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Does Islam bear any blame?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:


    The real question you want to be asking is why so many people still embrace organized religion when it has been used as the single most common means of justifying or encouraging violence against groups of others since the dawn of civilization.


    Personally, I have little use for organized religion.  That said, people are social animals and I think there is something to be said for a community coming together to discuss and reinforce a common belief system that unites all its members and helps establish collective norms of behaviour.  In fairness to organized religion, those collectively ordained belief systems often include a large amount of good.  All religions encourage things like caring for others, acting honestly, sublimating one's self-interest to a common good, etc.  But when a group wants to fight with another group, nothing is more effective at generating the fervour required to kill than religion. For normal people to kill, they need to believe that they are part of a group that is righteous and good, that their righteous order is under attack, and that the attackers are utterly and irredeemably evil and fixated on destroying everything that is good.  Religion is perfect for creating that polarized view of the world divided between absolute good (us) and absolute evil (them) and for stimulating the emotions required to take violent action against the perceived evil. 

    For the most part, I'd say organized religion works for good purposes.  When it goes bad, however, it goes very, very bad indeed . . .  

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Muzwell. Show Muzwell's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:

    In response to Muzwell's comment:

    This moral relativism that shenanigan refers to is going to kill us, literally. Why can't we realize that, for whatever reason, a certain very significant portion of Muslims want to kill us and our children? We're infidels and that's that. There are a billion Muslims and an awful lot of them support terrorism. That's just a fact.


    And what if we happen to be people who want evidence rather than you're declaration that you are right because you said you are right?



    Evidence? Really? If you're a truther, whatever, enjoy your life. But if you're rational, what evidence do you need? Do you recall the reaction to 9/11? Even by some Muslims in this country? 

    Just search for whether Muslims support terror. There's plenty of polling. 


  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:

    In response to shenanigan's comment:

    People are murdered around the world for all sorts of reasons but I'm talking about those specifically motivated by religion.  McVeigh was not motivated by Christianity.

    Here is the problem: I think you are conflating "killer motivated by X religion" with "justification in X religion claimed by killer" on a religion-specific basis.

    Mcviegh told us in his own words his motivation was that he believed in hypocrisy and injustice of the US government.  His statements include nothing about any religion.  When pressed about his religion he said he was raised Catholic and lost touch with it during his military years.  Any attachment of Mcviegh to a religous motivation is simply false.

    You seem to be separating things into:

    Christian killers not motified by Christianity, but just claimed their beliefs justified them.

    No, I've been quite clear about religous motivations but I'll elaborate for you.  If a Muslim man gets mad at his wife for cheating on him and kills her in a rage it is not Islamic violence, it is violence by someone who happens to be Muslim.  When Iran and Iraq went to war it was not Islamic violence or a Jihad war even though both sides claimed Jihadist motivation it was clearly trumped up to excuse a political/ land war.  I use the same standard for everybody.  Fact is Christians are not killing in the name of Christianity in any measurable number, Muslims are killing in the name of Islam with regularity.

    Muslim killers motivated by Islam, not merely claimed Islam as a justification.

    They tell us their motivation so I don't see why you doubt them.



    The real question is why so many people embraced organized (as opposed to personal) religion when organized religion has been the single most effective tool for motivating and/for justifying violence against groups of others.

     I don't know, but this isn't a philosophical discussion about the best spiritual path it's a discussion about the merits of one that exists and is inspiring considerably more violence than any other today.

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:


    In response to Muzwell's comment:

    Evidence? Really?


    Yeah. Evidence. You know to support the following:

    In response to Muzwell's comment:

    There are a billion Muslims and an awful lot of them support terrorism.That's just a fact.


    How many is "an awful lot" and how do you know that is how many?

    Do you poll them?

    Or are you just going by pictures of muslims in angry demonstrations because someone made fun of Mohammed and random internet rants about muslims?



    To put it another way:

    When you debate whether your favorite group of men in tights who try to move a ball around a field more than the opposing group of men in tights..... you use things like statistics, historical performance, analysis of games?

    Or do you just yell back and forth amongst yourselves with "your team sucks" "NO YOURS DOES!" "you're a patriots truther" ?



    But if you're rational, what evidence do you need?


    It is irrational to want evidence of such a broad assertion?

    Well that more or less says it all....




    This is like asking for proof the sky is blue, but here you go. It is by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).  Report available through their website.


    Sunni Muslim terrorists committed “about 70 percent” of the 12,533 terrorist murders in the world last year, according to a report by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

    The information comes from the 2011 NCTC Report on Terrorism, which is based on information available as of March 12, 2012.

    “Sunni extremists accounted for the greatest number of terrorist attacks and fatalities for the third consecutive year,” the report says. “More than 5,700 incidents were attributed to Sunni extremists, accounting for nearly 56 percent of all attacks and about 70 percent of all fatalities.”

    The report says that in 2011, a total of 10,283 terrorism attacks across the world killed 12,533 people. Terrorism also is blamed for 25,903 injuries and 5,554 kidnappings.

    According to NCTC, of the 12,533 terrorism-related deaths worldwide, 8,886 were perpetrated by “Sunni extremists,” 1,926 by “secular/political/anarchist” groups, 1,519 by “unknown” factions, 170 by a category described as “other”, and 77 by “Neo-Nazi/Fascist/White Supremacist” groups.

    On other subjects that are radical or certainly incompatible with human rights here are some highlights.





    These are very big numbers representing millions of people.

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:


    It is good that you have gone back and read original sources, but it sounds to me like you've read them with a bias toward finding only the violence.  What do you know for instance of the role of charity in Islam and how it plays out? Much of what I know about the good parts of Islam comes from observing Muslims I know serving in the community and practicing charity. Charity, after all, is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with belief in God, prayer, fasting, and the Haj. 

    It is true charity (Zakat) is a Pillar.  What some may consider charity is not what I would (I.E. Al Quaeda funding) but overall this is a good thing used for good charitable reasons.  I did not say there's nothing good about Islam.

    A few quick points:

    • There are plenty of violent verses in the Bible too.  (Read Deuteronomy for some really archaic rules).  If the simple fact that there are violent passages in scripture made a religion violent, Judaism and Christianity would be violent too.  

    True, now this isn't about this or that religion but I may have to address the fundamental differences between Islam and Christianity since you seem to want to compare.  But the pertinent point is that Islamic terrorism is far more prevalent today and the peaceful message is not winning.  It is my opinion that the specific points of radicalist motivation must be addressed by the media.  Currently they either ignore and deny the issue or simply give us some nonsense that Islam is peace.  I would suggest to you that a muslim who practices a peaceful brand of Islam would be happy to explain the darker parts of the doctrine (I.E. the Sword verses) on national T.V.  Our media would prefer to not go near the verses because they are "Hot topics".  

    How many times have you heard "Islam means peace" translated in arabic on the T.V.  Anyone with 30 seconds can fact check this.  It means "Submission."  Not that any direct translation can be used to define the values of a religion, but the misinformation was clearly meant to do just that.  Or when 20/20 did their nonsense segment where they claimed that 72 virgins was a mistranslation and it really meant 72 raisins.  Yes, they described 72 raisins with big eyes and large breasts as a gift in the afterlife.  Muslims have been misinterpreting it for a thousand years (sarcasm). 

    I'm sorry, but people are not stupid, lets see some coverage with substance.  Whitewashing is not fooling anyone, the Quran is available and people have read it, and I think the sword verses should be addressed.  That is how we change the message, we put together a better one, and we do it with substance not with baloney.

    • Mohammed was a warrior.  So were many of the old testament heros. You paint the history of the Muslim conquests completely negatively.  But really, conquest is a part of all cultures, and the Islamic expansion isn't anything peculiar or different from what we see whenever a growing empire expands. I'm not saying conquest is good--I'm just saying that I don't think there's anything peculiar about Islam that makes it any worse than say, Rome, or British Imperialism.  

    Rome, maybe not.  British Imperialism, quite different.  Regardless will still are discussing history.  Lets assume I agree, we still have to face the fact that we have a problem in the present.  History is of Islam is of no consequence, it's just context.  In the context of Mohommad as a warrior we must ask if Mohommad did not interpret his own beliefs peacefully than why would his followers. 

    • I don't know what history you read, but again I recommend Ira Lapidus's work.  It gives a balanced portrait of how Islamic civilization spread to many areas of the world.  As with Christianity, conquest was part of that spread, but the image of Muslims viciously forcing conquered people to convert under the sword is an unbalanced one. While that forced conversion certainly happened at times, you also have to look at the other side of Islam, which was actually fairly tolerant of people of other faiths, with Jews, Christians, and Hindus often elevated to important roles in the Muslim states.  The Muslim world is not monolithic.  It has a long history and different Muslim empires and states had different policies, practices, and subcultures.  You can't look at the history of the West as monolithic--there are centuries of history and scores of different states and subcultures in the West, all of which are very different.  The same is true of the Islamic world.  If you want to really understand Islam, you need to understand its diversity.  You seem to be approaching history with a reductionist viewpoint, as if one aspect of the culture was its entirety. 

    I will check the book out.  I ordered it on Amazon.  The Excerpts I've read seem to confirm everything else I've read.

    “The question of why people convert to Islam has always generated intense feeling. Earlier generations of European scholars believed that conversions to Islam were made at the point of the sword and that conquered peoples were given the choice of conversion or death. It is now apparent that conversion by force, while not unknown in Muslim countries, was, in fact, rare. Muslim conquerors ordinarily wished to dominate rather than convert, and most conversions to Islam were voluntary."

    They converted voluntarily?  After being dominated (Opressed), he begrudgingly admits.  Perhaps his definition of voluntary is different than mine, or anyone elses.  As has been catalogued in history the Non-muslims were Dhimmis who had to pay a tax and could not preach their religion in front of a Muslim or build new worship places among other things.  This was common practice, the evidence is in the populations.  Islamic countries are almost all completely Muslim.  You can't get an entire group of people to agree that water is wet, let alone agree on one religion.

    • The current spate of violence among Muslim communities is, in my opinion, an outcome of political oppression and economic breakdown.  

    I understand your opinion but I have given you specific reasons this isn't true and cited articles.

    • You seem to want to attribute the violence to something inherent in their religion, as if Islam or a "large part of it" is in its essence a religion of violence.  I don't think this is true, but all I can do is appeal to you to read even more with an open mind and particularly to get to know Muslims personally.  There are many (the vast majority) who are not the violent individuals you see on TV when a terrorist attack occurs or when the press visits a war zone. 
    • I also suggest you carefully read the history of the Islamic world over the past two centuries or so.  It has undergone a tremendous amount of change during that time and has been in turmoil for many reasons.  Understanding the political and economic factors that have destabilized the region and created resentments against the West might be helpful to see factors other than religion that lead to a sense that the West is an enemy.  

    We can go back to the barbary wars, or before that.    I would suggest reading "The America I have seen" by Sayyid Qutb ash-Shaheed for the reasons many Muslims hate America.  He was an Islamic Scholar who studied in the U.S. and leader of the Muslim brotherhood.  His ideas have influenced a great deal of the Middle East today.

    • There is, of course, a version of Islamic fundamentalism that has arisen over the past 30 or 40 years that is extremely militant and that offers justification for violence.  In some ways, it reminds me of militant socialism, which also was used to justify violence by those who were discontent with their societies or the existing power structures. This type of Islamic extremist ideology is dangerous and can be seductive, especially to disaffected youth. We need to be vigilant against that, but it is a mistake to look at this phenomenon and condemn all of Islam as largely violent.  Instead, look at it like other ideologies adopted by those who feel alienated that may or may not be religious ideologies, but that give people a sense of a just cause for which they can fight.  This one happens to be Islamic in nature, but if Islam weren't there, some other ideology would be created to fill the void for these types of disaffected individuals. Maybe they'd be Goths like Dylan Klebold. 
    • The repressive nature of current Middle Eastern states is well known.  Again, religion is often used to justify various forms of repression, but that doesn't mean that the religion has some kind of "flaw" in it that makes repression more likely if one is Muslim.  
    • There are many, many political factors that explain much of what is happening in the Middle East.  There also is a yearning for more democracy and freedom.  Don't discount the fact that the people in Tahrir square demanding democracy are Muslim too.  (One of my relatives through a sibling's marriage, by the way, was there and was shot in the leg by one of Mubarak's forces while demonstrating in favour of democracy.)

    Egypt's a mess, now that is a reason they should be mad at us.  Problem is denial got is into that in the first place.

    I'll just finish by one story.  Just this morning the RCMP arrested two alleged Muslim terroists here in Ontario (accused of plotting to bomb a train).  How did the police find them?  The imam of their mosque tipped off the police that he felt these individuals were becoming radicalized.  The Muslim community here is for the most part peaceful and proud to be Canadian.  They have the same fears of terrorists as everyone else.  And they understand that there are radical Islamic extremists that they need to fight and be vigilant for even in their mosques.  They are good citizens, just like you and me--and they resent their religion being twisted for evil purposes.  If you, however, were to go to them and preach that their religion (or a large part of it) is inherently violent you would just alienate them.  They don't see their religion as violent or practice it that way.  In fact, your portrayal of Islam seems to accept the terrorist version of Islam as the real version.  

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid it is.  When I read the Quran I sure have trouble not seeing a violent message.  There's very good reason to think that the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Quada, and the Boston bombers understood exactly what they were reading.  Seems unlikely we are dealing with mass delusion or two brothers that happenned to go insane at the same time.  If Muslims interpret the Quran for human rights, womens rights and peace as many do then I'm just fine with that.  They are probably wrong but I don't care as long as they are on board with human rights.  I want to give them air time.  Many people think the Christians are wrong in their interpretation of slavery in the old testament.  They probably are, but as long as they are wrong in the right way I don't care.

    I think most Muslims would find this offensive and because of that, they would dismiss you as either ignorant or a bigot.  If you can't understand and truly respect all the other things that Islam is besides what the extremists portray it as, you have no hope of influencing Muslims in any positive way. 

     Maybe they would, but if they are offended because I'm attacking radical Islam simply because they share the same god but not the same values than they are not supporters of human rights.  As far as the Imam, we are setting the bar awfully low if simply reporting a terrorist is heroic.  




  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    Shenanigan, it is fairly clear that your mind is made up and everything you look at in Islam and the Islamic world is going to be interpreted by you in such a way as to support your settled conclusion that Islam is a religion that is and always has been inherently violent, repressive, and (as you have termed it) barbaric.

    It's silly to keep arguing, because if you want to make that case, you can certainly find enough bad things in Islam and Islamic history to make it and can continue to dismiss as irrelevant or insignificant anything that might lead you to a different conclusion. I won't be able to change your mind or make you look more broadly because you don't want to think any differently than you do. I do see much more complexity in Islam and the Islamic world than you do, and believe that there are many factors other than the religion of Islam itself that have led to the current situation in the Islamic world. Just as I'm not going to convince you of my point of view, however, you're not going to convince me of your point of view. I have enough direct, personal experience with Muslims and the Muslim world to feel 100% confident in my own heart and mind that my view is right and yours wrong. You clearly feel the same way about your point of view and I don't expect you to change it.

    I mention above (in the post about religion) how religion is effective in encouraging people to kill in war because it allows one side to see itself as righteous and allied with the divine while seeing the other side as utterly and irredeemably evil. Once this dichotomy is created in one's mind, the most horrific violent action against the perceived evil group becomes justifiable. While religion is often used to create this kind of polarization between the good (us) and the bad (them), the same polarization can be created in other ways too. In the modern West, where religion is not quite so strong and universal a motivator, apparently "rational" arguments are often used to create this same type of polarization. So we see data and facts selected in such a way to make a "case" against some other group--to prove why this other group really is in some way inferior to our own group and a dangerous threat that needs to be dealt with.

    Right now, in much of the Islamic world, there are people using their religion in this polarizing way--to define Westerners as dangerous infidels who must be destroyed. They use their religious arguments to justify horrific violence against us and against anyone even in their own culture who opposes them. But I would argue we see in America and in other places in the West the same thing happening: people who are making polarizing arguments--through the selective culling of "facts" and "data"--to "prove" that Islam is inherently evil and that anyone in our own culture who sees Islam differently is a "coward" or a "relativist" who is complicit in allowing that evil to flourish. Ultimately, these arguments create that kind of absolute polarization that makes reconciliation almost impossible and war almost inevitable. It's what leads us to abandon our normal, just ways of dealing with crime and conflict and replace them with exceptional things like torture, indefinite imprisonment without due process, extrajudicial killings, and ultimately the unchecked violence of war.

    I do believe there is another path, but it requires a more open-minded look at the Islamic world and a greater willingness to see good rather than just evil. From my own personal experience with Muslims and the Muslim world and my own reading of history and current events, I see a very different situation than you do. I see problems indeed--repressive governments, violence, extremism--but I also see a very large number of good people struggling to make life better for themselves and their families, often against odds unlike anything you and I have ever had to face here in North America. These people simply aren't the violent, depraved, and misguided people you seem to want to make them out to be. They are very much like us. And their religion, whatever a verse or two in the Koran may say, has not poisoned their minds or corrupted their souls.

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from skeeter20. Show skeeter20's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    But, back to the main point: does Islam bear any blame?

    Yes, Islam part of the problem. You can't fight the math, and you can't fight the constant stream of terrorists doing this in the name of Islam.

    heck, the terrorists themselves say they are doing it his in the name of Islam.  I suggest we start beleiving  them, despite the left leaning inclination to try to blame other Things.

  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from StalkingButler. Show StalkingButler's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    Why We Are Afraid, A 1400 Year Secret, by Dr Bill Warner



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  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:


    In response to skeeter20's comment:
    [QUOTE] the terrorists themselves say they are doing it his in the name of Islam.  /QUOTE]

    On that logic, Christianity is responsible for more death than all religions combined. You spread it across every continent you reached.


    I'm not Christian, and I don't know where you are going here.  There was no Army of Christians who took over Europe and the U.S.


    If you would like to see other Atheists that agree with me you can look up Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens among others.

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: Does Islam bear any blame?

    Pro, I agree with most of what you say.  I applaud your honesty and I'm glad we could have a civilized debate.  I take back what I said about you being a coward, I was out of line.  I know that you believe the best method for dealing with the problems is to avoid criticism and reach out and that you believe in good conscience this will lead to a positive change in human rights.  I'm also happy that we can move past denial of the problems which is an all too common reaction and discuss the cause of those problems and the best solutions even if we disagree.

    I wanted to get back to you from an earlier post on why I believe the passive reach out approach has failed.   I'll finish that tomorrow, but it's late and I want to take my time and properly source my point.

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