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Islamophobia And Religious Extremism Feed Off One Another

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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 .

I agree with you on Anjum- the guys feeds of publicity..and creates situations that are not condusive for the Muslim society as a whole.


However, he is a minority (with his ever changing group 'name') and most Muslims have spoken against him- in fact, there was a program (you can probably find on youtube) how some society abiding Muslims from Luton, threatened to take physical action if Anjum and his cronies kept up their acts and protests tarnishing Islam.


Going back to Charlie Hebdo, the murders were OTT and uncalled for- no one is debating that.


But you and I are different, no one is the same- we all react differently. If you're abused or someone you love is targeted, you may resolve thing via dialogue- as one should try ..unfortunately not everyone can or does follow that stance.


Freedom of Expression always has limits. It is common sense. Think about it. You cannot slander, verbally assault or threaten a person. We even teach our children verbal bullying is wrong because it causes harm. These are all examples, where words are limited in a rational, civilized society. Think about the term Freedom of Expression in the work place, in social setting, or at home.


When someone purposely offends the dear beliefs of another…for profit…that is not heroism is it? What is it...greed, ignorance, racism or something else? If they were

not heroes, then what were they? Maybe there were just victims of a savage murder via an act of terrorism and that is it…nothing more.


The act of murder is wrong. Did they deserve to die, absolutely not- this has been said many time over. Do Muslims need to apologise- NO.


However, if we are labelling this an act of terrorism, then we must equally label all those acts of violence against Masjids and individuals in France as terrorism as well(just Google it). These acts are equally wrong and those people or organization are terrorists and must be brought to justice. You can hardly call a nation civilized if they allow those acts to go unpunished.


I also agree these are worrying times for humanity and it is unfortunate that a lot of this is being revolved around Islam and Muslim- much of it is bias and common decent Muslims are no tbeing heard.


The voices of anger are coming out from these terrorists- the reasons for their actions, from 7/7/9/11/Rigby killing to the Paris attacks.


It all involves political issues that have gone unheard by the majority, the powers that be won't stop and the masses are kept ignorant and brainwashed by media.

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I totally agree with your statement Doc. I am only one man , with more years behind me than are ahead of me .  I have hopes for the future as any man , however I'm sure I will not live to see them to fruition . It is sad to know you will leave this world in such a sad state for your children . All I can do is to affect things on a very local level , for I control nothing else .  Looking around however , with eyes wide open , things are looking pretty grim , as when a breakthrough is reached , another event occurs and erases any gains in understanding .

 As kids when  we would get into arguments or petty tussles , I  had an old wise Uncle , who would call us over and with a smile look us in the eye and say   " hey , you think you're gonna live forever " ?

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Hi Paradiselost


You mentioned to Aligarr that it does not hurt us to allow Halal food, as an example, in our countries but the story is not so simple.  To get a food product Halal certified costs money in changes to production methods and in inspection costs and any extra costs are passed on to the consumer, that’s me.  They can’t just charge that extra to those who want Halal food we all pay extra to accommodate your religious ideas.  Why should I pay extra money to get my food certified to a religious standard that I believe is bunk or worse?


Security in our country is driven by many systems and one of those systems is cameras which allow us to identify those entering secure areas such as banks, wearing a burka will negate this security measure which has the cost that security is reduced or other measures, which again I have to pay for, must be implemented.  Why should I be paying more money for services to accommodate your religious ideas, ideas that I believe are false?  Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with women choosing to wear the veil in most circumstances as basically a fashion accessory, we are allowed to wear pretty much anything we choose in this country with very few exceptions, but when women are forced against their will, as many are in some Muslim countries, then I have a problem with it.  When they insist on wearing it in security sensitive environments I have a problem with it.  There are signs in banks against motorcycle helmets for exactly the same reasons.  Yes I understand that it feels much the same as telling me I’m not allowed to wear pants in public if you have been raised to always wear a veil but these are the rules and customs of this country and so it is a cost of choosing to live here that you will not wear the veil in certain circumstances.


Talking to Muslims here and in other venue’s it seems clear they would indeed like to push the whole world to live as Muslims, maybe they do not openly push for Sharia Law in each country they live in but that is certainly their stated desire is that not true?  Sharia Law is sexist, it is unreasonably restrictive without rational basis in short it is not a good way for humans to live.  I'm sure you will disagree here.  It is about pleasing a god (remember Mickey Mouse) not about making humans happy.  If you wish to freely choose to live that way then that’s fine, I have no problem with it, but if you ever attempt to force someone else to live that way then you have stepped across the line.  Capital punishment for leaving is such a flaw in Sharia law for example as is death of pre marital sex!  You say you do not agree with Sharia Law being implemented in the west but why?  You have stated that it is only because it would be unsuccessful not because that is no your heart’s desire, not because it is a flawed legal system.


Did I ever suggest that Mickey Mouse was a religion?  I think we see here the problem I have faced in the past on this site.  As I said, if you could succeed in the mental challenge I put up for you you’d be the first Muslim I’ve met who can manage it.  Forget that Mickey Mouse isn’t a religion, given you believe that all religions other than Islam are false that is exactly how you feel about so many other religions that humans have invented over the years, in one way or another you believe them all to be false.  Mickey Mouse is a character that we can both agree is false, you know it, I know it, the whole audience here knows it.  Now try to imagine the implications of people turning him into a religion then killing for him.  How would you feel about the church of Mickey?  One last try hey!


You may well be right that the entirety of the world’s Muslim population is being held to account for these murders, I’m not doing that and I agree that that is wrong.  I will hold the idea called Islam to account for its part is so many wrongs done it its name.  I believe no idea is ever above question nor should it ever be.


I like the idea of “leaving the judgment to Allah (or whichever god).  Now if only the rest of the Muslim community felt that way.  Unfortunately it seems to be a majority view in many Muslim countries that the death penalty should be imposed for a simple realization or for actions which hurt no one so it does not appear that the majority of Muslims agree with you on this unfortunately.


When this thread is about a ‘death sentence’ carried out by to Muslims against a group of people who had different ideas I think that the idea of death sentences in Islam is indeed part of this conversation.  Not a death sentence imposed by a court of law obviously but it was a death sentence none the less.  The attitude of Muslims to death sentences is clearly very relevant here.


No I don’t believe that all Muslim countries are dictatorships where change is virtually impossible but even in less restrictive countries which do not have democracy an individual off the street with different views has no significant chance to chance the way his/her country is run.  Change is difficult but at least possible under democracy but not under so under any form of non-representative government.


I can’t say I have many disagreements about US involvement in Iraq.  Maybe the regeim was a cruel dictatorship as we have been lead to believe, there seems little doubt that it was, but I’m not the policeman for everyone around the world.  I don’t think anyone should have to live under such a regime but that is not my problem.  For me these things only become an issue when a self-proclaimed Muslim decides to take over a coffee shop in Sydney, where people I know buy their coffee each day, and kills people.  It is only a problem when Muslims decide that executing reporters is a good way to deal with a difference of ideas.  I think we need to examine any system that in any way leads to such actions.  We have already examined and modified gun laws because of the part they have played in such atrocities in the past.  We examine and modify airport security and import controls etc to mitigate such threats so it’s a simple extension of the approach we use in every other field to hold Islam up to close scrutiny to see what part it may have played and to see if we can live with it as is?  We’ve held royal commissions into religions before in this country because of miss deeds they were a party to.



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Hello russell, 


Life has been busy hence the late reply plus I did write a reply and accidentally refreshed the page and lost it all!


Anyway I will try sum up my longer reply. In relation to halal meat I believe it is a very flawed argument to go for the economic costs. Organic food for example goes through a similar process in order for it to be certified organic. Yet at the end of the day it is the consumer who buys these foods that pays for the cost to produce it, not you. I am paying extra for halal meat in my country because it is not high in demand. I am paying extra for organic food because people tend to choose cheaper manufactured foods. The people who don't eat either don't pay for the extra cost. Just because you don't agree with the religious understanding behind it means nothing really. Because in western political ideology, the state has the responsibility to provide for its citizens equally. I have a right to eat halal food just as much as you have a right to not eat it. What is the big deal when you are not paying for it? This exactly shows how much people are against Islam so much that when it doesn't affect them they still want to prevent Muslims from living their lives. 


In relation to the burqa, I respect all womens choice to dress how they want. I can understand that in some cases the burqa could be seen as a security concern,even though the statistics are quite low in relation to such circumstances. But anyway even if Muslims were to compromise on this, it is the hair cover that becomes the next target. In France the head cover is a target already. Women are stigmatised for wearing it and they are verbally attacked and sometimes physically attacked. As I said France is the case we are talking about here. Maybe in Australia people don't have a problem with women covering their hair, but in France they do. The head cover poses no security concern, but people just have some hatred against the idea that it is connected with Islam. Even though some older Catholic women would wear a head cover, it is only when Muslims wear it that it becomes a problem. 


Of course I believe Sharia law is the best law. Yet as I said before not all Muslims agree on how it is to be implemented. That is a huge topic. I don't believe it is a flawed legal system at all. There are lots of other ideas as to how to govern a population. Islam is not the only critic of the dominant neo-liberal ideology. It just happens that Islamic thought is more criticised in the present time which makes it seem like the world is divided into west vs Islam. Yet there are numerous political ideologies like socialism, communism etc. Even with liberalism itself there are divisions. There are numerous traditional communities around the world trying to preserve their way of life. All over south america and parts of asia you find communities trying to preserve their own culture. Yet suddenly Muslims are considered as if they are the only enemy to liberalism. Do you actually think people are going to agree on the way we are governed. Since the beginning of civilisation, people have disagreed about how to govern the masses. 


I know what you are trying to do with the Mickey Mouse thing I just don't think that way. Of course I think people who kill for Mickey Mouse are crazy. It is just not the same for what we are talking about. 


Well you took my comment about 'leaving judgement to Allah' out of context. Obviously we can be the judge for some circumstances because the law has been given to us to judge certain situations. What I was talking about is judging peoples inner beliefs. We cannot be suspicious and presume we know the inner thoughts of how people think. It is clear from the Quran that God tells us there will always be the existence of two people - believers and disbelievers. I don't think we should spend our lives trying to control how the disbelievers think because in the end God will judge them. We can provide education etc but that is about it. For example there are many people who disbelieve in Islam, but they will live beside Muslims without a problem. But then there are people who actively try to make life for Muslims difficult, and that is where the problem lies. They have a deep hatred of Islam and will do anything to eliminate it completely.


Your idea of Muslim countries seems limited. There are many Muslims who aspire to some democratic ideas but they also love their Islamic identity. Many Muslims support representative government. There are certainly ideas from western ideology that we can use but that does not mean it has to be our only example and our only option. I think Europeans and Americans forget how long it took them to be at the point they are at now. It was not so long ago when being black in America meant you were a second class citizen and it was not so long ago that women were second class citizens. Yet change happened, albeit slowly. You cannot expect Muslim countries to fast forward and forget their own cultural sensitivities. I believe change will happen in Muslim countries but it cannot be forced. It must come from within and it may be a long process. It is the same all over the world. Just because one idea has become dominant, all other communities are expected to develop as a copy and use this idea as their example. 


As we see in France it is not a clash of civilisations but a clash of ignorance on both sides. Ignorance which consumes people so much that they do not want to interact with others or accept anything other than what they know. Ignorance which encourages people to cause disharmony within society because they have no fear of the consequences of their actions.

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Hi Paradiselost


I’ve taken to editing my posts in Word then cutting and pasting them, I lost too many posts when I typed them directly.  Anyway no problems with the delays good to see you back.


You can’t compare someone choosing to pay the extra cost of buying organic foods with me finding out recently that I have been paying extra for a brand of food that I have been using for years because it is now Halal certified.  Yes I can, and do, choose to buy other brands but even that is difficult because they have realized that people will avoid foods with the Halal certified logo on them so they are dropping the logo in favour of publishing lists certifying that certain foods are certified.  That means so I’ll be paying extra without knowing it, unless I want to do a whole lot of research to find out, to support your religious ideas.  I have no problem with people providing Halal food and with you seeking it out, I have no problems with the Jews paying extra for Kosah foods, but I do have a problem with me paying extra, especially without knowing it, for my food because you want it religiously certified.


I agree that burqa don’t figure highly in the statistics but the rule is there for a very good reason, for security reasons you can’t enter certain areas if you can’t be identified visually.  As for the social stigma you may get from covering up that’s not me so I can’t comment.  If you cover you face and talk to me it feels rude but if you cover your hair that’s just fashion, women have been doing that in all sorts of cultures for ages. Me I wear a hat at times which covers my hair so that’s not an issue in this country.  If things are different in France then I have to agree with you that they shouldn’t be.  From your description it sounds more as if it is anti muslim sentiment that is the issue and the head covering is just a way of identifying Muslims rather than that they actually have anything against head scarfs etc.  I’ve seen native French women wearing head scarfs of various sorts in pictures so I assume that’s pretty normal.


I figured you would not see the problems with Sharia Law that I do, as a Muslim you have to accept it really, it’s pretty much an article of faith isn’t it?  I’ve been through these discussions here and no one could defend Sharia, in the end it boiled down to “it must be good because god said so” basically which you have to admit is rather thin from my point of view.  It certainly couldn’t stand up on logical/rational grounds, at least no one here could build an argument that held water on that front.  Yes a bit off topic for this thread I know.


I agree there are lots of challengers to democracy in the ‘how we should run our society’ stakes not just Sharia Law etc.  Muslims are maybe the most vocal and they are currently killing the most innocent people for their ideas compared to the rest so they get more focus but there are certainly other contenders who have done terrible things in support of their world views historically.


That’s it, you agree that someone who kills for Mickey Mouse is crazy, that is the point I was trying to get across now tell me what’s different, from an atheist perspective, between a Mickey Mouse believer and a Muslim who kills for his beliefs?  And no the argument that goes “but a true Muslim wouldn’t” doesn’t work because they would say exactly the same about you!  You need to produce god to adjudicate that one otherwise you’ve all got a book and you all view what it says differently and there’s no way to tell if any of you have it right.


There seem to be many schools of thought from Muslims, they are not just one single homogenous bunch.  You seem to be one of the ‘Live and let live’ crowd as am I but there are those from your side of the fence who feel it is reasonable to shoot cartoonists for saying bad things about someone and for me that steps across the line and any ideology that leads to that should be examined critically for its part in such murders.  Yes I think gun laws, import laws, import security etc all need examining as they are all factors that allowed this to occur but allowing and encouraging are two different things so the weight of such examination should be appropriate to the part played.  If we secured the borders and improved gun laws so these men could not obtain guns they would figure out some other way of committing murder while if we modified or removed the influences that lead them to want to kill then they would not have done so even if they had full and unrestricted access to a full range of military equipment.


Yes I like the idea of ‘leave the judging to Allah/god/Vishnu/ whoever rather than killing here on earth.  Obviously I believe that this will mean that people who transgress god’s law will never be judged but I guess you realize that.  It is reasonable in my humble opinion to judge people on earth for transgressing the laws of our society.  You’re options, if you disagree with a law, are to try to change it legally or pick a country that has different laws.


I agree that any countries version of democracy will be moulded to suit their needs and desires, that’s perfectly normal, but any such system should allow any citizen to complain, protest, etc trying to change their laws without sanction or to leave the country if they decide it is not for them.  If your system allows anyone in that society, without fear of repercussions, to attempt to change the laws and to leave the country if they choose then it is at least the start of a reasonable political system.  Does that sound like a system that is compatible with sharia law?



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Hi again russell, 


Yea writing in word is a good idea I do that too sometimes.


Well in all fairness I don’t know the regulations around halal food in Australia but it’s probably different from my own country. And I wasn’t saying that you should be forced to buy halal food. European Union regulations around food is very strict so I don’t think it would be allowed to drop halal certified in Europe, but I stand to be corrected. My point was though that there are some groups who want to make halal food completely removed from supermarkets etc. I believe that we have a right to buy halal food just as much as you have a right not to buy it. 




Yes I agree that native French women (mainly older women) wear head scarfs as do older women in my own country. But you can tell the difference most of the time when it is a Muslim and when it is not a Muslim. France is a very specific case of being anti headscarf (in relation to Muslims) though. Of course there are cases in other European countries where Muslim women have faced abuse because of the headscarf but in France it is alarmingly high. All you need to do is search a news database and you will find so many articles on women who were attacked in France because of wearing a headscarf. And it is becoming normalised and people are not speaking out against this as much as they should be. Yet if a Muslim were to attack a non Muslim, we would all hear about it in the news. This is the double standard that needs to be fixed.


Well this forum is limited in its debates on sharia law in some areas. I am definitely not an expert but I do read a lot of books and articles on such topics. There are many schools of thoughts within Islam and many different ideas on sharia law. There are schools of thought that don’t boil down to because God said so and do aim to build rationality and science into sharia law. I am not knowledgeable enough though to enter into some areas of debate. I just know that there are Muslims who are more knowledgeable in this field. You can find materials on this if you want to. 

But I do think Muslims who kill innocent people are crazy! I and many others I know are constantly criticising the acts of Muslims who kill innocent people. It is very clear in the Quran that such an action is wrong. Yet you want me to go down the line that Muhammad never existed which I am not prepared to go down. I can agree they are crazy without having to accept that Islam is made up. 




I am not really a live and let live type of person. There are many things which I am prepared to stand up against which I believe are detrimental to society. Yet there are also things which I think we should just accept and move on like the fact that not all humans will submit to Islam. Some things just don’t impact us as much and we shouldn’t waste our time on them. 
I can think of many examples though in history where groups/organisations killed people because of ideology and justified it. There have been many political assassinations throughout history.  It is not something inherent in Islam. It is just humans beings often find ways of justifying their actions. 
There is too much emphasis on ideology and not enough emphasis on conditions that allow an ideology to flourish in my opinion. That is the flaw in counter terrorism. 
Yeah I agree that citizens should be allowed to voice their opinions in a reasonable way. In a way that doesn’t hurt others and in a way that is peaceful and respectful. Where people feel the system is not treating them fairly they should have access to services to complain. I believe that the corruption within some Muslim countries means that not all citizens feel heard and not all citizens can complain, but I do not believe that Islam teaches corruption etc. I think there are Muslim majority countries which have better models for governing society than others. And the fact that some countries succeed better than others means that Islam is not the inherent problem. Because Islam is not the only factor, there are many factors from the presence of natural resources to the level of education that determine how a country is governed. And all these factors lead in different combinations lead to different results – there is no one factor that determines the result. 

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Hi ParadiseLost


As far as I know we have food regulations that related to everything from safety for humans to animal cruelty so long as a food satisfies those requirements you are free to do as you like.  Like you I have no problem with Halal food any more than I have a problem with Kosha food but Kosha food is purchased from specialist suppliers and is specifically labelled.  No one who doesn’t want to purchase Kosha is misled into doing so or into paying funds to a religion they don’t accept, not so with Halal and that’s where I have a problem with it.


I don’t accept any form of law that is not based in rationality.  My own country falls down in this area too but our system is fairly close to a purly rational system.  Sharia law is not such a system even if some forms of it do include some rational elements around the edges, the underlying idea of Sharia law is not rational and for that reason it should be rejected.


I agree that Muslims, or anyone for that matter, who purposely kills innocent people is crazy or possessed of a really bad ideology.  What was it that was said by some great man once, Good men will do good things, bad men will do bad things but for good men to do bad things requires religion.  If you truly believe that your god wants you to kill in his name does it make you crazy to do so?  This is a god saying this is what he/her/it/they want you to do. How could you say no unless you were crazy?


Yes you touch on a very serious problem with religions, all religions.  God isn’t here to tell us which of these ideas is actually his.  Maybe those who read ‘death to infidels’ into the quran are actually the ones who have it right.  How can you prove otherwise just because your interpretation is more moderate?  There are ‘clerics’ (is that the term) who teach hate of this kind and claim it comes from the quran.  God doesn’t correct them and we see the results.  If there really were a god and he really didn’t like the idea of killing innocents in his name he has to have the power to stop these men but he does not.


No I think we will always disagree on the question “is Islam made up” but let me ask you what you think of Thor or Baal or Crore or any of the other ancient gods men have worshiped over the years.  Are they real?  Their followers believed they were just as passionately as you believe that Allah is.  Why are they wrong and you right?  What of the thousands of gods and hundreds of religions humans have come up with, is only one of them not made up?


I am very much a live and let live person, I believe that you may do whatever you like so long as your actions aren’t detrimental to other people especially me.  Believe what you want, live how you want, dress how you want, eat what you want etc just don’t attempt to force other’s to live as you do against their will and we’ll all get along fine.  I agree that too many people have been killed for ideologies, all sorts of ideologies, and I believe that those ideologies should be pulled apart and examined to find out what part they played in those killings.  If humanism leads people to kill strip it to its bones and examine how it works and why it incites killers, same for Catholicism and Islam and any other ideology that leads to killings.  Why not?  Why should any ideologies be held ‘sacred’ and so above scrutiny?  I don’t care if you feel god gave it to you, if it leads some of its followers to kill or to imping upon the lives of others then it should be held up to scrutiny.  If there is nothing bad in there then so be it, that is what such an examination will show but if there is something in the ideology that does lead towards killings etc then we should all know and the ideology can be dealt with fairly based upon its effect on society.


Yes I agree that the conditions that breed unrest should also be dealt with, conditions of unfairness in society’s that marginalize certain groups etc but that’s a separate, though important, question which should be dealt with independently of the effects ideologies have on society.


I agree that there is no one factor that leads to a specific outcome, examine capitalism, examine religion, examine moral codes, examine legal systems etc etc and work out, separately, what the effects of each are on their societies.  That way you may be able to tease out which of these systems is better.  The best society is likely to be a combination of all of the best of these systems.



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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?

I agree with your points. There are various Christian extremist groups in the U.S. The FBI has listed Right Wing Fundamentalist extremist groups as a much larger threat to national security than from any other group.


Did Christians, from all over the world, have to apologize after the massacre at the Sikh temple, the massacre of 91 people in Sweden, Timothy McVeigh, etc?


No, they just said that these were not "Real Christians," and then announced that there is no Christian violence. Muslims don't get the same pass. An act of violence by one Muslim, is an act committed by all Muslims.


After the attack on the Sikh temple, there was only a discussion about the perpetrator's mental illness, and no mention of the fact that he belonged to an extremist Christian White Supremacist group. The attack at Fort Hood spoke only of him being a Muslim, and made no mention of the fact that he was mentally ill.

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UH ....the Fort Hood killer was not mentally ill . he was a jihadi , influenced by American born jihadi who was later killed by a drone in Yemen .  The slaughter in Sweden was not committed under the name of any religion , it was a politically motivated murder , Timothy McVeigh  did not commit his deed in the name of any religion .

 The Sikh Temple ?  That was a hate crime . By a moron who didn't know the difference between Sikhs and Muslims .

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UH ....the Fort Hood killer was not mentally ill . he was a jihadi , influenced by American born jihadi who was later killed by a drone in Yemen .  The slaughter in Sweden was not committed under the name of any religion , it was a politically motivated murder , Timothy McVeigh  did not commit his deed in the name of any religion .

 The Sikh Temple ?  That was a hate crime . By a moron who didn't know the difference between Sikhs and Muslims .



Eric Robert Rudolph (born September 19, 1966), also known as the Olympic Park Bomber, is responsible for a series of anti-abortion and anti-gay-motivated bombings across the southern United States between 1996 and 1998, which killed two people and injured 111 others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers him a terrorist.[1]


As a teenager Rudolph was taken by his mother to a Church of israel in 1984; it is connected to the Christian Identity movement, that believes whites are God's chosen people. He has confirmed religious motivation, but denied racial motivation for his crimes.




The mainstream news media have been remarkably slow when it comes to zeroing in on the pervasive reality of hate-based Christian extremism. It is easier, after all, to blame the un-American other. In 2012, six Sikhs were killed and three wounded in Milwaukee by Wade Michael Page, a neo-Nazi skinhead. The “dangerous other” isn’t always Muslim or Muslim-looking.


Nevada journalist Jon Ralston told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that the really scary thing about the sovereignty movement is its members are beginning to think they are mainstream. Meanwhile, members of the movement are adopting Christian rhetoric, “evoking Scripture … and equating the Constitution with Scripture.”




Those two jihadists—two right-wing reactionaries, two terrorists, two anti-government white supremacists, two Christians—have a lot in common, down to the way the massacres they carried out were first mistaken for the work of Islamists by an American press rich in zealotry of its own. And they have a lot more in common with the fundamentalist politicians and ideologues among us who pretend to have nothing to do with the demons they inspire...


It became quickly evident that the bombing in Oslo and the massacre on Utoya Island on Friday had been carried out by Anders Breivik, who surrendered to police 40 minutes after beginning his killing spree on the island. Yet the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on Saturday putting the blame for the attack on Islamist extremists, because “in jihadist eyes,” the paper said, “it will forever remain guilty of being what it is: a liberal nation committed to freedom of speech and conscience, equality between the sexes, representative democracy and every other freedom that still defines the West.”


The paper subsequently amended its editorial to concede that Breivik “was an ethnic Norwegian with no previously known ties to Islamist groups.” But the rest of the piece still framed the attack in the context of Islamist terrorism. It’s a common tactic at the Journal and Fox News—co-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s scandal-riddled News Corp.—where facts are incidental to ideology. It is enough for the Journal to insinuate a connection for its Foxified audience to catch the drift and run with it. Breivik may be Norwegian. But he wouldn’t be doing what he did if it weren’t for the pollution of white, Christian European blood by Muslims and multiculturalists, by leftists, by Socialist wannabe slaves.


McVeigh and Breivik are bloody reminders that Western culture’s original sin—the presumption of supremacy—is alive and well and clenching many a trigger. It’ll be easy in coming days, as it was in 1995, to categorize the demons as exceptions unrepresentative of their societies. Easy, but false. Norway, like much of Europe, like the United States, is in the grips of a disturbing resurgence of right-wing fanaticism.  “The success of populist parties appealing to a sense of lost national identity,” The Times reports, “has brought criticism of minorities, immigrants and in particular Muslims out of the beer halls and Internet chat rooms and into mainstream politics. While the parties themselves generally do not condone violence, some experts say a climate of hatred in the political discourse has encouraged violent individuals.”



It’s convenient duplicity. The parties don’t explicitly condone violence. But they would have no appeal without explicitly endorsing beliefs of supremacy and projecting the sort of scorn and hatred for those who fall outside the tribe that cannot but lead to violence or the sort of fractured society we’ve become so familiar with. Those “Take Back America” bumper stickers share most of their DNA with the same strain of rejectionist white Europeans who think their culture is being bankrupted by Socialism and immigrants. Those idiotic anti-Sharia laws creeping up in Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida take their cues from the likes of Geert Wilder, the Dutch People’s Party leader who compares the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Florida’s ownKoran-burning Terry Jones or the Rev. Franklin Graham’s velvety crusade against Islam are Wilder’s American clones.


Timothy McVeigh’s rhetoric may have been more extreme, but it was indistinguishable from the more college-polished and aged rhetoric of anti-government reactionaries now pretending to speak for American ideals under the banner of patriots, tea parties, Fox News’s hacking of the “fair and balanced” parody, or more establishment oriented zealots in Congress. The common denominator is exclusion and heresy: those who supposedly belong to “true” American values, and those who don’t. Al-Qaeda’s loyalty oath is identical: those who belong to “true” Islamic values and those who don’t. Either way, the inclusive, tolerant, broad-minded, and yes, multicultural outlook is under siege by fundamentalism in virtually every part of society as we know it: cultural, political, economic, religious. Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik used bombs and rifles. More seasoned zealots use rhetoric and policies. The ongoing march of folly over the national debt is merely one example among many.


“We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack,” the columnist Nicholas Kristof writes today. “But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength — and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.”


Islamists who may want us harm need only sit back and enjoy the view. They might as well have outsourced the job to their Christian brethren, with plenty of assists from mainstream conservatives. There’s no segregating these demons and maniacs. They’re an integral part of western culture. They’re us.


Jerad Miller, who shot police officers in Las Vegas, was a member of the Christian Identity movement.




The Christian Identity movement first received widespread attention by mainstream media in 1984, when the white nationalist organization known as The Order embarked on a murderous crime spree before being taken down by the FBI. Tax resister and militia movement organizer Gordon Kahl, whose death in a 1983 shootout with authorities helped inspire The Order, also had connections to the Christian Identity movement.[5][6] The movement returned to public attention in 1992 and 1993, in the wake of the deadly Ruby Ridge confrontation, when newspapers discovered that former Green Beret and right-wing separatist Randy Weaver had at least a loose association with Christian Identity believers...[7]


Christian Identity groups include "The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord", the Phineas Priesthood, the Oklahoma Constitutional Militia, also known as The Universal Church of God. Christian Identity is also related to other groups such as Aryan Nations, the Aryan Republican Army (ARA) and the Patriots Council, Church of Jesus Christ Christian, Thomas Robb, Mission To israel, Folk And Faith, Jubilee (newspaper), Yahweh's Truth (James Wickstrom), Church of israel[44][45] and Kingdom Identity Ministries.




Activity included acts of violence, usually against representatives of the government that sovereign citizens so hated. In October 1993, extremist fugitives Linda Lyon Block and George Sibley murdered an Opelika, Alabama, police officer in a shootout in a shopping center parking lot. In early 1994, a band of extremists associated with the group Juris Christian Assembly viciously assaulted Karen Mathews, the Stanislaus County, California, recorder, outside her home. In May 1998, sovereign citizen and Christian Identity adherent George Wolf shot two volunteer firefighters in Ashtabula County, Ohio, because their vehicle blocked him. Occasionally, sovereign citizen groups even engaged in high-profile standoffs with authorities. In the spring of 1996, the Montana Freemen held off federal authorities attempting to arrest them (on a variety of charges) for 81 days near Jordan, Montana. The following spring, members of Richard McLaren's faction of the so-called "Republic of Texas" initiated another armed confrontation in far-West Texas when they kidnapped a local couple in response to the arrest of one of their members. One member was killed during the standoff.

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Sorry, accidentally double posted, and I'm not sure how to delete.


It wasn't posting, so I kept clicking the button. I guess I shouldn't do that.


Moderator, please delete the extra post.


Thank you.

Edited by Gnosis

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Hi Russell 


Well I think your problem with halal food is something you need to raise with your government not Muslims. If Australia does not have clear regulations around halal food, then that is not Muslims forcing halal food on you. It would benefit Muslims too if it was made clear on packaging which food is halal.


Yea but you are an atheist so I am sure everyone who believes in God is irrational for you. It is not something I am going to debate with you because I believe it is rational to believe in God and we could go around in circles all day trying to convince each other. 


God is my creator, I don’t seek to please others before Him. Again it is not something you are going to understand as an atheist. However, in Islam there are boundaries which are not to be crossed that are crossed. That doesn’t make those people good followers of God. Yes maybe they use religion in their defence but why should we not allow their reasons to be criticised. You want to criticise my reasons but not their's? As I have said several times, people all over the world use ideology in defense of their bad behaviour all the time. It is not specific to Muslims. 


My interpretation of Islam is not ‘moderate’. This is a word given to Muslims by non-Muslims when some Muslims are acceptable to them. I don’t consider myself a moderate Muslim, or a less strict Muslim. I just consider myself a Muslim striving to live a good life. I don’t need to prove to you that I am right or others are wrong, I just need to tell you that Muslims do not agree on such concepts. The majority of clerics are against indiscriminate acts of violence. I think anyone who respects the quran as a whole would not damage it by isolating one verse but unfortunately people do this. That is just life, I can’t control people but I will do my best to spread Islamic education. 


God does not ‘have’ to do anything. The last messenger was Muhammad pbuh and now it is up to us whether we live a life of good. Just because the world is crazy, we have no right to blame God. It is our fault as humans if the world is gone crazy not the fault of God. That was the point of this life, a test. And one day we will see the result. 


I believe that ancient gods derived from an original truth. Many religions have concepts that are continuously similar despite some religions having more than one God. But because I am rational, I don’t believe it possible that God would share power with others. I believe there is one greater existence, a greater power, above us all. And nothing is above that greater power, which we call God, or Allah etc. 


But people disagree all the time on what actions are detrimental to them. What may hurt you, may not hurt others and what may hurt others may not hurt you. This is a fact of life even if Muslims were not in your society. As I said before I don’t really care if you want to debate Islam and if you want to question certain aspects of it. I do care though if you debate it in an offensive way or if you ridicule Muslims. You can’t possibly have any dialogue with Muslims should you choose to ridicule them because of their beliefs. You would get a lot further if you actually sit down and want to understand why Muslims believe the way they believe. But so many people do not want to understand. They just hear the word Muslim or Islam and they have hatred in their blood. 


The other conditions are not separate though. The conditions clearly work together. If you take them separately you won’t understand how they work together. 


Yeah but you clearly have a universalist approach to life where as I don’t. I believe each society has their own cultural background which they need to deal with when planning how to best rule themselves. What works for one society right now, is not going to work for another society right now. There is so much pressure from western states to get other countries of the world to be at the same development level as they are. There is a dominant global culture which seeks to eliminate others. Yet it took western states years to be at the level they are at now and their economic development was influenced by colonialism. Today’s world is different and you can’t expect everyone to live the same. I will say though that in order for any system of government to work properly, then the people will have to believe it is for them. If too many people are opposed to it, then it is not going to work, whether you and I believe it is the right system is irrelevant. 

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Hi ParadiseLost


I’m not sure our government needs to have much to do with Halal food.  All of our food must meet Australian standards already, standards which ensure it is safe for human consumption and does not involve animal cruelty.  Beyond that if the manufacturers wish they can also meet other standards that don’t contradict those Australian standards such as Kosha or Halal.  Food is today marked with a Halal symbol so that, now that we know what it looks like, we can tell which food is and which is not Halal.  I now avoid Halal foods in preference for those brands that do not support a religious system that I disagree with while charging me extra.  That being said there is now a suggestion that the marks will be removed in favor of printing certification lists so that those in the know will be able to choose Halal foods and the rest of us will be none the wiser.  As I said last time I have no problem with Kosha butchers selling to Jews and I would have no problem with Halal food stores selling to Muslims but I do have a problem with financially supporting a religious certification system that has no value.


Are you suggesting that you don’t believe that an atheist, who does not believe in god despite all the ‘evidence’ you see around you is not also irrational?  Of course I see anyone who believes in god as either under informed or irrational but that does not mean they are stupid or anything, there are many very intelligent people who believe in religions though the statistics clearly show that there is an inverse relationship between propensity for religious belief and intelligence.


I think I’ve said here before that I am a humanist; I believe that the only one we should be trying to please is humans.  Not in some ludicrous or selfish way rather we should attempt, as a society, to create a moral code that tries to maximize the long term sum of human happiness.  You and I agree that humans exist and that they want to be happy, at least I hope you’ll be honest enough to agree to that.  Trying to please a very ancient man’s idea of god is not likely to achieve that.  What could the authors of the bible or the quran possibly have known of our society today?  Trying to please hundreds of thousands of human ideas of gods will just get us confused but we can all agree that humans exist and that they want to be happy no matter what religious ideas you may bring to the table.  That’s the basis for humanism.


I believe we should all criticize any system that plays a part in creating murder.  There are many groups around the world rightly called terrorists who draw their motivations to some extent from various religions ideas.  To the extent that those religious ideas are part of the problem they should all be held up to criticism.  As I said last time I’d hold humanism up to the same sort of criticism if anyone could show that it had played a part in such an act.  I don’t discriminate here, all ideas must be held up to scrutiny and held accountable for the parts they play in these atrocities to the extent that they played a part.  Maybe these people are misusing these religions but the religions should be so worded that that is impossible.  If a perfect and all-knowing god is behind these words then he must have known how these people would use his words yet he chose not to write those passages so that they can’t be misused in this way.  He is either ignorant of how future people will use what he has written or he is OK with it.  Is he ignorant or malicious?  There are no other alternatives here.


You state that you are not a moderate Muslim and here is where we will conflict. I believe that there is room in this world for people of all beliefs, of all ideologies so long as we respect boundaries.  If you wish to wear a head scarf or a burka and to live the repressed life of a Muslim woman then that’s fine, whatever makes you happy?  You don’t step across the line, in my opinion, until you try to force others to live that lifestyle.  A minor example is by tricking people who don’t follow your religion into funding it by paying for Halal certified foods without their knowledge.  Sharia law imposed on anyone who is not a Muslim would be another far more deplorable example.


Did you know that we can see many of the basic ‘religious’ concepts you talk about as behind ancient religions in our closest relatives, the great apes?  They show a sense of fairness; they show disgust at stealing and rape, they are unhappy if one is given preferential treatment they show love for one another, they are very human in many ways.  Did god also talk to the apes or rather is this just a natural way to live, logical and so available to all people who care to think hard enough about it, even available to our cousins the great apes?


Sure we all have different ideas on what is good for us and what is not.  That’s where Humanism comes into its own.  There’s no “god said it” to humanism so we can all make up whatever lifestyle suites us. Humanism is the framework that stops us impinging on other people by doing so.  You may wish to wear the burka, live in an arranged marriage etc and I may not wish to join you and Humanism says you can live the lifestyle that suits you and I am free to avoid it completely.  Humanism says that you have no say over my actions so long as I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life or otherwise impinging on your lifestyle.


As I said I will not be purposefully offensive but you’ve seen how simply stating what I believe is offensive. There is no avoiding that other than by stopping being an atheist or at least not telling you about it.  If I explain how I see the world you will be offended such as the church of Mickey Mouse discussion we had here earlier.  It’s a very important point but it offends you and I’ve never found a way of expressing how it is to be an atheist to a Muslim that does not offend yet I believe it is a critical point if you want to understand my position.


Part of the problem here, from an atheist point of view, is that Muslims appear very touchy.  It seems easy to offend you.  Atheists are not like that, you can throw insults at anything I say and I won’t take offense.  If I can’t stand up rationally for what I believe then maybe you have a valid point in dissing me.  Pick on any of the ‘greats of atheism historical or current and you’ll hear me defending them if it is rationally possible to do so or dissing them with you because I do disagree with many of them on all sorts of points.  Atheists/humanists are free to disagree with any of the ideas or people behind atheist or humanist philosophy.


I’ve had a few Muslims try to explain why they believe as they do but the explanations fall flat for me.  The position, as it’s been explained to me so far is irrational.  If that’s not the case then maybe those who’ve tried to explain it so far are just not very good at it but so far it all boils down to “you just have to have faith”.  That’s not a rational position; it’s actually an admission that your position is not rational.


No I agree that different societies carry historical and cultural baggage and so they can’t just step directly into a western style representative governmental system with an open market economy.  But let me ask you this, if I see a system that is unfair, people are discriminated against economically or morally on the basis of their class, their race, their sex, the sexual orientation or the luck of the friends they happen to have and you say it will take hundreds of years for that society to work through its problems and become a fair, just and open society how does that help those living in it today.  They’ll all be dead before their country can reach a reasonable level of development where they can embrace the sort of open and free society that I feel everyone should live in.  Is that fair?  Really?



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Hello Russell, 


I get your point about halal food but it is something to do with your government as they enact the law and these regulations fall under their authority. The lack of regulations surrounding the authority of manufacturers is also under the government’s watch. This issue doesn't exist in my country because we have different laws. 
From my point of view, yes an atheist is irrational. But I know that I am just as much irrational for them. 
A lot of Muslims would also consider themselves humanists as they believe the moral codes set out by Islam is for the benefit of society. It just happens to be that peoples definitions of happiness changes. And it also happens to be that some people just want happiness in this life and not happiness in another life because they don’t believe there is anything beyond this life. I don’t think that such divisions between humans will change. That is why I believe it is best to work on what we agree. 
I suppose it is always going to be a case that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. I might not agree with the actions of some people while others will. I might agree with the actions of some people while others won’t. And you fail to see that it is the failure of humans to implement justice not God. Of course God is all knowing but that does not mean He must intervene every time we do something wrong in this world. The purpose of this world is a test and He will intervene in time when our judgement is upon us. For if he were to intervene all the time then what sort of test would it be? Of course there are alternatives to ignorant and malicious, for God is the Most Merciful and All Powerful. I don’t expect you to understand that. 
Repressed life of a Muslim woman, ha that is funny. I couldn't feel more liberated as a Muslim! And yes this is what makes me happy. I don’t know why you keep going on about halal food, like it is clearly an issue for you but in my country Muslims do not trick people into buying halal. 
Surely apes have many similar traits with us. Yet they also have very different traits. Humans are very complex beings and we are certainly different in relation to other creation. I don’t know if God talked to apes, I also don’t think it is an issue worth much thinking about. It is not going to change my life significantly if He did or didn’t. I do believe all creation are aware of God, but whether he sent ape messengers or fish messengers is not something I think about. It is enough for me to know that they are also a creation of God and like all creation they learnt how to live from God. I don’t believe anything on this earth from bacteria to humans just learnt how to behave naturally. Maybe our learning through messengers is different though. But again I don’t think it will change my life by knowing if apes got ape messengers or if God just said ‘Be’ and it was. 
But we can’t just all make up whatever lifestyle suits us. You know quite well it wouldn't work. Because someone’s lifestyle will affect us somehow down the line. I don’t know why you bring up the burqa or arranged marriage as if just because I am a Muslim female that I subscribe to these! 
Your theory sounds great in a world of live and let live. But humans are not functioned like this. I don’t want my child to go to school where the teacher is a man who dresses up as a woman. So what is humanism going to say – they don’t force you to live like them? Yet their presence in the classroom makes children think that it is right/acceptable to live like this. It is just one example that people would argue about. I don’t really care if I am told that I am impinging on them because I don’t believe their lifestyle is suitable in an educational setting. 
I don’t think Muslims are touchy. I think Muslims actually care about their religion. We are the only group that is standing up to the imposed liberal western system. We are the only group that have a system of law that can actually compete with the dominant western culture. If doing this means we are easily offended then I will be called offended to stand for what I believe in. Muslims are not willing to allow their religion to be subordinated to a level which will make it irrelevant in society. We are not the only people who are against the dominant system but we are the only ones right now in time that appear to be challenging it the most.  
Well I do have reasons which I believe are rational for believing in God. I don’t subscribe to reasons such as it is the way it is or it is faith.  I chose Islam based on what I think it is right by researching it. If you want to find these ideas you can.
I don’t agree with imposing a system from somewhere foreign with no understanding of society. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe societies ideas shouldn’t be questioned over time. Development itself is a contested concept. Some organisations would say subscribe to a very basic concept while others have a more complex political one. 

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Hi ParadiseLost


I disagree that it is about our government, Halal food must comply with government regulations already but they are allowed to do what they like above that so long as they are honest.  We know the food is safe and that its contents are processed in a manner that abides by Australian law but it’s dishonest to add to the price of my food without telling me IMHO.


LOL yes that’s the point exactly, we both see each other as irrational. I’d have to suggest that only one of us can rationally support that view but that’s a discussion for another time if you’re up for it.


By definition a Muslim can’t consider themselves a humanist, they may believe that their precepts parallel those of humanists but humanists judge their moral codes and laws based on the direct effects on human happiness observed here and into the future that those laws may have whereas you get you moral codes from some ancient men and women who claim they got them from god.  There’s no room in your code for modifying your fundamental laws if it can be shown that they don’t in fact promote maximum human happiness.  To be a humanist you have to be open to the possibility that some part of your code may be proven wrong when tested and you must be open to changing you code when that happens.  Are you open to changing your moral codes and laws if/when one of them is shown not to be optimal?  If you are not you are not humanist.


Please note humanism isn’t about “optimal for society” rather it’s about being optimal for all of the members of that society. It’s about being the best code for each and every one of the members of the society.  Again if that’s not what your system promotes then it’s not parallel to humanism.


Working on what we agree on is a good thing, as I said we both agree that humans exist and that they want to be happy, that’s the basis for humanism.  But now you want to add happiness in an afterlife that all the direct evidence we have suggests does not exist so now we have a problem.  As I said if you wish to live as a Muslim because you hope to gain that afterlife and that makes you happier now then humanism has no problems with you.  Happiness is the aim of humanism. The problem arises only when you try to force or coerce others to do the same.  Once you do that you have crossed the line and you may be causing a reduction in the happiness of others which is against humanism.


No I understand what you mean by god the most merciful, I believed in a similar god once, but the evidence does not support it so I don’t believe it any more.  I’m not sure what use an all knowing god would have for a test.  He must already know who’s going to pass and who’s going to fail or he is not all knowing so what does the test achieve?  Are we some sort of freak show for his amusement?  Why not just prevent those who are going to fail the test from being born in the first place?  Why would an all-powerful god not prevent all suffering? To be all powerful means that must be within his powers.


Two separate points mixed in that paragraph.  “Repressed life of a Muslim woman” first, at least as I’ve had it explained to me here Muslim women can’t do many things that western women can or that Muslim men can.  That varies from country to country but that is the stated aim of Islam according to those who post here.  Men can choose more than one wife but a woman can’t choose more than one husband.  The old paternity issues no longer exist as DNA testing makes that easy enough to settle.  A woman’s testimony is automatically discounted by 50% compared to a man’s under Muslim law.  A woman can’t choose to be the bread winner for her house hold while her husband stays home and cares for the house and the children and she can’t choose to be a truck driver in a male dominated business for example.  Women are restricted in how they dress ‘because men can’t control themselves’ according to those who post here.  Is any of that fair?  Now don’t get me wrong you may well like living as a Muslim wife in your protected cacoon but what of the woman who chooses not to.  Women who want to be the bread winners or who just want to live single lives out in the world and have no interest in being the wife and mother that your religion seems to push them into.  Yes I’ve met a number of them, very successful women who choose to work and not to be the home maker that Islam demands of you.


Second point in that paragraph was Halal food and I think we’ve covered that above.  Muslims don’t trick people into buying Halal food, our producers fund Muslim certification organizations to stamp their food Halal so that Muslims will buy it and pass the costs on to the rest of us whether we like it or want it or not.


There’s a lot of information we need to understand to really see what we can learn from aps so lets explore the evidence a little deeper here and maybe we’ll learn something.  Did you know that virtually all animals can produce Vitamin C?  Scurvy is only possible for four species that we are aware of, humans, guinea pigs and great apes.  Guinea pigs contain all the gene’s necessary, there are four of them, to produce Vitamin C but one is broken.  Humans contain all four genes too but again one is broken, a different one to guinea pigs.  Humans and great apes share exactly the same defect on the same gene of that four gene complex.  That’s equivalent to finding two encyclopaedias with the same spelling mistake on the same page of the same volume.  That’s kind of hard to explain except by plagiarism. So we and the other great apes have the same problem with Vitamin C production and so can suffer from scurvy and the evidence very clearly suggests that those gene’s have a common source.  How do you believe that humans and great apes ‘inherited’ the exact same genetic defect?


Now you’re starting to understand humanism.  We can’t all lead whatever lifestyle we choose, our desires will conflict.  We can’t all rule the world for example.  Humanism is about striking that balance so that we all get our fair share of the pie so that we can all be as happy as possible given the limitations of this world and of humans.  If there’s no conflict then we should be free to do whatever we like, if there is a conflict then we have to work out how to settle it, how to share the pie equitably.


According to those who have explained this to me the Burqa and arranged marriage are a fundamental part of Islam.  Not all Muslims practice arranged marriages but all true Muslim women wear the burqa or similar with varying amounts of the body and face covered. Is that not the case?


You may not wish your child to be taught by a man dressed as a woman but think very deeply about this question, how would it harm him if he was?  Do you believe he might turn gay if he was exposed to such a thing?  What, fundamentally, is wrong with gay?  As a humanist I would respect your right to have your child taught by someone else, that would make you happier, but I believe those children who were taught by someone like that would learn more tolerance and understanding and so be better people for the experience so the trade-off in allowing your desire would be a direct detriment to your child which is a sad state of affairs.


I understand that you care about your religion but then I care about my beliefs and my position I just don’t feel that it can be hurt by anything you might say so I won’t take offence if you are rude about it.  I can stand and defend it on rational grounds, no topic is off limits, so I don’t need to feel angry because of how you feel about it. Not so Muslims who seem to take very personal offence if someone says something bad about Mohammed or about Islam so yes they come across as touchy on those points.  Look at how you reacted when I suggested that the Mohammed you described didn’t exist earlier in this discussion.


I’ve had a number of contributors here try to explain why their ideas are rational but so far none have succeeded.  When examined in detail they have all, without exception, boiled down to faith without rational support.  If you are willing to discuss in detail why you feel your position is rational then please go ahead and let’s see how you go.  I’m always interested to hear someone else’s point of view.


I agree that imposing a political system on a society from outside is fraught but consider the alternatives.  You have agreed that some Muslim societies are not fair at the moment, that they have room to move before they will reach a reasonable standard.  Now consider how that is for those living under that society today.  If it takes 50 years to move that society to being fair what sort of life will those people have who live and die before their society gets to that point?  They will never have the chance to live in a fair and just society.  Even though good societies exist they will live out their lives in an unjust one.  Is that reasonable?



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Hi russell,


Yes I am open to arguments that suggest our moral code is wrong - like I said this thread isn't the place though. But I am yet to come across convincing arguments that suggest that we should have riba (interest) or we should allow homosexuality etc. I actually think it would be an interesting debate - the optimal for society/individual one. 


Well that is the million dollar question - why does God want us here if he knows what happens? Sure lots of people have asked the question, do you think Muslims have also not pondered upon this question? But because of my belief in the nature of God this does not prevent me from believing in God. I think the concept of God in Islam is the most whole one but we must also balance this knowledge with the fact that we are the creation, not the decision makers. There are different ways of looking at it. You hold the negative view since you think of all the tragedies while I hold the positive view. I have this view because despite our stubbornness and ignorance as humans, God continues to sustain us. For me that is truly love. And I suppose for those who do not understand the power of God it really stems from arrogance - because most humans do not want to believe there is something greater than them that they have no power over. See Islam brings the balance of different concepts of God into one which is what makes it so amazing. 


I am not going into womens rights on this thread because its off topic but I think you have a very black and white view of women in Islam. And you clearly don't know that some Muslim women work too and earn a lot of money! I just find it funny the obsession some non Muslims have with the status of women in Islam. I really wonder how many Muslim women they have met.


Even if apes are 99% similar to us - that wouldn't make me believe we are the same. I don't know where you are going with this. I believe the mind of the human is very different especially when it comes to language. You can give me more info about our similarities and I have read it all but I am focusing on the differences. 


I wouldn't agree with that at all! Just because a woman covers her face doesn't make her a true Muslim. It doesn't mean she prays 5 times a day. The burqa doesn't define your level of faith. Unless you are getting the concept of hijab mixed up with burqa then I understand what you are trying to say. Because yes there is some form of hijab which Muslims can agree on (even if they do not adopt it). Like it is clear that we should cover out bodies although the head part is debated amongst different Muslims. And as for arranged marriages - its a very cultural issue in some Muslim countries. It has benefits but if two people want to get married they have a right and their parents should not interfere unless for a very good reason. There is nothing in Islam which says you must have an arranged marriage. Again I think you have a very black and white view of Islam. 


No I don't think my child would turn gay ha..although I am sure some people hold this thought. My point is more about the acceptance of it. If we allow such thing we allow it to become normalised in society. I do not accept it as normal and I will never accept it as normal. If tolerance means accepting such things as normal then I am not tolerant. 


There are alternatives to western intervention. There is a lot of assumptions made on behalf of western intervention about how the people feel but I don't believe they really ask the people how they feel. I am not specifically against it just for Muslim countries because I also see it in other conflicts such as the one in Ukraine right now. I agree with humanitarian intervention but there are very different interpretations of this concept and I believe the one that most western countries adopt is a very wide one. It is a very dominating concept hid behind the banner of human rights. 


Anyway I think you have good topics for debate but I can't discuss them here because then we would go off topic. Feel free to start them elsewhere on the forum. 

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Hi ParadiseLost


When you mentioned riba (interest) are you talking about interest on monetary loans?  I’ve never heard the term riba before.


Homosexuality is another clear case of difference between our world views.  Do you have any reason why you think it should not be allowed?  If it makes people happy what’s the down side here?  And yes we know very clearly that homosexuals forced to pretend they aren’t homosexual live very unhappy lives so that is clearly a detriment to human happiness so the up side would have to be very large to counter act it.  Can you see such a huge up side to banning homosexuality?  What’s the down side to allowing homosexuality?


Yes it is a million dollar question, how can an all powerful god allow suffering and if he does how can such a god be considered the pinnacle of goodness by any sane person.  But you don’t really give any answers in there.


I think you are wrong when you suggest that humanists and atheists don’t like to feel there is something greater than us over which we have no power, have you ever looked at the universe and how insignificant we are in it.  We are, in the scheme of things, almost completely powerless beings.  That’s the atheist point of view at least.  True we don’t have a god to answer to once we’re dead but we are close to completely powerless none the less.


True most of my understanding of Muslim women comes from how Islam has been described to me by the Muslims here rather than by getting out there and talking to Muslims in my society.  There are very few of them in this society, less than 1% and none that I’ve seen in my local area, so I don’t get many chances to meet them and talk to them plus the women seem to try to avoid talking to male strangers in my experience which makes it difficult.  I have worked with and talked to a couple of Muslim men who seem to support the view I have mentioned.  Sure they spin it that women and men are equal just with different, god defined, roles in society but that difference is just one of the issues I’ve been raising still maybe you can tell me more about Muslim women here.  I’ve certainly heard that they can and do work but, as it was described to me here, a man who works must support his family because that is his god defined role, his income is not his own rather it is family property while a woman who works gets to keep any money she makes.  Women can’t work in male dominated fields, they are restricted in their interaction with strange men which makes it difficult for them to take up many jobs and being the home maker is always their primary role and working is not allowed to interfere with that.  Yes I’m sure there are more and less strict interpretations of Islam here but that is the way it has been explained to me and defended in some detail on this site in the past.


I don’t believe we are the same as apes, we are certainly similar in many ways but far from the same. Apes don’t have vocal cords capable of producing human like speech so you can’t expect that of them but I’ve seen them taught sign language and their speaking abilities are childlike but they can talk so their abilities and differences are not as great as many people might think.  Noticing that we have a lot of DNA in common could just mean we have similar body plans so we are built in similar ways but the evidence I discussed goes far deeper than that.  It speaks directly to the idea of plagiarism.  Their DNA was copied from the same source as ours.  Errors are par for the course in DNA but shared errors can’t be explained by parallel function or parallel evolution.  Shared errors speak directly to the idea of copying.  Plagiarism court cases have been won with that as the only proof because no one has ever thought of another mechanism that can explain that pattern.


No I agree that covering her face does not make her a true Muslim but that wasn’t the point, according to those here not covering her face means she is not a true Muslim.  No I don’t actually know the differences between Hijab and Burqa.


We’ve had cases here where girls have been abducted to take part in arranged marriages which they did not agree to so it does go on but I understand that not all Muslims agree with this.  Hopefully the majority would have a problem with forcing someone to take part.  The problems then become more subtle, how many women will take part in an arranged marriage even though they don’t want to because they have been trained to believe they should even that god wants them to?  It’s not just about force but coercion and brain washing.


On the black and white view question I see many shades of grey but I’ll generally challenge you to defend the most extreme until you’ve explained that you don’t follow that view.


I’ve gathered that you are not tolerant but at least you are honest enough to admit it.  Now I challenge you to show any good reason why you should have a problem with gay people?  What’s wrong with gay?  Gay people are generally happy people who become very unhappy if they are forced to pretend they aren’t gay so letting them be themselves certainly adds to the happiness score for society.  Apart from annoying intolerant people what harm to gay people do to society?  How are they a detriment to happiness?


I agree that the forced intervention approach to solving the problems of other nations is far from ideal.  You call it western intervention but it’s not restricted to the west though they are the main perpetrators at the moment.  The question is how better can you intervene to improve the lot of people forced to live in unfair circumstances?  The slow and gentle approach is cruel as people may be forced to live and die in such circumstances before their society changes for the better or they may be killed for their opposition without intervention. There are down sides to standing back as well as intervening so it’s a balancing act.  In the end what’s wrong with a democratic government when the rest of how the society works is up to those within it?



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Hi Russell, 


Riba is like interest but that doesn't describe it very well because it includes more than that. It is about an unjust economic system. There is a lot of info online about it if you are interested in reading about it. 


The problem with western intervention is that some western organisations fund certain groups allowing them to become more powerful in society - so really we cannot talk about democracy in its true sense when this happens. Because democracy should include a level playing ground yet when they choose groups which only identify with generally a neoliberal form of western thought then that is a problem. Socialist groups are not considered as important to fund for example. The gentle approach is not about watching people die but it is about focusing on the basic needs. it is a very active approach but it tries to bring about a change from the bottom up. A lot of western intervention tries to make changes from the top down which can be very damaging. And this can lead to extremist ideologies flourishing as certain groups feel alienated from society. 


What is your opinion on the suspected British citizen who is apparently now a member of an extremist group in Syria? What do you think about the connection between harsh interrogation methods and the rise of extremist ideology? Does it not concern you that there may be a direct link between the both? Some of the most well known terrorists in the world went through brutal interrogation methods which they claim affected them even more in how they thought about their ideology ( and this includes individuals from many organisations that wouldn't be classed as ''islamist'').



(This thread which I began was supposed to be about Islamophobia and religious extremism and the relationship between them. I want to discuss your comments but homosexuality and women's rights do not belong in this thread as it would inevitably go off topic. And I am very willing to hold these discussions with you in another thread as I said but I won't discuss them on this thread).

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Hi ParadiseLost


So if Riba = unfair interest or trade then I agree that it should be against the rules and it is against the law in my country.


Yes I agree that western intervention is often handled very badly and that’s an issue but that does not mean that intervention is not the right answer just that the exact form that takes needs to be better considered.  Not that any democracy actually has a level playing field but I agree that they should and most today seem to come close.  The trouble with the gentle approach when people are dying is that any delay or any use of the ‘softly softly’ approach will mean more people die.  There are down sides to every approach available.


There are a few people from my country who have travelled to join the fight on both sides, such travel is against the law here and I agree with the legal approach, their passports are automatically cancelled so they can’t re-enter this country.  People who wish to fight in this conflict are not welcome here.


I can’t say I’ve read much about brutal interrogation techniques in this context.  The idea seems bad as torture hasn’t achieved good results in the past so you get poor information and maybe create even worse terrorists in the process. Sounds like a bad idea every way you look at it.


Homosexual thread



Gender roles and womens rights is a topic you and I have discussed before at length.  The thread is here.



If you wish to add anything please restart those threads and we can continue.



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Islamophobic Dutch politician Arnoud van Doorn Why I converted to Islam on 20 February 2015 Full lecture

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