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Old 06-07-2002, 10:56 AM   #1
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Interesting article on islam

I thought this artilce was interesting....the only problem is it seems to blanket all muslims not accounting for the millions of good muslims around the world. It's still an interesting criticism of the fundamentalist mentality though


Why Islam Hates Democracy
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 6, 2002
By: Jamie Glazov


IN 1989, Iran’s Islamic tyrant Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa – a compulsory religious decree in Islam – that condemned Salman Rushdie to death. Rushdie had committed the crime of writing his book The Satanic Verses, which was, in Khomeini’s mind, slanderous to the Prophet Muhammad. In Islam, those who insult Allah or the Prophet are subject to the death penalty.

In 1992, Farag Foda, an Egyptian writer known for his secularist views, was shot dead outside his office in the heart of Cairo. This intellectual consistently called out for open dialogue with Islamic fundamentalists. The militant Islamic group al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya gleefully claimed not only responsibility, but justification. One of the gunmen, Abdul-Shafi Ahmad Ramadan, who was apprehended after the attack, boasted to police: "We had to kill him, because he attacked our beliefs."

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazali, a prominent and distinguished Egyptian cleric, testified at the Foda murder trial in defense of the accused. He stated that Ramadan had done his Islamic duty because Foda had revealed his apostasy in opposing the establishment of an Islamic state, in rejecting Sharia Law (the law of Islam), and in questioning the unity of the state and religion.

The circumstances surrounding the death bounty on Rushdie’s head and the execution of Foda illuminate to us one serious and critical phenomenon: Islam’s inability to join the modern world.

Question: what happens in a society where "slandering" Muhammad, which is punishable by death, can entail the smallest disagreement with an Islamic law or even the hint of the support of a Western idea? How can a culture grow when a voiced social criticism of any kind or a reinterpretation of the Koran can be easily construed as slandering Muhammad and, therefore, be punished by death?

Answer: it can’t.

The tremendous success that has driven Western civilization is secularism. Islamic civilization sees secularism as anathema. In order to catch up with the West, Islam must embrace secularism, but embracing secularism would force Islam to sacrifice its Islamic character. This is why a reformed Islam is an oxymoron, because Islam cannot reform and still remain Islam.


The very meaning of Islam is the unquestioning submission to Allah and to Islamic law. The Koran is a body of doctrine that Muslims are expected to accept unquestioningly - without scrutinizing it for any flaws. Any notion that exists outside of the literal understanding of the Koran is regarded as being associated with sin at best and heresy at worst.

Islam is seen as perfect by Muslims. It is a total way of life. It doesn’t need any new ideas or any legal revisions to complement any new learning or new needs of society. In fact, Islam regards even the suggestion of new ideas or legal revisions as being un-Islamic. And if something is un-Islamic, it could be construed as being slanderous to Muhammad. And guess what happens next?

The use of the human faculty of reason itself, upon which the Western Enlightenment was based, is considered to be a form of heresy in Islam. This is why literacy, science and mathematics have often been regarded by the ulama (the scholars in Islam) as a threat to Islam.

It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist, therefore, to figure out why, throughout its long history of being repeatedly overwhelmed by foreign invaders, foreign rule, and foreign influences, the Arab world has absorbed absolutely nothing from the outside world. Self-insulated, Islam is intrinsically resistant to change.

In the Islamic Arab world, any foreign idea is heavily suspect. Any Western notion is automatically associated with evil. Thus, if the infidels say that an object will fall because of the laws of gravity, Muslims will suspect this to be a demonic lie. But if the same laws of gravity are sanctioned by a voice that is seen as representing authentic Islam, then such laws are automatically believed.

Individualism, creativity and originality are non-existent in the Arab world. And it is no mystery why the worlds of competition and commerce have spawned economic success stories in places like Japan and other Pacific societies in the post-WWII era, while the Arab world has been ridden with falling incomes, economic lethargy and social stagnation.

The bottom line is that the very notion of any new invention or innovation (Bida) is seen in Islam as being an offense to Allah. This is why, whenever anything even remotely close to a debate occurs in the Islamic Middle East, the accusation of Bida, which remains the most popular and effective accusation in the Arab world, immediately terminates the debate. The individual accused of Bida knows where the accusation can lead.

This reality might help explain why a functional democracy is nowhere to be found in the entire Arab world.

In the eyes of Islam, the very notion of democracy is demonized. In Islam, after all, Allah is sovereign, which means that humans constructing their own laws is sinful. The Koran and Sharia Law give Muslims all the laws they need. This is why Islam sees faith and politics as a single domain and why Farag Foda had to be killed for questioning it.

In Islam, democracy, as well as the very notion of the freedom of human conscience, represents a dangerous deviation from the Koran and the Sharia. Elections are seen as a form of blasphemy. They are Satan’s vehicle to destroy the Koran.

The Taliban in Afghanistan perfectly represented the logical extension of this despotic, impoverished and impotent way of Islamic life. They implemented Islamic belief in the most literal manner possible: everything that was prohibited in the Koran, and everything that was not mentioned in the Koran, simply became illegal.

Thus, aside from engaging in the typical oppression of women that is found in every Islamic Arab society, the Taliban banned television, film, books, photography, music (even at weddings) and sports. They also illegalized laughing.

The Taliban weren’t too concerned about the utter emptiness and insipidity they had left in the environment of the people they ruled. After all, there were always the passages from the Koran to memorize. And, as Mullah Hassan, the former Taliban governor of Kandahar, patiently explained: "Of course, we realize that people need some entertainment. We tell them to go to the parks and see the flowers. From this, they will absorb the essence of Islam."

Flowers are indeed beautiful. But building a prosperous and dynamic society, nurturing democratic institutions, fostering economic growth, and safeguarding the sacredness and freedom of the human conscience demands much more than just the aesthetic appreciation of flowers.

It demands what the West has and the Islamic world miserably lacks.

But how does the Islamic world gain it if it cannot shed itself of how and why Salman Rushdie must live the rest of his life in hiding – escaping the fate of Farag Foda.










Jamie Glazov holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Soviet Studies. He is the author of 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist and of Canadian Policy Toward Khruschev’s Soviet Union ( McGill-Queens University Press, 2002). Born in the U.S.S.R., Jamie is the son of prominent Soviet dissidents, and now resides in Vancouver, Canada. He writes the Dr. Progressive advice column for angst-ridden leftists at EnterStageRight.com. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.
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Old 06-07-2002, 11:02 AM   #2
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Great post....


Good article.


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Old 06-07-2002, 12:22 PM   #3
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Excellent article, I posted what could be considered a 'Companion Piece' in my 'DoucheTastic Poetry' thread, about Success and Terrorists..

So this guy is practically calling Islam Barbaric in the eyes of the Modern world.

Interesting Conclusion.

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Old 06-07-2002, 01:54 PM   #4
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Re: Interesting article on islam

Quote:
Originally posted by Arun V
I thought this artilce was interesting....the only problem is it seems to blanket all muslims not accounting for the millions of good muslims around the world.
Actually, I think it was very specific to point out the "Arab world" only and not the rest of the Muslims in the world who can think for themselves and live in tolerance and peace with other faiths and ideologies. That is a very well written article. It describes the undeniable truth about the fundamental teachings of Muhammed in the Quran.

Great article Arun! Thanks for sharing!

Here's some quotes that the Arab world should check out:

If you have two religions in your land, the two will cut each other's throats; but if you have thirty religions, they will dwell in peace.
-- Voltaire

To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
-- Eric Hoffer

Difference of opinion leads to enquiry, and enquiry to truth.
-- Thomas Jefferson

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
--Voltaire
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Old 06-07-2002, 03:03 PM   #5
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Arun is undoubtedly turning into one of the more brilliant minds of Interland along w a few others..
Standing next to him I feel like a 2nd rate baggage hound..

thank you-
diamond
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Old 06-07-2002, 10:27 PM   #6
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Theocracy is unacceptable. Period.

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Old 06-08-2002, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
Arun is undoubtedly turning into one of the more brilliant minds of Interland along w a few others..
Standing next to him I feel like a 2nd rate baggage hound..

thank you-
diamond
PROPHETS.......dudes who point us somewhere,FOOLS...........look at the finger,WISEMEN...........look to where the finger points..AND SEE........ allah,god,brahman.........one is all and all is one.....and 'i' AM FREE ....... of all o this ....tune in......its taken you 35 million years to be HUMAN........8 millions incarnations to love and be love .....we do need religion as a cocoon to curl into and gaze into the ultimate mirror called GOD and in HER eyes i see myself..............and then can i still call myself a christian, a muslim,a hindu, a buddhist????????..........no i left it behind.......you gotta leave it behind............walk on........
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Old 06-08-2002, 08:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
Arun is undoubtedly turning into one of the more brilliant minds of Interland along w a few others..
Standing next to him I feel like a 2nd rate baggage hound..

thank you-
diamond
Well said Brother Diamond-
*throws diamond in with other luggage
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Old 06-08-2002, 08:30 PM   #9
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To be somewhat of an antagonist, much of this can easily be painted on fundamentalist Christianity. I mean, take this quote, and change all references to Islam to Christianity:

"The very meaning of Christianity is the unquestioning submission to God and to His law. The Bible is a body of doctrine that Christians are expected to accept unquestioningly - without scrutinizing it for any flaws. Any notion that exists outside of the literal understanding of the Bible is regarded as being associated with sin at best and heresy at worst.

Christianity is seen as perfect by Christians. It is a total way of life. It doesn’t need any new ideas or any legal revisions to complement any new learning or new needs of society. In fact, Christians regards even the suggestion of new ideas or legal revisions as being un-Christian. And if something is un-Christian, it could be construed as being slanderous to Jesus Christ. And guess what happens next?"

Certainly, it does not help that all Islamic nations are, relatively speaking, "backwards" when compared to Western society. But there is a hierarchical difference even in the Islamic world. Pit Libya and Iran up against Taliban-era Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, and you have diametric opposites.

Certainly what is lamentable is the lack of democracy in these nations, but that doesn't mean that the whole of Islam is against this. The people of the West Bank and Iran have pushed towards democracy, perhaps because we have more educated populaces in these nations. Education is what breeds reform, but for too many years, these nations have been mired in war, poverty, and ignorance, and nothing breeds religious fanaticism like ignorance.

It is an interesting article, but it ultimately shows the author's own lack of understanding of the Islamic world, which, while it is not as diverse by Western standards, is certainly diverse in its own right. And I only got a chuckle from this statement:

"This is why literacy, science and mathematics have often been regarded by the ulama (the scholars in Islam) as a threat to Islam."

Literacy is not an issue in the more stable Islamic nations, some of which have a 99% literacy rate. Science and mathematics? Where do you think the West learned these subjects from? Does the term, "Arabic numerals," ring a bell to anyone? Algebra? Astronomy? All were introduced into the Western world from the Islamic world a millennium ago. The Islamic world was not always like this; the "fundamentalist" view is a relatively new phenomenon.

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Old 06-08-2002, 08:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon





Does the term, "Arabic numerals," ring a bell to anyone?


the proper term for those digits are " hindu-arabic" numerals
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:13 PM   #11
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Hello,

I am one of the last people to defend Islam, and I hate to rain on the parade here, but when posting this sort of thing I ask you to remember that we have at least one Muslim member of this board. (She posted on the other religions thread)

I leave it up to you to decide how considerate of her you want to be. But for myself, I think that correcting misinformation about her religion is a good place to start.

I believe that if you are going to criticize Islam you need to do it right. I know many fine Muslims and I have studied many of the issues of Islam and I can tell you that just a brief glance at any mainstream Islamic site would quickly inform you that 1) Muslims value both secular and religious education and modernity. They just happen to think that Islam is the ticket to those goals. 2) debate and discussion are actually valued traditions in their society, albiet these exist in a more narrowly defined environment than in ours 3) Muslims identify at least portions of our democratic traditons as being compatible with Islam 4) and the Arab world, at least initially, saw a flowering of culture, civilization, science and tolerance under Islam.

Now, I will debate with Muslims till the cows come home as to who or what gets the credit for Islam's apparent sucesses but there is just no denying that these are the facts like them or not.
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:40 PM   #12
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1.) I didn't write the article

2.) I said it upfront that it neglected the millions of good muslims

3.) I only view this article in the realm of fundamentalism...not mainstream islam

4.) I suggest you read before you reply
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arun V
1.) I didn't write the article

2.) I said it upfront that it neglected the millions of good muslims

3.) I only view this article in the realm of fundamentalism...not mainstream islam

4.) I suggest you read before you reply
5.) I never said you wrote the article, nor did I mean to criticize you. The "author" is Jamie Glazov, which is whom I was criticizing.

Melon
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


5.) I never said you wrote the article, nor did I mean to criticize you. The "author" is Jamie Glazov, which is whom I was criticizing.

Melon
6.) I was reffering to whiteflag's post
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:50 PM   #15
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Oh, where to begin with Melons post......????

I think that I'll begin with the statement that leapt out at me the most.

The Christian concept of the perfection and completeness of our faith is radically different from Islam's concept.

It's quite simple really.

Christians have no detailed laws regarding our dress, our eating habits or on the establishment of a government etc. None. Christianity takes its guidance from the New Testament which does not attempt regulate anything about our material lives. Its concern is with spiritual attitudes, the belief being that once a person gets their spiritual house in order they are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what to do with the material part of their lives.

Even a fundamentalist is free to decide how to live their lives, what to wear etc. They will adopt a certain lifestyle becuase they believe that it reflects a greater commitment on their part but to do so they have to choose for themselves what they think is best. For example, a Christian fundamentalist still has to decide for themselves what modest clothing is because the Bible only says to wear modest clothing. It does not say what modest clothing is.

And as for making everyone else live the way that they do, the fact is that the more fundamentalist a Christian gets the more they DETEST any breach of church and state. Separation of church and state is a concept born out of the words of Jesus "Render onto Ceasar what is Ceasar's. Render unto God what is God's"

The reason you see fundamentalist Christians protesting this or that is not because they want everyone to live like them. It's because THEY don't want to be forced to live like everyone else!

The differences between Christian fundamentalists and Muslim ones are just huge. And so the difference in results have also been huge.

People tend to forget that at the dawn of our current Western civilization everyone believed what the fundamentalists of today believe including the men and women responsible for setting our civilization into motion. The first mass printing job was of a Bible, because Johannes Gutenberg was a fundmentalist. The first translators of the Greek classics into the languages of the West were fundamentalist Christian monks. Galieo would be a fundamentalist Christian if he lived today and the list of important Western scientists who would join him is very very long.

The fact is that our civilization AND it values were not formed in spite of Christianity. The battle until just recently has not been between agnostics, athiests, and secular humanists and Christians. For much of our history the tension has been between conservative fundamentalist Christians and liberal fundamentalist Christians and we all have to thank the passion and dedication of liberal fundamentalist Christians to the Gospel for the freedom and affluence we enjoy today.
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:52 PM   #16
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Let me make this clear



This article is not meant to be offensive


I just thought that it provided an interesting glimpse as to how far BOTH cultures have to go to understand each other


I do agree with certain points in that article...and I am appalled by some of the inaccuracies.
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:30 PM   #17
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Arun,

The only comment I directed towards you, but more correctly to everyone, was the one where I simply asked people to remember that there was someone here who is Muslim and I suggested that a biased article of this sort should come with correct information included in consideration of that fact. I did read your post and I saw your disclaimer and never once thought of you as being against all Muslims.

But the article you posted made no distinction between extremists and regular Muslims. It's target was Islam. Period. And the rest of my post was directed at the article writer and his errors about Islam.

I am sorry if you thought I was talking about you. But in my defense, since I didn't at any point use your name as the object of my criticism I just assumed that you would assume my respect for you and your right to post freely. I'll try to be more clear in the future.

Can we talk about the original post now? I think the issues it raises are really interesting.
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:37 PM   #18
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O great, my computer acted up... I actually had a really long reply to this... But, I'm now going to cut it short.
1. This article was a tarnished view of the culture of Islam.
2. He mixed the culture of fundemenstalism with views on the actual religion.
3. Rushdie doesn't deserve to die. But, he had written false and offenisve views on Prophet Muhammed. He has ONLY built more of a miscommunication b/w the Muslim World and the West.
4. The hijab (head covering) is a form of right not opression. My sister has started wearing it, and she now feels that people treat her as an equal and not as a (sex) object.
5. Since when does America think that the best thing for the M.E is the influence of Western culture. Don't get me wrong, I love America..... The US has a very hypocratic system. Also, my Arab friends say that when they look at AMerica, they see alot of opression. They feel that the women in America are judged more by their beauty. They also feel that porn and sexual based media is opression towards the human race. In general, we are dealing with two different cultures here. We should first learn to have respect and understanding towards eachother.
6.If you want to have an honest and truthful view of Islamic culture, take it from someone who has studied, read the Quran, and lived in the culture. This article adds to the mass propoganda held against Muslims. Arun, not everyone has thoroughly studied and understood the religion and culure... and if they read articles like this, it would only build up their ignorence.

Yes, I find this article offensive. I am an American Muslim, I have seen the views of both worlds..... And let me tell you, b/w the two their is a growing miscommunictation ..... Before we critisize, we should educate and respect eachother. Articles like this are filled with such anger and misunderstanding. America is doing the same thing as what the ME is doing to us. We generalize eachother. When America pictures Islam, they see Osma Bin Landen. When the ME views the West they see Rushdie....... We need to learn to overcome these generalizations.......I have so much to say..... but I can't say it all .

THIS ARTICLE IS LAME
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:59 PM   #19
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Whiteflag:

I agree with your second post! Except that there are SOME fundamentalist Christians who want to force everyone else to live like them.

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Old 06-09-2002, 01:19 AM   #20
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U2bama,

You said

[q]I agree with your second post! Except that there are SOME fundamentalist Christians who want to force everyone else to live like them[/q]

I would have to disagree with that last part just a littleif i may. I do agree that there are some people like the ones you describe but they are really much more rare than we tend to think. The true advocates of forcing everyone to live like them are true fringe dwellers in Christian culture. What most often happens IMO is that we confuse someone who thinks that we should all live a certain way and exresses it forcefully with someone who really would like to force everyone to live like them.

So I'm going to stick to my guns here. The majority of even the most vocal Christian fundamentalists would never advocate forcing everyone to live like them.

There is a sizable grey area though when these fundamentalists become involved in politics and take political office. One the one hand they usually remain adamantly against any breach of church and state on many issues, but on others, take abortion for instance, they feel morally compelled due to their religious convictions to stop what they sincerely believe to be murder. People who are pro-choice then tend to view these attempts as an example of someone who is religious attempting to force their religious beliefs on others. But I think that pro-life Christians are the victims in this case of their being so vocal about their faith and I think that willingness to be so vocal is the real root cause of the perception that fundamentalists want to force everyone else to live in a Christian world. Would someone else less vocal, but who is, say, opposed to the death penalty due to religious conviction be accused of the same thing if they were to take political office and work to overturn the death penalty? Probably not.

I think that fundamentalists have every right to try and over turn abortion. It isn't any more wrong for them to do so than it is for any other politician or advocate of some cause to follow their conscience. I don't think it amounts to forcing their beliefs on others especially when they are working within the system which is as much under our control (if we want it to be) as it is in theirs.
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