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  1. Straw Asks Muslims To Remove Veil

    [off topic] Sudden flashback to the 60s. I could almost see the twin fingers spread in that V, the tie-die shirt and faded blue jeans. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled discussion. [/off topic]
  2. Straw Asks Muslims To Remove Veil

    Greetings, Consider all the ways you read facial expression into your conversations. The raised eyebrow, the grin, the grimace, the tensing of cheeks and outthrust chin, the glare, the furrowed forehead, the laugh wrinkles ... these are things we become accustomed to reading when speaking to another face to face. I remember a girlfriend who would not speak to me unless I pulled off my sunglasses. What in one culture may be a sign of modesty can easily be seen in another as an attempt to hide one's true feelings. With that in mind, it is easy to see that one who deliberately hides their face in a conversation can be seen as someone who is attempting to be dishonest. It's a natural reaction. As ever, Jesse
  3. ~ Onward Christian Soldiers! ~

    Greetings, thezman, Wow. This is the third board I've seen highlighting this group in the last week. One atheist, one christian and now one muslim. Fascinating. Could I ask how it came to your attention? As ever, Jesse
  4. Alaikum assalam, Yasnov, I don't believe that's the spirit of the aphorism. It's in line with pointing out how creating blindness is not a cure for blindness. We hope our society will find methods to avoid violent actions, yet if we use violent actions in pursuit of the goal, we risk escalating conflict. In a world of multiple state actors, there is no real way to apply justice across multiple borders. There is no law that constrains all peoples, though in principle we can find goals held in common to perform the same function. As ever, Jesse
  5. Rooter Or Rowter

    (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_dictionary.reference(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/search?q=router"]router[/url] rout‧er [rou-ter] __________ (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_dictionary.reference(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/help/luna/Spell_pron_key.html"]Pronunciation Key[/url] [ou] out, loud, how __________ Definitively, you Brits are pronouncedly deficient. First you've lost your empire, and now you've lost your language skills. Tsk.
  6. "An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind." Greetings again, Ozy, I forget who said it, but don't want to take credit myself. It speaks of a retributive justice heedless of consequences. By the time the vengeance takers have taken vengeance for the vengeance taken for the vengeance taken ... the spiral of responsibility becomes too tangled to unweave. Vengeneance itself is not a reasonable, or moral, goal if it does not lead to justice. In this particular case, "an eye for an eye" would have been entirely inappropriate. It would result in executing the would-be assassin while leaving the covert ops KGB team free of any harm. Worse, the culture of the young man was one of poorly understood antagonism toward the Roman Catholics, and his death would then have likely been misrepresented as a martyrdom, making his execution worse than useless. The true genius of the christian theology is a means for ending the cycle of retributive violence by "turning the other cheek." Of course, in practice, it's not observed, but it's still a brilliant concept — to look for a solution rather than contributing mindlessly to the problem. It was borrowed from other traditions, of course, as there is very little innovation even in newly founded religions. I'm unsure if there is an equivalent modality in sharia. As ever, Jesse
  7. Greetings, Ozymandias, I think I disagree. The "correct" punishment based upon an eye-for-an-eye justice system would indeed be execution, but JPII's example showed how it is possible to accomplish a "better justice." It comes down to the purpose of punishment. Ideally, we would like to see present punishment deter future criminality. So which is better, leaving a dead man behind to be taken up as a symbol among malcontents, or to leave a living, changed man behind to be taken up as a symbol of healing? Is it not obvious that the latter is preferable, a "better justice"? The young man involved in the attempted execution was recruited and primed for the task by the KGB, at a time when the Soviet Union was under great pressure from reformists in the predominately Roman Catholic Poland. It was the time of "Solidarnosc" and Lech Walesa. It was not a muslim-inspired execution, but a cynical play upon ignorant prejudices of an individual muslim. Today there are many similarly unstable muslim majority nations whose leaders see a political advantage in stirring up disharmony based on religious prejudice. From Lebanon to Saudi Arabia, from Afghanistan to Somalia, turmoil inspires leaders to hang an easily identifiable banner around which they can rally their people to their selfish ends. I'm afraid that the language of "kafir" and "ummah" will only lead to suppression of those individual opinions that distinguish a thoughtful assembly from a mob. As ever, Jesse
  8. Refutations Of False Accusations

    Greetings, Hazzul Yaqeen, Is there a list you'd like us to choose from? In point of fact, I've never seen any scientific proof posted that showed anything more than normal understanding of the time, and quite a few that show a poor understanding in comparison to today's better understanding. I have been told that refuting these proofs, even when accurate, is inappropriate on this forum, as these proofs are credited for conversions to Islam. As ever, Jesse
  9. What If Islam Is Wrong?

    Greetings, It's not a bad question, purplerain. While there's some ambiguity in what's meant by "Is Islam true?", the belief structure itself implies an ethical code for adherents. Without pre-empting your question, I think if it was rephrased, the answers would be illuminating. If there never was an Allah, if there never was a Muhammad, if there never was a qur'an ... if there was only an ethical code that just so happened to reflect the principles of the qur'an, would it be worthwhile for humans to follow that code? I'm betting that muslims would say yes, and in that sense, the "truth" of Islam is probably irrelevant to muslims. I would take this question further, though, and ask if it is preferable for a non-believer to practice the moral code of Islam even if they do not believe. Independent of eternal punishments and rewards, is the sunnah of Muhammad worthwhile for humans? As ever, Jesse
  10. The Rise Of Islam Will Continue

    Greetings, Jamineb, Parts of the christian church reformed, but the tendencies remain. Religious intolerance is still quite prevalent in the US bible belt. I cannot openly speak of my disbelief in gods here without repercussions in both my social and business lives. In Europe, christianity is no longer more than a social practice for the majority. In the US, our constitution is structured to prevent christian coreligionists from battling for supremacy. Because they are in the grips of a civil war, and the population is almost entirely muslim. The killing in Iraq is due to the lack of any central authority sufficiently strong to provide law and order. In these cases, citizens will naturally band together for protection, grouping along whatever lines are convenient. Some of the lines represent the major religious divide in Islam, some are more narrowly sectarian, some ethnic or tribal. There is a power vacuum in the country, and naturally people will struggle to fill it. Iraq would not be presently tearing itself to pieces if we, the US, had not broken it. This was the obvious outcome if we did not immediately create stability in the country, clearly stated by Shinseki for the armed forces and Powell for the state department. The neoconservative cabal at the center of the administration would not listen to practical advice that disagreed with their ideological presuppositions. When any organization fails to address reality, it is easily predicted that their actions will prove catastrophic, and such is the case in Iraq. In a small sense, I am glad that we've been given the chance as a nation to learn the bankruptcy of an isolationist imperialism. In the larger sense, I am appalled that so soon after a practical demonstration in Vietnam that killing millions does not lead to stability, we are once again stumbling into the same error. Had our president and his closest advisors not used their own connections to escape that conflict, I have little doubt that our foreign policy would have been better implemented. The present conflict will almost certainly cost us thousands of more war dead, and tens of thousands critically injured. In the process, another hundred thousand Iraqis will certainly die, and millions will be scarred in other ways. This is a lost generation for Iraq. As ever, Jesse
  11. The Rise Of Islam Will Continue

    (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.al-Islam(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/quran/"]Online Qur'an (3 translations)[/url] (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/"]Searchable Qur'an and Hadith[/url] ... or you could browse what google has to offer ... (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.google(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/search?q=english+translations+of+the+ur%27an&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8%5b/url"]Google search[/url] As ever, Jesse
  12. The Rise Of Islam Will Continue

    Greetings, Remirol Nacnud, I think you'd have some difficulties getting Islam to recognize the beliefs of the (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Nation_of_Islam#Beliefs_and_thology"]Nation of Islam[/url] founded during the civil rights movement. Their beliefs are, well, let's just say a bit unorthodox. Here's a link to their main page ... (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.noi(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/"]NOI[/url]. As ever, Jesse
  13. The Rise Of Islam Will Continue

    Greetings again, sister bluesky, Thanks for the links, but I've read the qur'an. I keep links to translations of most widespread sacred texts in my bookmarks. In addition, I have links to the USC/MSA searchable databases of the major hadith collections, and have used them many times. The point of my earlier post wasn't to attack your faith, but to warn you against this Adnan Oktar who writes under the pseudonym of Harun Yahya. Despite this, I find you've linked him yet again. I don't know how to say this any more clearly. Harun Yahya is a liar. Please don't link to him if you wish to retain credibility. He misrepresents science, scientists, and the beliefs of scientists so regularly that he has become little more than a blot on your religion to anyone looking on from the outside. You do no favor to your fellow adherents by continuing to popularize his work. For your own sake, and for the sake of those muslims I do consider thoughtful, muslims I count among my friends, end this practice. He is a corrupter of your faith. He is an innovator of religion. He freely mixes the words of your qur'an with the words of fringe christian creationists from the US in his videos and presentations. Whatever truths may lay in the qur'an become defiled for me when they come from his lips. __________ I do not know where you live, but it would be well if you familiarized yourself with US culture before speaking of religious conversions here. We are a breeding ground of the most polyglot of religious traditions imaginable. At any one time there are hundreds if not thousands of bizarre religious crazes springing up around the country. Claiming converts to Islam in America without quantifying your statistics is simply laughable to those of us who've lived here all our lives. We roll our eyes at such claims, because everybody makes them. If I had a nickel for every time I heard some odd sect claiming they were the fastest growing in America I'd have retired decades ago a wealthy man. Show me the numbers and we'll talk. Yet you contradict yourself. You claim first that we should not judge Islam by individual muslims of today, and then go on to a list a whole slew of them as if we were to forget what you'd just advised us. My memory is not that short. Either they can be used as examples or they cannot. In fact, as I said before and say again, it is only by considering whole populations of muslims that we can make any reasonable, any rational claims about the value of your religious beliefs. Are muslims, on average, better educated? More law-abiding? Kinder to animals? Less prejudiced? These things can be measured, and though I do not know if anyone has gone to the trouble, I wouldn't be surprised if such studies were available. What you have offered, and I have repeatedly declined, is called "anecdotal data", exactly useless for evaluating general claims. At a minimum, in the scope of this thread, if you wish to support the idea that Islam should be allowed to rise freely, it would be well to show that as a religion it creates better people among its adherents. Certainly, if Islam does not work, in the sense of making a better person, for the average muslim, that is sufficient reason to doubt its ability to work for the average nonmuslim as well. As ever, Jesse
  14. The Rise Of Islam Will Continue

    Salam alaikum, bluesky, Forgive me if the followng distresses you, but let me first say I do not fault you for repeating what seems good news without checking. None of us like to look too closely at gifts. But I have encounted this author before, and it is necessary to point out the facts, so that you will not again be misled by a man merely because he calls himself a fellow adherent of your religion. As you say, no single muslim represents Islam. And similarly I would add that no counterfeit counts as evidence against a real gem. It's difficult for any objective observer to read past the byline of the article you've posted. Harun Yahya's reputation for dishonesty is simply too great to credit anything he writes. The last time I visited his site, he had a splash banner claiming there was never a stone age. Such ignorance is not easily excusable when promulgated so openly. It is not credible that he is unaware of the vast evidences against such a claim. A short glance at his text shows his usual methods at play. Quote-mining and misrepresentation drown his text. One example: "... the Middle East Media Research Institute reported that after 9/11, 34,000 Americans converted to Islam." Perhaps the casual observe would not know that MEMRI is one of the most biased and bigoted ultra-Zionist organizations in existence, but those of us who follow these issues recognize them immediately. Such a claim originating from MEMRI is simply incredible. And sure enough, a quick google finds the reference that must have been cited. (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.memri(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/bin/articles.cgi?Area=sd&ID=SP30101#_edn3"]Terror in America (26) Muslim American Leaders: A Wave of Conversion to Islam in the U.S. Following September 11[/url] So it wasn't MEMRI reporting, it was a citation from Al-Ayyam reportedly citing a quote by a poorly organized and marginally informed muslim organization for the Saudi press. It was rank propaganda. MEMRI reports this for no other reason than because it is an outrageous claim by a muslim likely to create negative reactions, MEMRI's standard fare. They've made their reputation by finding audiotapes of the most hateful sermons preached in the middle east and publicizing them as if they were the common belief of muslims. This citation in particular was intended to provoke anti-muslim outrage, not as a concession to the growth of Islam as Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya) writes. This is a classic example of quote-mining, that is, taking words actually written and placing them so far out of context as to reverse their meaning. As I said, I have absolutely no respect for Adnan Oktar. His dishonesties are so common that there is no point in mincing words. He is a liar. __________ Please allow me to respond to part of your post to another. I am pleased to number many muslims among my friends, but I must disagree with your postscript. We who are nonmuslims justly judge Islam by watching muslims. Not by any individual muslim perhaps, but the broad actions of the group are certainly open to examination. Are muslims, as a group, less likely to steal, to murder, to commit crimes in general? Do muslims, as a group, represent their share of academic advance? These are things that can be measured, and considered against the idealized claims of Islam. A religion with over a billion adherents cannot hide behind theoretical ideals of what Islam "should" be. It is what it is. And it will be carried forward by real, live, flesh-and-blood muslims as it has been carried onward from Muhammad. We cannot see the Allah you claim guides your religion behind the muslims who claim they are guided. Many of us doubt the existence of such a god, or any god at all for that matter. But we do not doubt your existence, the one who writes these words. And so long as Allah, if he exists, is not willing to present his religion to us, we must rely on seeing its reflection in you. The qur'an, for whatever benefit it might have, is only as good as it is practiced. The (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Weimar_constitution"]Weimar Constitution[/url] was widely acclaimed as a model of what democratic form should be. It was "on paper, the most liberal and democratic document of its kind the twentieth century had ever seen ... full of ingenious and admirable devices which seemed to guarantee the working of an almost flawless democracy," as related by William Shirer in his monumental work, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". In practice, it proved insufficient to guard against its subversion. As ever, Jesse
  15. A Thought

    Greetings, Ironically enough, the term "anti-semitic" as it's commonly used, is anti-semitic. Semites include hebrews, arabs and assyrians. When restricted to jews, it becomes a form of discrimination. It's difficult to accept the theft of lands that went into creating today's state of israel. Worse, it is clear that the policy during most of the occupation was directed toward an urge toward "Eretz" israel, the reclamation of the biblical borders. I believe that policy has ended, has been forced to end by the raw facts of demographic change. The israelis cannot outnumber their neighbors in the occupied territories. This is what lies at the heart of their decisions to relinquish the territories, I am sure. At the same time, it's difficult to deny they've made the desert bloom in a way that no other peoples have accomplished. Their form of government, while less than egalitarian toward their arab citizens, is still far advanced in comparison to its neighbors on almost any measure of human rights as measured by organizations I trust. Looking back at the history of Palestine since the time of the formation of the modern state of israel, there is a continual trend of settlement offers of lesser and lesser quality for the former natives. The absolute demand for the removal of the state of israel has proven costly for the people it is intended to support. In this, Ahmadinejad is playing a losing hand. His help is no help at all, except to a bootless pride. I keep wanting to compare the occupied palestinians under israel with the occupied state of India during the period of British colonialism. In place of the selfless and self-sufficient Gandhi, they had the selfish and grasping Arafat. In place of nonviolence, they have human bombs. And in place of the gathering support of world opinion, they have made themselves a perpetual pariah. The India they created is headed by sikhs and muslims and hindus working together, capable of maintaining order and national unity despite bombs going off in their very parliament. The palestinian territories from which israel withdraws are used as launching pads for rocket attacks. It is a wonder to me that a people cannot see that the path of violence against israel trains them only to violence against themselves. The ends they think, will justify the means, when in fact the means become the ends. A culture of destruction pitted against a culture of creation. The physical advantage is with the forces of destruction, as it will always be easier to break than to build. But the psychological advantage will always lie with those who wish to better what they already have. I do not know where justice lies for these peoples, or even if justice is possible, but I am sure that if a better justice can be created, it will not be built until the peoples learn to value what they can create in life more than what they can be rewarded with in death. As ever, Jesse