My point exactly
Submitted by Michel (United States), Aug 7, 2007 at 18:50
In addtion to my previous note, Dhimmi, allow me to reiterate with this perfect example of this response of yours, how and where we differ.
I did not say, that the Quran was mellow. I said that these specific few people, who happen to read it, were mellow and peaceful. And they were way more religious, than I, as they indeed went into a backroom several times per day, unpacked their praying carpets, then prayed for at least 15 minutes per session.
My point is that they read their book much more intensly and repeatedly than I read the bible. And yet, they came out of the room balanced, calm, peaceful and collected. I oftentimes not only admired that, but envied them for the inner strength they seemed to get from it, seemingly helping them to coping with the enormous pressure and overall stress of an IT commercial environment. I can tell you, these guys never once lost their temper (as opposed to me) and always spoke in a soft, calm and thoughttful manner.
I did never convert to the Muslim religion - for the record - , but as a business executive and manager of teams, I sure took this with me as a learning and guiding example for my later positions and still strive to follow it with many failures in between.
Again - Dhimmi, I try to look away from the book and try to focus my attention more on the people. That seems to be the difference between us. And also for the record - I am sure that my aquaintances may very possibly not be representative, as I also on the other hand saw some Muslims yell from the pulpit as feroucously, as Hitler from his speaker podium, inflaming, spreading hatred and violence.
Obviously, as within our own culture, their segment of the population spans the same 180 degrees of intensity.
The few I actually worked with shoulder on shoulder, day by day, were without exception simply beautiful people, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to know and learn from them. And, to make the point once again, they were (except for their religion) across the board the same boringly normal people as I am.
Before my first speech before a large audience, a mentor told me to picture the audience in my mind as naked. It really helped, other than , that I almost cracked up in the iddle of the presentation, when the image became a bit too intense, if you get my drift....
Taking this little advice a step further and picture a local stadium full of People, watching a ball game for instance, as naked, Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, Asians, Muslims, RedNecks etc. combined, where is the difference? Everyone as hilarious looking as the guy in the next seat. I am darn sure that the typical audience in Los Angeles Dodgers Statium reflects the overal demographics of the USA fairly precisely.
I may sound like the everlasting Kumbajah, Dhimmi, but if we as a species do not learn to see the common instead of the differing aspects in each other, we will never break the vicious circle of action and consequence, revenge following retaliation.....
So much precious energy and ressources are being wasted with conflict at a time, when the species overall would be in danger of extinction. Picture the budgets currently allocated to military being spent on alternative energies, environment, education, research, medicine, climate control, space exploration, hunger, infrastructure etc etc......
My above mentioned mindset, if widespread, could at least be a basis for that Utopia. (as unrealistic it at present is). The mindset to the contrary however, does not serve any purpose so ever, but is simply self-destructive., which is why I can not adopt it.
It is like buyng a lottery ticket. The chances for winning the millions are slime to none. Albeit, without buying it, they are nill. In that sense, I continue to hope that the human species one day does win the lottery, even though you very plausibly will have a strong argument to the contrary.
But, just as a thought, what are we without hope? The alternative would be unthinkable, wouldn't you agree? Again, before you label me as Hippy, I promote at this time a mindset of hope, tolerance and optimism, combined with inner strength, self confidence, realism and pragmatism up to brute force, when dealing with fanatics and criminals of all breeds or even entire rogue countries or regimes.
I am after all realist enough to understand that we still have not evolved enough yet and still have a lot of members of our species (of all origin and cultures though) who only understand the language of violence and deterrence. I guess, that makes me a Pragmatokumbajah....
On a serious note though, I am honestly interested to learn about your actual experiences. You seemingly speak Arabic and know much about Muslims. That alone must have presented you with tons of personal experiences with actual people of Muslim origins. Did you get attacked or experience some other form of traumatic moment during that time? Being such a scholar, I feel compelled again to ask, where this fundamental resentment against an entire people originated.
I apologize, if I come across as too intrusive and will of course accept, if you do not want to get into it. It is not even curiosity, which drives me, but an honest willingness to make an effort to understand, where you come from, in asmuch as I got the feeling reading your last responses, that you nowadays have a way better understanding as to my position. At least that is, how I appreciated the absence of statements "below the belt line" against me personally. I thank you for that.., as I can handle only a limited dosage of "Susan or Noah" in the end.
Exchanging insult with insult during spring this year, eventually shifted my mindset to exactly the negative, angry, sometimes outright furious end of the spectre, I aforementioned try to avoid. It was frankly another strong reason for my disappearance. But, for as long as we remain on this level of basic respect and courtesy, I will try to respond to you in a timely fashion. Such an exchange, even from fundamentally differing positions, I consider as refreshing, interesting and most informative.
For my own education. as far as my dreaded Religion Aspect is concerned, I nevertheless am quite confused about the topic of Holy war. Since you are an expert on the matter, you may be able to educate me here (not that I intend to get into the Religion, as far as our discussion is concerned)
I am totally lost, as to who is allowed to call a Djihaad. Can any Muslim or just a certain level of preacher call it? Is that Dhijaad then valid for all sects or just one (Sunni, Shiites etc.?) Is there from a theological point of view a moral pressure or law for any Muslim to act and follow it? Is there a time limit?
Basically, if the Pope issues a credo or dogma, all catholics must follow it without exemption. How is it handled i the Muslim world? Do the Saudi Clerics have such a central all encompassing power throughout the Muslim World? I totally lost the orientation.... who's Dhijhaad are we currently fighting? Is Bin Laden in any way empowered or entitled to call it? Has there even been an "official" Djihaad declared? Is there an' official" function who is entitled to declare it? What I do not understand is, that, if there is this all encompassing Religion, how come one persono declares a holy war and another in Egypt denounces it? Who the hell has the ultimate say in such matters? It seems to me at times, that there is as much disagreement in the Musli World as we find it in ours...
Well, Dhimmi, your education of me in this matter is in advance highly appreciated. I am sure that many more amongst us normal infidels are kind of lost in the topic.
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (2099) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes