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Islamophobia And Religious Extremism Feed Off One Another

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Peace to all, 

 

After the attacks that happened in Paris yesterday (which I am sure you have all heard of by now) I am deeply disturbed by this viscious cycle of Islamophobia and religious extremism. 

 

Firstly I do not agree with what happened to those people who were killed but secondly I am certainly disgusted by the work they did. The media is making this about an attack on freedom of speech. Freedom of speech? What is freedom of speech. Is it about causing disharmony in society and hurting minority groups? I am trying to avoid articles about it today because many news agencies have decided to reprint the works of those cartoonists. They are doing it out of 'principle' they say to protect freedom of speech. Western leaders have spoken out saying that it was an attack on freedom of speech.

 

Muslim leaders on the other hand have spoken out against the attack but they have added that Islamophobia needs to stop. Freedom of speech needs boundaries. In Germany nazi propaganda is not allowed. In most countries of the world any material that supports child abuse is not allowed. There are many examples where there are limits to freedom of speech in western countries. I do not support a police state which monitors publications in a the strict sense of the matter. But I also do not support this extreme view that we can mock others without any limits. 

 

In Islam, many Muslims are taught to love the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) more than their own parents! Somehow we are stripped of our right to be offended - and I am not talking about killing people, I am talking about the right to speak about our offense. We are told that we are too sensitive, that we are controlling society, that we want everything our way, that we are against free speech. We are basically forced into a corner, told to shut up and get on with it. I don't even want to describe the ways in which these cartoonists portrayed the prophet because it disturbs me. But we are expected to think that its normal and acceptable that people have a career which is centred on mocking a religious figure.

 

What is the purpose of such publications other than to incite hatred and encourage Islamophobia? I certainly do not expect everyone to agree with the prophet Muhammad. I am a realist. There will be people who do not believe in religion. There will be people who are against Islam. However, if you are going to be against Islam , then at least attack it with academic arguments. These countries wonder why there are some Muslim groups have gone to fight abroad and they wonder why they just can't be happy living in Europe. Are they really so blind to see how the promotion of hatred against Islam is directly linked to religious extremism?? They do not wish to create peace between Muslims and non Muslims it seems. 

 

Finally I am annoyed by the actions of these men because it only serves into the hands of the enemies of Islam even more. The life of Muslims in France is difficult enough without this happening. This does not serve to protect Islam, but rather it damages Islam. It also damages our prophet because now these images are more popular than ever. So many people in the world would not have known about these images if the events of yesterday did not happen. We need to encourage enemies of Islam to understand Islam.

 

I would like to remind those who despair that even the biggest enemies of Islam became Muslims. Arnoud van Doon for example, once a member of a far right party in the Netherlands which promoted anti Islamic content, converted to Islam. His son then converted to Islam having seeing the effect Islam had on his fathers life! Also let us remember that one of the closest friends of Muhammad pbuh was once an enemy of Islam, Umar ibn Khattab. These people are a testimony that the strongest haters of Islam can embrace Islam. We need to be careful in how we respond to the haters because they want nothing more than for us to be shown in a negative light. 

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Hi ParadiseLost

 

The root cause of this problem is that the system of thought, the idea called Islam, contains within it passages that support defending that same idea with violence.  Don’t get me wrong most religious systems contain similar meme’s though Islam does seem to be one of the most prolific at encouraging violence at the moment.  An idea is, I would have to suggest, logically invalid if it in any way encourages violence in its defence.  Can you think of an idea that deserves violent defence ever under any circumstances?

 

Likewise the dead stand to lose nothing if we disrespect them so using violence in their defence is likewise logical proof that your system of thought is wrong.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I support the right of people to defend themselves, their loved ones or community with force if necessary but not ideas, never ever ideas.  Ideas need no physical defence, ever!  Any system of though which disagrees has logically proven itself to be false without further examination.

 

It is not a phobia to be scared of poisonous snakes.  They can kill you and so deserve respect.  Is it then a phobia to be scared of Islamic peoples when the majority of attacks against innocent people in recent times have been committed by Islamic peoples?  Any sane person must understand that being a Moslem increases the chances that the person will be a terrorist.  Don’t get me wrong I work with a couple of Moslems and they are great people as I believe are the majority of Moslems but a higher percentage of Moslems are willing to use violence against innocents in defence of ideas than people of other belief systems.  It is rational to understand that and to fear them just as you should fear a snake who’s nature you don’t know even if the vast majority of snakes are not going to cause you harm.

 

By the way your offense at these cartoons is also an idea that you should be free to express.  You should even be able to retaliate in kind if that is your wish.  Create cartoons that lampoon those who have offended you, point out the foolishness of the things they hold dear.  Holding ideas up to ridicule is a powerful tool to unravel foolish belief systems and it is one of the forms of free speech that should and must be protected no matter who it comes from.

 

I agree that images and stories of child sexual abuse should not be published for very good reason, to create many of those images children had to be harmed.  I think there is a fine line when Nazi hate speech is banned because that idea is not harmful.  In this latter case the problem is the actions that that idea can incite. Just as in the case of child abuse and just as in the case of Islamic thoughts that lead to violence against people it is the actions that we should resist.  In all cases the ideas are not the problem, they should be defended by the laws of free speech, but where expressing ideas leads to harm then free speech protection must be balanced against the harm.  Publishing child abuse images harms no one but creating those images did cause harm and creating a market for such images pushes more people to produce them thus increasing the harm.  Teaching religious ideas lead some people to take up arms against cartoonists, using violence against ideas is always wrong.  In all such cases ‘free speech’ must be weighed against the harm that falls from those ideas.

 

How do you think Islam would far if it was held up to the same sort of scrutiny as has been applied to Nazi hate speech?  Is it possible that it too should be censured to protect the common good given the violence that it incites?

 

I’m sorry if you were offended by these cartoons or similar ideas but I believe that the creators of such cartoons have a perfect right to lampoon your most deeply held beliefs so long as they do not specifically encourage violence against you.  Personally I find many of the beliefs of Jew’s ludicrous, the ideas of Christians simply crazy and I can’t speak any better of your beliefs but you have the right to ignore or not read such thoughts and the right to express your feelings about my beliefs as much as you like in all cases so long as physical action against me is not involved or encouraged.  What was it Rumpole of the Baily once famously said “Sir, I disagree with everything you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”.

 

Russell

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Hello Russell, 

 

Good to see you getting involved in the discussion.

 

People unfortunately aren't robots Russell and many people are emotional. Society would be great if we could all be rational beings and consider the consequences of our actions but unfortunately human beings do not seem to be able to do this. Those cartoonists could not be rational and consider the hurt they would cause against Muslims. Those men who killed them also did not think of consequences of their actions and how damaging it would be for Islam. As we speak Muslims are living in fear in France as Masjids are attacked because of this situation. 

 

But the law should not be emotional. The law and those in power have a responsibility to ensure harmony in society. 

 

You are right Muhammad pbuh does not lose anything personally from these mocking cartoons. I completely agree. But let's say someone who you dearly love has passed away and a certain cartoonist continues to publish images of this person in a way that is degrading, wouldn't you be hurt? Violence is not the answer but most certainly we have a right to feel hurt. We have a right to protest about this and speak out against it. I know that you do not believe in the same as we believe in and I accept that but you must accept that also not everyone thinks like you. Muslims will be hurt when this happens and I really doubt that will change. 

 

I know that there are reasons why people fear Islam because of how certain Muslims behave. I have always repeated that Muslims must speak out against these people and that our religious leaders must speak out against it. Unfortunately they do not get enough media attention. Yet the media is a very powerful tool in society and if it is being used to create an us versus them situation then this works to increase peoples fears. 

 

You say that ideas are open to ridicule. Most certainly. I have heard people mock Islam because of many different things and I don't take it serious but there are particular cartoons that went beyond mocking. They aimed to degrade and put a person whom we love in the most awful way. It doesn't matter to us that he is not alive today just like for Jews it does not matter Moses has gone. People still value those prophets in their life. 

 

I completely disagree with your assessment that ''Any sane person must understand that being a Moslem increases the chances that the person will be a terrorist''. This is completely unfounded. How can we measure a level of ones faith? Just because a person has on their birth cert that they are Muslim means frankly nothing. Your actions determine whether or not you are a Muslim. And a Muslim is not one who kills innocent children like what happened in Pakistan, a Muslim is not one who kills a charity worker like what happened in Iraq and a Muslim is not one who kills anyone because of different ideas. These people are not God fearing people so it annoys me that they are portrayed in the media as Muslims as if that word held meaning to them. How come it is from certain cultures of the world that these people seem to be arising from. A Muslim country like Malaysia and Indonesia do not have the same problems as a country like Iraq, a country like Turkey does not have the same problems as a country like Libya. They are all majority Muslim countries but the cultures are all very different. It makes me think therefore that there are certain societal factors that are influencing these people.  

 

Ideas can be very dangerous if they reach certain levels. If you cannot see that then you are really missing an important point. Ideas have the power to incite hatred amongst a father and son. Ideas make their way into the education system. Just like nazi ideology made it into the education system. Just like Lenin's ideology went on to influence the growth of communism. Just like the ideas of Che Guevara went on to influence liberation movements around the world. Ideas can be good and ideas can be bad. We will always debate about what is good and what is bad, there will never be a clear answer always. We are ALWAYS going to hurt someone. Nobody will be 100% happy with anything. But society should work together to discuss the issues. Non Muslims should seek to understand why these cartoons hurt Muslims, and Muslims must also seek to understand the values of others even if we don't agree. Common ground needs to be made for respect and harmony in society otherwise we will be faced with situations like we saw yesterday. Unfortunately we have far right groups on both sides which do not want harmony and it is the job of those in the middle to overcome these groups. 

 

In relation to your last question about Islam being held up to scrutiny. I do believe in society that non Muslims deserve the right to criticise Islam. I am not looking for a police state where we listen in on everyone's conversations and monitor every single site on the internet. That is just control and people always find ways of getting around control. However I do believe there must be standards. Europe is not the land of Christianity. Europe is a place where people from many different cultures live and they are not going to go away. A lot of them were born in Europe so this idea that 'they should go back to their own country' is not even applicable. Society needs to face up to the reality. I have more to do with my time than create cartoons to mock others who I don't agree with. I would rather debate them in a sensible way. If it is a persons goal to convince others that an idea is wrong then lets debate it. But why go to a level that needs to be degrading? 

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Hi ParadiseLost

 

I don’t believe that Moslems in general should ever have to live in fear because of the actions of a small minority no matter what their beliefs are.

 

It’s an old debate ‘who is or is not of X religion’.  It’s been a common tactic amongst Christians to discount those who do not come up to their standards as “not Christian” and so to exclude them from consideration.  You may not count the men who perpetrated this act as Moslems but they would likely say exactly the same thing about you accusing you of being too wishy washy about your beliefs.  Until you can present god as a witness no one is qualified to adjudicate the question of who is and who is not a true Moslem.  From an outside perspective if you are presented with 10000 Muslims and 10000 non Muslims which group will probably contain more terrorists?  Based on that truth my statement ''Any sane person must understand that being a Moslem increases the chances that the person will be a terrorist'' is a valid way of judging people even if you don’t like it, even if it is unfair on the vast majority who are perfectly good people.  We on the outside of Islam are not capable of judging who is and who is not a Moslem other than by what these people claim thus all of those men, from our outside judgment, are Moslems because that is their claim and in any sufficiently large sample you will find that a higher percentage of people claiming to be Moslems are terrorists than among the general population.  Like it or not that is, in a purely statistical sense, how the numbers stack up so my statement is valid if uncomfortable for you.

 

Yes I understand that some areas of the world are hotspots for terrorism and others, despite large Moslems populations are not, Islam is not the only factor here but it does appear to be a significant factor.

 

I’m not sure you can say that those cartoonists did not consider the hurt they may cause in their satire, they satirised any number of political and social institutions over the years and I’m sure they were aware that some people would be hurt to read their cartoons.  Does that in any way affect the truth or otherwise of what they said in those cartoons?  Should they keep quiet about a truth they see just because some people might not like to hear it?  Yes I’m sure there are less abrasive ways of saying what they had to say but the satire is what their publication is about and satire does reach a large audience.  I enjoy well composed satire even when it is directed against me or my position.

 

I agree that laws should work to achieve a harmonious society and I think the law does well at that.  It does not promote dis harmony to satirize someone else’s beliefs if they make no sense but it does promote disharmony to start shooting at people you disagree with.  The law speaks clearly against one of these actions and, for very good reason, does not speak against the other.  Free speech is a foundation of our society and nothing, especially not religious beliefs, should reduce that unless harm is the likely result of that speech.

 

Should anyone who has a problem with open free speech really choose to live in a western country where free speech is guaranteed under law?  Surely if you have a problem with free speech you should move to a country that has laws more fitting your views?  That’s not a version of the “go back to where you came from” argument, as you say many of these people were born in the west and so that is home but if I had a serious problem with how my country was run I would have the choice to attempt to change it by political means or to leave it.

 

Debate is definitely a far better way of dealing with these differences but sometimes even that can be challenging for those who hold religious views.  I’ve tried here before to explain how the world appears to an atheist but people here are offended by what I say and can’t or won’t step into my shoes when I spell out how it is.  Sometimes there is no way to explain how the world is for an atheist that a religious person can listen to without insult no matter how hard you try.  Some of the concepts are simply the truth as I see it but are challenging even insulting to religious ears so there are challenges even in this.

 

Russell

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All this talk about the French love for freedom of speech.. then why did they ban a protest demo when Muslims demonstrated against the crimes committed in Gaza..

 

Why did Charlie Hebdo sack an employee who made anti-semite comments..

 

Why did Rupert Murdoch have to apologise for the picture depicting the israeli PM killing Muslims..

Edited by The Doc

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All this talk about the French love for freedom of speech.. then why did they ban a protest demo when Muslims demonstrated against the crimes committed in Gaza..

 

Why did Charlie Hebdo sack an employee who made anti-semite comments..

 

Why did Rupert Murdoch have to apologise for the picture depicting the israeli PM killing Muslims..

 

 

Just to point out that there is a rather large diferrence between banning a protest demo, sacking somone for anti-semitic comments and murdering people in cold blood for drawings that they made ..

 

WH

Edited by Wahidian

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Just to point out that there is a rather large diferrence between banning a protest demo, sacking somone for anti-semitic comments and murdering people in cold blood for drawings that they made ..

 

WH

 

You missed the point I made completely did'nt you.

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Hi ParadiseLost

 

I don’t believe that Moslems in general should ever have to live in fear because of the actions of a small minority no matter what their beliefs are.

Hi Russell,

 

I am glad that you hold this opinion.

It’s an old debate ‘who is or is not of X religion’. It’s been a common tactic amongst Christians to discount those who do not come up to their standards as “not Christian” and so to exclude them from consideration. You may not count the men who perpetrated this act as Moslems but they would likely say exactly the same thing about you accusing you of being too wishy washy about your beliefs. Until you can present god as a witness no one is qualified to adjudicate the question of who is and who is not a true Moslem.

I agree with you on this. We do have this debates within Islam itself nevermind without non Muslims trying to judge what is Islam and what is not. I agree that such debates will be around forever. I know that these people think they are as much Muslim as I think I am Muslim. We won't know who is 100% right until God judges between us but in our belief system we have been given the quran as a guidance. If a Muslim is not living by the guidance then we can say with a degree of certainty that he/she is not a Muslim. What I see is certain sects taking the quran and literally destroying it by their use of its verses. They will take one verse and ignore thousands of others.They do not take into consideration the context of verses and they do not wish to either. They use their verses for their own political goals. This is easily done. I could take verses from the quran to support communism as much as I could to support capitalism. Yet when the quran is viewed as a whole this is much more difficult to do.

From an outside perspective if you are presented with 10000 Muslims and 10000 non Muslims which group will probably contain more terrorists? Based on that truth my statement ''Any sane person must understand that being a Moslem increases the chances that the person will be a terrorist'' is a valid way of judging people even if you don’t like it, even if it is unfair on the vast majority who are perfectly good people.

I am sorry but I still disagree with you. This is not a scientific argument at all. I mean which 10,000 Muslims would you take? Would they be all women or all male? Would they be all of the same age group? Would they have children? What type of career would they have? Would they be unemployed? Which country would they be from? Would they be from a country which was once colonised? Would they have suffered from torture? These are all factors that would be important to take into considerations. You cannot just make a broad statement like that. And how would you determine their likelihood of being a terrorist?

We on the outside of Islam are not capable of judging who is and who is not a Moslem other than by what these people claim thus all of those men, from our outside judgment, are Moslems because that is their claim and in any sufficiently large sample you will find that a higher percentage of people claiming to be Moslems are terrorists than among the general population. Like it or not that is, in a purely statistical sense, how the numbers stack up so my statement is valid if uncomfortable for you.

There was a time in my country's history where all Irish people were considered terrorists based on the actions of the IRA. At least that is how the British viewed us especially when the IRA bombing campaign was intense. Irish people were suspects and they were arrested without due process and tortured. We now know many years later that many of those arrested were innocent people. This is the type of stuff that happens when you make statements like because X is a Muslim they are more likely to be a terrorists. This is exactly the type of discourse that needs to be avoided in society.

 

The only relevant statistics you have would be from what you know. There are many acts of terrorism that occur on a daily basis in the world which go unknown. State terrorism is one of them. But of course a state cannot be prosecuted in the current international system. It was not so long ago that nationalist separatist movements were considered terrorists or the communists. Communism was depicted as a huge threat at one stage in history, it just happens to be at this point in history Islam is considered a huge threat. It is not that Islam has changed but rather the international system has changed. The societies in which some Muslims now live have changed.

 

 

I’m not sure you can say that those cartoonists did not consider the hurt they may cause in their satire, they satirised any number of political and social institutions over the years and I’m sure they were aware that some people would be hurt to read their cartoons. Does that in any way affect the truth or otherwise of what they said in those cartoons? Should they keep quiet about a truth they see just because some people might not like to hear it?

What truth were they defending when they drew naked pictures? As I said before there is a way of poking fun at something and then there is pure intention to degrade. I will never agree that we need to go to that level. I can think of many political figures past and present whom I do not like but would I go to the extent of drawing naked pictures of them to express my dislike of them - no.

Should anyone who has a problem with open free speech really choose to live in a western country where free speech is guaranteed under law? Surely if you have a problem with free speech you should move to a country that has laws more fitting your views? That’s not a version of the “go back to where you came from” argument, as you say many of these people were born in the west and so that is home but if I had a serious problem with how my country was run I would have the choice to attempt to change it by political means or to leave it.

Again you are talking as if freedom of speech is a natural given in western society. It most certainly is not. You might not get arrested for some things but you are certainly not given any air time or media attention because your ideas are different. This situation reminds me of the post 9/11 era where George Bush said - you are with or against us. Now it is you are with Charlie or against Charlie. That is the idea that is being promoted now. There is a lot of hypocrisy within western states when it comes to free speech. This is exactly why I started this topic. This is being made about free speech. This is to hide up the factors of what it really is. People do not want to come to terms that they allowed foreigners live in ghettos. Nobody encouraged foreigners to be part of society. There is so much more behind this than these men being against free speech. Yet again we will see this discourse being encouraged.

 

Why should I leave my country, where I was born, where my family live just because I do not agree with depicting people naked. I have a right to my opinion too. A lot of these people who are defending the free speech of Charlie, are against the free speech of those they consider radicals. In my view hate speech needs to be monitored no matter what religion you are. I do not want to live in a society where we can all run wild. I know that anarchists would love that. However, throughout history humans have formed states and created rules of governance because we need rules. The hypocrisy of this situation is that you can have your unlimited free speech as long as you are not against unlimited free speech. Standing up to terrorists and ridiculing a whole religion is not the same thing as much as they would like to enforce this idea.

Debate is definitely a far better way of dealing with these differences but sometimes even that can be challenging for those who hold religious views. I’ve tried here before to explain how the world appears to an atheist but people here are offended by what I say and can’t or won’t step into my shoes when I spell out how it is. Sometimes there is no way to explain how the world is for an atheist that a religious person can listen to without insult no matter how hard you try. Some of the concepts are simply the truth as I see it but are challenging even insulting to religious ears so there are challenges even in this.

 

Russell

Well you know that is something I don't control. I probably wouldn't be as offended as someone else by things you say. But that is because Muslims are not all alike. We, just like all humans, hold different opinions. We get offended by different things just like all humans do. I do not agree with some views of Muslims on this forum just like I do not agree with some views of non Muslims. But that is life, I am not going to kill anyone. But the forum has rules to ensure we all respect one another. And I like to think that respect is what we strive for...

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You missed the point I made completely did'nt you.

Please explain so that Wahidan can understand. Its not easy to understand each other on forums sometimes  :lol:

 

The way I see it is that you are trying to point out hypocrisy when it comes to free speech?

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Perhaps I did miss the point. Could it have been hypocrisy?

 

I just thought that any such minor observation would be to trivialise the whole matter of mass murder.

 

And would it be true to say that the two main attributes of Islam would be Mercy and Compassion? I have heard the words: 'Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim' used before killing a chicken!

But these 'terrorists', or Islamists' - call them what you like, according to all the reports I've read always quote them as saying: 'Allah hu Akbar' - 'God is great (or greatest) before killing their victims. Could it be implied, therfore, that power is more important than either Mercy or Compassion?

Or have I got this wrong somehow?

 

Thanks,

 

Wahid

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[at]PL and Wahidian

 

Okay apologies if I was a little hasty and direct.

 

But yes, I do mean double standards.

 

When it comes to anything to do with Islam/Muslim we are silenced- take the case of the Muslim comedian who made this (what was considered anti semite) gesture in his joke act.

 

French leaders including French President Hollande have been speaking about the fundamental importance and value of freedom of expression. Yet this is the same President Hollande who last year supported the banning of French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.

 

So what happened to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the right to say what you want even though it may cause offense and even though it may be inflammatory? It seems that this criteria only applies when it comes to Muslims. :mellow:

 

Like I mentioned earlier-during the israel-Gaza conflict in the summer, France also decided to ban pro Palestine demos- so what happened to the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech, and the right to assembly for these pro-Palestinian supporters? It was taken away- simple as that.

 

So do you see why some Muslims get angry and see double standards.

 

We ask for fairness,that is all.

 

Was-salaam

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[at]PL and Wahidian

 

Okay apologies if I was a little hasty and direct.

 

But yes, I do mean double standards.

 

When it comes to anything to do with Islam/Muslim we are silenced- take the case of the Muslim comedian who made this (what was considered anti semite) gesture in his joke act.

 

French leaders including French President Hollande have been speaking about the fundamental importance and value of freedom of expression. Yet this is the same President Hollande who last year supported the banning of French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.

 

So what happened to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the right to say what you want even though it may cause offense and even though it may be inflammatory? It seems that this criteria only applies when it comes to Muslims. :mellow:

 

Like I mentioned earlier-during the israel-Gaza conflict in the summer, France also decided to ban pro Palestine demos- so what happened to the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech, and the right to assembly for these pro-Palestinian supporters? It was taken away- simple as that.

 

So do you see why some Muslims get angry and see double standards.

 

We ask for fairness,that is all.

 

Was-salaam

 

Yes, I see. I think this hinges around the 'sacredness' of the prophet however. Insulting Islam is one thing but to directly insult the Prophet is quite another. Many Muslims say he means more to them than their family. How do they reach this conclusion? I don't know - I think it's a personal thing.

 

There is a saying: "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me"

 

What do you think of that?

 

Wahid

Edited by Wahidian

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Like I mentioned earlier-during the israel-Gaza conflict in the summer, France also decided to ban pro Palestine demos- so what happened to the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech, and the right to assembly for these pro-Palestinian supporters? It was taken away- simple as that.

 

So do you see why some Muslims get angry and see double standards.

 

We ask for fairness,that is all.

 

Was-salaam

I agree. This incident should not be framed in terms of a 'glossy' freedom of speech idea. If we are going to talk about freedom of speech let us be honest about how much it really exists. 

 

There is a lot more to this than is being acknowledged. The problem with most governments around the world in their response to terrorism, is that they only seek to fix the symptoms. It is time that we go to the root causes and fix them. We can cover up the symptoms for a while but they will reappear again. 

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They have been bringing freedom and demcracy to the world since the last 300 years. Here is a recent example of the liberalist fascist
method of brining freedom of expression to the muslims. Fallujah - The massacres. 1000s were murdered. No one knows their names or faces, column inches are not devoted to them.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9fvR9l7ITE

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I agree. This incident should not be framed in terms of a 'glossy' freedom of speech idea. If we are going to talk about freedom of speech let us be honest about how much it really exists. 

 

There is a lot more to this than is being acknowledged. The problem with most governments around the world in their response to terrorism, is that they only seek to fix the symptoms. It is time that we go to the root causes and fix them. We can cover up the symptoms for a while but they will reappear again. 

 

 

I'm sorry but I think I've lost the thread of this post! Is someone suggesting that if only Muslims had 'more freedom of speech' then  these atrocities wouldn't have happened!!?

 

I would have liked to see more of a focus on the extremists and their 'Raison d'etre'.

My question regarding the use of the words 'Allahu Akbar' and 'Bismillah er Rahman er Rahim' have been ignored.

If no-one knows then fine. I don't know, that's why I'm asking.

 

Regards,

 

Wahid

Edited by Wahidian

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I'm sorry but I think I've lost the thread of this post! Is someone suggesting that if only Muslims had 'more freedom of speech' then  these atrocities wouldn't have happened!!?

 

I would have liked to see more of a focus on the extremists and their 'Raison d'etre'.

My question regarding the use of the words 'Allahu Akbar' and 'Bismillah er Rahman er Rahim' have been ignored.

If no-one knows then fine. I don't know, that's why I'm asking.

 

Regards,

 

Wahid

No. These atrocities shouldn't happen even if freedom of speech of Muslims is limited. I personally wouldn't feel killing someone justifies the governments incapabilities. There are other solutions which many Muslims have suggested over the past few days.

 

What I am saying though - and the reason I began this post - is that this whole atrocity has been centred around free speech. This works well for the extreme right groups who want to create and us versus them. It also works well for those extremists who want to show the hypocrisy of free speech. The extreme right and the extreme Islamists like to create black and white pictures of society. They like to create a this or that situation. You are either with us or against us type of situation. This is why i am saying this discourse is only helping extremists whether they are religious or nationalist. This is why it is important for those in the middle to stand up to both sides and say no we will not divide society into black and white. We won't use terms like 'the Muslims'' and 'The French'. 

 

If we are to understand why these men killed those journalists then we need to go deeper. Many people just want to believe that these men are influenced by an extreme ideology of Islam. But why does that ideology flourish in the first place? There are certain political factors which have made that ideology attractive to some Muslims in France. We can't just have debate about free speech and Islam being against free speech. That is really simplifying the issue at hand. 

 

 

In relation to your question about Allahu Akbar and Bismillah..I didn't really understand what you were asking? It says your religion is Islam - so I would presume you know we say Bismillah before a lot of things to show a good intention and to keep Allah in mind.

 

And yea I don't really understand why they say Allah u Akbar before killing innocent civilians. But surely God is great - greater than all of us, and the wrongdoers will see His greatness one day. 

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Hi ParadiseLost

 

Are you aware of the “I’ll Ride With You” campaign here in Australia after the massacre recently in a café in Sydney by a Muslim?  That’s my feeling on this.  Every Muslim I have ever physically met has been the sort of person, like you, who would condemn such massacres and I believe such people have every right to live unmolested and unharassed in our country.  If it would help I’d ride with someone in public who was in fear to look after them because I believe that good people hold the Muslim faith and good people hold Christian faith and good people hold no faith.  Unfortunately it seems that, in this day and age, more bad people willing to kill innocents hold the Muslim faith than any of the others.  That must not condemn all the good Muslims because that is the majority of you.

 

Yes working out who is and who is not a true believer of any faith is a very open question, just look at how fragmented the Christian church is today because of such disputes.  And as you say such debates will never be settled till someone can produce god to tell us who has it right.  As an atheist I suspect that will be never of course though I’d be interested to see god if he does exist.

 

Sure you are correct, it’s possible to pick 10000 perfectly good Muslims (just as it’s possible to pick 10000 really bad Christians) for any such test but that’s not the point I’m making.  If you picked 10000 random Muslims and if you knew nothing about them at all beyond their faith and you picked 10000 non-Muslims simple maths predicts that you will find more terrorists and terrorist sympathisers amongst the Muslims than among the non-Muslims.

 

Just because a Muslim is more likely to be a terrorist than any other person in society can’t count against the fact that the vast majority of Muslims are perfectly good people and should be treated as such.  That’s the real crux of this, we’ve seen maybe hundreds of terrorists involved in these sorts of attacks but how many Muslims are there, tens / hundreds of Millions?  So what are the chances that anyone, picked at random from amongst the Muslims of this world, will be a terrorist?  Not quite zero but so close to it that it makes no difference.

 

To move forward from there however I hold the Catholic Church to be accountable for the horrible things that its priests have done to children in the past even though I know that the majority of priests are good men (Yes deluded IMHO but good).  I still feel that something in that organization leads a significant minority of its member to become paedophiles, a much higher number than in the rest of society so it is something about the church that is a part of the problem here.  In the same manner something about Islam leads a minority of its members to do horrible things not many but more than in the general, non-Muslim population.  Is it not reasonable to suggest that maybe something in that religion is at fault here?  Something in that religion and how it is taught and administered should change?

 

LOL the only naked picture I saw from that magazine was a funny poke at Muslims.  Well I got a chuckle out of it.  The one of the naked women proclaiming that she wears her burka on the inside.  I understand that nakedness, especially female nakedness, is something that upsets Muslims but in my society it’s not such a big issue and it certainly is funny when it’s done properly.  So what truth were they defending, the truth of humour by poking fun at the hypocrisy they see in their society.  And do they actually need to be defending a truth?  Can’t they just draw pictures because they are funny?  We get nearly naked pictures of our current prime minister all the time in the papers here, poking fun at him because he appeared in his skimpy bathers on TV once early on as prime minister.  I’m sure he hates it though maybe he’s got a better sense of humour than that but either way I find if funny.

 

Freedom of speech is written into our constitution.  Sure there are limits and nothing forces papers to publish what you think but the law won’t stop you except in a few cases where what you say may cause harm.  You are otherwise free to publish anything you want with your own resources if you can’t get someone else to fund it or publish it.

 

In my country foreigners have been welcomed for quite a while and we have a very multicultural society so I can’t say I have any experience of the things you talk about, ghetto’s etc.  But if your problem is that you have been forced to live in a ghetto or you have chosen to or your family has chosen to is killing comedians really a way of protesting?  Why would you pick comedians who poked fun at your religion if your gripe was really about ghettos?  To me it seems clear that these men had a problem with the things these cartoonists had published about their idea of god.  It was an attempt, very unsuccessful, at preventing people from saying ‘bad’ things about their religion.

 

I never suggested that you should leave your country, rather I suggested that everyone has two options if they don’t like the way their country operates, you can peacefully and legally try to change it or you can leave to a country that suits you better.  Changing it with violence should never be your method of choice.

 

You mentioned that you have a problem with people being depicted naked which is fine, there are people who have that view in my country too, but the simple fix for this is to avoid the sorts of publications that show such pictures.  Don’t read Play Boy magazine if you don’t want to see naked people for instance.  The majority of our society has no problems with such depictions even if many people aren’t interested in them so such depictions are common here.  As I say you should be free to try to change that by legal means but the majority rules.

 

You probably won’t convince me that religions shouldn’t be open to ridicule.  As an atheist I don’t believe there is anything about religions that entitles them to any protection.  Given that there is probably no god what really are religions?  Of course I have no problem with you ridiculing my position either, ridicule away if you wish.  If drawing naked atheists doing something is funny go for it.  Free speech crosses the line when what you say incites people to violence or physical harm IMHO but beyond that say what you wish, what you find funny or what you find true.

 

Yes the forum rules here do seem to keep things open and reasonably friendly.  There are some here who seem to bang against the bars, you can hear their frustration, but the rules work as you say.  I’m glad to hear you won’t be killing anyone here just because you disagree with them.  For me I don’t care how hard you try to insult me and especially my position I’m not about to start killing anyone.

 

Russell

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Yes, I see. I think this hinges around the 'sacredness' of the prophet however. Insulting Islam is one thing but to directly insult the Prophet is quite another. Many Muslims say he means more to them than their family. How do they reach this conclusion? I don't know - I think it's a personal thing.

 

There is a saying: "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me"

 

What do you think of that?

 

Wahid

The actions done in Paris by these 'terrorists' - as we are only told what we see, was OTT.

 

History tells us the Prophet never reacted when anything was done to him directly- as long as the boundaries of Allah were not breached. He had camel intestines thrown on him when in sajda, the Jewish lady who use to throw rubbish and dirt when she knew the Nabi of Allah would pass by- and yet he did nothing because it was not in his nature.

 

So you're right, sticks and stones slogan may apply but remember, not everyone has that patience- these guys surely didn't.

 

Also will throw in this article which sheds some interesting views.

 

There was a video (which may now be removed from youtube) where it is 100% clear the shots fired on this policeman as he lay on the ground, did not hit him! The shots were fired on the pavement and you can see the smoke bouncing off.

 

 

 

A former White House official says the terrorist attack that

killed 12 people on Wednesday in Paris was a false flag operation

“designed to shore up France’s vassal status to Washington.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, made the remarks in an article published on Thursday.

“The

suspects can be both guilty and patsies. Just remember all the

terrorist plots created by the FBI that served to make the terrorism

threat real to Americans,” he wrote.

 

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/01/10/392443/CIA-carried-out-Paris-attack-Roberts

Edited by The Doc

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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. 

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Hello russell, 

 

Yes I am aware of the i'll ride with you campaign in Australia. It was very nice of the Australians to stick together with the Muslims and not allow that situation divide them. However, we are talking about France here and the situation of Muslims in France is not comparable to Australia. In my country, Muslims have a pretty good situation and allowed to practice their religion freely so I cannot compare my country to France either. There are no Muslim ghettos in my country. 

 

However, in France, way before this all happened there has been an increasingly anti Islamic sentiment. Numerous of females have been attacked in public for wearing the headscarf. When one woman tried to protest the ban on the face veil she suffered a miscarriage from the beating she got. They also tried to cut her hair in the process. They weren't considered terrorists for this though. I must also note that this racism that is on the rise in France is not just against Muslims but also against the roma community. There was also an incident where chinese tourists were beaten up and insulted because of their race. These types of incidents are becoming common in France in the past few years. And more worryingly is that it seems to be acceptable by more and more people. 

 

France is particularly a special case because it has the highest population of Muslims in Europe. Most are from the past colonies of France like Algeria and Morocco. When they first went to live in France, there was no proper plan for them. They were allowed to live in areas together which has formed the ghettos which we see today in France. There is absolutely no integration between some communities in France because of this lack of planning. The rate of unemployment in these areas are quite high because there is an extreme prejudice in France against foreigners, particularly Muslims and particularly Muslim women who cover their hair. France is also different due to its history in its colonies. France's involvement in Algeria is a very bitter one. Its relationship with Muslims goes back a long time ago and these memories are still very much present in France today. 

 

I mean I could go on, but my point is that the case of France is different. Does that excuse the situation that happened - no? But it most certainly does explain part of why these men who go abroad. The feel of not belonging in France is an important factor to consider. What I am saying is that there are other factors that influenced these men, not just an extreme ideology. Yet people like Marine le Pen want to frame it as just an Islamic ideology. This woman is completely racist and anti Islam. Her father before her was against the Jews and now she is living in his legacy by attacking the Muslims. These type of people like to attack the minorities in society, especially when the economy isn't going good as people lose support for the ruling party. Her popularity over the past few days has risen which shows how this black and white discourse is benefiting her. 

 

A lot of people who have become involved in this debate in society do not really know much about Charlie Hebdo. There are a few cartoons that are being used as the primary examples and they certainly are not the most offensive. When I was referring to the naked one, I was not referring to naked women. I was referring to the prophet. I do not find it acceptable at all. There is no need for this type of characterisation. A lot of his cartoons were also racist. As I said the situation of Muslims in France is different. Most of them are of a different skin colour being from places like Algeria and Morocco. I don't find it acceptable to portray racist feelings in a cartoon. I don't care if it is funny or not. The fact that race relations in France are sensitive, means that such cartoons only serve to damage them more. Yes people say but he poked fun at the Catholic Church, but the majority of the time the fun was poked at Muslims. I also know that a lot of non Muslims would feel uncomfortable with some of the stuff he did yet we are made to believe that any sane person is Charlie. 

 

Again we see the media simplifying the discourse around these men. These men had a problem with what Charlie Hebdo did, but is that all they had a problem with? Terrorists, as much as we like to think they are mad men have political objectives. Some of the most known terrorists throughout history, were very educated people. They plan in advance and they know what will get them the attention they want. The current war on terror is a complete failure! And the actions of countries like France in the war on terror have only radicalised these people more. Why are people really that surprised that some people find this ideology attractive when you see the actions of some European countries in Muslim countries. They are thriving on the hypocrisy of countries like America and France. 

 

I agree with pursuing a problem through the legal route as I have stated before. I agree with protesting too. 

 

In relation to the 10,000 topic - I think we should just drop it. I don't believe that countries that have used the atomic bomb, slaughtered millions in their colony conquests, who slaughter children on a daily basis, who arrest people and torture them for years without any due process, who kill civilians on a daily basis...no I don't think that these countries would come out good on a 'potential terrorist' list. I don't believe in essentialism. I don't believe if you are black - you are not as educated. I don't believe if you are Muslim, you are more likely to be violent. What I believe is that some humans are bad and some humans are good. We will probably just go around in circles debating our opinions, but there is no scientific experiment that has been done or could be done objectively to prove what you said. 

 

I am not trying to convince you that religion shouldn't be open to ridicule. As I have said I have heard a lot of it before. But I do believe there need to be boundaries, ones that reflect the society, and one that ensures respect in debates. I am trying to point out though that religious extremists in the past 30-40 years didn't rise because of no reason. Political factors encouraged them and caused them to flourish. As long as parties like those of Marine Le Pen flourish, so too will the extreme religious ones. I can tell you if people think this is just about Charlie Hebdo and free speech, well then they are not going to find the solution to this problem. 

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Hi, Russell.

 

I agree fully with the views of brother TheDoc and sister ParadiseLost. Basically, these double standards in the modern world exist. Unlike you, whom i would call somewhat open-minded and moderate, many many people in the West such as Bill Maher are willing to generalize about Muslims as a whole. That if someone calling themselves a Muslim commits an act of terror, then this act is applauded by most moderate Muslims even.

 

For example, what basically happened here is that someone was doing something that pissed someone else off and they got killed for it. It's called murder. It happens everywhere, regardless of religious, cultural, or racial affiliation. Then why is it being blown so out of proportion? Last December, in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan, where about 130 children were gunned down, slaughtered, even. That incident has not coined nearly as much world coverage and support as the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Why, is it because the victims were Muslim? Is it not considered terrorism if the victims are of a same religion? I've seen the blood stained floors, the piled bodies of the dozens of children. The double standard issue is sickening.

 

Tell me, why is the world treating and commemorating the victims of Charlie Hebdo as if they were on some sort of noble mission and died for it's sake? They were disgraceful as human beings, although they did not deserve this end. It is wrong for someone to be murdered. But treating them as heroes or martyrs is wrong too. Forget not that one of the policemen who died in the attack was a Muslim. He gave his life defending Charlie Hebdo's so-called "freedom of speech". Don't forget that freedom of speech does not extend to downright slander. Decent criticism is acceptable. Intentional insult is not. That's all I'm saying.

Edited by sunnymaboy
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Worth a watch to see the hypocrisy of it all.


 



Edited by A-H
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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. 

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The actions done in Paris by these 'terrorists' - as we are only told what we see, was OTT.

 

History tells us the Prophet never reacted when anything was done to him directly- as long as the boundaries of Allah were not breached. He had camel intestines thrown on him when in sajda, the Jewish lady who use to throw rubbish and dirt when she knew the Nabi of Allah would pass by- and yet he did nothing because it was not in his nature.

 

So you're right, sticks and stones slogan may apply but remember, not everyone has that patience- these guys surely didn't.

 

Also will throw in this article which sheds some interesting views.

 

There was a video (which may now be removed from youtube) where it is 100% clear the shots fired on this policeman as he lay on the ground, did not hit him! The shots were fired on the pavement and you can see the smoke bouncing off.

 

 

 

I wonder if this report regarding the woman throwing camel intestines at the Prophet is actual fact!?

 

But the story raises some interesting questions in my mind anyway, some of which could be seen as insulting to the prophet. For instance: did this woman have some kind of a personal grudge against Muhammad, I wonder? And if so why didn't he speak to her to try and resolve it? And why didn't he simply travel via another route to avoid pasing her house? Or did he just travel that way once?

Anyway, I have to say it does sound somewhat humorous, which to some people would be to turn the Prophet into the butt of a joke. Or is it actually meant to be funny, thus illustrating that some Muslims can be light hearted, even when speaking of the Prophet? The story would also, of course, show that Muhammad was a very tolerant human being, but perhaps unrealistically so, however.

 

Also, another quote: "The pen is mightier than the sword". But I don't remember who said it.

 

Salaam,

 

Wahid

Edited by Wahidian

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