago, and its resilience, resurgence (though not in that order) is symptomatic of the masses to buy into secular concepts and ideas.

    I think the other point is that most of the political institutions in the Muslims world, i.e. parliament, judiciary are both new (since modern nation-states were formed) and also highly politicised. Consequently, they don’t command the respect and trust of the masses. Traditional institutions, such as the Mosque and Ulema command considerably more trust, and increasingly various movements which stem from these seemingly age-old edifices.

    This is the reason why some secularists, not all, but among those of the ruling elites, countries like Turkey and Tunisa interfere and indeed emasculate religious institutions as they want to break this seemingly parallel power-base. However, this only makes Muslims more resentful, and actually become extreme.

  36. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:34 pm  

    It is telling that the Muslims who call for the creation of the Islamic State are almost entirely habitating in the West and enjoying the products and benefits of life in a Liberal Democracy. In Muslim-majority nations, people who push for Islamic states are mostly stakeholders of Islamist organisations. That’s a minor fraction of a minor fraction of people. Jamaati Islami in Pakistan and Bangladesh achieve only single figure representation in spite of receiving millions of petrodollars from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

  37. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    Sid – equally one could say that in Turkey there is a turn away from secular back to religion.

    It is telling that the liberal democracies are also allied with the very people you complain about for their own financial interests.

    You can’t keep blaming Saudi Arabia and Kuwait when your liberal democracies have so much trade with them.

    Both are dependent on each other.

  38. douglas clark — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:43 pm  

    Saqib,

    Hi.

    Just out of curiosity, what would be the heavyweight views pro reformation, to contrast with Asim Siddiqui’s allegedly lightweight views?

  39. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:45 pm  

    You miss my point Avi. I’m saying that in spite of millions of dollars of funding by the Saudis and the Kuwaitis, in spite of being highly organised, in spite of being highly regimented they are REJECTED in the popular vote by the electorate because of their policies (or lack of) and single-issue Islamist agenda.

  40. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:53 pm  

    36 – yes very telling indeed. and it seems very much tied up with “minority” dynamics in my opinion, and situated as some kind of ‘anti-”western”‘ offering, well that’s certainly how its been packaged. what is interesting is to explore the dynamics of this situation, and the role religion has been playing.

  41. Ashik — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:58 pm  

    Agree with Saqib 35. In such circumstances it is no surprise some can believe in utopian ideas like a worldwide Caliphate. In the third world the nation state mode of organisation and it’s manifestations eg. courts and parliaments, bequeathed by colonial authorities often lacks legitimacy. Such institutions are controlled by elites. In Africa/Middle East tribal loyalties and in South Asia regional and religious identities are paramount. Hence a Sylheti Bengali is a Sylheti Muslim first and Bangladeshi second. The same with Kashmiris in Pakistan.

    State institutions simply don’t eminate deeply into society. In much of South Asia local ad hoc religious courts called ‘Salish’ courts manned (literally: no females) by local dignitaries often deal with personal law and land rights. The state courts (adhering to Brit Common law) often in practice do not have jurisdiction in rural areas. Some Salish courts have been criticised for conservative interpretations of Islam. However, they remain popular due to cost.

  42. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:59 pm  

    In the West, the only groups who benefit from coverage of Islamist politics are the fringe grouuscules of Islamists such as RESPECT and other fringe nobodies and the right-wing press and politicians who derive sales and patronage from bigging up the Islamist bogeyman.

  43. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:03 pm  

    turkey’s been about voting people in who happen to be religious, that’s not giving away ‘secularism’ at all. like i said, its about the authority of religious institutions, rather than a political party made up of people who happen to be religious in some particular kind of way.

  44. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    Saqib

    ‘I think the comments of being personal may have been directed at me, ‘

    I am not too sure if they were or not. After all your last post says this:

    ‘In reality, Islamism should have been dead and buried long time ago, ‘

    Someone is confused.

  45. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    its no surprise that human beings believe in utopia, is it. after all, utopia feeds so many of our desires and hopes. why look how popular believing in God is. we humans have many needs and having something to believe in is clearly very significant.

  46. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:07 pm  

    I think it’s less of a purely religious reflex than a sentimental “we are the muslim world, we are the children” reflex. Purely sentimental. And sentimentalism doesn’t bear close analysis.

  47. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:09 pm  

    Sid – if you think that the Saudi’s and Kuwaitis are oragnised then you are seriously misinformed. Even Yayha Birt in his blog stated they just give the money and rarely check if and how it is used. That is changing.

    Plus the amount they spend is a drop in the ocean compared to the democracies to which you refer spend on getting across their message.

    So whilst the Saudi’s may spend hundreds of millions then the western world will spend billions.

    It is like the example of Koran publishing the Saudi’s publish the most in the world but it is a tiny fraction of the number of bibles America alone prints.

    So your argument lacks some of the wider perspective.

    The reason the west is appealing is because it is better at putting its case and spends even more in pushing its agenda. For example you have news channels, advertising, things such as the British Council all showcasing and selling western ideas. Then of course it will be appealing.

    The concept of Islamism you refer to is actually an Egyptian Ideology and not Arabian Peninsula ideology. Islamism was pushed by the West in the late 70′s and 80′s and has caused great damage to Muslims.

    Also in liberal western democracies often people revert ideas back to their religous ideology hence you get peopel saying this is a Christian nation!

  48. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:12 pm  

    Misunderstood it again Avi. I said the Islamist parties in South Asia are highly organised, not Saudi Arabia or Kuwait is highly organised? Is it my punctuation that’s causing you trouble?

    My fundamental point is this: Islalmist parties are unpopular with the voting masses in spite of all the sharia in the world. The only people who hanker for them are people like you who who live here in the west.

  49. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:15 pm  

    Avi

    ‘Islamism was pushed by the West in the late 70’s and 80’s and has caused great damage to Muslims.’

    This is what the debate should be all about – but only a few appreciate it and even fewer acknowledge it.

    Now we are on the next phase – reformation.

    Only self-determination can be an answer to the world’s problems.

  50. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:23 pm  

    Sid

    ‘My fundamental point is this:’

    I think your fundamental point is that ‘Islamism’ won’t work give it up – take up western style democracy.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with that of course. But there is a body of opinion which says that itself has had a battering as a concept both here in the west and elswhere. So your argument has to be based on that fundamental point.

    And an alternative view (being expressed here) is that ‘Islamism’ is a foreign concept in any case – alien and damaging.

    So who are the real ‘Islamists’?

  51. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:28 pm  

    So who are the real ‘Islamists’?

    Asim Siddiqui’s definition is perfect:

    “… anyone who seeks political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others.”

    I think your fundamental point is that ‘Islamism’ won’t work give it up – take up western style democracy.

    Why Western style democracy? Why not Turkish style democracy? or Indian style democracy or Indonesian style democracy? or just democracy?

  52. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:35 pm  

    Sid,

    “… anyone who seeks political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others.”

    Sounds perfect to me. A precisely mirrored position of the neo-cons, wouldn’t you say?

    I think this could prove to be a defining moment for PP.

  53. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:39 pm  

    Sid,

    How did you manage an edit in your #51, after I’d replied?

  54. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:43 pm  

    free will.

  55. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

    Sid – I don’t hanker for anything. You are simply sniping points with anyone who disagrees with you.

    What you cannot grasp is that Islamist is a concept developed in Europe by visiting Muslims and hence it has an ideology that is not part of Islam. You are desperatly trying to link it to strands of Islam you do not agree with in order to have pressure put on them so your view wins out.

    That is an incorrect way to go.

    Blaming the Middle East for all the problems is hardly fair and morally incorrect.

    Surely the types of points you are claiming to know about can only be clarified by a theologian and not some lay person.

  56. Ashik — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:48 pm  

    Nationalism, Socialism, Communism, Afro-nationalism, Pan Arabism etc. – there is a sense in the Muslim developing world that all the ‘isms’ have been tried as paths to development and Islamism is/was seen as the the last throw of the dice. Many thought that this last ism was indigenous too.

    In my opinion no political ideology can short-circuit the tortuous path of industrialisation as seen in the West and more recently China and India.

  57. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:48 pm  

    Don’t you mean privilege?

  58. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

    “… anyone who seeks political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others.”

    Isn’t taht you as well Sid as you seek to link those whose interpretation of Islam you disagree with alongside the current West bogeyman namely Islamist?

    Even the US State Dept doesn’t accept your definition and they are pretty damn right wing.

  59. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

    Refresh:

    ‘‘In reality, Islamism should have been dead and buried long time ago, ‘

    Someone is confused’

    Well, i hope i am not confused. My point was that the secular elites have had plenty of time to develop better systems of government, and should have by now defeated Islamism…which they haven’t.

  60. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:52 pm  

    Avi, you’re continuing to haggle over a point I didn’t even make. I alreay said that the point I made in #36 is about the fundamental unpopularity of the Islamist parties in countries that have adopted democracy in spite of being well-oiled and well funded (by the Salafi Arabs). I made that clear again in #39 and again in #48. The point I’m making is nothing to do with blaming the Middle East. Shall I say that again? The point I’m making is nothing to do with blaming the Middle East

    If you still make comments like

    Blaming the Middle East for all the problems is hardly fair and morally incorrect.

    it shows you have a problem with understanding what I am saying at the most basic English level.

  61. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

    Don’t you mean privilege?

    Privelege is nothing without will. Actions will be judged according to intentions. ;)

  62. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:03 pm  

    In my opinion no political ideology can short-circuit the tortuous path of industrialisation as seen in the West and more recently China and India.

    At last! And of course, you can’t have China’s and India’s unless you have gender-parity in the workforce. Under Islamist systems women will not be in the workforce. Wealth creation is the another fundamental reason to reject Islamism.

  63. Bikhair — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:06 pm  

    Avi Cohen,

    “The concept of Islamism you refer to is actually an Egyptian Ideology and not Arabian Peninsula ideology. Islamism was pushed by the West in the late 70’s and 80’s and has caused great damage to Muslims.”

    I dont concur.

    Islamism isnt just another run-of-the-mill political alternative in the Muslim world. Its blow back plain and simple. It began as a blacklash against the political elite and the politics of Egypt with one of its more salient criticisms being British busy bodying during the time. Yeah it grew its pubic hairs in the 70s and 80s but Hasan Al Bana, way back in the day, began hs career as an anti British imperialist and a social/religious purist.

    Individuals will have all kinds of cooky ideas but there has to be something wrong with the society at large for it to gain momentum. It doesnt have to be pushed by the west. It will be pushed by thirst and hunger. You dont have to push the idea that people are pissed. You just have to start naming names.

  64. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:09 pm  

    Douglas:

    ‘Hi.

    Just out of curiosity, what would be the heavyweight views pro reformation, to contrast with Asim Siddiqui’s allegedly lightweight views?’

    Well that depends what you mean by reformation. If i understand reformation to mean the reform of Islam as a religion, as opposed to its evolution through ijtihad, then I would say such a position cannot itself is not really tenable. Since you asked for a name I will however give you one, Tariq Ramadan has more credence, even though I do disagree with him on some of his positions, however he has made some good headway.

  65. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:12 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘That’s a minor fraction of a minor fraction of people. Jamaati Islami in Pakistan and Bangladesh achieve only single figure representation in spite of receiving millions of petrodollars from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.’

    Is that really the case Sid that JI get this funding? It is a genuine question, for most money or ‘petro-dollors’ you call went to fund education, propagation and lest we forget Jihad. Political parties, i am not sure.

  66. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:17 pm  
  67. fugstar — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

    Secular Muslim is a funny category. Its like homosexual celibate, only more alien.

    Subcontinental Islamic parties need to move beyond the 1930s and stop hanging onto other (dead) people’s coat tails. In Bangladesh, many of other parties profess ‘islamic ideology’ though quite vuaguely. (BNP, JP)

  68. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:30 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘Asim Siddiqui’s definition is perfect:

    “… anyone who seeks political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others.”

    That is a rather poor definition, as i think is the general analysis here that Islamism is essentially Western.

    Islamism as a term came into prevalence in the West to describe a very broad range of movements which articulated ideas of an Islamic polity in the modern world. Some of these movements have been heavily influenced by Western ideas, Ali Shariati, for example was influenced, apparently by fascist ideas, HT have been influenced by marxist ideas of revolution.

    We need to bear in mind that just because people have taken some Westren ideas does not make them necessarily unislamic, it really depends on the validity of the ideas themselves.. After all, Liberal Muslims, though obviously influenced by western ideas of liberalism will claim that many of these ideas do have genuine resonance with Islamic tradition, and in some cases they do, in others they don’t.

    However, at root many of the basic ideas of many Islamists do stem from traditional Islamic concepts and in fiqh. Traditional books of Fiqh deal with matters of public affairs ranging from trade, judiciary, foreign policy etc, all of which shows that in the development of Islamic scholarship, no real separation between religion and politics was envisioned.

    Even though the terms of reference i.e. freemarket, liberty etc…may not have their exact equivalents in terms of semantics, the basic concepts were there. However, to bring this out, Islamists have adopted the language of the West, for in reality the modern world is shaped by the West.

  69. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:40 pm  

    Sid – all your underlying comments go around blaming Salafi and Arabs for this and that. Hence the conclusion you are shifting blame on them.

    In another thread you incorrectly blamed Arabs for dogmatically sticking to systems which have no basis in Islam, when in fact it is mainly Indians who do this.

    Just because you are sifting ground to try and prove your argument doesn’t change the reality that you are desperatly trying to link those strands of Islam you disapprove of with Islamist.

    The reality is that even in Saudi Arabia the King has said women need to contribute more in the workforce. Currently in that country more females graduate than males.

    However the fundemental problem in the Islamic World is lack of education and people’s lot not improving. This applies probably more to the Sufi dominated world you so love than the Arab one you despise.

    Across North Africa for example cultural practises against women are rampant with female circumsion, women denied educationetc. But this is an area where Arabs haven’t spent much money and the ideology is that of yours, so it is far removed from Islamists battleground in Arabia.

    So what we can see is that even your Sufi’s have distorted Islam to deny women their rights. But you are blind to this. Equally again Pakistan, India and Bangladesh is dominated by local ideology and that again does the same.

    The problem stems from education and not industralisation. Untiul the education problems are resolved the Muslim world will continue to lag. How much research comes out of the Muslim world? Little if any.

    That is a fundemental problem and causes many of the issues we see as this leads to poverty and people wanting to esacpe away from this.

  70. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:43 pm  

    I’m not blaming Salafi Arabs for the failure of Islamism in non-Arab countries. But you are free to dance around this opinion if that floats your boat, since it’s apparent that blame is the only human reflex you understand.

  71. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:51 pm  

    From wiki article on Funding on Bangladeshi Islamist outfits:

    JMB allegedly received financial assistance from individual donors in Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Libya. Reports have claimed that, funding of JMB by international NGOs like Kuwait based Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage (RIHS) and Doulatul Kuwait, Saudi Arabia based Al Haramaine Islamic Institute and Rabita Al Alam Al Islami, Qatar Charitable Society and UAE-based Al Fuzaira and Khairul Ansar Al Khairia.[26] Some of the RIHS offices were blacklisted in 2002 by the US State Department because of alleged links with al-Qaeda. Though, these connections have not been proven. Following the blasts in August, the Bangladeshi government deported five foreign RIHS officials.[27] Al-Haramaine was banned by the US in 2004 and its branches in Albania, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and the Netherlands were added by the UN Security Council to the Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee on 6 July 2004

  72. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:52 pm  

    Sorry Saqib, I wasn’t suggesting you were confused. I think Sid was.

  73. Libero — on 29th February, 2008 at 5:52 pm  

    How do you detect a moron who has nothing to say or contribute to a debate? When he calls those who he disagrees with ‘coconuts’ and ‘brown sahibs’

  74. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:08 pm  

    Saqib, I largely agree with your overview in #68.

    But political Islam invariably involves the weilding of political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others. Which is why I think Asim’s definition is spot on.

    If “Islamism” is an imperfect definition, then what term would you use to define this ideological phenomenon?

  75. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:11 pm  

    Sid:

    re:71

    But is says ‘alleged’. Moreover your contention was that it was ‘millions’ and this neither confirms, nor negates this.

  76. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:13 pm  

    Sid

    This is a dramatic change in stance:

    ‘But political Islam invariably involves the weilding of political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others. Which is why I think Asim’s definition is spot on.’

    You are now talking about political Islam and not ‘Islamism’. Massive difference to what I read that quote from Asim to mean.

  77. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:15 pm  

    Oh I would say it’s more than millions. Islamist leaders of JI and their various radicalised splinter groups are well financed, that’s a commonly known fact in Bangladesh.

  78. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    OK Refresh, if we are going to argue on points of nomenclature, whether it is “politcised Islamic parties” or “Islamists” or “political Islam” or “clerical fascists”, we’re still taling essentially about “the weilding of political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others”.

    You can call it what you like and I will be happy to use the term that favours you. But the methodologies are the same, no?

  79. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:21 pm  

    “I’m not blaming Salafi Arabs for the failure of Islamism in non-Arab countries.”

    If you knew anything as even the State Dept acknowledge Salafi’s and Islamists are not the same and don’t agree with each other. Therefore your rather pathetic attempts to link the two are falsehoods eminating from yours, asim’s and ed hussein’s attempts to impose your ideology and creed of Islam upon others.

    Your whole piece here is based upon that linkage, the links you provide is based on that attempt.

    Islamism is a doctrine based upon a mish mash of ideas taken from various parties in an attempt to bring power.

    Muslim Theologians in the Middle East have long spoken out against this and if you bothered to do your homework you’d know this.

    If you bother to look at the Salafi Websites they all abhore terrorism:

    http://www.spubs.com

    Haneef James Oliver also writes on the subject well:

    http://www.thewahhabimyth.com/

    Again this exposes your nonsense for what it is and your rather poor attempts to link the groups for the falsehood it is.

  80. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:28 pm  

    Avi, The Islamist parties are financed by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. They go on to form splinter groups that use terrorism and intimidation like this kind of thing. They hark back to full sharia implementation. They stand in elections and nobody votes for them because they’re a bunch of poisonous losers. People like you sit in your two by fours in good old blighty and romanticise about them. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  81. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:28 pm  

    refresh – what he is doing like Ed Hussein and Asim is to link strands of Islam they disagree with to Islamists in order to discredit them.

    The reality is that the movements he links together hate each other.

    In addition Bunglawala who is used as a source is a lawyer and not a theologian and cannot possibly understand these issues.

    The problems in the Muslim world stem from cultural practises and lack of education.

    How can any country that cannot advance possibly keep up with western nations. Thus the frustrations of the people boils up.

    The Sufi school of thought is increasingly vocal and exerting pressure on those it doesn’t like. Isn’t this a form of the same Islamism that Sid and Asim complain of namely the use of relgion to impose their will. They are asking people they select to impose their version of Islam on others and are saying to the media and the government this is correct.

    Under the guise of liberalism they are imposing an opinion and creed they like via government funding and media representation.

    I notice on the City Circle blogs that Asim won’t answer quite significant questions which are posed to him.

  82. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:28 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘But political Islam invariably involves the weilding of political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others. Which is why I think Asim’s definition is spot on.’

    That was probably the case in Afghanistan with the Taleban, however even they rose to power due to the political vacuum and chaos that ensued, that absence of which would not have brought them to power. In fact it was never really part of their programme to set up a state, which they were obviously not prepared for.

    Without a doubt the obsession to grab political power is one which may have made sense in the colonialist struggle, however it does not today, and this is the achilles’ heel for Islamists. However, not all, perhaps most Islamists operate like this, hence I do feel Asim’s definition, which i have not come across before, is narrow.

    Many Muslims’ who espouse ideas which could be termed as political Islam do not want to ‘impose an interpretation, rather simply want the general ethos, values of Islam to be given a basic political form.

    ‘If “Islamism” is an imperfect definition, then what term would you use to describe of this ideological phenomenon?’

    I didn’t say Islamism is the wrong definition, I accept it since the term has gained wide currency to describe an historic reality, of post-colonial movements, ideas which have sought to bring Islam into the political area.

  83. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:30 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘Oh I would say it’s more than millions. Islamist leaders of JI and their various radicalised splinter groups are well financed, that’s a commonly known fact in Bangladesh.’

    Yes, that may well be the case, however i do not see concrete evidenced that these millions have come from ‘petro-dollars’. I repeat this, as I know the Saudis and Kuwaitis don’t generally fund for political activity.

  84. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:32 pm  

    Allegedly they do, and anecdotally I know they do.

  85. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:32 pm  

    Sid,

    You’ve got to be clear about you are against (as well as for), if there is to be any useful discussion.

    If you think that political Islam is the same thing as “the weilding of political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others”, then how can there be any further debate?

    If you said you were opposed to anyone who seeks to “weild political power to impose their interpretation of Islam on others”, then you and I are on the same wavelength (and just about everyone else who’s commented so far.

    So it seems to me, you need make your own definition so I can appreciate what you are for or against.

    For 77 posts I thought it was THE ‘ISLAMISTS’. Now it could very easily be everyone who thinks that Islam can and does inform peoples lives and that they may choose or not choose representatives that are informed by the same principles.

    I hope you can see how broad you risk making it? An extremely dangerous path.

    But on a positive note, there is very little that divides people on this thread. If you could just slip self-determination into this debate on democracy then I suspect everything else will fall in place.

  86. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:33 pm  

    Sid – now you come out with your real agenda. Yes it is all the fault of the Middle East. I don’t live in a bubble I see the reality.

    As Yahya Birt said on City Circle the money is given without checking what it was being used for. That is simply poor control but for you to say it is deliberate well that is a big diversion from city circle.

    Check his article if you are serious.

    If nobody votes for them then why are even in the limited elections in Kuwait and Saudi the conservative parties dominant?

    You are trying to link the two and it is simply a falsehood. Even the people you love at City Circle say as much.

    Sid you clearly have an agenda and are pushing forward on that to impose your thinking. You are as much of an Islamist as the people you despise.

  87. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:35 pm  

    Sid – “Allegedly they do, and anecdotally I know they do.”

    Then prove it or withdraw the remark. You are smearing based on an agenda.

  88. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:36 pm  

    I didn’t say Islamism is the wrong definition, I accept it since the term has gained wide currency to describe an historic reality, of post-colonial movements, ideas which have sought to bring Islam into the political area.

    Thanks Saqib, I agree with you that it’s an imperfect fit but Fiqh-Abusers is rather too much of a mouthful. ;)

  89. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:38 pm  

    Avi, you really should get out more often.

  90. Saqib — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:40 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘Thanks Saqib, I agree with you that it’s an imperfect fit but Fiqh-Abusers is rather too much of a mouthful. ;)

    why not try ‘Fiqhism’

  91. Sid — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:43 pm  

    Good one, might even catch on.

  92. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:51 pm  

    No No No

    That term could be hostage to fortune – in the hand of the aurally impaired.

  93. Avi Cohen — on 29th February, 2008 at 6:55 pm  

    Sid – I am not the one making dodgy allegations it is you who needs to get out more and be fair.

    You are claiming to be a liberal who is simply smering those he doesn’t like to get his creed imposed. Hardly liberal eh?!

    Again I repeat that the Salafi’s do not agree with the Islamists and in fact despise their ideology. So to try and link the two is nonsense.

    In addition the Islamists are not worried about religion but about power. Power to enforce their thinking. Religion is secondary because they are willing to break all the rules of the religion to achieve power. Killing is forbidden in Islam – that is generally accepted so using killing to achieve an aim is hardly Islamic now is it?

    Thus you need to be fair – I accept you may not agree with the Salafi movement but to provide a linkage that isn’t there is incorrect and grossly unfair.

    Secondly it isn’t about sitting here as these issues even though we are sitting here affect us and in order to address them we need to understand them correctly.

  94. Refresh — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:49 pm  

    Just a suggestion Sid, why don’t you summarise the debate to date or offer a conclusion for the thread?

    A slightly different approach, but perhaps it might help people feel they’ve actually achieved something eg obtained clarity, persuaded someone, learnt something new. Maybe new insights which might mean further exploration.

    In turn it might generate further inputs.

  95. soru — on 1st March, 2008 at 12:38 am  

    Now it could very easily be everyone who thinks that Islam can and does inform peoples lives and that they may choose or not choose representatives that are informed by the same principles.

    I think this particular point, in a slightly different context, is one Obama gets absolutely dead right:
    Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

    In academic terms, rationalism, not theonomism.

    The relevant point is that the democracy he is talking about there is, in my view, not just American or ‘western-style’ democracy, but the general set of known alternatives to ‘one guy decides everything’ and ‘civil war’.

    Say I make a political argument in a code you _cannot understand_, use cultural terms of reference that mean nothing to you, or, worse, have the exact opposite visceral emotional impact than that intended. That is not going to lead to a fruitful engagement of equals, the kind of reasoned discussion, rational give and take necessary to run any place larger than a village with an annual domestic political death tally less than a plane crash.

  96. fugstar — on 1st March, 2008 at 3:52 am  

    I wouldnt say that Jamat e Islam in BD was heavily dependent on outside funding. There are other flavours, not explosive ones, that have benefited from allies outside too. Perhaps its more to do with west asian donors finding other organisations frankly quite useless. Its a matter of taste.

    Islam, and the principles it projects has a political and social dimension that really should be understood, honoured and translated to human benefit by those of us who love it. The extent to which it happens or not tends to depends on the people that it moves.

    The next 20 years will be interesting, not because of what armchair bound people try to programme from the west, but what the next religiously inspired generation in the south/east make of it. Will we get islamism 2.0 (AKA something better)? How mean will arch secularists be? Will the westoxified vanguard empowered by ‘development’ dollars and colonially crafted education systems recognise their limits and stop trying to ram atheism or ‘render to caeserism’ down people’s throats?

    When the more religious parties move an issue forward, other parties tend to nick it ( eg. the influence of PAS on UMNO). Whats the interaction between the islamophylic ‘nationalist’ community and the ‘islamists’ going to be. Now that the cold war is over a lot of the lefties are going green in the muslim world. What will these people end up causing? The evolution of islamic political practice is fascinating, so long as you take off your insane blinkers.

  97. Sid — on 1st March, 2008 at 10:11 am  

    Brilliant comment from Obama. I think this must be the first presidential candidate in years who can elucidate ideas without resorting to 20 second soundbites.

    If democracy can work in the USA, considering the sheer power held by the Christian right, then it can work anywhere. The only difference is that Muslim equivalent of the Christian flat-earthers are still licking the wounds from the fall of Istanbul. Alas, Muslims are still in the wake of the last ninety years of reactionary sentimentalism kicked off from that event alone.

  98. Refresh — on 1st March, 2008 at 10:18 am  

    Sid,

    ‘The only difference is that Muslim equivalent of the Christian flat-earthers are still licking the wounds from the fall of Istanbul. Alas, Muslims are still in the wake of the last ninety years of reactionary sentimentalism kicked off from that event alone.’

    But do you understand why?

  99. Sid — on 1st March, 2008 at 10:19 am  

    Yes I do.

  100. Arif — on 1st March, 2008 at 10:22 am  

    For me this discussion has so many strands we can pick at each other until we are confused about where we started and where we have ended up. And I like that. It helps me muse about my own ambivalence about secularism and Islamic politics.

    While I instinctively agree with Obama’s formulation cited by soru in #95, which also seems to express the viewpoint of an ideal secular Muslim, I only think I do so because I am living in a time and place where the dominant expressions of religious politics also seem to be supremacist and selectively callous.

    On the other hand, there are also forms of religious politics which I would prefer to any of the dominant expressions of secular politics. I would consider them more pluralist, more sensitive to suffering and more humble, but I know that isn’t everone’s cup of tea.

    It is the nature of politics which tarnishes both secularism and religion. The same sorts of crimes committed by theocratic regimes in the name of religion are often justified by secular regimes in the name of stability. And opposition to such crimes can be expressed both in secular and religious terms.

    That pluralist and sensitive points of view don’t often make it through the cut and thrust of political debate in most places (democratic or not) does not seem to me a good enough argument to give up political engagement altogether. While it is tempting to just get on with my own life, I feel some obligation not to ignore unnecessary suffering.

    What makes sense to people as the right way to oppose perceived injustices depends on all sorts of social factors like culture, what oppositional discourses are locally available, charisma of leadership which channel our more personal experiences and psychological make-ups into limited forms of political expression.

    So, I don’t think there is really a universalist rationalism, although most of us like to think there is. I don’t conclude that my opponents are bigots who just don’t get it. My view is that my own discourses are just as particular, and only seem credible to me because of my own conditioning and temperament. My “instinct” may be carried away with Obama’s rhetoric when there is nothing more in tune with my prejudices and ideas around. But what gives me the right to privilege my own prejudices and ideas over those of other people’s?

    To rule seems to mean to impose your own view. So to rule is inherently unfair (by my reasoning). I conclude that unfairness is the way of the world and trying to aim for fairness leads to contradictions, which other people will call you on. And they in turn will act as though they can bring greater fairness by imposing their own views. If enough people buy into it then they get their chance to fail in their impossible dreams and be challenged by others in turn.

    There just seems to be something wrong with this model to me. While attempts to think of better models challenges too many assumptions to be taken seriously in secular political discussion, maybe it isn’t that eccentric from many religious points of view. So which direction would it make sense for me to go?

  101. soru — on 1st March, 2008 at 12:47 pm  

    So, I don’t think there is really a universalist rationalism, although most of us like to think there is. I don’t conclude that my opponents are bigots who just don’t get it.

    Rationalism (wiki): “any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification”

    There doesn’t need to be a universalist rationalism present in any one person’s thinking. Rationalism, like islamism, is a _style of argument_, a specialised language used to communicate ideas. If you use it to say simply ‘I am right, so have no need to explain myself to a bigot’, that’s not attempted communication, so not rationalism. You are not appealing to reason, you are claiming to own it.

    To an extent, it doesn’t matter whether you express the justification of a political proposal in terms of rationalism or islamism, any more than French or English. Especially if you are prepared to push the boundaries of the language, add new words and phrases to it.

    It’s just that a French politician who made all his speeches in English would not exactly be a hot tip to succeed Sarkozy.

    But what gives me the right to privilege my own prejudices and ideas over those of other people’s?

    In terms of simply holding those ideas, you, under almost all philosophical models, own the contents of your own head.

    The question is to what extent you get to put them into practise, have them influence the legal, economic and military systems of the country or planet.

    Current best practise for that is, pretty clearly, the way democratic states work. But that’s not to say they represent the ultimate final form of human society.

    There just seems to be something wrong with this model to me.

    Do you mean you want to see something better than the democratic state? Something with more distribution of power around the system?

  102. Arif — on 1st March, 2008 at 2:54 pm  

    Hi soru, I’m very glad that you want to engage me in this discussion, as I always admire the points you make and the way you make them – so I am a bit flattered!

    I think rationalism as a style of argument – a specialist language – as you say, is appealing to reason as a source of justification. That strikes me as a different definition to appealing to reason as a source of knowledge (the wiki quote seems to conflate the two).

    The former (justification) seems to imply rationalism requires a coherent structure of argument (therefore Islamists of various kinds may be rational, but basing their arguments from different assumptions to you).

    The latter (knowledge) implies to me that rationalism requires a form of introspection or argument to arrive at truth – hence you could argue that Islamists hold unreasonable assumptions, so however coherent their arguments, they are still being irrational even though they can’t see it. And presumably they would say the same about us.

    Your stance implies that reason is independent of what is in our heads, so that seems to me to take reason more as a source of knowledge that justification – a means to an absolute or universal truth, which I think is a belief I am sceptical about, but open to persuasion.

    I’d identify rationality more as a form of thinking (whether communicated or not) which provides subjective justification based on assumptions we hold. In arguments there may be emotional, subconscious habits as well as rational means of influencing which perhaps can be differentiated subjectively too, so maybe I would not always see rationality as just what seems credible to people – there may be steps in an argument which could be identified as irrational by a community logicians and I would probably go along with the logicians if I could understand them.

    You assert that current best practice for regulating conflicts over what we do to others (as opposed to what we think about them) is through democratic states. I think at a macro level, that may be the case. I don’t know as I am not involved in the political strata where actors engage in regulating their conflicts through the democratic state. I do vote, but not so much to regulate my conflicts, but probably to express ideals. When it comes to regulating behaviour I conform relatively rigidly to the law in the UK which I guess you consider democratic, but I would do so equally rigidly if the Government were not.

    When it comes to regulating my behaviour towards others I guess I use introspection as well as as well as from emotion and consideration of moral rules that appeal to me, probably irrationally. I communicate my justifications if there seems to be any benefit in doing so – again as a form of behaviour which affects other people. Is this the actions of a secular democrat or some kind of Islamist? I don’t know the right terminology.

    My experience of the UK – if you regard it as a democratic state – is that political arguments which appear most effective are often ones which offend my own sensibilities. I accept that I am probably in a minority in my moral and political preoccupations, and in how I would want conflicts regulated at the macro scale. Some religious people in this situation are regarded as quietists, as they decide to just get on with their own things. Some are regarded as activists, because they get involved in trying to persuade others to change their opinions or actions regardless of offence it causes. In reality I think this is just like non-religious people, who get involved to varying extents at varying times.

    The level of democracy seems irrelevant to me. What matters more to me are things like suffering caused or alleviated, compassionate behaviour shown or promoted, etc. I could agitate for them within a democratic or undemocratic structure, and I accept I won’t get very far (at least as far as I am concerned). But I’d support democracy as far as a democratic structure allows politicians to agitate in a manner which causes less suffering and enables people to be more honest or more kind than any other structure. Which, I guess, I am sceptical about. I am sure you can imagine some people being more at home in a religious organisation than in a political party, and that the former might reflect their vision of society better than the political one. And so they are involved in one and not the other. And if they wnat to be involved in politics – what if they modeled their party on their religious group? Are they undermining the secular nature of democracy?

    I would need to do more research and have far more experiences before having any confidence in asserting another model as superior or inferior to democracy. I am just reflecting on what the role of religion is in a democracy (sorry it goes on so long). I have no wish to impose my religion on others any more than I wish to impose any secular vision on others. On the other hand I want to impose both – because they amount to the same thing – please people be nice to each other (now I really do sound like Obama!) I would like a pluralist society where no-one feels oppressed – however it is achieved politically.

  103. soru — on 1st March, 2008 at 4:12 pm  

    Hi soru, I’m very glad that you want to engage me in this discussion, as I always admire the points you make and the way you make them – so I am a bit flattered!

    Hey, I’m just glad someone is reading those great walls of text…

    That strikes me as a different definition to appealing to reason as a source of knowledge (the wiki quote seems to conflate the two).

    Yes, they are different, but connected. Rational language is one way for two people who think reason and facts are useful to communicate.
    Just as Islamism exists independently of any actual supreme being, that meaning of rationalism could exist even if facts actually weren’t useful, if science was a lie and the world a badly coded Matrix demo. It only requires people to think they are not.

    Of course, that in itself is a very rational and pragmatic view…

    Is this the actions of a secular democrat or some kind of Islamist? I don’t know the right terminology.

    Sorry if this pisses you off, but you seem like a secular democrat to me. I can read what you say, think about it, and agree or disagree. Nothing you say automatically hits my reptile brain and comes out in tribal us-and-them terms.

    Of course, this is not strictly a matter of word choice, but the whole of language, of communication. I’ve seen people say all the right rational democratic buzz-words, but still talk unconvincing nonsense. Likely, they are transliterating, not translating: to speak a language properly you have to think in it.

    I would like a pluralist society where no-one feels oppressed – however it is achieved politically

    If you achieved that, Goths and teenagers would hate you…

  104. Boyo — on 1st March, 2008 at 4:21 pm  

    IMHO the Western Muslims who tend toward Islamism are akin to those Westerners who embraced Communism during the Cold War – it was a great idea if you didn’t have to live it. That’s why most Muslim majorities given a free vote will reject Islamism and, incidentally, one of the reasons the many of the parents of today’s radicals came West – to escape the stupefying effects of political Islam.

  105. sonia — on 1st March, 2008 at 7:41 pm  

    good one boyo ‘a great idea if you didn’t have to live it’ – spot on.

  106. sonia — on 1st March, 2008 at 7:47 pm  

    “If you achieved that, Goths and teenagers would hate you…”

    heh quite..and they wouldn’t be the only ones i bet..!

  107. douglas clark — on 1st March, 2008 at 11:40 pm  

    Boyo @ 104.

    I think you hit the nail on the head there.

    It is so easy to be, say an armchair islamist when you live in a democracy. Perhaps the folk that believe these sorts of philosophies should try imagining applying them to the society they live in.

    Unless they actually want a repeat of Cavaliers v Roundheads, with added 21st c weaponry, perhaps they should at least give a little credit for the space they are given to express their views.

    Frankly, there is a stable debate that goes on here, that makes me quite optimistic about the future. Sid, probably represents a hell of a lot of folk with what he says.

    My two cents is this.

    There is a distinct difference between people that ‘believe’, and the rest of us. Specifically, they fear that, without an external agent, they (or we), would founder into some sort of depravity. I should explain what I mean by ‘believe’. It is this, inter alia:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/02/baby_bible_bashers.php

    If that doesn’t sicken you, then nothing I say, will convince you otherwise. I actually consider my link to be pornographic, but traditional pornographers will be totally disappointed.

    That is, in extremis, what religions do. They indoctrinate kids. To ‘believe’.

    You have no idea how offensive I think that is.

    I’d quite like P Z Myers to write here, as well as on Pharyngula, as I think he is one sharp cookie. And the sort of atheist everyone ought to be exposed to.

    Enough! Will anyone watch the link?

  108. douglas clark — on 2nd March, 2008 at 12:03 am  

    Boyo,

    Re-reading what I wrote, I seemed to have ‘riffed off’ what you said and then used you as my target. Can I assure you that that was never my intention? I agree with most of what you say.

    None of the venom should have been directed at you. I apologise, the personalisation was not about you at all.

  109. Boyo — on 2nd March, 2008 at 9:51 am  

    No worries Douglas.

  110. Sid — on 2nd March, 2008 at 10:03 am  

    IMHO the Western Muslims who tend toward Islamism are akin to those Westerners who embraced Communism during the Cold War – it was a great idea if you didn’t have to live it.

    This is true with one marked difference.
    Western Communists had a hankering for the Russian Revolution. Nations operating communist and socialist systems were existed (based on an ideology that railed against capitalism and the feudal institutions of Europe).

    Islamist ideolog(ies) also rail against Western hegemonies but on the other hand, there are no established “Islamic States” which Islamists can hold up as a beacon. Iran is too progressed in its own version of an Iranian revolution and is in any case, too Shia. ;)

    There is no consensus on which country should be a viable guinea-pig from the armchair Islamist revolutionaries. Its not much more than an academic speculation at best. The only reason why young Muslims don’t condemn it because of the anti-Muslim climate that operates in the West today. They would rather sit on the fence. Muslims in the West are also too spoilt by the advantages of living in a secular society to appreciate it. It’s like air-conditioning in a hot climate, once you get used to it, you don’t even realise it’s an artificial construct but one that works. But if the Archbishop of Cantebury can get that wrong, anyone can. hur hur.

    Most unfortunate of all is Muslims have conflated Western anti-Islam prejudice with secularism, and that in the West! This is another unfortunate wrong turn by Muslims, judging from the comments on this thread.

    As for Eastern Muslims, well, they’ve made their opinion patently clear – they want secularism and capitalism and that’s what they vote for, if given the opportunity.

    I am encouraged that more and more young voices are speaking up against the Bunglawalists who haven’t progressed their ideas past their furious readings of Hasan al-Banna from their undergraduate days.

  111. Boyo — on 2nd March, 2008 at 2:45 pm  

    Ironically I think the very absence of an Islamist state is a strength of Islamism – Islamists can always argue that their “perfect” state would be a paradise on earth. Of course some communists also used to argue this – the USSR wasn’t a “genuine” communist state you see – but its very existence weakened that argument. Arguably Hamas had the opportunity to pioneer political Islam in Gaza, but they appear to have grasped it is easier to poke the Zionist snake than deliver on one’s utopian promises.

  112. fugstar — on 2nd March, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

    Be wary of people who rely on wiki for reference to facts related to highly politicised matters. secularist academics, mainly craponomists regularly give pronouncements in bangladesh with no empirical evidence.

  113. Refresh — on 2nd March, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

    Sid,

    ‘Yes I do.’

    Glad to hear it.

    Given that the present concept of the nation-state was imposed rather than evolved, is it not surprising that there are unsettled issues in the muslim world?

    Do you believe other cultures and nations have a right to self-determination?

  114. sonia — on 2nd March, 2008 at 7:07 pm  

    110 = good points sid.

    douglas, i watched those videos. Child abuse pure and simple, the parents really need to examine their consciences. if they want to be delusional, that’s their business, but they need to be able to give their children a choice, instilling that kind of fear in their children is NOT giving them a chance.

  115. digitalcntrl — on 2nd March, 2008 at 9:34 pm  

    @ Refresh

    “Glad to hear it.

    Given that the present concept of the nation-state was imposed rather than evolved, is it not surprising that there are unsettled issues in the muslim world?

    Do you believe other cultures and nations have a right to self-determination?”

    The problem was not imposing a nation-state, it is actually a very efficient political unit. The real problem was creating artifical nation-states comprising people who should have never been put together (e.g. Sunni/Shia/Kurds in Iraq or Pashtuns in Pakistan).

  116. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 1:25 am  

    even putting it in terms of ‘right to self determination’ seems so last century. like an appeal to some status quo of powers who control our ways of being together and living.

  117. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 9:22 am  

    Sid “I am encouraged that more and more young voices are speaking up against the Bunglawalists who haven’t progressed their ideas past their furious readings of Hasan al-Banna from their undergraduate days.”

    This is true but again although you keep bringing up Bungalwala he has never been representative of the Muslim community.

    In addition although you keep bring up Islamists you fail to mention that they have little backing on the street either in the West or the East. In the west one has to say that despite wide spread media coverage the MCB itself has never been popular amongst Muslims.

    In addition this ideology – Islamism – has never really gained a foothold which is why support is so poor. Indeed evenin the east and indeed the West one doesn’t see the support on the street, demonstrations etc. in support of this ideology.

    Thus those that are trying to scare the west such as your googdself, Ed Hussein and Asim live outside of the sphere of reality as this movement has minimal appeal and thus minimal support across the Muslim world.

    The only reason you keep bringing them up is to provide a linage with creeds you don’t like and thus to push your own views. Ed Hussein is selective about whom he dabtes with. Asim is much the same.

    Like the Islamists these people also don’t have the support of the Muslims.

    Most people just want to practise their faith and get on with life. That is a reality.

    Islamism despite what you say has never had massive support and what little support it does have is down to unresolved issues in Muslim countries such as the Palestinian issue. I would argue that the support here is emmotional rather than ideological and indeed even the Islamists have had tough time making inroads here.

    I am suprised you were allowed to write this piece given the fact that many of the linakges you make are pure fantasy and simply to peddle your own agenda.

  118. Ashik — on 3rd March, 2008 at 10:09 am  

    The greatest opposition/apathy to Islamist politics in Muslim countries is ironically enough from the traditional Muslim majority. Although in areas such as the place of women in society both Islamists and traditionalists are restrictive, in terms of the Islamist dream of systematically applying Islam to all areas of public lifeeg. politics, economy and foreign relations, the two are at odds. This fact is often goes unnoticed in the West.

  119. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 10:57 am  

    118

    Its really hard to point at traditional majorities with any degree of precision. who’s tradition? there have been religious movements for ages in every part of the ummah.

    the people who keep infantalising the islamist discourse (as well as islamists themselves) are the more immoral secularists who see themselves as a different race altogether and local translators of their creed.

    its very easy and fashionable for skin deep muslims with an axe to grind to spread fear about religious politics. Eventually people will get sick and tired and figure out that they don’t care about Muslims anyway.

  120. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 11:24 am  

    This is true but again although you keep bringing up Bungalwala he has never been representative of the Muslim community.

    I’m not saying Bunglawala is representative of anyone anymore than Asim Siddiqui is represent of anyone. Keep up Avi.

    What I’m saying is that in the dialogue I highlaighted between between Bunglawala and Siddiqui symbolise the two schools of though about the role of politics in Islam. Bunglawala clearly believes in his bones that religion and politics in Islam are indistinguishable. Asim Siddiqui represents the suggests that there is no such connection in the earliest sources, and that this connection has been perverted by Arab demagogues, specifically Qutb and al-Banna.

    For the purposes of nomenclature and the debate on suitability of the term ‘Islamist’ which was had earlier on this thread, I used the term Bunglawalists to refer to those who subscribe to this point of view. It can be interchangeable with the term ‘Islamist’ and as a good as term as any.

  121. Ashik — on 3rd March, 2008 at 11:36 am  

    By traditional I mean cultural Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims who shy away from revolutionary politics. The vast majority for whom Islam is praying five times a day and dressing modestly; for whom allegiance to the ‘Ummah’ is anathema. The vast majority for whom familial-clan kinship is more important than ideology (secular or Islamist), party or nation. I am referring to the inclinations of the many which leads most mosques in the UK to ban Islamist agitators from preaching or sometimes even entering mosques.

    I can’t imagine a majority of Bangladeshis/South Asians for example supporting ‘Islamic economics’ and the abolition of the interest economy. Especially as so many ordinary Bangladeshis/South Asians, particularly the middleclass, relies heavily on interest bearing accounts to survive. Neither can I see most Bangladeshis/South Asians agreeing to embrace the oneness of Islamic brotherhood when even most South Asian Islamists would balk if their sister chose to marry a black Somali Muslim. 

  122. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 11:57 am  

    Sid – I didn’t say you said but I highlighted that he doesn’t have much support. Keep up Sid ;-)

    My point is that despite the media – Islamism and the ideology of Qutb and al-Banna has never really taken hold amongst the masses. Much of the support is simply due to international issues.

    I don’t think the works of Q & B have made much headway and indeed there is now a great refutatation of these works.

    I think Asim and Ed are simply like bungalawala aiming to push their thinking. Simply put most Muslims ignore these 3 and there isn’t much appetite for Islamism.

    Indeed I would go so far as to say that with increasing outreach and such projects people are moving away from this.

    Is there a link between Islam and Politics – yes in the same way as there is a link between politics and other religions. It is to do with getting what the communities need. Other than that no.

    I’d say the greater danger is the politics of the evangelical movements and their end times theory but people like to sweep that under the carpet.

  123. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 12:01 pm  

    Where as Comunism did take hold for a variety of reasons on the streets in Russia thus deposing the Monarchy.

    Hence I think the 2 situations are different.

    Islamism is being actively refuted by Muslims themselves and doesn’t have great appeal except on emmotive issues.

  124. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 12:02 pm  

    Is there a link between Islam and Politics – yes in the same way as there is a link between politics and other religions.

    Well, since you believe that Islam is irrefutably political in nature then that makes you an Islamist. Or, as I prefer to call you, a Bunglawalist.

  125. sonia — on 3rd March, 2008 at 12:04 pm  

    heh good point there ashik in your last line. don’t forget the furore should a bengali girl attempt to bring home a pakistani husband.

  126. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 12:33 pm  

    actually there is little problem if the families have fewer pretentions and deeper understanding of the religion. interestingly its happening more and more in the uk, proving the point that south asians only tend to get along outside their countries of origin. your experience of interracial marriage is probably a function of your own freshiness and cultural inbredness.

    But come on i put inayat and asim in a different category from ed. Ed is exceedingly thick and never actually made a contribution. The other two have actually put in considerable righteous man hours (helping solve problems etc), have a muslim constituency and because of that have a credibility of sorts to speak with.

    however unfashionable folks consider the mcb to be, by whatever metrics of anislamicity you care to use, they have the most affiliates. And they arent particularly ‘islamist’. If you care to look beyong your anectodary most of the deoband infrastructure is there and politics isnt really the biggest issue internally. Its mainly quite mundane day to day stuff.

    Hassan al banna didnt really write all that much, he ‘wrote people’. As for sayed qutb, most people you’d call western islamists probably havent read him. People are ther efor other reasons. These two explempar islamists from back in the day and over there are red herrings used in the press discource by white people, and the white masked, who like to think of themselves as cerebral.

  127. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 12:48 pm  

    I really don’t know why the name of Ed Hussein keeps coming up or indeed any personality at all, unless they’re directly to do with shedding light on how to de-couple political posturing from religious practice.

  128. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 12:58 pm  

    Sid – “Well, since you believe that Islam is irrefutably political in nature then that makes you an Islamist. Or, as I prefer to call you, a Bunglawalist.”

    Sid all religion is linked to politics and not just Islam.

    The difference is that Islamism involves the violent overthrow of government. That is a crucial difference. It is taking on board the ideals of various revolutionary ideas put forth in parts of Europe in the early parts of the 20th Century.

    The ideology briefly harks back to the assissination of Anwar Saddat and thus they thought they could achieve similar aims elsewhere. It didn’t work.

    So Sid tell me do not the Evangelicals play a role in Politics in America? Does that not make them Islamists ;-)

    Don’t forget Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement of McCain was major news as the good pastor felt McCain was good for Israel. So isn’t that playing a role in politics?

    In Italy the Church plays a significant role in politics. France as well, Spain ditto. So the question is is the Church Islamist :-)

  129. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 1:25 pm  

    So the question is is the Church Islamist

    It is for all I care.

  130. soru — on 3rd March, 2008 at 1:30 pm  

    So Sid tell me do not the Evangelicals play a role in Politics in America? Does that not make them Islamists

    They are quite commonly referred to as Christianists, although that probably only strictly applies to those who are theologically dominionist.

    the distinguishing mark of a dominionist is a commitment to defining and carrying out an approach to building society that is self-consciously defined as exclusively Christian, and dependent specifically on the work of Christians, rather than based on a broader consensus.

    According to Diamond, the defining concept of dominionism is “that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns”.

    That seems very similar to:

    1. HuTs habit of expressing themselves in language that is never going to be listened to by non-muslims.
    2. HuT’s constitution that reserves the key political positions to muslims.

    I do think it is valid to talk about those goals independantly of the tactical decisions to pursue revolution, terrorism, democracy, or any other form of political action in pursuit of those goals.

    There is a difference between the Pope pronouncing on world politics, and him actually having a seat on the UN Security Council, and every resolution having to cite the biblical verses it uses as justification and precedent.

  131. Ashik — on 3rd March, 2008 at 2:10 pm  

    ‘your experience of interracial marriage is probably a function of your own freshiness and cultural inbredness’.

    You display similar attributes to those (secularists) whom you denigrate.

    Fug, it would seem ‘immoral Islamists’ also see themselves ‘as a different race altogether and local translators of their creed’ as per your own definition in 19.

    I have always suspected that vanguard Islamists much like their secular elite counterparts distance themselves from ordinary Muslim folk.

  132. douglas clark — on 3rd March, 2008 at 2:23 pm  

    The problem, it seems to me, is that every society we have ever had, has the rulers using whatever Gods were to hand as a proxy police force, through hell fire and damnation preachers. Often backed up by violent support for the status quo.

    Democracy is a bit shaky, but I’d rather not give it up for someones’ dream of a Utopia when in all probability it will end up with the worst of people taking control. A Dystopia, if you will. We should be careful, I think, about what we dream about. It is quite likely to be a lot worse that what has already evolved.

    This arguement will run and run, as long as there are adults willing to indoctrinate their children in the ‘true’ path. You can’t all be right, you know.

  133. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 2:25 pm  

    The struggle with between Christian Bunglawalists and Secularists in the history of the US Constitution has parralels and precedents with the struggle in the Islamic world:

    http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/secular.html


    Today we have powerful Christian organizations who work to spread historical myths about early America and attempt to bring a Christian theocracy to the government. If this ever happens, then indeed, we will have ignored the lessons from history. Fortunately, most liberal Christians today agree with the principles of separation of church and State, just as they did in early America.

    “They all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point”

    -Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835

  134. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    Lover,

    For sure the religiously political have their share of uglies. Partly this is because of greater scrutiny and politically motivated demonisation. Eastern muslim secularists are quite easy to uproot because they dont have roots, just cliches and transplants. red white and brainwashed. Take any secular appearing party and only 10% of the activists will actually know what the S word means.

    A bog standard muslim prays in a mosque and involves themselves in grassroots consultation as a natural habit. Less likely to become a snooty self hating muslim type like at the other end of the spectrum. There you have people estranged from their communities and alienated from their values and non-secular intellectual tradiation.

    When i was talking about race i was particularly referring to the south asian class thing where in one line of thinking someones status level is marked by their ‘immigrant from the westness’ (not just muslims, brahmins have it even worse), or their westoxified institutional affiliations.

    ‘we are not them, so we have a right to rule’.

  135. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 3:24 pm  

    ‘we are not them, so we have a right to rule’.

    Only via democracy. And by the way, those “bog standard muslims” whom you think you speak for have rejected you Islamists’ “right to rule” in election after election.

  136. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 3:29 pm  

    who said who is speaking for whom?

    the awami league has roots as the awami muslim league and regularly uses religious principles or slogans.

    its hardly a pure game.

  137. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 3:40 pm  

    the awami league has roots as the awami muslim league and regularly uses religious principles or slogans.

    Well observed. The migration from a muslim party to self-determination to secular democratic party is the right direction. Hopefully this lession should not be lost on you and other Bunglawalists.

  138. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 3:54 pm  

    Sid – The lessons are lost on you as the hysteria you are propogating isn’t actual in reality.

    You may be interested to read this piece:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/959554.html

    As I said most of the people you reference are not at all representative of the Muslim world and mos are simply pushed by the media. Your poor article fails to acknwoledge this as does your summary.

    The people that are correcting your rather poor research are not Bunglawalists but realist who realise the Muslim world is not as your fictionally pretend in your story book.

    Bunglawala is as Islamist as you and as distant from the Muslim community as you.

  139. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 3:58 pm  

    Also Sid there is no country in the world where religion does not play a role in politics and vice versa. Not a single one.

    Even in the USA The Pledge of Allegiance states “under God.” and the dollar bill says “In God We Trust”.

    Religion and Politics have been bedfellows since the year dot.

    Nothing you say will ever change that.

  140. Random Guy — on 3rd March, 2008 at 4:45 pm  

    Entertaining to see the posts (a la Soru at 104) from outside observers trying to make sweeping classifications of a completely different religous group of which they have no practical knowledge or hard statistics. I disagree completely btw.

    Also, where has this idiotic habit of calling everyone some ‘-ist’ come from? This is pure divide and argue tactics here. Imaginary sub-groupings should be left out of the main discussion.

  141. Sid — on 3rd March, 2008 at 5:46 pm  

    c’mon, Bungalwalist is a great term to describe Avi, his beloved Islamists and anyone else who uses the word ‘bedfellow’.

  142. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:02 pm  

    the migration only happened because shamsul haque was in jail while the the mujib group( mid 50s) pushed the immasculating ‘we wont do anything against quran and sunnah’ line.

    the rest is sociological and actually pretty reactionary. the AML formed because the bengal muslim league was too inbred and conservative to allow the folks coming from assam and west bengal any space. unfortunatly this property still remains inside the capital’s inteligensia. The emerging counter reaction to the buddi-jibi complex is a sign of that.

    The actual political and social vision of politicians and their supporters is much more complicated than what is presented. A bog standard awami league district president will be just as dead against the spread of drinking culture as a more ‘rightist’ counterpart of his. He will also play up his faraizi roots if he has any and if you invoke it. He will sit on most, eidgah and madrassa committees too. its embedded at the genetic level methinks.

    Many of the south asian muslims have religion-out-of-politics issues for all sorts of reasons. Mainly because of brainwashing and state miseducation, not really theoretically. they are voting for the least worst option until something altogether superior crops up… like a religious, inclusive, problem-solving form of electoral option.

  143. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:05 pm  

    bunglawalist is a rude term that can only emerge from a twisted and rather daft person. perhaps its also tinged with some careless racism.

  144. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:08 pm  

    Avi,

    Inayat actually has esteem in the community. We tire sometimes of his writing, but as far as i am able to tell there is some love for him.

  145. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    I’d like to recommend Sidney”s work be nominated for The Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It has a fair chance of winning.

  146. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

    dude, its only a blog

  147. Avi Cohen — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:29 pm  

    I know but such works of pure fiction rarely come along ;-)

  148. fugstar — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:35 pm  

    Fiction would imply some kind of depth and imagination. this is more akin to social engineering speak, with all the trick from the same parochial deshi secular hymnsheet. Its becomeing increasingly seen through in desh, thankfully, but still has a little currency here as we rely more on virtual sources and scare stories.

  149. douglas clark — on 4th March, 2008 at 1:22 am  

    Fugstar,

    The only duo lacking depth or imagination are you and your new chum Avi.

    You have attempted to control this debate. You, Fugstar, have used frankly ridiculous ephitets, quite cleverly not against the author directly, but you made sure they were there for all to read, didn’t you? Lets try to list some of them:

    WTF?

    To Sonia:

    your experience of interracial marriage is probably a function of your own freshiness and cultural inbredness.

    I do not know if that is what goes down as banter in the South East Asian community, but it strikes me as ludicrous. What, exactly is freshiness? You do know you have dug yourself a hole here?

    “Will the westoxified vanguard empowered by ‘development’ dollars and colonially crafted education systems recognise their limits and stop trying to ram atheism or ‘render to caeserism’ down people’s throats?

    To whom were you addressing yourself? OK, let it go…

    skin deep muslims

    not really theoretically. they are voting for the least worst option until something altogether superior crops up… like a religious, inclusive, problem-solving form of electoral option.

    You wouldn’t recognise a problem solving democracy if it hit you in the teeth. Obviously everyone wants something better, but Islamism isn’t it.

  150. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 1:34 am  

    Douglas – What your pal Sidney fails to accept is the fact that unlike Communism there is no major support for Islamism. Hence it isn’t popular and hence it hasn’t taken much hold amongst the masses.

    If you don’t like that being said because it is your new bogeyman then I can’t help that.

    Sidney’s rather poor – piss poor – attempts to mislead people shouldn’t be accepted.

    What he is doing is linking creeds he doesn’t like with Islamism and this is distortion of facts.

    Depth and immagination are what Sidney had when writing this piece of fiction.

    Sadly a quick 15 mins on the internet would show for example that Salafi’s and Islamist hate each other. I did send Sidney links but he chose to ignore them.

    The reality is that Islamism has support only on emmotional issues such as I/P, Kashmir etc.

    Also Douglas with respect Islamism isn’t about POlitical Islam despite the poor linkage it is about power and using violent overthrow of Govt to achieve that. That in a nutshell is the ideology that Qutub and Banna put into Islamism. Well it didn’t even work in Egypt so its hardly been successful.

    Religion and Politics are centuries old bedfellows and continue to be even in liberal democracies.

    As regards Sidney’s Bunglawala links well sorry to say the MCB isn’t popular. Either that or all the articles here saying it isn’t representative of the community are false. You can’t have it both ways.

    Either answer the points or accept Sidney was incorrect. It is that simple.

    The article was simply poor research and an attempt by Sidney to link creeds he dislikes with Islamism. Which in itself is exactly what he is complaining about but it is a case of do as I say not as I do.

  151. douglas clark — on 4th March, 2008 at 2:38 am  

    Avi,

    I am delighted to know that there is no support for Islamism. Try telling that to the 7/7 victims. Or John Smeaton.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/6929197.stm

    There seems to be enough of it around for it to be an issue.

    My new ‘bogeyman’ is being blown up, surprisingly enough, I am against it.

    Do you think I am an idiot?

    Perhaps you do.

    I know lots of Muslims and I’d be astonished if they thought like that. So less of the teaching as if I were ignorant, please.

    And, just so you know, no Muslim I have ever met thought that way. Which is not to say that some Muslims, whom I have not met, might, think it tickety-boo. Allegedly, there are such loose cannons floating around.

    The apologia was yours and yours alone. Sid is actually more right in this debate than you are. You are a fundamentalist, and I am having increasing difficulty in believing your name is really Avi Cohen. Still bananabrain loves you?

  152. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 7:39 am  

    Douglas – like your pal Sidney you increasingly find it difficult to understand what peopel are saying or even to answer points.

    “I am delighted to know that there is no support for Islamism. Try telling that to the 7/7 victims. Or John Smeaton.”
    Douglas old chap if you read what I said I actually said very litte support not no support. Once again you fail to read properly and shoot of simply because you want to.

    There is a big difference in English between the word no and little, in fact they are not even close which shows how much care you actually take when reading before going in to slag people off like your friend Sidney.

    What I said and I’ll say it again just for you is that Islamism has little actual support which is why it hasn’t achieved its aim of overthrowing governments in the Muslim world.

    Secondly your friend Sidney – incorrectly claimed and in fact linked creeds he dislikes with Islamism. Again I sent links showing this isn’t true. Instead of either refuting this with evidence or accepting it you blindly support Sidney as he is your best friend as he speaks against many Muslims. That alone shows yours and his intent.

    As Sidney refuses to show his linakge then you show it. Show me the link between Salafi’s and Islamists. There isn’t one but show me and I wil then apologies. This was simply a false statement made by Sidney and you being you are sayign I need to apologise for his fiction. What nonsense.

  153. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:12 am  

    Also Douglas at least I have provided some credentials. But you appear to be a Daily Express journalist and slur people which is why you seem to have such a bond with Sidney. Again like a Sun journalist his claim to be Muslim appears increasingly doubtful with his basic lack of knowledge and understanding. Yet because he spouts what you want to hear then you jump to his defence without actually bothering to read what is said.

    Also I find it strange you accept that he is allowed to label and slur people without proving his point. Very liberal of you old chap.

    Everytime someone makes a point in defence of religion you cone flying in without reading what is said and loo is it a reasearcher, is it an academic no its SuperClark, ta ta tadah. Come to the rescue its SuperClark who has sworn to defend those that write fiction to defend liberal democracy, to defend those that are uanble to prove their point. SuperClark has many skills he won’t read what is said but will jump in a fight for his friends, he won’t follow what a thread is saying but will make gross assumptions like a tabloid jounalist. SuperClark to be used in emergencies only.

  154. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:16 am  

    “I know lots of Muslims and I’d be astonished if they thought like that. So less of the teaching as if I were ignorant, please.”

    That is doubtful because if you did then you’d know that the basic difference between religion and culture, between a Salafi and a Islamist, between many other thinsg where you expose yourself.

    Also Douglas it is your right wing freinds who are waging as much war around the world as the Islamists, probably more and blaming liberals whilst raping the worlds resources in the course of killing millions of people. All at the same time denying people the very right they claim they are trying to give them.

    Try sometimes having a go at them instead of people that have a belief in religion all the time.

  155. Arif — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:19 am  

    I find it difficult to follow how Avi can be considered an apologist for … who knows what?

    He makes his definition of Islamism in a way which is unapologetic – an ideology that seeks the violent overthrow of Governments to put their preferred form of Islamic party in power.

    He makes no apology for Salafis, merely to point out that they may not be Islamists by that definition.

    The only way in which he seems to be an apologist is to insist that few Muslims actually support Islamism in his above formulation. This seems like something Sid and Douglas are actually also arguing.

    So something about the tone of debate prevents understanding. 7/7 and 9/11 are taken as evidence of – what? That political violence given Islamic justifications exists? I think Avi would accept that.

    If I were to argue that the same political violence is also given Islamic condemnation, does that make me an apologist?

    If I were to make the point that political violence given secular justifications also exists would that make me an apologist?

    If I were to make the point that the same violence is also given secular condemnation, what does that make me then?

    Can we not believe all these things simultaneously? My question to soru might be put in the following terms – as someone opposed to both Islamically and secularly justified oppression, does that make me a secular democrat, or an Islamist? People will call me these and other things depending on what particular instance of oppression I am opposing. And my experience is people might use a condemnatory tone and call me an apologist if I believe that there is oppression where others see none.

  156. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:21 am  

    Also Douglas or wh ever the hell you are I really don’t like discussing with you as you care to actually reading what is said has been exposed a number of times and thus until you learn the concept of actually reading what is said rather than employing tabloid journalism I think it is best you don’t answer anything I say and I won’t answer you points. That should make peoples lives easier on here.

    I doubt you’ll be able to do this but hey it is worth a try.

  157. Sid — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:22 am  

    Douglas, thanks for trying – but they’re a pair of idiots. I wouldn’t waste my time, if I were you.

    If they were to pool their talents they might be quite useful, but not on their own. One is a ‘whataboutery’ demon, mis-reading everything and transposing his own blame-culture on the points being made. The other can’t get over the fact that Islamism in the UK is becoming unstuck and never took off in the East, he thinks his holier-than-thou bigotry passes for cleverness but otherwise can’t express an idea for peanuts, not even his own Islamist ideas. Both resort to attacking personalities and personal insults but never the ideas.

    They represent the cream of Islamism in the UK. ;)

  158. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:28 am  

    Coming from someone who writes in the style of a right wing tabloid jounalist and misses basic facts and instad resorts to smear tatics that is a bit rich Sidney.

    Your works of fiction and falsehood wil one day lead you to your desired job at the sun or express where you can share a coffee with your idol melanie as you both have the same purile style of writing.

  159. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:35 am  

    Also in all this you’ve never actually shown your evidence. I sent you links to published works refuting whta you claimed. You haven’t been able to show anything and still won’t instead resorting to hiding behind calling people names.

    Either prove the point or accept it isn’t true. It is simple enough but you can’t prove your points.

  160. Sid — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:41 am  

    Dear Avi, my only point has been to argue that Muslims in the East have rejected single-issue Islamist politics for democracy and secular policies and that the only muslims still hankering for this kind of politics are those in the West. Everything else, such as the Islamist vs Salafi (which has nothing to do with this post) has been your off-topic misrepresentations in trying to thread-jack this debate.

  161. Arif — on 4th March, 2008 at 9:00 am  

    Sid, I would argue that Muslims in the East usually vote less for supremacist Islamic parties than for both secular or non-supremacist Islamic parties. But these things change, and I think you are aware of how Islamic identities and anger at injustices can be manipulated both by Islamists and secularists, democrats and dictators and anyone else seeking power.

    The MMA took huge numbers of seats in the western provinces in Pakistan in the wake of the attack on Afghanistan. Their behaviour, boycotts and incompetence has meant that the ANP which seemed to be on the verge of extinction has returned despite suffering more assassinations than maybe any other party. But their return is not to be taken for granted, and requires a constant attempt to convince people. And some of the discourse it uses itself is bound to be Islamic – its pacifist roots were themselves Islamically inspired.

    In other places in the East, there are many other dynamics, and I am resistent to simplifying it in terms of whether or not they fit the narrow narratives of some Islamists or Secularists in the UK – Khalifa v Liberal Democracy. But I accept that they do not fit the narrative of someone believing that the Ummah is yearning as one for a Khalifa led by Saudi educated imams, for example.

  162. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 9:03 am  

    Sid – with respect you made that point early in the debate and started it by saying “in spite of receiving millions of petrodollars from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.”

    Even your friend Yayha Birt has refuted this claim saying that money is often given to build mosques without checking who or how it is used.

    Now you are trying to get out of this claim because it is so difficult to prove. You even provide links on your own blog saying this – even though the links don’t exist anymore.

    Islamism has never had a hold on the masses in the Muslim world and this is evidenced by the lack of govt overthrow by Islamists as they don’t have popular support and never had.

    That is all I said, you’ve in fact hijacked the debate to push for your own version and creed of Islam whilst attacking others.

    If Bunglawala had the support you claim then why does the MCB itself have such low acceptance ratings in the Muslim community? Why do Muslims I know say he doesn’t speak for them and tell me he was actually beaten by Muslims.

    The simple fact is that Islamism has never taken a major hold. It is the right wing in the west who are attempting to make it appear to be a global movement to fund their war aims and campaigns. Many of the linkages are in fact to local issues such as politics in North Africa.

    Again the events of 7/7 and indeed 9/11 were done by a minority. The support for this is emmotional due to percieved injustices in the Muslim World. Additional support is lacking.

    Also the govts you complain about are there due to the policies of the western govts you so admire. Hence the people dislike the west as they believe it is propping up govts that they dislike.

  163. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 9:14 am  

    Sid – Religion and politics are a potent mix and always have been. Even in Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore etc. religion and politics mix.

    In the USA they mix, in much of Europe they mix.

    What you are trying to talk about is the degree that mix should happen. Politicians will always mix with religous figures and seek – SEEK – their support.

    Your argument is about religion defining laws for a state which you believe shouldn’t happen – fair enough argument.

    But your linkage to Islamism which isn’t a political ideology but a violent movement to replace govt simply just takes away from your argument.

    The problem with so many articles on this subject is that they try to prove the point they make by linking to Islamism. It is a link which just takes away from the argument as they refer to two different subjects.

  164. fugstar — on 4th March, 2008 at 10:54 am  

    folks who want to know, rather than worship themselves, might be interested to read Farish Noor’s latest piece on the multi decadal evolution of the large Malaysian Islamic party.

    http://www.othermalaysia.org/content/view/159/1/

  165. soru — on 4th March, 2008 at 11:02 am  

    People will call me these and other things depending on what particular instance of oppression I am opposing.

    Any form of argument that goes ‘idiots on the internet may call me names if I say X’ is true for all X, and so worthless.

  166. fugstar — on 4th March, 2008 at 11:05 am  

    149
    1 out of 3 isnt so bad.
    DC must try harder. has problems recognising the symbols.

  167. Arif — on 4th March, 2008 at 2:01 pm  

    soru – I was referring to the terms secular democrat and Islamist. Are they merely “names” that people use to express anger, or are they categories in a conceptual scheme that people use to try to understand one another?

    Is it worthless to question people’s conceptual schemes? I am tempted to do this when I am categorised in a manner which I think leads people to misunderstanding and then to stigmatisation. But you seem to assume the stigma comes before the categorisation used to express it. Maybe you are right, but it is not always obvious to me.

  168. sonia — on 4th March, 2008 at 3:09 pm  

    douglas, thanks for highlighting. i hadn’t seen that comment of fugstar’s. which incidentally are not generally couched in a language i understand: god knows what ‘freshiness’ means – it makes no sense to me either. ) anyone?

    in any case. if he means that he thinks there are “little problems” with what he calls ‘cultural inbredness’ well then what can i say,

    ‘if families had fewer pretensions

    – ah well quite, but, more’s the pity, but a large lot of them do have these ‘pretensions’ just like so many muslims will only consider marrying muslims..) as for so-called south asian unity ‘outside’ south asia, hah, well we’ve all talked about that on PP quite a bit. can’t see ive ever seen much “south asian unity” anywhere i’ve been but there you go, mind you, he probably believes in the unity of the “global ummah”, so what can i say. each to their own delusions.

    but the interesting point there might be – when that fellow in Prospect magazine was writing about the Dewsbury crew – the story was exploring how radical Islam was so appealing to them because it gave them a way to marry people who weren’t their ‘cousins’ or of the same ethnicity, which their parents were making a big fuss about.

    ‘skin-deep’ muslims – does fugstar wonder why it might be that there are ‘skin-deep muslims’ around at all? or care? something to do with freedom of religion? pressure from religious communities?

  169. soru — on 4th March, 2008 at 3:53 pm  

    arif: It would be nice if words had some kind of magical built-in protection that prevented them being mis-used, so if you called a daffodil a ‘rose’ it would be automatically under-lined in red as if it was mispelt.

    That semantic-checking technology isn’t built into the internet, let alone face-to-face conversation. So you kind of have to learn to do it yourself.

    ‘Islamist’ is a particularly tricky word, because quite a few people seem to literally not see/hear the difference between it and ‘islamic’, like they have some very specialised form of dylexia. That’s kind of understandable: there isn’t any comparable distinction between Catholic and Catholicism, Methodist and Methodism.

    Maybe we should just dumb down to the lowest common denominator and drop the word, write out in full what we mean instead. If we really mean vaguely-religiously-inspired, perhaps biased as a result, well say so: we don’t pay per word transmitted. If instead we actually were talking about scripture-quoting men of violence, you can see there is a risk of miscommunication if we use the same word as before.

    Always sad to lose a potentially useful word though.

  170. bananabrain — on 4th March, 2008 at 3:57 pm  

    avi,

    i think you’re being really unreasonable and, frankly, you’re whitewashing the islamist problem. 13% of the muslim population support suicide bombings? now, that’s small, but in a population of 2m, that’s still 260,000 people who want me dead. in fact, i apologise for linking to cbs news but it summarises the research done by channel 4 news in 2006 which brought up a bunch of really alarming statistics:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/14/opinion/main1893879.shtml

    in my book, these data constitute a really significant show of sympathy with the stated aims of islamist parties – so as far as i’m concerned, you really seem to be kidding yourself.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  171. Sid — on 4th March, 2008 at 4:16 pm  

    Arif

    If you can write a comment like #161, I can’t for the life of me understand why you are having problems with defining what is an Islamist and what is secularism. It seems you understand what the root of the problem is, but you’re unwilling to give in to either side because of aligning yourself with what you perceive as “abuses” committed by either side. I’d like to make it easier for you and say that secularism is not an ideology, it is a personal assertion that says politics and political institutions should be separate from religion.

    It isn’t an attack on Islam. One thing it is is allowing a Muslim country to have muslim residents while remaining politically secular so that non-Muslim ideas and practices can flourish without threat of censure or violence. It allows Muslims in Christian countries to practice in any sect they want to. It is allowing non-Arab Muslims in Africa the *right* to vote for their own political leaders and protect their women and children. It is many things but it isn’t anti-Islamic.

    Hope that helps, now climb aboard. ;)

  172. Sid — on 4th March, 2008 at 4:38 pm  

    In fact, early secular ideas involving the separation of philosophy and religion can be traced back to Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and the Averroism school of philosophy. Ibn Rushd was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher, physician, and polymath: a master of philosophy, theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, astronomy, geography, mathematics, medicine, physics, psychology and science. He was born in Córdoba, modern day Spain, and died in Marrakech, Morocco.

  173. fugstar — on 4th March, 2008 at 4:44 pm  

    Secularism is the copout pretend solution to problems in Islamic political practice. it is an ideology and a cause because they are giving you dawa.

    Banana brain,
    Palestinian defence strategy isnt really a top priority/specialisation for most of the muslims. I think if the questionnairre to found the 13% from was open coded rather than designed for white power consumption, the expression would have been different.

  174. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

    BB _ I am not whitewashing and I think you are being alarmist. Of those 13% who have a sympathy how many actually will do something – very few – most likely way less than 1%. It is mostly talk.

    Also it is tied into emmtional issues such as I/P, there is sympathy yes but most people won’t do anything.

    Look in a population of 2m only a handful of people have resorted to this type of violence and probably less than a thousand subscribe to the agenda in a violent way.

    It is a survey and people will say they support it but when it comes to the action most will shy away. Plus the numbers are dropping.

    It comes back to grassroots to get people talking.

    The root cause of all this is the lack of understanding. I am not minimising the problem and it is a problem but by over hyping it then that is causing massive problems as all Muslims feel under suspicion and thus the prophecies become self-fulfilling.

    The problem needs to be worked out and it is the grassroots that need to do it.

  175. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 4:56 pm  

    Sonia – “god knows what ‘freshiness’ means – it makes no sense to me either. ) anyone?”

    According to one site on the internet it refers to a person from the Indian Subcontinent.

    http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-28220.html

    Most likely a reference to your marriage and the original comment is uncalled for.

  176. Arif — on 4th March, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

    Sid (#171). I understand your confusion with my confusion, because I am using the word secular while claiming I am unsure what it denotes. And I think you are right to suggest some of my confusion comes from what people use it to connote when they use it.

    But your post doesn’t help:

    In the first paragraph I guess the definition means I am not a secularist in that I would not personally insist on separating religion from politics.

    The second paragraph would make me a kind of secularist because it then seems to mean anyone who opposes religious supremacism.

    I must be in some sort of middle ground which believes that religious politics won’t necessarily be supremacist and that politics without religion won’t necessarily be pluralist, democratic or rights-based. So I want to have religious politics without oppression. Do you think that this is an impossible standpoint in principle? Do you still want me on-board?

  177. Sid — on 4th March, 2008 at 5:19 pm  

    The second paragraph would make me a kind of secularist because it then seems to mean anyone who opposes religious supremacism.

    Arif, you can be a Muslim with being a religious supremacism, although that is probably alien to the likes of some Islamists on this thread who think that there are only Sunni Muslims in South Asian countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. But that is not the definition of secularism per se. A Muslim Secularist is one who does not agree with politics being in the hands of “God-ordained” politicians, which is un-Islamic in any case since there is no such thing as priesthood in Islam.

  178. Sid — on 4th March, 2008 at 5:19 pm  

    and yes you’re on board whether you know it yet or not.

  179. fugstar — on 4th March, 2008 at 5:23 pm  

    lol at the ibn rushd reference and the muslim preisthood cliche.

    but that not where you arrived at your definitavely muslim secularist position from really? it more to do with a realism in light of real and imagined dumbo fundos than theory.

  180. Arif — on 4th March, 2008 at 5:23 pm  

    Perhaps I am a secular Islamicist?

  181. Arif — on 4th March, 2008 at 5:24 pm  

    or is it a secular Islamist?

  182. sonia — on 4th March, 2008 at 5:53 pm  

    good research avi..

  183. Avi Cohen — on 4th March, 2008 at 6:09 pm  

    Sonia – Thanks and I think you are owed an apology by whoever said that.

    Totally uncalled for remark.

  184. Don — on 4th March, 2008 at 6:30 pm  

    ‘religious politics won’t necessarily be supremacist’

    Arif, could you provide an example of where that has been the case? Preferably one of the Abrahamic religions.

  185. fugstar — on 4th March, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

    how about ‘non aligned Muslim’ or ‘beleiver who hopes for the better’. I think thats where most non-rented or partisan muslims are, officially at least.

    definitions of secularism differ from religion-hating to the ‘south asian fudge’ whereby religious political ideas and social values are dismissed as communal. Recognition of the real life distribution of political and religious expertise is not secularism. There is a huge unspoken baggage associated with the ‘S’ word. Check syed naquib al attas and syed hossain nasr on the area of islam and secularism.

    supremecist is such a strange word, american import methinks. hardly relevant. Any follower of a religion beleives it is the true path and offers best guidance. asking them all to fudge it is never going to work.

  186. Don — on 4th March, 2008 at 7:08 pm  

    A secular state does not (or rather need not) impose at all on religious belief and practice.

    The UK is regretably not yet a secular state, although we are getting there. Is there a single aspect of faith which has been actually inconvenienced by the de facto quasi-secularism of this country? If so, I suspect it is because that aspect is in conflict with the social concensus that exists.

    In a secular state worship whoever you wish, fast or feast as you please (and I’m open to invitations to feasts, I’ll play nice for free food), follow whatever moral code seems fit. But don’t seek to have this code embedded in law or claim exemptions because of it.

    You profoundly believe that children accused of witchcraft should be tortured and killed? Your local cleric has pronounced that god wants adulterers publically butchered? You can point to verses that call for homosexuals to be persecuted? Your god has blessed you with a child which will be perfect once you have hacked at its genitals with something sharp?Tough. No special pleading.

  187. fugstar — on 4th March, 2008 at 7:20 pm  

    In the uk the secular-religious thing doesnt really play a big role in the public imagination, however much people flap their wings about. We’ll promote religion if we can make money out of it. Religion decorates our institutions, graduation declarations and used to play an organising role at the local level.

  188. Sid — on 4th March, 2008 at 7:27 pm  

    Check syed naquib al attas and syed hossain nasr on the area of islam and secularism.

    Seyyed Hossain Nasr is a sufi and an old friend. He believes in the transcendental unity of religion. I thought Hizbis hated sufis? :)

  189. fugstar — on 4th March, 2008 at 8:14 pm  

    im not a hizbi, you bum.

    so do you understand that what he writes? about religion, science and education. if you do you how are secular….?

  190. douglas clark — on 5th March, 2008 at 1:38 am  

    Avi,

    Thanks for that:

    Also Douglas at least I have provided some credentials. But you appear to be a Daily Express journalist and slur people which is why you seem to have such a bond with Sidney. Again like a Sun journalist his claim to be Muslim appears increasingly doubtful with his basic lack of knowledge and understanding. Yet because he spouts what you want to hear then you jump to his defence without actually bothering to read what is said.

    If that wasn’t so funny, it’d be a smear. Your own attribution as a Jewish person seems a bit moot, right now.

    If Sid bests you in every arguement, then why should I not agree with Sid?

    You always play the card,

    “without actually bothering to read what is said”

    No.

    I do read what people say. Sometimes I am convinced that what they say has merit, viz Sid. Sometimes I think I am reading someone who I should not bother reading. At the moment, you are on the believable / unbelievable cusp. For me, at least. Remember, there are other folk reading this, and some will side with you, we call them idiots, and some will side with Sid, we call them enlightened.

    What credentials do you want? I have already told you I am an atheist, though not of the Dawkins school. I may have mentioned my Scottishness. Frankly, I don’t know what it is you need from me.

    And I haven’t even read the Express since adolesence, ever since it’s ‘kith and kin’ nonsense. I am a bit disappointed to see similar arguements arising from ethnic minorities, as I thought that sort of stuff was yesterday.

  191. douglas clark — on 5th March, 2008 at 1:57 am  

    Jesus!

    Avi Cohen does go on at some length, doesn’t he?

    To take a comment:

    Also Douglas it is your right wing freinds who are waging as much war around the world as the Islamists, probably more and blaming liberals whilst raping the worlds resources in the course of killing millions of people. All at the same time denying people the very right they claim they are trying to give them.

    Try sometimes having a go at them instead of people that have a belief in religion all the time.

    I’d have thought I was on record here as being completely against the Iraq adventure. I may have even mentioned that I marched against it. I stand by the view that it was utterly wrong.

    Will that satisfy Avi? I’m not holding my breath….

  192. Arif — on 5th March, 2008 at 8:06 am  

    Don: Khudai Khidmatgar

  193. fugstar — on 5th March, 2008 at 11:01 am  

    douglas, are you white?

  194. sonia — on 5th March, 2008 at 6:11 pm  

    why should douglas’s skin colour make a difference to you fugstar?

  195. Avi Cohen — on 5th March, 2008 at 7:21 pm  

    Douglas – with respect most of what you say about me is a smear.

    “some will side with you, we call them idiots, and some will side with Sid, we call them enlightened.”

    Yes that is really good as you have already decided what is right and wrong.

    “Avi Cohen does go on at some length, doesn’t he?”
    Oh don’t worry Douglas thanks to your ways I probably won’t be commenting much here any more so you can rest easy as you push people away that don’t agree with you and consider that a victory.

    “Will that satisfy Avi? I’m not holding my breath….”
    The point was missed on you and again the very system you dearly love whilst giving you freedoms is also responsible for much of the worlds suffering. Someone like you cannot possibly understand that.

    The problem you have Douglas is that you choose to doubt everyone who speaks up for those weaker than you or who have a belief in religion. You’ll never change.

  196. fugstar — on 5th March, 2008 at 7:29 pm  

    lots of reasons.

    Helps to understand why he says the things he does, and distinguish his particular complex from other ones and figuring out what the problem might be. Why should a white nonmuslim (i assume) be so bothered about picking on a family of political groupings from morroco to indonesia?

    i didnt mean it any pejorative sense at all.

    If someone comes from a society thats had a long history of mingling with muslim families, aspirations and ideas, theres a baseline pickle factor that might be assumed.

  197. fugstar — on 5th March, 2008 at 7:33 pm  

    i dont think Avi bhai is a closet muslim in jewish clothing as some are alluding. mainly because no muslim or south asian would have to look up sunnipath for a definition of freshiness and then go all ‘white guilt’ about it.

    QED

  198. Sid — on 5th March, 2008 at 7:40 pm  

    You come across as a dislocated and conflicted.

    I know ‘deshis who studied one hour of English a week who can write better English than you can fug. If I were you, I’d be angry about the education that you missed out on. Perhaps that explains your rage.

    But whats behind the the adolescent league table of culpability by skin colour that you draw from that colours every opinion you hold?

    Tragic on every level.

  199. fugstar — on 5th March, 2008 at 7:45 pm  

    are you an office clerk or accountant of some kind?

  200. Sid — on 5th March, 2008 at 7:46 pm  

    of some kind.

  201. douglas clark — on 6th March, 2008 at 2:23 am  

    Avi,

    It is you that has set opinions on things, not me. This article was about the experiences of actual Muslim electorates who had chosen to reject fundamentalist political parties and had voted instead for secularist parties. That was the will of the majority, surprisingly enough even in NWFP.

    But instead of saying, hey that’s good news, long may it continue, you came on here looking to argue something completely different. If you are what you say you are, then any movement away from extremism ought to be your agenda as much as Sids. But, you got the wrong end of the stick and, much like your good friend fugstar, have essentially derailed this thread.

    Fugstar, I used to be white, but sadly I believe folk would now describe me as ‘grey’. I am one of those annoying people who doesn’t think it matters what colour you are. What matters is what goes on in your head, and that certainly isn’t tied to your race. So, see me as the evil whitey if you want, as that seems to be your agenda….

  202. Avi Cohen — on 6th March, 2008 at 3:44 am  

    Douglas – As usual you’ve not really grasped what was said by a number of people when criticising the article. Because it is written by your friend then you just assume it is right and anyone who dares to correct parts is in your opinion wrong. You have much in common with George W. Bush who said “You are either with us or against us” and look what a mess that caused. Yur approach is the same.

    It isn’t even worth the effort of discussing with you.

    But what I said was:

    1. There is no link between Salafi and Islamists as claimed. So far no evidence produced to show such a link though I did cite two sources to show there wasn’t one. So now Douglas cite evidence – it falls to you to do this as you have backed the writer. So show us where the two are linked despite the fact that the Salafi’s have said that terrorism and extremism are prohibited.

    2. I stated that Islamism has never had mass popular appeal. If you bothered to look at reality of history the ideology aims for violent overthrow of govt – it hasn’t happened and hasn’t ever had popular appeal on the streets. Where people support in opinion polls is due to geographic issues. So show me where in the Muslim world Islamists have gained power by the violent overthrow of government? Their stated aim.

    The most they did was assasinate President Sadat for making peace with Israel but Egypt’s Govt didn’t change as per their ideology as Mubarak has stayed in power and despite disquiet there hasn’t been a rising up of the people in support of Islamists and against the Govt. Indeed Egypt has been largely stable and has a growing economy. So hardly a success story for Islamists as peace with Israel has held up well and in fact led to peace with Jordan and the start of peace negotiations with the Palestinans.

    In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman etc. the rulers are still the same as there hasn’t been a violent overthrow of govt. If anything the stated aim actually brought greater western influence so the Islamists lost here as well.

    So there isn’t mass appeal for Islamism and never has been it is a minority creed – which is just violent.

    In Israel this is recognised in the newspapers amd just in the past week – link cited above by me if you had bothered to read.

    Also the election you cite namely Pakistan – then the PPP has said it will also talk to the Dictator and the Religous parties. If you bothered to look at the results then here people turned away from extremism in religion and not Islamism – as the Islamists in Pakistan don’t believe in voting and hence are not part of the political process as don’t forget their aim is violent overthrow of govt hence all the bombings.

    Sid is most likely a Sufi so he is linking the Salafi creed prevalent in the Middle East with Islamism. Not with evidence but because he disagrees with them.

    This is an untrue link because Salafi’s disapprove of extremism and terrorism.

    An agenda you accept which is horrifying as it paints a false and unfair picture on people – no matter how much people disagree with their theology.

    People may not agree with Salafi’s but to falsely claim they are linked to violent extremism is false and a gross distortion. People like you should stand up against this but instead you are going along with it.

    If you say you are who you are – a democract and liberal – though it is doubtful from your behaviour then you should be standing up against people with an agenda to smear other people falsely. But you aren’t you are listening to one side and accepting it as fact.

    Your pronounciation that “some will side with you, we call them idiots, and some will side with Sid, we call them enlightened.”

    Sums you up and show quite clearly that it is you who has preset opinions thus you don’t even need to be here at PP as you are not dicussing anything merely dictating what is enlightened and what is idiotic.

  203. Sid — on 6th March, 2008 at 8:59 am  

    Sid is most likely a Sufi so he is linking the Salafi creed prevalent in the Middle East with Islamism. Not with evidence but because he disagrees with them.

    This is an untrue link because Salafi’s disapprove of extremism and terrorism.

    Salafi extremism and it’s existence was not the thrust of this post, but I’ll deal with it now since Avi has consistently tried to derail this thread with his grandstanding on Salafism.

    First of all, what is Salafism and in what context did I use it when I first mentioned it in my comment? I regard Salafism as the puritannical form of Sunni Islam often used interchangebly with Wahhabism although I know that this linkage is contentious with some. But like Wahhabis, Salfism is a literalist school of puritannical Islam which has its roots in Saudi Arabia and is still the underlying creed behind the kind of radicalism that has spread in Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan etc. This is the neo-Salafi school of terrorism popularly seen to be behind 9/11, the bombings in Tanzania, Bali, Afghanistan, the Balkans and post-Invasion Iraq.

    Neo-Salafism is the ideology of the amorphous al-Qaeda ideology of violence at any cost. Its particular world view can be understood by looking at the roots of this ideology in Islamic intellectual history and by realising that its teachings have been marginal to and opposed by mainstream Islamic thought.

    Lets deal with the point about “Salafi’s disapprove of extremism or terrorism first”.

    Saudi Arabia erected a number of large global charities in the 1960s and 1970s whose original purpose may have been to spread Wahhabi Islam, but which became penetrated by prominent individuals from al-Qaeda’s global jihadi network. The three most prominent of these charities were the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO; an offshoot of the Muslim World League), the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, and the Charitable Foundations of al-Haramain. All three are suspected by various global intelligence organizations of terrorist funding. From the CIA’s interrogation of an al-Qaeda operative, it was learned that al-Haramain, for example, was used as a conduit for funding al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, Russia’s Federal Security Service charged that al-Haramain was wiring funds to Chechen militants in 1999.

    It would be incorrect to view these charities as purely non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private charities, as they are mistakenly called. At the apex of each organization’s board is a top Saudi official. The Saudi Grand Mufti, who is also a Saudi cabinet member, chairs the Constituent Council of the Muslim World League. The Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs chairs the secretariat of WAMY and the administrative council of al-Haramain. All three organizations have received large charitable contributions from the Saudi royal family that have been detailed in Saudi periodicals. Indeed, according to legal documents submitted on behalf of the Saudis by their legal team in the firm Baker Botts, in the 9/11 lawsuit, Prince Sultan provided $266,000 a year to the IIRO for sixteen years. He also provided a much smaller sum to WAMY. In short, these Saudi charities were full-fledged GOs – governmental organizations.

    The earliest documented links between one of these charities and terrorists was found in Bosnia. It is a handwritten account on IIRO stationery from the late 1980s of a meeting attended by the secretary-general of the Muslim World League and bin Laden representatives, indicating the IIRO’s readiness to have its offices used in support of militant actions. IIRO has been suspected of terrorist funding in the Philippines, Russia, East Africa, Bosnia, and India. Al-Qaeda operatives became accustomed to Saudi Arabia being their source of support, in general.

    Avi’s insistence that Salafis are quiescent peaceniks might be true if he is confusing the term Salafi with Indian Salafism also known as Deobandism. But the Neo-salafism that has been resurgent from Saudi Arabia from the late 70s has certainly been involved with funding radical groups in South Asia who have used terror tactics and indiscriminate violence and intimidation.

  204. Avi Cohen — on 6th March, 2008 at 9:51 am  

    Sid – How did I derail the thread you brought it up and I replied to show your point was incorrect. The fact is the Salafi Movement even that linked to Saudi Arabia does not accept terrorism as part of its creed.

    Are you now saying that I shouldn’t say anything when you may be incorrect as that is derailing the thread.

    The problem of terrorism is an issue but it is a creed of its own. You will note that top Salafi Scholar and grand mufti of Saudi Arabia wrote an open letter to Bin Laden refuting his ideology and warning govts about this. So if the top scholar does this then what more do you want?

    Secondly Sufi Organisations in Iraq have links to Al-Quaeda so does that make all Sufi’s neo-sufi’s and thus terrorists?

    With respect the ideology of Islamism is to overthrow regismes in the Middle East and then the world. The Salafi’s say that rulers must be obeyed. Thus the two ideologies are very different. That is all I am highlighting to you.

    The creeds are not even in the same ballpark. Fine you don’t agree with them but there isn’t a linkage and the evidence is that they don’t like each other. Even their scholars bash eachs others creed.

    The resurgance of which you refer is of Pan-Arabism and that is a whole other creed. Saudi and Middle Eastern rulers often refer to the Arab world ahead of the Muslim world so that is a creed of nationalism.

    Anyway Sid – apologies if I upset you as I said I am going to be commenting less and less. But hey maybe at some event we can argue this a bit more ;-)

    This is my last post on the subject. But i would like to say that I don’t disagree with the need to challange radical Islamists but when there is a linkage to groups that have openly said they disagree with it then it simply defeats the purpose. Take it easy.

  205. Sid — on 6th March, 2008 at 10:00 am  

    With respect the ideology of Islamism is to overthrow regismes in the Middle East and then the world. The Salafi’s say that rulers must be obeyed. Thus the two ideologies are very different. That is all I am highlighting to you.

    Have you considered that Saudi Salafism, which is tightly coupled with the monarchy might find it beneficial to connect religion to politics to such an extent that it makes it incumbent in it’s religious creed to make dissent ‘haram’? Another reason why secularism, even in trace amounts, is beneficial to Muslims.

  206. Avi Cohen — on 6th March, 2008 at 12:29 pm  

    Sid – that is a whole other debate and yes I have considered that about the interconnect.

    I think the major priority for the Muslim world is to eradicate extremism and to open up.

  207. sonia — on 6th March, 2008 at 12:40 pm  

    i think anyone could have looked up freshiness and found a search result on google, duh, fug! why should you assume he went to sunnipath and looked it up, really. as i said, that was good research on avi cohen’s part.

    and even if fug didnt mean anything in a pejorative sense, suggesting someone’s skin colour has something to do with their views..well just goes to show.

  208. sonia — on 6th March, 2008 at 12:41 pm  

    but in any case, i can’t see why freshiness is an insult to anyone, (now that i know what Fug was trying to say about me) i’m very pleased to be ‘freshy’ – thank goodness for that, seeing as the kind of weird identity crises so many people seem to have if they aren’t ‘freshy’.

  209. fugstar — on 6th March, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

    but a brown man wouldnt have had to even look it up, right? hence Avi bhai is who he says he is.

    ive been identified as a freshie on many occasions and have settled on pseudo freshie.

  210. sonia — on 6th March, 2008 at 1:07 pm  

    well im bloody brown and i didnt know what it was, you are so colour/group/stereotyped Fug, really, aren’t you.

  211. fugstar — on 6th March, 2008 at 1:15 pm  

    dude, i just asked a chap a simple q.

  212. Sid — on 6th March, 2008 at 1:28 pm  

    Sid – that is a whole other debate and yes I have considered that about the interconnect.

    haha. I’d say it’s more a part of this debate than Salafism is, that’s for sure. But thanks for playing.

  213. Sofia — on 6th March, 2008 at 1:56 pm  

    “The problem of terrorism is an issue but it is a creed of its own. You will note that top Salafi Scholar and grand mufti of Saudi Arabia wrote an open letter to Bin Laden refuting his ideology and warning govts about this”

    There is an opinion that this was only to protect their own ruling elite as Al-Qaeda had already begun to cause instability with it’s calls for foreign nationals to leave SA etc.

  214. Avi Cohen — on 6th March, 2008 at 4:06 pm  

    Sofia – he said it way before the calls for foreign nationals to leave. It is widely recognised by people I have spoken to he said this and gave a warning to all governments. In hindsight his warning turned out to be correct about the ideology. Later his students went further and declared Bin Laden outside the fold of Islam for his actions.

  215. Sofia — on 6th March, 2008 at 4:26 pm  

    Avi do you have any links?

  216. Saqib — on 6th March, 2008 at 4:38 pm  

    Regarding Salafis, the major scholars in Saudi condemned suicide bombings and the actions of many Jihadis who sought to engage in political terror…this has been mentioned by Hamza Yusuf, of all people.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve0Sgm0PFyk

    However, many of the regimes DO have problems with legitimacy, a point often made by Arab nationalists such as Sati al-Husri and Michael Aflaq. Hence the sentiment to overthrow regimes is partly an outgrowth of this sentiment.

  217. Sid — on 6th March, 2008 at 4:45 pm  

    What does this mean other than to say that Osama’s crimes are so heinous against the royal family of Saudi Arabia, he has been placed outside the fold of Islam – a heretic. This is similar to how heresy was dealt by the Church in midieval Europe. It is important to note that the Church never executed anyone for heresy. Rather, the Church turned heretics over to secular governments for execution. Therefore, heresy was also part of political self-definition and exclusion.

    Osama hasn’t been made a heretic by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia because of crimes against Islam but because of crimes against the Saudi Royal family.

  218. bananabrain — on 6th March, 2008 at 5:52 pm  

    fugstar:

    you can get hold of a presentation of the report here;

    http://www.gfk.com/imperia/md/content/gfk_nop/newsandpressinformation/muslims_in_britain_aug__06.pdf

    it’s by a reputable market research firm and it was clearly statistically valid, not, as you say, “designed for white power consumption”:

    In order to test this argument GfK NOP interviewed 1000 Muslims, men and women, young and old, across different social classes, first, second and third generation, those living in areas with high or low concentrations of Muslim communities and across the varied ethnic groups that shape the profile of the British Muslim population. For the first time these results represent the diversity of views and attitudes within this faith community.

    so, i think you’re talking baqwaas, as we picklers put it.

    as for “palestinian defence strategy”, i think you’ll find that again and again, muslim opinion tends to look the other way when the victims of whatever atrocity happen to be israelis.

    avi:

    alarmist, really? most of the people in the “golders green high street” category would undoubtedly describe me as a bleeding-heart liberal!

    Of those 13% who have a sympathy how many actually will do something – very few – most likely way less than 1%. It is mostly talk.

    gosh, 1%, as few as that? that’s 20,000 people – prepared to “do something”, i’m astonishingly reassured, especially after 7/7. and although “most people” might not do something, the people that do will target me, my relatives, my friends and you, too. i’m a “high-priority target” and i’m paying for it through the nose, too. it is a scandal that jewish schools, community centres and places of worship have to hire round the clock security guards because of the level of threat we face, so no, i don’t think i’m being “alarmist”, not right now.

    well, at least we agree that “it comes back to grassroots to get people talking.” nonetheless, you’re still being needlessly rude to douglas and frankly, sid has the upper hand in this particular argument, particularly the bit about salafis having no connection to islamism, well, if you’ve ever talked to anyone from HuT, let alone people who don’t talk like the al-qaeda-linked maghrebi islamist jihadi feckwits…

    douglas:

    Your god has blessed you with a child which will be perfect once you have hacked at its genitals with something sharp?

    i think this is rather uncalled-for and does not resemble the procedure concerned in any way, shape or form. it’s no more surgically problematic than having your ears pierced. i expect better from someone with as good a mind as yourself.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  219. Don — on 6th March, 2008 at 6:13 pm  

    B’brain,

    The hacking bit was me, not Douglas, and was a reference to FGM. I thought that was fairly clear, as it was in a list of religiously inspired practices which are at odds with the law of the land, which male circumcision isn’t.

  220. bananabrain — on 6th March, 2008 at 6:14 pm  

    oh, excuse me, don. bit of a kneejerk there. i apologise.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  221. Avi Cohen — on 6th March, 2008 at 7:54 pm  

    BB – Whilst I am trying to move away from this discussion, HuT isn’t a Salafi movement hence the example isn’t correct. Salafi’s as Sid said are puritanical and don’t accept HuT’s aim and in fact call it unislamic.

    Once again I gave you links from Salafi websites saying they deplore Terrorism. Their scholars speak out against it. So because you and sid do not agree with their creed it doesn’t mean they should be unfairly labelled Islamist. That is my point which you are overlooking. Just because you disagree with the nature of the belief doesn’t mean you should unfairly label them.

    As regards the threat level yes it is there but equally it is time for the Jewish community to speak out against what is going on in the I/P issue and not always side with Israel as a knee-jerk reaction. The Chief Rabbi is doing a poor job by hiding away when he needs to speak out and lead his people.

    This article caught my attention:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/04/israelandthepalestinians.bookextracts

    The level of threat is there due to the fact that because of I/P the relations between the communities haven’t been kept up. That needs to be addressed.

    As regards Douglas if you find it acceptable that he is calling people who disagree with Sid idiots he said quite clearly:

    “some will side with you, we call them idiots, and some will side with Sid, we call them enlightened.”

    Many problems are being calling by labelling people Islamist when they are not and it has led to people being unfairly jailed. The label needs to be used correctly.

  222. fugstar — on 6th March, 2008 at 7:58 pm  

    I don’t know whether the the two properties, ‘designed for white power consumption’ and ‘statistically valid’ are mutually exclusive. Most surveillance science is designed with specific purposes in mind. Thanks for the link though. I wonder how this specific report was interpreted by the people who read it.

    Look at the categorisations and wonder who do you think this research is speaking to?
    ABCD1 and C2DE?!?
    ‘staunch defenders of islam’
    ‘hardcore islamists’
    ‘pro-freedom of speech’
    and then the section on ‘conspiracy theories’

    Also the researchers have poor taste and finishing, all their pie charts are in default excel colouring and the options presented(?!?) to respondants seem rather closed so i dont know what representative of the views of the community means. In one place they even spell suicide wrong.

    I suppose im coming from somewhere else. Therefore my approach to muslim political and social movements around the world and history is from a different page.

    But the 13 percenters issue needs to be dealt with.
    Why do people tell researchers these things? Why do muslims feel they need to have an opinion on ‘war’ matters that we have little or no experience of?

    -Do they understand what the research is trying to do?
    -Are they trying to express revulsion by taking the darker option?
    -Dont they see the hypothetical suicide bombing question for the pariah creating trap that it is?
    -Were they offered any geographical qualification opportunity? or any other hypothetical defence options?

    We aren’t really that mean and merciless. this research is just creepy.

  223. Sid — on 6th March, 2008 at 9:21 pm  

    So because you and sid do not agree with their creed it doesn’t mean they should be unfairly labelled Islamist. That is my point which you are overlooking. Just because you disagree with the nature of the belief doesn’t mean you should unfairly label them.

    Prince Sultan is a salafi and he’s obviously an Islamist andhe funds Salafi organisations such as the Jamaati Isami in both Pakistan and Bangladesh. And they are most certainly Islamist political outfits.

    Old school Salafism may not be “Islamist” by definition (political Islam) but you have to admit that these individuals and groups are Salafi *and* they also pushing Islamist politics in the Southasian coutries they operate in. Some of these groups, not all, use terrorism. These identities and activities are not mutually exclusive. fugstar said somewhere, “its not a pure game”. He couldn’t be more correct.

  224. fugstar — on 7th March, 2008 at 12:44 am  

    you really are dumb sid. dont listen to him anybody, he knows nothing of islam in south asia. dont even use my name in vain dude.

    its like every single thing you say about religious movement through history and geography is laced with the epitome of wrongness and imprinted with some kind of secularizing malice. Its getting worse.

  225. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 1:21 am  

    so we’re not making it to your blogroll then?

    [weeps inconsolably]

  226. Saqib — on 7th March, 2008 at 1:25 am  

    Sid…how do you define salafi?

  227. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 1:27 am  
  228. Random Guy — on 7th March, 2008 at 9:59 am  

    If you are against what you call ‘Salafism’ Sid, especially with regard to the splinters of it that are engaged in politically changing countries etc. then are you also against the use of ‘democracy’ to do the same in other countries?

    link: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804?currentPage=1

    Without full context, this debate is redundant.

  229. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    Random, what exactly in that link to the Vanity Fair article on the Bush legacy in P/I are you referring to? I read the article and came away none the wiser regarding Islamist politics.

  230. fugstar — on 7th March, 2008 at 3:09 pm  

    that would be your essential stupidity kicking in.

  231. bananabrain — on 7th March, 2008 at 3:15 pm  

    avi:

    i don’t think you and i agree on the definition of “islamist”. as far as i am concerned, i will refer to someone as an islamist if:

    a. they want to see islam take over the world
    b. they are trying to do this either by taking over an existing political party, forming their own or just not bothering and going straight for the bombs and guns
    c. they want to see everyone (not just muslims) living under shari’a
    d. they see other forms of authority, power and government as essentially illegitimate.

    by this definition, salafis, hut, jamaatis, tablighis, wahhabis, respect, al-qaeda, ikhwanis, hizbollah, hamas and the governments of iran, saudi arabia and sudan all qualify – so you’ll excuse me if your fine distinctions are slightly lost on me especially if the evidence you present is “oh, they say they deplore terrorism on their website”! ooh, dear me, i wonder if anyone’s asked them what they mean by that – i wonder if they’ve included blowing up jews or americans in their definition of terrorism? and, i wonder if they could be, i don’t know, being “economical with the actualité”? believe me, i don’t think i’m being “unfair” to these people.

    as for the jewish community, if you don’t think it’s speaking out then you’re clearly not listening properly or not moving in the right circles. expecting poor old chiefy to come out against the occupation is simply unrealistic. besides, he only represents about half the community! i mean, IJV may be extreme, but at least it shows there’s a debate – there are plenty of other organisations from the reform movement to the interfaith movement that don’t automatically whitewash everything israel does or demonise the palestinians. as unwelcome as it is for me personally and politically, i don’t think it is unreasonable for people to be battening down the hatches. i think it is completely unacceptable for jews to be beaten on the streets by muslims for being jewish and i think it is completely unacceptable for us to be quite as under siege as we are in our own community. if you think that’s “alarmist”, all i can say is you should perhaps try going to shul a bit more often, or being a parent faced with a “security levy”, or any of the other security-related things we are now being asked to foot the bill for.

    fugstar:

    i read the report and was appalled at the numbers. of course you could have asked a representative selection of british muslims whether they like football or not, but it wouldn’t have been quite as relevant or newsworthy – it was commissioned by channel 4 news precisely *because* they didn’t believe the stats that were regularly being quoted by both islamists and islamophobes. that was the whole point. if you don’t think being pro-freedom of speech is important than i wonder what you think the point of democracy is.

    Why do people tell researchers these things? Why do muslims feel they need to have an opinion on ‘war’ matters that we have little or no experience of?

    because clearly they’re getting these opinions from somewhere, whether it’s infiltrating islamists, abu hamza, the bbc or just the old maulana down the masjid, or the teachers at the madrassa – muslims are being told they should have these sorts of opinions and, eventually, surprise surprise, some of them do!

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  232. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 3:35 pm  

    that would be your essential stupidity kicking in.

    Perhaps you could tell us what the Random’s point is fugoo. Of course it would require you addressing ideas rather than petty personal attacks. Not your strong point, I know, but give it a try.

  233. fugstar — on 7th March, 2008 at 3:37 pm  

    its just perpetuating white lies for white tongues by categorising people according to thick questioning routines. its very gcse meets rand meets ed possible works for memri.

    i was astonished at the unprofessionality of the presentation and uninteresting way in which the research was done. and even more astounded that folks would use these alleged facts.

    one thing i did find heartening about the survey, if indeed anything within it resembles the lingering thoughts of more than the 1000 sampled people interviewed at the time, was the well proportioned muslim rejection of the dominant press narratives of our time.

    good spirit.

  234. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 3:44 pm  

    The question most telling:
    “Would you move to a country governed by Sharia law?”

    No – 70%
    Yes – 19%
    Dunno – 12%

    Looks like Islamists know which side of their parata is buttered. ;)

  235. Refresh — on 7th March, 2008 at 4:02 pm  

    Sid

    ‘The question most telling:
    “Would you move to a country governed by Sharia law?”

    Its not very telling at all. Other than to say people would not move for Sharia, and its also true to say its not incumbent on people to do so.

    On a positive note, it actually says 70% believe that they can live by their faith right here in Britain. So muslims love their country.

    Its all about spin. The question itself is so broad to make it meaningless – and it seems so was the whole of the study.

    If the question had been phrased as follows:

    ‘Should the conditions here in Britain deteriorate to such an extent that you cannot be a practising muslim, would you move to a country governed by Sharia law?’

    then it would be closer to what you are alluding to.

  236. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 4:08 pm  

    My point is, dear Refresh, that the 70% probably contains a large percentage of people who are potential “Islamists” as well.

    If you happened to be an Ahmadiyya, then your alternative question would probably be applicable to them in their own homeland.

  237. fugstar — on 7th March, 2008 at 4:17 pm  

    or maybe.
    ‘What do you understand by sharia law?’ [open coded]

    ‘whats with the eid thing?’ [open coded]

    ‘Do you dance around campfires naked after suckling on the teat of secularism?’ [yes glady sir, no shoot me]

    ‘Do you support the mandatory appointment of a central authority to lead your religious life?’ [yes, lets go to dial a mufti, no, lets bum around with this mcb for a while longer].

  238. Refresh — on 7th March, 2008 at 4:19 pm  

    Sid,

    your original point wasn’t too clear. Nor is your #236.

    Your definition of Islamist, in light of approbium being heaped on the term, and the tendancy to use it whenever in a tight intellectual spot is not helping anyone.

    ‘If you happened to be an Ahmadiyya, then your alternative question would probably be applicable to them in their own homeland.’

    Can’t we clear up, agree or disagree on a point before we broaden it again? If you continue to do what you are doing we could never say whether there was or wasn’t any substance to your initial proposition.

    Although, I did think you had something (enough to make it a debate) but then lost your way when you broadened it enough to make the whole venture meaningless.

  239. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

    I think we’ve already agreed that an Islamist is someone who:

    1) Is not very bright
    2) Thinks there is no plausible disconnect between religion and politics
    3) Has a mild empathy with terrorists and thinks nothing of indiscriminate murder. Regards bin Laden as a revolutionary figure
    4) Regards white people as the enemy incarnate
    5) Thinks their particualr interpretation of Islam is the one true way and regards other muslims as spiritual inferiors, if muslims at all.

    In short, the template is fugstar

  240. bananabrain — on 7th March, 2008 at 4:29 pm  

    *sniff*

    what was wrong with my definition? i’m going to cry now. nasty islamists.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  241. Avi Cohen — on 7th March, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

    BB – with respect your lumping people together blindly. Most people just want to get on with their lives and get on quite happily with everyone.

    As regards for example Salafis yes they have condemned attacks on Jews and americans. I wonder how many of them have ever condemned attacks on Muslims? Hardly ever.

    Also internal debate is fairly pointless when people won’t speak out and condemn this is what leads to more tension. Look how IJV was treated when they spoke up.

    Both communities are under siege. But your complaint is one way. In the media often it is Jewish writers attacking Muslims whch brings attacks on that community but there you hide behind freespeech instead of condeming loudly the actions of those writers.

    As regards the CR – it isn’t about the fact that he represents 50% of the community. He is a leader with a position and he needs to lead and also make the community look within itself. He is simply acting as a cheerleader and apologist – that isn’t providing leadership to make the community look at itself. We are asking the Muslim community to do this whilst failing to do it ourself.

    There is little point in going to shul if it is simply to say we are always right – the point is we need to think about good for everyone and highlight injustice.

  242. Random Guy — on 7th March, 2008 at 5:06 pm  

    Sid @ 229, I was just illustrating the futility of getting into this whole money-funded-politics debate.

    How does the position of Western democracies gel in with your main arguments here? Does it have a contextual place in this debate?

  243. Refresh — on 7th March, 2008 at 7:31 pm  

    Sid your #239 was weak and pathetic.

    You complained very early on about people making the issue personal (vis a vis Asim), but you yourself now rank very high on the list of offenders.

    Give it up. Either you have nothing further to add, too busy to respond properly or just plain lazy.

    We the PeePs demand better.

  244. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 7:38 pm  

    Refresh, yes well I strive to please the PeePs.

    I do have two questions:
    Which part of#239 don’t you agree with?
    Give what up?

  245. Refresh — on 7th March, 2008 at 10:03 pm  

    Give what up?

    Being blooming silly.

    Which part don’t I agree with?

    Its the tone you’ve adopted of late, and it has been running for 90% of the thread. Its probably a defense mechanism. Open up and have a debate.

    Its your thread, so if people were trying to engage with you then at least acknowledge them and be courteous.

    Putting up the thread and diving into your bunker is not good for you or us. That you must give up.

    It was downhill from post #9. Actually that makes it 95% of the thread.

    Go have a look and I am sure you will see what I mean. Well I hope you do.

  246. Refresh — on 7th March, 2008 at 10:14 pm  

    ‘Putting up the thread and diving into your bunker is not good for you or us.’

    for clarity it should have been:

    ‘Putting up the thread and diving into your bunker is not good for you or us, the PeePs.’

    In case ‘us’ gets translated in gleeful wringing hands to ‘Islamists’. And I am not looking at anyone in particular – Sid.

  247. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 10:26 pm  

    Refresh, people have been making racist comments and personal attacks all over this thread. I haven’t been appreciative of personal attacks on others (Asim Siddiqui’s father for example) – and have been rather abrupt when dealing with that kind of shit.

    But if you think this thread is not open to debate then you are mistaken, because that’s all it has been open to. I’m sorry if you don’t agree with my tone but I don’t think I’ve said anything I should be apologising for.

  248. Refresh — on 7th March, 2008 at 10:54 pm  

    Sid, eyes on the prize. Try to enable the debate, don’t sink with it. Then you would have had the opportunity to occasionally offer a fair summary – without maligning anyone.

    Give it a shot. By the way you are not alone, others readily fall into that trap too.

    Just my observations.

    I mean just go look at that other thread – where you and others have fallen. And now everyone’s hurling insults at everyone else. Its flipping embarrassing.

    It doesn’t need an apology, but an air of purpose.

  249. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 11:04 pm  

    Thanks for the advice but it would be more credible if it were more balanced. Your admonishments of silly racial tics, personal attacks rather than debate of issues is conspicious by its absence. Your view is noted but you haven’t been neutral enough to be the referee. As for the other thread, if it offends you then, well, take it up on the other thread.

  250. Refresh — on 7th March, 2008 at 11:07 pm  

    Sid, As you wish.

  251. Sid — on 7th March, 2008 at 11:10 pm  

    I’m not saying I’m the referee here either Refresh, so perhaps you’re misunderstanding my role in this debate. I have very strong views on the matter, as you’ve probably guessed by now.

  252. sonia — on 9th March, 2008 at 11:32 pm  

    this business of asking for summaries is rather ridiculous i must say, we’d be here for ever with people writing into point out how they’ve been incorrectly summarized etc.

  253. Refresh — on 9th March, 2008 at 11:51 pm  

    ‘we’d be here for ever with people writing into point out how they’ve been incorrectly summarized etc.’

    Prefer people wanting to correct any misunderstandings than the mindless and personal rubbish we are getting at the moment.

    It probably wouldn’t suit everyone’s style.

  254. Sid — on 10th March, 2008 at 8:18 am  

    The mindless and personal rubbish started quite early on actually. We continue to have a good debate on here in spite of them.

  255. Ashik — on 10th March, 2008 at 12:30 pm  

    Asim Siddiqui’s father and his mentor Mr. Kalim Siddiqui of the so called British Muslim Parliament are NOT friends to Bangladesh. Asim’s father and his pal teamed up with the Crescent International newsletter. I remember an anti Bengali article by Lorraine Mirza for that Islamist rag. In it she talks about how ‘Indian agents’ were responsible for the birth of Bangladesh and then continues to whitewash genocide:

    ‘The allegation of mass rapes of one million Bengali women by 83,000 Pakistani soldiers, impregnating 200,000 in a matter of a few weeks, was circulated endlessly. How an army in the midst of an insurgency had time for such activity is mind-boggling. Loraine Mirza debunks these myths admirably’.

    http://www.muslimedia.com/archives/book99/biharbk.htm

    http://www.islamicthought.org/ks-bio-p3.html

    While Asim is not his father, as a Bengali I find it difficult to belief this starchy uber right-wing Pakistani Islamist mentality has been totally discarded by the son. It’s human nature that the son is influenced to a certain degree by his father and his associates.

  256. cqgy sjkgfomlu — on 20th April, 2008 at 5:18 pm  

    qohlptine ifytljw bhtckao dhcgqznl ukmzi kyxpeg ykglq

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