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Final word on the Danish cartoons?

Posted By Sunny On 12th February, 2006 @ 10:01 pm In Media, Religion | Comments Disabled

Fareena Alam of [1] Q-News has an article in the Observer today, [2] worth reading in full. To highlight a few points:

That the future of liberal democracy rests on defending the publication of these insulting caricatures is as ridiculous a claim as that Muslims can defend the honour of their prophet by unrestrained violence and rioting.

Clearly, it’s not just Danish cartoonists and their apologists who are ignorant of the Prophet. I wonder what the parents of the child wearing the ‘I love al-Qaeda’ cap would say had their son been on the number 30 bus that terrible day.

‘We must stop thinking of ourselves as “the tribe of Islam”,’ declared Imam Zaid Shakir, an African-American scholar and civil-rights activist. ‘Until we start to think of ourselves as the children of Adam, concerned about the welfare of all our fellow human beings, we are missing the point of being faithful.’

In the aftermath of the London bombings, many have realised we have to stop hiding behind a false sense of unity and call a spade a spade.

We are among the most politicised and engaged communities in Britain. We belong here. How many times do we have to say this before society cuts us some slack and lets us get on with it?

Religion can be a powerful tool for social cohesion and good citizenship. The trouble is that many Muslims have treated Islam as something inward, exclusive and proprietary.


Comments Disabled To "Final word on the Danish cartoons?"

#1 Comment By Bikhair On 12th February, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

Pickled Peoples,

“We are among the most politicised and engaged communities in Britain. We belong here.”

This statement is incorrect because it is recommended if not obligatory for Muslims to live among other Muslims in a Muslim land. Hijrah (or migration) is a praiseworthy act in Islam and similar to embracing the religion, it expatiates past sins.

Not only that, it is very obvious that those people who do actually belong in Britain, i.e. White Brits, or Europeans dont like Muslims in their country or on their continent. As anti British as the British National Party seem, no one ever tells them to go back to where they came from.

It doesnt matter to these people that your parents were born in the country, you still gotta go back to where you came from. Pay special attention to the rhetoric of those people who are anti-Muslim.

When they call on you Muslims to reject terrorism/violence, they call on you as Muslims and not as British while lamenting how you people consider yourselves Muslim first and British third or forth.

Do you remember during the Riots in Paris how they spoke about the riots? Not even in America did they speak about the blacks and latinos involved in the Los Angeles riots in the early 90s as some kind of foreign presence. Eventhough many blacks here in the USA lead similar lives and lifestyles to those poor Pakistanis/ Bengalis Britian, or North Africans in France, you will not hear talk about assimilation or intergration or them having to return back to Africa.

“We must stop thinking of ourselves as “the tribe of Islam”,’ declared Imam Zaid Shakir, an African-American scholar and civil-rights activist.”

I am not sure if we are to consider ourselves the tribe of Islam, we should certainly consider ourselves, not friends or neighbors but brothers. Our obligation in this world in relation to the kafir is that we spread the deen of Islam. (Take that as you wish.)

I can already tell that you people have resorted to outright ignoring me instead of responding to most my increasingly polite and generous post.

As Much as Muslims love to live in the West, as soon as something hits the fan, these people are willing to abandon the very principles they accuse you of not valuing in order to get you out. A true test of Western democracy and liberalism is unfolding right before your eyes and I have always believed that you people will destroy them sooner and more thoroughly than the Muslims within your midst. They will turn on you as Muslims and not as British people because they dont consider you British to begin with.

#2 Comment By David T On 12th February, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

This is, effectively, the articulation of a hope for the possibility of a politics informed by Islam which is the equivalent of - say - Christian Socialism or Christian Democracy.

I can think of no reason why this should not be possible.

The reason that it has not emerged, I believe, is that muslim politics has been dominated by extremely politically conservative groups: in particular, the Muslim Brotherhood.

#3 Comment By Jay Singh On 12th February, 2006 @ 10:55 pm

This is, effectively, the articulation of a hope for the possibility of a politics informed by Islam which is the equivalent of - say - Christian Socialism or Christian Democracy. I can think of no reason why this should not be possible

But it is not going to haqppen.

What form of politics is there that requires a religious component? Are there not parties, insitutions, groups within British political life commited to priniciples of social justice? It was the Labour movement that embraced Muslims as well as Sikhs and Hindus and campaigned for social justice, helped fight against racism, along with other issues.

Islamic politics offers nothing but politics for Islam. In the same way that Sikh or Hindu ‘politics’ would offer the same.

So Islam offers an ethical dimension to life - but so what? What has that got to do with public politics? Why should that inform and bleed into public life?

It is just rhetoric, the Muslim Brotherhood, MCB, all of them offer nothing but Islamic politics - nothing to wider society.

#4 Comment By Jay Singh On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:01 pm

the articulation of a hope for the possibility of a politics informed by Islam

Fine - have your politics informed by your personal ethics and morality derived from your religion.

That is a personal thing.

The impulse though is not to say, well, we believe the Labour Party should do X because Islam teaches us to live like X. Why do you have to bring that publically into the equation?

Islamic politics, like any other communal religious identity politics, is only out for itself. Politics becomes the pursuit of all that is in the interest of that central, overwhelming reality - the boundaries and technicalities and assertion of religion. It cannot be any other way. The Muslim Brotherhood/MAB is the manifestation of that - it cannot go any other way.

#5 Comment By j0nz On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:07 pm

I by and large agree with Jay Singh.

Islam in itself has none or little to offer modern society. It’s an obstacle, it really is to progession, due to the literal interpretation of an immutable Islam.

However, we must be pragmatic, and really persue the moderates to embrace the notion of an Islamic enlightenment; that the Qu’ran is a metaphor, not a text to take literally and to smite at the necks of the infidels if you consider them the enemy.

#6 Comment By Jay Singh On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:10 pm

Let me give you an example - an event I attended during ‘Islam Awareness Week’ a couple of years ago. It sounds so cuddly and lovely - either am exercise in raising Muslim self esteem or a kind of out-reach programme. It latched onto all the rhetoric and meaning of fluffy multi-culturalism - going out there to educate people so that they can understand and be tolerant.

What I discovered was more or less an Islamist rant in a lecture that did not really care about tolerance or understanding - the speakers wanted to assert their grievances in stark communalist political terms. This was a complete farce, and really dishonest too. But this is the reality of Islamic politics. Just read what Bikhair says in post # 1

Our obligation in this world in relation to the kafir is that we spread the deen of Islam

That was more or less the theme of the lecture I attended, advertised as a feel-good festival, kind of like the diwali celebrations or Chinese dragon dancing. When religion is put into politics, politics becomes the servant of religion, or at least religion will seek to enslave politics in its way. Bikhair has said what politics will mean in such a situation.

But that is not any form of politics at all - that is corrupted public life.

#7 Comment By Jay Singh On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

jOnz

I do not believe that ‘Islam in itself has none or little to offer modern society’

It has as much to offer modern society as Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism or Pentecostalism offers society.

In the private realm, in charitable works, in bringing comfort to citizens in their private life - great. I love that. I am a little bit religious myself.

But none of those religions, including Islam, has anything to offer the mainstream as a form of politics. Political Islam has nothing to offer British society except for itself. It is self consuming, self perpetuating, self grievance creating, self justifying, and more then anything else, it is SELFISH.

This impulse to take religion into the public arena through politics is wrong. Group advocacy is one thing. We probably do need that to a certain extent. Fully fledged religious politics - never.

#8 Comment By Sunny On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

I don’t think she means that Islam is going to inform British political society… she’s making the point about Muslims doing good works etc. I remember going to a conference a few weeks back about Islamic “reform” (I need to write about it one day but no time)….

One made the point that the best act a Muslim can do is think local, and help their neighbours, get involved in the community etc. Tariq Ramadan made the same point, but by saying that we’re all global citizens, yet should act locally. Or something.

Bikhair: This statement is incorrect because it is recommended if not obligatory for Muslims to live among other Muslims in a Muslim land.
Then please tell us why you haven’t emigrated to Saudi Arabia yet and put us out of our misery?

And anyway, it sounds rubbish. Of course Muslims can live in other countries, and they have to abide by local laws, as many a fatwa have said. But if you did emigrate to SA we’d be grateful you could let us know in advance so I can throw a PP party ;)

Our obligation in this world in relation to the kafir is that we spread the deen of Islam
And you’re not really doing a good job going by your mad posts, or the actions of a few “brothers”.

#9 Comment By David T On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:28 pm

Jay

Well, I agree that this has certainly been the fatal flaw within religious democratic politics. Although most religions imagine themselves to be universalist, they usually end up as communalist: at least in their strong forms. And in a pluralist country, what tends to work, electorally, is a politics which looks for the political and ethical commonalities between different groups which may in other areas have diverse and divergent interests. Liberals and those on the left who do not despise religious faith are able to fuse that sort of politics: effectively by turning religion into a multi-voiced commentary on a set of shared principles.

Islamic politics - as you say - does offer nothing but politics for Islam. Put aside the ‘black flag flying over Downing Street’ brigade for a moment and think of the puny fights of the Muslim Brotherhood - over schooling, Hijabs, being consulted by organs of government, and so on. What they’re out for, in the short term, are grants and community projects, funded by the state. In the medium term, they want to set themselves up as little fiefdoms, able to keep ‘their lot’ in line in some zany re-inventing of Tamamy Hall politics. And in the long run, they hope for a fundamentalist rennaisance in which the products of their projects come together and demand self-government on the basis 1400 year old revealed principles of political organisation.

This is a project, in effect, of constructing a ghetto. I can see the attraction of it: what with the world being so unpredictable and sinful to boot.

That is why RESPECT will never succeed in creating the sort of fusion politics between revolutionary left and radical theocracy. There is no fit there: other than a blurred common committment to ‘anti-imperialism’. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to run its communities. The Socialist Workers’ Party wants - so it claims - to ‘convert’ more free thinking Imams to revolutionary socialism. A fool can see that this project ain’t going nowhere.

But we’re in early days of religious politics. We are, I think, going to see a politics which is more subtly affected by Sikhs and Muslims with ideas on social justice, or something to contribute in smaller areas - Jews and love of learning - or what have you. The extent to which these people suceed and to which they are able to talk about the manner in which their faith informs their politics will be the test of whether this sort of weaker insinuation of faith into public life will suceed.

It won’t necessarily always suceed. Some will regard it as a dilution or secularism, or of the True Faith. But there will be areas in which religious experience provides a sense of strength and motivation, in a manner which is compatible with pluralism and diversity, and which is capable of building bridges which go becond a single narrow faith community. That’s my hope, really.

What I do know, is that it will never happen with RESPECT.

#10 Comment By David T On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

…whose membership, so it seems, has been blocked by the European Left Party:

[3] http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/02/12/respect_rejected_by_european_left_party.php

#11 Comment By David T On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:41 pm

changed the name of that thread…

[4] http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/02/12/jilted_at_the_altar.php

#12 Comment By Jay Singh On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

David

Well, Sikh ‘politics’ as it is in this country is deeply communalist but in British terms more or less harmless - commited to Sikh advocacy over issues like the French turban ban, getting themselves invited to conferences with Ken Livingstone, having their photograph taken sitting next to Prince Charles. Hindu groups like the Hindu Forum are pretty much involved in the same thing, organising protests against pictures of Lord Ram printed on underwear, that kind of thing.

Whilst being reactionary, and sectarian, hopefully they will wither on the branch eventually, as it were, and become something like the Board of Deputies. They need to be watched, but they don’t have the same kind of aspirations or impulse as say the MAB has.

I share your hope that all these religions will come into their own in a benign kind of way, building bridges and providing motivation for individuals to engage fully in British democratic life, but I am not optimistic. I can see the way things are going and this is all becoming more and more entrenched. The whole thing of giving government grants out to communal organisations is totally misconceived. Local and national government should be bringing all groups into the mainstream rather than offering them incentives to ghettoise and become entrenched in separate programmes and community schemes.

Remember, religious politics as exemplified by MCB/MAB type movements can be braoken down into a number of stages:

(1) The setting up and creation of boundaries.

(2) The defence of these boundaries from the outside.

(3) The policing of these boundaries, prevention of dissent from within.

(4) The extension and strengthening of these boundaries.

This can be benign to a certain extent, I do not think advocacy groups are neccessarily a bad thing, provided that they do bear a liberal ethos and do not exist in a fists-up attitude to society as a whole.

But when you get virulent creators, advocates, defenders and policers of boundaries, you have a big problem. Especially when the boundary makers and protectors are self-interested masters of that group - what is their stake in claiming all that power and concern? In whose name are they exercising this ‘power’ and ‘representation’?

#13 Comment By Bijna On 12th February, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

@ Bikhair

It is my experience that one Muslim will help another Muslim, no matter who wrong that other Muslim is.

Apparantly this is called Ummah.

You find it odd that non-Muslims treat Muslims the same, well that are the consequences of acting as a group.

When Muslims all over Europe celebrated when the 9/11 happened, this Ummah thing became obvious to some non-Muslims and with the cartoon riots all over the world, it has become obvious to a lot more people.

#14 Comment By David T On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:00 am

I don’t think of religiously informed politics as an intrinisically or inevitably bad thing, incidentally. It is obviously at its worst when it creates clients - worst of all, state funded - clients of political religious-cultural groups. It tends to create that sort of cultural cohesion both by the carrot of public acknowledgement by funding, but also by focussing on the eternal grievances and threat - racism, intermmarriage, the massacres in other countries. And all together, this creates a powerful politics which -as I’ve argues - produces authoritative and wholly self-serving political movements, headed by people who - because they often have a very orthodox religious background - tend to control the shape of that politics by appeal to supposedly timeless, and unquestionable political principles.

Much as this politics is a threat to both the ‘non alligned’, and to those who are conned into thinking of themselves as Jews, Muslims, Hindus first, it also represents an opportuntity to create something new.

Think of the political-religious establishment as large monlithic corporations, offering stodgy, unpaletable fare, of the back of the myth that there is nothing else available. But we’re smarter than that, and we have first mover advantage, and we can create something better, and quickly.

It is only inertia that holds up back. We’ve got jobs. Kids. And some of the nutters arraigned against us want to blow themselves up.

#15 Comment By Sunny On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:03 am

Well, the Hindu far-right have their own designs with re-writing history and helping their comrades back home. I need to write about it this week, have been sent plenty ‘o tips.

#16 Comment By Jay Singh On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:09 am

David

Yeah - your first paragraph hits the bulls eye.

by focussing on the eternal grievances and threat - racism, intermmarriage, the massacres in other countries. And all together, this creates a powerful politics which -as I’ve argues - produces authoritative and wholly self-serving political movements

That is it - that is how they operate.

#17 Comment By David T On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:13 am

The other problem is that religious leaders are in a position to ‘do’ religious arguments, appealing properly to precedent, in a religiously literate manner. I’ve read discussions between genuine reformers and religious conservatives, and what tends to be said, authoritatively, by conservatives is that “you’ve mis-interpreted what God wants you to do, you’ve misunderstood the text, you have a superficial understanding of these core concepts only…” and so on.

Conservative religious traditions are not easily challenged internally, at all.

Ultimately, therefore, I think what we’ll be looking for are for people, from a religious background, who believe themselves to be acting in accordance with their faith, in serving their fellow man - as journalists, bankers, lawyers, social workers, milkmen, and so on. They won’t hold themselves up as religious scholars, but as religious people.

The growth of capitalism alongside Methodism in the 18th and 19th century made this sort of politics a potent political force. Methodists saw themselves, in doing their work, as doing God’s work. Quakers, to take another example, invested their money into other - often philanthropic - enterprises, believing that it was theologically improper to let your money lie around lazily doing nothing.

Now, you can take this sort of religious politics or you can leave it. You might find yourself attracted to it, spiritually and politically, or alternatively, you might simply remain secularist in your outlook, but consider that you had sufficient common ground to - say - a Hindu running a food distribution project to want to help as a jew or a muslim - both traditions which place charity at the centre of their faiths - or even as an athiest.

That’s the sort of politics I think we need to be moving towards.

#18 Comment By Jay Singh On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:23 am

I know that there are Sikh temples that raise a lot of money for local hospitals. There is a gurdwara in Birmingham that has funded an IT training centre and college for ALL of the community, black, white, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim. I know that Islamic Relief and other charities do wonderful work and raise loads of money for causes. These are all in the realm of what you say, about utilising recources and talent and unity to make positive contributions.

But all of these things co-exist with more shady and selfish agendas, and it is why we have to defend the secular space and discourage those orthodox groups who wish to advance religious cause by stealth.

#19 Comment By Old Pickler On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:26 am

Jonathan Sacks, who is opposed to the fusion of religion and politics, said that religion should have influence but not power. I’m inclined to agree. Having said that, as regards the C of E, I’m inclined to leave it alone as it’s harmless.

Call me inconsistent, if you like. I’ve been called worse, eg Lenin called me Old Peabrain. Boo hoo.

#20 Comment By Jay Singh On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:31 am

Jonathan Sacks, who is opposed to the fusion of religion and politics, said that religion should have influence but not power. I’m inclined to agree

Influence on Power becomes a kind of power in itself then.

Give them influence - give them their slots on Radio 4 Thought for the Day. Give them their photo opportunities with Prince Charles. Give them all those things - that should be enough for all of them.

#21 Comment By Sunny On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:40 am

Lenin called me Old Peabrain. Boo hoo.
Honey, you get the feeling he was being nice? I do ;)

#22 Comment By David T On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:40 am

That’s not a bad thing.

#23 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 1:38 am

David T,

“I believe, is that muslim politics has been dominated by extremely politically conservative groups: in particular, the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The Ihkwanis arent conservative, the are deviants. Everywhere they go, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, etc, they cause trouble for Muslims.

#24 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 1:43 am

jOnz,

“…not a text to take literally and to smite at the necks of the infidels if you consider them the enemy.”

Is that all you know of the Quran? Wow you are a hizbi to. Do you know what the word hizb means an Arabic? It means party. That is the problem with many Muslims today. All they have are their party politics.

Now if you have a problem with Muslims being instructed to strike the necks of our infidel enemies, than that whole Afghan vs. Soviet scoufle should never have taken place. We should have treated our Quran as a metaphor and metaphorical strike them as they ran over the country and turned it into Soviet Union South.

#25 Comment By Old Pickler On 13th February, 2006 @ 1:55 am

Nutter

#26 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 1:56 am

Bijna,

“It is my experience that one Muslim will help another Muslim, no matter who wrong that other Muslim is.”

I believe that is a typo so I will understand it as “…no matter how wrong that other Muslims is.”

It has been my expirience that some Muslims drink alcohol what is your point? No one said they were correct in everything that they do. It is only your ignorance of Islam, and theirs apparently, that leads you to believe that it is permissible to sin along with another Muslims. Muslims are to order the good and forbid that evil.

“Apparantly this is called Ummah.”

The Quran tells us we are an ummah. How do you make the connection that what makes us a community is that we aid each other in wrong doing. Are you stupid or do you enjoy me straightening out your tail?

“You find it odd that non-Muslims treat Muslims the same, well that are the consequences of acting as a group.”

What does acting like a group mean?

“When Muslims all over Europe celebrated when the 9/11 happened..”

There are only two occasion Muslims are to celebrate in accordance to an authentic hadith. That is Eid al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.

“…this Ummah thing became obvious to some non-Muslims and with the cartoon riots all over the world, it has become obvious to a lot more people.”

What?

#27 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 2:00 am

Old Pickler,

I asked you about Asma Bin Marwan on another thread. Now either you put up or shut up. I dont like when spurious accounts of the life of Prophet Muhammed are going around and I have no way of verification. Rumors are evil. do I need to instruct as to why veririfaction is important in Islam?

#28 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 2:12 am

jOnz,

“…that the Qu’ran is a metaphor, not a text to take literally and to smite at the necks of the infidels if you consider them the enemy.”

It should also be understand jOnz, seeing as how you havent studied jihad that, as I have mentioned on another post, it is the leader of the Muslims, the Emir, the Wali or the Muslims handles those kinds of affairs, decided who is the enemy. It has never been the case in Islam, except when Utham and Ali were assasinated which goes to show the evil results of such deviance, that Muslim common folk decide to gather for jihad. That is the Sunnah, the way, the legal way, the example of Prophet Muhammed (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam).

Now when Tony Blair decided your country would go to war, they went. Similarly when President Bush of my country, decided to go to war, we went. It kinda workds like that.

#29 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 2:17 am

Sunny,

“Bikhair: This statement is incorrect because it is recommended if not obligatory for Muslims to live among other Muslims in a Muslim land.
Then please tell us why you haven’t emigrated to Saudi Arabia yet and put us out of our misery?”

It should be the goal of every Muslim to live in a Muslim country. I understand that many if not most Muslim countries suffer from political and economic issues that make it difficult to make a living or get a quality education and you have to travel to Darul Kufr for such things, but Muslims shoudlnt be building there palaces in non-Muslim countries.

Even in Saudi it is a pain to get there, and to stay because they are so iffy about who goes in and out. We have realities to deal with, but the Muslims should take advantage of the rewards for migrating to Muslim countries. It pleases Allah (azzawajal).

#30 Comment By Sunny On 13th February, 2006 @ 2:55 am

Even in Saudi it is a pain to get there, and to stay because they are so iffy about who goes in and out. We have realities to deal with, but the Muslims should take advantage of the rewards for migrating to Muslim countries. It pleases Allah (azzawajal).

Oh please! Stop making excuses. You just love the USA too much, admit it. Muslims are obliged to not only follow local laws, but there is nothing stopping them expressing loyalty to that country. Either you haven’t been reading enough fatwas, or you’re making up excuses for people’s stupid behaviour.

When you practice what you preach, then I’ll take you seriously.

#31 Comment By Clive On 13th February, 2006 @ 7:44 am

It should be the goal of every Muslim to live in a Muslim country

So, Bikhair, do you live in a Muslim country and if not, what’s stopping you?

This seems like a bit of a ludicrous statement to me.

#32 Comment By El Cid On 13th February, 2006 @ 9:27 am

May I recommend the following article: [5] “We don’t do God; we do Palestine and Iraq”

P.S. Chris Stiles, I’m not going to write that article after all. By the time I get round to it, the cartoon controversy will be mouldy and stale (hopefully).
Suffice to say that I believe you are wrong to see British muslims in purely religious terms. I can’t prove this; it is an opinion borne from my upbringing among multinational underclass Londoners and reinforced through newer friendships with multinational middleclass London and by reading PP. But I trust my gut instincts more than I would trust an opinion SOLELY informed by faux scientific enquiry.
People, feelings, political opinion -all these things cannot be boiled into their incontrovertible essences in the lab — sorry to break to all you wannabe philosopher kings.
It is a very broad mosque, and many Asians who would take umbrage at the cartoons or side/sympathise with those who would take umbrage, IMO aren’t necessarily challenging the concept that religion/ideology is not above criticism. Instead, they may take offence at the racial undertones to the cartoons and debate, display a kneejerk racial solidarity because they distruct (rightfully in many cases) the motivations of those who would have a pop at them, etc.
Hence, I believe it is OK to talk of ‘atheist’ or ‘agnostic’ muslims, or christians, hindu, buddhists, zoroastrians, whateverrrrr (*forms W with thumbs and forefingers*).
Many people (if not most) who describe themselves as any of these religions do not see themselves as religious, and the probably adhere poorly to a give moral code (drink booze, covet their neighbours ox or wife, sleep around, take it up the jacksy).
They may even doubt a God exists. But you still might see them visiting a church, temple, occasionally in an hour of emotional need, they might want to get married or buried a certain way, they might tell their kids religious stories they learnt, they might might do any number of things. But most of all you might see them take umbrage whenever the customs, beliefs, traditions of their family are under attack. It is only natural.
I don’t see why jews can monopolise the idea that they can be jewish AND atheist. Received wisdom may be a body of knowledge accumulated over time but it can also be just old git thinking.
Don’t assume that the muslim you are seaking to really gives a shit about the religious stuff. For all you know he might be having a bacon sandwich as we speak.
Oh dear, this is far too long a post.

#33 Comment By El Cid On 13th February, 2006 @ 9:29 am

I counted at least three typos. oops

#34 Comment By mirax On 13th February, 2006 @ 9:57 am

It is a very broad mosque, and many Asians who would take umbrage at the cartoons or side/sympathise with those who would take umbrage, IMO aren’t necessarily challenging the concept that religion/ideology is not above criticism. Instead, they may take offence at the racial undertones to the cartoons and debate, display a kneejerk racial solidarity because they distruct (rightfully in many cases) the motivations of those who would have a pop at them, etc.

Good post,El. That’s how I read it too.

#35 Comment By Jay Singh On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:11 pm

It should be the goal of every Muslim to live in a Muslim country

You all misunderstand what Bikhair means. In her first post on this thread she says:

Our obligation in this world in relation to the kafir is that we spread the deen of Islam

Bikhair means that it should be the goal of every Muslim living in a non Muslim country to turn that country into a Muslim country. How to do this, she explains, is to convert people to Islam. The goal of a Muslim in a non Muslim country, according to Bikhair, is to make that country Muslim - this is how to find acceptance inside the land. There is no need to move to Saudi Arabia - the goal is not emigration. The goal is to convert the kaffir to Islam, thus turning wherever she lives into an Islamic country. That is the ‘goal’.

#36 Comment By Jay Singh On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:13 pm

yeah El Cid - great post!

#37 Comment By Jai On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:27 pm

=>”Until we start to think of ourselves as the children of Adam, concerned about the welfare of all our fellow human beings, we are missing the point of being faithful.’ ”

Absolutely spot-on. Now there’s someone who knows the true meaning of spirituality. This is the wisest statement from a Muslim religious leader that I’ve heard in a very long time.

#38 Comment By Francis Sedgemore On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:38 pm

In her article, Fareena Alam, apart from inappropriately using the term anarchist to describe Islamo-fascists, makes the following peculiar statement:

Freedom of speech is not absolute. It has to be in service of something, like peace or social justice. How have these cartoons, and the hypocritical defence of them, served these ideals?

I do not dispute that society has a right to define some limits to freedom of speech, but for all my criticism of the cartoons I cannot agree that freedom of speech has to be in the service of anything. This would seem to imply that creative endeavour is legitimate only if designed specifically for a particular end. What about art for art’s sake: free expression without prior purpose, that may or may not lead to something great?

We should be free to speak our minds, while exercising restraint and acting responsibly, so as not to intentionally and gratuitously cause distress to others or endanger public order. But there has to be room for spontaneity and chaos or it ceases to be truly creative.

#39 Comment By Jay Singh On 13th February, 2006 @ 12:46 pm

Francis

I agree - I found that statement peculiar - but I imagine that this is what we mean by politics informed by religion - religion circumscribes, it says free speech can only exist for one reason, to do good and have a righteous aim - but to me that sounds restrictive and unnessecary - in fact it seems full of worthiness and imprecision, because ultimately, who decides what the righteous cause is?

#40 Comment By Sunny On 13th February, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

Francis, well I guess we establish laws which are against incitement of racial hatred to “keep the peace” so to speak and ensure people don’t get victimised based on race, which means that same line of thinking.

#41 Comment By Francis Sedgemore On 13th February, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

…religion circumscribes, it says free speech can only exist for one reason, to do good and have a righteous aim… [Jay Singh]

In Jesuit-speak, all we do in life should be “Ad Maioram Dei Gloriam” (To the greater glory of God), and always informed by this core principle. So yes, you’re absolutely right about the politics informed by religion mindset. The secular counterpart to this is, of course, totalitarianism, in which culture’s sole function is to serve the interests of society as embodied in the State.

I think Q-News plays a positive and constructive role in the debate, but sloppy and dangerous thinking such as that propounded by Fareena Alam must be challenged.

#42 Comment By Francis Sedgemore On 13th February, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

Oh, and on the subject of the cartoons, specifically, there have in recent days been a few disturbing developments…

Muslim graves in a Danish cemetery near the port of Esbjerg in west Jylland have been desecrated, according to the Danish press.

The Muslim graves are part of a municipal graveyard, and only the Muslim graves were attacked. 25 of 50 Muslim graves were affected, with granite stones smashed.

Also, in the West Bank, Hebrew graffiti insulting Mohammed was sprayed onto the walls of a mosque, resulting in violent demonstrations among Palestinians in three local villages.

The graffiti, which read: “Mohammed is a pig”, was subsequently erased by Israeli soldiers.

#43 Comment By Ceridwen Devi On 13th February, 2006 @ 5:21 pm

This won’t be over till the fat lady sings. I was surprised to find out that an Egyptian paper published the cartoons four months [6] ago. It was apparently a critical report (my Arabic is not good enough to read the original) but somehow I feel the real debate must move on. The report on British soldiers in Iraq in the “News of the World” begs the question at what point on the stress curve does civilized behaviour breakdown and violence and brutality begin. As a species we have not really found the answer yet. Free speech does not exist in some rational vacuum. It is coloured with human emotion and basic instincts. I was encouraged by the peaceful demonstration on the weekend. The positive side of all this is that we have all learnt more about each other from this. Now we need to try to heal the wounds.

#44 Comment By Sunny On 13th February, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

begs the question at what point on the stress curve does civilized behaviour breakdown and violence and brutality begin. As a species we have not really found the answer yet.

very true.

#45 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 10:11 pm

Sunny,

“Oh please! Stop making excuses. You just love the USA too much, admit it.”

Other than the fact that it is a kafir country, why wouldnt I like living here? I am able to do everything I need to do here but that isnt the point.

“Muslims are obliged to not only follow local laws, but there is nothing stopping them expressing loyalty to that country.”

I dont know what loyalty means. No one ever said Muslims were obligated to obide by the laws of the country they lived in. But if it were the case that in the U.S. every had to drink a bottle of vodka to get a job, than I would think Muslims would break the law in that instance.

“Either you haven’t been reading enough fatwas, or you’re making up excuses for people’s stupid behaviour.”

Whose behavior?

#46 Comment By Bikhair On 13th February, 2006 @ 10:15 pm

Jay Singh,

“Bikhair means that it should be the goal of every Muslim living in a non Muslim country to turn that country into a Muslim country.”

I believe you should let Bikhair say what she means.

“How to do this, she explains, is to convert people to Islam.”

Muslims dont convert people. Allah guides those to the path or away from the path. Muslims are to be proper Muslims where they live. Show people the deen, speak to people about the deen. That is about all we can do in any country. First I think we should start off in Pakistan. Ha Ha Ha.

“The goal of a Muslim in a non Muslim country, according to Bikhair, is to make that country Muslim - this is how to find acceptance inside the land.”

Refer to above.

“There is no need to move to Saudi Arabia - the goal is not emigration. The goal is to convert the kaffir to Islam, thus turning wherever she lives into an Islamic country. That is the ‘goal’.”

Refer to above.

#47 Comment By mirax On 14th February, 2006 @ 5:17 am

[7] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,170-2037230,00.html

A great initiative to get rid of British blasphemy laws altogether.

#48 Comment By Asma’ bint Marwan On 14th February, 2006 @ 11:49 am

The only two people in France with the courage to stand up to Islamist anti-cartoon demonstrators

[8] http://labaf.blogspot.com/2006/02/la-baf-crash-la-manif-des-islamistes.html

“Some started a passionating debate: on one side, those supporting an immediate stoning, on the other side, those who wanted to avoid a public massacre.”

Who says there’s no room for diverse opinions in Islam?

#49 Comment By bananabrain On 15th February, 2006 @ 4:59 pm

bikhair’s definition of how muslims ought to live in muslim countries sounds amazingly like our religious obligation to live in the land of israel if we can. the political version of that is, of course known as “zionism” - but i’m sure that can’t be right, because everyone knows that zionism is an evil racist ideology built on oppression. hey ho.

seriously, muslims should read some of the literature that dates back about 100-150 years, when the jewish community was being emancipated (in other words, given the vote and not treated officially as subversive christ-killers ripe for evangelisation) or indeed the dictum from the time of the destruction of the Temple by the romans by the then high priest, rabbi hanina:

“pray for the peace of the government, for without fear of it people would surely swallow each other alive”
- pirkei avot, 3:2

i wonder where i would be expected to “go back where i came from”? india? ireland? france? iraq? i’m too much of a mongrel to be able to decide which of them would have me…

it’s amazing what fun discussions can go on here at pp while i spend a week sunning myself in eilat.

just an aside - for those of you that think israel is this evil racist state that is worse than sudan or china, i was delighted to see there were quite a few arabs at our hotel, around the pool and promenading on the beach front. and, no, they weren’t employees - they were obviously families on holiday.

perhaps there’s still some hope left.

b’shalom

bananabrain

#50 Comment By Sunny On 15th February, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

Bikhair - No one ever said Muslims were obligated to obide by the laws of the country they lived in.

Pure rubbish - plenty of imams have said so.

Anyway, I refer you to this:

Can you call a Chritian Muslim if he believes in the Prophethood of Muhammad?
Answer In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Every human, even everything in the universe is a “Muslim” in the literal meaning of submission to God, willingly or unwillingly. Allah says: (Do they seek for other than the religion of Allah? While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back.) (Aal-`Imran 3: 83)

[9] http://www.islamonline.net/livefatwa/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=70y828

so don’t worry you’re already in a Muslim country ;)


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/294

URLs in this post:
[1] Q-News: http://www.q-news.com
[2] worth reading in full: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1707922,00.html
[3] http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/02/12/respect_rejected_by_european_left_party.php: http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/02/12/respect_rejected_by_european_left_party.php
[4] http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/02/12/jilted_at_the_altar.php: http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/02/12/jilted_at_the_altar.php
[5] “We don’t do God; we do Palestine and Iraq” : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2036284,00.html
[6] ago. : http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48746
[7] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,170-2037230,00.html: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,170-2037230,00.html
[8] http://labaf.blogspot.com/2006/02/la-baf-crash-la-manif-des-islamistes.html: http://labaf.blogspot.com/2006/02/la-baf-crash-la-manif-des-islamistes.html
[9] http://www.islamonline.net/livefatwa/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=70y828: http://www.islamonline.net/livefatwa/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=70y828