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Switch to Forum Live View Islamophobia is counter-factual
2 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2012 - 1:20AM #1
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,896

Anti-Islamic writers, bloggers and activists perpetuate a stubborn myth that has been accepted by ignorant audiences as a fact. The myth consists of (1) one untrue assumption (usually unconsciously held), (2) one untrue claim and finally arrives at an equally (3) untrue conclusion. It essentially goes as follows:

(1) Assumption: Historical and present-day bloodshed in the name of religion is directly proportional to the extent to which a particular religion's holy scripture condones violence.

(2) Claim: The Qur'án condones more violence than all the other holy texts.

(3) Conclusion: Hence there is more historical bloodshed in the name of Islam.

I normally call this "the scriptural fuel" argument which, in all its simplicity, appeals to lay reason, scriptural illiteracy and historical ignorance. The argument has never withstood any serious analytical scrutiny.


If you will, I would like to delve into this argument point by point.


(1) The fact that a certain Holy Book, due to historical necessity, discusses defensive warfare and proper rules of engagement, does not make it a violence-breeding Book. With the same logic the UN Charter ought to be regarded as a violent-breeding document.


(2) The Islamophobes most commonly cite the ayat 009.005 and 008.039 as proofs for the Qur'án as a violence-inciting book and for Islam as a crusade-mongering religion. Both verses are usually both mistranslated and violently ripped out of their immediate textual and historical contexts. This line of argumentation also usually invites a counter-argument by equivocation -- a literal field-day on far more numerous Biblical verses that come across far worse. It is true that the Qur'án encourages the Muslims to fight the "unbelievers" with arms until fitna ends. However, fitna is notoriously mistranslated as "idol worship" by militant Islamists who are hell-bent on a global crusade against "Satanic" forces for purely personal or political reasons. The proliferation of such a mistranslation is a somewhat modern invention and has little historical precedence. The proper translation of fitna is of course "sedition" and "persecution". Its specific historical reference is none other than the Meccan Quraysh tribe (often referred to as "the unbelievers" in the Qur'án) which persecuted the Muslims for their faith and drove them out of their Meccan homes. I am sure you can see what a difference it suddenly makes when only one term in this passage is translated correctly. In fact, the believers are often labelled in the Qur'án as the "muhajirún", meaning "emigrants" who were simply driven out of their homes and forced to seek refuge in Medina. Even a simplistic full reading of these notoriously ill-quoted passages would make it apparent that the verses are immediately followed by exhortations towards mercy and conciliation at the very instant the "persecuting" or "sedition-mongering" enemy lays down its arms. Any fair-minded reader would easily recognize that in these passages the Prophet in fact establishes very reasonable rules of engagement. Without such rules of engagement the situation would have turned far uglier and gotten out of hand.


The Qur'án is very clear on the defensive nature of such combat:


"Allah forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for your Faith nor drive you out of your homes, for dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for your Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support others in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection)." (Al-Qur'án, 060.008-9)


(3) Rules of engagement, articulated in no less an authority than a religious holy book, in fact serve to temper and restrain some of the barbaric impulses that warfare almost inevitably provokes in human beings. The comparative absence of war-related passages in some other scriptures has hardly served to reduce violence in the name of those religions (the Dhammapada and the writings of Guru Nanak come readily to mind whereas the Bible is in fact full of warfare and violence).


(4) The Buddhist scriptures (namely the Sutta Pitaka) contain no categorical prohibition for the Buddhists to defend themselves against violent persecution. Neither do they offer any rules of engagement. We may therefore conclude that the absence of any rules of engagement could partly explain the unimaginable cruelty and torture-methods devised and practiced by historical Buddhist armies. As I mentioned in another thread, the Buddhist suttas have not managed to restrain scores of historical Buddhist kings, nor historical/present orders of Buddhist monks, from inciting violence in the name of Buddhism. Some of you may have heard of the Mahavamsa, a Buddhist scriptural commentary (just like the Upanishads and the Puranas represent Vedic commentary among the Hindus, the Mishnah among the Jews and the ahadith among the Muslims). The Mahavamsa contains a number of very violent passages which have been frequently "misused" to incite violence against the Hindus in Sri Lanka.


(5) The case of India: Some Hindu nationalists, in their anti-Islamic propaganda, mention the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Indeed, he was well-known to have abandoned the liberal religious viewpoints of his Muslim predecessors. He is known for his (un-Quranic) attempts at forced conversion. But to compare the acts of Muslim and Hindu kings in terms of religious intolerance can be a double-edged sword. It would be only too convenient for a Hindu to ignore the Tamil Chola, Pallava and Pandyan dynasties that asserted their Hindu identity and fought fiercely against Sri Lankan Buddhism. It would be only too convenient to ignore the Shiva-worshipping king Mihirakula (extending his influence as far as Allahabad) who was demonstrably intolerant towards Buddhists. Not to mention the Hindu Rajputs exerting their influence across the Ganges, spreading hostility towards Buddhism and razing monasteries to the ground.


(6) Prophet Muhammad never "chose" war as an important component of God's message to mankind. War was thrusted upon him quite involuntarily. Hence, discussion on religious warfare is conspicuously absent in the earlier Meccan surahs. There was no war to speak of and there were no acts of military defence to legislate on. The Bhagavad-Gita, on the other hand, is a Holy Book entirely born from the need of Prince Arjuna to seek from Lord Krishna guidance on rightful warfare. Ultimately, as you may know, Krishna in fact exhorts prince Arjuna to carry out his intentions to wage war while reminding him of high moral principles. Just like the Qur'án, the bulk of this beautiful book is devoted to high moral standards and personal spiritual enlightenment.


(7) A religion which today may come across for some as comparatively more violent may have, in fact, been in earlier centuries comparatively less violent. Simply due to the time factor, the older religions today appear to have somewhat calmed down. I am definitely not claiming that the spectrum of effects of all religions is equal, let alone identical. I'm claiming that all of their spectri of effects are far too complex and messy for the lay person to make any confident claims about. I am saying that making such bold comparisons without supporting evidence is less than scholarly and bespeaks of a very preconceived bias. The multifarious expansionistic wars, crusades and cruel acts of violence throughout our checkered history have, on the average, had much more to do with power politics and personal ambition than religions and religious texts. This also applies to most wars and acts of discrimination carried out in the "name" of a religion. In fact, since the overwhelming majority of mankind used to be far more religious in the past than it is today, almost every historical act of violence, or of charity for that matter, has been historically justified on the grounds of religion. Due to the political and personal nature of most known wars they would have probably been waged even if out-of-context scriptural citations could not have been used to "fuel" them.


(8) A notorious corps of "internet pastors" have gone out of their way to spread a false claim that the Qur'án contains as many as 164 mentions of the word jihad and that jihad stands for "Holy War". I once took it upon myself to evaluate the 164-claim thoroughly. Jihad ("struggle") is in fact mentioned in 31 verses out of the Qur'án's over 6,200 verses. The term jihad appears in very diverse contexts. It is always referred to as "a struggle" of a Muslim "in the path of God", involving a great spectrum of efforts to overcome one's worldly desires as well as external pressures. The violent persecution of the muhajirun represents only one category of these latter kinds of pressures (external pressures) that needs to be overcome. Hence one aspect of the jihad (struggle in the path of God) is known as qital (combat). Qital appears 34 times in the Qur'án, particularly in the Medinan surahs. The qital or sword verses are the ones which lay down ethical rules of engagement. Many of these rules are applied today in civilized modern warfare. Some of them were flagrantly ignored by the US in Abu Ghraib and even more flagrantly shrugged off by the US in the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Likewise, they are ignored by most other armies or armed groups. I am definitely not willing to demonize the US as worse atrocities have been perpetrated by others. Be as it may, all such atrocities are diametrically un-Quranic.


(9) For the sake of comparison, "love" (wadúd) appears 50 times in the Qur'án, and God's "compassion" and "grace" (rahmán/rahím) appear at least 209 times.


With kind regards,


LilWabbit

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2012 - 2:12AM #2
Miraj
Posts: 5,021

For the sake of comparison, "love" (wadúd) appears 50 times in the Qur'án, and God's "compassion" and "grace" (rahmán/rahím) appear at least 209 times.



The call to do justice, even if it causes harm to yourself, appears over 50 times.  Doing justice is one of the highest imperatives of a devout Muslim.


Disclaimer: The opinions of this member are not primarily informed by western ethnocentric paradigms, stereotypes rooted in anti-Muslim/Islam hysteria, "Israel can do no wrong" intransigence, or the perceived need to protect the Judeo-Christian world from invading foreign religions and legal concepts.  By expressing such views, no inherent attempt is being made to derail or hijack threads, but that may be the result.  The result is not the responsibility of this member.


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2 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2012 - 2:39AM #3
Ibn
Posts: 4,832

It is so nice to read about some facts about Jihad, rules of engagement in religious books, and something against usual political trash against a religion on these boards.


Of course even a Baha'i can teach these guys where they are going wrong day after day, and then they wonder why they can't win the war, something has to be wrong somewhere. If a Baha'i understands so much about Islam, it can't be that difficult to understand it for others who actually like to talk about it more often.


Well said, Lilwabbit.


Ibn


P.S. I wonder how long it will take someone to twist "a struggle" to "my struggle".

I know one thing: There are a billion Islamic people in the world today, and there will be about 2 billion by the time we're dead. They're not going to give up their religion.
(Chris Matthews)
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2012 - 2:46AM #4
Miraj
Posts: 5,021

It is a thing of beauty.  Insha'allah, it will make a dent in the resistance.

Disclaimer: The opinions of this member are not primarily informed by western ethnocentric paradigms, stereotypes rooted in anti-Muslim/Islam hysteria, "Israel can do no wrong" intransigence, or the perceived need to protect the Judeo-Christian world from invading foreign religions and legal concepts.  By expressing such views, no inherent attempt is being made to derail or hijack threads, but that may be the result.  The result is not the responsibility of this member.


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2 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2012 - 8:34AM #5
BDboy
Posts: 5,586

Thanks Lilwabbit. Enjoyed reading your thoughtful post.


 


Salaam.

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2012 - 10:11AM #6
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 16,001

1.  This thread is one of the rare threads whcih I would say actually belongs on the DI forum.


2.   Actually fear of Islam which is what Islamaphobia means is not only undersrtandable, it is a reasonable position based on observable historical and contemporary facts.  While I do not have time and while B'net does not allow the space to examine all of the factual basis for a fear of Islam, let me just list a few of the reasons that fear of Islam is reasonable. 


A.  Islam is evangelical. It is and has been evangelical through relatively peaceful means, through social and political coersion and through direct violent means. 


B.  Islam is and has been militarily expansive.


C.  Islam is disrespectful of other religious traditions, and dismissive of non Muslim peoples. This can be seen in the Dhimmi system as designed and as implemented; in successionist/supremisist theology;  in the appropriation of other religious traditions, holy places, and personages; and of course in evangelism.


D.  Islam seeks to establish control of civil institutions  and government (no seperation of Church and State)


Therefore, fear of Islam is reasonable and should be expected.


Of course, it would also be reasonable and expected that there would be fear of Christianity in non-Christian communities. Fear of any evangelical faith or other belief system would be and is reasonable. Sorry, it just comes with the territory.


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2 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2012 - 10:48AM #7
CharikIeia
Posts: 8,301

The discussion was moved here from "Middle East News & Politics".


Chari, b'net voluntary host.

tl;dr
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2012 - 4:12AM #8
Ibn
Posts: 4,832

Mar 27, 2012 -- 10:11AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:


1.  This thread is one of the rare threads whcih I would say actually belongs on the DI forum.


2.   Actually fear of Islam which is what Islamaphobia means is not only undersrtandable, it is a reasonable position based on observable historical and contemporary facts.


Correction: Islamaphobia is irrational fear of Islam. 


Mar 27, 2012 -- 10:11AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

While I do not have time and while B'net does not allow the space to examine all of the factual basis for a fear of Islam, let me just list a few of the reasons that fear of Islam is reasonable. 


A.  Islam is evangelical. It is and has been evangelical through relatively peaceful means, through social and political coersion and through direct violent means. 


Irrational fear! Islam is simply submitting to God (by obeying His Commands). How can that be "evangelical"?


Mar 27, 2012 -- 10:11AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

B.  Islam is and has been militarily expansive.


Irrational fear! Islam does not have any military. It was completed and perfected 1400 years ago. It cannot be expanded.


Mar 27, 2012 -- 10:11AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

C.  Islam is disrespectful of other religious traditions, and dismissive of non Muslim peoples. This can be seen in the Dhimmi system as designed and as implemented; in successionist/supremisist theology;  in the appropriation of other religious traditions, holy places, and personages; and of course in evangelism.


Irrational fear! Do you even understand that Dhimmi is not a system? The rest is also very poor thinking.


Mar 27, 2012 -- 10:11AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

D.  Islam seeks to establish control of civil institutions  and government (no seperation of Church and State)


Irrational fear! Islam does not "control" but "guide" people how to prepare for the hereafter.


Mar 27, 2012 -- 10:11AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

Therefore, fear of Islam is reasonable and should be expected.


No matter how you try, Islam will always prove itself right and you lot wrong. Your claim is also a clear proof as to what kind of people are spreading irrational fear of Islam. Extremists have been warning us that it is the Jews who are spreading irrational fear of Islam. Now you are proving them to be correct.


Mar 27, 2012 -- 10:11AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

Of course, it would also be reasonable and expected that there would be fear of Christianity in non-Christian communities. Fear of any evangelical faith or other belief system would be and is reasonable. Sorry, it just comes with the territory.


It did come with the territory; read Deuteronomy 20. It's been going on ever since you lot came out of Egypt. And you are still at it, expanding the territory. There will be peace once you stop expanding the territory. 

I know one thing: There are a billion Islamic people in the world today, and there will be about 2 billion by the time we're dead. They're not going to give up their religion.
(Chris Matthews)
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2012 - 7:35AM #9
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 16,001

Ibn


There is good reason to be rationally fearful of Islam - or at least those who speak and act in its name. It is not irrational.


Islam is not submitting to G-d although that may be what Muslims think they are doing. Islam is a particular religious sect which has certain practices and beliefs which are unique to itself. It also seeks to convert by any means others to its way of thinking. Sorry, Charlie you really need to learn what Islam is and is not. 


I cannot believe that you do not understand what expansive means. Since you are being intentionally obtuse, let me explain. Islam as a movement has sought and seeks to expand the number of people subjected to it and the geographical areas under control of people who subscribe to it (conquest, subguagtion and colonization) Again crack open a history book.


I have no time right now to respond the the rest of your "comments"

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2012 - 1:36PM #10
Ibn
Posts: 4,832

Mar 28, 2012 -- 7:35AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

There is good reason to be rationally fearful of Islam - or at least those who speak and act in its name. It is not irrational.


Islamophobia is prejudice against, hatred or irrational fear of Islam or Muslims.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamophobia


Mar 28, 2012 -- 7:35AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

Islam is not submitting to G-d although that may be what Muslims think they are doing. Islam is a particular religious sect which has certain practices and beliefs which are unique to itself. It also seeks to convert by any means others to its way of thinking. Sorry, Charlie you really need to learn what Islam is and is not.


You could be right, I forgot, it used to be Islam and some bright sparks gave it a new name, "Judaism". The bright sparks have been punished ever since because they were not submitting to G-d after changing the name.   


Mar 28, 2012 -- 7:35AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:

I cannot believe that you do not understand what expansive means. Since you are being intentionally obtuse, let me explain. Islam as a movement has sought and seeks to expand the number of people subjected to it and the geographical areas under control of people who subscribe to it (conquest, subguagtion and colonization) Again crack open a history book.


I have done just that! I find that Muslims saved the Jews from being wiped off the face of the earth by first the Romans and then Christians.

Moderated by Stardove on Mar 28, 2012 - 09:45PM
I know one thing: There are a billion Islamic people in the world today, and there will be about 2 billion by the time we're dead. They're not going to give up their religion.
(Chris Matthews)
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