To Avenger with Respect, an apology and questions
Submitted by Wrench (United States), Jan 14, 2007 at 19:42
Dear Avenger,You all pose important questions, which relates to the the image of Islam. It is the response to this image that is the primary cause of the xenophobia and islamaphobia gripping the West.
I herewith apologize to you for the some nasty responses you have received on your post.
I am a "Western Infidel" trying to promote a more structured and segmented approach to the concerns as manifested here and have also encountered strong opposition, to say the least.
I have called upon Muslims to state their point of view here in an unemotional way and found only your post - an honest effort at least– I congratulate you for your courage to give it a shot.
I am deeply ashamed of our own enlightened people - no matter, if I agree with you or disagree, I do not think the tonality you encountered, was appropriate or respectful.
"bowing before my evil Muslim compatriots" – I could not care less, as the progress of our so wonderful western civ is based upon dialogue and free expression of opinions.
Having said that, and hoping you are still around to entertain a true dialogue, I do have issues and questions for you.
Judeo/Christian culture, mostly in Europe seems to be much more willing ( People like me for instance) to look inwards with critical eyes and voice opposition to its own fanatic streams. Critical comments on ISRAEL, as for instance seen during the invasion of Southern Libanon lately, was intense in the European Media. Not to be taken for granted, the still prevalent guilt burden of the holocaust considered. Islam gets to my opinion a very fair handshake in the western media.
Critique with any chance of success to promote "change" or reform must always come from within any culture, to have credibility and legitimacy with consequences. In other words, Islam has to my opinion the burden of proof to demonstrate the same willingness to examine its own shortcomings and loudly condemn its militant side. Why do we see so little of that still? Can you name significant leaders amongst the Muslim community who are and were willing to lead by example?
How do you see separation of church and state? What is your stand on Sharia laws in the 21st century or in the context of a potential Muslim majority in several European Countries in a foreseeable future?
We know that from the earliest examples, the true believers have been persecuted and oppressed - the greater the degree of belief (Iman) the greater the proportionate persecution. From the times of Cain and Abel, through Abraham, Moses, Jesus to Mohammed (peace be upon them all). Since the earliest of times, Islam and the Muslims have been misrepresented, denigrated and persecuted.
Welcome to the club, I dare to say. From any viewpoint on any continent in any country we have seen such.
Empire continued to actively adopt policies of lenient behaviours towards those with different faiths. The Ottoman Empire was often as a refuge for the Jews of Europe escaping persecution from Christians, whilst the Muslims relationship with the Orthodox Church was also peaceful. ‘Kanun' law for the Christian and Jews ran alongside Shariah law but often Christian women opted to have their grievances heard under Shariah law as it favoured the position of women with regards to compensation, inheritance and legal rights of possession.
What is your stand about equal co-existence of various religions within modern democracy? How do you correlate Shariah law with core values and rules of a modern civilized world? How do you interpret your own ancient scripture in light of equal rights for man and woman? Can a Muslim living in the USA for instance openly support domestic legislature? How do you navigate between the teachings of the Quran and the day to day life in a democratic country? Do you fundamentally support or deny the values and merits of this system as opposed to theocracy or a fundamentalist regime such as IRAN?
Islam was the key influencer behind the advent of science, agriculture, politics, education, the Renaissance and was a driving force behind the European resurgence which leads directly to the European ‘coffee house' idealists, Newton, Greys Anatomy and to the Industrial Revolution. Spain went from being an arid desert to becoming the fruit garden of Europe under Islamic rule. Women were given the right to vote, inheritance and proprietary rights under Islam 1200 years before the West recognised any part of this issue.
Again Propaganda - a lot of evidence can be mounted in contradiction of above. Leads to philosophical endless exchange of historical facts with different viewpoints. Mute.
In spite of this, throughout European (and now American) history, there has been and continues to this day a complete denial of the Islamic influence in the context of World history. Children in western schools are not taught of Islam's influence on history, the enlightenment through Islamic jurisprudence or even a simple context to Islamic influence in the world. In the UK, the issue of Palestine and the Ottoman Empire being pulled into WWI is completely omitted from the educational text books.
Welcome to the club again, if your statement had merit. I dare to venture that no history book in the Islamic World has an objective viewpoint either. Again - let us not exchange in a propagandist manner..
The demonisation of Islam is not a new phenomenon but it is the biggest and most reprehensible misrepresentation in history.
The Jews could make a valid point here too. Quantifying the so called demonisation is again very dangerous. Are we measuring with kill rates or amount of people influenced or conquered? " the purest form" of religion statement makes the hairs on my neck stand up…..and I allow myself to oppose any such statements from any religious perspective.
We still have no clear idea who committed 9/11, why the towers were ‘pulled', why the airplanes were modified, why the steel melted at 800 degrees not 2,300 or the relevance of operation ‘Northwoods'; the pleas of the families for an inquiry are denied and the evidence has in the majority, been completely destroyed.
Inasmuch, as I oppose the conspiracy theory of Oklahoma City as an Islamic motivated terror attack,
If you guys stay silent for much longer, the radical approach, as so often offered here in this blog, may well become a mainstream opinion throughout the Western World.
The Muslims of today are being put under an intolerable amount of suffering; they face persecution and oppression the world over in almost all of the high-Muslim population countries. Imperialistic forces continue the age old tried and tested tradition of Divide and Conquer. This goes hand in hand with a war of words, a battle for the hearts and minds of the West... to enable continuing aggression against the Muslim world. Israel is a terrorist state funded by the US and holocaust reparations; we need not list Israeli atrocities other than to say that in the Book of Moses, the Jews are clearly prohibited from oppressing another people having been oppressed themselves. They are meant to wander without a land. They are in the main European, Ashkenazim, Khazar, non-Sephardic and non-Semitic Jews.
With propaganda as above, you create the exact resentment and discomfort in the Western World you so lament about. For the sake of a true dialogue, let us not mount clichés against clichés.
We are hurtling towards the end of days with no respite in sight. The Jews and Christians go hand-in-hand believing that the return of their Messiah will occur when their re-occupation of the holy lands is complete; when Jerusalem is recaptured; when the Al-Aqsa mosque is destroyed and the Temple of Solomon re-established. No cost is too great. Ultimately to understand why the image of Islam is as you perceive, we need to look at the greater context – it depends which side of the fence you are on, whether you are doing Allah's bidding or working against it.
I am sorry to see, how you towards the end of your post lapsed into the parroting of senseless propaganda. Nowhere do I see the dogma of destroying the various places and sites you mention. The critique on Israel especially in Europe has increased to a level dominating the voices in support. The judeo/Christian world manifests an almost sick willingness to self-loathe and reflect and Muslims can peacefully practice their religion throughout the western world.
What I was hoping to see from you are examples of the same tolerance and more so your vision of a civilized global community with ISLAM as one of its main religions. Not the sole one, best one, purest one or victorious one. Just one of many equally accepted and respected.
You come across as defensive and demonise our world as strongly, as you claim to be the victim of such demonisation.
In conclusion, from my personal viewpoint, radical propaganda is exchanged here from the majority of this blog as well as from you. Such can never lead to any understanding or respect.
I acknowledge your courage however to at least try to give us a viewpoint in a mostly civilized and respectful manner, even though I, let alone as as representative of a moderate mainstream, can only (respectfully) disagree with most of your statements.
I'd like to hear more, maybe less retro-oriented, outwards finger pointing, stretched propaganda, but more in answer to my questions concerning the present. How much self- reflection is there in the Muslim World? Is there a moderate mainstream? May I also ask, where you live?
I wait for your response with the willingness to listen and will make an honest effort to understand your position.
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 (2100) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes