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May 22, 2005

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Vavoom,
I (agnostic of Anglican parentage) reject Brian Macker's description of _Islam_ as a cult. But in certain subgroups of tribally-modified branches of Islam, Islam has been perverted.

Problematically for Muslims, we (the infidels) are failing to find large enough groups of sane muslims we can point to as a "sane majority" ... or even a plurality or even a sizable minority we can respect.

Islam explicitly rejects suicide and the killing of non-combatants.
(Although it is clear that we infidels are to be treated badly, as second-class citizens, never to be befriended by a Muslim, forced to pay dhimmi-taxes, not trusted to give testimony, etc)

The current Wahibbi movement (from the ~ 1880s) is virulently anti-infidel. They define infidel rather broadly, to include Shiite, Druze, Iraqi, etc. Certain radical Wahibbi clerics (supported by those idiot Saud royalty and the Jew-hating-dictators of the middle-east) have taken it upon themselves to re-interpret Mohammad, the Koran and the Hadiths (?) to convert no-suicide and don't-hurt-non-combatants to mean that every Jew/infidel/Iraqi civilian financially supports the destruction of the daar-al-islam and is therefore a legitimate target.

In America, when there is a controversy, people on both sides of any issue get together and hold mass demonstrations to express their points of view, generally loudly and with major fanfare. Some of these rallies are small, some not-so-small. The Nation-of-Islam held a Million-Man-March of at least over 100,000 people (maybe as high as 500,000) over fatherhood and responsibility (IIRC).

CAIR regularly has Muslim demonstrations against incidents or grievances.

We (the infidels) did not hear you (the sane Islamic faithful) get together after 9/11 to denounce al Qaeda or the "Magnificent 19" or the tactics of mass slaughter of infidels. Instead we saw jubilant demonstrations from Palestinians, Baathists and all who opposed the USA. We heard the usual nutty conspiracy theories that the sons-of-pigs-and-monkeys had their Mossad take over the planes remotely after warning their workers not to be at the WTC that day.

We (the infidels) heard almost nothing from sane muslims (and certainly not on the scale of the MMM, the Koran-flushing-riots, the Abu Gharib Riots, the Iranian Death-to-America Rallies, the routine Death-to-The-Great-Satan rallies, the equally routine Death-to-The-Lesser-Satan (Israel) rallies, or even the CAIR grievance demonstrations.) IIRC, I think I remember a few small, poorly attended demonstrations somewhat recently (within 2004?) of a few Muslims in the USA coming out against terrorism generically and even then denouncing Israel.

We (the infidels) did not hear anything from the 1.3 BILLION sane muslim community-at-large on any believable scale (a few talking heads on CNN do not count) condemning the Nick Berg beheading video or the other westerners beheaded, but WOW DID WE HEAR about Abu Gharib ... and hear and hear and hear. Al Jazeera played up the beheading videos as heroic the way westerners played up the kid-rescued-from-the-well a few years back. AJ harped on Abu Gharib as though to prove the evil of all westerners to justify killing them when it was the USArmy that caught, publicized (in briefings) and was prosecuting those idiots months before the story broke publicly with the release of the images.

We (the infidels) do not incinerate or shoot our women for talking to an unrelated male. Most of the Asiatic/Middle-Eastern Muslim tribes do believe in honor-killings (of the girl, not the boy). I do not know about the Indonesian and North-African tribes but since I have not specifically remember heard of it, I assume that they do not participate in this barbaric custom. (I just read that in an Iranian or Afghan village, the elders wanted to kill an 7yo girl for talking to an 8yo boy ... the 7yo's father refused and fled with her to protect her.)

We (the infidels) do not believe in clitoridectomies, which North-African and Egyptian Muslims do. AFAIK, I have never heard of this barbaric custom in the mideastern, asian or Indonesian muslims, so I assume that they do not practice it.

We (the infidels) do not have legally-enforced-by-brutal-beatings dress codes where males can wear just-whatever and females must be infinitely covered up at every moment in public. (Actually the quote from Mohammad in the original language translated more as "tighten your robe's sash" rather than "wear-a-tent".)

We (the infidels) do not put our women into black oven-like wearable-tents-with-an-eye-grating to walk around in the desert heat in while getting heatstroke because our men do not have the self-control to deal with lustful urges should we happen to see a woman's hair ... at either end.

We (the infidels) do not prosecute rape victims for infidelity when they report a rape they were the only witness to. (I know of so many cases of this that As far as I know, this is the entire daar-al-Islam under Sharia.)

We (the infidels) do not beat our young girls back into a burning school-dormitory-building to their deaths with clubs, iran bars and cudgels because they fled from the fire in their nightshirts as the Saudi Religious Police did since the young girls were immodestly under-dressed (still covered, mind you, but in too few layers).

We (the infidels) do not slaughter schoolchildren (Beslan). When children are endangered or killed, we GET VERY UPSET. Whole towns turn out to search for one missing child. MILLIONS or more would be demonstrating in outrage if some western group slaughtered hundreds of schoolchildren. WHERE WERE YOU "sane muslims" ?!?!?!?!?

(Yet you riot by the millions over maltreatment of an inanimate object? And you expect the infidels to take you seriously? And you expect your combatants to be treated with kindness, care and respect?)

(Dis-)Respectfully, you (the Islamic Faithful) have much to do to convince us (the Infidels) that you deserve respect and trust.

First, you must LOUDLY and believably denounce the brutal and disgusting actions of those who attack, rape or kill non-combatants of any kind. (This includes denouncing the Scandinavian, French and Aussie muslim-on-native rape onslaughts. This includes Beslan. This includes blowing up cars, trucks, busses and people in Iraq and Israel.)

Second, you must find those Imams and activists among you who support brutalizing Infidels by whatever means. You must either imprison them for life somehow or render these violence-inciters forever not-a-problem. You figure out how. But be aware that we have noticed an odd trend that those who blow up nightclubs in Bali seem to get prison sentences of weeks or months, not centuries. We also have noticed that Palestinian attackers are public figures yet are never arrested unless they do soemthing to the PA government, whereupon somehow they invariably seem to get set free shortly thereafter.

Third, you must speak and act like you believe in modern 21-st century civilized behaviour, human rights, women's rights (by western standards), and co-operation, not 7th-century norms and values. Bluntly, you must accept that we infidels are as human as you Muslims and deserve equality of treatment and equality of rights even though this directly contradicts the Koran.

Fourth, you must stop the racist conspiracy-theory nonsense that pervades middle-east media and governments.

Fifth, you must stop tolerating corruption and dictatorships as your standard governing mode and escape petty tribalism that distorts a theoretically decent religion into what is now the public face of Islam.

Sixth, you must start beliving in meritocracy, not Mullah-ocracy (Iran & The Taliban), Kleptocracy (PA, Lebanon, etc), Thug-ocracy (Saddam, Syria) and Caliphates (various monarchies, including Egypt).

Seventh, you must start integrating into societies you immigrate into or choose to stay home. There is no middle ground on how Muslims are colonizing Europe, instead of integrating in as Muslims did into the USA. Continue to colonize in Europe and there will be war within this century.

Eighth, get over Analusia, the Crusades and other ancient conflicts as we westerners have learned to for sanity/safety's sake. Muslims invaded Africa and Europe which counterinvaded the Mideast ... repeat process frequently until both sides got tired. Note that the Jews predated Islam in the Syria-to-Egypt area, as did the Christians. All of whom were treated badly by the Muslim invaders that pre-dated the European Crusades.

Ninth, get the Shiites to reject Taqiyyah (sp?) or we REALLY won't trust you. I thought Sunnis did not believe in Taqiyyah, but apparently the aQ training-manuals give lots of tips on lying-to-infidels to further the aQ cause of dominating the entire planet. So long as we can't trust anything you say, how are we going to trust anything you say? (We have a recursive loop here.)

Tenth, get a new definition of "peace" that corresponds to the modern western definition of peace, not the Mohammedan, Marxist, USSR definition of "peace" = "when we have no opposition left on the planet".

Eleventh, change your tribal (not religious) culture(s). Middle-Eastern males are acculturated ... problematically. My wife is routinely sexually harassed by her muslim co-workers (Iranian, Jordanian, Syrian, and Palestinian). They all act like really immature kids ... around each other ... and worse around females. Westerners and Indians never act that way towards her. If you want a particularly bad review, talk to a western woman who is or has been married to a middle-eastern male. (I have. Several. It's not pretty.) Arab males in particular assume any non-handcuffed female is available; a whore; wants sexual attention. If you sane muslims want respect, rein in your sociopathic bretheren.

Twelfth, and most importantly, treat others as you wish to be treated. In all ways. Across the Board. Even Women. Even Jews.

Talk to us more about what we need to do for you after you have completed the 12-step-program listed above. Then we'll take this more seriously and really respect you.

Respect takes time, and all immigrant groups take time to integrate, but we in the USA have made our German, Italian and Irish immigrants at home after a rough start, although we could do a better job towards our Oriental, African and Hispanic immigrants. I do think that will dramatically improve after we elect a Black woman as president in 2008 (Da ... Nyet! Nyet! Nyet! Nyet! Nyet!).

Brian Macker

Islam is not a cult. Is that a plain enough statement for you? I have no idea what _Islam_ is.

There are several meanings to the word cult and Islam, meaning all the sects of Islam practiced taken as a whole. Islam taken as a whole is not a cult for a very simple reason, it is a purality of sects or another word for that cults. A singular is not a purality. Just as the NFL is not a football team Islam is not a cult.

I never even said Islam was a cult. I suggested he look at the list to get an idea of what cults consist of. Apparently he already knows and already agrees that Islam shares some of these characteristics.

The definition of cult that is similar to sect is here:. 1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.


That is however uninteresting. In that sense a cult could be a good thing.

There are definitions of cult that could be applied to Islam as a whole. Such as meaning 4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc. Since Islam consist of a group that actually believes a guy named Muhammed it qualifies.

The definition closer to the one I am using is this one:

6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

That definition certainly applies to Muhammed and his followers during the time he was trying to convince people that he was really talking with god and not just delusional. His solution was not to convince people but to take them by force. He was successful at this.

Even this definition is not necessarily bad. It might just be that conventional society is evil. Not only that but it is possible for a religion to be evil.

If I have the time and inclination I might write a article on exactly which attributes of Islam qualify it as a cult and which do not. Which attributes I find vile and which I do not.

I am reading the Koran and it has many vile passages. There are vast quantities of text dealing with how to wage military slaughter on unbelievers. The document also consists of vast quantities of bigoted beliefs about people who are not muslims. Jews are called greed for instance. It contains all sorts of double standards, like it's evil to murder except if the other guys not a muslim. I do not see how Vavoom can come up defense unless Islam has some other document that explains that the Koran is wrong on these subjects.

The problem with this is that document would have to first explain that the Koran is therefore not written by a god. Does a god have problems with his communication skills? Does a god make mistakes? Stating this explicitly would probably end up with Vavoom getting his head chopped off by his fellow muslims. A cult-like characteristic, correct? It's not 1% of the population that is the problem either. In fact there are laws on the books of many an Islamic nation that would result in his sanctioned killing. A killing that would cause the executioner to be in no danger of coming up on murder charges.

Islam is not a "religion of peace" an Vavoom has to come to terms with this. Apparently his current means of doing this is self delusion.

jack

"However, I am often intrigued by the lack of interest by Americans to learn more about my religion."

It amazes me how many times Muslims have told me this. When are you going to understand that there is no requirement for me or anyone else to learn about Islam in order to live peacefully with Muslims?

I personally have taken the time to read the Quran more than once and 100's of hadiths to see what Islam is all about. It is plain to any educated person that Islam per the Quran and hadiths is a "political doctrine" plain and simple (with religion being only one of many topics) supposedly mandated by God to rule society. It was spread by the sword. This is well documented, not some dream of uneducated redneck hillbillies. When you own up to what true Islam is per the Quran and hadiths then maybe some progress can be made between Muslims and the rest of the world. Until then you are in for a long hard Jihad.

In the US and many other countries you have the right to practice your "religion", but not "political doctrine". Herein is the dilemma for a true Muslim as you very well know. The two cannot be separated. Islam is a one size fits all deal that even Muslims have splintered off. Muslim have fought and killed each other over their differences for centuries and there is no let up to this day of the killing of Muslims by Muslims. "Any" religion is not a book, statue, stone etc etc, but the collective actions of the members of that religion is what defines a religion.

No I don't have to learn about Islam, but I did and am glad I did.

But if you want to live in the US, you will have to learn to assimilate in the US society without imposing Islam's "political doctrine". I hope Muslims can, because if you can't again you are in for a long hard Jihad.

The MaryHunter

A very well-written piece, and from the comment thread, provocative.

You're quite deserving of the Watcher's Council prize, Congrats!

Vavoom

Brian: I'll have to largely ignore your statement since you still haven't provided a description of cultic behavior that is in keeping with current academic standards. I suppose Jesus and his followers were also formulated a cult based upon your working definition? Working outside of societal norms, charismatic leader etc... I urge you to pick up a good book on the subject. Nice try, though.

Jack: Learning how extremists twist Islam is key in defeating terrorism. That was the point I was making. I am impressed that you took the time to do so. However, every point that you make about Islam's holy book being a political doctrine, violent history and the like can all be similarly directed at Christianity as well. Every religion has been utilized as a political tool/weapon. To claim that Islam is different than any other is a specious one, at best. The collective actions of a group of people define their culture. Interpretation of religion is a part of that culture. The religion, in its purest form is an entity in and of itself. Incidentally, Jack, I am an American. Please refrain from telling me I need to assimilate to anything.

Other: I'm disappointed you left an anonymous comment. Your response is well versed and, yes, you raise several interesting points. I agree with you that the religion has been distorted by a minority of fanatics. That minority has a considerable voice, however. That's why extremists are called extremists -- their fanatical views and actions make for "great" media footage. After Berg was beheaded, did we hear anything from you? I must have missed your interview on CNN or were you on MSNBC? My point here is that moderate Muslims seeking to condemn such actions have been and continue to be ignored by media outlets, much like you would have been had you wanted to speak with CNN or MSNBC. Yes, many of the acts you have mentioned are atrocious. Yet they are a consequence of radicals, not the religion. I would love to see such behavior end, as would most moderates. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's problems at work. I do hope that you are not making a generalization about all Muslims based upon the actions of a few that your wife has interacted with. Yes, there are many sociopathic, sex starved people out there -- they exist in our society as well as Islamic societies. They should all be reigned in. Incidentally, do you believe our great nation hasn't been a party to atrocious activities where innocent men, women and children have been killed? I seek not to diminish the horrible nature of such actions, but rather point out that it is simply a myth that our nation is completely benevolent. Often, I find that people will criticize the actions of Muslim nations and neglect the fact that atrocious acts are committed in our country as well. Still, I condemn such behavior in Islamic nations as well as our own. Yes, improvement is needed in many Islamic regions in punishment for those responsible for commiting such acts.

All: I offer the following question, rhetorically -- Is Catholicism a fundamentally flawed religion? Of course not. One could argue that it is, based upon the myriad cases of child abuse at the hands of Catholic priests. Clearly, anyone doing so should realize that it is the acts of sick and twisted individuals, not the religion. But wait, I can find plenty of inconsistencies in the Bible. I can cite the history of violence in Catholicism. I can demonize the religion and its followers. I can point out media coverage of abortion clinic bombers and Catholic-Protestant clashes. Indeed, Catholicism is looking quite problematic. Such reasoning is pure nonsense. Catholicism is a great religion. Some of it's followers, however, are not great people. We must recognize that demonizing an entire group of people and their beliefs is a tell tale sign of nationalism gone awry. As Satre would reason, arguing about all this will only lead to a semantic conclusion of "I'm right, you're wrong." Such ego driven rhetoric, seen here, will get us nowhere. It is time for moderate Muslims to act. As Americans, we are on the same team. Unfortunately, some of you wish to cast a shadow over an entire religion and entire group of people. If you are in this group, think long and hard about your position -- you are a part of the problem.

Brian Macker

Vavoom,

I see you're back.

Your reply is typical online forum evasiveness. At this point I really don't think you are interested in the truth.

Here are your tactics so far:
1) Create a straw man argument and attack it. I did not say Islam was a cult. I said it had cult like attributes. It is obviously a religion. It's premises are absolutely vile however. I am reading the Koran BTW.
2) Pick a single issue to harp on to the exclusion of everything else.
3) Ignore all other content, even content that applies to the one area. For instance, please explain to me why suicide for 72 virgins does not count as cultish behavior. It is Muhammed himself in the Koran that demands Muslims to kill infidels whether they like it or not, and he give a bounty for suicidal self-sacrific to boot.
4) Point at bad behavior of others to excuse the behavior of your group. How does other religions having certain cultish attributes get Islam off the hook? Furthermore, the cultish attributes of other religions are not the most harmful. Hell even then meaning of the word Islam, submission, is cultish.
5) Arguing from authority. You present yourself as an authority. Like that carries any weight with me.

Since you want me to jump through your hoops then why don't you list or point to whatever criteria you find satisfactory to identify a cult. Then I'll tell you if it is valid. I just don't happen to have a copy of Singers book on hand. I have read some of her online stuff and frankly it doesn't seem her criteria is very different from others I have seen. In fact Islam fits most criteria on almost every list available. Muhammad's behavior certainly qualifies.

I was a member of C.S.I.C.O.P. going way back in the 70's. My father is a psychologist and he used to be involved in sending people undercover into mental institutions and debunking cults. My sister actually joined T.M. as a learning experience on cults (I didn't join because I thought it was hogwash without going 'undercover'). I too took psychology courses in college. I have been reading about cults on and off for many years. More exposure than one would normally get in college.

Knowing what a cult is, is not rocket science.

I am not inclined to play your games because I'm used to intellectual (or should I say faith based) weasel behavoir. If I pick the criteria then you will move the goal posts the minute I do. In fact you already did. You didn't like the list I gave you of cult like behavior. I can easily tick of examples of Islam meeting those criteria. But that wouldn't make you happy now would it?

Since you find goal post moving to your liking I want to nail you down first. Let's first agree on the criteria for a cult. Once we agree on that then I will proceed to show you which criteria Islam and Muhammad meet. It's a waste of time otherwise.

Brian Macker

Perhaps this will be helpful to unglue your tongue, Vavoom: http://www.faithfreedom.org/oped/sina50218.htm

Mick

no one know what he talking about, and no one know what is islam

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