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  1. #41
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Personally, I would have chosen the word "reactive" rather than "adaptive".
    It amounts to the same thing, in this case; Islamism basically synchronizes orthodox Islam with various modern forms of communication and political organization. Its an alternative (and terrible) form of modernity based on orthodox Islam, rather than a traditionalist challenge to modernity in the strictest sense.

    As for your question, orthodox Islam ("Islam" as an abstract means whatever its adherents think it means) is not technically totalitarian in itself, but its certainly oppressive and dangerous. Also, religion and politics are closely intertwined in orthodox Islam, but that doesn't make it any less of a religion. As for the Enlightenment being the answer, I generally agree, but it has to come from within the Muslim community itself.
    Last edited by lowtech redneck; 02-04-2010 at 12:00 AM. Reason: clarification.

  2. #42
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Of course the Judeo-Christians have been tamed by the Enlightenment, but not without a struggle.
    Could you expand the idea of the enlightenment taming Judeo-Christians because I'm really having trouble looking past the Middle East...

    And today the Enlightenment and Islam are engaged in the same struggle to bring Islam into the modern and civilized world and away from barbarity.
    This makes me really sad, Victor. For someone who writes so passionately about colonization and its effects on Australia - you could be a little self-conscious in applying the terms civilized, modern and barbarian to the Islamic world. Please let us not forget that it was an Islamic world that gave us so much of modern astronomy, philosophy, scientific innovation....

    And Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born a muslim, is at the forefront of this struggle. And although she lives in Washington D.C., she must live under constant police protection for the rest of her life.

    How lucky we are to be free, and we owe Ayaan a debt of gratitude.
    How lucky we are to be free! Kudos to this lady for surviving the odds and sharing her views openly in spite of the pressure. She is, however, not at the forefront of this struggle and I suspect she may be really unhappy about the words you used above.

    For a community, as you must know, being called barbarians and declaring their entire faith as antithetical to a modern life is, you know, rarely a rousing call to a more enlightened view. I'm just saying.

    Jokes apart, this very type of rhetoric is what binds societal norms to a particular faith and helps the very people - religious leaders, politicians who want to use religion as a shield for perpetuating horrors against women, dissidents, whoever... This helps them. This rhetoric provides them, people like Ahmedinejad with the ammunition he used for years to describe the West as against his faith, not his authoritarian ways or his poor handling of the economy or the wasting of Iranian money on nuclear technology instead of industry...but against Islam.

    When you attack a religion, you attack its people and their identity. Not much to be gained there because it reflects you don't know much about it and don't care to change that. Instead you choose to pick the first person who reflects your enlightened view and rally around her as the voice of reason. Ms. Hirsi has the right to express her opinion and her experience in whatever way she thinks best. But please do not confuse the issues.

    Religion has been used in the west to protect and defend all sorts of unenlightened barbaric behavior and continues to be. Christianity, this most enlightened religion is still used to defend patriarchy -- conservative churches (Southern Baptists do this best) still tell women it may be best if they stayed home and tended for the children because its what traditional family values demand. Please listen to one Dr. Laura show for a Christian psycho-logist () for instant high blood pressure . And honey, obey him while you're feeding them, okay? It's used to protect hate crimes against gays because homosexuality is a sin (people do die for this), women who choose abortion and the doctors who conduct them (more horrific deaths)...all in the name of a Christian God. This is Christianity in the post-enlightenment world.

    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    All this Islam bashing shit is becoming a bit dull.
    Seriously - mainly because it takes away from the issues: authoritarian rule (not connected to a religion) but a resource, oil. Patriarchy. Poor economic policies. Poor civil liberties. Please DO attack these everywhere they exist and the Islamic world does not have a monopoly over them. Don't let them use religion as a shield. Call it for what it is - bigotry - attached to no religion, race or language.

  3. #43
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    Call me radical, but I have a bigger problem with the people who want to blow me up because I won't wear a fucking head scarf.
    Turkey and France force women not to wear headscarves and they choose to wear them in protest. The issue is not the headscarf - it is one of choice. Women should be able to choose. It's not Islam that's keeping them from this choice.

  4. #44
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Victor -- for a woman you present who is asking for enlightenment to be brought to the Islamic world, here's another who faced similar threats because she chose to convert to Islam. She's not alone.

    How I Embraced Islam: Kamala Das
    She spoke passionately about her decision many times - read her NY Times obituary or the interview she gave here:
    Rediff On The NeT: When the temptress dons the purdah...

    I think the question here is a pragmatic one - we want to see change for women living in oppressive conditions in Islamic countries and we want to see a more peaceful world for ourselves. Is declaring their religion a barbaric one in need of civilizing helping our cause? Is it going to win over friends or even sympathy from the very women we say we are protecting? No. We are encouraging people to cling to this sad and oppressive interpretation of their religion and helping authoritarian rule and patriarchy live longer because it makes it more difficult for these women, for democrats, for anyone who wants change to be able to fight for it within these communities without becoming an outsider, one with the neo-imperialists who know little about these people and yet purport to change their lives for them.

    Isn't it great when the world came together to offer solidarity to the Iranian protesters who took on their government over the last year? We didn't make it about Islam. How could we - many of them were those who fought for the Islamic revolution, the one that put the theocracy in place. We supported democracy, the right for everyone to have individual freedoms...that's an enlightened idea and it wasn't restricted to the Western world. Let's do that more.

    For anyone who is interested in an enlightened view, read
    Islam and the Secular State
    Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

    He is a Sudanese scholar and a Muslim who explains how Islam and democracy are compatible. See how he engages his community and towards the same goals as those expressed here.

  5. #45
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    The Enlightenment (1688-1788) replaced blind faith with evidence and reason.

    Christianity opposed the Enlightenment for a very long time, but finally they accepted the separation of Church and State and Freedom of Religion.

    Islam to this day does not accept the separation of Mosque and State and does not accept Freedom of Religion.

    And to drive this point home, fifty-seven Islamic States comprising the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), have publicly rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergophobe View Post
    Seriously - mainly because it takes away from the issues: authoritarian rule (not connected to a religion) but a resource, oil. Patriarchy. Poor economic policies.

    Poor civil liberties. Please DO attack these everywhere they exist and the Islamic world does not have a monopoly over them. Don't let them use religion as a shield. Call it for what it is - bigotry - attached to no religion, race or language.
    Thank you! Profound words.

    Such actions by the "West" to attack their religion only further cements these extremists' agenda by allowing them to stay in power and use propaganda to garner support against the Islam-hating-West.

    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    Can we bash something else, now Victor? How about fat, Australian windbags?

  7. #47
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The Enlightenment (1688-1788) replaced blind faith with evidence and reason.

    Christianity opposed the Enlightenment for a very long time, but finally they accepted the separation of Church and State and Freedom of Religion.

    Islam to this day does not accept the separation of Mosque and State and does not accept Freedom of Religion.

    And to drive this point home, fifty-seven Islamic States comprising the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), have publicly rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    Victor - yes, I'm aware of the ideas of enlightenment as broadly expressed above, the question was which ones in particular were you attaching to the modern civilized world you live in? Are you suggesting that modern democratic states separate religion and government, in practice?!? Really, look again. States lie somewhere along this spectrum of theocracy and secularism - there is no pure form. Modern states continue to have official religions and saying they protect minorities or their religions does not mean that they do so or that they do so effectively.

    This leads me back to the original point - I'm not interested in protecting these countries. Please do hold them to high standards on human rights but let's do so in context, shall we? Why are you pointing to Islam as the culprit and not that these are authoritarian regimes like the many others who do not pay heed to the UNDHR. It is states, led by leaders with a variety of religious affiliations that choose to reject or simply pay lip service to the UNDHR (for the latter - plenty evidence from the Iraq war).

    A better way to speak to this important point you're making about human rights is with an indicator that measures actual human rights violations, right? Let's look at who actually protects HR in practice and not just who says they will. Here's the world freedom map from Freedom House - a non profit that collects this info every year.
    Under Methodology:
    "The Freedom in the World 2009 survey contains reports on 193 countries and 16 related and disputed territories. Each country report begins with a section containing the following information: population, capital, political rights (numerical rating), civil liberties (numerical rating), status (Free, Partly Free, or Not Free)". The rankings are on political rights and civil liberties. As you may notice, there are several majority Islamic countries that are partly Free including:
    Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Lebanon (large Muslim population) and Indonesia is actually under the Free category. Indonesia is the largest Islamic country (population). It may not come as a surprise then that the same countries mentioned here have more open governments - some are less oppressive monarchies and many have democratic elections, some for the first or second time in the last ten years. It's not about religion, it is about the type of government and the policies made:
    freedomhouse.org: Map of Freedom in the World

    There's that large area in blue (not free) covered by Russia and China and many countries in Africa that are also not all Islamic. You may want to consider those too...

  8. #48
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    It amounts to the same thing, in this case; Islamism basically synchronizes orthodox Islam with various modern forms of communication and political organization. Its an alternative (and terrible) form of modernity based on orthodox Islam, rather than a traditionalist challenge to modernity in the strictest sense.
    Some studies have suggested that the rise of Islamism (fundamentalism) is a response to social marginalization felt by the muslims living in non-muslim ("West") countries. Reactive.

    Why would the traditional religion of Islam need to get reinterpreted to include such non-negotiable stance on military, political and economic affairs? What purpose does it serve, do you think? How did it come about?

    As for your question, orthodox Islam ("Islam" as an abstract means whatever its adherents think it means) is not technically totalitarian in itself, but its certainly oppressive and dangerous.
    Yeah, in Islam, unlike in say, Judaism, there's no equivalent word for "orthodox". So, again, what you're interpreting as "orthodox Islam" (most like, Sunnism, and following Shari'a law) is not really accepted as "orthodox" by the people who do practice it. Most certainly not the Shi'is, and, even non-extremist Sunnis do not, as it is stated in the Qu'ran that only God can judge a person's true religion, not man.

    So, I have issues with how easily you seem to have clear distinctions with these terms, Islamism, orthodox Islam, the jihad doctrine (actual warfare), as if they are some intrinsic and prominent part of the religion of Islam, when evidence points to the opposite. The rise of such terms towards prominence is very recent in the history of Islam, where scholars have noted that Islamism is quite heavily linked with this uprising of the "orthodox Islam" (a term used by the West), and that the "jihad doctrine" is one major crux of this "neo-conservative Islam" - the newly packaged Islam, if you will.

    Also, religion and politics are closely intertwined in orthodox Islam, but that doesn't make it any less of a religion. As for the Enlightenment being the answer, I generally agree, but it has to come from within the Muslim community itself.
    I think I would need to hear an argument of how Islam, as a religion, is parsed out from the reactionary movement it has become (Islamism, orthodox Islam), to then consider how the religion is truly any more oppressive and totalitarian than any other religion has the opportunity to be, given different interpretations and socio-political motive (say, like, Christianity).

  9. #49
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    Thumbs down Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wole Soyinka

    And again at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India we are not only graced by Ayaan Hirsi Ali but also by Wole Soyinka.

    Wole Soyinka is a Nobel Laureate for Literature and the most famous living Nigerian, noted for his defence of human rights and democracy.

    And yesterday, as guest of honour, he had no hesitation in giving his opinion as -

    "England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims".

  10. #50
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    "England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims".
    Sure - he's not alone in making this observation. Just take a look at the profiles of those behind some recent attacks planned or carried out in several countries. Nobody is saying that Islamic fundamentalism isn't used to fuel political violence in the form of terrorism. Of course it is. I don't, however, recall him saying that Islam in itself is inherently fundamentalist or that Islam needs western enlightenment to prevent political violence. Not the same.

    Besides, I thought Britain had been through its period of enlightenment with the super clean separation of church and state, right? Yet, we find it being a place where fundamentalist Islam has found a home. Maybe some of the representation and socio-economic reasons above may provide better explanations?

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