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Islamophobia And Religious Extremism Feed Off One Another

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Hi Paradise Lost and Sunnymaboy

 

I can’t say that I know much of French political history, I’ve never been there and I’ve never studied it but as far as I can see that does not change much here.  Yes it sounds like minorities in France are getting a bad deal and that should be addressed, we’ve seen a little bit of that here but the political party that arose to drive it was defeated by popular vote at the election so the will of the Australian people was made clear.  Not to say we have a perfect record, far from it, but we try to be fair and reasonable and we are overall very accepting of diversity.

 

We often see the defence in legal cases that the accused is less culpable because he / she had a terrible childhood.  I’m afraid I have no time for that defence.  Sure it may explain how someone came to the position they are in but it does not in any way excuse it.  Many great people had horrible childhoods and rose above it so recognizing they had a horrible childhood or life is not a sentence just an observation.

 

Many people throughout history have lived in really deplorable conditions but no matter how bad those conditions were that does not in any way excuse killing commentators even if they insult you.

 

As for the level of insult that you’ve talked about I must admit I just can’t see it.  I understand you feel it, I’ve heard it from quite a few here before but look at it from my point of view and see if you can understand how that looks.  I’ve tried to explain this here before and made little to no progress.  Imagine walking down the street past the church on the corner, it has a carved image of “Mickey Mouse” hanging out the front and you are invited in to worship the mouse.  How would you feel about the people inside?  Surely you and I can agree that Mickey is fictional and those inside are deluded to exactly the extent that they believe otherwise.  There’s no actual substance to him despite how fervently his followers may claim otherwise.  Now apply that same perspective to your own viewpoint.  For an atheist that’s how Christianity, Islam and the likes of Scientology appear.  Now imagine someone being killed for making fun of Mickey Mouse!

 

I agree that you should not purposefully insult anyone but I have no problem with the idea of insulting ideas especially ideas that appear on very close examination to be fictional.  I don’t believe anyone should ever die for insulting an idea no matter how devoutly those who hold that idea do so.

 

We’ve seen, throughout history, that Christianity has driven violence in many forms but that has, for the moment, settled down.  Today we seem to be seeing Islam driving violence.  Maybe it is, as you say, a distorted view, an incorrect view of Islam but Islam is in there and without it this latest atrocity in Paris would never have happened.  Islam as a whole must be held at least partly accountable for that don’t you think?  Yes I understand that most Muslims are good people and most would stand against this sort of action but something in there drives some people to this sort of action.  Not alone, there are many other factors as you’ve pointed out but Islam is a common thread to many such actions in recent years and for that it should be held up to scrutiny.

 

Russell

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Hi Russell

 

you are totally contradicting yourself when you say you do not like when people use factors such as their childhood/history for explaining how they did something yet you somehow allow Islam to be explained as a factor for what people do. You say that people who have had bad childhoods, not all of them turn out bad. Well this is the exact same for Muslims! Not all Muslims turn out bad just because they believe in Islam. So on what basis did you come to the conclusion that Islam can be considered a significant factors in determining those peoples actions as opposed to any other factor (be it their gender, nationality, career status, age, history etc) ? 

 

Besides the historical factors of Muslims in France are not in the past, they effect the present. I don't mean to sound condescending, but perhaps you should study a bit about this for more of an understanding of Muslim-French relations. It is quite an important part of the picture. 

 

You still keep saying what these people did can't be excused which people on this thread have agreed with you about. But you just don't want to accept that certain conditions could have influenced their behavior, besides them being a Muslim. 

 

Mickey Mouse is a bad analogy. Mickey Mouse, as you said, is a completely fictional character. Muhammad pbuh on the other hand, whether you believe he is a prophet or not, was a person who did exist at one point in history. He is not a fictional character. 

 

No I do not agree that Islam should be held accountable. I am not apologetic to anyone over what happened last week. I do not sympathise with the career these people chose and I do not believe they are heroes of free speech. I do not agree with what happened because it has only served to make their magazine more famous. I do not feel ashamed to be a Muslim and I do not see why any Muslim should have to apologise for what happened last week. I do think Muslim religious leaders do need to make their views clear that it is not in the best interests in of Islam to do what those people do though. However, I do not think these views need to be highlighted in order to please non Muslims, but rather make it clear to Muslims who may be confused about what is going on in the world. Everyday atrocities are happening all over the world, committed by non Muslims yet they do not have to apologise for it. I do not see Christians being blamed for the massacres being committed by the hands of christian militia in Central African Republic. I do not see Christians apologising for the deaths in Iraq of innocent civilians - even though George Bush said that God had told him to end the tyranny in Iraq. I do not see Jews being held accountable for what happened last summer to the Palestinians. 

 

The beauty of Islam is that no human is held account for the actions of another. So don't expect a lot of Muslims to feel they are accountable or that their religion is accountable. These type of attitudes only further turn Muslims away from dialogue with non Muslims because they feel they are being blamed for the actions of a small minority and that somehow they are responsible for those peoples actions. 

 

It is not Islam that needs to be held accountable. The fact that the majority of Muslims live normal lives without killing anyone in all their life is significant. You cannot just brush away that. The distortions of Islamic ideology need to be debated and not by non Muslims who come with their prejudices of what Islam is. I welcome however the inter faith dialogue by people who actually want to work together with other faiths. Muslims need to be educated more about their religion and should enter into debates with those who are distorting Islam. 

 

Since 9/11 in particular Islam has been attacked as a problem. It is put under certain terms like religious extremism and fundamentalism etc but the fact is that many behind the scenes believe Islam is the problem, not just the extreme elements. They do not mind if you are a ''moderate'' Muslim. Moderate Muslim to them is someone who doesn't cover their hair, someone who drinks alcohol, someone who dresses like them - you know basically if you are like them. But if you somehow visibly seem Muslim, they have a problem with you. These are the views of sections of society like the neo cons in America, the National Front in France and Pegida in Germany. They want the complete elimination of Islam. And that is just not going to happen. And as long as policy towards terrorism is based on the idea that Islam is the enemy, well it is never going to succeed. It is a complete simplification of the whole issue. 

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How Islamophobia is dangerous and fuels extreme ideologies of Islam?

 

These are some excerpts from an opinion piece by Sharif Nashashibi, a journalist for Al Jazeera. Full article available here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/01/Islam-free-speech-what-so-funny-201511345039925211.html

 

The media seems reluctant to investigate the causes of radicalism that lead to such attacks, as if doing so implies justification. Thus, there is little discussion about Muslim alienation in France and elsewhere in Europe. The result is a simplistic discourse of Islam versus free speech. The latter is naively portrayed as absolute and non-negotiable, emboldening racist elements of society when European far-right sentiment is increasing.

 

Also largely absent, though crucial, is acknowledgement of the double standards in applying free speech. Charlie Hebdo fired one of its employees over anti-Semitic content. Similarly, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten said soon after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005 that it would not publish cartoons offending Christians and Jews. In my 10 years as head of a British media watchdog, it has become clear that Muslims are often described in derogatory ways that are unacceptable regarding other communities. The effect that the right to offend has on minorities compared with wider society is not addressed. A minority facing discrimination and disenfranchisement will feel existentially threatened, and be potentially radicalised, when the majority exercises its right to offend. The status of society at large is not at risk when the situation is reversed.

 

They demand that Muslims apologise for and condemn acts that they have neither committed nor condoned. "I want real Muslims to … make it crystal clear that these terrorists don't act in their name," wrote Piers Morgan in an article titled "If I can accept that the Paris murderers aren't real Muslims why won't the MUSLIM world say so too?" Abundant condemnation from Muslims suggests that Morgan and others are either ignorant or refuse to listen. Similarly puzzling is the context in which Islam is mentioned in relation to the Paris shootings. The attackers' religion is integral to their descriptions. The same cannot be said of murdered policeman Ahmed Merabet or Lassana Bathily, who saved shoppers in a kosher supermarket. Is someone's Muslim faith only relevant in a negative context?

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Hi Paradise Lost

 

Obviously I disagree with your assessment of my position.  If I stand in front of a judge and say, “you should be lenient on me because I had a horrible childhood”, that is not the same thing as pointing out that bad childhoods produce more bad people than good ones.  You can work on the source of the problem, bad childhoods or Islam, without giving the perpetrators any leniency just because of their bad childhood or Islamic upbringing and indoctrination.  I believe you must still hold these people 100% accountable for their actions even if they are Islamic or had a bad childhood while at the same time you can recognise the problems caused by bad childhoods and Islam and work to mitigate them.

 

Yes I agree that not all Muslims turn out bad, most turn out very well as far as I can tell as do most people who have bad childhoods but that does not discount Islam as one of the factors, a very significant one in this case, in the production of such bad people and it does not mean we should not look into it to see what should be changed to minimize the harm that it had a significant part in creating.

 

In this case the perpetrators themselves declared Islam and the insults these men ‘committed’ against it as the driving cause behind their actions.  That would not have been the case if they were not Muslims obviously.  It would not have occurred if there were no such thing as Islam.

 

No I have no problem accepting that many factors when into making them what they were, I’m sure they had bad childhoods and quite possibly had to live in ghetto’s and were treated as second class citizens but the cartoonists they targeted didn’t ridicule that, they ridiculed their religion at least in all the cartoons I’ve seen so far and the perpetrators direct statements claimed that that was their motivation regardless of all the other factors that may have gone into making them what they were.

 

No I think Mickey Mouse is an apt analogy.  You may not like it, no one else here has liked it, but that does not change the fact that we are agreed he is fictional.  Muhammad may well have existed as a man, he may even have said some of the things attributed to him though that is more doubtful I’d have to suggest, but I find the man inspired by a god to create the quran idea just as fictional as Mickey Mouse and so the analogy is a worthwhile talking point if you will consider for a moment what it really means.  You don’t have to like it just understand that from my side of the fence that’s how it appears and see if you can understand what it looks like from here.  Walk a mile in my shoes as it were with this analogy as a starting point.

 

Yes I gathered you do not want Islam held accountable for the actions of these men and I don’t suggest that idea in a legalistic sense, no one should be suing Islam or it’s organizations for this, rather I blame Islam for being a party to the creation of these men in the same vein as I blame the catholic church for their part in the creation of paedophile priests.  Neither organization directly tried to create these people but something about their teachings apparently encouraged it and the result is harm to other human beings.  Without either teaching I suggest less harm would have occurred in this world and that has to be a good thing.  Certainly it is a question we need to consider at the very least.

 

You don’t agree with what happened “because it has only served to make their magazine more famous”.  Is that really what you feel?  I condemn this, as any civilized person should, because people were murdered.  Yes it failed to achieve the aims these men had in mind in that it made the magazine more famous but that is irrelevant here.  Men were murdered so the action should be condemned.

 

I agree that Muslims in general should not have to apologize; the men who need to apologize are dead and so unable to do so.  Innocent Muslims should consider what part their belief system played in creating that murder and consider what changes could have prevented it.

 

Beyond that I agree that the part played by any religious philosophy in all of the atrocities you mentioned should be considered.  Would the world be a better place if Christianity were different or absent?  Would the world be a better place if Islam were different or absent etc.  I don’t hold any of those positions above rational consideration, they should all answer for the atrocities that they created to the extent that they were part of creating them.  Of course Christian’s murder for many reasons unrelated to Christianity in which case their religious views are irrelevant.  Muslims too kill for reasons unrelated to Islam though not in this case.  Where the motivations were not religious, as in the recent case in Sydney of a Muslim nut case who murdered two people in a store siege, they are just murderers and should be treated as such but sometimes their religion is a driver and that should be made clear and for that the religion should answer.

 

I agree that no Muslim not directly related to this case should feel accountable, that’s foolish but I disagree on Islam itself.  If something about Islam drives some minority of its adherents in whole or in part to violence then maybe there’s something wrong with Islam and for that it should be held up to scrutiny and to account.

 

Yes 9/11 was an example of what I’m talking about.  Maybe those men had Islam all wrong, maybe they are not true Muslims because of their actions but something about Islam lead them to believe otherwise and to commit atrocities because of those beliefs.  Maybe it’s as simple as a radical subset of Islam that needs to be whipped out or maybe the problem is more deep seated.  That is the sort of thing that needs to be considered here.

 

So the crux of my position then is that Christianity as an ideology plays, or has played, a part in the creation of paedophiles, Islam as an ideology has played and apparently is still playing a part in creating terrorists according to the terrorists themselves and that needs to change.  That doesn’t mean that both faiths and many others don’t have positive elements, logically that could even mean that the majority of Islam is a positive force in this world but there is still a component of it that leads some to terrorist acts alone or in concert with other factors.  That all needs to be considered and worked upon.  The big question I always have to ask is, would those actions have occurred if Islam did not exist? Obviously from the statements of those involved these latest atrocities would not have occurred without Islam.

 

Now on to your original point, Islamaphobia as a problem.  I agree.  Islam is part of the problem here but it is probably only a small minority of its adherents who appear to be susceptible and it may well only be a splinter of Islam rather than main stream Islam which is responsible.  In the end the majority of Muslims are good people and being scared of them is simply foolish and unhelpful but that does not mean Islam should not be held accountable for its roll in the many terrorist atrocities we have witnessed over the year just as any other faith system should be held accountable for the negative consequences that arise from it.  I’d apply the same to non-faith ideologies such as atheism or humanism too by the way.  No human idea should be beyond scrutiny to see if it contributes to harm and so should be modified or discarded.

 

Russell

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The hypocrisy continues...


 



 


God willing things will get better for the Muslims in France and all across Europe.


Edited by A-H

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I have seen these conspiracy theories - and I just wonder why some people must believe everything is a conspiracy. Surely there are political structures behind it and certain political parties are twisting this to gain from it. But the fact that some people think the secret intelligence services are involved in everything is beyond me.

 

By the way that policeman who was shot was a Muslim. 

 

[at] The Doc I must point out that the hadith about the jewish lady is considered to be either a weak/fabricated  hadith-  I don't know the history of where it came from but you can find various things online about it. However yes there are many hadiths which prove the prophet (pbuh) had a good character. 

I won't call myself a CT- but I think there are similar situations that happen (and where Muslims are blamed) where we only see what we are shown.

 

Take a look at this video of the 'shooters'- (if it is still available as I post).

Clealry the shot to the policeman hits the curb, there is NO BLOOD (if he had been shot in the head as was reported- at that distance his head would have exploded).

 

http://beforeitsnews.com/events/2015/01/paris-shooting-appears-fake-falseflag-2433538.html

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Thanks for that video A-H, so good to see a different perspective on this that is not all about Charlie and is not a conspiracy theory. The report was spot on. This man Chris she interviewed couldn't have said it any better 'state terror is spawning terror'.

 

Also totally agree about the people who attended the parade. Netanyahu, the biggest terrorist of all - what was his purpose? Well of course after the rally he showed his political objectives by asking the Jews of France and the Jews of Europe to come live in israel. It is clear there is an anti Islamic agenda going on. 

Here's the full list of these hypocrites attending this so called stand for freedom:

 

1. King Abdullah of Jordan, which last year sentenced a Palestinian journalist to 15 years in prison with hard labour (Refer:http://www.jpost.com/.../Jordanian-Palestinian-who-writes...)

2. Prime Minister of Davutoglu of Turkey, which imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world (Refer :http://www.theguardian.com/.../18/journalist-safety-turkey)

3. Prime Minister Netanyahu of israel, whose forced killed 7 journalists in Gaza last yr (second highest after Syria) (Refer : http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-barometer-journalists...)

4. Foreign Minister Shoukry of Egypt, which as well as AJ staff has detained journalist Shawkan for around 500 days (Refer :http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/.../photojournalist.../)

5. Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia, which last year jailed a journalist for "insulting a government servant" (Refer : http://en.rsf.org/russie-journalist-arrested-after-17-09...)

6. Foreign Minister Lamamra of Algeria, which has detained journalist Abdessami Abdelhai for 15 months without charge (Refer :http://en.rsf.org/algerie-journalist-held-without-trial...)

7. The Foreign Minister of the UAE, which in 2013 held a journo incommunicado for a month on suspicion of MB links (Refer :https://cpj.org/.../uae-authorities-release-egyptian...)

8. Prime Minister Jomaa of Tunisia, which recently jailed blogger Yassine Ayan for 3 years for "defaming the army" (refer :http://www.amnesty.org/.../tunisia-blogger-jailed...)

9. The PMs of Georgia and Bulgaria, both of whom have a record of attacking & beating journos (http://en.rsf.org/bulgarie-police-attack-journalists... &http://en.rsf.org/georgie-at-least-a-dozen-journalists-27...)

10. The Attorney General of the US, where police in Ferguson have recently detained and assaulted WashPost reporters (Refer :http://www.washingtonpost.com/.../washington-post.../)

 

11. Prime Minister Samaras of Greece, where riot police beat &

injured two journalists at a protest in June last year (Refer : http://en.rsf.org/greece-riot-police-injure-woman-13-06...)

12. Sec-Gen of NATO, who are yet to be held to account for deliberately bombing and killing 16 Serbian journos in '99 (Refer :http://www.amnesty.org/.../no-justice-victims-nato...

13. President Keita of Mali, where journalists are expelled for covering human rights abuses (Refer : https://cpj.org/.../malian-army-expels-french-journalist...)

14. The Foreign Minister of Bahrain, 2nd biggest jailer of journos in the world per capita (they also torture them) (Refer : http://cpj.org/.../attacks-on-the-press-in-2013-bahrain.php)

15. Sheikh Mohamed Ben Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, which jailed a man for 15 ys for writing the Jasmine poem (refer :http://www.aljazeera.com/.../qatar-court-upholds-sentence...)

16. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who had several journalists jailed for insulting him in 2013 (refer : http://www.jpost.com/.../Palestinian-journalist-jailed...)

17. Prime Minister Cerar of Slovenia, which sentenced a blogger to six months in prison for "defamation" in 2013 (refer : http://en.rsf.org/slovenia-blogger-gets-six-months-in...)

18. Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland, where "blasphemy" is considered a criminal offense (Refer : http://en.rsf.org/ireland-making-blasphemy-an-offence...)

19. Prime Minister Kopacz of Poland, which raided a magazine to seize recordings embarrassing for the ruling party (Refer : http://en.rsf.org/poland-violating-confidentiality-of-20...)

20. PM Cameron of the UK, where authorities destroyed documents obtained by The Guardian and threatened prosecution (Refer :http://en.rsf.org/uk-government-s-culpable-20-08-2013...)

21. Saudi ambassador to France. The Saudis publicly flogged blogger [at]raif_badawi for "insulting Islam" on Friday (Refer :http://www.theguardian.com/.../saudi-blogger-first-lashes...)

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French comedian Dieudonne has been arrested for

allegedly defending terrorism in a Facebook comment referencing last

week's attacks in Paris.

 

 

                        

        

                            

                            

 

 

 

 

                             

                            

                                

                                    

                                        

 

Prosecutors opened a case against the notorious comedian on

Monday after he posted the comment which appeared to sympathise with

the Islamist gunmen who left 17 people dead.

                                    

                                

                            

                                

                                    

                                        

 

Playing on the slogan "Je suis Charlie", the comedian wrote: "Tonight, as far as I'm concerned, I feel like Coulibaly."

 

So what happened to 'free speech' here.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1407536/dieudonne-held-over-charlie-hebdo-facebook-post

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Hey doc , do you know anything about weapons , assault rifles etc ?  If you did you would know that AK47s an assault rifle shoot bullets at very high velocities . A shot to the head at close range, if indeed it was to the head as you mention, in  the killing of the French policeman on the ground , would not cause his head to 'explode " as you put it . The bullet would likey pass through his body and ricochet off the cement pavement .

 If that is your basis for thinking that video was somehow "staged " or "falsified " then you are basing your conclusion on erroneous information .

 But in addition , what would be the reason to fake such an action ? And who would be behind it ? The French Government ? The Jews ?  A false flag operation ? To what end ?

 And what of the policeman's brother , was he paid to cry false tears ?  As for the Jews , the only part they played in this whole debacle is that a number of them were murdered in addition to French non-Jews - but all Frenchmen .

  But you are not alone as I've heard of rumblings from the French -Muslim community of the same sort of "conspiracy theories " .

 

What's up with that ?

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Hi Paradiselost

 

I’ve been reading and listening to many people argue that Islam is a religion of peace and the men who perpetrate acts such as the murders in Paris are not “true Muslims”.  Now that makes sense, Christianity shares many similar repugnant passages in its holy texts as the quarn does, passages that endorse and even encourage violence but violence among Christians is, today at least, uncommon on religious grounds.  I’m not sure the same can be said for Muslims but I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt.  Now I have found some disturbing statistics that contradict that position and I’d like your take on it.

 

The first is a survey of Muslims asking them if they believe that death is an appropriate punishment for people who leave Islam.  In Jordan and Egypt over 80% of Muslim respondents answered yes!

 

The second was a survey of Muslims asking them if murdering a woman who engages in premarital sex or adultery was an appropriate punishment to protect her family honour.  60% of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan agreed that death was an appropriate punishment.

 

* - The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society. 2013. http://pewrsr.ch/19aHxGF (posted April 30, 2013) and http://pewrsr.ch/1zg1Yxh

 

In both cases there are a lot more countries who polled very highly in these surveys.  Please read the original articles linked for more details.

 

Sorry but how can you claim that Islam is a peaceful religion and these atrocities are the acts of false Muslims when violence is so clearly and strongly supported among ordinary Muslims in so many places in the world?

 

Many of these ideas are encapsulated in Sharia law.  In at least 14 countries around the world over 90% of Muslims believe that Sharia Law should be either the only law or at least a major guide to the law of the land.  Do they not know what Sharia Law says?

 

Russell

Edited by russell

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There is a great conundrum here "Islamophobia " does not feed religious extremism , however violent acts by religious extremists fuel Islamophobia . And perhaps "Islamophobia " is an inappropriate term , for most people who you would call Islamophobes ,  do not fear Muslims. they revile them due to terrorist acts , they mistrust them due to terrorist acts , which are committed in the name of Allah .

 You can have a thousand Islamic apologists come out and say , as they usually do , "this is not the true Islam " or " these terrorists are not true Muslims "  but people in general would not believe that , and that will prove to be a bad thing for Muslims , because mistrust will grow just as no doubt terrorist attacks will continue .

  There are over 20 groups of radical Muslims , that claim an affinity with ISIL , and that further exacerbates the present situation .So mistrust grows , terror attacks continue .

 If you think you will be able to apply logic and reason to this situation , think again , and look around at the world . I have no solution , nor any suggestion . Perhaps there is none , and the inevitable war between Islam and the west will come about , one can only guess .

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Hey doc , do you know anything about weapons , assault rifles etc ?  If you did you would know that AK47s an assault rifle shoot bullets at very high velocities . A shot to the head at close range, if indeed it was to the head as you mention, in  the killing of the French policeman on the ground , would not cause his head to 'explode " as you put it . The bullet would likey pass through his body and ricochet off the cement pavement .

 If that is your basis for thinking that video was somehow "staged " or "falsified " then you are basing your conclusion on erroneous information .

 But in addition , what would be the reason to fake such an action ? And who would be behind it ? The French Government ? The Jews ?  A false flag operation ? To what end ?

 And what of the policeman's brother , was he paid to cry false tears ?  As for the Jews , the only part they played in this whole debacle is that a number of them were murdered in addition to French non-Jews - but all Frenchmen .

  But you are not alone as I've heard of rumblings from the French -Muslim community of the same sort of "conspiracy theories " .

 

What's up with that ?

I am no weapon expert- that is true.

 

However from images I have seen (if you google it there are pictures and videos as to how a bullet from this gun would act out when fired at close range).

The guy on the floor, there is no site of blood - even after the shooting?! Not a drop- that doesn't make sense, we get blood from a small cut and this guy is supposedly shot in the head at close range- and not a drop :cry:

 

As for what I think, there are some people saying this was a false flag - who is behind it I don't know, but does seem strange as some things need looking at or examined.

Even the ID found in the car- when the terrorists have come with their faces covered and planned a get away??

 

The dead policeman's brother- again, who knows? I hate to speculate or say he was carrying out 'his part' of the act..

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Hello russell, 

 

 

Obviously I disagree with your assessment of my position.  If I stand in front of a judge and say, “you should be lenient on me because I had a horrible childhood”, that is not the same thing as pointing out that bad childhoods produce more bad people than good ones.  You can work on the source of the problem, bad childhoods or Islam, without giving the perpetrators any leniency just because of their bad childhood or Islamic upbringing and indoctrination.  I believe you must still hold these people 100% accountable for their actions even if they are Islamic or had a bad childhood while at the same time you can recognise the problems caused by bad childhoods and Islam and work to mitigate them.

 

 
Who said anything about being lenient? In Islam we have a thing called justice, and you cannot escape justice with excerpts from your childhood. However, what I am saying is that there are certain factors which are making it easier for people to feel alienated from society and go to fight abroad. These factors are something which we must look at and find solutions to, not because we want to be lenient but because we want to prevent it from happening again.
  

 

In this case the perpetrators themselves declared Islam and the insults these men ‘committed’ against it as the driving cause behind their actions.  That would not have been the case if they were not Muslims obviously.  It would not have occurred if there were no such thing as Islam.

 

 
I have already accepted that a certain Islamic ideology has played a part in their actions. I think it would be ignorant to completely ignore that. But I asked you why is it that this factor is more important than any other factor. I ask you why when George Bush said God told him to save Iraq, why was the war in Iraq which led to the deaths of so many innocent people, why was Christianity not held to account? 
These type of people like to be seen as the spokes people of a whole religion. Why do we continue to give them their platform and allow them to be the spokes people of a religion, when so many Muslims do not share the same ideology. 
  

 

No I think Mickey Mouse is an apt analogy.  You may not like it, no one else here has liked it, but that does not change the fact that we are agreed he is fictional.  Muhammad may well have existed as a man, he may even have said some of the things attributed to him though that is more doubtful I’d have to suggest, but I find the man inspired by a god to create the quran idea just as fictional as Mickey Mouse and so the analogy is a worthwhile talking point if you will consider for a moment what it really means.  You don’t have to like it just understand that from my side of the fence that’s how it appears and see if you can understand what it looks like from here.  Walk a mile in my shoes as it were with this analogy as a starting point.

 

 
Russell, in the beginning of the conversation I thought that you are a rational person. However, how can we have a proper conversation if you doubt that Muhammad pbuh even existed. We understand that you do not believe he was a prophet and you do not believe the quran is the word of God, but do you really have to go down the road of, he is a fictional character.
 

 

Yes I gathered you do not want Islam held accountable for the actions of these men and I don’t suggest that idea in a legalistic sense, no one should be suing Islam or it’s organizations for this, rather I blame Islam for being a party to the creation of these men in the same vein as I blame the catholic church for their part in the creation of paedophile priests.  Neither organization directly tried to create these people but something about their teachings apparently encouraged it and the result is harm to other human beings.  Without either teaching I suggest less harm would have occurred in this world and that has to be a good thing.  Certainly it is a question we need to consider at the very least.

 

 
Well you can’t possibly sue Islam anyway Russell, but you can criticise its belief system all you like. I would like to think though that you criticise Islam in a proper intelligent way. Muslim scholars on a daily basis debate on how Islam can be implemented in different ways and how it fits into today’s society. 
 

 

You don’t agree with what happened “because it has only served to make their magazine more famous”.  Is that really what you feel?  I condemn this, as any civilized person should, because people were murdered.  Yes it failed to achieve the aims these men had in mind in that it made the magazine more famous but that is irrelevant here.  Men were murdered so the action should be condemned.

 

 
You are taking my words out of context as if I am celebrating their deaths. My point was that these men had the intention of protecting the prophet somehow yet what they have managed to do is kill people in his name and give way for this company’s acceleration to fame. If they really cared about Muhammad and Islam, then they would have considered their actions. They would have considered that killing these people only means they accepted the insults of those cartoonists. As you said before on this thread, those cartoons do not hurt Muhammad. They have hurt Muslims, including myself but I know the insults are not going to change how I view Muhammad. I stated on the very first post of this thread that even the staunchest enemies of Islam converted to Islam. 
 

 

I agree that Muslims in general should not have to apologize; the men who need to apologize are dead and so unable to do so.  Innocent Muslims should consider what part their belief system played in creating that murder and consider what changes could have prevented it.

 

 
I am not going to consider what part of my belief system influenced them because as I have said before you can pick out verses of the quran that could support communism as much as capitalism. Yet when the religion is viewed as a whole things are clearer. What needs to be considered is why certain groups are able to hijack a religion and distort it for their own gains. I believe poverty, lack of Islamic education and the post Cold War environment are big factors in explaining the rise of these groups. 
 

 

Beyond that I agree that the part played by any religious philosophy in all of the atrocities you mentioned should be considered.  Would the world be a better place if Christianity were different or absent?  Would the world be a better place if Islam were different or absent etc.  

 

 
We could go on all night about this. But the fact is we are living in the here and now. I obviously agree Islam is the best way of life, you obviously do not agree with any religion. Yet the fact is a huge proportion of the world’s population give religion a big part in their lives. I don’t think it is useful to discuss what if’s to be honest. 

 

I agree that no Muslim not directly related to this case should feel accountable, that’s foolish but I disagree on Islam itself.  If something about Islam drives some minority of its adherents in whole or in part to violence then maybe there’s something wrong with Islam and for that it should be held up to scrutiny and to account.
 

 

That is fine that you believe that but if you are going to attack Islam then be prepared that this will lead to less dialogue with Muslims even the ones who do not support what these men did. But I kind of feel you do think Muslims are accountable.
 

 

Yes 9/11 was an example of what I’m talking about.  Maybe those men had Islam all wrong, maybe they are not true Muslims because of their actions but something about Islam lead them to believe otherwise and to commit atrocities because of those beliefs.  Maybe it’s as simple as a radical subset of Islam that needs to be whipped out or maybe the problem is more deep seated.  That is the sort of thing that needs to be considered here.

 

 
I could say the same for democracy. The neo-cons in America believe it is ok to wage wars in the world to promote democracy. Their reasoning is that eventually after all the bloodshed democracy will exist and the world will be a better place. Is there something therefore inherent in democracy that leads to violence? My point is people will find ways to justify their actions no matter what ideology they adhere to. 
 

 

The big question I always have to ask is, would those actions have occurred if Islam did not exist? Obviously from the statements of those involved these latest atrocities would not have occurred without Islam.

 

 
If Islam/Christianity/Judaism/Hinduism/Buddhism didn’t exist, do you honestly believe that humans would live happily ever after? 
 
 
Now in relation to your second post. 
 
Firstly I would say that peace is subjective. What is peaceful to you is not peaceful to others. Like we clearly see in this thread some people feel it is peaceful to mock religious minorities while others feel that is not peaceful. I feel like Muslims who say Islam is a religion of peace feel like they are apologising to non Muslims who see their religion as something else. I don’t feel the need to say Islam is a religion of peace but rather Islam is about submission to the laws of God. It is about justice. You say Christians don't seem to be as violent or whatever, but that is because a lot of Christians have let go of Christianity and they now live under secularism. It is not because Christianity has changed, but rather Christians have changed. Muslims however remain to be one of the only religions that has been trying to fight the secularisation of its religion. 
 
Another important point is that there is a huge debate within Islam itself about the status of a Muslim in a non Muslim country as opposed to a Muslim country. Prophet Muhammad did not introduce sharia law on day one of his mission. It took a number of years. 
 
Secondly, I really appreciate your other comments yet I feel like in order for me to respond to them would just derail this thread. Also I must say that Muslims on this forum, including myself, are in no way legal scholars of Islam. People who study sharia law study it for years before they become qualified. We do our best to provide resources and answers. Muslims are not homogenous. There are legal debates between Muslims. Yet it must be noted that they are qualified people while others sometimes get involved in such debates without any knowledge. Those are the dangers because when people listen to those with little knowledge, people stray away from Islamic values. I think it is best if you make a separate thread about it. Sharia law is a HUGE topic encompassing things such as how to treat animals, family law and economics. What we are discussing here is France and I would prefer we stick to the topic as it is one of the rules of the forum. In the meantime I will read those articles you supplied and hopefully you will open a new thread. 

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Paradise , I am not a member of any organized religion , but I would imagine that any such adherents to any said religion , would not have to be a religious philosopher or theologian , in order to conduct their lives according to religious dogma and/or tenets .

 With Islam as well as the other great religions of the world , NO ONE seems to know what is this precisely correct way to live one's life .

 It is more than easy to see how badly things can go due to the fact that there are many fragmented interpretations, disagreements, and so called mis-understandings in follower's minds of those religions . And Indeed they have gone badly ,  presently and historically, with horrendous results . Islam is no exception .

 The logic of any Theist should be -If God is God , then he does not need any little Earthly enforcers .  If man has an immortal soul , then that man alone is responsible for it and God alone it's ultimate creator, is the only one who can destroy it . Thus it follows that if God has infact given life, then that same God should be the only one who can take it . Save for any individual defending his own or another's life from violent physical harm .

 But hey , that's just me .

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Hi Paradiselost

 

I raised the term lenient in the post you were replying to when you complained that I was contradicting myself by stating that using a bad childhood as a defence was unreasonable while still questioning the part Islam plays in producing terrorists.  The statement you are referring to from me was “We often see the defense in legal cases…less culpable” which means in plain English “please be lenient on me because”.  While denying that defense I was still questioning the part Islam (or bad childhoods) plays in producing these people.  Now as you can see the one position does not contradict the other, simply understanding that Islam or a bad childhood can produce bad people does not, in a legal sense, in any way excuse their actions but both are factors to be dealt with in a larger social context if we wish to minimize the harm that is created in our society by these people.  Do you understand the distinction I am trying to make now?

 

It sounds like your idea of justice accords with mine in this area though I would not include the death penalty as a punishment for any crime.  How many death row inmates have been proven innocent by more modern forensic techniques?  And we are agreed that we should look at every factor that leads to the creation of such people, I would suggest that must include their childhood, their living conditions etc and their religious education as that is a very significant factor in creating the person.  That means that Islam must be examined when the terrorist in question is a Muslim don’t you agree?

 

You wanted to know why I would place Islam so high up the list of factors to consider in determining why those men committed murder.  Firstly I think the fact that the perpetrators themselves declared it as their primary motivation should automatically raise it to the top of the list, that a major Islamic terrorist group has now claimed that they setup this attack for religious reasons must also push it to the top of the list wouldn’t you agree.  Sure there are other factors and we should not ignore them but religious ideology appears, from the perpetrators own statements, to be the single most significant driving force behind their actions.

 

I agree by the way that Christianity should be held up to account for its part in creating the Iraq conflict and for many other atrocities and evil acts it has been a party to.  It won’t be held accountable because those in power in the US have too much control for them to ever allow it to be but I fully agree that it should be.  It certainly contains passages that directly lead on to atrocity if followed to the letter.  Further I think that anyone who admits that “god spoke to him” should be locked up and treated for a mental disorder.  Someone once suggested that the only reason we have a Christian religion is that there were no insane asylums in Jerusalem in the first years AD.  Today we will lock up and treat anyone who says they have been spoken to by anyone other than god in their heads.  I disagree that that distinction should stand.

 

I’m glad to hear that most Muslims don’t agree with these men’s view.  I suspect from the statistics from many majority Muslim nations that you may be mistaken here unfortunately as death is apparently seen as a reasonable punishment for a number of victimless crimes.

 

I’ve heard the same before from people here “how can we have a rational conversation if you doubt that Muhammad even existed” but I explained which Muhammad I doubt the existence of.  I know that Muslims have a hard time understanding why anyone would doubt his existence but please understand that the evidence for the existence of a man named Muhammad who got words from god is lacking and even the evidence that most of those words were his is hearsay and so must be suspect.  Was there a man of that name around that time, almost certainly, was he the claimed messenger from god Muhammad who you all revere?  Now that’s a far more interesting question.

 

As to him being a fictional character please consider everything you just said.  You agree that it is reasonable for me to doubt that he was a profit of god and that the quran is the word of god yet your claim is that Muhammad is and the book is.  If he is not, as I believe, then that makes that man, Muhammad the profit of god and creator of the quran, fictional does it not?  You demand that everyone respect him and not dis him yet he can be, by your own words, rationally considered to be just as fictional as Mickey Mouse.  Sorry I understand that that statement is challenging for you but consider it rationally and see if you can understand what I am saying here.  You don’t have to accept that he is fictional in any way but if you want to understand how an atheist sees your religion you have to entertain these sorts of difficult thoughts.  By the way you’ll be the first Muslim I’ve spoken to to manage that if you can.

 

Move on from there and consider if those who attend the church of Mickey Mouse then started killing people who didn’t like Mickey, what would you do to the church which produced such people?  Are you happy for the supports of a church based on a cartoon character mouse to kill people in the name of their religion?  Shouldn’t we look into their ‘religion’ and see why it produces such people?  Shouldn’t we consider removing it?

 

Maybe your statement “because it has only served to make their magazine more famous” was badly worded and if all you meant was that they harmed their cause by their actions and so their actions should be doubly condemned then I have to agree but for me it’s like pointing out that these men killed an ant as they crossed the road to the magazine offices and so they should be even more condemned.  Killing the ant was so miniscule a crime that it should not rate a mention against the murder that they intentionally committed that day.

 

I understand from your statements and those of others here that you have been hurt by what these cartoonists did but for me, as one who views the Muhammad you revere as a fictional character it’s hard to really get my head around.  How can you revere someone you have never known, especially someone who may very well be fictional?  How is that possible?

 

You may well be right that poverty and the post cold war environment may well be factors but I doubt that lack of Islamic education is.  Given that there are schools who teach children little else designed to produce people much like this I doubt that.  Maybe they have the quran and Islam wrong but they certainly don’t lack of teaching it.

 

Yes religion plays a big part in the lives of many people but some statistics might help here if we want to consider if it is a good force.  In a US prisons survey conducted around 2009 among federal prisoners (the worst of the worst in the US) around 99% of the prison population were religious yet in the general US population around 15% are atheist or agnostic.  The percentages don’t add up if religion is a positive force for good in society when atheists and agnostics don’t commit crimes at anywhere near the rate of religious people.  Are you still sure that questioning the validity of religion and the part it plays in creating bad people is such a foolish idea?

 

You may feel that I think Muslims are, or should be, accountable for these men’s actions but you are simply wrong.  As I’ve already said most of the Muslims I’ve interacted with and all of the one’s I’ve met face to face appear to be perfectly good people who have nothing to do with the actions of these men and should not have to feel guilty for it in any way.

 

If you are going to back of from a conversation with me because I am an atheist, which necessarily entails that I believe that Jesus and Muhammad are fictional characters in a fictional world view, then you probably don’t really understand what the word ‘atheist’ means because I shouldn’t have to spell that out to you.  Those are givens for atheists without another word being spoken.

 

I believe that democracy is the best available form of government.  I don’t believe people should be ruled by men (yes usually men) who they have no power over.  Without democracy what can you do if you vehemently disagree with the rules of the society that you are living in?  Maybe you can’t change it even in a democracy if the majority disagrees with you but at least in a democracy you have the freedom to explain your position to those in power and to vote them out.

 

Plato said that democracy is the worst form of government but the only one that can work practically.  Unfortunately in a democracy men will use their power to do things that they feel will get them voted in again regardless of the best interests of the country including going to war for no good reason.  Yes they should be held accountable for that and the very system which allowed them to do so should be held to account for its part in that.  If you want to critically examine democracy in that light then I’m on your side here.  Show up its faults and show us a better way if one exists please.

 

I don’t think that humans are capable of living happily ever after but would they live more happy less violent lives without some of the drivers of violence, definitely.  Poverty drives violence so less poverty less violence so I support removing Poverty.  Lack of political power promotes violence, non-democratic political systems are such disempowering systems and so I support the replacement of such systems.  Religions promote violence, maybe corrupt forms of religions but religions none the less so I support the removal or modification of such systems to mitigate such problems.  Removing any factor that promotes or in any way leads to violence should reduce the sum of violence in our society and that has to be a good thing don’t you agree?

 

I get that you feel Islam is a religion of Justice but that, according to the majority of Muslims in many majority Muslim countries includes the death penalty for victimless crimes.  I’m sorry but that is abhorrent.

 

You are right, the secularization of Christianity has done wonders for their level of violence yet you claim it is a positive that Islam has resisted such secularization.  Why?

 

I don’t wish to get into the intricacy of Sharia law rather it is a pertinent point to raise in this thread that Sharia law includes death as a penalty for a number of crimes and Muslims in many majority Muslim countries support the death penalty for the simple act of realizing that Islam is false.  There is something wrong with any system that makes free thought a crime, far worse if the punishment, popularly supported, for free thought is death.  I’m sorry but that is barbaric by any reasonable standard yet it is in many majority Muslim countries the popularly supported approach to such people.  Does that really sound like a religion of peace that could not possibly, if correctly understood, play a part in murder?

 

Russell

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Hello Russell, 

 

Your posts are getting longer!

 

Firstly in relation to the whole fictional thing. Look, you do not accept Muhammad was a prophet of God. You do not even accept that God exists. I am not getting into a discussion with you in relation to this because it is not even the topic. I have no hard time in accepting your position because I know that God has given us all a choice to believe or not to believe. And if we spend all day worrying about others beliefs we would probably go insane. I leave it to God to judge between us and I pray that God shows you the right path. I converted to Islam a few years ago after studying it and there is nothing I see irrational about believing in God or his prophets. I find it irrational that you expect me to put a prophet of God on the same level as Mickey Mouse.

Yes we have never met the prophet personally but I feel I know him well because of studying about his life. I feel the same about Jesus, Abraham and Moses and all the other prophets. My love for them is great because they were servants to my Creator and without their perseverance I would be just a lost soul, unaware of my Creator.

 

Secondly to answer some things in your post quickly. You talk about there not being a lack of Islamic education in Muslim countries. I can tell you that is soooo wrong. Learning the basics of arabic, learning how to read the quran and learning how to pray properly - this is not Islamic education. I am not saying that those things are not part of Islamic education but there needs to be way more than that. Is just teaching children how to read the quran enough? In my opinion it is not. We need to teach them the meaning/interpretation of the quran, it is known as tafsir. This is the problem we have. There are people in society who claim they can read the whole quran and they pray 5 times a day. But the prophet Muhammad warned us of these people and he told us that the quran does not pass their throats...like basically they do not practice what they preach. Islamic education used to be vibrant at one stage in history where Muslim scholars would gather with Jews and Christians and translate the works of the Greeks and they would write about philosophy and God etc. I just don't see this in a lot of Muslim countries anymore. How can you think that Islamic education is so high on the agenda when some Muslim countries have such low literacy rates. I don't think it is acceptable anymore that some children grow up not knowing how to read. 

 

I personally do agree with the death penalty for some crimes. You may not but a lot of people do, not just Muslims. I don't think rapists and murderers and child abusers deserve a life when they took the decision to destroy anothers life. The punishment is there to fit the crime. Of course the topic is a lot deeper, and things like self defense, evidence etc are examined. 

 

A lot of Muslims also do not agree with the type of power structures in the Muslim world right now. But that is the Muslims issue to deal with. People meddling from afar in trying to establish democracy in places like Iraq have only worsened the situation. People there identify democracy now with what they have seen in the last 10 years, which is nothing positive. You cannot just come into a society and expect them to live the way you think is right. I do not support the regime in Saudi Arabia for example yet I believe it is up to the Muslims to remove them from power, not the Americans (although that would be unlikely considering their economic relations). I see no place in Islam for royal families. They live lives beyond luxury and they are involved in a lot of unislamic conduct. I believe society should be able to choose their leader, but I also believe the leader has to be restrained by certain rules, and in the case of Muslim majority countries I believe this should be the law of Islam. I wouldn't agree with how Islam is being implemented in some countries though.

 

Nobody here has claimed that western liberal values and Islamic values are synonymous. So you don't need to go on like that was implied. They have similarities indeed, but they also have differences. I think we can see that from this thread. In an Islamic state we wouldn't find it acceptable to insult others in order to cause disharmony in society. 

 

Again about your issues with adultery, apostasy, etc they are just too deep to go into in this topic. You would need to open a new thread. There are also past threads about it if you use the search tool. 

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Hi ParadiseLost

 

LOL I think it’s called Verbal Diarrhea but you keep making points that need answering so it’s not all my fault!

 

No I still don’t think you are getting what I’m saying about the view of your faith from the outside but, as I said, you’d be the first Moslem who did if you had managed it.  Islam = fiction is a difficult idea for Muslims I’ve found though Christians do manage it, they don’t like it but they manage it.  So forget Islam for the moment and just consider how you would feel about members of the church of Mickey Mouse who killed for their beliefs?  Would you feel that their religion, if that was their stated motivator, deserved some critical examination?

 

I can understand you having an emotional attachment to a character in a story, I’ve done that myself, but I’ve never felt in anyway insulted or harmed by criticism of such characters.  Muslims seem to elevate their feelings for Muhammad to the sort of level you might expect if someone insulted your spouse even though they have never met Muhammad and can’t even prove that he existed.  Some are willing to kill for such insults and that is just so far beyond my experience that I can’t even imagine getting that upset about any insult even against my spouse.  I see a little of that in you, just look back at your reaction to my suggestion that you consider him a fictional character and I’ve not even said anything bad about him!  You suddenly went very defensive to the very idea but you’ve not managed to put that aside and consider the implications of it.

 

I agree that just teaching the basics does not count as a full Islamic education but we’ve heard in the media about the Madrasa in I think it was Pakistan where students study virtually only the quran with the intention of turning out radicalized Muslim soldiers.  That’s the sort of full, if distorted, education I was talking about.

 

Christianity has the same idea as you portrayed by the way.  You can’t just teach people to read the bible, doing so without the spin of the church leads people to question the truth of it all because there are some really irrational and brutal rubbish in there instigated by god so you have to steer people away from that and apply spin to the rest to give them the right message.  In the end the spin seems to be the message and the bible is just used, in little bits and pieces, as supporting evidence.

 

I agree with very harsh penalties for all sorts of crimes, rape, murder, child abuse etc, but not death because, just for starters, of the very large number of death row inmates who have been proven innocent by later evidence.  It’s hard to say sorry and set them free once they are dead.  Being locked up for life is hardly giving them a life they don’t die but they are hardly living in the normal human sense.

 

I agree that meddling from afar is not the way to achieve change in Muslim countries but I’m not sure the people involved will be able to effect change themselves because the powers that be are the law and can simply ban them from complaining or kill them for complaining.  If you were a woman who believe that women should be the equals of men in a Muslim country how much of a voice do you think you could have in trying to change your countries view?  I don’t see that people in many of these countries can change their governments even if the majority want to because the power is all on the side of the rulers.  Certainly it’s not impossible to change things but far harder than in a democratic country where people simply vote out the leaders they don’t like.

 

I’ve raised topics such as the penalties for apostasy and adultery here before but didn’t make much progress, it’s in the quran so people have very fixed ideas and won’t even contemplate alternatives.  I’ve even tried to discuss equality of the sex’s and was told that under Islam they are equal they are just different which is a logical fallacy but that’s the way people here seem to think.

 

Anyway, as I said, forget Islam here and just consider the reaction we all should have against the church of Mickey Mouse if his followers started killing people because of perceived insults against the Mouse.  What do you think should be the reaction of all of us who do not believe in the Mouse?

 

Russell

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Paradise lost , that was an interesting statement you made -

 

" you cannot just come into a society and expect them to live the way you think is right "

 

Indeed ! But that is precisely what muslims in Western Countries are doing . As for Saudi Arabia , you're right there , that is a muslim problem , just like Iran is a problem to Saudis and vice versa , and ISIL a problem to whatever muslims disapprove of them . Democracy is not compatible with Sharia law , never was never will be .Sharia Law dominating a country is in and of itself a Theocracy . The US for all its blundering did not come to Iraq to establish Democracy , but simply to give the people a choice aside from a Dictatorship . Unfortunately what ensued was the opening of a millenia old conflict between Shia and Sunni . The very same thing the at drove the Iran Iraq War , and the same thing that encompasses the animosity between the Iranians and the Saudis .

A bitter lesson for the US . Hopefully future Administrations will take heed to such a futile endeavor . Having said that , Muslims in western countries who wish to live under Sharia Law should emigrate to those countries that observe it , rather than attempt to impose it in Western cultures , for it is not compatible with Western Views , and will no doubt attempt to trump Western Law . This will be the point of contention in Europe and we are seeing a backlash now . Each side is becoming more and more polarized , and to pretend that it is anything else is naïve . Sharia Law can exist in the West ,only in one form , that the community in which people are willing to accept it must understand that ultimately it will be trumped by existing democratic laws in western societies .

Edited by Aligarr

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[at] Aligarr

 

Firstly, I do not agree with sharia law being implemented (in the complete sense) in the west at this point in time because it would be unsuccessful.  Obviously if the majority of Europe converted to Islam, I would support this more. But right now that is not the case. I think there are enough problems within the Muslim world that need to be sorted out anyway. 

 

You say that MUSLIMS in western countries are expecting people to live the way they think is right. This is just not true. Muslims are asking for their rights and they are not putting their rights on others. They want to be allowed the option of halal food because you are allowed the option of non halal food. They want the option of dressing differently because you have that option. They want to be able to have areas to pray because everywhere you go there is a church on the corner. How does my eating halal food affect you? 

 

I think really democracy is facing its biggest test ever because finally the cracks are beginning to show in its system. I studied political science for 4 years so I have studied this in depth. Liberals are realising that liberalism is failing and more and more democrats are introducing authoritarian measures. The hypocrisy behind the scenes no longer fails to amaze me. Of course democracy is a broad term and there are specific types of democracies. I think that Islam is compatible with some forms but not with all. Not all Muslim countries implement the type of regime we see in Saudi Arabia for example. Not all western countries have a problem with Muslims either. 

 

The west has been going on in the last week as if terrorism is their problem. As if they are the only targets. Muslims are the targets of terrorism more than non Muslims. Last month innocent children were murdered in Pakistan due to terrorism. In some countries everyday Muslims face torture and abuse in the hands of terrorists. Why does the west however put a different dominant discourse out there? 

 

Haha I have to laugh when you say that America went to Iraq to give people a choice besides dictatorship. Do people still actually believe in this stuff?? America supports several dictators in the world - they don't really care if a country is not a democracy. They care about their own opportunities. And if a dictator no longer benefits them, they will bring the democratic discourse into. It is a well known fact that America used to support Assad who they now want nothing to do with. 

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[at]Russell,

 

Sorry Russell but the Mickey Mouse project that you have for me is just not going to work! Mickey Mouse is not a religion. I just don't see where you are going with this. I mean I have already accepted that we can examine how interpretations of the quran can be considered as a factor in motivating people. I just don't agree that you need to hold a whole population of Muslims to account for the actions of a minority. Yet in the wake of last week, that is exactly what is being done. 

 

I am defensive of Muhammad pbuh. I am not denying that nor have I. I know you don't understand that feeling but I probably can't do much to change your opinion just as much as you can't change mine. I think it is just better to work with what we have and not say stuff like, if you could just for a moment forget that Muhammad is real. It is just unrealistic for people to expect us to do this. I also believe though that Muslims need to be more accepting that not all people believe like them and I really believe that Islam promotes this as a lot of verses in the quran are about leaving the judgement to Allah. 

 

The word madrasa is another word which has been misused by the media. A madrasa has somehow become identified with the Taliban in Pakistan yet it can be any sort of educational institution. It is like they use to justify why Islam should not be taught. Islam should definitely be taught in schools along with other subjects. I don't think you know what Islamic education can be. There is quite a high standard of education in places like Dubai for example yet in places like Yemen it is very low. I think this proves again that Islam is not the problem but rather it is how it is implemented.  

 

Again if you want to talk about death sentences further open a new thread. I have a lot to say on that but it is irrelevant here. 

 

You talk about the difficulty of change in Muslim countries, with the presumption that all Muslim countries hold the same type of regime. Indeed there are quite different regimes across the Muslim world. Of course I don't agree that countries should sit back while gross injustices occur, in any country. But if we take Iraq as an example, the type of narratives that surrounded the war were unbelievably ignorant. The veil was constantly used in reference to oppression. Laura Bush often linked the war in Iraq as being about liberation of women. Yet what did she know about Iraqi women? Even when the old regime was rejected not all women took of their veils as had been anticipated. It is almost unbearable for some westerners to imagine why a woman would want to wear the veil out of her own choice! The problem is that these outsiders often make things worse because they don't understand that people have different needs, different visions and different hopes. The universal declaration of human rights for example is clearly a western liberal dominated piece of work. The rights of non-westerners are largely excluded. In places like China and the Middle East there is a very collectivist culture. It is very difficult therefore to promote an individualistic way of life in these countries. 

 

This goes back to my first point in the thread. If you have Mr A come into a society and say look we know you are living under an oppressive regime but we are going to help make it better. Let us say then that people agree because they trust Mr A has their best interests at heart. All goes well and they remove the oppressor but suddenly they start to promote changes without consulting with society. Mr B who lives in the society all his life starts to consult with people about what to do. He believes that Mr A's true intention is to take away the societies values and implement his own values. A lot of people agree with Mr B and so they start to fight against Mr A. If you go into a Muslim country with prejudices and assumptions against Islam, the people will soon realise this. They will support people like Mr B. And Mr B in time could get very powerful and even use religion as a tool. See Islamophobia and Islamic extremists exist because of both of them need each other to exist. 

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Well paradise lost , that was the narrative , although underlying it all was OIL . But once Saddam was removed from power , the civil war began . For Iraq was not Iraq 100 years ago , it was part of the Ottoman Empire ,which unfortunately chose the wrong side in WW1 , and wrong meaning only -the loser . Iraq [there was no Iraq per se]  was divided along the same limes it always has been Kurds in the north , Sunnis in the Central region and Shia in the South . The Ottomans however did treat the Sunnis preferentially . But the animosity between them and the Shia was always there .  I did say the US bungled the whole thing . They could have just let Saddam alone killing Kurds  and Shia , but Iraq would have been stable [ for lack of a better word ] But Bush was too stupid to do that ,and Cheney too greedy . So the US screwed up big time . But nonetheless Saddam's boot heel was removed from the neck of the Iraqi people , at which point old rivalries immediately surfaced . Bush was warned about this , but he invaded anyway .  So now in a state of civil war Iraq is dividing itself into what once was before the fall of the Ottoman Empire . But now all three groups face the threat of ISIL . This is a muslim problem . However Iran, Russia ,and the Saudis are involved , and unfortunately the U S ,France , UK  . But at the Behest of the Iraqi Govt. and Syrian Rebels .  Nothing is singular in nature . Geo-politics change all the time , loyalties shift , issues arise , and it works both ways , neither side is altruistic . You should know that from your studies . Governments change on a monthly basis , and countries will do what is expedient , regardless of any stated ideology .

 

 

As for Muslims in the west attempting to change western culture , I was not referring to simply Halal food [ that is not a divisive issue ] . I 'm referring to their objections and protests like in London , France , Germany , where muslim traditions conflict with western norms . Regardless of any sociological moores or anyone's value system , evidence of such divisiveness is showing itself in those European countries I mentioned . There are several reasons underlying this , and no doubt radicals on both sides , but nonetheless it is a reality .These are things neither western peoples and Muslims cannot prevent . It is human nature .

 It is of course not what I want , and I'm sure not what you want , but that is the way it is . There is a conflict between East and West , and it is now a juggernaut and at present seems unstoppable .  I wish I had an answer , but I am a realist , this is what I see .

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Sure oil played a role. Economic resources play a huge role in international relations which is why we see these oppressive regimes being able to sustain themselves. And I definitely do not support the UNislamic state.

 

I just think it is an oversimplification to say the world is divided between east and west. This is the type of stuff Samuel Huntington proposed but this theory has been criticised a lot with valuable reasons. There are small groups all over Latin America who do not identify with the dominant western liberal thought. The same almost everywhere, including people within western countries who are not Muslim. Just because western liberalism is the most dominant structure at the moment does not mean that everyone agrees with it. This idea that ''THE MUSLIMS'' are against it is a gross simplification of reality. There are plenty of groups who criticise western liberalism from outside of the muslim world.

 

But anyway as you said the situation we have now is the way it is. The issue is that there is a sizable Muslim population within Europe. There is also a growing anti Islamic movement within particular European countries. Those European countries really have not dealt with multiculturalism well. In some countries it really was a plan that went wrong. And because of these failures and because of the growing anti Muslim movement, certain groups are using this for their own advantage. I think therefore it is not wise of European countries to isolate Muslims now. Especially when the majority of Muslims in Europe are living their lives like any other person. They go to work and have a family to take care of. They have to pay their rent or mortgage. Yes they have differences in that they eat halal food, some dress differently, and they pray differently. But the average Muslim is just like the average non Muslim. They are living their lives and trying to get by in life without problems. 

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I believe the average Muslim has the same goals and aspirations as those in the societies in which they live .Unfortunately radical elements in those very same societies have taken over the narrative . An example is Mr.Choudary in London .  When elements such as this stage demonstrations saying "The black flag will fly over Downing Street" , and so on , it is not good for relations . And in these days when some young Muslims leave for ISIS or make connections with extremist groups and return with bad intentions , this becomes center stage .Whether they are representative of the general population of Muslim youths or not , this is what drives suspicion and mistrust . These are the things that dominate the narrative . It is a sad situation . And a dangerous one .

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Choudary's comments in my opinion can often be classified as hate speech. In most Muslim countries the man wouldn't be given the time of day yet in the UK I see him being called for interviews on a lot of news channels. The man loves the fame and he feeds of controversy. I can't understand why he is allowed so much air time while decent Muslims do not get as much air time. There are people like him and then there are people like Charlie Hebdo. As I said they succeed based on the existence of each other. The state seems to do little about either of these. Free speech should not mean causing harm to society. I think it is a lot easier for those in the UK to support the censorship of Choudary but they would not support the censorship of Hebdo. In my opinion they are both as bad as each other. 

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Your last point is debatable , Choudary is in the UK , Charlie Hebdo  in France , Choudary organizes loud public demonstrations with hundreds of participants in a Society that has in no way provoked him, for it seems the traditions of British Society itself provokes him , Hebdo is a publication which people can either pick up off a news stand or ignore , and of course , no one has attempted to kill Choudary . 

However neither of our opinions seem to matter much , for any attempt at reason or dialogue seems to be failing in Europe . As today Belgian ,German, Swedish, and British Authorities are on high alert as extremist activity has been detected ,with a shootout having already occurring in Belgium , and the Greek Authorities detaining an alleged jihadist connected to the Paris attack .In addition to a bombing in Turkey and the foiling of a plot in the US with a citizen convert to Islam planning an attack on the White House . 

 

As I said before , I see the reality of a  situation going inexorably downhill , with no relief in sight . In every situation like this , there comes a tipping point , and this too will eventually reach it , what the consequences will be ,can only be imagined or guessed at .

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