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  1. #141
    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The argument from moral equivalence was made during the cold war. And it is being made here today during the global jihad.

    And although there was no moral equivalence between the Soviets and the US, moral equivalence is a seductive argument.

    And it seduces us today during the global jihad.
    There is mroal equivalence because both sides are equally immoral. The difference though is that the USA is a superpower and its government uses the bogeyman of "terrorism" to attack the liberties of its own people and to justify mass murder abroad int he name of economci and geopoltiical interests.

    So while there may be "moral equivalence", there is no real equivalence: the US ruling class is the bigger danger both to its own people and to the world.
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

  2. #142
    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    All religion is a bad influence on people, as it serves as a legitimizing myth that motivates people to maintaining a cultural status quo that is often against their self interest. Generally, religion benefits a very small group of people and uses the followers to that group's ends. For an example, look at catholicism and wealth, Confucianism and submission to authority, and Islam and cultural poverty. It also erodes critical thinking, alienates people from their personal values (you don't have any, you just have a book/religious teacher).
    I don't especially see the link between Islam and cultural poverty. At least not more than any other religion.
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

  3. #143
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    I would imagine that the point being made was that the Bible also features commands as savage as the Koran does, yet there is no assumption that every Jew and Christian believes in or even knows about these commands.

    There is actually a minority of Jewish people in Israel who do want to enforce the Torah as it's written and do commit acts of violence and terrorism. There are Christians in the USA who think the government should execute people for having gay sex, because of what the Bible says.
    1/ Sunni Islam is a litteralist religion. It's not the case of other monotheisms. You still have a lot to learn about it.

    2/ "Enforcing the Torah" just make no sense for a Jew, and it proves how ignorant you are of this religion. Have you ever heard of something called the Talmud?

    That's precisely why Tcda's argument was irrelevant.

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    I'm a strong atheist myself, but that should never be an excuse for ignorance. Even if you don't believe in them, Religions affect sociology and ideology.
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  4. #144
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    1/ Sunni Islam is a litteralist religion. It's not the case of the other monotheisms. You still have a lot to learn about it.
    1) It's not quite such a monolithic faith as you seem to be saying; there's some room for diversity of practice and belief within it despite the fact that there is indeed a tendency to hold to literalist tenets. I believe there's also a tendency by Sunni scholars to believe that general principles of belief are more significant than precise literal interepretations, and therefore to consider those who take an exclusively literal approach to be ignorant and unlearned.

    2) Many evangelical Christians and their churches take biblical literalism to an extreme. Your generalised comparison simply doesn't hold up if it's taken between fundamentalist evangelical Christians and Sunni Islam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    2/ "Enforcing the Torah" just make no sense for a Jew, and it proves how ignorant you are of this religion. Have you ever heard of something called the Talmud?
    Indeed, but it is worth reiterating that the Talmud lays down far more stringent and particular requirements for observance than any other major Abrahamic text; this includes the Qur'an.
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  5. #145
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    I was saying that Islam encompasses wildly different interpretations of its holy texts, as does Judaism, as does Christianity.
    Precisely, you're wrong about that.

    In Sunni Islam, there's only one divine Law, and it is the Shariah. The rules are NOT subject to interpretation, and never were modified for almost a thousand years. Only Hanafis have a little freedom.

    I'd say you're trying to understand Islam the way you understand Christianity or Judaism. But that's a mistake: you're projecting your biases and ignorance on subjects you know nothing about, or almost nothing about.
    Religions aren't the same, nor are the values or core ideology they spread. And believe me, it's easier to tolerate a Tibetan fundamentalist than a Salafi.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  6. #146
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    1) It's not quite such a monolithic faith as you seem to be saying; there's some room for diversity of practice and belief within it despite the fact that there is indeed a tendency to hold to literalist tenets.
    No. There is NO ROOM for "diversity of practise" in Malekism, Chaafism and especially Hanbalism. And this three schools represent the large majority of current-day Islam.


    2) Many evangelical Christians and their churches take biblical literalism to an extreme. Your generalised comparison simply doesn't hold up if it's taken between fundamentalist evangelical Christians and Sunni Islam.
    I made no comparison. You are.
    For me, Evangelical extremism and Sunni fundamentalism are a completely different subject.



    Indeed, but it is worth reiterating that the Talmud lays down far more stringent and particular requirements for observance than any other major Abrahamic text; this includes the Qur'an.
    There is nothing like the Hadith and the Shariah in Judaism or Christianity.

    Judaism is a religion of debates and questioning, hence the Talmud. It is based on interpretation of scriptures.
    While Sunni Islam is a religion of total submission. And the reason why is that Sunni muslims consider the Koran to be directly the Word of God, and not the interpretation of it. Hence, the Divine Law is absolute and cannot be changed according to history or context. So far, this religion is totally frozen, since the doors of Itjihad are out limits.

    The only Islam that works a little bit like Judaism or Christianity is Shia Islam. Here, Itjihad is not only allowed, it is even mandatory.
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  7. #147
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    No. There is NO ROOM for "diversity of practise" in Malekism, Chaafism and especially Hanbalism. And this three schools represent the large majority of current-day Islam.
    You omitted in your eagerness to generalise the fourth major Sunni school of jurisprudence, Hanafi, which also happens to be the most liberal, and non-literal, as it relies heavily on analogy in its interpretation. It also happens to be the LARGEST of the four schools in terms of adherents. Of course agknowledging their existence would have disproved your own point regarding universal literalism. This is naughty and seems like an intentional omission: an informed person should know better. The only exclusively literalist school is, as you indeed imply, the Hanabali, exemplified by the Wahabists in Saudi Arabia. They also happen to be the SMALLEST of the four schools in terms of adherents. I believe the other two schools follow an interpretation which is more balanced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    I made no comparison. You are.
    Nope, this is yours I believe, you were making an invalid point about literalism:

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    1/ Sunni Islam is a litteralist religion. It's not the case of the other monotheisms.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    For me, Evangelical extremism and Sunni fundamentalism are a completely different subject.
    Not for me, if you are going to try to insist on there being an essential division between the faiths on the grounds of literalism, because there isn't. It's a minority form of belief in both cases, but is equally prevalent in Christianity and Sunni Islam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    There is nothing like the Hadith and the Shariah in Judaism or Christianity.

    Judaism is a religion of debates and questioning, hence the Talmud. It is based on interpretation of scriptures.
    "Nothing Like" is overstating your case. Given the use to which the Tamud is put, it's analogous in function if not identical in structure, study methods, or origins. Jewish laws such as the Mishnah Torah are derived from the Talmud in much the same way as Sharia is derived from Hadith. Chrisitan literalists rely on the bible, of course. This is another form of literalism, as though Muslims were relying exclusively on the Qur'an, but still literalism nonetheless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    While Sunni Islam is a religion of total submission. And the reason why is that Sunni muslims consider the Koran to be directly the Word of God, and not the interpretation of it. Hence, the Divine Law is absolute and cannot be changed according to history or context. So far, this religion is totally frozen, since the doors of Itjihad are out limits.
    If this was true there would be no need for the different schools of Sunni jurisprudence or essential differences between them, no debate and disagreements betwen them, and scholars within the schools with each other, no ongoing reform movement in Sunni Islam, no division between modernisers, traditionalists, and fundamentalists, variation in interpretation or application of Sharia between schools and regions. And yet all these things happen. Do you deny it?
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  8. #148
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    You omitted in your eagerness to generalise the fourth major Sunni school of jurisprudence, Hanafi, which also happens to be the most liberal, and non-literal, as it relies heavily on analogy in its interpretation. It also happens to be the LARGEST of the four schools in terms of adherents. Of course agknowledging their existence would have disproved your own point regarding universal literalism. This is naughty and seems like an intentional omission: an informed person should know better. The only exclusively literalist school is, as you indeed imply, the Hanabali, exemplified by the Wahabists in Saudi Arabia. They also happen to be the SMALLEST of the four schools in terms of adherents. I believe the other two schools follow an interpretation which is more balanced.
    1/ I did already mention the case of Hanafis. Hence your following argument is pointless. You're projecting intentions on me, and this is dishonesty.

    2/ But if we look closely the dividing line between the four madhabs, there are countries which are supposed to be "Hanafis" but which are clearly not in practise. Afghanistan and Pakistan, for instance.
    The only Hanafis who are still enjoying a little freedom are to be found in Turkey, Syria or Central Asia, and they represent only a very small sample of current-day Muslims. And there are historical and political reasons for that.



    Not for me, if you are going to try to insist on there being an essential division between the faiths on the grounds of literalism, because there isn't. It's a minority form of belief in both cases, but is equally prevalent in Christianity and Sunni Islam.
    It's not. If you were living in a Muslim neighbourhood like I do, if you had countless Muslim friends and had travelled many times in different Muslim countries, perhaps you would know better the differences, rather than relying on wikipedia.



    "Nothing Like" is overstating your case. Given the use to which the Tamud is put, it's analogous in function if not identical in structure, study methods, or origins. Jewish laws such as the Mishnah Torah are derived from the Talmud in much the same way as Sharia is derived from Hadith. Chrisitan literalists rely on the bible, of course. This is another form of literalism, as though Muslims were relying exclusively on the Qur'an, but still literalism nonetheless.
    This is absurd. Don't speak of something you don't know.



    If this was true there would be no need for the different schools of Sunni jurisprudence or essential differences between them, no debate and disagreements betwen them, and scholars within the schools with each other, no ongoing reform movement in Sunni Islam, no division between modernisers, traditionalists, and fundamentalists, variation in interpretation or application of Sharia between schools and regions. And yet all these things happen. Do you deny it?
    Yes I deny it, since you are confusing many different terms, many different definitions and words.

    There is no such a thing as true "Sunni modernisers". The Shariah still remains the same, unchanged and untouched for more than a thousand year, and every madhab has to follow it.
    In Sunni Islam, it's been a long time since the theological debate is over, and this is the main issue. As long as practises like stoning adulterous women will be written in the Shariah, the debate between so called "modernists" and "fundamentalists" will be whether the stoning should take place immediately or not, and how. The principles behind the Sunni Shariah will never be really questioned. A true reformist movement should rather ackowledge that this practise should be banned once and for all, and the Shariah modified and re-interpreted, but we are very far from it.

    Any variation you report is considered to be heresy, like for instance Ahmadiyyas or worst, Shias. Any Sunni scholar who would like to open the gates of Itjihad may face a death sentence.

    However, I have to acknowledge that some scholars would like to. But they still represent a clear (but courageous) minority who are ready to risk their lives. For instance, the Imam of Drancy has been threatened with death several times, and his mosque vandalized by the neighbouring Muslims.
    For instance, in France, the elections of the CFCM showed that these would be "modernisers" (the followers of Soheib Bencheikh) represent less than 10% of French mosques, while Literalists represented 88%, divided between conservatives (42%) and fundamentalists (46%).

    So don't be naive.

    Maybe something will change, but not before a few decades or longer, if ever.

    In the meantime, let's be realistic and factual, please.

    The only kind of Islam where "modernisers" have a clear role, and represent a significant number is Shia Islam. Within Shia Islam, things can evolve very quickly. At least as quickly as they had to change and adapt within Christianity, Judaism and other modern religions. For instance, some great Ayatollahs now condemn death penalty as a matter of principle: we are light years away from the debate currently occuring within Sunni Islam.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  9. #149
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    However, I have to acknowledge that some scholars would like to. But they still represent a clear (but courageous) minority who are ready to risk their lives. For instance, the Imam of Drancy has been threatened with death several times, and his mosque vandalized by the neighbouring Muslims.
    For instance, in France, the elections of the CFCM showed that these would be "modernisers" (the followers of Soheib Bencheikh) represent less than 10% of French mosques, while Literalists represented 88%, divided between conservatives (42%) and fundamentalists (46%).

    So don't be naive.
    It's a crying shame we can't hand-pick some radicals that will perform the kind of revolution that is, by your standard, required?

    By quoting statistics peculiar to France, you say nothing about the matter generally. These statistics may merely mask the disaffected nature of living in a sink-hole estate, rather than alluding to any particular fervour, as such.

    I suspect your statistics are more indicators to socio-economic status, primarily, than you're letting on...

    Back in the 80s there were riots in London, Birmingham & Liverpool. The rioters were described as black, and demonised by the press. The blacks weren't such a soft touch and had had enough of being stopped, searched, pushed around and generally treated like trash; social unrest is a natural consequence of alienation. But then you'd know that: wasn't Mssr Sarkozy given a little adieu by the Megrebians when he was still Interior Minister?

    If these guys had decent prospects, I doubt whether they'd be setting fire to the white man's car.

    PS Didn't Godard use cars are a symbol of capitalism in his films? I seem to recall cars being pushed over a cliff-edge.

  10. #150
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    1/ I did already mention the case of Hanafis. Hence your following argument is pointless. You're projecting intentions on me, and this is dishonesty.
    You avoided mentioning them in trying to make an assertion which was rendered invalid by their inclusion, as you appear perfectly aware. And you then go on to accuse ME of dishonesty? I'm merely pointng out the incongruity of your statements with each other and the facts as I understand them. Your leap of logic towards a projection of MY intentions is, shall we say, interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    So don't be naive.
    That's a second projection, you're doing well here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    2/ But if we look closely the dividing line between the four madhabs, there are countries which are supposed to be "Hanafis" but which are clearly not in practise. Afghanistan and Pakistan, for instance.
    The only Hanafis who are still enjoying a little freedom are to be found in Turkey, Syria or Central Asia, and they represent only a very small sample of current-day Muslims. And there are historical and political reasons for that.
    There are historical and political, not to mention geographic reasons, for all forms of current Muslim belief and practice. So what? We know perfectly well that the Saudis have been keen to export their own brand of Islam for some time; just because a minority in certain countries which have historically followed a very different tradition have recently become vocal extremists doesn't decisively demonstrate that the fundamental tenets of belief for the majority of believers in those areas have been altered. It suggests to me more that there's an urgent need for reform of existing practice in those areas so that the simplistic fundamentalist viewpoint becomes less attractive, particularly to the young.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    It's not. If you were living in a Muslim neighbourhood like I do, if you had countless Muslim friends and had travelled many times in different Muslim countries, perhaps you would know better the differences, rather than relying on wikipedia.
    This is merely anecdotal evidence, and besides, if we wanted to trade anecdotes I think yours and mine would be somewhat at variance. I have known quite a few observant Sunni Muslims, none of whom have been quite as literalist and closed minded as you have been claiming as the norm. Do you associate with fundamentalists yourself? If so you may be better placed to comment on what they believe than I, but I hardly think they represent a true majority sentiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    This is absurd. Don't speak of something you don't know.
    I'll speak of what I please. If you disagree, tell me why, instead of making unsupported attributions towards myself. If you can't see the correspondence it's not my problem, I've provided clear qualifications in any case. I only made the point because you were saying there was nothing comparable, which I don't believe to be the case. It's otherwise an irrelevant issue anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Yes I deny it, since you are confusing many different terms, many different definitions and words.
    How?

    There is no such a thing as true "Sunni modernisers". The Shariah still remains the same, unchanged and untouched for more than a thousand year, and every madhab has to follow it.
    This is silly. As you appear to be informed on the topic yourself, you surely know as well as I do that there is no truly universal Shariah. It's applied at a local level and is heavily dependent on interpretation and local culture. Underlying principles, which indeed only modernisers are going to be interested in changing, are indeed long-standing, but this is a separate issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    In Sunni Islam, it's been a long time since the theological debate is over, and this is the main issue. As long as practises like stoning adulterous women will be written in the Shariah, the debate between so called "modernists" and "fundamentalists" will be whether the stoning should take place immediately or not, and how. The principles behind the Sunni Shariah will never be really questioned. A true reformist movement should rather ackowledge that this practise should be banned once and for all, and the Shariah modified and re-interpreted, but we are very far from it.

    Any variation you report is considered to be heresy, like for instance Ahmadiyyas or worst, Shias. Any Sunni scholar who would like to open the gates of Itjihad may face a death sentence.
    However, I have to acknowledge that some scholars would like to. But they still represent a clear (but courageous) minority who are ready to risk their lives. For instance, the Imam of Drancy has been threatened with death several times, and his mosque vandalized by the neighbouring Muslims.
    For instance, in France, the elections of the CFCM showed that these would be "modernisers" (the followers of Soheib Bencheikh) represent less than 10% of French mosques, while Literalists represented 88%, divided between conservatives (42%) and fundamentalists (46%).
    This seems a rather parochial interpretation, and very specific to the situation in France. I wouldn't like to assume that this is the case in Muslim majority countries, or even other countries with a lot of Muslim immigrants. Who are the Muslims in France? Where do they come from? And how, by the way, were these statistics collected, and by whom? I sniff an agenda somewhere, though I can't be sure what this is is from the information provided.

    Besides this, bananatrombones makes some good points in his last post. There's not much point in me commenting further on this until you've addressed them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Maybe something will change, but not before a few decades or longer, if ever.

    In the meantime, let's be realistic and factual, please.

    The only kind of Islam where "modernisers" have a clear role, and represent a significant number is Shia Islam. Within Shia Islam, things can evolve very quickly. At least as quickly as they had to change and adapt within Christianity, Judaism and other modern religions. For instance, some great Ayatollahs now condemn death penalty as a matter of principle: we are light years away from the debate currently occuring within Sunni Islam.
    I'm not really interested in whether current practice conforms to your definition of "modernising" (which is up to Muslims to decide whether they want to do, not us non-Muslims to insist on them needing to do to conform to our own expectations), so much as in whether your accusations that Sunni Islam is effectively an exclusively literalist faith with no significant internal diversity are justified. I don't believe that they are.

    Whether the faith has problems and needs for its own sake to undergo a process of reformation, which I would say it probably does, is another matter. We can debate that if you like, we'd probably have less to disagree on.
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