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In response to Mark. Mandy please read this too.

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in response to reader comment: I ask the great American free women

Submitted by Hind Samy (Egypt), Mar 13, 2006 at 18:20

I've never heard of "Atheist, secular humanism" so thank you for pointing it out to me.

"This philosophy, to which I subscribe, presents rather the concept that there is no heaven or hell or God and that we live together on the planet as equals who may or may not have equal rights depending on what society they find themselves in but who are certainly equally deserving of such.."

I agree with you that we live together on the planet as equals but unlike you I believe there is a God and hopefully heaven for those of us who tried being as good (for want of a better word) as they can be in this life. The idea that there is nothing after this life is a bit gloomy to me because with all the tragedies and sad things happening globally, it would be nice if there was something fabulous to look forward to at the end of it all, but that's my personal opinion.

Well, first off I would like to thank you for your civilised and polite way of disagreeing with me, I wish all discussions here and elsewhere were this pleasant!

I would also like to point out that I don't have a problem with how people choose to dress or not, whatever the case may be, however I do have a problem with Mandy's way of putting forth her views - her comments are full of anger and hate and it doesn't encourage me to really attempt any discussion with her.

Mandy writes:
"Must make you so proud to be a muslim. well I might go topless but at least I'm not a murdering coward, I know which one I'd rather be classed with... Read what your Lybian friend says on this site, he sounds charming!"

When I said comparision, I meant a woman who is moderately dressed to a half naked one - she stuck suicide bomber in the discussion - then goes on to assume Lybian is my friend - I don't know anyone on this site. Mandy, doesn't all this hate consume you and make your life horrible? I must say I hope one day you will empty your heart of this bitterness and anger and enjoy life a bit more.

Back to you Mark, I never said people should be told what to wear - how a person dresses is a personal choice, I wouldn't impose my sense of style on anyone (and by the way I don't wear a veil ). Let me try to shed some light on the issue of why many Muslim women choose to dress modestly - it is not because the "responsibility for chaste and pure behavior is laid at the feet of women", it is a fact of life that most men like to look at women so by dressing modestly a woman protects herself from being looked at in a lustful way - women in most of the Islamic world are looked upon as jewels - something so pure she has to be protected, it's very hard to explain this concept. It's a personal choice and some women choose to wear hijab whilst others don't.

As you have lived or live in the UAE - I'm sure you see the difference between how women from the West dress and most Muslim women, so why are you surprised when Asians or Middle Easterners stare or ogle? They're seeing things they've never seen before. I'm not saying this is right, because in Islam man (and also woman) is specifically told to lower his/her gaze from the object of temptation - out of respect for that person too. As I said in another post, people tend to err and sin and nobody is perfect, but the proper Muslim will not stare, oogle or touch a woman - the ones you see doing that are not behaving as Muslims should.

Bad behaviour happens everywhere and from people of all religions - for example being stared at if you're in a bathing suit in the Middle East is a problem, mugging and robbery is a problem in some neighbourhoods in some states in the US - that doesn't mean all Americans are theives and muggers, just because a few misbehave doesn't mean all the people in that country are bad.

I commend you on not doing the same (staring or annoying women) , but then I'm sure seeing women in bikinis , bathing suits or topless most your life makes this a normal sight for you to see, when one gets used to seeing something a lot, it ceases to be something to be stared at, right? (I'm assuming you're from a Western country).

"Sharia law is a process of where a few pretend to interpret the intentions of a fictional God and then prescribe behavior on others."

God may be fictional to you, but He is not to me, and I do believe the Koran was brought down to us by God. As for the Sharia, it is a code of conduct made so that people have guidelines on how to interact in business, socially etc - there has to be rules of some sort otherwise life would be chaos. There has to be a system otherwise everyone would do as they wanted and that wouldn't be a great thing would it? Personal freedom is fine but what if lots of people started behaving like Charles Manson and started killing people - they could say it's personal freedom - there has to be laws.

I'm sure if you read the Koran or a translation of it, you would actually find that Islam deems all people equal - a good example of this would be the Holy Pilgrimage - all people dress the same be they rich or poor - nobody is better than anyone else, there is no differentiation.

Something else I would like to point out (which has nothing to do with anything you posted) - the word "Jihad" - people have come to associate it as meaning terror and terrorism - it actually translates into "effort" - Muslims are told to make an effort to be as morally correct as they can be - this is true Jihad - to attain the highest levels of purity and moral conduct - this is the true meaning of "making Jihad", one might loosely compare it to Nirvana in Buddhism.

In the end all I would love to happen is for people in the West to try to differentiate between militant, misinformed "Muslims" and what Islam is all about - and to stop automatically assuming that anyone and everyone who is Muslim is a bloodthirsty terrorist, stereotyping is wrong because not all people are the same. I would encourage anyone interested in understanding Islam to read the Koran. The miracle of the Koran is not just the amazing poetic way in which it has been written (which has been unsurpassed) but also the many scientific facts that we are discovering today - centuries after the Koran was brought down to us, it's truly amazing.

Sorry for rambling on but I just wanted to perhaps shed some light on some of my thoughts on some of the things I read here today. Mark, I wish more people expressed themselves like you - it's been a pleasure to reply to your post. I wish you all the best Mark.

Good evening everyone, I doubt I will be posting here anymore as it feels like we're all getting nowhere anyway, so goodbye, I wish you all well.
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Mark my comment as a response to In response to Mark. Mandy please read this too. by Hind Samy

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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".

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