Who wants a war of civilisation?


by Al-Hack
24th February, 2006 at 4:36 am    

Stumbling and Mumbling: Hits. Nail. On. Head.

I’ve one reaction to the culture clash between the west and Islam – include me out. This is big think. And big thinking is bad thinking. The first problem is that glib generalization leads us to think that there are clearly defined and demarcated cultures.

Another bias in the clash of cultures is the group attribution error. Among “us”, bad people are exceptions. Among “them”, wrong ‘uns are representative of the general group.

So, to westerners, the soldiers who beat up Iraqis are exceptions. To Muslims, they are typical. To “us”, suicide bombers are representative, whereas to Muslims, they are exceptions*. Few bother to ask: is the percentage of UK and US soldiers who beat up Iraqis statistically significantly different from the proportion of Muslims who are suicide bombers?

This bias is reinforced by another – the salience heuristic. We over-react to salient, available, information, and under-react to obscure information. To westerners, the everyday civilities of friends and neighbours are salient , whilst the brutalities of far-away soldiers are less so. And suicide bombings are salient, whilst the civilities of ordinary Muslims are less so. To Muslims, it’s the other way round.

Read the whole thing. Does that remind of you of… a few hundred people?


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  1. Bikhair — on 24th February, 2006 at 6:55 am  

    Pickled Pimpsters,

    First we have to decide that the Muslims (read Arabs always espcially when things are really gruesome) are in fact civilized.

    Our problem is we have a growing number of people who think that they know Islam enough to decide to either act in accordance with their knowledge or criticise Islam in the same way.

    Suicide bombing will always be the exception so long as it is completely impermissible according to Islamic law. So too, are many other things Muslims do. Regretably for the kafir, anything a Muslim does is sanctioned. Then it becomes easy to say Islam needs reform when you are under that impressin. I say nay! Muslims are in need of reforming, which will mean that we need tarbiyah and tazkiyah which is precisely what those Saudi Salafis sitting in Birmingham call for. Ha Ha Ha ( that bit is for you Yusuf)

    Violence in the Muslim world excercised for the benefit of Islam and the Muslim, without the consent of those Muslims leaders who are given the responsibility by Allah according to the Sharia, represents a lack of Islamic values within the Ummah.

    The desimination of the “power to the people” mentality that comes directly from the Western world is foreign to Islam and was foreign to those Muslims who preceded us. With the exception of the khawarij mentality which has been a cancer in the Ummah since those dogs of the hell fire reared thier ugly head some 1400 years ago. In fact the only time Muslims did act out of sync with the rulers is when they were killing them. Ali and Utham anyone?

    Jihad has been– traditionally, and always will be– correctly, a function of the Islamic state, not Al Qaida in Iraq, or Hizbut Tahrir in Britian.

    So, if any of you jahil Muslims and even more jahil disbelievers want to talk about jihad, bombings, terrorism, and the like, dont take my word for it, instead take the words of Prophet Muhammed (sallalahu alaihi wa salam) himself, and the understanding of His Companions who, according to him were the best of Muslims back then, and forever.

    Now if any of you punks want to jump up to get beat down, expect to have your opinions about Islam challenged with the text and not with what Muslims are doing or have done in the world, since the former constitues the law and the later, more often than not, constitutes ignorance and innovation in the religion.

    Bikhair: Trolling with the Haqq, InshaAllah, est. months ago.

  2. Sid D H Arthur — on 24th February, 2006 at 8:22 am  

    Bikhair

    Islam as a religion or an ideological edifice or even as a way to God does not need defending. Not by people who think they are better Muslims than the “sinners” and cetainly not against “jahil Muslims”.

  3. Jay Singh — on 24th February, 2006 at 12:51 pm  

    Bikhair

    Who are these Saudi Salafis in Birmingham you keep referring to? Do you have a website for them?

  4. Sunny — on 24th February, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    I really liked reading that. Succint and very timely.

  5. Jai — on 24th February, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    Bikhair,

    =>”So, if any of you jahil Muslims and even more jahil disbelievers want to talk about jihad, bombings, terrorism, and the like,”

    If you want to use the word “jahil”, exactly how civilised do you think your own behaviour is right now ? Do you think you are a prime example of a saintly, civilised Muslim ? In fact, do you think that your own behaviour towards people here on PP is indeed morally superior to everyone else here, especially those you repeatedly refer to insultingly as “Kafirs” ?

    =>”Now if any of you punks want to jump up to get beat down, expect to have your opinions about Islam challenged with the text”

    Are you only able to justify your statements by referring to “the text”, rather than by any direct spiritual awareness of your own ?

    So is your entire claim to “divine inspiration” based on what is essentially second-hand information, rather than direct personal experience and awareness ?

  6. Sunny — on 24th February, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    Everyone, I thought we’d learnt to ignore Bikhair by now?

  7. jamal — on 24th February, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    Our problem is we have a growing number of people who think that they know Islam enough to decide to either act in accordance with their knowledge or criticise Islam in the same way.

    This is true. But it is still a two way street.

    Some will use such a view and innovate their own ideas which has proven to be a downfall for Islam and the progression of Muslims. Other will use it to avoid taking any action in helping themselves and others to assist Islam and the progression of Muslims.

    A thoughtful peice I have read recently and actively promote is a Pre-Khutbah speech available at Brand New Malaysian, which concludes;

    “Struggling for the Victory of Islam would entail an outright, unapologetic challenge to this global hegemon, though this struggle cannot and will not be secured unless and until Muslims learn to work with other communities. Here lies the truth that many of us have failed to realise or have not been able to admit: The Victory of Islam’s universal values untimately depends on humanity as a whole, and not Muslims alone.”

    I consider it a must read for Muslims. In case that site goes down, it is also available at my blog.

  8. Jay Singh — on 24th February, 2006 at 4:12 pm  

    jamal

    What are Islam’s universal values that humanity is in need of? What is this talk of victory – victory of what over whom? Jamal, you are nothing but an Islamic Imperialist, a religious supremacist with a bad dose of inferiority complex with your head in the clouds. Do you have any sense of how ridiculous your Islamist wet dreams of global domination are? Do you have any concept of how stupid you seem when you exult stupid speeches like the one from Malaysia you just quoted? I think people are too polite to mention it to you, so I will take it as my duty to do so.

  9. mirax — on 24th February, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    Actually, that farish noor speech was not too bad- for muslims.It was not about global jihad, Jay but what he terms the universal values of Islam such as :

    “Islam’s struggle for justice, human dignity, equality of gender and races, transparency and accountability, are achieved in a wider context that extends beyond the limited frontiers of the Muslim community.

    But for this victory to be achieved, Muslims themselves need to look beyond the confines of their own community and to realise the truth uttered by the late Indonesian Islamist Intellectual Nurcholish Madjid who stated that ‘being a Muslim is not like being a member of a club or tribe, it is a state of being, an existential truth.’ We are not a tribe at war against other tribes. There is no membership card to being a Muslim.

    Realising this means that Muslims need to acknowledge that their identities are fundamentally socially-constructed and that they are social beings. Society here means Civil Society as a whole, and not simply Muslim society. The tendency of Muslims to hide in their self-made ghettos, turning their backs to a world they deem is hostile, is not only analytically false, but morally unsound and ultimately self-defeating. ”

    He was actually castigating muslims for many of their double standards. I wonder if Jamal actually understood as much as he claims to.

  10. Jai — on 24th February, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    Jamal,

    I have read through that link you supplied but, for the benefit of others on this forum who may not have done so, it would be constructive if you could summarise what you perceive to be ‘universal Islamic values’ and the historical, theological, and scriptural basis for these claims and these concepts.

    I am just requesting a succinct, “bullet point”-format summary of the main points and the sources from which they draw their validity.

  11. Jay Singh — on 24th February, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

    mirax

    So – we don’t need democracy, feminism, secularism, ideas of universal human rights, struggle for judicial and political transparency, internationalism, social democracy etc etc – all of these things that can bing justice and equality to the world? No – the world is steeped in ignorance. It does not need these things. These things are constructs of the great evil western hegemon who is preventing the triumph of Islam. Non Muslims are living in ignorance and are just waiting for Islam to bring its universal message of – ummm – Islam.

    I know you realise the nonsense of this thinking and are saying it is all relative (at least he’s not using conventional fire and brimstone rhetoric – phew! must be a moderate) but someone has to call this bullshit for what it is and it is time silly Islamists like Jamal get called on their delusional wet dreams. At a simple level, they need to be told how stupid they are and how stupid they appear to the rest of the world who until now have really only not told them of their stupidity out of politeness and out of a desire not to upset somebody who is so obviously suffering from severe problems of low self esteem and is quite frankly delusional.

  12. mirax — on 24th February, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

    Er, actually I do not even agree that Islam delivers or ever will deliver Noor’s idealised values ie “struggle for justice, human dignity, equality of gender and races, transparency and accountability” let alone all that he has left out. But he is no radical preacher but a very moderate academic. Really. We have to work with what there is and Noor is light ages ahead of so many other muslim ‘intellectuals’.

  13. mirax — on 24th February, 2006 at 4:57 pm  

    Noor on the toons:
    http://www.jeffooi.com/2006/02/modernity_in_the_protests_of_m.php

    I live in a tiny country sandwiched between two muslim majority countries, one the populous muslim nation in the world and the other, supposedly the most progessive and tolerant muslim nation, and I am telling you this : a Noor opinion piece in the local papers is something non-muslims actually welcome because it is not *that* full of bullshit.

  14. Bikhair — on 24th February, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

    Sid D H Arthur,

    “Islam as a religion or an ideological edifice or even as a way to God does not need defending. Not by people who think they are better Muslims than the “sinners” and cetainly not against “jahil Muslims”. ”

    Muslims are always going to have some jahiliyah in them and they will always be imperfect. IT is when their imperfection, ignorance, arrogance, and innovation begins to haram others and themselves that we need to call them on it. Encourage the good and forbid the evil. Dont take it personal.

  15. Bikhair — on 24th February, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    “Who are these Saudi Salafis in Birmingham you keep referring to? Do you have a website for them?”

    I am so glad you asked me that. Really. Here you go:

    http://www.troid.org/
    http://www.salafipublications.com/sps/
    http://www.salafiaudio.com/
    http://www.salaf.com/

    The first has alot of great audio, if you arent much of a reader. Navigate the site and you can find plenty of jewels.

  16. Bikhair — on 24th February, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

    Jai,

    Quit your crying. Stop acting like a little girl.

  17. Don — on 24th February, 2006 at 5:44 pm  

    Bikki,

    Your entertainment value buys you a lot of slack, but you are not in a position to be rude to people.

    A Freudian might find your typo of ‘haram’ for ‘harm ‘ significant. But I’m not a Freudian.

    May I suggest that if you stopped using arabic words that relatively few people understand and instead expressed yourself in the vernacular then you might find that communication was enhanced? Yes, thanks to the internet I can quickly find out what ‘ahiliyah’ means, but why not just make your point in plain English? The use of specific terminology is fine if you are addressing a specific audience, but when speaking to the mix that is PP you just alienate people. It comes across as arrogance.

    I don’t sprinkle my posts with latin to show my erudition, why do you insist on using a language few of us understand? Can you explain the relevant concept plainly? If not, do you really understand it?

    I actually believe you have something to contribute, but you seem determined to bury it beneath jargon and juvenile abuse.

  18. Sunny — on 24th February, 2006 at 6:34 pm  

    I don’t sprinkle my posts with latin to show my erudition, why do you insist on using a language few of us understand?

    I thought that was obvious. She’s one of those converts desperate to show she is pious and knows all the right words, so when she pases judgement on others it sounds authentic and from a general Muslim standpoint.

  19. Jai — on 24th February, 2006 at 6:46 pm  

    =>Jai, Quit your crying. Stop acting like a little girl. ”

    I have to admit that my reaction to Bikhair’s brilliant, devastating, rigorously-theologically-argued and spiritually-enlightened response was laughter. Especially after reading her replies to the other commenters — the only way she could think of replying to my own post was “Quit crying. Stop acting like a little girl”. Classic. I must have touched a nerve.

    Bikhair, the only person here who is actually acting like a “little girl” is you. If you cannot speak from any direct spiritual awareness and can do nothing to validate your statements apart from quoting second-hand scriptural sources and supposed historical precedents, then perhaps your level of “knowledge” is not actually as extensive as you may think. Based on your own behaviour and, to use your own words, “jahilya” treatment of others, your actual moral authority certainly falls far below your claims of religious “knowledge”.

    Spirituality is not gained by an academic knowledge of religious tenets or historical precedents, and certainly not by useless ‘intellectual gymnastics’, Bikhair.

    You are not the first person to behave in this way, to make these arguments, or to resort to these tactics. Every single thing you are doing and saying was effectively dealt with and counter-argued by certain genuinely saintly individuals in northern India between 300-500 years ago. Your predecessors included a “strict orthodox Muslim” Emperor who was far older than you and with wealth and power far in excess of what you can imagine. And in return for behaving in exactly the same way that you are behaving right now, the corrupt Islamic religious authorities at the time supported everything he did and declared him “Zinda Pir”, which means “Living Saint”.

    And yet……when he was confronted by someone who really was a living saint (technically not a Muslim, incidentally), ultimately his credibility by virtue of his actions was destroyed in his own eyes to the extent that not only did he disavow the moral & spiritual validity of all the vicious things he had said and done supposedly in the name of God and Islam, while on his deathbed he was actually terrified of what would happen to him in the Afterlife. Therefore, while he did indeed achieve a measure of spiritual redemption, as far as he was concerned he had wasted his entire life.

    If you have any humility at all and a genuine desire for spiritual awareness then you will take this on board and consider your own attitudes and behaviour. If someone who, at the time, was one of the most powerful religious, military, political, and economic Muslim rulers on the planet was able to do this, then I am sure that there is still hope for an intelligent, well-meaning, but misguided Muslim convert housewife from the 21st century United States.

  20. mirax — on 24th February, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    OT but this is good news!

    Convictions – and 9 life sentences- for murderers of Gujarat riots. It may be the beginning of more mass murderers’ being brought to account before the courts.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4745926.stm

  21. Refresh — on 24th February, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    Jamal, read that article from your blog.

    Its an excellent piece, and summarises well what the issues are. Tribalism is not the domain of Islam – although seems to have become one for muslims.

    Having said that, the absolutely crucial comment in the piece is about the hegemony of capitalism – which has been missed by some fellow posters. Perhaps coloured more by the messenger than the message.

    Mirax – be brave – you seemed to have agreed with the article but then lost your nerve and offer only feint support. Perhaps I am wrong.

    Jay Singh, I am not sure you ‘read’ the article.

  22. Bikhair — on 24th February, 2006 at 9:58 pm  

    Don,

    Next time I will try. I am thinking people understand what those words mean. I forget sometimes what kind of company I keep.

    Sunny,

    “I thought that was obvious. She’s one of those converts desperate to show she is pious and knows all the right words, so when she pases judgement on others it sounds authentic and from a general Muslim standpoint.”

    When you say these kinds of things about me, I have to say that it realy hurts my feelings.

  23. Jay Singh — on 24th February, 2006 at 9:58 pm  

    I read it Refresh and all I say stands. Delusional thinking reigns when people speak about the triumph of their religion over the rest of the world – there is no other word for it. The mindset is the same, fists-up, manichean antagonism. The rhetoric is different, the hymn sheet is the same.

  24. Jay Singh — on 24th February, 2006 at 10:07 pm  

    Bikhair the Arabic Sprinkler

    I am not interested in those links. I wanted to know what the specific connection is between the Saudi fundamentalists and the city of Birmingham that you keep mentioning. What is it?

  25. Refresh — on 24th February, 2006 at 10:15 pm  

    Jay, I am sorry to say you’ve confirmed my fears, you read it and did not understand it. I am even more disturbed by your perception that its about world domination. I suspect in another existence you could very easily sit alongside the extremists.

    Perhaps you already do.

    The article is about sustainable, global harmony and muslims’ role in it. Do you have issues with the article?

    Internationalism – I can now safely say you don’t know the meaning of the word. Unless of course its been re-defined, which is possible.

  26. Jay Singh — on 24th February, 2006 at 10:25 pm  

    Refresh

    Yes indeed, they are firing up the gas chambers for you in Bradford and Slough and I am an extemist. Get real.

    I read the article and the premise is the same – the struggle against the ‘hegemon’ is to be conducted differently, but the struggle remains neccessary because justice for the world means the ascent of Islam and Islam is the deliverer of universal justice. It is soft Islamism – with a freindly face that says hey, we are under attack, we poor Muslims are opopressed, but lets kick ass with some other poor oppressed people too.

    Now Refresh I can similarly steam off a load of bullshit about how you sit beside extremists but I’m not going to – but I will suggest you stop the forelock tugging, self pity and paranoia.

  27. Refresh — on 24th February, 2006 at 10:39 pm  

    I read the article as pointing out that we are all part of the same community and society and muslims should not sit aloof. To paraphrase we have responsibility to each other, muslim or not.

    There are issues aroud where the world is going in terms of politics and in terms of economics. The world is full of injustice where the rich determine the outcomes and the poor pay the price.

    I have always held the belief that all wars are about economics and resources. There are powers which will seek to exploit our differences for their gain. I advocate we don’t fall into that trap. We come together as peoples and not accept the determined path which sets us against each other.

    That is how read the article. If you think otherwise please point it out, so we can follow you.

    In terms of extremism, let me define it. Extremism is where we exploit and exacerbate those differences to the point we accept indifference to our fellow beings suffering which in time becomes acceptance of their fate. Worse, accept it as brought upon themselves.

  28. Jay Singh — on 24th February, 2006 at 10:45 pm  

    Refresh

    You define extremism as anybody that disagrees with you. What convoluted sophistry. You seem unable to accept an argument or an opposing view without lapsing into the comfort of the name calling cradle. Seriously dude, grow a thicker skin and cease the hyperbole. We are heading for Auschwitz, anybody who points out the self pitying hysteria of Islamist persecution ‘triumph of Islam over the hegemon’ rhetoric is is an extremist – oh brother. You have some raw nerves.

  29. Refresh — on 24th February, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    I would want nothing less than everyone on this planet free from fear and hunger. I do not accept there is a model under globalisation which will deliver any of this – for it is Reaganism / Thatcherism on a global scale.

    You only need to look at what is happening in Latin America where people (ordinary people) are rejecting capitalist theology country after country.

    By the way on the firing up of the chambers – as I said before I would wish you win that argument.

    Paranoia – perhaps, but only time will tell. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

  30. Refresh — on 24th February, 2006 at 10:50 pm  

    Jay let me know what you disagree with specifically in 28.

    Where is the ‘sophistry’ ?

  31. Sunny — on 25th February, 2006 at 12:05 am  

    Refresh – the problem with your paranoia, and that of others similar to you, is that you take any action as a movement towards that dreaded gas chamber, without understanding that being overly defensive isn’t the way forward – it is to accept need to be dealt with, and openly discussing them.

    Capitalism may not be the answer necessarily, but we don’t have pure free-market capitalism in this country either. Every country has a mixture of systems, all constantly evolving and changing constantly. So let’s see where it takes us… but all this “forewarning” stuff is getting tiresome. This is the country that openly stood up to Nazi Germany…. the chances of gas chambers coming here are absurd, and way too bloody paranoid.

    Coming to the article. I’ve heard the language of “Islamic values will triumph” many times before, and its usually from terrorists or those caliphate supporting punks from HuT. Hence people’s general cynicism.

    But I’ve heard the same language from people of other religion, hence the understanding that this is aimed at a Muslim audience, which has no need to feel paranoid. To non-Muslims, having imposed “Muslim values” imposed on them is a bit of a farce when the Middle East is the last place any of us want to live (apart from capitalist Dubai maybe).

    The values espoused here are universal in the sense that all religions promote them. Tariq Ramadan always says that the extremists don’t need less Islam, they need more, proper, Islam. From his perspective I understand what he means, but to those people in a secular society: mo’ religions = mo’ problems.

  32. Refresh — on 25th February, 2006 at 12:26 am  

    Tiresome? That is a shame. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it other than once. And then in response to Jay.

    Now I can see that you understood the issues (the second half of your post) – but clearly not Jay Singh.

    Unless you’re an advocate for Jay Singh, I’d be interested in what he has to say.

    Tiresome? Well honestly -

  33. jamal — on 25th February, 2006 at 12:54 am  

    Jay Singh

    The article is basically saying that muslims should stop being selfish, alienating and selective, and start working and interacting with the rest of earths residents as a human race. Helping others means helping ourselves and vice-versa.

    Personally I think it is a very positive messege. Particularly when many muslims only take note of muslim atrocities in the middle east, only help a muslim, etc. This is not the way of Islam and the article preaches this in its essence. I even gave a copy of it to the imam at the mosque near my work, who agreed that if more muslims actually thought in such a way and read the Quran which states similar in a language they understood then alot of the distortion occuring today would not fester so easily .

    Jai Singh, I not trying to convince you of anything, just telling you how it is. We got to start somewhere and these types of thought inspiring views are a good place.

  34. Sunny — on 25th February, 2006 at 1:06 am  

    Particularly when many muslims only take note of muslim atrocities in the middle east
    Heh, you do realise this applies to you perfectly Jamal.

    Refresh – well you keep mentioning it, and it just sounds as if you’re living in a very defensive and paranoid world, which is actually more sad.

  35. jamal — on 25th February, 2006 at 1:11 am  

    It does, im changing it, and ive been learning from this article too.

  36. Jay Singh — on 25th February, 2006 at 1:28 am  

    jamal

    Good! I am glad that you think that way and that the article has touched you. I am still scratching my head trying to understand a few things though – like the whole persecution complex, wallowing in victimhood, the world is against Islam paranoia and how that affects an Imam sitting in Malaysia, a Muslim country doing quite well by all accounts.

    I think that many Muslims have psychologically boxed themselves into a corner – this becomes a vicious circle, a self fulfilling prophecy of victimhood that comes across as shrill and totally negative. You need to forget about the big bad bogey man conspiracy out to keep you down, stop looking for enemys or phantoms to fight.

  37. Refresh — on 25th February, 2006 at 1:41 am  

    Sunny – It would be sad if it was and it wasn’t true.

    No harm whatsoever in knowing what could be round the corner, and not necessarily just in the UK.

    Tonight I heard that advice was going out that the far-right was increasing their efforts in parts of Scotland and that muslims should be extra-vigilant – the Police had set up a help-line etc.

    Sunny be interested if you could find out what is happening across the country and what was happening in the run up to the local elections in May.

  38. Refresh — on 25th February, 2006 at 1:51 am  

    Jay Singh, I appreciate your post to Jamal. As that is what I read the article to mean.

    And that has always been my view of Islam.

    Boxing-in is where we will differ. Psychologically, muslims need to re-connect with what they have delivered to the creation of modern civilisation, as do all other societies. It has been an endeavour shared across time and peoples. No one body of people, race of community has given us the world we have.

    Identifying the real threats is the challenge. All wars and conflicts come from struggle for economic resources. Whether its the haves wanting more; or the have-nots correcting a wrong.

  39. mirax — on 25th February, 2006 at 3:55 am  

    “Whether its the haves wanting more; or the have-nots correcting a wrong. ”

    I have serious problems with such a simple – and yes, as jay would say, manichean- paradigm. Muslims the world over, from strident islamists to the liberals have bought into such a narrative . The greedy ‘haves’ being of course the US, Israel and their proxies.The ‘have nots’ are ,of course, correcting wrongs in Chechnya, Palestine,Kashmir,Afghanistan,Iraq,Mindanao, South Thailand and even in the banlieus of Paris. The particularities and complexities of each conflict are subsumed under a grand marxist-islamist narrative that only contributes to an overwhelming sense of grievance and persecution.That of course also helps shift attention from conflicts/issues in muslim majority countries and within muslim communities.

  40. mirax — on 25th February, 2006 at 4:14 am  

    Refresh, it is damn patronising to speculate my courage or lack of. I clearly said what I thought about the article which I had only skimmed through. I am not muslim and I certainly do not believe that social justice will be delivered by 7th century religious ideology or any religion for that matter. In fact, I would campaign VERY HARD against any religious doctrine that sought to dominate public discourse and the body politic.
    The encroachment of sharia? Forget it. I will, unlike Sunny perhaps, always have difficulty with people like Noor or Tariq Ramadan who find it impossible to repudiate the indefensible- religious law. I understand and appreciate what they say to thier muslim audiences but they are confined by their religious identity which seems the overarching component of their identity and have little to say to the rest of us. Thus when Ramadan calls for a moratorium on capital/corporal punishment -but stops way short of delivering his definitive statement on sharia penalties, it is no wonder that French intellectuals look askance at him. The bloke lives in Europe for goodness sake! Noor would do well to take on the Islamists in his own country and the blatant discrimination that exists in his own country (and which profits him) but has yet to do so.

  41. Refresh — on 25th February, 2006 at 10:24 am  

    Mirax, was I patronising? Probably yes. Intentionally? No.

    What is Manichean? GW Bush has been described as that – I thought I understood it – but not sure now.

    Lets get to the heart of the matter – where are we talking about encroachment of Sharia?

    My view on that score is – he without sin. Death penalty? Have always been against it.

    And as for religion playing a part or no part – its extremely short-sighted to think that man has not advanced through religion and spread of it.

    Yes, how its used for power and gain has always been the problem.

    As for muslims being confined to their religious identity – its something I’ve always argued against – and I believe the article points this out.

    In civilised societies – progress is made through consensus and compromise amongst conflicting parties – democratically one hopes.

    Now about this Marxist thing – what’s specifically wrong with Marx’ analysis?

  42. mirax — on 25th February, 2006 at 10:47 am  

    the word manichean is actually a calumny of the prophet Mani’s philosophy (The Gardens of Light by Amin Malouf is a beautiful read, one of my favourite books). It is now used as a synonym for binary/polar, a simplistic struggle of good against evil- which was the sense in which I too used it. If GWB was actually manichean in the true sense of the word, then he’d be equal of the dalai lama or better.

    I will get back to you on the other points later since I have to go out for dinner soon but I appreciate where *you* are coming from and sense your sincerity and genuine frustration.

  43. mirax — on 25th February, 2006 at 11:04 am  

    a very interesting read on GWB/manichaeanism

    http://hnn.us/articles/7202.html

  44. Trofim — on 25th February, 2006 at 11:09 am  

    >> Malaysia, a Muslim country doing quite well by all accounts.

    I believe the muslim population of Malaysia is around 60%? What’s the difference between a “muslim country” and a “country where muslims form a majority of the population”? Same thing? I think so. Not a trivial question. Most people in this country think that a “muslim country” is simply a country where, well, there are quite a lot of muslims. I’d like to disabuse them and let them know that a “muslim country” is one where, at best, everything is skewed in favour of muslims, where there is de facto pro-muslim discrimination – at worst, a country where muslims are free to subjugate and oppress non-muslims. Go on, tell me I’m wrong.

  45. Jay Singh — on 25th February, 2006 at 11:38 am  

    I am still trying to work out how Muslims are being oppressed in Malaysia. Can somebody please tell me how? Is it another example of the manichean Islamist worldview triumphing even in a nation in which the majority of people are Muslim and this soft ideology can be twisted to make even people there feel persecuted?

    The self pity, the paranoia, the victimhood, the persecution complex, the hubris, the pomposity of it all is amazing. But it is time to be called and identified.

  46. mirax — on 25th February, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

    Whoever claimed that muslims are being oppressed in Malaysia?Certainly not Farish Noor -though i do get your point he has even less reason to be bleating about “oppression” thus. It is place which fits Trofim’s decription very nicely:
    where, at best, everything is skewed in favour of muslims, where there is de facto pro-muslim discrimination

  47. Bikhair — on 25th February, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

    Trofim,

    “I’d like to disabuse them and let them know that a “muslim country” is one where, at best, everything is skewed in favour of muslims, where there is de facto pro-muslim discrimination – at worst, a country where muslims are free to subjugate and oppress non-muslims. Go on, tell me I’m wrong.”

    I dont get what a Muslim country is but I presume its one where the Muslims are in a majority. An Islamic country maybe be a different thing. There are few of them. Saudi Arabia and I dont know any other ones.

    If non-Muslims are subjugated in a Muslim country or an Islamic country, this would be a function of the state so back to your point, the government is what determines if it is ISlamic and the people, if it is Muslim.

    Thats just my opinion.

  48. jamal — on 25th February, 2006 at 5:50 pm  

    Jay Singh, I accept your point in part. The thing that needs to remembered is that whether people are “boxed-in” actually or delusionally, they defend by attacking and hide fear with hostility. This is what the essence of such an article tries to combat in the long term. One doesnt have to live under oppression to know this, just as one can live under tyranny but know about democracy. Therefore, to considered Farish Noor’s credibility on this invalied is a mistake.

    I agree that a muslim country and an islamic country are two different things. but based on experiance, i do think that if we are to consider the extent that islamic countries are islamic, then saudi arabia is by no means perfect.

  49. Trofim — on 25th February, 2006 at 9:27 pm  

    >> If non-Muslims are subjugated in a Muslim country or an Islamic country, this would be a function of the state so back to your point, the government is what determines if it is ISlamic and the people, if it is Muslim.

    Bikhair:

    What I’m getting at is that, as far as I can see, there is no such thing as a country – or at least, such a country is a great rarity if there is such a thing – where there is a Muslim majority but where non-muslims are treated as equals. My impression is that whenever muslims reach a critical mass, then they have the whip hand and lord it over others. I think it’s important, because the phrase “muslim country, muslim land, muslim world” just come issuing from people’s mouths without them even reflecting on the meaning of the terms. On the other hand, show me a country where, for instance, a Hindu or Buddhist majority treats muslims as less than equal, where the muslim is the “dhimmi”.

  50. Bikhair — on 26th February, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    Trofim,

    As a consequence of disbelief you are treated differently, uneqaully… Thats the breaks.

  51. Trofim — on 28th February, 2006 at 8:11 am  

    >> As a consequence of disbelief you are treated differently, uneqaully… Thats the breaks.

    Paraphrased: ” you are subjected to discrimination on the grounds of religion”.

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