Know your friends

Does this girl in a hijab offend you? She is part of a group at Sydney Central Station raising money for the Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day.

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Not offended? Why not?

Yes, she is clearly as much part of our culturally diverse community as anyone else, isn’t she, and demonstrating in her actions Australian, and no doubt also from her perspective Muslim, values for all to see.

Where is the problem?

I feel much the same about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf – one of the best friends, in these times, that the USA could hope to have.

In February 2007 I wrote:

Far more profitable to us all, I would suggest, is the model held up by America’s Cordoba Institute, the brainchild of, among others, Feisal Abdul Rauf, Imam of Masjid Al-Farah, a New York mosque twelve blocks from Ground Zero. “A leader in the effort to build religious pluralism and integrate Islam into modern America, he has dedicated his life to building bridges between Muslims and the West.” You may read a PBS interview with him.

Tell me more about that. What is an American Muslim — if there is such a thing as “an American Muslim?”

I think it is very much a work in progress. If you look at what happened to the Muslim-American community over the last, say, 40 years, it is a mosaic; it is a cross-section of the Muslim world.

We look at the Muslim centers, or mosques, starting with the early 1970s as waves of immigration began to occur from the Muslim world. You found, as certain ethnic groups reached critical mass, that mosques sprouted with a very ethnic complexion. So we have a Turkish mosque in Brooklyn, an Albanian mosque. You will find a West African mosque, mainly from French- speaking West Africans from Senegal and Mali [in] the Bronx, for instance.

You have also always had African-American mosques. You have Arab mosques, Hindu, Pakistani mosques, Bangladesh mosques.

However, what we are seeing is that these mosques tend to be maintained in terms of their cultural complexion and their general collective psychology by the continued immigration from the Old World. The second generation, the children of these immigrants, are finding themselves with a different psychological complexion. And I see a development of an American Islamic identity, which is currently a work in progress, which will be kind of the sum total of these influences.

But amongst those who are born in this country, or came very early into this country at a very early age, they grew up with a sense of belonging to the American scene, which their parents did not have. The immigrants tend to come here with a little bit of a guest mentality. But those who are born and raised here feel they are Americans. We have to define ourselves as Americans. And just as I said earlier, when Islam spread to Egypt, and Iran, and India, it restated its theology and its jurisprudence within the cultural context of those societies. It also anticipated that Islam will restate itself within the language constructs, within the social constructs, within the political constructs of American society, as well. …

He was also interviewed in Foreign Policy Magazine in September 2006, following the brouhaha over Pope Benedict’s quotation from that Byzantine Emperor.

Imam Rauf has in fact visited Australia. See Visit by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. You may download a PDF of his lecture in Adelaide there.

Support bridge-builders, whoever they are, and spurn the dividers.

I’ve seen nothing lately to make me change my mind.

Christopher Hitchens is not a bridge-builder, whatever else he might be. No doubt predisposed against the Imam because the Imam is a believing theist, Hitchens manages to comprehensively misread or misrepresent what Rauf stands for.

I don’t like anything much about the Cordoba Initiative or the people who run it. The supposed imam of the place, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is on record as saying various shady and creepy things about the original atrocity. Shortly after 9/11, he told 60 Minutes, "I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened." He added, "In the most direct sense, Osama Bin Laden is made in the USA." More recently, he has declined to identify the racist and totalitarian Hamas party as being guilty of the much less severe designation of terrorist. We are all familiar by now with the peddlers of such distortions and euphemisms and evasions, many of them repeated by half-baked secular and Christian spokesmen. A widespread cultural cringe impels many people to the half-belief that it’s better to accommodate "moderates" like Rauf as a means of diluting the challenge of the real thing. So for the sake of peace and quiet, why not have Comedy Central censor itself or the entire U.S. press refuse to show the Danish cartoons?

Christopher, a lot of people, including me, said things like that after 9/11.  It’s called free speech.

I am very glad there are “half-baked … Christian spokesmen” (and women) like the people at Sojourners. If you want sanity on this whole New York “mosque” affair, Sojourners is a good place to start. See Refracting America Through 9/11 Lens, for example.

… Rauf and Khan have been outspoken opponents of terrorism, and the mission for the Cordoba House, the planned community center in Lower Manhattan, is one of peace and interfaith understanding. Their work should not be chastised as “insensitive,” but rather praised as bold leadership for the healing our country needs. I know them both, and I know that is their hope and dream.

On 9/11, Osama bin Laden hoped to set himself up as the mouthpiece for all Islam to the West. Every time Gingrich, or others, try to get us to see all Islam through the eyes of Al Qaeda’s attack, he helps bin Laden achieve that goal. The whole Muslim world hears our judgment of “guilt by association,” and the United States becomes less safe.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush — speaking at the Islamic Center in Washington — warned that it would be a mistake to associate all Islam with the terrorists…

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39 thoughts on “Know your friends

  1. “Does this girl in a hijab offend you?”
    Yes.

    “Not offended?”
    Yes, I am.

    “Why not?”
    Are you even listening? I’m very offended by it.

    “Where is the problem?”
    The problem lies in her parents forcing her to wear a demeaning outfit simply because she’s female. It’s degrading, sexist, and should be relegated to medieval times. Women’s comments are not worth only half of a man’s, despite what you read in the koran. At least, not in America.

    I suggest you stay out of the ground zero victory mosque controversy. Americans have never cared even a tiny bit what people from other countries think about us, and we won’t start now. We are also not in the habit of letting our attackers build shrines to commemorate those attacks. This mosque is probably not going to happen. However, if you want, we could send you Daisy and her husband Feisal. You can help them build a victory mosque near the place where muslims killed all of those Australians in Bali.

  2. You have a major fail there Kevin. This is not a victory mosque at all. I stand absolutely and with no apology with what I have written and suggest you go into it more. That girl didn’t look or act demeaned to me, nor have the numerous women in hijabs I have actually spoken to. You should try it sometime instead of basing all your views on stereotypes and lunatic fringe commentators on Islam.

    Remember my friend who worked with those identifying bodies after Bali and was awarded the Order of Australia medal for his services? See what he has to say.

    I mentioned the NY issue because it appeared on our 7.30 Report during the week.

    MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Mosque developments are meeting resistance in many parts of the country, but none has attracted the publicity of this one and Azeem Khan is just one of many who see the opposition to this cultural centre as a fundamental test of American principles.

    AZEEM KHAN: That’s the biggest proof to show that this is a case of a rise in Islamophobia. It’s people playing on others’ fears and on their sensitivities for their own agendas and those agendas are not helpful to America or our future and they don’t stand in line with what we really believe in as Americans.

    MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Across America, public opinion has swung vehemently against the construction of any form of Islamic centre or mosque at this site. But what is interesting is that polls show the closer you actually get to this place, the more accepting the public is of the development plan. And many of them believe just as passionately that to block it would itself be a victory for the terrorists.

    One of the most passionate of all is the Jewish Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.

    MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK MAYOR: Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbours grieved with us as New Yorkers and Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemy’s hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else.

    MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: But this project has begun to resonate far beyond New York and into the broader cut and thrust of contemporary American politics.

    We, meanwhile, have just elected our first Muslim parliamentarian.

    Australian multiculturalism is just beautiful, something that stokes my patriotism.

    Kevin, you are wrong, wrong, wrong!

  3. Hi Kevin, I do not know why you are so antipathy against Muslims as a whole. Do you have a painful personal experience with Muslims in the past?

  4. Hi tikno. I have only met known muslims in my life, perhaps two dozen, and met in passing maybe a hundred more in NYC and Boston. Most of them are fine individuals. Muslims are generally fine with me. It’s islam that I have a problem with. I’ve always hated religions that promote murder, misogyny, terrorize innocent people and glorify dying for their god (or devil-god, as the koran does).

    Neil, if it wasn’t a victory mosque, then Daisy and her hubby would have no problem moving the ground zero victory mosque a few blocks away from ground zero. This they won’t consider. So yeah, it’s a victory mosque just like the one in Constantinople and Cordoba.

    • I should point out that Tikno is an Indonesian Christian lliving every day of his life with Muslims.

  5. Oh, in case you wish to label me a bigot, I will offer you more ammo. I also am against the religion of the Aztecs and the Druids of Britain and Ireland. They are possibly even worse than islam. They both have human sacrifice as part of the religion. Islam does to, but at least you have to do something considered bad by an islamist to be murdered in an honor killing. They just kill you for the hell of it in the druid and aztec cultures.

    So that’s three religions that I believe should be removed from the planet with all of the force at our command. Luckily two of the barbaric religions have already been contained. Two down, one to go.

  6. Tikno, your question has moved me. I’ve thought about it for a few hours. Here’s my answer: A good person cannot allow evil to persist. islam is pretty much the definition of evil. Therefore, it has to go. Whatever it takes, it has to end.

    • Hello Kevin,

      If we want to dig deeper, then I am sure we will find a lot of loopholes in the sacred books. Maybe you’ve heard a verse in the Bible that stated Jesus came to this world not to bring peace but a sword. Should we translate it literally? Of course not!

      In previous comment you said: “Most of them are fine individuals. Muslims are generally fine with me”.
      I must admit that’s the best thinking from you. Still many Muslims (even far more than you imagine) who think like you, ie: “Most of them are fine individuals. Christians are generally fine with me”.

      It’s just a matter of each individual skills in understanding religion wisely. Any negative action will produce another opposite reaction. Perhaps the best that we can do is to calm the opposite reaction using a simple way called “restrain ourselves” to react negatively. Indeed a little contribution for peace.

      That’s my experience here so that I have many Muslim friends for sharing our daily life like the water flows naturally.

      Neil, this is a good post to stimulates people mind 😉

  7. Here’s where your latest thoughts may lead, Simplicio. So a quarter of the world’s population, whether they know it or not, are worshipping a devil-God. We know devils have unearthly powers and can probably remove the souls of their worshippers and give them unearthly powers, too (that’s Spanish Inquisition 101). So now we have a billion and a half people living among us with no souls and being given unearthly powers by their devil-God. We must destroy all of them, surely. Surely none of them have souls anymore so it would be OK to do that, right?

    Maybe instead we can convert them to American-style democracy (the only thing strong enough to defeat the devil-God, Allah, because it has the clear backing of our own niceness-God, Yahweh) like we did at the turn of the last century in the Philippines. We only had to kill half a million so we could teach them democracy.

    This is the kind of thing Christians have always done to bring the world to Jesus and protect it from the bad God, Allah. We are so nice. We must be because we’re Americans and Christians. That’s what even happened with the many intra-Christian genocides in Yugoslavia and even in Rwanda. The Christian genocidaires just knew that somehow those other Christians that seemed to be Christian were really evil Muslims because they had begun to worship an evil God, just like Barack Hussein Obama has (just look at his name).

    Genocide is the most evil thing of all to me (it may not be for you). The vast majority of genocidaires in history since the advent of the Christian era have been nominal Christians. In more recent times many of them have believed in the ideal of spreading American-style democracy by force. Now consider how worshippers of the evil God, Allah, may be viewing this: “clearly we are good people and we are being forced (at the point of a gun) to believe in the evil democracy produced by those evil Americans. They want to go on destroying our perfectly wholesome beliefs (for us) which they clearly don’t understand by destroying us and our culture as they did in the Americas and Africa. We must resist them”.

    Now back to the thoughts of Simplicio: “they are wrong, of course, those evilly inspired folk. We just think they’re evil and therefore don’t have the right to exist unless they confess their evilness to Jesus (even though the ones I’ve met have often been ‘fine individuals’).”

  8. We know that devil-gods have unearthly powers? We do? Sorry Marty, but I think I’ll save my energy to debate someone who doesn’t think devils have unearthly powers. Or are even real.

    You’re creepy, Martin.

  9. You sure? It just sounded like mysticism to me. Perhaps it’s just a language barrier. If a person says something is evil, does that have to mean there is magic involved? Because when I say the koran teaches pure evil, I’m not talking about magic spells or powerful demons. I’m just saying it teaches its readers to hate.

    C’mon. What’s wrong with you Aussies? Unearthly powers? Gimme a break.

  10. “That girl didn’t look or act demeaned to me, nor have the numerous women in hijabs I have actually spoken to. You should try it sometime instead of basing all your views on stereotypes and lunatic fringe commentators on Islam.”

    First off, I’m not going to try wearing a hijab, niqab, or burkha. They are all demeaning, and I luckily don’t have to accept being demeaned. Sadly, many muslim women do. Honestly, it really bothers me that you are ok with forcing women to wear such things. Why are you ok with this? Are you ok with Jews having to wear a Star of David on their arms? I’m going to assume that you are not, but I can’t figure out why this is different to you, Neil.

    Muslim women have proven time and again that when left to their own devices they quickly abandon the shrouds. This often has disastrous results as their brothers or fathers beat or kill them for doing so, but it should make it quite clear to even someone as ‘progressive’ as you that this is not a tradition that muslim females wish to continue. Yet you seem to think covering these women against their will is a-ok.

    I don’t understand, Neil. Is this one of those ‘sexual preference’ issues that I have no hope of ever understanding? Because if it is, I’m about to come out as very anti-gay for the first time in my life. This burkha crap is unsupportable, and if gay people are ok with it, then I’m no longer ok with gay people. Treating women like this is not ok and it never will be.

    (yeah, I intentionally misunderstood your statement about hijabs. Try writing more clearly next time so I can’t get away with that. You used to be an English teacher for Christ’s sake!)

  11. I am OK with ultra-Orthodox Jews wearing very strange clothing indeed and separating men from women in the synagogue, also with Sikhs and their turbans and ceremonial daggers (the kirpan), and also know very well that here in Australia it is often the choice of Muslim women, especially young women, often against their parents’ preference, to wear the hijab. Far from being demeaned, these girls and young women often make a point of using very beautiful material in their head scarves. The full veil is less common among Australian Muslims, though I do note that more wear it here in Wollongong than I have seen in Sydney. This probably relates to where they have come from. Again you can be sure here in Oz where they don’t have to wear it — and very many do not — wearing it, especially among the young, is totally voluntary.

    I disagree with the attitude of most traditional practitioners of the Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — towards women in leadership roles and homosexuality, while knowing there are more progressive elements in all three on these and other issues. (I doubt, in fact, whether anyone from Adam through to the first kings of Israel was really a historical figure, any more than Jason or Perseus were. That puts me well out of step with the fundamentalists in all three Abrahamic faiths.)

    As for Martin, he was merely questioning how literal you are that Islam is “devil worship” or if you have even thought what that unjust travesty of Islam would actually mean, if it were true — which it is not.

  12. Thanks for defending me twice, Neil (I think that’s what you were doing). You referred to my attempted use of irony but mercifully ignored the sarcasm. That’s the second time he’s called me creepy now but there again I call him Simplicio so I hope we’re even.

    Kevin, you called the alleged God of the Qur’an a devil-god. As Neil suggested, I was exploring what that idea might mean to a believer in the supernatural. If you call something a devil-god, you have to expect to be called on whether you truly believe in such garbage or are simply rhetoricising. I wouldn’t normally call something non-existent a devil-god (I might use ‘scare’ quotes….ooooo, I’m scared). That’s why I extended your apparently literal meaning to see where it led.

    I don’t want to add much more to this argument but I really want to get you to question being so certain of what Islam is. That is exactly what jihadists also do and that hasn’t exactly worked out well. I don’t think you doing the same thing is any more useful. As you may have noted earlier, I am an atheist, but as they say: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar (I think). So I’ll try to honify my tones if I get back to you again. You really are a laugh riot what with your views on this and AGW among other things but your vinegar tones aren’t convincing me (or I’m sure anyone) any more than mine are you (or anyone). Neil’s measured responses are much more coherent.

  13. Sorry, was afk for a bit. Neil, I don’t think you understand what I’m concerned about. I talk about the misogynistic tendencies of islam and how many women are forced to wear overbearing clothing against their will… or be whipped, jailed, or sometimes even killed by followers of islam. And you have the audacity to equate this travesty with ‘…ultra-Orthodox Jews wearing very strange clothing indeed…‘!?

    It’s not about the clothing being ‘very strange’, it’s about being FORCED TO WEAR certain clothing or else get bullied or beaten. Have you heard of a Jew being beaten for not wearing the correct clothing? A Christian? ANY religion other than islam? No, it’s not the same thing, Neil.

    I don’t like to name-call, but I feel fairly comfortable calling you a misogynist now. Too long have you dismissed the debasement of women by islam as being ‘part of the muslim culture’. That doesn’t make it ok. And the fact that you promote it in this article makes you not ok too.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Martin, sadly, I took your words to mean that you thought that I was a holy roller. I see now that you realize that I am not. But since both you and I (I’m guessing) are not, your entire previous comment means nothing. It’s just an expansion on what you think a God and a devil god are. It might make a great novel though.

    The main reason I call the koran’s god a devil god is that it worships death. Another is that it commands the adherent to treat half the world’s people (women) with condescension, and 5/6ths of the world with aggression (non-devil-god-believers). I call that evil. You can call it what you want, but I call it evil. Heck, Neil calls it a religion of peace, if you can believe it!

    …but I really want to get you to question being so certain of what Islam is.

    Martin, I can’t help being certain of what islam is. Islam is the koran and hadiths. Nothing more. Muslims may be more than that, but islam is not. I have not read much of the hadiths, but I’m quite fluent in the koran. Let me tell you now – if there is such a thing as evil, the koran is evil. Anyone who truly follows that book is evil in my mind. Thankfully, ~900 million people who call themselves muslims don’t follow the koran verbatim. But around 200 million do. That’s too many evil people.

    And don’t worry about saying that I’m not convincing you of anything Martin. You’re not convincing me of anything either. I consider your views on AGW humorous too! I don’t know about calling them a ‘laugh riot’… it sound too Charles Shulz. But funny. We’re killing the planet! We’re doomed! Heh. I had a depressed gf in hs who was like that. Sadly, it’s quite endearing, which makes it hard to end.

    Have a great week!

  14. Every woman in a hijab I have ever spoken to chose to wear it. Very few Australian Muslims would be otherwise.

    Islam is the Koran and the Hadiths (neither of which command wearing the veil) and also how these are interpreted. The Tanach (Old Testament to most of us) clearly advocates genocide at the orders of a God who plays favourites — read Joshua and Judges some day — but fortunately only the maddest Jews advocate this today.

    Why not take notice of Tikno, Kevin, who (unlike you, Martin, or me) has lived as a non-Muslim in the world’s largest (by population) Muslim country all his life and seems to be wondering whether you were once bitten on the bum by a rabid Muslim?

    BTW, Kevin, you have noticed that the world’s leading Climate Change sceptic is now singing a somewhat different tune. You (and the Tea Party folks) may well be suffering from Climate Change obsolescence.

  15. Are you blind, or just a collaborator? I can’t figure out which, but my opinion of you has never been so low, Neil. Gee, let’s ignore the beatings and rapes that muslim women incur daily simply by not wearing a sheet over their bodies.

    But don’t click that link. That would only enlighten you. The female acquaintances you’ve met who were burdened with islam probably know best. You shouldn’t research further.

    Hey, do you know what would be cool? Why not go balls to the wall and say, ‘Let the muslim women eat cake!” You seem as insensitive as Marie anyway… why not go for a notoriacal quote? There’s big money in misogyny… at least in the world of islam. It’s in their scripture.

  16. I speak of the Muslims I know about first hand, and Tikno even more so. I am not denying bad things happen in any place where fanatics rule — our own pasts give plenty of evidence of that from burning witches through to the grim effects of Catholic teaching on birth control or divorce, when enforced strictly.

  17. I wish you’d stop putting words in Tikno’s mouth. And since I’m wishing, I wish you’d provide an example of Catholics being beaten or raped for not following Catholic law in the last few decades. Otherwise, the comparison is quite weak.

    I realize that you can’t admit it out loud because of your multiculti beliefs, but I hope that you can admit to yourself that equating the horrors of islam with the horrors of pretty much any other organized system is unrealistic. I guess Pol Pot’s Cambodia was close, but that’s about it.

  18. That’s the second time he’s called me creepy now but there again I call him Simplicio so I hope we’re even.

    About naming you creepy, Martin… I have a gross lesson to teach you. It starts with an ancient Amazonian parable:

    Once upon a time, there were three adventurers – Kevin, Neil and Martin. They wanted to travel across a great jungle in the Amazon basin, but were afraid because of the mighty Foo bird, who killed all who entered that section of the jungle. Regardless, they decided to do it.

    They started off on their journey, and about a quarter of the way through the jungle they heard, “Foo… foo… pphllllbth.” The bird had pooped on Kevin’s head. He wiped it off, and died on the spot.

    About halfway through the jungle, they heard, “Foo… foo… pphllllbth.” The bird had pooped on Neil’s head. He wiped it off, and died on the spot.

    Martin said, “Screw this!” and took off running. He was only 100 yards from the end of the jungle when he heard, “Foo… foo… pphllllbth.” The bird had pooped on his head. He ignored it and kept on running. Martin made it out of the jungle!

    Decades later, at the ripe old age of 97, Martin wiped the poop off of his head. He immediately died. The moral of the story, Martin, is “If the Foo shits, wear it.”

    I’m sure I’m not the first to call you creepy, Martin. Instead of taking all that effort to deny it, perhaps you should embrace that characteristic of yourself. There’s worse things than being creepy. Plus, there’s money to be made in creepiness. Just ask Christopher Walken.

  19. My multicultural beliefs, Kevin, are a simple consequence of living in an actual multicultural society. where some Muslims are total nutters and indeed dangerous but most are not. You might say I am simply resisting hysteria and apocalyptic scare scenarios — even on our other bone of contention (climate) I take the most extreme scenarios with a grain of salt.

    By far the majority of the victims of Islamist extremism are other Muslims; I despise, for example, those murderous Taliban fools who think it fine to blow up Shia Muslims over doctrinal difference when their country is undergoing the worst natural disaster for years.

  20. Putting words in Tikno’s mouth? Hardly.

    It’s just a matter of each individual skills in understanding religion wisely. Any negative action will produce another opposite reaction. Perhaps the best that we can do is to calm the opposite reaction using a simple way called “restrain ourselves” to react negatively. Indeed a little contribution for peace.

    That’s my experience here so that I have many Muslim friends for sharing our daily life like the water flows naturally.

  21. Thanks for using Tikno’s words instead of your own put into his mouth. It’s very refreshing. It’s also great to hear you say that you don’t approve of the muslims that are ‘total nutters’. Now if only I can get you to understand that those ‘total nutters’ are the true adherents of islam, and the rest are like non-practicing Christians, we’ll have completely grokked this subject.

    Of course, we’ll still have bones of contention, specifically in the AGW and government/taxation areas, but at least neither of us will be supporting a murderous religion anymore. That’s something to be proud of.

  22. From an article by William Rivers Pitt, always readable. He was referring to GOP exploitation of anti-muslim hatred for political gain. He did, however, unearth an anecdote on the lighter side :

    There’s a joint in West Haven, Connecticut, called the Fire and Ice Hookah Lounge. By all reports, it’s a nifty little place; the theme is Middle Eastern, the hookah smoke is tasty, and the belly dancers are something to see indeed. Last Thursday, a fellow named Kevin Morris, also of West Haven, came ditty-bopping into Fire and Ice and staked his claim to first-ballot entry into the Dumbass Hall of Fame.

    Mr. Morris, it seems, decided that any place with hookahs and belly dancers must be a festering nest of Muslims, and decided to give the patrons what-for. According to news reports, he barged through the door and started screaming racist and anti-Muslim epithets at everyone there. The crowd didn’t really react until Morris tried to throttle the bartender…at which point, the patrons rose up righteous and basically beat the ever-loving Jesus out of him. Morris’ mug shot looks like his face went through a wheat thresher, and as of now, he remains in police custody.

    Hatred and stupidity, folks. When they ride in the same applecart, things can get truly dangerous. But sometimes, and only rarely, things can also get truly funny.

    Thank you, Mr. Morris.

  23. “Tikno’s word’s unambiguously endorse my own thoughts on the subject…”

    Perhaps. I’m just saying that I find his words invigorating, and your twisting of his words somewhat dirty. It’s always better to quote someone than to put your opinions in their mouths, Neil. If he’s ‘unambiguously endorsing you’, then you should be able to just quote him, right? Rephrasing or imagining what he might say is not allowed in the world of journalism.

    My point is that you are wrong to imagine that even all practising Muslims, leaving aside nominal ones, are terrorists or murderous. It is quite clearly not true.

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever said that. I’ve only said that people who follow the koran to the letter are terrorists, murderers, and misogynists. That’s quite different from what you claim I said, and it’s also quite painfully true. If you’d get off of your butt and read the demonic koran, you’d know this to be true by now. Jihadi terrorists are not breaking a single rule in the koran that has not been abrogated. They’re destined for paradise, according to the koran.

    It’s part of the reason that the koran is, yes, quite evil.

  24. In what way was I, in your opinion, twisting Tikno’s words?

    “The Koran is evil” is the stupidest and least helpful thing anyone can say given the current state of the world. Why? Because very many good people, peaceful people, hold that the Koran is the word of God.

    Thus this is as much part of the tradition of Islam as anything else:

    Ali bin Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, wrote a long letter of guidance after appointing Maalik al-Ashtar to be Governor of Egypt. He advises the new governor that his administration will succeed only if he governs with concern for justice, equity, probity and the prosperity of all.

    The passages excerpted below illustrate the timeless applicability of Hazrat/Imam* Ali’s admonitions. The letter itself is contained in the Nahjal Balaagha, which is a collection of the letters and speeches of the fourth Caliph.

    Manifest religious tolerance: Amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you [and] are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than yours, [who] are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to; they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you.

    Equity is best: A policy which is based on equity will be largely appreciated. Remember that the displeasure of common men, the have-nots and the depressed persons overbalances the approval of important persons, while the displeasure of a few big people will be excused…if the general public and the masses of your subjects are happy with you.

    The rich always want more: They are the people who will be the worst drag upon you during your moments of peace and happiness, and the least useful to you during your hours of need and adversity. They hate justice the most. They will keep demanding more and more out of State resources and will seldom be satisfied with what they receive and will never be obliged for the favor shown to them if their demands are justifiably refused.

    A healthy society is interdependent: The army and the common men who pay taxes are two important classes, but in a well faring state their well-being cannot be guaranteed without proper functioning and preservation of the other classes, the judges and magistrates, the secretaries of the State and the officers of various departments who collect various revenues, maintain law and order as well as preserve peace and amity among the diverse classes of the society. They also guard the rights and privileges of the citizens and look to the performance of various duties by individuals and classes. And the prosperity of this whole set-up depends upon the traders and industrialists. They act as a medium between the consumers and suppliers. They collect the requirements of society. They exert to provide goods….Then comes the class of the poor and the disabled persons. It is absolutely necessary that they should be looked after, helped and provided….at least the minimum necessities for well-being and contented living….

    Ensure an honest judiciary: You must select people of excellent character and high caliber with meritorious records….When they realize that they have committed a mistake in judgement, they should not insist on it by trying to justify it….they should not be corrupt, covetous or greedy. They should not be satisfied with ordinary enquiry or scrutiny of a case but…must attach the greatest importance to reasoning, arguments and proofs. They should not get tired of lengthy discussions and arguments. They must exhibit patience and perseverance…and when truth is revealed to them they must pass their judgements….These appointments must be made…without any kind of favoritism being shown or influence being accepted; otherwise tyranny, corruption and misrule will reign….Let the judiciary be above every kind of executive pressure or influence, above fear or favour, intrigue or corruption.

    Poverty leads to ruination: If a country is prosperous and if its people are well-to-do, then it will happily and willingly bear any burden. The poverty of the people is the actual cause of the devastation and ruination of a country and the main cause of the poverty of the people is the desire of its ruler and officers to amass wealth and possessions whether by fair or foul means.

    Corruption undermines national well-being: I want to advise you about your businessmen and industrialists. Treat them well….They are the sources of wealth to the country….One more thing….you must keep an eye over their activities as well. You know that they are usually stingy misers, intensely self-centered and selfish, suffering from the obsession of grasping and accumulating wealth. They often hoard their goods to get more profit out of them by creating scarcity and by indulging in black-marketing.

    Stay in touch with the people: You must take care not to cut yourself off from the public. Do not place a curtain of false prestige between you and those over whom you rule. Such pretension and shows of pomp and pride are in reality manifestations of inferiority complex and vanity. The result of such an attitude is that you remain ignorant of the conditions of your subjects and of the actual cases of the events occurring in the State.

    Peace brings prosperity: If your enemy invites you to a peace treaty…., never refuse to accept such an offer, because peace will bring rest and comfort to your armies, will relieve you of anxieties and worries, and will bring prosperity and affluence to your people. But even after such treaties be very careful of the enemies and do not place too much confidence in their promises, because they often resort to peace treaties to deceive and delude you and take advantage of your negligence, carelessness and trust. At the same time, be very careful never to break your promise with your enemy; never forsake the protection or support that you have offered to him, never go back upon your word and never violate the terms of the treaty.

    History reveals all: Do not reserve for yourself anything which is a common property of all and in which others have equal rights. Do not close your eyes from glaring malpractice of officers, miscarriage of justice and misuse of rights, because you will be held responsible for the wrong thus done to others. In the near future your wrong practices and maladministration will be exposed and you will be held responsible and punished for the wrong done to the helpless and oppressed people.

    See also The Moderate Muslim’s Fate.

    …Interesting about the nature of this debate, in its very narrowness, is that it marks the first time Islam has become a serious domestic issue in the US, frequent invocations of Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or Iran notwithstanding. Indeed it is the centre’s opponents who are concerned with Islam as a domestic issue, whereas its supporters routinely back it by referring to the importance of promoting “moderate” Islam abroad in a way that once would have been called imperial. But this concentration on domestic politics, including the allegedly Muslim background and sympathies of President Obama, have little to do with a Republican effort to reclaim votes in mid-term elections by the use of a wedge issue. Crucial instead is the fact that those opposing the centre, far more than its backers, appear to have realised that the Global War on Terror is effectively over, and that the US faces no existential threat from terrorism, despite the continuing possibility of random attacks at home and the need that still remains to deal with some insurgencies abroad.

    The fear that marked public reaction to the 9/11 attacks has vanished, together with the remarkable tolerance then displayed towards American Muslims, who might have been profiled and more readily picked up by agencies of the state, but didn’t suffer large scale violence against their persons or property. Indeed if anything the Bush administration was far more outspoken about the evils of “Islamophobia” and encouraging of “moderate” Muslims including Rauf than its Democratic successor, something that indicates more than disingenuous politicking either then or now. For the popular outcry against American Muslims cannot be attributed to the calculations of party politics without falling into the realm of conspiracy theory. Instead it might be more productive to recognize that Muslims can be reviled today precisely because they are no longer feared as a global threat, having become domesticated into a minority like many others who faced discrimination in the past: ethnic Germans, Italians and Japanese during one or both World Wars, Catholics and Jews among religious communities, and today the Latin populations targeted as “illegal immigrants” alongside those old favourites for criminal profiling, African-Americans.

    However novel the circumstances, anti-Muslim feeling in the US, whether justified or not, falls into a received pattern of domestic prejudice against minorities. This marks Islam’s baptism by fire as an American religion, which is exactly what Rauf and his backers say they want, after all. Ten years from now there are likely to be books written and television programs made about the shameful history of anti-Muslim sentiment in the US, by which time Islam will have become naturalised within it precisely because of today’s debate. The truly interesting thing about the controversy, in other words, is neither Islam nor even “Islamophobia” but the transformation of right wing politics in the United States…

    • I see General Petraeus agrees with me. (Or I agree with him.)

      The top US commander in Afghanistan has criticised a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

      The Dove World Outreach Centre says it will burn the Muslim holy book as a warning against what it calls the “threat posed by Islam”.

      But General David Petraeus say the demonstration could cause significant problems for American troops overseas.

      “It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort,” he said in a statement.

      “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world, we are engaged with the Islamic community.”

      Army spokesman Lieutenant General William Caldwell says the plan has already caused a lot of anger in the region.

      “It has amongst the Afghan people – that’s correct,” he said.

      “It’s their holy book, and so when somebody says that they’re going to destroy that and cause a desecration to something that’s very sacred to them, it’s already stirred up a lot of discussion and concern amongst the people,” he said.

  25. “In what way was I, in your opinion, twisting Tikno’s words?”

    If you use Tikno’s words verbatim, then you are not twisting his words. When you imagine what he would have said, you are twisting his words. Legally, it’s called hearsay. Journalistically, it’s called ‘twisting a statement’. It’s not allowed in legal or journalism circles. As an English teacher, you should definitely know this. I hate to berate you, but wth, man? How can you not know this?

  26. I’m intrigued by your disdain for burning korans by that creepy pastor in Florida on 9/11. You clearly are against it, as am I. Why are you against it? Are you against the burning of American flags for the same reason, whatever that might be? Are you against violent protests over the koran burnings? If someone dies during this, who would you blame – the koran burner, or the islamist who commited the murder? Who would you be more vocal about?

    Just like when I pre-busted you on calling cold weather ‘weather’ and hot weather ‘global warming’, I think I’m about to bust you again. You’re likely to blame deaths on the koran burners instead of the murderous ideology that created the people who will do the killing. If it’s any consolation, you’re definitely a liberal.

  27. I think knowing Tikno’s viewpoint as I do to know what he most likely thinks about this issue was hardly “hearsay” etc. It was merely to extrapolate, correctly, as you may have noticed.

    Very glad that idiot has decided not to burn Korans. See my post this morning.

  28. Doh. The crazies from Oklahoma decide to burn it instead of the Florida pastor. This might actually become interesting. Those guys are such incredible A-holes that they might just start burning korans daily just to get in the news. They certainly won’t be concerned by troop security issues, and it is equally certain that they have a right to burn whatever book they want to.

  29. Repeat: NOT a victory mosque, never was a victory mosque, except in the eyes of those who believe it is, being the brainchild of the absolutely anti-terrorist anti-violence Cordoba Institute on whose site you will find this.

    …War leaves no victors, only victims. … Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures, it is our gift to each other.

    – Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1986

    and this

    Cordoba House will be built on the two fundamental commandments common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam: to love the Lord our creator with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength; and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We want to foster a culture of worship authentic to each religious tradition, and also a culture of forging personal bonds across religious traditions.

    As the post says, KNOW YOUR FRIENDS!!!!

  30. -The grand mosque of Cordoba was a victory mosque. The guy named his new mosque ‘Cordoba house’.

    -Many in the muslim world view the murder of 3,000 people and the destruction of the twin towers as a great victory over America.

    -The man is unwilling the mosque further away from ground zero despite great profit, a better location, being closer to the homes of the muslims who worship there, and the ability to quickly resolve this insult to the people and families of those who died at the mercilessness of islam nine years ago.

    These bullet points add up to two words – Victory mosque.

    But hey, call it whatever you want to. That’s what I’m going to do, at least.

  31. When the matter first surfaced in The New York Times in December nobody bothered.

    The Cordoba Institute celebrates a different aspect of Cordoba, that, for example, this was the place Jews fled to for safety:

    Cordoba reached the height of its glory under the rule of the Moors, who wrested Cordoba from the hands of the Romans in 711. Cordoba was proclaimed an emirate under the rule of the Damascus caliphate. In 756, Abd al-Rahman I rose to power and declared Cordoba independent of Damascus. It was in this era that Cordoba started to emerge as the biggest and greatest city in the world.

    Indeed, by the 10th century, Cordoba reached its very peak. Under Cordoba’s three great rulers, Abd-ar-Rahman III, al-Hakam II and Ia-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir (also known as Almansor), Cordoba became the center of education, economy and culture. Cordoba enjoyed prominence and majesty that was unequaled in all of Europe. It was the largest city in Europe, with its population reaching one million. It was also the first city to have lighted streets and indoor plumbing. The number of lavish baths reached to the hundreds.

    It was also during this time that the Jews enjoyed Cordoba’s eminence, living in Al-Andalus for almost four hundred years. The Jews established their community at the southwest of the city during the middle ages. In turn, the Jewish community gifted Cordoba and the world with Moises Maimonides and perhaps one of the most fascinating parts of the Historic Quarter of Cordoba today. Indeed, Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures peacefully coexisted during the enlightened rule of Al-Andalus.

    However, the Almoravids (Berbers from North Africa) attacked and overthrew the Moors. This began the decline of Cordoba. Its once formidable political structure collapsed, making it vulnerable to outside attacks.

    I have known about the Cordoba Initiative for several years and have read Imam Rauf’s book. There is no similarity at all between those who cheered 9/11 and Imam Rauf; the book in fact was written against such Muslims.

    People who have made a big issue of this are doing the USA a disservice, if the point is opposing what led to 9/11. Again, see also “Cool thoughts on a hot topic”, my post for 10 September here.

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