The Saudi pecking order


by Sid (Faisal)
26th November, 2008 at 7:00 pm    

Now that we’re on the brink of of a long term recession, and given that the Saudi royal family are amongst the few people lucky enough to have the cash to bail out British banks, you might have considered working in Saudi Arabia.

In which case you might find it useful to read this breakdown of social scales in the GCC by blogger Lucky Fatima (“Can I be straight with you?”) before you go.

This is part of a balanced, well-informed and enjoyable read on Racism against Asians in the Arabian Gulf.

1. Wealthy pure Arab blooded nationals of whatever GCC nation, Among the GCC, Saudi, Kuwait, and UAE are the best (richest, though as we know Saudi is having big problems these days), with Qatar, and Bahrain next, followed by miskeen, ta’abaan Oman, and very miskeen Yemen, which w.out petrodollars, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

2. Non-Arabs or “lesser” Arabs who have taken GCC nationality: black Arabs who are the descendents of slaves, part African Zanzibaris, Baloosh, Lawatis, Ajami, etc, plus the occasional Yemeni, Sudani or whoever whose family got GCC status in the 1970s. Plus, poor GCC national “pure” Arabs who have not benefited from the nations’ wealth and aren’t from prominent tribes. (I promise there are lots and lots of these, they are fishermen, date farmers, security guards, petrol pump attendants, and so forth, and also unemployed)

3. North American and Northern European, Aussie, Kiwi, and S. African whites If one looks at global systems of racism and discrimination in terms of the White Supremacist Capitalist Sexist Western hegemony, the truth is that Western economic practices and foreign policy help to create or at least continue the exploitation that occurs here, so in the broad picture, whitey is still the big boss man, even above group #1.

4. Other “lesser” Arabs, S. Asians, Filipinos, Africans, etc who are professionals and who have passports and educations from countries in #3. They are basically middle class.

5. Professional “lesser” Arabs, from anywhere from Morocco to Egypt. Plus Iranians. who are usually middle class or elites in their countries, and many have Western educations.

6. Professional S. Asians, who are usually middle class or elites in their countries, and many have Western educations.

7. Non-professional Arabs and Iranians who work as laborers, waiters, drivers, etc.

8. Non-professional Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Filipinos, and other non-Arabs who work in the same sectors in #6. These groups are also very prevalent in prostitution (with the exception of Filipinos)

9. Any “unskilled” and uneducated laborer from a developing country who is doing backbreaking manual labor or working as a domestic servant

Note that there is a HUGE income gap between the people in #1-6 (excluding poor GCC nationals) and people in #7-9

This isn’t limited to Saudi Arabia, of course. This is the situation in pretty much all GCC nations.

For Southasian Muslims, Arab culture, language and even people are well regarded, as part of the of the collective cultural memory to a time when Arabic was the lingua franca. And of course by dint of religious affiliation. Which is why when they visit and work in the Gulf, they’re surprised to find themselves regarded as little more than untermenschen or dirty, low-life miskeen scum.


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  1. sonia — on 26th November, 2008 at 7:33 pm  

    the last paragraph – as you say. and it is the situation in all GCC countries absolutely.

    of course, i think lucky fatima is spot on when she points out a lot of people when they are complaining about the treatment they receive in the gulf, (perhaps expecting some ‘muslim kinship’ perhaps,heh heh) that there is a very similar pecking order in the indian subcontinent.

    no belief in the equality of humans, none at all. shocking, all that talk about the global ummah as well.

    was arabic ever a lingua franca in bengal? i don’t know. but whether it was or wasnt, everyone thinks of course, that saudi is a civilised place and that they must surely be happy that we too are muslims! i suppose its the same silly idea we somehow have some ‘kinship’ with that place just cos we’re muslims now. a very tribal understanding of religion, which is of course, completely false. ha bloody ha

  2. sonia — on 26th November, 2008 at 7:40 pm  

    well quite a lot of subcontinental muslims actually seemed to think they were descended from the prophet’s family. again, a whole lot of imagined tribalism.

  3. billy — on 26th November, 2008 at 7:51 pm  

    Some horrifying news from India. Mumbai is under terrorist attack by gunmen; five star hotels, restaurants, hospitals, cinemas and the main railway station have been attacked, and Reuters is reporting that western tourists and businessmen have been separated from Indian citizens and are being held hostage in the hotels.

  4. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 7:55 pm  

    Although this isn’t good but pretty much the same situation exists elsewhere but if you are white and do this then people turn a blind eye. If you are an Arab then it makes headlines in tabloid papers.

    Are Mexican, Latin American and South American labour treated any better in the USA?

    Again these are Christian treating their fellow Christians in much the same way as Arabs treat their fellow poorer Muslims.

    Is SE Asian Labour treated any better in Australia?

    Eastern European women are transported to Europe for exploitation.

    Rarely gets headlines.

    Yes the Gulf needs to do more and this is appalling but it is the same case in many other parts of the world and to continually imply that it is just a Muslim issue is grossly unfair.

    Sadly this article is sensationalist and fails to address a serious issue which occurs worldwide.

  5. sooli — on 26th November, 2008 at 8:31 pm  

    Spot on, Imran Khan, I couldn’t have said it better.

  6. Ashik — on 26th November, 2008 at 9:05 pm  

    I agree with sooli and Imran Khan that such hierachy exists to a greater or lesser extent in all societies. It doesn’t make it right though.

    For example immigrants and asylum seekers are sometimes unfairly villified in the British media. There is a cultural expectation amongst some native Brits that people will assimilate (rather than integrate) into Britain. No doubt the Arabs feel similarly that they don’t need to respect the culture of Non-Arabs, even if they are Muslims. And looking at some first generation immigrants and even diaspora ‘wannabe whites’ here are falling over themselves to try and forget their origins, culture and religion. And worse still turn around and constantly denigrate others in their community to make themselves feel better. The ‘Im not like them see…I wanna be white so I drink n fuck just like you’ syndrome. Similarly many Non-Arabs and some South Asians try to feel a closer kinship and venerate Arabs and overlook real Arab sentiments toward them.

  7. billy — on 26th November, 2008 at 9:08 pm  

    The ‘I;m not like them see…I wanna be white so I drink n fuck just like you’ syndrome.

    Ashik, I think you are actually a racist. If you’re not a racist, I certainly think you have a degenerate mentality.

  8. Ashik — on 26th November, 2008 at 9:13 pm  

    What…you wanna just continue to talk about attitudes of Arabs rather than similar topics closer to home? Now that WOULD be racism. heh

    Minorities and immigrants are often treated appalingly even in the West.

    Cultural imperialism isn’t only an Arab problem.

  9. billy — on 26th November, 2008 at 9:16 pm  

    Ashik, you don’t even know what you say that suggests you are a racist, with a degenerate mind, do you?

  10. Laban Tall — on 26th November, 2008 at 10:07 pm  

    “… the truth is that Western economic practices and foreign policy help to create or at least continue the exploitation that occurs here …”

    I suppose that translates as ‘found the oil, sank the wells, built and ran the refineries, paid a (not very large) royalty, saw the wells and refineries nationalised (and paid much more for the oil) … and made lots of things, from petrol through plastics to pharmaceuticals, from the oil’

    If only the evil West had stayed away and left the stuff in the ground …

  11. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 10:12 pm  

    An interesting BBC article – Where are the European Obama’s:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/world_news_america/7725979.stm

    Would Britain elect an ethnic Prime Minister? No.

    Would Britain accept a Jewish Prime Minister? No.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/half-of-voters-unwilling-to-accept-a-jewish-pm-574173.html

    So it isn’t an Arab thing.

    How many people would accept the future king marrying a Jewish girl whose family had lived in this country for centuries?

    What people tend to forget is that in times of difficulty blame goes to those who are not see as part of the culture and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world – this happens.

  12. KB Player — on 26th November, 2008 at 10:40 pm  

    “Would Britain accept a Jewish Prime Minister? No.”

    Disraeli?

  13. billy — on 26th November, 2008 at 10:41 pm  

    Would Britain accept a Jewish Prime Minister? No.

    Britain has had a Jewish Prime Minister. Benjamin Disraeli. The last Conservative leader, Michael Howard, is Jewish and would have become Prime Minister had the Tories not been so unpopular. As to whether Britain will have an ethnic minority Prime Minister, I would say that yes, in our lifetime we possibly will.

    Why are so many people playing the ‘what about’ game? This is a story about how many south Asians, including those of the Muslim faith, face discrimination in Arab countries. Surely that’s a legitimate subject for debate?

  14. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 10:55 pm  

    Disraeli had Jewish heritage. He was an Anglican, was baptised and observant as an Anglican all his life.

    Sorry Britain has never elected a Jewish person as Prime Minister.

    “Why are so many people playing the ‘what about’ game? This is a story about how many south Asians, including those of the Muslim faith, face discrimination in Arab countries. Surely that’s a legitimate subject for debate?”

    It is but the same applies elsewhere which is a point you want to ignore.

  15. billy — on 26th November, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

    Disraeli had Jewish heritage

    At a time in which that was enough to make you a Jew in the eyes of the world.

    It is but the same applies elsewhere which is a point you want to ignore.

    Who ignores it? That’s you projecting a specious tu quoque argument on a thread about a specific issue. That’s like someone making a contribution to a thread about racism in country A by saying, ‘What about Arab racism? What about that, eh?”

    It’s just stupid.

  16. Sid — on 26th November, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

    Imran, Disraeli was as Jewish as you are Southasian.

    The whataboutery is getting very tiresome now.

  17. billy — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:02 pm  

    It is but the same applies elsewhere which is a point you want to ignore

    I don’t ignore it. It’s just not relevant to this thread. The fact that there is racism elsewhere in the world does not make racism by Arabs to South Asians less of a wrong. Just as the fact that there is racism in Gulf Arab states does not negate the wrongness of racism in Britain or anywhere else.

    This is just specious tu quoque argumentation. Frankly, it’s stupid.

  18. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:13 pm  

    Sid – “Imran, Disraeli was as Jewish as you are Southasian.

    The whataboutery is getting very tiresome now.”

    You seem to enjoy putting people down and being extremely rude.

    If he was baptised and raised as an Anglican how can he be Jewish? Is it a difficult concept for you to grasp that Jewish people don’t get baptised?

    Disraeli’s father broke with Judaism.

    You can say he was of Jewish heritage but not Jewish unless you can prove to me that the Chief Rabbi has consented to allowing baptism.

    It is you who is engaged in double speak when you can’t simply accept that this country has had no elected ethnic or Jewish PM.

  19. Sid — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:19 pm  

    Imran, now go ahead and say:
    “Keith Vaz is Roman Catholic how can he be Southasian?”

  20. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:22 pm  

    To help Sid who has such trouble grasping religious issues:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/disraeli_benjamin.shtml

    “Benjamin Disraeli(1804 – 1881)

    British statesman and novelist, Benjamin Disraeli
    Benjamin Disraeli ©
    British statesman and novelist, Disraeli provided the Conservative Party with its policies of popular democracy and imperialism.

    Born to Italian-Jewish parents, in 1817 Disraeli’s father baptised his children as Christians. With Jews excluded from Parliament until 1858, this enabled Disraeli to pursue a career that would otherwise have been denied him.”

    Notice quite clearly there that as a child he was baptised which is an act of the Christian faith not the Jewish one despite your poor analysis!

  21. Sid — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:24 pm  

    Imran, try again:
    “Mohammed Ali is Muslim how can he be black?”

  22. Ravi Naik — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:25 pm  

    “Keith Vaz is Roman Catholic how can he be Southasian?”

    Not to mention that Vaz is actually a Portuguese surname.

    Notice quite clearly there that as a child he was baptised which is an act of the Christian faith not the Jewish one despite your poor analysis!

    Actually, Jewish can relate to ethnicity or religion. I think it is safe to say that Disraeli family belonged to Jewish ethnic stock.

  23. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:27 pm  

    Sid – “Imran, now go ahead and say:
    “Keith Vaz is Roman Catholic how can he be Southasian?””

    With respect do you have trouble grasping the concept of religious following and ethnic origin?

    Why can’t you just admit you are wrong?

    If Keith Vaz became prime minister then he would be the first ethnic catholic PM of this country. Get it.

    It wouldn’t make him the first Hindu PM of this country as you’d no doubt try and claim. Sheesh!

  24. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:32 pm  

    Sid – “Imran, try again:
    “Mohammed Ali is Muslim how can he be black?””

    Once again back to school Sid as you cannot differentiate between religion and ethnicity.

    Can you not grasp the simple concept that Disraeli’s father broke with Judaism and had his children baptised. Disraeli was a practising Anglican all of life. That makes him Christian in religion.

    As you have so much difficulty understanding what people say for your reference I didn’t not raise the ethnicity of Disraeli, can you possibly grasp such simple concepts.

  25. Sid — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:33 pm  

    Imran, one last time:
    “Richard Gere is Tibetan Buddhist how can he be white?”

  26. Ashik — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:34 pm  

    Billy:

    ‘south Asians, including those of the Muslim faith, face discrimination in Arab countries. Surely that’s a legitimate subject for debate’?

    It is certainly a legitimate subject of discussion but not in isolation from other cultures where such discrimination occurs. This skews debate.

    Thread-starter Sid has recently written about another subject which caste Saudi Arabs in an unfavourable light eg. the global blasphemy law thread and continuously attempts to makes links between Saudi/Gulf funding and links to extremism. I even agree with some of what he writes but find constant one dementional depiction of Arabs a little off. This seems a personal quest of Sid’s. Why not make a similar point about hierachies amongst minorities and immigrants amongst Eastern Europeans as Imran Khan has indicated above? Or is demonising a section of Muslims the real reason behind these threads?

    There needs to be some balance.

  27. Desi Italiana — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:37 pm  

    “For Southasian Muslims, Arab culture, language and even people are well regarded, as part of the of the collective cultural memory to a time when Arabic was the lingua franca.”

    I thought Persian was the lingua franca for South Asians who had some contact (directly or indirectly) with the Moghul empire back in the day?

  28. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:38 pm  

    Sid – “Imran, one last time:
    “Richard Gere is Tibetan Buddhist how can he be white?””

    Look you are being silly and unable to grasp simple English. In your usual fashion you won’t ever admit your made a mistake so you’ll carry on and on and on and on.

    You are mixing religion and ethnicity – do you not understand the basic difference?

    In my post above I gave one ethnic example (Pakistani) and one religious example (Jewish).

    Now we have not had an ethnic PM and we have not had a person who was a Practising Jew as PM. Do you understand that? Is it so hard to understand?

    Disraeli was Anglican, every publication says he was Anglican. If you can prove he was Jewish then put up or admit you are wrong.

    What is it with you that you carry on and on and never admit you are ever mistaken.

    I accept you made a mistake but why go to such extremes in what is a simple discussion.

  29. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:41 pm  

    “This seems a personal quest of Sid’s. Why not make a similar point about hierachies amongst minorities and immigrants amongst Eastern Europeans as Imran Khan has indicated above? Or is demonising a section of Muslims the real reason behind these threads?”

    This much is apparent and he has driven people off who highlight this. He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this but sadly it appears he has free reign.

    It demeans any serious discussion on such subjects when editors allow their personal vendettas to conflict with discussion. Surprised he isn’t stopped from doing this.

  30. Sid — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:43 pm  

    Desi,

    yeah I should have said lingua sacra. And yes, I believe farsi was the lingua franca amongst high class North Indian elites in the Moghul empire.

  31. Imran Khan — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:45 pm  

    Another point is that despite not being Muslim he is often allowed to write inflammatory articles against Muslims who in his eyes appear to be able to nothing right unless they conform to his rigid interpretation of what Muslims should be.

    Fair and balanced criticism is acceptable but he is clearly crossing the line more and more frequently and his attacks on people who disagree with him are very undesirable.

    Maybe he’d be more at home with his buddy Dave T at Harry’s Place! They love a good Muslim bashing over there ;-)

  32. Ravi Naik — on 26th November, 2008 at 11:55 pm  

    Now we have not had an ethnic PM and we have not had a person who was a Practising Jew as PM.

    The latter is correct. The former is wrong. Disraeli was “ethnic” at that time – being both of Jewish and Italian ethnic stock – as opposed to Anglo-saxon.

    I think it is perfectly legitimate to say that Britain had an “ethnic” prime-minister, even though he was Christian.

  33. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:03 am  

    “The latter is correct. The former is wrong. Disraeli was “ethnic” at that time – being both of Jewish and Italian ethnic stock – as opposed to Anglo-saxon.

    I think it is perfectly legitimate to say that Britain had an “ethnic” prime-minister, even though he was Christian.”

    Possibly – but Disraeli would be classed as European rather than what is perceived as Ethnic nowadays. Possibly he was the Obama of his time in having a foot in each camp!

    Personally I’d say he was English as he was born here but with European heritage.

  34. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:03 am  

    “Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honourable gentlemen were brutal savages in an unknown land, mine were priests in the Temple of Solomon.”

    -Benjamin Disraeli, on the floor of Parliament in reply to Irish MP Daniel O’Connell

  35. persephone — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:04 am  

    @29 “Another point is that despite not being Muslim he is often allowed to write inflammatory articles against Muslims”

    Why can a person of one faith not be ‘allowed’(?) to be critical of another faith? Sometimes having an ‘outsiders’ view actually gives balance.

    From the links Sid is refering to & other material in the public domain is this really inflammatory?

    Judging what is deemed inflammatory is relative don’t you think?

  36. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:17 am  

    Oh please don’t throw quotes around. What was his context in saying that? He was referring to his heritage.

    Like Malcolm X referred to his slave heritage by removing his surname and using X.

    What a poor desperate attempt!

    From a Jewish Source:

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Disraeli.html

    “Benjamin Disraeli

    (1804-1881)

    Benjamin Disraeli was born Jewish and is therefore sometimes considered Britain’s first Jewish Prime Minister. In fact, he was a practicing Anglican. In 1813, his father’s quarrel with the synagogue of Bevis Marks led to the decision in 1817 to have his children baptized as Christians (ironically, when Disraeli was 13 and eligible for Bar Mitzvah). Until 1858 Jews were excluded from Parliament; except for the father’s decision Disraeli’s political career could never have taken the form it did.”

    Frankly you fail to grasp that Jewish people were not – were not eligible for parliament. So he can’t have been a Jewish PM because they were not allowed at the time. You can’t rewrite history to suit yourself as the truth is plain and clear – he was an Anglican from childhood and continued to practise as such.

    Come on now is it so hard for you to admit you are wrong. Go on just occasionally show the PP world you admit that you are wrong.

  37. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:22 am  

    “Why can a person of one faith not be ‘allowed’(?) to be critical of another faith? Sometimes having an ‘outsiders’ view actually gives balance.”

    Of course he can be critical but he is often inflammatory which is beyond critical.

    I don’t have a problem with him being critical what so ever but he often crosses the line.

    Many of the criticism he makes Muslims have heard before, he isn’t unique but the point of a discussion is to allow fair and balanced reply.

    Not so long ago he went so over the top that the thread was shut down by another moderator! That can’t be a good thing for this blog surely?

  38. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:55 am  

    hey Avi Cohen, Imran Khan is rubbish. Please retire him and bring Avi back.

    Avi was much more forthright about defending the pernicious racism against Southasians that is pervasive in the Gulf. He was far better at shouting down criticism of the awful human rights abuses against Southasians that goes on, particularly in Saudi Arabia. He didn’t give a damn about the rights of poor Asian migrant workers, you know.

    And he would have made a better go at supporting measures such as the Global Blasphemy Law, because Avi would have been 100% behind a UN-backed initiative for proscribing religious freedom dressed up as “interfaith dailogue”. Especially with the Saudi king behind it.

    He was much better at supporting these abuses because he knew that generic terms such as “anti-Muslim” or “Muslim bashing” or “Islamophobia” are good for stopping criticism in the particular.

    And he would have been far better at explaining why Disraeli couldn’t have been a Jew because “Jews weren’t allowed into Parliament in 1858″.

    Where have you buried Avi, Imran?

  39. Muhamad — on 27th November, 2008 at 1:19 am  

    Ravi Naik @ 20
    “Jewish ethnic stock”…yeah, let’s peddle that.

  40. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 1:20 am  

    Sid – Back to your usual tactics of not answering the point and engaging in side stepping debate.

    Prove Disraeli was a Jewish PM – you haven’t been able to and reputable Jewish sources say he wasn’t.

    But you are up to your usual tactics of bullying and general nastiness to avoid admitting a mistake.

    The number of people you have called Avi Cohen since you were threatened with libel action is silly.

    Either prove your point or just say you made a mistake. Why restort to such general nasty tactics and bullying?

    I thought the purpose was to debate things not what you are especially good at but try giving it a go.

  41. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 1:20 am  

    You see, back in the day, Imran Khan was Avi Cohen.

    BTW Chairwoman – no doubt you would label me as a self-hating Jew I would say I am a socially concious Jew who wishes good for everyone.

    Which explains his encyclopaedic knowledge of Benjamin Disraeli.

  42. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 2:29 am  

    Sid clearly you are suffering some rejection tendancies which I can’t help you with.

    I didn’t bring up Disraeli and quickly looked up his information on this thing we call the internet which is quite useful for biographies. I vene gave you my sources which is more than you have been able to do.

    Clearly you don’t want to accept the legitimate truth about Disraeli and are clearly going off on one to make yourself seem better.

    Your serial obession with Avi Cohen is troubling to say the least and coupled with your obessive compulsive attitude towards Saudi’s and Muslims.

    You clearly are unable to prove your point and are simply avoiding admitting your mistake.

    You really are not worth discussing with as you clearly have no interest in meaningful discussion with anyone other than your idol Dave T and his blog is the best place for you.

    You are ruining any discussion on this blog for many people and it is a shame.

    A simple discussion has lead to a clearly disjointed response. Calm down and look at what was written.

  43. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 2:38 am  

    “Which explains his encyclopaedic knowledge of Benjamin Disraeli.”

    Err yes clearly identified as from the BBC who list biographies of politicians. Wow you should try using these reliable news mediums occassionally to avoid foot in mouth.

    Aside from one unreferenced quote you’ve not been able to prove your own point and thus are turning nasty. That isn’t discussion and isn’t the puspose of the blog.

    Goodnight and may God bless you with more wisdom and insight.

  44. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 2:41 am  

    Look here is a fair offer – if you can prove that the BBC is wrong and Disraeli wasn’t an practising Anglican then I will concede the point.

    So please provide a reputable source to prove your point. I have given you two sources of information. So please list your sources without your antics.

    That is fair. So over to you :-)

  45. Ravi Naik — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:17 am  

    Prove Disraeli was a Jewish PM – you haven’t been able to and reputable Jewish sources say he wasn’t.

    You must be kidding me. He explicitely said he was Jewish, which means that for him, being Jewish goes beyond religion.

  46. Desi Italiana — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:41 am  

    “And of course by dint of religious affiliation. Which is why when they visit and work in the Gulf, they’re surprised to find themselves regarded as little more than untermenschen or dirty, low-life miskeen scum.”

    This assumed and/or expected imagined “community” based on a shared religion has always surprised me. I’m wondering how and why some people feel this way. Perhaps many Desis who identify as Muslim have not had extensive contact and interaction with, say, Arab Muslims– or African Muslims, for that matter– to see the linguistic, social differences. When I was living in Italy, I had met quite a few Pakistanis who upon arrival naturally assumed that they would have loads in common with Arab Muslims; after some time, they were most comfortable with other Pakistanis.

    A sidenote: Interestingly, some Desi Muslims feel a natural affinity with people from Arab countries, but not so much with OTHER SOUTH ASIAN Muslims. I rarely saw Bangladeshis, Indians, and Pakistanis become bhai bhai in Italy (though hellos, niceties, and what not were exchanged), but many of the same people thought there was the “Muslim brotherhood” to be shared with people whose language, etc were quite different from their own (NOTE: I am talking about SOME people, not all). Probably has to do with history and such.

  47. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 8:19 am  

    “You must be kidding me. He explicitely said he was Jewish, which means that for him, being Jewish goes beyond religion.”

    In that quote he referred to his heritage but his upbringing was Anglican. Jewish sources do not view him as Jewish. He was baptised Christian. So how can he still be Jewish? He practised as an Anglican in terms of religion so how can he be Jewish.

    He never implied he hid his faith so how can he be Jewish?

    I take it then by your logic Obama is a Muslim President even though he had a similar transition.

    Also at the time Jewish people were not permitted high office of PM so again it was illegal. His own father went away from Judaism when he was a child and he practised his faith as an adult as an Anglican. In addition he regarded the Anglican Chruch as a very important institution according to quotes. Aside from a single quote not much is mentioned in biographies about his association with Judaism in adulthood.

    Even reputable sources such as the BBC say he Anglican.

    Bananabrain – Please confirm if a person has a baptisim especially in Victorian times were they still Jewish? Also do you consider Disraeli this country’s first Jewish PM?

  48. fugstar — on 27th November, 2008 at 9:00 am  

    arabic and other languages have always been the lingua islamica of religious scholars in the bengal old bean.

    mono-lingualism is very new. mono lingualism does not breed cultural affinity. Practical religious affinity works only with those who share the same social cosmology.

    folks working in the gulf who have arabic training in their education have a better chance of protecting themselves. some deshis have this training. the power of language there would really assist their harsh lives. (clearly im not talking about the bean counting south asian classes)

    I have an uncle from the Gong, who was telling me that back in the day arabs (saudis i think) would land their in punery and say ‘i am syed, gimme money’. times change.

  49. bananabrain — on 27th November, 2008 at 9:47 am  

    gosh, what a storm in a teacup. OK, it works like this:

    according to jewish RELIGIOUS LAW, the halakhah, disraeli was born to a jewish mother, which made him jewish. the halakhah does not consider that a jew who converts or is baptised has thereby stopped being jewish; they are considered an apostate, but are seen as nonetheless still subject to the provisions of the halakhah (such as keeping kosher) and still retain the option to make teshuvah (repent and change their behaviour, returning to the community). the only way out of this status is feet first. the chief rabbi has no power to affect this one way or another, baptism notwithstanding.

    the halakhah does not consider ethnicity. one who is born jewish or converts is jewish. ethnicity don’t enter into it. his ethnicity was the concern of C19th victorians, who saw judaism as something racial.

    this is why the confusion arises. disraeli was a practising, baptised christian, who was nonetheless considered jewish both ethnically by his colleagues and religiously by his community.

    with regard to michael howard, although he has not, obviously, been baptised it would be stretching things considerably to describe him as “practising”, as far as i know his only involvement is going to synagogue on yom kippur, he is not involved with the community in any other way that i am aware of.

    i think there is a salient point that being a practising jew would effectively make it rather difficult to be PM, as i don’t think it’s feasible to be Shabbat-observant in the job; he would continually be interrupted for crises where human life was at stake; he could not campaign or appear on TV on Shabbat, let alone the fact that if one were observant, it would impose the burden of kosher catering on constituency associations from here to dungeness.

    on the other hand, not trusting someone for being jewish is rather stupid.

    incidentally, the calculus of keith vaz is as follows:

    south asian + portuguese surname = goanese almost-certainly-catholic family, for those of you that really didn’t know.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  50. Muhamad — on 27th November, 2008 at 10:50 am  

    “C19th victorians, who saw judaism as something racial.” Well put bananabrain.

  51. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 10:55 am  

    the halakhah does not consider ethnicity. one who is born jewish or converts is jewish. ethnicity don’t enter into it. his ethnicity was the concern of C19th victorians, who saw judaism as something racial.

    Thanks bananabrain, I think this clarifies it entirely.

    This applies to my own self-identification as a Muslim. I am not ethnically a Muslim (because there is no such thing) but I was born into it which makes me a cultural Muslim. That means I am a Muslim even if I don’t believe in the doctrine and even if takfiris say I’m not.

  52. Paul Moloney — on 27th November, 2008 at 11:08 am  

    “Disraeli had Jewish heritage.”

    Disraeli was born to Jewish parents and was Jewish until 13 when his father had him christened Anglican after a dispute with his synagogue. “Jewish” is an ethnic as well as religious connotation – do you think Anglican baptism has some automagical power to remove traces of that?

    P.

  53. Jai — on 27th November, 2008 at 11:20 am  

    I wanna be white so I drink n fuck just like you’ syndrome.

    Many people in India do all that too, especially in the major cities. It has nothing to do with “wanting to be white”.

    “Westernised”, possibly, “more liberal/less conservative”, most definitely, and in some cases basically “hedonistic”, absolutely, but literally “white” ? No.

    It is also worth bearing in mind that, both in the UK and globally, white people do not have a monopoly on engaging in such activities.

    Ashik, with all due respect, I suspect that you are either very young (are you still at university ?), very sheltered, or — conversely — a somewhat disgruntled member of the “older” generation.

    This certainly doesn’t negate your right to have your opinions or to express them, by any means, but you may wish to consider that you are making erroneous assumptions on multiple levels — something I politely mentioned on another thread recently, as you may recall.

    ***************

    Regarding this thread’s main topic: Excellent points by Billy in particular in #15 & #17. There’s some outright whataboutery going on. It’s almost like watching a form of Stockholm Syndrome — people attacking attempts by others to criticise third-parties mistreating the former.

  54. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 11:53 am  

    Sid,

    Can anyone access the PP archives as far back as you want, and do you have sophisticated tools for doing these searches? Or are you using some other method for storing and accessing comments made in the past?

    It would be useful to know how to use the archives.

    And of course the biggest question is, are you also able to make ammendments, corrections, deletions of archived comments?

    If you are, are these changes limited to your own comments or could you do the same to someone else’s?

    I want to understand what it all means.

  55. bananabrain — on 27th November, 2008 at 11:57 am  

    sid:

    fortunately, we have a somewhat more realistic attitude to apostates (probably because we haven’t run a theocracy for ages) and prefer to contemplate their return to judaism rather than threaten them with death. besides, depending on upbringing and precisely when disraeli was baptised, he might have been considered in the category of a “tinok she-nishb’a”, a minor brought up in an effectively non-jewish environment and therefore not an apostate, because he never knew any better. in this case, it would be his father that was considered the apostate as he broke the link; although, bearing in mind synagogue politics (although i expect bevis marks is a lot more pragmatic these days) those sort of things should be expected!

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  56. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:02 pm  

    Desi

    The two reasons why I blog about this issue is to explore two things that have always interested me:

    1) Why do Southasian muslims have such high regard for Arabs and Arabic culture, to the point of considering them cultural and spiritual superiors, when this is clearly unreciprocated from the Arab side.

    2) As sonia has already alluded to upthread, why hasn’t idea of a global Islamic “Ummah” been debunked once and for all after Southasians have over last 40 years of mass migrant workers, word of mouth, mass travel, mass media has shown just how deep-rooted Arab prejudices towards Southasians are.

  57. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:06 pm  

    bananabrain, I would rather not regard myself as an apostate, even though I may be one technically, because I would like to see my children grow up.

  58. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:11 pm  

    folks working in the gulf who have arabic training in their education have a better chance of protecting themselves. some deshis have this training. the power of language there would really assist their harsh lives.

    What a complete pile of bollocks.

    The only language that poor migrant workers such as drivers, cleaners, child minders, sweepers, labourers can use to communicate with their employers is Arabic. That still does not prevent them from facing the worst possible abuse you can think of.

    The only thing that will protect these people is if Arabs decide to treat them with some respect and dignity. You can get that for free as a Southasian in Arab countries if you happen to carry a British or US passport.

    You can be sure that if fugstar or Imran Cohen were clamped up in a Saudi detention centre and threatened with 100 lashes of the mutawwa’s whip, they would be screaming for the number of the British consulate faster than you can say ‘Ahlan wa Sahlan’.

  59. bananabrain — on 27th November, 2008 at 12:38 pm  

    sid@#57

    well, i guess that’s the point. if a particular religious status confers significant disadvantages (such as being executed) then the halakhah generally bends over backwards to ensure that such statuses don’t get conferred in the first place. i’d expect the shari’a to make similar provision and i’m sure it does if you ask the right scholars, for example if you are making a principled stand with regard to unislamic injustice committed by munafiqeen (i think is the term, hypocrites?) then i hardly think you could be considered a bona fide apostate and therefore liable.

    the trouble is that in islam, power is so devolved, such that every tariq, dawud and hamza think they’re entitled to make that sort of judgement for themselves and take it upon themselves to top you. there’s no quality control, everyone’s his own qadi, which is the opposite in judaism; the top poseqim (people who give binding fatwas) do their best not to allow such silliness to develop.

    i’m interested, however in another technicality. in halakhah, if an apostate man has children with a jewish woman, the children are jewish, but his apostasy would not transfer to them. in shari’a, are the children of an apostate treated as apostates, or how are they considered?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  60. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 2:59 pm  

    Sid – In light of Bananabrain’s explanation I stand corrected and happily admit I was wrong and you were correct.

    I still need to get my head round the principle, but I didn’t realise that if you converted out of Judaism you were still considered Jewish.

    Please accept my apologies.

  61. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 3:02 pm  

    “i’m interested, however in another technicality. in halakhah, if an apostate man has children with a jewish woman, the children are jewish, but his apostasy would not transfer to them. in shari’a, are the children of an apostate treated as apostates, or how are they considered?”

    It depends if the children have had Islam explained to them. Muslims are not required to convert people but to convey the message of Islam. If they have received the message and don’t accept then they are judged by God. If they accept then they are judged by their actions and intentions.

    Their parents status has nothing to do with them.

    If they die before puberty they have no judgment to answer for.

    As I have said before death for apostasy is a complex matter in Islam. Stoning is only carried out in certain circumstances, the same applies for other capital offences.

    Hope that helps.

  62. bananabrain — on 27th November, 2008 at 3:28 pm  

    It depends if the children have had Islam explained to them.

    and how is that to be assessed? you see, this is one of these places where, for me, the devolution of religious decision-making has disastrous implications for quality control. i’ve also heard some people explain that because i’ve had islam explained to me (which i have, exhaustively, on numerous occasions) and i have still remained unconverted, i’m probably for the chop. add that to the doublespeak around “ahl-e-qitab” peddled by some and i’m doubly for the chop…

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  63. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 3:56 pm  

    This entry confused two points.

    The first is that human rights violations exist in Saudi Arabia.

    No-one is arguing about this.

    This is then used as evidence to suggest that South Asian Muslims should be more aware of Saudi racism when they visit for work esp in context of their unflinching need to look towards Saudi Arabia for their spiritual inspiration.

    What is the relationship between the two? I might’ve missed something…

  64. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:03 pm  

    Many South Asian Muslims look towards Saudi Arabia for spiritual influences. Nothing wrong with that.

    Lots of wanna be Buddhists look towards Nepal for spiritual inflences nothing wrong with that.

    Both countries are racist. So.

    In the pecking order of the world – aparently whites are superior and non-whites get treated badly in white-majority countries. So. What’s the relationship? Non-whites shouldn’t go to Europe ( taking aside history of empire for the mo) ?

    Or that non-white people should be more aware of the institutional context of racism in white-majority countries?

  65. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:09 pm  

    “and how is that to be assessed?”

    It is judged by God not by man. Hence the Day of Judgement where God judges everyone.

    “i’ve also heard some people explain that because i’ve had islam explained to me (which i have, exhaustively, on numerous occasions) and i have still remained unconverted, i’m probably for the chop. add that to the doublespeak around “ahl-e-qitab” peddled by some and i’m doubly for the chop…”

    Not necessarily. Look a Muslim with bad acts is for the chop, similarly you are also judged on your intentions as well your acceptance of faith.

    In addition within Islam the only sin which isn’t forgiven is associating partners with God, everything else is up to God. As regards People of the Book, this is a recognition that the Jewish tribes received revelation from God through the Prophets sent to the progeny of Israeel (Jacob).

    Just because someone is Muslim it doesn’t give them an automatic right avoid the chop. A Muslim who disobeys his parents disobeys God. A Muslim who kills innocent people – even in the dispute in Israel/Palestine disobeys God.

    People can justify many things and twist religion but judgment for your life and my life is with God alone.

    Similarly in Sid’s situation he will be judged for his actions whether he follows the daily tenants or not. Intention is a major thing in Islam.

    Similarly I’d say that the actions of many Muslims and how they behave is of putting for people and they will be judged for this. Ignorance of key issues breeds stupidity and contributes to poor actions which Islamically are unacceptable.

    Non-Muslims have great rights within Islam and they cannot be cheated of those rights. Thus Muslims will be judged based on their actions to non-Muslims. The Islamic world today is far far removed from the high standards set out in the religion.

    You’ll find that many of the extremists don’t practise what they preach, they just encourage people that don’t know their faith and they seek positions of power for their own means and purposes.

  66. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:10 pm  

    ” ” she said the above, with a smile.

  67. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:15 pm  

    Or that non-white people should be more aware of the institutional context of racism in white-majority countries?

    And Gulf Arabs should not be made aware, I suppose? If there is a pecking order for implicating racism, it goes like this: Whites first, Arabs second, ourselves last.

    The last two, preferably not at all.

  68. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:17 pm  

    Halima, if I might add to your #64.

    Racism is based on economics. There is no spiritual issue at stake. I am not aware of any religion which is race-based.

    Religions, other than capitalism, abhor prejudice based on wealth. And shun hoarding.

  69. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:18 pm  

    Sid

    No one-s implicating one racism over another.

    I was trying to get you to discuss racism as a wider issue than just what happens in the region …

    which you have happliy done! I don’t like ghettoising issues…

  70. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:21 pm  

    Refresh

    I’d agree. I guess form your second point it would follow that any wealthy group, by it’s nature, might act in ways to maintain status quo for itself etc. Good old Marxists might say – Saudis do as they do to others because they are terribly rich..

    Sid

    I cited Saudi racism and Nepali racism in the same breathe. And then talked about European racism. Was there a pecking order anywhere?

  71. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:22 pm  

    ‘And Gulf Arabs should not be made aware, I suppose?’

    Of course they should. But to make headway its very important not to conflate the issue with current politics.

    It is even more important to tackle their prejudices using well understood tenets of Islam.

  72. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:24 pm  

    ‘act in ways to maintain status quo for itself’

    Absolutely.

  73. billy — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:26 pm  

    I was trying to get you to discuss racism as a wider issue than just what happens in the region …
    which you have happliy done! I don’t like ghettoising issues…

    Presumably then, you believe that when a discussion about racism in, say England, arises, it is vitally important that we qualify all such discussions by pointing out, and making a cul de sac of the discussion, that racism also exists, for example, against Asians in Gulf Arab states? Right?

    Sid, you’ve really touched a raw nerve here. The responses are very interesting.

  74. bananabrain — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:30 pm  

    It is judged by God not by man. Hence the Day of Judgement where God judges everyone.

    yes, but there seem to be rather a lot of people who seem to want to get on with it without waiting for G!D to bring it to such an obviously foregone conclusion, in their opinion, hence my comment about the devolution of religious decision-making. in my experience, a mature, sophisticated and educated islamic outlook does not contemplate the pre-emption of the Divine Will; the trouble being, of course, that such outlooks seem (as in other religions) to be outnumbered by petulant, simplistic and ignorant outlooks.

    In addition within Islam the only sin which isn’t forgiven is associating partners with God, everything else is up to God.

    we’d consider shirk an injustice by human against G!D, but we would say rather that injustices by humans against humans must be judged by humans, whereas injustices by humans against G!D must be judged by G!D. in both cases, we have the power to make the difference, but in only one we have the power to see that we have made things right.

    As regards People of the Book, this is a recognition that the Jewish tribes received revelation from God through the Prophets sent to the progeny of Israeel (Jacob).

    that is the “boilerplate”. when you look into how islamists view the ahl-e-qitab, you will find that there is small print, which says that the a-e-q only counted until the Qur’an had been Revealed and that any jews or christians who remained in their birth religions *after* encountering the “final and most perfect Revelation” would have to be considered kafir. hence, any post-muhammad “jews” or “christians” would be considered those who “distorted” the “Tawrah and Injeel”, “permitted what G!D Forbade” and vice-versa, claiming that their man-made religions were in fact Divine in origin. therefore, say, a/ibrahi/am would be a-e-q, but, say, maimonides would not. you have to dig quite deep to find this out, cloaked as it is in platitudes. and, fortunately, the vast majority of muslims are not aware of this linguistic deception that is practised upon them by the intolerant.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  75. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:32 pm  

    billy no raw nerves, I didn’t understand your point?

    Don’t know what your beliefs, pre-sumptions and assumptions are, but best we keep to the points I’ve made on this thread.

    I haven’t made any points about racism in England and qualifying it with points elsewhere.

    I’ve said let’s not ghettoise racism. I think it helps to be open-minded about racism – don’t you?

  76. Ravi Naik — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:43 pm  

    south asian + portuguese surname = goanese almost-certainly-catholic family, for those of you that really didn’t know.

    Nope. Goan (not goanese) + portuguese surname = catholic family. These surnames can be found outside of Goa, including Sri Lanka.

  77. billy — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

    I’ve said let’s not ghettoise racism.

    Yes, I know. So you’ll agree then that any discussion pertaining to racism in England, for example, must always be qualified by pointing out that racism also exists in Gulf Arab states towards Asians. That way, we don’t ‘ghettoise’ racism in Britain. Being too specific about the dynamics and reality of racism in Britain / Saudi Arabia is a ghettoisation which is to be avoided.

    It’s just funny, because that’s exactly what apologists for racism, or those who are too ashamed or uncomfortable to talk about the issue in the UK do whenever the subject of racism in our society arises. It’s a great way not to talk about, just point out that it happens elsewhere, so what’s to talk about? End of discussion.

    no raw nerves, I didn’t understand your point?

    It’s a sore subject for some people. See above. As well as hyper defensive protestations about ghettoisation of racism, what-about-this, bait and switching. For various reasons.

  78. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

    It is even more important to tackle their prejudices using well understood tenets of Islam.

    There is a tenet of Islam which permits men to have sex with theor slave women. How useful will this tenet be when you are trying to advocate the rights of a 15 year Indonesian child minder who is raped by her Saudi master?

    I say keep religion out of it. Stick to the application of universal human rights and basic human respect and dignity.

  79. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

    Sid, this is why I do my best to avoid your threads.

    I am never sure whether you seek a debate or wish to vent your own prejudices.

  80. billy — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:52 pm  

    Nothing in the slightest bit prejudiced about anything that Sid has said Refresh. I can only view that as mischief making on your account.

  81. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

    If you see this discussion as a portal to my prejudices, you best stay out then. And carry on apologising for Arab prejudices.

  82. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:56 pm  

    I can only view that as mischief making on your account.

    I think you have the measure of Refresh.

  83. bananabrain — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    @ravi: oops, i forgot sri lanka. you’re quite right.

    @refresh: once again, your progressive credentials do not stand up to your reluctance to condemn injustice if it involves criticising certain groups of people. i simply don’t understand this….

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  84. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    I suppose he has now qualified it with his after-thought

    ‘I say keep religion out of it. Stick to the application of universal human rights and basic human respect and dignity.’

    ‘I can only view that as mischief making on your account.’

    No my mischief making was in post #54, which I am hoping Sid will reply to in due course.

  85. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:06 pm  

    “So you’ll agree then that any discussion pertaining to racism in England, for example, must always be qualified by pointing out that racism also exists in Gulf Arab states towards Asians.”

    Watch it, Billy, that’s going down lines and I haven’t said a thing about England yet! I can do, a lot, but it ain’t the subject of this thread and we don’t want to implicate one racism over another – as Sid as kindly pointed out.

    I’ll say it again. Let’s not ghettoise racism. No more, no less.

    On the topic of racism – bring it on. I guess folks might have raw nerves on these issues – I am not that shy.

  86. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:11 pm  

    Bananabrain, not at all. You missed my contribution at #71

    “‘And Gulf Arabs should not be made aware, I suppose?’

    Of course they should. But to make headway its very important not to conflate the issue with current politics.”

    I hope that most people would read that to mean, the issue should be tackled and not swept under the carpet. And that the way Sid does it doesn’t progress the issue. He could have so easily split the argument into two.

    1. Racism against asians in the Mid-East
    2. Why do asians look to the arabs for spiritual leadership.

    Both worthy threads in their own right. But by effectively saying, asians shouldn’t be looking to arabs for spiritual leadership because they are racist towards you makes it very polarised and does not make for a debate which is going any where.

    And of course the blog isn’t really aimed at the Gulf states. So what he should advocate is something a bit more positive, and outline steps that can be taken. eg start logging the experience of british asians in the mid-east etc. The usual tried tested methods of campaigning for change.

  87. Imran Khan — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:23 pm  

    Bananabrain – “yes, but there seem to be rather a lot of people who seem to want to get on with it without waiting for G!D to bring it to such an obviously foregone conclusion, in their opinion, hence my comment about the devolution of religious decision-making. in my experience, a mature, sophisticated and educated islamic outlook does not contemplate the pre-emption of the Divine Will; the trouble being, of course, that such outlooks seem (as in other religions) to be outnumbered by petulant, simplistic and ignorant outlooks.”

    But they don’t have that right. What makes them think they know more than the early Muslims who didn’t do thi? It shows their own lack of religious understanding. It is ignorance.

    “hat is the “boilerplate”. when you look into how islamists view the ahl-e-qitab, you will find that there is small print, which says that the a-e-q only counted until the Qur’an had been Revealed and that any jews or christians who remained in their birth religions *after* encountering the “final and most perfect Revelation” would have to be considered kafir. hence, any post-muhammad “jews” or “christians” would be considered those who “distorted” the “Tawrah and Injeel”, “permitted what G!D Forbade” and vice-versa, claiming that their man-made religions were in fact Divine in origin. therefore, say, a/ibrahi/am would be a-e-q, but, say, maimonides would not. you have to dig quite deep to find this out, cloaked as it is in platitudes. and, fortunately, the vast majority of muslims are not aware of this linguistic deception that is practised upon them by the intolerant.”

    Again this stems from a lack of religious understanding. Because the Prophet (pbuh) and the companions themselves treated all people with respect and didn’t take this approach. So what makes these people think they know better?

    They don’t and this is clear in fact in the early history of Islam. This is precisely why Muslims broke up cities into quarters and districts to allow other faiths to practise without interfence. Something you still see today in places such as Jerusalem, Damascus etc.

    In terms of the message then yes this was superseded with the advent of Islam from the Islamic viewpoint. However within Islam there is a catering for other religions to practise. This is evidenced by the verse which states quite clearly that God has not willed everyone to become Muslim. This is the verse that the companions used as the basis of religious freedom because they conveyed the message and left people to make their own decision.

    The people to whom you refer are distorting the clear principles and they are plainly wrong from a religious perspective.

    History bears this out as the early Muslims didn’t take this approach and thus the Islamists are wrong.

    It is like the people who say that all law in from God, but God didn’t reveal speed limits for cars and thus there is the balance between what has been revealed and what can take place according to the time based on the religious rule.

    Most of the people to whom you refer who make these statements have little if any knowledge to tackle such complex issues.

  88. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:47 pm  

    Both worthy threads in their own right. But by effectively saying, asians shouldn’t be looking to arabs for spiritual leadership because they are racist towards you makes it very polarised and does not make for a debate which is going any where.

    Asians are going to look up to Arabs and always have done since Islam entered the subcontinent a millenium ago. There was an equal footing for most of that time, with trade and ideas flowing freely from India to the Gulf.

    Now that the Gulf are petrodollar rich, in the 20 century, some 70 years ago and India became poor as a result of colonialism, the ideas and trade have trickled down and Arabs treat Asians worse than dogs.

    Now you can take that any way you like, and I have a pretty good idea of how you will take it. But don’t pretend that I am suggesting that Indians should not look up at Arabs; that’s not what I’m advocating.

    I am saying Arabs will *have* to come to terms with simple constructs like universal human rights, human dignity and respect. At the moment they fall woefully short and yet we continue to apologise for their abuses done to our people.

    Southasians Muslims who live in the West, who are familiar with racism and human rights, should be the last people to tolerate this.

  89. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

    #88 Good post Sid.

    Now we’re talking the same language.

  90. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:51 pm  

    ‘I have a pretty good idea of how you will take it.’

    Out of curiosity, how did you think I would have taken it?

    ‘But don’t pretend that I am suggesting that Indians should not look up at Arabs; that’s not what I’m advocating. ‘

    I would not suggest anyone look up to anyone else, unless they have earned their respect.

  91. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:52 pm  

    Now we’re talking the same language.

    No Refresh, I have been saying that all along. The same message is encapsulated in #78 – which seemed to irk you. It’s you who seems to have come around, but glad that you have.

  92. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:53 pm  

    Out of curiosity, how did you think I would have taken it?

    oh with the usual tactics – evasion, whataboutery and mischief making.

  93. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:57 pm  

    Oh dear.

  94. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 5:57 pm  

    oh quite.

  95. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 7:27 pm  

    Time out, crepe anyone? :)

    I liked 88, too.

  96. Ashik — on 27th November, 2008 at 7:48 pm  

    Refresh:

    ‘Racism is based on economics’.

    Interesting. How do you explain racism between new immigrant Brit Asians and Brit Somalis who live cheeck by jowl in certain areas of Britain who hate each others guts? I am not aware of any economic dynamism there. They are equally poor.

    I think it is wise to distinguish between spirituality and racism to the extent such hierachies are not exclusive to religious peoples. Sid himself is involved with a Bangladeshi ‘human rights’ group in the UK called drishtipat which is unrepresentative, ideological and exclusive to certain Kolkata-leaning self appointed guardians of liberal Bengali secular (actually athiest) culture which is even less representative even than equivalent Islamic fundamentalist British Bengali organisations. We should have a thread about the pecking order amongst South Asians!

  97. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 7:55 pm  

    Time out, crepe anyone?

    yes crepe now, debunk the “Ummah” later!

  98. halima — on 27th November, 2008 at 8:03 pm  

    Several crepes later…

    “. We should have a thread about the pecking order amongst South Asians!”

    Ashik – you can put me in the bottom heap of the South Asian pecking order – that way I can only rise – never fall. I feel a poem coming on .. Still I Rise. :) I am still reeling from the Obama moment. I sometimes think I am black. I need de-bunking. :) Nite , nite.

  99. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 8:11 pm  

    Ashik,

    You may be at the bottom of the Southasian social pecking order but let it be known that I will treat you with all the dignity and respect you deserve. ;-)

  100. Ashik — on 27th November, 2008 at 8:16 pm  

    Don’tya worry Sid. We’ll put u on top of the South Asian social order if it means all that much to u. :)

  101. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 8:24 pm  

    But doubt it’ll diminish your stalker-like obsession with my personal background ;-)

  102. Ashik — on 27th November, 2008 at 8:31 pm  

    maybe u should go on the blogger version of ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’. :) What a diva! Social pecking order indeed.

  103. Sid — on 27th November, 2008 at 9:00 pm  

    Don’t worry, this is the age of celebrity, I won’t judge you for being an obsessive fan. :P

  104. Refresh — on 27th November, 2008 at 9:07 pm  

    Ashik,

    I imagine economic insecurity wouldn’t help matters. Similar to what we saw when people were getting concerned about Poles who came over in search of work.

    Sid,

    I am not sure I want to know, but what is drishtipat?

  105. bananabrain — on 28th November, 2008 at 10:51 am  

    @imran:

    But they don’t have that right. What makes them think they know more than the early Muslims who didn’t do this? It shows their own lack of religious understanding. It is ignorance.

    i know that, but they don’t seem to be listening when people tell them. besides, i believe their response to this is that they believe they are doing *precisely* what just those early muslims *did* do. isn’t that one of the fundamental salafi outlooks?

    Again this stems from a lack of religious understanding. Because the Prophet (pbuh) and the companions themselves treated all people with respect and didn’t take this approach. So what makes these people think they know better?

    because they are maintaining that it was all right for muhammad to do it because when he met jews and christians they were *real* jews and christians, because the concept of ahl-e-qitab was still operative. however, in their view the *sincere* mu’amineen embraced islam and those who *didn’t* “changed their sacred Texts”, G!D Forbid, to become hypocrites, deniers and therefore kaafir. consequently, the only “real” jews and christians were those who had the insight and understanding to embrace islam and those who remained jews and christians subsequently were no longer worthy to be considered ahl-e-qitab, because the qitabs in question were no longer halal, becaust they had been “changed” and “distorted”. in fact, the jews are considered doubly culpable, because they should have embraced the “Injeel” because isa was a true prophet, so it wasn’t the first proper Revelation we’d ignored. it’s actually quite clever and logical, even if it is hideously wrong and disgusting.

    Most of the people to whom you refer who make these statements have little if any knowledge to tackle such complex issues.

    yes, but some of them do and do it well. that is why they have been able to succeed in getting these messages so well embedded.

    In terms of the message then yes this was superseded with the advent of Islam from the Islamic viewpoint.

    whoa, whoa, WHOA. THIS is a problem. we do not consider the Torah to have been superseded by either the gospels or the Qur’an and this is a pretty basic obstacle to genuine inter-religious respect, let alone dialogue. without at the very least a doctrine of “parallel covenants” or some other equivalent theological device it remains a clear message: your religion is no longer valid, because ours is better, the new, improved, final version (although it’s interesting how welcome that message is for muslims when it’s coming from the baha’i, the ahmadis or even the sikhs!)

    However within Islam there is a catering for other religions to practise.

    but only as second-class citizens, which we will not accept.

    in short, imran, what you appear to be saying is that your view is that jews should be allowed to be dhimmi and our reluctance to embrace islam tolerated. now, i’ll concede that this is to some degree a moderate position. however, it is light-years away from a position that is compatible with the way people live now and, moreover, from something i’d be prepared to live with. i won’t be “tolerated”. islam needs its “vatican II” if not its own enlightenment, though i suspect it will get one whether it likes it or not and all the same good and bad things will happen.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

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