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Switch to Forum Live View An opinion about Islamists from Lebanon
3 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2012 - 2:07AM #1
rangerken
Posts: 16,408

Here is an article by a Lebanese, and from a Lebanese news outlet. The site is www.nowlebanon.com. The author of the article is Hussein Ibish.

Leave Room For The Unbelievers

It deals directly with what some...like me...call political Islam. Here is a key paragraph.

"Islamists, especially those now touring Western capitals, never tire of professing a deep commitment to freedom, equality and democratic values. But at the same time, they insist that Islam must be the basis of all of these freedoms and that there is no contradiction between equal citizenship rights for every individual and the essential teachings of Islam as they interpret them."

And this sets up what comes a bit later....

"What is most disturbing is that it is almost impossible to imagine an Islamist-influenced system protecting the religious rights of skeptics, agnostics and atheists. Blasphemy, satire, independent scholarly investigation of early Islamic history, or merely a profession of fundamental skepticism about faith in general (and not simply Islam) are all likely to remain criminal offenses. Protection for apostasy and conversion are another key test of real religious freedom."

Now this matters a lot because one of the problems in the relations between Arab countries and Israel is how the influence of Islam affects tyhe relationship. there is no getting around this.

the last paragaph I have chosen to quote is this one...

".....without genuine religious freedom and pluralism, real freedom and equal citizenship will be illusory. What Islamists, and many other Arabs, have yet to accept is that in order for freedom of religion to be genuine, it must allow the freedom to reject faith entirely and to promote non-religious perspectives. Islamists might win broad popular support—and not just from Muslim but also Christian voters—in the name of the rule of a devout majority to deny individuals the right to profess and promote religious skepticism."

So what does this mean for reedom in the entire Middle East? And how does this and will this affect Israel?

And do keep in mind that this is a Lebanese arab writing...not me!

Ken










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3 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2012 - 11:38AM #2
Miraj
Posts: 5,021

Apr 12, 2012 -- 2:07AM, rangerken wrote:


Here is an article by a Lebanese, and from a Lebanese news outlet. The site is www.nowlebanon.com. The author of the article is Hussein Ibish.

Leave Room For The Unbelievers

It deals directly with what some...like me...call political Islam. Here is a key paragraph.

"Islamists, especially those now touring Western capitals, never tire of professing a deep commitment to freedom, equality and democratic values. But at the same time, they insist that Islam must be the basis of all of these freedoms and that there is no contradiction between equal citizenship rights for every individual and the essential teachings of Islam as they interpret them."

And this sets up what comes a bit later....

"What is most disturbing is that it is almost impossible to imagine an Islamist-influenced system protecting the religious rights of skeptics, agnostics and atheists. Blasphemy, satire, independent scholarly investigation of early Islamic history, or merely a profession of fundamental skepticism about faith in general (and not simply Islam) are all likely to remain criminal offenses. Protection for apostasy and conversion are another key test of real religious freedom."

Now this matters a lot because one of the problems in the relations between Arab countries and Israel is how the influence of Islam affects tyhe relationship. there is no getting around this.


I read the entire article.  What matters a lot is having enough understanding to realize that the author is saying that in regard to Islamist governments, the influence of Islam is minimal, if not a complete farce.  He is not attributing their relations with other religions to Islam, but to their lack of Islam.  He also advises questioning their faith-based claims:


Professed commitment by Islamists to pluralism and tolerance is almost always framed in terms of faith. It seems beyond the scope of their imagination that, while people may belong to various religions, any sane person would question the very notion of religious belief, and view all religious claims with rational skepticism.


Ibish is saying that the expectation of the Islamists is that their religiously based claims will be accepted without question.  Clearly, he is questioning their claims.  Clearly, Beliefnet Muslims question them.  The ones who aren't questioning them, who seem to insist that we accept them "because the Islamists said they're Islamic", are non-Muslim posters here.  


I'm betting that they would not hestitate to question crooked faith claims by Christians, Jews or even Buddhists.  Is there some conditioning involved that requires not only a lack of skepticism about "Islam" based claims, but in-bred resistance to anyone, even practicing Muslims, opposing the equating of Islam and Islamist in these discussions?  Perhaps someone can explain that phenomenon to us because we don't understand it.


the last paragaph I have chosen to quote is this one...

".....without genuine religious freedom and pluralism, real freedom and equal citizenship will be illusory. What Islamists, and many other Arabs, have yet to accept is that in order for freedom of religion to be genuine, it must allow the freedom to reject faith entirely and to promote non-religious perspectives. Islamists might win broad popular support—and not just from Muslim but also Christian voters—in the name of the rule of a devout majority to deny individuals the right to profess and promote religious skepticism."

So what does this mean for reedom in the entire Middle East? And how does this and will this affect Israel?


It means that everyone is playing politics, and the distortion of religion is part of their play.

And do keep in mind that this is a Lebanese arab writing...not me!


I may be wrong, but what I see is that what he wrote is not what you read.  Ibish is not a practicing Muslim, but even he doesn't see Islam in Islamism.  

Ken





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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3 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2012 - 2:45PM #3
BDboy
Posts: 5,885

Apr 12, 2012 -- 2:07AM, rangerken wrote:


Here is an article by a Lebanese, and from a Lebanese news outlet. The site is www.nowlebanon.com. The author of the article is Hussein Ibish.

Leave Room For The Unbelievers

It deals directly with what some...like me...call political Islam. Here is a key paragraph.

"Islamists, especially those now touring Western capitals, never tire of professing a deep commitment to freedom, equality and democratic values. But at the same time, they insist that Islam must be the basis of all of these freedoms and that there is no contradiction between equal citizenship rights for every individual and the essential teachings of Islam as they interpret them."

And this sets up what comes a bit later....

"What is most disturbing is that it is almost impossible to imagine an Islamist-influenced system protecting the religious rights of skeptics, agnostics and atheists. Blasphemy, satire, independent scholarly investigation of early Islamic history, or merely a profession of fundamental skepticism about faith in general (and not simply Islam) are all likely to remain criminal offenses. Protection for apostasy and conversion are another key test of real religious freedom."

Now this matters a lot because one of the problems in the relations between Arab countries and Israel is how the influence of Islam affects tyhe relationship. there is no getting around this.

the last paragaph I have chosen to quote is this one...

".....without genuine religious freedom and pluralism, real freedom and equal citizenship will be illusory. What Islamists, and many other Arabs, have yet to accept is that in order for freedom of religion to be genuine, it must allow the freedom to reject faith entirely and to promote non-religious perspectives. Islamists might win broad popular support—and not just from Muslim but also Christian voters—in the name of the rule of a devout majority to deny individuals the right to profess and promote religious skepticism."

So what does this mean for reedom in the entire Middle East? And how does this and will this affect Israel?

And do keep in mind that this is a Lebanese arab writing...not me!

Ken













 


>>>>>>>> I think the author is an Lebanese American. Son of a Harvard educated father and himself attended Emerson College.


He profess to be an agnostic and such questions are common from his point of view. Lebanon for example is very liberal compare to Gulf states.


 


How changes in Arab state will effect Israel is a diffcult question. I feel Israel needs to re-examine it's policies and current policies cannot sustain Israel in the long run.


Even Asad regime in Syria still has some supporters because it stood up to Israel in most cases. So Israel need to make a sincere attempt to win some hearts and minds. Even the best armies of the world found it hard in Vietnam by relying exclusively on force.


If outsiders encourage democracy in the ME, things will evolve naturally. By nature people like to have free speech and freedom to move and other universal rights.


And Muslim Arabs lived with Christians and Jews for hundreds of years. So things will work out if Israel is a little respectful to native culture and rights of non-Jews.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 12:11AM #4
habesor
Posts: 5,735

Miraj, you wrote:


"Ibish is saying that the expectation of the Islamists is that their religiously based claims will be accepted without question.  Clearly, he is questioning their claims.  Clearly, Beliefnet Muslims question them.  The ones who aren't questioning them, who seem to insist that we accept them "because the Islamists said they're Islamic", are non-Muslim posters here."  



Miraj, 


Not all non-Muslim posters assume that examining Islamists is a way to learn about Islam. Some of us do not think so and in my opinion the others are wrong, and I have said so repeatedly here. In my opinion, your attitude, and please correct me if I am wrong, that we should refrain from studying or examining political Islam or Islamists because this creates painful feelings among Muslims, is equally wrong. The examination of political Islam in its many forms, is a legitimate area of inquiry. The examination of Islam is a legitimate area of inquiry. The thing to remember is that they are different areas of inquiry and answering questions about one does not tell you anything about the other. At least that's my opinion.


Habesor

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 10:22AM #5
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 16,279

Apr 13, 2012 -- 12:11AM, habesor wrote:


Miraj, you wrote:


"Ibish is saying that the expectation of the Islamists is that their religiously based claims will be accepted without question.  Clearly, he is questioning their claims.  Clearly, Beliefnet Muslims question them.  The ones who aren't questioning them, who seem to insist that we accept them "because the Islamists said they're Islamic", are non-Muslim posters here."  



Miraj, 


Not all non-Muslim posters assume that examining Islamists is a way to learn about Islam. Some of us do not think so and in my opinion the others are wrong, and I have said so repeatedly here. In my opinion, your attitude, and please correct me if I am wrong, that we should refrain from studying or examining political Islam or Islamists because this creates painful feelings among Muslims, is equally wrong. The examination of political Islam in its many forms, is a legitimate area of inquiry. The examination of Islam is a legitimate area of inquiry. The thing to remember is that they are different areas of inquiry and answering questions about one does not tell you anything about the other. At least that's my opinion.


Habesor




Habesor


Well said. My only disagreement (if it is a disagreement) is that Islamists are part of Islam and their understanding of Islam is part of Islam. It may not be the majority view, the proper view, or even a view which is supported by much in the way of traditional learning, but it is still part of Islam.


I can not think of any faith which does not have its outliers, its crazies, its disturbing factions, which the rest of the members of the faith would wish would just curl up and die. Still, the outliers are for good and for bad part of the greater whole. At the very least, studying the outliers of any faith can demonstrate where a faith system can go awry and may provide valuable insights on how to prevent faith systems from going awry. 


In the case of the Islamists, not only do we have the problem of a faith system gone awry, we have the problem that the ones who have gone off the tracks are running the train. This makes trying to understand them, that much more important (both for Muslims and non-Muslims alike)  

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 5:18PM #6
Miraj
Posts: 5,021

Apr 13, 2012 -- 12:11AM, habesor wrote:


Miraj, you wrote:


"Ibish is saying that the expectation of the Islamists is that their religiously based claims will be accepted without question.  Clearly, he is questioning their claims.  Clearly, Beliefnet Muslims question them.  The ones who aren't questioning them, who seem to insist that we accept them "because the Islamists said they're Islamic", are non-Muslim posters here."  



Miraj, 


Not all non-Muslim posters assume that examining Islamists is a way to learn about Islam. Some of us do not think so and in my opinion the others are wrong, and I have said so repeatedly here. In my opinion, your attitude, and please correct me if I am wrong, that we should refrain from studying or examining political Islam or Islamists because this creates painful feelings among Muslims, is equally wrong. The examination of political Islam in its many forms, is a legitimate area of inquiry. The examination of Islam is a legitimate area of inquiry. The thing to remember is that they are different areas of inquiry and answering questions about one does not tell you anything about the other. At least that's my opinion.


Habesor




Salaam, Habesor.  A large part of the problem is that few, if any, non-Muslim posters seem to understand what we're saying (i'm not the only one saying it).  Notice that I didn't say "all non-Muslims"; that's because I get it that there are non-Muslim posters here who don't equate Islam with Islamism.  But, from what I've read, you can count them on one hand with a few fingers left over.  I'm also not arguing for pc, or to dhut down inquiry, nor to avoid pain.  Personally, I don't feel any pain.  So, yea, you're wrong about my attitude.


The fact is, this subject matter, like anything involving the word "Islam", poses a great deal of demonstrable difficulty for most of the non-Muslim posters here who tend to equate the two, whether they realize it or not.  This has gone on so long, not because of me or the other Muslims posting, but because of that difficulty.  So, your problem is not with me, but with whatever has confused the two so terribly in the minds of so many.

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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3 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 5:20PM #7
Miraj
Posts: 5,021

Below is an example of exactly what I'm talking about.  Perhaps you should express your concerns about posts like this.


Apr 13, 2012 -- 10:22AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:


Habesor


Well said. My only disagreement (if it is a disagreement) is that Islamists are part of Islam and their understanding of Islam is part of Islam. It may not be the majority view, the proper view, or even a view which is supported by much in the way of traditional learning, but it is still part of Islam.


I can not think of any faith which does not have its outliers, its crazies, its disturbing factions, which the rest of the members of the faith would wish would just curl up and die. Still, the outliers are for good and for bad part of the greater whole. At the very least, studying the outliers of any faith can demonstrate where a faith system can go awry and may provide valuable insights on how to prevent faith systems from going awry. 


In the case of the Islamists, not only do we have the problem of a faith system gone awry, we have the problem that the ones who have gone off the tracks are running the train. This makes trying to understand them, that much more important (both for Muslims and non-Muslims alike)  





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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3 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 6:31PM #8
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 16,279

Apr 13, 2012 -- 5:20PM, Miraj wrote:


Below is an example of exactly what I'm talking about.  Perhaps you should express your concerns about posts like this.


Apr 13, 2012 -- 10:22AM, rocketjsquirell wrote:


Habesor


Well said. My only disagreement (if it is a disagreement) is that Islamists are part of Islam and their understanding of Islam is part of Islam. It may not be the majority view, the proper view, or even a view which is supported by much in the way of traditional learning, but it is still part of Islam.


I can not think of any faith which does not have its outliers, its crazies, its disturbing factions, which the rest of the members of the faith would wish would just curl up and die. Still, the outliers are for good and for bad part of the greater whole. At the very least, studying the outliers of any faith can demonstrate where a faith system can go awry and may provide valuable insights on how to prevent faith systems from going awry. 


In the case of the Islamists, not only do we have the problem of a faith system gone awry, we have the problem that the ones who have gone off the tracks are running the train. This makes trying to understand them, that much more important (both for Muslims and non-Muslims alike)  








Miraj



May I suggest that the problem is not with me or my post but with you and you inability to actually notice when someone is agreeing with you. 



Although it might be pleasant to think that Islam exists in a pristine idealized vacuum, it does not. Islam is what people who self identify as Muslims say it is, just as Christianity is what Christians say it is, Judaism is what Jews say it is, and Spaghetti Monsterism is what believers in the Spaghetti Monster say it is.



Unfortunately, there are people who self identify as Muslims with whom you (and I for that matter) disagree. Their interpretation of Islamic texts and traditions is at variance with yours and it is also at variance with lots of other Muslims and non-Muslims. The fact that you believe they are wrong, and I believe that they are wrong, and that dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people believe that they are wrong makes not one whit of difference to them. They think they are right. They also loudly proclaim that they are not only Muslim but that they have it right.



The question is how do you deal with the problems the wrong ones cause and the incorrect impression of Islam that the wrong ones project?



(Option 1)  Do you pretend the wrong ones do not exist and hope that they will go away? Do you blame people for believing what the wrong ones say? Do you simply say that the wrong ones are wrong and walk away?



Or



(Option 2) Do you try to explain why and where the wrong ones are wrong so that you can persuade others that the wrong ones do not speak for and are not representative of Islam? Do you try to understand why and where the wrong ones went wrong so as to be able others from following in their path?  Do you differentiate the proper interpretations from the improper and help people understand what Islam truly is?



Frankly I am for option 2. However as a non-Muslim, I may not be all that convincing when I say the wrong ones are wrong; I may not be all that convincing when I say what the proper interpretations might be; I may not be able to ascertain where, when and why the wrong ones went wrong. It would sure help the people who hold your view out if you would join the option 2 folks instead of burying your head in the sand like an Ostrich.
 


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3 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 8:02PM #9
Miraj
Posts: 5,021

Apr 13, 2012 -- 6:31PM, rocketjsquirell wrote:


Miraj


Although it might be pleasant to think that Islam exists in a pristine idealized vacuum, it does not. Islam is what people who self identify as Muslims say it is, just as Christianity is what Christians say it is, Judaism is what Jews say it is, and Spaghetti Monsterism is what believers in the Spaghetti Monster say it is.


Not so.  Religions are actually pretty consistant systems.  It's the people who vary in how they practice.  But, that's a convenient excuse to use if you want to pick and choose which Muslims to believe, and you clearly don't want to believe me.


Unfortunately, there are people who self identify as Muslims with whom you (and I for that matter) disagree. Their interpretation of Islamic texts and traditions is at variance with yours and it is also at variance with lots of other Muslims and non-Muslims. The fact that you believe they are wrong, and I believe that they are wrong, and that dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people believe that they are wrong makes not one whit of difference to them. They think they are right. They also loudly proclaim that they are not only Muslim but that they have it right.


Do you explain that Judaism is the "Etch A Sketch" religion when people lie about it to you?  No, so you don't really believe that.


The question is how do you deal with the problems the wrong ones cause and the incorrect impression of Islam that the wrong ones project?


According to you, there is no incorrect "Islam", since it's whatever any self-identified Muslim says it is (funny how peaceful Muslims don't have the same vote as violent ones, though).  Obviously, I or any other Muslim is powerless to correct a "wrong" impression, since there are folks who are deeply invested in identifying with the "wrong" Muslims.


(Option 1)  Do you pretend the wrong ones do not exist and hope that they will go away? Do you blame people for believing what the wrong ones say? Do you simply say that the wrong ones are wrong and walk away?



Or



(Option 2) Do you try to explain why and where the wrong ones are wrong so that you can persuade others that the wrong ones do not speak for and are not representative of Islam? Do you try to understand why and where the wrong ones went wrong so as to be able others from following in their path?  Do you differentiate the proper interpretations from the improper and help people understand what Islam truly is?


Why haven't you been paying attention?  You might have been able to see what I was doing.


Frankly I am for option 2. However as a non-Muslim, I may not be all that convincing when I say the wrong ones are wrong; I may not be all that convincing when I say what the proper interpretations might be; I may not be able to ascertain where, when and why the wrong ones went wrong. It would sure help the people who hold your view out if you would join the option 2 folks instead of burying your head in the sand like an Ostrich.
 
When the premise is, Islam is what any Muslim says it is (except for miraj), the prospects for meaningful dialogue is rather poor, at best. 





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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3 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2012 - 1:40AM #10
habesor
Posts: 5,735

Rocket,


We have a rather profound disagreement. I also have several disagreements with Miraj. Maybe I am just disagreeable. Rocket, you wrote:


"My only disagreement (if it is a disagreement) is that Islamists are part of Islam and their understanding of Islam is part of Islam. It may not be the majority view, the proper view, or even a view which is supported by much in the way of traditional learning, but it is still part of Islam."


The Islamists identify themselves as Muslim. That is a piece of information. The Islamists base their ideology on Islamic writings. That is another piece of information. I can tell what Islam is by examining the Islamists. That is a fallacy. I can predict what parts of Islamic writings the Islamists will make into their ideology by studying Islam. That is another fallacy. 


Rocket, I could give you a lot of examples from inferential statistics of these and other sorts of fallacies. But instead I will use an example with which I think you are familiar. There are some groups around who insist that they are Jewish Christians or Christian Jews. They have an ideology and even share some beliefs with mainstream Judaism. However you simply cannot infer what is mainstream Judaism from a study of the ideology of Jewish Christians. To do so would be a fallacy. 


Now let me give you an example from the Islamists themselves. If you read the Hamas Charter, you will find that they cite the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as an information source about the Jews. What you are suggesting  in your statement that "Islamists are part of Islam...." is that the Protocols (and the ideas expressed in them)  are part of the Islamic belief system because the Islamists believe them to be true. That is a fallacy. You simply cannot infer any such thing from the Hamas Covenant and that is what you are trying to do.


Where I disagree with Miraj on this is that she posits an Islam that is different from that expressed in the ideology of the Islamists. She may be (and probably is) right about this but it doesn't matter. The question of what is and what is not Islam is for Islamic Scholars and scholars of Islam, and the authoritative Muslim individuals (and Miraj) to decide. Just as an aside, as an Israeli, Zionist Jew I have enough problems trying to figure out what Judaism is all about, then to expend time to begin delving into the complexities of Islam.


Both intellectually and practically the question of what is Islam belongs on another forum, just as what is Judaism. The subjects of Arab nationalism, Pan Arabism, Pan Islamism, Islamist political movements, Zionism, anti-Zionism, Baathism and a whole bunch of others, in terms of what they are and what elements of the religious belief systems are incorporated in their ideologies are the proper subject of this forum. But if you think that studying any of the above will tell you about Islam or Judaism , you are simply mistaken.


I hope that is clear.  


Habesor 


Habesor
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