Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Muslims Under Seige

A few things have happened of late that have concerned me quite seriously. Firstly, a fellow blogger has been threatened with legal action by the British Muslim Initiative for merely quoting a report published originally in Arabic by Al-Jazeera but which the site later altered, no doubt due to pressure from the BMI. The original article can be found here but do be warned that linking to it and/or publishing it's contents could make you open to legal action.

I'll quote the key part of the article and encourage any fellow readers who feel powerfully about this to do the same, as quasi-legal bullying is never a good idea...

Here’s Mohammad Sawalha, President of the British Muslim Initiative, speaking to
Al Jazeera in Arabic about his demonstration against last Sunday’s celebration
of the foundation of the State of Israel:

The President of the British
Muslim Initiative - Mohammad Sawalha - said in a speech to Al Jazeera:

“We, the Arab and Islamic community, gather here today to express our
resentment at the celebrations by the Jewish community and the [evil Jew/Jewish
evil] in Britain”

[والوبيل اليهودي في بريطانيا]

Following on from this I am currently engaged in a very protracted and tedious tit-for-tat comment exchange, that if you have a spare day or two, I urge you to read. The gist of my argument is we should more vigorously investigate the belief values of all religions in order to see the repressive and negative impacts they have upon our societies. This led to me being called a racist, an Islamophobe and being swore at. I have also had to quote vast tracts of the Koran, the Bible and also defend evolution as well a few other things.

Brilliant.

You see, I've noticed in the left-wing UK blog universe that much hand wringing is going on about the dreaded evil of Islamophobia and I, in the past, have been very guilty of also jumping on this band wagon and getting very upset indeed about representations of Islam and how we engage with the Muslim community in the UK and around the globe. Now, I'd like to make it painfully clear (and regular readers should already be aware of this), that in no way to I support or believe in the repression, denigration or violation of any human based on their belief system and as I said a very, very long time, we have got ourselves a new nigger.

However, I have started to chip in on these debates by stating that the great shame is that bigotry is obscuring an important debate: the negative impact of all religions upon humanity.

This has not gone down at all well.

Perhaps, it is not the best time to ask people to look deeper at the beliefs and values of the major religions and to see what they are actually defending; certainly defending someones right to believe in what they want is very admirable but when you actually see what some of the values are of these religions, I wonder what exactly we're fighting for sometimes and the vigour with which we do it.

19 comments:

  1. uh, dan that was a flaming post. First let me get this funny one straight.
    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/07/02/british-muslim-initiative-we-resent-the-evil-jew-in-britain/

    In the link above the guy is completely farting. Seriously, الوبيل is not even an arabic word, it has no meaning, it is clearly, if you look at the arabic keyboard layout, the easiest typo you can make when you are tryping the arabic worry for Lobby!!!!! claiming that this word الوبيل means what he is saying and to quote him "after consulting arab speakers" is a very very cheap lie and you should not fall for that Daniel! it is as cheap as the Nasi propaganda movies i've seen demeaning jews by putting forward straight out lies. Even more funny when you consider him saying "clearly the word are not similar" when all the letters in both words are exactly the same!!
    I'm an arabic speaker and not just a native arabic speaker i'm a specially good one at that. That article is a brain fart! just that!

    Second to the inflammatory exchange of comments. Wow, that was hot, you folks sat my ass on fire :)

    When someone does not know you Dan it is easy to have misunderstood your comments. I certainly wouldn't fall for that. I know what kind of person you are and I'm still looking forward for that chance to hang out with you and have a drink sometime in the near future (hopefully my next trip to the UK, if you can find me a real cheap accommodation that is not infested with bugs!).

    But let me be honest with you...You fell into the same trap that many fall into when trying to assert their knowledge about Islam based on some websites they have seen online and not based on a through study of Islam. You need to verify the credibility of sources before firing such harsh judgements. So let me give you just two example of falsities you made so you can understand why some of your opponents in the chat went ballistic:

    1- end times stories are never mentioned in Koran. In fact it is not even part of muslim beliefs. A muslim to be a muslim is not at all (absolutely not) required to believe in End Time stories. The place where end time stories is mentioned are cllaed "Hadiths" aka. saying by the propeht (who you should notice is just a man not a god like Christians claim jesus to be). Hadiths have classifications according to their quality, aka their authenticity scale if you will. In books discussion hadiths many end-time hadiths are classified as weak. Weak hadiths have many sources, an e.g. is "Israelites" aka false hadiths that have been transferred through converting jews, and hence bear ideas contradictory to the islamic sacred text, aka: Koran.

    2- You state in one post that the Koran text is of very low quality and mistranslation from Jewish text etc. In fact this is also not true. I will ask you to get your "Tall Ass" to a respected public library and dig deeper at writings by western theologians of the highest scholarly merit to see how the Koranic text in Original arabic is of the highest literary standard, unmatched by any other text in its original language and sure not the bible.

    Keep in mind that hate filled sites on the internet are so many, and are disguised in many ways. If you need information about the Koran or Islamic theology than please take the matter seriously and head to a library and immerse yourself in readings until you form your own opinions. Dan, I would never like to see you being a victim of misinformation. When researching controversial topics such as islam is these days, you need to be equipped with the best possible tools for intellectual self defense.

    At the end Muslims hold Koran and Mohammed at the highest standards. Consider this saying by a non muslim:
    Michael H. Hart, In his book "The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History." He states that the most influential person in all history was Muhammad. Examine his actual words:

    "My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level."

    yes, secular indeed! and that is what many muslim wingnuts do not get these days. Just think now how muslims hold their religion inthe highest esteem and you would understand why they get shocked when you for example throw false claims at them. This and I should say that Islam is in BIG trouble and that many many muslims get Islam in the worst possible way.

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  2. Mohamed:

    After reading the full depth of the post and the details provided with it, I take it as read that some manipulation of the original text has occured and that the original text was not a positive depiction of the Jewish community.

    The basic reason the chat went ballastic is best outlined towards the end of your comment, that is, millions of people hold the Koran and it's writings as the highest marker in their lives, a guide and the be-all and end-all.

    So, if someone challenges that, knocks it, probes it, investigates it or outright attacks it; it strikes at a deeper level than a normal debate and causes a great deal of harm and upset.

    This is regrettable but also part of the problem. Religion is immune from decent debate because of it's closeness to some people's hearts.

    When I see the need to be a scholar of the Koran, I see a the old Christian excuse of keeping the bible out of the hands of the many so that it would not be exposed for what it is, a document that is manmade and full of error.

    The point is, the koran, the bible and other religious texts are full of pretty horrendous, outmoded and offensive concepts. They are also full of some lovely things.

    But it is not pick and mix, these documents are the literal truth to millions and I see this as a threat to humankind.

    Religion, in all it's forms has held back humanity but we've struggled with it and in some ways past it for some time and the struggle will continue.

    But in the current climate I see and increase in religious behaviour and a decrease in an ability to discuss it openly, without being called a racist.

    Difficult times.

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  3. it is a thin line between being racist and a subjective debater! Lets fact it, many racists hide in sheep's clothes. I understand what the word racist mean, but I use it for lack of a better word. I'm by definition more Semitic than the Jews, but I avoid using the word anti-semitism in place of racism to avoid confusion.

    One thing is for sure Dan, you have not tried being of a more colored skinned and have Mohamed as your name. It does not matter then if you are atheist, agnostic, bombastic or whatever shit! Trust me the world looks very different and people act very differently, you will be shocked if you give it a go. When this happens you might understand why I consider islamophobes to be racists (I'm not at thinking you are an islamophobe). Just imagine a black guy who has to defend himself against being accused of having lower intelligence than white people. For me it feels exactly the same and you sometimes get that feeling several times a day...kinda stressful don;'t you think?

    One last thing...I'm still resisting the idea that religion is the root of all evil, which is clearly where me and you part. The struggle continues.

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  4. Regarding the BBC documentary "Muslims under Siege" I would like to see that, any chance someone can record it and upload it on gvideo or youtube?

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  5. I agree totally that people hide behind all kinds of things and that the written word is not the best place to debate such things in depth, words can hide many a bigot.

    I cannot pretend to understand what your experience is, indeed, anyone not-white and of certain beliefs is automatically some kind of target. It is something that humanity needs to remedy, a greater tolerance and understanding but I do feel that a movement away from religion would enable this better.

    For what is religion if it is not US and THEM?

    Understand the resistence, religion is not the root of all evil, that is impossible, I just see it as a mojor barrier to the advancement of humanity but it is not the only one I think.

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  6. BBC will no doubt have it on their website as part of their player but youmay have to be in the UK to access it, I don't have means to capture it but will keep 'em peeled for you on the web.

    Peace!

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  7. bbb: I've had to delete your comment I'm afraid because it is pretty hate-filled, lots of nasty language and the strange idea that I'm a Jew.

    If you can keep your hat on when you comment, feel free to return.

    All the best.

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  8. interested to see the deleted comment, ummmmm

    Dan: shouldn't you correct that information about the الوبيل word in your post? read my comment about it, this is nothing but the truth. That post you reference is propagandistic if the mistake is intentional, or simply misleading if it is well intentioned.

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  9. Mohamed: the gist was I was a self-loathing Jew, who (as a filthy kike) should murder filthy Muslims and so on and so on...

    Not nice or worthy of printing I'm afraid.

    As for correcting, I stand by it, or moreover the link that runs the full story.

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  10. You've got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You've got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It's got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught before it's too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You've got to be carefully taught!


    yeharr

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  11. This led to me being called a racist, an Islamophobe and being swore at.

    --That is there weapon against anyone who resists. The truly radical envision a day when the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and 10 Downing Street are occupied by jihadists.

    FUCK that.

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  12. I saw an interview by a Protestant minister hawking a book about some "second heaven" in the afterlife and I wonder sometimes if these people are retarded.

    In a sense, they are.

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  13. For want of sounding like a mentalist, the view of ALL the major religions is that their belief dominates the world; not some of it but ALL of it and as far as they concerned, there will come a day when ALL non-believers will be killed and tortured for all eternity.

    Nice.

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  14. @ yeharr: strange poem, but nice

    @ m@: Jihadists occupying white house and dawning street? how much of a buffoon do you need to be to listen of that? don't you think this is a fantasy of the far right to scare off people into giving up their freedoms for free? there are small groups all over the world under various names having the most strange ideas. Why do you think this one is less odd than the cargo cult?

    @ Dan: uh, well, yes, that we agree on. This is the major reason my position is that of agnosticism. I have a few others of course. Otherwise Islam for example is the most sensible religion I have come to know.

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  15. Mohamed: the aim of all religion is a religious hegemony, or an empire based on that religion, whatever it may be. It's about conversion isn't it? Total domination.

    As for Islam being sensible, my problem is all religion has something hidden in its depth that is unsavoury.

    Most things can change, weed out the unsavoury, like how Christians no longer kill people they think are witches but the bible that approved that is still the same, humans have altered it to fit the demands of the new world.

    This shows religions inflexibilty and the fact that it is pretty much, made up by men, for men to control men.

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  16. "The negative impact of all religions upon humanity"

    Only partly with you on this one because many of the problems we blame on religion would exist in some other guise if religion did not. They are down to human nature and the desire to dominate under some guise or other.

    If we had a rational science-based society we would be persecuting others because of their interpretation of the uncertainty principle. Socialism, say, has many characteristics of a religion. Suggest the slightest ammendment to the idea of a free NHS and it as if you had voiced blasphemy in some quarters. Socialism is not without all merit but for some only the whole belief will do. All rational and dispassionate consideration of the individual issues is abandoned.

    The converse of this is that we should be as free to criticise true religion as any other belief system. If people keep their religion to themselves and not attempt to impose it on the rest of us, let us leave them be.

    Islam and Evangelical Christianity will not and as they attempt to do to us, let us do to them. Let us denounce these beliefs for the irrational and frequently malignant crap that they are.

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  17. Thanks for stopping by xoggoth, I would certainly like to try a world without religion and see what remains of the issues it causes, only then can we truly know just jow divisive it is.

    I think that science, as I've tried to make out, is about change, religion is not, even politics is about change but at a terrible slow and conservative pace but I think that we get the governments we deserve by and large.

    Unfortunately, we live in world were religion is imposed upon and religion is fundementally about imposing it on others, conversing of non-believers is an essential part of it so not really sure were your live and let live thing is relevent.

    But thanks for your thoughts.

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  18. You have come to this from the wrong direction, Dan the Man. It's not organised religion that is evil, but man. The aim of all of the mainstream religions were to act as a template for man to live a peaceful and correct life. A set of rules with which to make sense of the universe, if you please. However, man is easily corrupted and the people that can read these texts (whether it is the Bible, Torah, Koran or whatever) are the ones who are misinterpreting them. While I have no truck with religion, it is the priests you should be after for it is these people who use these texts for one purpose: mind control. If you can control people, then you can make your own life a lot easier.

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  19. Darren: I've heard this argument a lot in my bloggings and I don't buy it I'm afraid.

    I disagree that the aim of religion was a positive one, have you read the bible? The Koran? Nevermind the belief systems of all the other religions, that are nasty bits of anti-humnaist work in their pure form, man has not subverted them but actually improved them.

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