Islamics, Islamists, and Scotsmen

Maajid Nawaz is an interesting guy trying to make sense out of his own religion, Islam. Wikipedia notes that he was imprisoned for five years for being a member of Hib ut-Tahrir, a violent Egyptian Muslim group. During that time he had a change of heart, and he renounced his violent and divisive past. As a result, he now works to reform Islam. In that quest, he says that there is a distinction between Islam and “Islamism”, viz:

What is Islamism? Islam is a religion; Islamism is the desire to impose any version of that religion on society.

It’s the politicization of my own religion. What is Jihadism? The use of force to spread Islamism.

The danger of not naming this ideology is twofold. Firstly, within the Muslim context, those liberal Muslims, reformist Muslims, feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, dissenting voices, minority sects, the Ismailis, the Shia — all these different minorities within the minority of the Muslim community — are immediately betrayed.

How are they betrayed? Because you deprive them of the lexicon, the language to employ against those who are attempting to silence their progressive efforts within their own communities. You surrender the debate to the extremists…

The second danger is in the non-Muslim context. What happens if you don’t name the Islamist ideology and distinguish it from Islam?

SOURCE

This is a valuable insight, that at a minimum we need to be able to name the two sides in the fight. He also got together with the British Prime Minister to advance the same ideas:

islam islamism scotsmen

Now, this all seems very reasonable, enlightened, and modern. I mean, what’s not to like?

Let me start by saying what is to like in this—Maajid Nawaz. Mr. Nawaz is absolutely doing the right thing. He is trying to reform Islam. I give him high praise for first changing his beliefs at considerable personal cost, and then speaking out about the changes regardless of the danger.

maajid nawaz i

However, what’s not to like is that his reasonable enlightened modern construct is built on a couple of hidden problems.

PROBLEM THE FIRST: The Logical Fallacy

Professor Anthony Flew first described a curious logical fallacy as follows:

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again”. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion, but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says: “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”.

This has become known as the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy. Let me recast this in more modern terms:

Imagine Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim, sitting down with his Egyptian Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Cairo Sex Maniac Strikes Again!”. Maajid is shocked and declares that “No Muslim would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Egyptian Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about a Muslim man whose brutal actions make the Cairo sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Maajid was wrong in his opinion, but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says: “No true Muslim would do such a thing”.

Unfortunately, this is the exact argument that Mr. Nawaz is making—that no true Muslim would try to impose Islam on others. However, this is just the logical “No True Scotsman” fallacy in different clothing.

maajid nawaz II

This leads us directly to the second problem, which is that true Muslims do such horrendous things every day. Sudan buries women up to the neck and stones them to death with specially selected small stones to prolong the agony. Nigeria chops people’s hands off for theft. In a number of countries, a woman’s testimony in legal matters is worth only half that of a man. And ISIS and Boko Haram use captured civilian women as sex slaves.

Why?

Because these are all laws that are clearly spelled out in the Koran.

PROBLEM THE SECOND: The Koran

Here is the clearest that I can point out the paradox:

(1) Orthodox Muslims believe the Koran is the inerrant word of Allah, and that the laws of the Koran are as valid now as the day they were given to Mohammed.

(2) If you believe the Koran is the inerrant word of Allah, you absolutely are an Islamist, because violence against others is what the Koran preaches in far too many verses.

For example, if you leave Islam and speak out against the inerrant word of Allah, here is what the Koran says Orthodox Muslims are to do to you. Below is the so-called “Apostasy Verse”, about what you should do to apostates. (Apostates are people who leave a religion and then speak out against that religion.)

Qur’an 5:33—The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;

Nor is this some ignored verse forgotten for decades. That very verse is the reason that both Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie have had to live with bodyguards for decades.

Obviously, terrorizing people to force them to stay in the “religion” is just one of many clear examples of what Mr. Nawaz calls a “desire to impose any version of that religion on society” … but that is exactly what the Koran directs Muslims to do.

And that, of course, means that THE KORAN ITSELF IS ISLAMIST, NOT ISLAMIC.

The root of the problem is not Muslims, whether they are Islamic or Islamist. The problem is that the Koran itself is Islamist.

Now, is the Koran Islamist in all the verses? By no means. In fact, I would argue for the idea that most of it is relatively harmless, but that there are some “Satanic verses”. The concept of “Satanic Verses” is an ancient Islamic story that exists in many forms. The basic idea is that somehow Iblis, his Satanic Majesty himself, managed to insert some verses into the Koran that were designed to cause trouble and strife. And in reading the Koran, I’d say that is absolutely true.

So in order to solve this, Muslims need to get together and decide which of the verses of the Koran should NOT be considered as being eternally valid.

If I had to choose which ones were the Satanic verses, I’d start with three big ones—the “Apostate Verse” discussed above, the verse authorizing men to beat their wives, and the verse authorizing the keeping of female war captives as sexual slaves.

Here’s the verse about beating your wife:

Qu’ran 4:34—Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them;

And if you consider the matter carefully, here is a translation what that verse of the Koran is actually saying:

Qu’ran 4:34—Don’t beat your wife at random whenever you feel angry or had a bad hair day, you simpleton! That will just make her constantly frightened, unsure, and afraid to act. If you do that she’ll be useless to you. Instead, only beat her when she disobeys you, and stop as soon as she obeys you … that way, she will be your perfect servant—obedient, submissive to your every wish, and permanently terrified of not pleasing you. Go and do likewise.

Finally, here is the Koran verse authorizing keeping captured female civilian prisoners of war as sexual slaves:

Qur’an 33:50—O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you [for sex] your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses [slaves] out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war …

Please note that this is not some theoretical religious dispute about long-dead verses. All of these barbaric actions, of wife-beating, death for apostasy, and sexual slavery are practiced today because they are specifically authorized by the Koran.

So I would hope that Mr. Nawaz would take the next step and get specific. Is he willing to say that those three verses should be specifically repudiated and that they should NOT be any part of modern Islam?

Because without a list of which verses are centuries past their use-by date, what is a poor Muslim supposed to do with the Koran except believe the whole thing is eternally true and valid?

However, I would also understand if Mr. Nawaz was not willing to say that these three and many others are Satanic verses which should be condemned as 7th-century barbarity by all right-thinking people. After all, just saying that there might actually be Satanic verses in the Koran is the reason why Salman Rushdie had to have bodyguards for decades …

Let me close by offering my thanks to Maajid Nawaz for having the strength of his convictions. He is a beacon of hope in a dark and threatening Islamist storm. I wish him the very best in his quest to drag Islam kicking and screaming into at least the 20th century, if not the 21st … but to do that, we need to repudiate some of the verses of the Koran. Not an easy task, but we can start by listing the largest offenders.

Regards to all, Muslims, Xtians, Hindudes and all the rest. Me, I’m a shamanist, I avoid all this stuff. I’ve discussed these issues at greater length and complete with cartoons in my post, The Problem With Islam. Here, showers last night, sunshine today. Cold air coming off the ocean, the world is good.

w.

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67 thoughts on “Islamics, Islamists, and Scotsmen

    • I looked at that article and after about 5 seconds it told me it was time to subscribe. I hardly had time to read the headline, so I don’t even know if I’m missing anything good.

      However, Mark Steyn also has an article about it and Mark Steyn is always good.
      https://www.steynonline.com/7740/the-big-shut-up

      talk about one of the most malign trends of our time: the ever more open refusal by one side to permit those on the other side to speak. As I always say, I don’t care what side you pick on the great questions of the age – climate change, gay marriage, Islam, transgendered bathrooms, whatever – but, if you’re on the side that says the other guy isn’t entitled to a side, you’re on the wrong side.

      Excellent article.

      I note in passing that Maajid Nawaz debated AGAINST Ayaan Hirsi Ali. After I read about that I will know better if Maajid Nawaz is just another “Islam is a religion of peace” shill.

      Like

  1. The first step in getting the Koran revised is to be able to differentiate those who want to reform it from those that don’t. At that point the two groups can diverge and use different versions of the Koran.

    This isn’t the final step, it’s just the first necessary step.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good timing. I just got Maajid Nawaz’s book “Radical: My Journey Out Of Islamist Extremism”

    It also covers how he got into Jihadism and the modern origin of Jihadism. Very interesting stuff. More on that later.

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  3. “We will never accept obeying God in this country, we will never follow the right path, we will never allow the struggle for righteousness here, ISIS is morally right.”

    Does that correctly describe your view?

    If not, let me reinsert the original Arabic words: “We will never accept Islam in this country, we will never follow Sharia, we will never allow Jihad here. ISIS is following the Koran.”
    I’m pretty sure that you would quibble about much of my wording, but accept that’s generally along the lines of your point of view. Of course, I’ve left out all your justification for that view- but that’s not my point right now.

    Almost any discussion of the religion of Shias and Sunnis becomes an ISIS recruitment speech when we use the Arabic words without regard to their literal meaning from the point of view of Arabic speakers. We create a giant dog-whistle, whereby we announce ourselves the enemies of God and goodness, whenever we do this.
    Let’s not do that.

    As a quick solution, we should stop using Arabic words.

    if we’re opposed to mutilating the genitalia of little girls, let’s say we’re opposed to mutilating the genitalia of little girls, rather than saying we’re opposed to Sharia (the right path).
    If we’re opposed to violence in the name of religion, let’s say we’re opposed to violence in the name of religion, rather than that we’re opposed to (Islam).obeying God.

    Once you consider the literal meaning of the Arabic words, you see Mr Nawaz is not perpetrating the No True Scotsman fallacy. He is trying to differentiate between obeying God (Islam) and the violent cult that calls itself Islam.

    Good for him. May there be more like him.

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    • I don’t understand your post. Are you saying that Mr. Nawaz has rejected the Koran and invented a new religion which he calls Islam (submission to Allah)? As opposed to the Koran believers which he calls Islamism?

      Liked by 1 person

    • John in Oz 2 April 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Once you consider the literal meaning of the Arabic words, you see Mr Nawaz is not perpetrating the No True Scotsman fallacy. He is trying to differentiate between obeying God (Islam) and the violent cult that calls itself Islam.

      Good for him. May there be more like him.

      Thanks, John. I agree that Mr. Nawaz is on the right side of the argument.

      But unfortunately, you left out the Koran. If you obey God (Islam) as expressed in the Koran, you are a part of the violent cult that calls itself Islam. So you cannot differentiate the two as you claim.

      That’s the NTS fallacy. You can’t claim that no true Muslim will keep sexual slaves or crucify apostates when the Koran says it’s perfectly fine to do so.

      w.

      Liked by 2 people

    • obeying God (Islam)
      ===========
      I see what you are trying to say, but it doesn’t make sense.

      It would be like saying don’t use the word “sushi” in a sentence like “I got sick eating sushi”, because to the Japanese “sushi” means “vinegar rice”, when what made you sick was the raw fish.

      Islam and Shushi are foreign words that have been adopted by the English language, and they do not have the exact same meaning as they did in their original language.

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    • obeying God (Islam)
      ===========
      From what I read, you are implying “Islam” is OK, because it means to “obey God”, and how can it be wrong to obey God?

      However, to “obey God” is the heart of the problem. Because, if the Koran is right, then God actually wants men to keep female POW’s as sex slaves. And if the Koran is wrong, then the Koran cannot be the inspired word of God, because how can God be wrong?

      The Bible would have a similar problem were it not for the New Testament. If we were following the Old Testament, we would still obey an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Jail time would largely be a thing of the past.

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  4. John in Oz 2 April 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    “We will never accept obeying God in this country, we will never follow the right path, we will never allow the struggle for righteousness here, ISIS is morally right.”

    Does that correctly describe your view?

    John, thanks for the comment, but I have no clue who you are referring to. If you are referring to me, that quote has nothing to do with my view.

    If not, let me reinsert the original Arabic words:

    “We will never accept Islam in this country, we will never follow Sharia, we will never allow Jihad here. ISIS is following the Koran.”

    I’m pretty sure that you would quibble about much of my wording, but accept that’s generally along the lines of your point of view. Of course, I’ve left out all your justification for that view- but that’s not my point right now.

    Again, who is “you” in your diatribe? If it is me, again that quote has nothing to do with my point of view. And how on earth can you be “pretty sure” that I would quibble about the wording? Heck, I’m often not sure what I would do, how can you possibly know?

    Next, you think you can see into my head and know that I would “accept” your cryptic pseudo-quotation as being “generally along the lines of my point of view”. NO! THAT IS JUST THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD. You don’t know what other people would quibble about or what they would accept, that’s just not true.

    That pseudo-quote and your claims that I would “quibble” and your idea that I would “accept” some nonsense of yours are pure fantasy. They have nothing to do with me. They are products of your own imagination.

    This is why I ask people to QUOTE THE WORDS YOU ARE REFERRING TO. I have no idea who think you are quoting or describing there.

    But it is certainly not me.

    Look, I’m not saying don’t post. I’m saying if you think I believe something, QUOTE WHERE I SAID IT so we can discuss it. I can defend my own words.

    I cannot defend your strange interpretation of unknown words of mine.

    Best regards,

    w.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, let me begin by saying I expected the answer to my rhetorical question would be a resounding “No”.
      “No, that is not my (Willis’s) view.”

      Secondly, I’m sorry you read my contribution as a diatribe. As I wrote it I thought I was advancing an interesting alternative viewpoint for discussion.

      My third point is that I’m not being dogmatic.
      I know I might be wrong, even after I’ve formed a view. It’s why I keep my words sweet; I know I might have to eat them.
      I’m always open to you telling me I’m wrong. I chose the turn of phrase ‘pretty sure’ specifically to indicate that I’m not completely certain and I don’t insist on it.
      You ask “how on earth can [John] be “pretty sure” that [Willis] would quibble about the wording? Heck, I’m often not sure what I would do, how can you possibly know?”
      I can’t know, of course. That’s why I avoided saying “I know.” I’ve been pretty sure about lots of things in the past, and turned out to be wrong. I’ll be wrong lots of times in the future. Doesn’t exempt me from the obligation to do my best to form an honest judgement.

      I had formed the opinion that your view was generally along the lines that I suggested: ““We will never accept Islam in this country, we will never follow Sharia, we will never allow Jihad here. ISIS is following the Koran.”
      If I’m wrong about that, I’m surprised, but if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Feel free to say so. But don’t feel I was dogmatically misrepresenting you; the reason I used so many qualifiers is because I knew I could be mistaken.

      On a completely unrelated matter; I’ve adopted your sign off “All the best”,
      To me it indicates that despite any disagreement my correspondent and I might have, is conducted with best wishes and mutual good will. It’s a better signature than the ‘warm regards’ I rpeviously used.

      All the best.

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      • Jon, the rules here are that you are free to argue with something that someone says, but you cannot argue against what you think they would say, or what you think they mean by what they say.

        And if you are arguing against what someone says, you should quote what it is that you are arguing against (or at least enough for it to be clear)

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      • Jon, thanks for the continued discussion. I agree with David. I’m unable to argue with what you think I say, or what you believe I’ll quibble about. I’m happy to discuss my statements.

        For example, you say:

        I had formed the opinion that your view was generally along the lines that I suggested: “

        “We will never accept Islam in this country, we will never follow Sharia, we will never allow Jihad here. ISIS is following the Koran.”

        If I’m wrong about that, I’m surprised, but if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Feel free to say so. But don’t feel I was dogmatically misrepresenting you; the reason I used so many qualifiers is because I knew I could be mistaken.

        Here are a few of the reasons I’d disagree.

        First, I generally wouldn’t say “we will this” or “we will that”, because I’m reluctant to speak for anyone but myself. So the whole underlying assumption is wrong. My opinion has nothing to do with “we will”. I might discuss the tasks we face … but saying what “we will do” is a bridge too far. I don’t make fiats like that.

        Next, even if I were to say “we”, I generally wouldn’t say “we will never accept Islam in this country”. There are several things wrong with that. First, Islam is already here and is accepted. Next, I’m very cautious about using absolutes like “never” and “always”. they’ve gotten me in too much trouble. Finally, I endeavor to avoid predicting the future, as in what “will” or “won’t” happen.

        The same objections apply to your other two claims, “we will never follow Sharia” and “we will never allow Jihad here”. Some people in the US already follow Sharia. I don’t like Sharia Law, but that statement simply isn’t true. And since the World Trade Center is no more, clearly we’ve allowed Jihad here.

        However, on the other hand, ISIS is indeed following the Koran. So I would agree with that one out of your four statements.

        So no, my view is NOT “generally along those lines” for a whole bunch of reasons.

        This is why I ask people to QUOTE WHAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO. I can discuss and defend what I’ve actually said. I can’t defend what you think I said.

        Best regards,

        w.

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        • Fair enough.
          I accept that nothing I said refers to your views. I meant no offence, and wholeheartedly retract every such reference.

          I did have a very different point to my comment. (Wrongly) characterising the views of Willis Eschenach was not what I was trying to do.
          What I wanted to achieve was to contrast the difference between how some Arabic words are used in English and what they mean in the original.
          I did that in order to suggest that these differences mean that using these words as if they were English creates a ‘dog whistle’ for Arabic speakers. It suggests violent religious extremism is the only way to serve God, and that the (English) speaker is opposed to God, against righteousness and opposed to trying to do the right thing.

          I judge that tis observation of mine is much the same point that Maajid Nawaz is making, distinguishing between Islam in its meaning of obeying God vs Islam as any of the sects that use that name for themselves. Likewise he distinguishes between Jihad as the struggle for righteousness which he’s in favour of, vs Jihadism as “The use of force to spread Islamism”, which he’s against.

          If we take his advice we will deny the proponents of Islamism and Jihadism the ability to call themselves followers of God struggling to do right. And I think denying those terms to those who do evil in God’s name is utterly appropriate.

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          • Islam in its meaning of obeying God
            ======================
            but how do you know if you are obeying God? What is the measure? Because that is the stumbling point, because to different people “obeying God” has very different meanings.

            So, if we use the phrase “obeying God”, we are actually misleading people, because we really need to say: Obeying God according to the Koran, or Obeying God according to the Bible, or Obeying God according to the Talmud, or Obeying God according to Buddha, etc., etc.

            Because according to what belief you follow, one man’s righteousness is another man’s abomination, because there is no agreement as to what obeying God actually means.

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        • First, John, my thanks for your apology, done like a gentleman. However, I fear I’m still confused.

          You go off to contrast some Arabic words with some English words. Since I used no Arabic words I fear I’m not following the story.

          In addition you say:

          If we take his advice we will deny the proponents of Islamism and Jihadism the ability to call themselves followers of God struggling to do right. And I think denying those terms to those who do evil in God’s name is utterly appropriate.

          I fear you missed my point. The problem of Islam that those who are doing evil in fact DO “do evil in God’s name”. The problem is that the Koran itself is Islamist. The problem is that the proponents of Islamism and Jihadism are absolutely doing evil at God’s express bidding as revealed in the Koran.

          You see, whether in Arabic or English,the Koran tells observant Orthodox Muslims that it is fine to beat their wives, crucify those who speak against Islam, and keep sexual slaves. I’m sorry, but that is not religion. That is terrorism, regardless of the language. And you can’t weasel out of it with the NTS logical fallacy as both you and Mr. Nawaaz suggest.

          w.

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          • Thanks for your response Willis. I appreciate and admire the courtesy.
            Sorry I’ve failed to be clear. I’m annoyed with myself and I’ll try to do better.

            When Western Speakers use the word Islam, they mean followers of the various creeds after Mohammed. But that’s not what the word means in Arabic. There, it means ‘Follower of God’.Any Christian can properly claim to be a Servant of God. That makes them Muslim in terms of the meaning of the Arabic word. In Arabic, to draw a distinction between Christian and Muslim is to deny that Christians are followers of God. Of course the worst of the followers of Mohammed are quite happy to have us do that.

            When we use their terms to speak about them, we are mistakenly granting the debate to them. Muslims are not the only followers of God. We don’t mean that when we use the word in English. However, we are mistakenly saying just that to Arab speakers. Because that’s what the words mean.

            When Westerners speak with horror against the mutilation of the genitalia of little girls, we’re quite happy to say we oppose sharia. That’s what we mean. But the word metaphorically translates to ‘the right way’. Saying just that doesn’t mean the same thing to an Arabic listener. It doesn’t mean we are opposed to the mutilation of children, literally it means we are opposed to the right way.

            If we Westerners are going to use Arabic words like Islam, Muslim, Loran, Jihad or Sharia, we be conscious that we are saying something very different in Arabic to what we’re saying in English.

            We should not grant to violent Islamists the courtesy of using their terms for themselves. They are not the only followers of God, they are not the only ones following the right path, they are not the only ones who struggle to be righteous. But too often we are saying just that about them (in Arabic) when we use the words Muslim, Sharia, and Jihad.

            Liked by 1 person

          • That makes them Muslim in terms of the meaning of the Arabic word.
            ==============
            Nonsense. The word “Muslim” means follower of Islam. Muslims do not recognize Christ as the son of God, while this belief is a central tenant of Christianity. To a Muslin, belief that Christ is the son of God is equivalent to Blasphemy. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost is rejected in Muslim belief, because it flies in the face of “One God”.

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      • “I know I might be wrong, even after I’ve formed a view. It’s why I keep my words sweet; I know I might have to eat them.”

        I like that.

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  5. I really cannot follow the nice distinction that seems to be being made here. And I’m not at all sure that the word ‘religion’ is helping the process.

    To my mind, we have a situation where large groups of people are following the ‘instructions for living’ that are contained in various books. That is why the Jews, Christians and Muslims are termed ‘The People of the Book’.

    Now in reality it is hard enough to interpret a cooking recipe which is written for your own culture and time. These instructions for living were written about 700BC (Jews), 40AD (Christians) and 600AD(Muslims). They suffer considerably from obsolescence! More importantly, they have also been subject to huge re-interpretation over the years. As the instructions get applied to new requirements they get modified according to circumstance.

    Both the Jewish and Christian books have sections which explicitly recommend violence or punishment in situations where our current culture does not consider it appropriate. And, under pressure to live together, Jews and Christians have learned to interpret things more peaceably.

    Islam is the youngest of these ‘life instruction sets’, and the one which has had the least requirement to co-exist with other ways of living. It’s been going for around 1,400 years, and it hasn’t re-interpreted much. If we look at what the Christians were doing in AD1400 I doubt whether we would see much difference between them and current Muslims. You will recall “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.” at the Béziers Massacre?

    The problem is that, when you understand that this is a cultural issue, you can see why it won’t change. Cultures don’t ‘change’ – like Kuhn pointed out for science, change happens when one generation dies off and a new one grows up in a new culture. For Islam I would give it several generations – it took the Christians long enough…

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    • Thanks, Dodgy. You say:

      The problem is that, when you understand that this is a cultural issue, you can see why it won’t change. Cultures don’t ‘change’ – like Kuhn pointed out for science, change happens when one generation dies off and a new one grows up in a new culture. For Islam I would give it several generations – it took the Christians long enough…

      Cultures absolutely do change. Both Judaism and Christianity had reformations within the last 1,000 years. Islam did not. It’s not a matter of time. It is the interwoven nature of the Koran, the Hadiths, and Sharia Law. You can’t change one without changing them all.

      In addition, Muslims have an ugly habit of killing people who want to reform the religion.

      So no, after waiting 14 centuries, it’s clearly not just a matter of time as you claim.

      w.

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      • Dodgy: Kuhn is the wrong model, although a paradigm shift would be good. Several generations? Not a chance. Cultures evolve, like species. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes never. The mosquito abides.

        Willis: Christianity’s most important moves away from brutality came far more recently than the reformation, between Shakespeare’s time and our own. One could say that the founding of the US was motivated by fear of acts of religious hatred. I should add that ‘religious’ hatred never goes away, but with luck it fades. Like the Irish terrorism and civil war has done, I hope.

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      • …It is the interwoven nature of the Koran, the Hadiths, and Sharia Law. You can’t change one without changing them all….

        The Jews had exactly the same situation with the Torah and their Halakhah – as do the Catholics with papal directives. You would be really surprised at how similar they all are if you didn’t realise they came from the same root – for instance, from the Wiki on Noachide Laws (the Jewish laws which are meant to apply to all ‘Sons of Noah’ – that is, all humanity, Jews and Gentiles alike:

        …The Talmud lists the punishment for blaspheming the Ineffable Name of God as death. The sons of Noah are to be executed by decapitation for most crimes, considered one of the lightest capital punishments, by stoning if he has intercourse with a Jewish betrothed woman, or by strangulation if the Jewish woman has completed the marriage ceremonies, but had not yet consummated the marriage. In Jewish law the only form of blasphemy which is punishable by death is blaspheming the Ineffable Name Leviticus 24:16. Some Talmudic rabbis held that only those offences for which a Jew would be executed, are forbidden to gentiles. The Talmudic rabbis discuss which offences and sub-offences are capital offences and which are merely forbidden.

        Maimonides states that anyone who does not accept the seven laws is to be executed, as God compelled the world to follow these laws. However, for the other prohibitions such as the grafting of trees and bestiality he holds that the sons of Noah are not to be executed….

        The point of the above is that ALL Mosaic religions have similar legal structures and similar penalties, and of those, only the Muslim religion currently applies them as a matter of course. Christians certainly had exactly the same habit of killing reformers – we could easily match the Muslims for this. We had just the same interwoven culture of a book of rules, the Inquisition and a bloodthirsty priesthood. It took us around 18 centuries before we stopped burning witches, so 1400 years is still rather young…

        I think change can happen to the Muslim culture in just the same was as the Jewish or Christian ones. The interesting point is how? And that was where I tried to suggest that culture does not change in an individual – instead it seems to be more of a generational thing. (That wasn’t very well put, which confused you – sorry! The point from Kuhn might have helped?). I agree that ‘culture’ changes – I am not sure that an individual’s does. So change takes time, and you and I won’t be here to see it.

        Muslim culture will change as it runs up against outside cultures. It has only done this very recently – beginning perhaps only in the 1950s. I’m not a sociologist – I wouldn’t like to guess how many generations it will take, but probably three or four at least. Things might change by 2100? During this time I expect to notice considerable generational in-fighting, and persecution of reformers – a Reformation and Counter-Reformation, perhaps? That took over 100 years.

        Like

      • The internet in our information age is doing a lot to change church when you do research and see all the many different views just in christianity. With people in islam, give it time when the children get a hold of technology and information. It’s hard to go sit in a brainwashing church or mosque when there is so much more appealing things to do.

        The big thing is these gods just don’t do anything. You might as well be praying to a rock. You get the same null response. I think muslims do, kind of (pray to a rock). A person can only bend over backwards to a god that doesn’t do anything for so long. Eventually you just feel the waste of time. There is no difference in life without church or god worship except I have some more time and extra money I was throwing away for nothing.

        Anyway, unless muslims can find a way to completely isolate themselves, I can see their children flying the coop like those from christian churches. At the same time, I know and understand family / parent pressure, even now and seen it in my wife. It may take a few generations, but I can see islam mellowing. It’s human nature. It eventually wins out. You’ll always have extremists fringe. For the most part, the larger percentage of we human beings have an affinity for each other and are pushed to live peaceably with each other by nature as other animals of the same kind… unless negatively influenced as done in religions.

        I’m an engineer in a company that is global and hires people of all cultures. Despite our different personalities as individuals, we are all basically the same. There is not an ethnicity I don’t like.

        Like

  6. In a box, under other boxes, behind things I haven’t used in years,
    I have a copy of —

    Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: The Old and New Testaments
    (Two Volumes in One) Hardcover – 1981

    Isaac Asimov is, I think, better known for fiction than his bible study. Too sad.
    I was managing a small book store when this one came out — otherwise, I doubt I would ever have found it.

    Like

  7. Dodgy Geezer April 6, 2017 at 9:41 am

    …It is the interwoven nature of the Koran, the Hadiths, and Sharia Law. You can’t change one without changing them all….

    The Jews had exactly the same situation with the Torah and their Halakhah – as do the Catholics with papal directives. You would be really surprised at how similar they all are if you didn’t realise they came from the same root – for instance, from the Wiki on Noachide Laws (the Jewish laws which are meant to apply to all ‘Sons of Noah’ – that is, all humanity, Jews and Gentiles alike:

    Oh, here we go again with the usual BS about how Islam is just Christianity in funny hats. No, Dodgy, the are NOT “similar”, they are very different.

    Maimonides states that anyone who does not accept the seven laws is to be executed, as God compelled the world to follow these laws. However, for the other prohibitions such as the grafting of trees and bestiality he holds that the sons of Noah are not to be executed….

    The point of the above is that ALL Mosaic religions have similar legal structures and similar penalties, and of those, only the Muslim religion currently applies them as a matter of course. Christians certainly had exactly the same habit of killing reformers – we could easily match the Muslims for this. We had just the same interwoven culture of a book of rules, the Inquisition and a bloodthirsty priesthood. It took us around 18 centuries before we stopped burning witches, so 1400 years is still rather young…

    The point of the above is that ALL Mosaic religions have given up that looney brutality EXCEPT ISLAM. So no, they are NOT THE SAME.

    And claiming that there just hasn’t been enough time? Fourteen hundred years is “rather young”? I fear that doesn’t even pass the laugh test, “Well, no change yet, but give it time, after all it’s only been FOURTEEN FREAKIN’ CENTURIES, wouldn’t want to hurry these savages y’know …”

    I think change can happen to the Muslim culture in just the same was as the Jewish or Christian ones. The interesting point is how? And that was where I tried to suggest that culture does not change in an individual – instead, it seems to be more of a generational thing. (That wasn’t very well put, which confused you – sorry! The point from Kuhn might have helped?). I agree that ‘culture’ changes – I am not sure that an individual’s does. So change takes time, and you and I won’t be here to see it.

    I’m glad you believe that Islam can change … however, given that there has been zero Islamic change in 1,400 years, clearly you are a man who thinks that faith trumps evidence.

    Muslim culture will change as it runs up against outside cultures. It has only done this very recently – beginning perhaps only in the 1950s.

    So your claim is that Islam was able to invade Rome in 864, and take over and rule Spain for 700 years, and move into India, without “running up against outside cultures”?????

    How did that work? They ruled Spain for 700 years and never “ran up against” the Spanish culture?

    I’m sorry, but that makes no sense at all. None.

    I’m not a sociologist – I wouldn’t like to guess how many generations it will take, but probably three or four at least.

    A generation in the Middle East historically was around 16 years. Let’s call it 20 years to be conservative. That means thatIslam has not changed one bit in 70 generations … and you blithely and confidently assure us that Islam will fix itself in three or four more generations?

    Really? 28,000 generations didn’t make one bit of difference, but three or four more generations will turn everything around??

    Where is the slightest scrap of evidence for that astounding leap of faith?

    Damn, Dodgy, I want some of what you’re smoking, that must be da kine herb …

    Regards to all,

    w.

    Like

    • “A generation in the Middle East historically was around 16 years. Let’s call it 20 years to be conservative. That means that Islam has not changed one bit in 28,000 generations …”
      something wrong with the math… 28,000 generations of 20 years each is 560,000 years.

      Like

    • Willis: “Let’s call it [a generation] 20 years to be conservative. That means that Islam has not changed one bit in 28,000 generations.”
      You need to re-do that calculation, Willis. Not 1400*20, but 1400/20=70.

      Like

      • Interestingly, 28000 generations would take us back over half a million years. There were certainly early hominids living in the neighbourhood of my town (counting that rather widely as the southern half of Britain) at that time, but the first Sapiens didn’t arrive here until around 50,000 years ago. However, it got rather chilly during the last Glacial Maximum, and so many of them moved to the South of France…

        Like

    • ..The point of the above is that ALL Mosaic religions have given up that looney brutality EXCEPT ISLAM. So no, they are NOT THE SAME.

      And claiming that there just hasn’t been enough time? Fourteen hundred years is “rather young”? I fear that doesn’t even pass the laugh test, “Well, no change yet, but give it time, after all it’s only been FOURTEEN FREAKIN’ CENTURIES, wouldn’t want to hurry these savages y’know …”…

      I think I can see the problem here. You see, on this side of the Atlantic, we don’t think of 1400 years as an amazingly long time. The oldest building of the town I live in is over 1000 years old, and the town has existed for a lot longer than that. (We do think of 1400 miles as a long way, but that’s another story)

      Rather like the cycles of the climate, if changes are slow enough it can be hard for men to see them. I can see innumerable points of similarity between these world views and expect a Muslim Luther to arise at some point in the next few centuries. Maybe earlier!

      …I’m glad you believe that Islam can change … however, given that there has been zero Islamic change in 1,400 years, clearly you are a man who thinks that faith trumps evidence….

      I think you have that the wrong way round. I am taking the evidence of Christianity retaining many barbarous aspects for over 1400 years as a guide to how these world views might progress. You, if I may say it, seem to be the one rejecting dispassionate evidence in favour of emotion.

      ..How did that work? They ruled Spain for 700 years and never “ran up against” the Spanish culture?
      I’m sorry, but that makes no sense at all. None….

      I can see that ‘running up against different cultures’ needs some more detailed discussion, though sociology is not my strong point. I am assuming that when two cultures have mutually incompatible world-views, there will be a clash, and one culture will swamp the other. The Islamic culture maintained a strong hold over an area which was well bounded geographically, and could therefore easily limit the influence of the occasional visitors. They conquered half of Spain (Hispania in those days) and had no direct cultural competition from the locals, who were either Muslim, dhimmis under contract paying the Jizya tax or dead. That is why many generations could pass without much change. I make it 70 generations – quite why you multiplied 20 by 1400 I am not sure, but perhaps that’s what relying on emotion rather than evidence can do 😉 …

      Nowadays things are different. What we are seeing now is quite an early stage of direct cultural interpenetration. Rich and middle-class Muslims can easily travel to the Western Heartland, while middle-class Westerners readily travel to Tourist spots like Dubai. In each case, the different cultures are now experiencing major cultural disturbance. Westerners are unhappy about the way Arabs treat their slaves (which to all intents and purposes their servants are), while Arabs take exception to Western youth getting drunk and copulating on the beach.

      Both sides still try to maintain cultural separation, though the Arabs work at it harder.. A rich Saudi will rent the whole of a hotel floor – that’s to ensure that there is no Western intrusion during his stay. Westerners in Arab countries work and live in compounds, and have carefully policed contacts with a few trusted intermediaries. These are the actions of a culture that feels at risk – as, indeed are the violent outbursts we see as terrorism.

      According to this reading, ISIS are the forerunners of the Counter-Reformation. You see, the parallels are quite exact. We have only to look now for the equivalent of the Council of Trent…

      Like

      • Thanks, Dodgy. You say:

        …I’m glad you believe that Islam can change … however, given that there has been zero Islamic change in 1,400 years, clearly you are a man who thinks that faith trumps evidence …

        I think you have that the wrong way round. I am taking the evidence of Christianity retaining many barbarous aspects for over 1400 years as a guide to how these world views might progress. You, if I may say it, seem to be the one rejecting dispassionate evidence in favour of emotion.

        Huh? The Egyptians and the Chinese were barbarous for millennia, but that was a long time ago … we’re talking about the last 1400 years, not any random 1400 years.

        Over the last 1400 years, Christianity has undergone huge changes. Many of them have occurred in the last 500 years.

        Over the last 1400 years, Judaism has undergone huge changes. Many of them have occurred in the last 500 years.

        Over the last 1400 years, Islam has not changed at all. Baha’u’llah tried to reform Islam. His followers are still being killed by Orthodox Muslims for their apostasy. Islam was not affected at all.

        I realize I’m just a rude colonial without your sophisticated European view of whether that is a long time. However, whether that is a long or short time, Islam has never changed.

        I’m sorry, but I’m not seeing any reason in that for optimism regarding reforming Islam.

        Finally, you are still missing my point. Christianity and the New Testament are all about loving your enemies. Yes, the words of Christ have been twisted to cover abominations.

        The difference is, YOU DON’T NEED TO TWIST THE KORAN. It says clearly that a man can beat his wife and is free to kill apostates and keep sex slaves. And because there has never been an Islamic Reformation, there are thousands and millions of people who believe in and follow those barbaric laws.

        Yes, I agree with you, such an Islamic Reformation may come. Hey, I’m doing my best to encourage just that.

        But I can’t just wait for it to happen when it hasn’t happened in 1,400 years.

        My best to you,

        w.

        Like

        • Willis
          On top of all we are talking about, Islam is a culture that requires everyone fall prostrate before their god five times each day to plead for guidance on how to be a better muslim.
          How much dedication do other religions demand?

          By the way, when eliminating bad laws, how about they lose that gay bashing thing, too.

          Like

        • …Over the last 1400 years, Christianity has undergone huge changes. Many of them have occurred in the last 500 years.

          Over the last 1400 years, Judaism has undergone huge changes. Many of them have occurred in the last 500 years.

          Over the last 1400 years, Islam has not changed at all. Baha’u’llah tried to reform Islam. His followers are still being killed by Orthodox Muslims for their apostasy. Islam was not affected at all.

          I realize I’m just a rude colonial without your sophisticated European view of whether that is a long time. However, whether that is a long or short time, Islam has never changed….

          Mr Eschenbach, I would never paint you as a ‘rude colonial’! You are much too polite….

          I think we have reached a point where it’s worth looking at our positions. to avoid rambling away from the main issue. As I understand it (please correct if wrong) your view is that there is something particularly bad about the Muslim religion which is not shared by the other major Western religions of Christianity or Judaism, and that it is stuck in the past, unable to change. This evil shows itself in the violent punishments and admonitions that it requires, which are driving the current violence, and you see it as unlikely to change in the near future.

          Now, when I look at the religious doctrines of these major religions I am struck by their similarity. They all, of course, stem from the same root – they are Abrahamic religions. And that is where most of the violent punishments come from. Indeed, if you look at the Jewish capital punishment requirements you will see precisely why ISIS throws homosexuals from tall buildings – that is the Jewish punishment specification. The punishment for adultery seems worse than anything I have yet heard ISIS propose…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_and_corporal_punishment_in_Judaism

          Christians, of course, nominally follow the same book.

          Now of course you will point out that Christianity and Judaism have changed, and even the State of Israel does not follow these directives. So it is worth considering the history.

          The Jews were unable to apply ANY of their recommended punishments from about 70AD – when they lost their country. Indeed, they had to apply to the Romans for permission to kill, and use the Roman courts and methods of execution since 63BC,when they were conquered. Throughout most of history the Jews have been unable to legitimately torture people to death, and the current state of Israel is secular, not religious, so even that does not follow Jewish teaching.

          The Christians started their history by being persecuted, and really only got into doing it themselves around 400AD. In 380 the Edict of Thessalonica (Theodosius I) established Christianity as the Roman state religion. It took 6 years before they started burning heretics – Priscillian, AD386.

          The Christian religion kept burning people well after the reformation – the last heresy burnings being about 1750, though some states kept it going to the early 1800s. It seems to be the civil authorities who suppressed these punishments – the religious authorities occasionally petitioned for their re-introduction.

          The point that I am trying to stress is that all these religions are very similar in their approach to capital punishment, and it is the civil authorities, particularly after the Reformation and the break between Church and State, which have suppressed barbarity. I think you will find that that suppression occurred about 200 years ago in the West rather than 500 years ago. And that is for a religion supposedly built on Love. Really, very little separates up from Islam, and, looking at the lessons from history, I would say that you would get less barbarism if the Islamic religion and the State could be separated, which seems to be the key to allowing change.

          So my thesis at the moment is that it is not the religion that has to change, but the civil application of its laws. It is the ability of the civil state to refuse to apply the Abrahamic Laws which lowers the brutality rather than any change in doctrine.

          Now is also the time for a little aside about the recent Islamic ‘terrorist’ violence, which, I assume, prompted this piece. It does seem to be very important to understand its causes, because it is hard to address a topic when you don’t understand it!

          I have always seen ‘terrorism’ as essentially political in aim. The IRA and the movement for a United Ireland are a good example. You will note that this kind of violence is directed at quite specific targets – typically the military and administrative organisations that you are trying to influence. Violence against civilians may happen, but is usually counter-productive. Rarely is it directed against women and children.

          However, the current Islamic violence is specifically directed at civilians. Why is this? And, if it is religious, why didn’t we see it 100 years ago? I think that if we look at its inception we will see its cause, and it really started in the late 70s/early 80s.

          That was the time of the Carter Doctrine, of the build-up of military bases in the Middle East to defend the oil trade and to counter Russian expansion. And what that meant was a huge increase in the presence of American troops with a markedly different culture to the native population. I think we are looking at a culture war.

          Look at the demands of Osama bin Laden – that the US withdraw from Saudi. Look at the way culture wars in the past have focussed on attacking and exterminating civilians from the opposing culture – the Indian Wars in the US, and the Black Wars against Australian Aboriginals in the early 1800s. Attacking the women and children from an opposing culture is exactly what you do to prevent your families being swamped by an alien culture. Look at Boko Haram, which translates as ‘Western Culture is Forbidden’. They kidnap girl children to avoid them being sullied by Western thought. Actions where random civilians in our cities are attacked make sense when you consider this mindset.

          What I am trying to say is that blaming a religion is too simplistic. That religion is a central part of the culture which attacked Europe since its inception, had a high point around 1780, and has been shrinking ever since. Why is it rising again? I think it is because the West has moved into the Middle East in the latter part of the Cold War, Tourism has boomed, and the native inhabitants realise that their entire culture is being taken over and eradicated…..

          Like

          • “What I am trying to say is that blaming a religion is too simplistic.”

            If you understand human nature, you’ll understand everything. As with most human beings… we all just want to live a peaceful life with our neighbors. If you understand yourself, you understand everyone. Religions plays on… preys on our human nature through fear, shame and intimidation, much like our politics is doing here in the U.S.

            Fear drives people to extremes. Fear of hell being worse than what any human can do to you to push followers into obedience. Fear of sinning against your own god who will make your life a living hell if you don’t obey. Fear, guilt and shame tactics are the most used to sell an idea or product. Fear is the best way to drive an idea to stick in one’s head. Like they put into Star Wars. Fear leads to hate and hate leads to the dark side where a person acts out to the point of killing others. I kill spiders because I have a bit of fear of them. Fear is a bad uncomfortable feeling that brings stress and one way to get rid of that horrid fear is to kill. eradicate or remove the focus of that fear. For church leaders and I assume this applies to Islam leaders, fear of loosing their followers which is their livelihood.

            Bad people in our world use and abuse this knowledge of human nature. Propagandists in the media shape a whole countries peoples minds by how they portrait people such as Donald Trump who is a really nice guy. But how the media makes him look is the complete opposite. So the main stream media is the enemy. I’m an escapee from religion. It does take some effort not to fall for the media crap though. With Islam like any other religion, they have been preached at and conditioned from babies. You can’t just change these people. That stuff sticks in your head for several years, even after leaving church. That Maajid Nawaz is still in that brainwashed state. He may want a more moderate Islam as he is being pulled by his natural human nature to want to just live a peaceful life but still, he is a slave in his mind to Islam. Religion as any belief system and that including libralism, any “ism” is metal slavery if accepted as an end-all idealism or ideology.

            You really have to train your brain not to fall prey to all the crap that is thrown out there.

            Like

    • Oh, here we go again with the usual BS about how Islam is just Christianity in funny hats. No, Dodgy, the are NOT “similar”, they are very different.

      I won’t disagree with that, but Mohammed would. He was very clear that Islam is based on the story of Abraham and he expected the Jews to come around. He also accepts that Jesus was a prophet if not the son of God. And he has twisted versions of much more from the Bible, similar but different. Who knows where he got it all from. It’s all so self-serving.

      The Koran won’t change; change will come from people ignoring parts of it. After all, the Jewish and Christian religions modernized by ignoring the wicked verses, not by purging them. You could even say that those religions modernized because of the democratic forces on the kings, in spite of the kings and the church. Secularization was already established in Muslim countries, but since secularism was encouraged by the dictators in control, and dictators were supported by the US, the revolutions tossed secularism out with those dictators.

      Like

  8. YMMV April 6, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    The Koran won’t change; change will come from people ignoring parts of it. After all, the Jewish and Christian religions modernized by ignoring the wicked verses, not by purging them.

    Agreed. That was the theme of this post.

    You could even say that those religions modernized because of the democratic forces on the kings, in spite of the kings and the church. Secularization was already established in Muslim countries, but since secularism was encouraged by the dictators in control, and dictators were supported by the US, the revolutions tossed secularism out with those dictators.

    So militant Islamism is the fault of the US? Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt. The forces that drove ISIS to plant bombs in Europe in 2011 are same forces that drove the Islamic armies to attack Spain in 711—the clear instructions of the Koran.

    w.

    Like

    • Careful! I didn’t say militant Islamism is the fault of the US. I said the US supported Arab dictators. To be fair, the US was not the only one, and I left out the colonialism which established those dictators. However, the Islamists certainly took note of that US support and made as much mileage of it as they could, just as they took certain passages from the Koran and made as much mileage of them as they could. You don’t need to take my word for it, Maajid Nawaz says it much better in his book “Radical”. I highly recommend everyone read that book. It is very readable and very informative. He is a good storyteller and it’s a good story. By story I mean narrative, not fantasy or fake.

      Between the last Muslim invasion of Europe and the modern Jihad, there was a long quite period. Normally this is a good thing, it gives the people time to relax and secularize. I believe this was happening in at least some places, despite the Koran.

      Maajid Nawaz dates the beginning of Modern Jihad and Islamism very precisely. From 1948 to 1950, Sayyid Qutb visited the US, including Stanford. On his return to Egypt he wrote “The America I Have Seen” and later “Milestones”. Maajid Nawaz shows that these are the founding documents of Modern Jihad, the philosophical foundations of al-Qaeda.
      It’s worth a Google on Qutb.

      Qutb was racist, anti-black, and the people he met were racist, anti-black, Unfortunately, those people saw him as black. He saw himself as brown, Arab, not African. So what he wrote about America was a diatribe, hatred. It was not a fair or unbiased description; he saw what he wanted to see. But that description was very influential.

      “And just as few religions are mischaracterized by Americans today as Islam, few groups mischaracterize America today as much as the world’s Muslims.” (Maajid Nawaz)

      If Maajid Nawaz can’t lead the movement for a moderate Islam, nobody can.

      Like

  9. John in Oz 2 April 6, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    When Western Speakers use the word Islam, they mean followers of the various creeds after Mohammed. But that’s not what the word means in Arabic. There, it means ‘Follower of God’.Any Christian can properly claim to be a Servant of God. That makes them Muslim in terms of the meaning of the Arabic word. In Arabic, to draw a distinction between Christian and Muslim is to deny that Christians are followers of God. Of course the worst of the followers of Mohammed are quite happy to have us do that.

    I’m sorry, but that is simply not true. Islam is usually translated as “submission”. It’s from the Arabic “aslama”, which means to surrender or to resign oneself.

    As a result, your claims that Christians are “Muslim in terms of the meaning of the Arabic word” are also simply not true. “Submission” in the sense of Islam means submission to the word of Allah as revealed in the Koran. And no, that’s not Christianity in any sense.

    Finally, drawing a distinction between Christian and Muslim does NOT “deny that Christians are followers of God”. That makes no sense at all.

    When we use their terms to speak about them, we are mistakenly granting the debate to them. Muslims are not the only followers of God. We don’t mean that when we use the word in English. However, we are mistakenly saying just that to Arab speakers. Because that’s what the words mean.

    Nope. That’s not what the words mean. You made up all that stuff.

    When Westerners speak with horror against the mutilation of the genitalia of little girls, we’re quite happy to say we oppose sharia.

    As I said before, I generally avoid speaking about “we”. So I have no clue which “we” is “happy to say we oppose Sharia.”

    That’s what we mean. But the word metaphorically translates to ‘the right way’.

    No, it doesn’t. In Arabic, it means a religious teaching that comes from the prophets.

    Saying just that doesn’t mean the same thing to an Arabic listener. It doesn’t mean we are opposed to the mutilation of children, literally it means we are opposed to the right way.

    I’ve never heard someone who is opposed to genital mutilation describe it as “sharia”. Nor is it a part of Sharia Law. It is not mentioned in the Koran. Nor is it uniquely related to Islam. The only other term I’ve heard to describe it is “FGM”. I don’t have a clue where you’re getting your information, but it’s as wrong as your claimed meaning for “Islam”.

    If we Westerners are going to use Arabic words like Islam, Muslim, Loran, Jihad or Sharia, we be conscious that we are saying something very different in Arabic to what we’re saying in English.

    Huh? I don’t see the problem. Words always mean slightly different things in translation than in the original. And what is “Loran”?

    We should not grant to violent Islamists the courtesy of using their terms for themselves. They are not the only followers of God, they are not the only ones following the right path, they are not the only ones who struggle to be righteous. But too often we are saying just that about them (in Arabic) when we use the words Muslim, Sharia, and Jihad.

    OK, I give up. What should we call Jihad? What should we call Muslims? What should we call Sharia Law? I know of no other term for it, nor do I see the slightest problem with calling it “sharia”.

    Best of life to you, thanks for continuing the discussion,

    w.

    Like

    • “And what is “Loran”?”
      iirc LORAN is the Long Range Aid to Navigation.
      We used it in the navy to track our submarine’s position.
      I believe “skimmers” (or targets as we called them in the submarine navy) also used LORAN.

      Like

      • actually, LORAN was a way for ships to find their own position, like GPS, it’s a receive-only technology that lets someone figure out where they are, but doesn’t let anyone track them (unless you have something then transmit the calculated position out). And subs could only use it when on (or very near) the surface

        but it was an earlier iteration of the same idea. If you have multiple transmitters at known positions, and you compare the signals from them, you can then triangulate your own position.

        Like

  10. I stopped going to the [Christian] church 7 years ago now… how brainwashed I was then. You can’t see it when your in it. You truly think and feel your perfectly normal and thinking strait. You justify it all. You can’t see it not being true.

    It’s scary that brainwashed people don’t realize they are brainwashed and conditioned to believe these things. I don’t believe in gods any more, period. ‘allah’ does not exist but in the minds of the brainwashed which to them makes me an infidel. To christians, I’m now a heretic or sinner.

    The thing is, I understand these people because I was them. I was there. You can’t just tell them they are brainwashed. They can’t see it. They won’t be able to. How did I escape? I was burn out and felt like a prisoner. I was worn out. I had enough. I rebelled against the slavery to the church. I stopped going cold turkey but took more than 3 years for all that ‘stuff’ to get out of my head. Like when I had quit smoking. I had the desire to start up again for more than a year. I had the desire to go back, find another church. It was a constant battle in my mind. Now I have no desire at all for anyone’s religion. There is no allah. ‘It’ does not exist. There is no god. There are no gods. No offence to anyone if you believe in one.

    The brainwashing thing is scary but not. It’s scary that you can be made to believe things that have you acting out to the point of killing others. It’s not scary because when your brainwashed, you don’t know it. You seem and feel like your the normal level-headed clear thinking person and the guy who is telling you your brainwashed is the loon, the blind one that can’t see the truth! What can you do?

    Like

  11. Dodgy Geezer April 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    …Over the last 1400 years, Christianity has undergone huge changes. Many of them have occurred in the last 500 years.

    Over the last 1400 years, Judaism has undergone huge changes. Many of them have occurred in the last 500 years.

    Over the last 1400 years, Islam has not changed at all. Baha’u’llah tried to reform Islam. His followers are still being killed by Orthodox Muslims for their apostasy. Islam was not affected at all.

    I realize I’m just a rude colonial without your sophisticated European view of whether that is a long time. However, whether that is a long or short time, Islam has never changed…

    Mr Eschenbach, I would never paint you as a ‘rude colonial’! You are much too polite….

    I think we have reached a point where it’s worth looking at our positions. to avoid rambling away from the main issue. As I understand it (please correct if wrong) your view is that there is something particularly bad about the Muslim religion which is not shared by the other major Western religions of Christianity or Judaism, and that it is stuck in the past, unable to change. This evil shows itself in the violent punishments and admonitions that it requires, which are driving the current violence, and you see it as unlikely to change in the near future.

    Now, when I look at the religious doctrines of these major religions I am struck by their similarity.

    Thanks for the reply, Dodgy. As I said before:

    About a decade ago a Sunni man loaded a pickup truck with watermelons. He drove it to a Shiite village, and offered watermelons at a low price in the open-air market. And once he and his truck were surrounded by Shiite housewives wanting to get in on the bargain, and of course their kids, he blew up the bomb under the watermelons and leveled the marketplace …

    And a couple weeks ago, on one single day, a bomb in Baghdad killed fifty Sunnis, and a bomb at a Shiite shrine killed seventy Shiites … and the Western news media hardly noticed. The sad news in 2017 is that barbaric heartless brutal Islamic savagery is so common as to be unremarkable.

    The thing that is remarkable is that many, many imams and mullahs and Islamic leaders are celebrating the actions of these kinds of mass murderers.

    People keep claiming that Islam is just another religion, that underneath the trappings they are the same. Here’s my deal.When Baptist men start suicide bombing Lutheran women and children, and the Baptist pastors start celebrating their actions, I’ll believe that Christianity and Islam are equal. Until then, I say that Islam is a religion AND a terrorist organization, and that far too often the latter predominates.

    I see nothing in what you’ve said to change my mind. When Lutheran men start bombing Baptist women and children, not once but once a week, I’ll believe Islam and Christianity are somehow “similar” as you claim. Until then, it’s just fantasy.

    Finally, you seem to think that this savagery is somehow new and due to Jimmy Carter, viz:

    However, the current Islamic violence is specifically directed at civilians. Why is this? And, if it is religious, why didn’t we see it 100 years ago? I think that if we look at its inception we will see its cause, and it really started in the late 70s/early 80s.

    That was the time of the Carter Doctrine, of the build-up of military bases in the Middle East to defend the oil trade and to counter Russian expansion.

    We’ve seen Islamic violence against civilians since there has been Islam. Look at the story of Banu Qurayza and you see Mohammed himself directing violence specifically at civilians. And since Islamic armies have been taking female civilian prisoners of war as sexual slaves for the last fourteen hundred years and are still taking them today, and since that violence is “specifically directed at civilians”, I’m sorry but I’m calling bullshit on your Carter claim. That doesn’t even pass the laugh test. Islam has always been cruel to civilians, whether they are gays, or women, or Sunnis, or Shiites, and especially if they are Jews or Christians. Heck, look at how Muslims treated Baha’is in the 19th century, and they were civilians.

    Plus which, we’ve “built-up military bases” around the planet and the only folks that you claim this has DRIVEN to attack civilians are Muslims. Funny how that works. We have bases from Cuba to Tierra Del Fuego and all over the world, and you think that’s what’s making Sunnis bomb Shiites????

    Really? Sunnis are bombing Shiites because of US bases? Dude, that not only doesn’t pass the laugh test, that doesn’t pass any test at all.

    Sorry, Dodgy, but your claims simply don’t hold water. They give great credit to your heart, and I commend your compassion … but your head needs to get involved as well and think about this stuff more deeply.

    w.

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  12. Dodgy Geezer April 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    That was very good, but there is a problem with the ending where you speculate on the causes of Jihadism. The Koran is a powder-keg, it’s simplistic to say that the Carter Doctrine was the spark. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 partly because of British Imperial Rule (the Suez Canal). Wahhabism has been around a couple centuries and grew during the ’70s. There was US military support, oil money, modernization and a reaction to it as not being Islamic.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/etc/cron.html
    The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter which spark, the powder-keg is still a bomb.

    As we circle around, I hope we are getting closer. Yes, the “good” books of those religions have some similar parts, but the religions themselves are not the same, because religions are more than books, they are also cultural. Culture is all the rules which are not in the books or laws. Western culture has changed, both historically and recently. Islamic culture dates from the dark ages, but even then it was a hold-over from the stone age. We have a whole history of changes in political and other thought as democracy and commerce modernized us. Muslims have never (rarely) known democracy, always living under totalitarian rulers, either the totalitarianism of a dictator or the totalitarianism of Islam. If Muslims don’t like their dictator, guess what they will choose instead.

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    • excellent article. This link only works for subscribers to WSJ. Here is another link to it which gives you five free articles.
      https://blendle.com/i/the-wall-street-journal/islams-most-eloquent-apostate/bnl-wallstreetjournal840-20170408-11_1
      (maybe. If that doesn’t work, Google the article’s title)

      Ms. Hirsi Ali has come a long way from the days when she— “then a bit of a hothead”—declared Islam to be incapable of reform, while also calling on Muslims to convert or abandon religion altogether. That was a contentious decade ago. Today she believes that Islam can indeed be reformed, that it must be reformed, and that it can be reformed only by Muslims themselves—by those whom she calls “Mecca Muslims.” These are the faithful who prefer the gentler version of Islam that she says was “originally promoted by Muhammad” before 622. That was the year he migrated to Medina and the religion took a militant and unlovely ideological turn.
      At the same time, Ms. Hirsi Ali— now a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where I also work—is urging the West to look at Islam with new eyes. She says it must be viewed “not just as a religion, but also as a political ideology.” To regard Islam merely as a faith, “as we would Christianity or Buddhism, is to run the risk of ignoring dawa, the activities carried out by Islamists to keep Muslims energized by a campaign to impose Shariah law on all societies—including countries of the West.”
      Dawa, Ms. Hirsi Ali explains, is “conducted right under our noses in Europe, and in America. It aims to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and also to push existing Muslims in a more extreme direction.” The ultimate goal is “to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with Shariah.” It is a “never-ending process,” she says, and then checks herself: “It ends when an Islamic utopia is achieved. Shariah everywhere!”

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  13. Pingback: Islamics, Islamists, and Scotsmen | Skating Under The Ice | Cranky Old Crow

  14. Islam combines Church and State. There is a reason this combination is outlawed in the West. Any Evil, no matter how horrific, is justified when done in God’s name. God becomes the ultimate shield behind which Evil hides, with government the tool by which Evil is spread.

    By separating Church and State, the West has been able to reveal Evil for what it is. This is why Science as the new Religion is so dangerous. By rushing to embrace science (Democrats have Climate Change as a plank in their political platform) governments are combining the new church with state, giving Evil a new platform from which to flourish, with government once again in the role of spreading the harm.

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  15. From the 7th century until the 20th, the Islamic world has waged an aggressive and relentless war against the western world. The reason that most westerners are not aware of this is that the industrial revolution strengthened the west to such a degree that Islam no longer seemed to be a threat of consequence. We should recognize that this thousand plus year war has not really ended. It has been smouldering while we imagine that we bask in the pax occidentalis. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk tried to make Turkey a secular nation and it worked for a while but these attempts at democracy and secularism in the Islamic world ever seem to slide back into rule by the Mullahs. The Shah in Iran (although an autocrat) made a similar attempt and we know how that turned out. So I have little expectation that we can woo Islam to any of our western values. The two are totally incompatible.

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  16. Can Islam be reformed? In my opinion, no, it cannot. Or yes, but it wouldn’t make any difference. What would a reformed Islam look like? It would be indistinguishable from what we have now. We have masses of Muslims who are not terrorists, with varying depths of beliefs. From the beer drinking ones, to the Christmas-and-Easter equivalents, to serious but non-violent ones, all the way to the Islamists and Jihadists. The later groups are minorities, but they are the vocal minorities and they are the ones we hear and listen to (unwisely). What would happen if Islam could be reformed? There is no hope of rewriting the Koran, so we would still have the Islamist and Jihad branches of Islam. Just like now. When Christianity was invented, did Judaism go away, when Protestantism was invented, did Catholicism go away?

    What I think doesn’t matter. More important is what Muslims and ex-Muslims think. Take Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali for example. Both think Islam can and should and must be reformed. So far I have read nothing that explains how to do this, or explains why it’s possible. Both have new books I have not read.
    Maajid Nawaz, “Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue”
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now”
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It”

    For that matter, nobody has ever explained to me why Islam is a religion of peace, they just say it and saying it does not make it so.

    Maajid Nawaz grew up in white England. His parents escaped (just barely) the appalling Muslim/Hindu massacres at the partition of India. He didn’t grow up as a believer. He went into Islam as a defensive weapon against skinheads.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in Somalia. She was subject to FGM and escaped a forced marriage (just barely) by travelling to Europe.

    Both have seen the dark side of Islam, now both want to reform it. Both know far more about Islam than I ever will, so if they think it can be reformed, I wish them luck. I know some history and something about human nature, so I remain a pessimist. As in “Murphy was an optimist”.

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    • Update: Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book “The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It” is available as a free PDF download. It’s short, reads quickly, and is excellent.
      http://www.hoover.org/research/challenge-dawa-political-islam-ideology-and-movement-and-how-counter-it

      That link goes to the Executive Summary and a download link. I particularly recommend the Executive Summary, and also the discussion in the full text of how to have free speech when that free speech is used to eliminate free speech.

      She distinguishes the early, spiritual, moderate part of Islam (Mecca) and the later, political part of Islam (Medina). The goal of the political part is to establish Sharia. The West has focused on the terrorists in the Political Islam part (jihad). She says the others in the Political Islam part (dawa) are just as dangerous, even if they are non-violent, their goal is still to subvert and overthrow our free society.

      A narrow focus on Islamist violence had the effect of restricting our options only to tools such as military intervention, electronic surveillance, and the criminal justice system. This approach has proved both costly and ineffective.

      Like

  17. Sorry, I have to disagree.

    1. 5:33 isn’t about apostates. Taken in conjunction with 5:32 it was a warning to anyone, particularly Jews, of what to expect if they crossed Mohammed. The verse most often quoted with regard to apostasy is 4:89 “if they turn back, then take them and kill them wherever you find them” but its meaning is unclear. Ibn Kathir gives two possible interpretations ie those who renounce Islam and those who turn back from the Hijrah (the migration from Mecca to Medina).

    The clearest messages about apostasy are in the hadiths eg “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9:84:57)

    2. “Because these are all laws that are clearly spelled out in the Koran”

    As I understand it these laws you mention are not laws at all. Laws come from Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh) and although the Koran is the primary source, most of it comes from scholarly interpretations of the Koran, Hadiths, Tafsirs etc. In fact, I believe the parts of Islamic Law which are based directly on the Koran are mostly about inheritance.

    Therefore I don’t think we can say the Koran itself is Islamist. I suggest we should look at Mohammed who to my mind is the centre of Islam, not Allah nor the Koran. I suggest that Mohammed very definitely was an “Islamist” because he imposed Islam on society and used jihad to do it. Therefore I find it difficult to understand how a follower of Mohammed, who believes him to be the “perfect man and an example to all Muslims” would not be an “Islamist” in his heart if not in his actions.

    Is Nawaz genuine in his claims or is he just out to confuse the kaffir with a false distinction, playing good cop while the bad cops (Hizb, Muslim Brotherhood) undermine Western society following Mohammed’s example in taking over Medina by stealth, and ISIS by following Mohammed’s military example?

    Why, for instance, did Nawaz and his other “ex-Islamist” colleagues name their organisation, Quilliam, after someone who would certainly be called an Islamist today?

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    • ECAW, you say:

      Therefore I don’t think we can say the Koran itself is Islamist.

      Since the Koran specifies and enshrines the second-class status of women, including allowing men to keep sexual slaves, infant marriages, and giving men the right to beat their wives, the Koran is absolutely Islamist.

      w.

      Like

    • Therefore I don’t think we can say the Koran itself is Islamist. I suggest we should look at Mohammed who to my mind is the centre of Islam, not Allah nor the Koran. I suggest that Mohammed very definitely was an “Islamist” because he imposed Islam on society and used jihad to do it. Therefore I find it difficult to understand how a follower of Mohammed, who believes him to be the “perfect man and an example to all Muslims” would not be an “Islamist” in his heart if not in his actions.

      I will save the first sentence until the end.

      You are exactly right that Mohammed is the alpha and omega of Islam. He claims to only be a prophet, the voice of God (Allah), but what if the god he speaks for turns out to be Mohammed himself, the human? What if all the people who hear or have heard a God’s voice are and were schizophrenic (they hear voices in their head)? The Koran is too conveniently in Mohammed’s interest to be free from that suspicion.

      If Mohammed was an Islamist, then so is the Koran. Some Koran experts claim to have a peaceful interpretation, beats me how. For most people the Koran is Islamist.

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  18. Scott Adams’ Blog has much to say that is relevant to this topic. It’s particularly relevant to my comment about what they call themselves. Here’s the link: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/160986020961/goodbye-isis-hello-losers

    However, I think it’s so important that even those who don’t follow links should read it. Accordingly I reproduce it here with full credit to the author.

    SCOTT ADAMS’ BLOG
    TOP TECH
    Goodbye ISIS, Hello Losers
    Posted May 23rd, 2017 @ 9:52am in #Trump #Losers #ISIS

    President Trump just gave ISIS its new name: Losers. (Short for Evil Losers).

    If you think that’s no big deal, you’re wrong. It’s a big deal. This is – literally – weapons-grade persuasion from the most powerful Master Persuader of our time.

    As I have taught you in this blog, President Trump’s clever nicknames for people are not random. They are deeply engineered for visual impact and future confirmation bias.

    In this case, the visuals will be provided by future terror attacks. That reinforces the “evil” part, obviously. But more importantly, the Losers will be doing nothing but losing on the battlefield from now until “annihilation.” They are surrounded, and the clock is ticking. Oh, and the press isn’t allowed to watch the final battles. In other words, we won’t need to build new holding cells on Guantanamo Bay this time. No press means no prisoners, if you know what I mean. (American soldiers won’t be shooting the prisoners. We have allies for that sort of thing.)

    As you know, “annihilation” of the Losers in Loserdom won’t stop the loser’s ideas from spreading. You still have to kill the ideas. And that takes persuasion, not bullets. President Trump just mapped out the persuasion solution: Evil Losers.

    Quickly, name one other way you could label/insult the Losers that would be as powerful as the word Loser. You can’t do it with any other name or insult that is also repeatable in polite company.

    What kinds of people join the Losers? Mostly young males. And you know what brand young males do not want on them? Right: Losers.

    If you call them monsters, they like it. If you call them ISIS or ISIL they put it on a flag and wave it around. If you call them non-Muslim, it just rolls off their backs because they have Korans and stuff. Almost any other “brand” you can imagine is either inert or beneficial to Loser recruitment.

    Loser is different. No one joins the Loser movement. Try at home, with your family or friends, to concoct a more effective brand poisoning than Loser. You probably can’t. Remember, your brand has to fit with future confirmation evidence. The Losers on the battlefield will continue to be losing, so the brand is engineered to get stickier over time. Your alternative idea for a brand solution has to have that quality of future confirmation too. Good luck finding a better persuasion brand.

    This is not accidental. President Trump does (laugh if you will) have the best words, at least for this sort of thing. He’s proven it over and over. Just ask Jeb, Ted, and HIllary.

    As a mental experiment, imagine the CEOs of the major browser companies, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the open source products getting together to stop the spread of Loser propaganda. They could collectively decide to program their browsers to auto-convert ISIS or Al-Quaeda or other cool terror names to Evil Losers. If all the browser products agree, that’s all your teenager in Europe will see as he tries to self-radicalize. That would, in time, end recruitment for Losers.

    An hour ago you believed there was no way to stop the spread of the ideas behind terrorism. I just told you how to do it by the end of the week. While I don’t expect the browser companies to take my suggestion, I do expect some of you will realize for the first time how winnable the war of ideas is.

    So long as your Commander in Chief is also a Master Persuader.

    Otherwise you’re out of luck.

    America, as it turns out, has lots of luck left in it.

    You haven’t seen anything yet. We’re just getting started.

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  19. Pingback: Suicidal Murderers | Skating Under The Ice

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