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  • A thorny question

    I have a question about one of the world's largest and most widespread religions. I want to stress that this is an honest inquiry on my part and not intended to be offensive in any way. My sincere apologies if it comes off as offensive. I'm trying my best not to sound that way. All I'm trying to do is find an honest answer to an honest question.

    What is the deal with Islam? I've heard it said that it preaches tolerence and love, yet doesn't the Koran also preach the doctrine of holy war? Or is that just a popular misconception? I've heard that Arabic translates very poorly into other languages, so a translation of the Koran could easily be worthless. If this is the case, how is a non-Arabic speaker able to understand what the doctrine really says?

    Why are Islamic fundamentalists so much more vicious than the fundies of other religions? Violence from the fundies of most religions is the exception rather than the rule, yet with Islamic fundies the opposite seems to be the case. As far as I can tell, their doctrine is "Kill all infidels". It seems like the first order of business after the religion's inception was to go on jihad across Africa and into southern Europe. I know all groups have pulled their share of dirty tricks thoughout history. Christianity had its crusades, inquisitions, and witch hunts. Israel is currently battling Palestine, but these things are a bit different, I think. The Inquisition and Witch Hunts in Christianity were usually Christian v Christian. The Israelis and Palestinians are fighting over territory. Yeah, religion is part of it, but it started out as a simple land grab. Islamic fundies seem to view things as Muslims v the World. Current Christian fundies are usually, at worst, annoying. They generally don't blow things up or kill people. Christian fundies with a penchant for violence are exceedingly rare, and there are not enough of them for there to be multiple cells of terrorists. If they weren't fighting over land in Israel, we probably wouldn't hear much about the Jews, either. Why are Islamic fundies so different? Is it, perhaps, more a cultural factor than a religious one? They say the fundies don't speak for most Muslims. Then who does? The fundies are the only ones we ever seem to hear from, and there seem to be an endless supply of Islamic terrorists all over the place. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention, but whenever these fruitcakes commit an atrocity, I don't think I've ever heard "mainstream" Muslims denounce it. I should think they would simply for the sake of public relations. Maybe they do and the media doesn't mention it. People acting in a sane and rational manner just aren't dramatic enough for the news. Maybe Islamic fundies are the mainstream of the religion. But why do Islamic fundies seem to be so much more prone to violence than the fundies of other religions? As I said, fundies in non-Muslim religions can be violent, but they are aberrations and usually not numerous enough to constitute a threat to many people.

    Once again, I would like to stress that this is an honest inquiry, not an attempt to be offensive or start a flame war. I have never lived around Muslims. All I know is what I've read in history books and gotten from the current media. All I ever hear or see is Muslims in a negative light. I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume that most Muslims aren't like that, but all I get is that negative imagery, and I start to wonder, "Are most of them like that? Surely not, yet all you ever hear is..."

    Someone please enlighten me. Do mainstream Muslims disagree with the fundies, or are the fundies mainstream? If the fundies are not, does the mainstream at least somewhat agree with the fundies? There are many terrorist groups in the world, but none seem to be so pervasive or numerous or as fanatical as the Muslim terrorists. Why?
    "I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgement." -- Cora Munroe in Last of the Mohicans

    "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -- Conan the Barbarian in "Tower of the Elephant" by Robert E. Howard

    "Moral outrage has little effect on a cat." -- Garrison Keillor

    "There aren't many problems than can't be fixed
    with $700 and a .30-06." -- Jeff Cooper. Or maybe it was his daughter Lindy. I can't remember.

  • #2
    Valnorran..I'm certainly no Quran expert...however, when September 11th happened, there were a lot of broadcasts about the true meaning of Islamic Jihad, and I watched alot of them. What I heard, was that "Jihad" is actually supposed to be an "inner battle" that one wages. What i've also heard, is that if a Jihad or War must be declared, no children, women, tree's, or buildings are supposed to be harmed in the process. So it seems to me, much like other religious doctrines, things have been misinterpreted by those with personal goals, and motivations. Twisted, and used to their own agenda.

    As for WHY these fundamentalist radicals do this???? I am personally of the belief that it is because of the culture that they have been raised in. Not necessarily Religion...but...think of all of the wars these people have seen. Poverty, Starvation, Public execution, children stepping on landmines, rogue governments, warlords...these people are angry at a million and one horrible things which happen n their lives every day. They've been raised in a culture where violence is displayed/seen every day, in one form or another. Where they MUST fight for their survival. In my opinion, people who live in that sort of environment, will become part of that environment themselves. They don't know any other way. It must be easy for people who are starving, in fear for their lives, in fear for their CHILDRENS lives, to believe any prophet, or maniac who promises them a better life if A, B, and C tasks are completed. For instance, someone like Osama Bin Ladin, comes in, and tells them that if they strap a bomb to their chests, and blow themselves up in a crowded islamic sector, they will receive the gratitude of Allah, and reap a reward for them and their families, both spiritually, and materially (a lot of money is given to the families of suicide bombers by the groups who sponsor them). If YOU were starving, impoverished, saw your children wasting away, or suffering from limbs torn off by landmines (which these prophets might blame America, or other western countries for laying, and which may in part be true)....how easy do you think it would be for YOU to believe these things?

    Desperation, motivates a multitude of sins. IMO..many of the people who join these groups, do so out of desperation. Then there is the issue of it becoming something which their society see's as heroic. People from all differen't cultures, are effected/motivated by the things which their society see's as patriotic, or heroic, etc. What might start off as a few desperate individuals, becomes far more, when it is touted as an honorable, heroic action.

    But...how do the rich people like Osama Bin Ladin, become so hatefilled? I don't know his entire biography. But I'd say emotional imbalance. Some horrible things he has witnessed or lived through, and for whatever reason, in his brain, he just chooses to pin the blame on one thing..Western Civilization. In short..it's probably a simple problem of mental instability. Why did Hitler do the things that HE did? Mental instability. The problem is....they know how to talk to others, and lure others into their little world, by exposing, and manipulating those peoples needs. Making them dependent upon the maniac himself. Etc.
    Lucas Michael, you are with me still. Not a day will go by that I won't remember. Lucas Michael Demascena con. 5/15, dec. 6/29. Wait for me.

    Forum Guide- History Forum

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    • #3
      Thanks, Danus. Even though you may not be an "expert", it's reassuring to hear this from an outside source. Interesting concept of warfare, that bit about harming no noncombatants or the environment. If wars must be fought, this is how it should be done. Up until the 20th century or so, we westerners were pretty good about not harming noncombatants.

      Good points about the environment they grow up in. I suppose it would render them vulnerable to a smooth talker. After a particularly low point in my life (which I am only now climbing out of) I had an exceptionally depressing thought: due to the $100,000 life insurance policy on me, I'd be a better provider for my family if I were dead, because that insurance policy is far more than I could ever hope to make. Now, I never seriously considered doing myself in, but I began to see how someone could become so desperate. Being a "have-not" who constantly has the "haves" shoved in his face over a decade or so would probably lead to considerable anger. Add all those other factors you named, and suddenly suicide bombers aren't so farfetched. Hell, their lives are so miserable that the prospect of dying probably isn't very frightening.

      Thanks for an intelligent reply.
      "I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgement." -- Cora Munroe in Last of the Mohicans

      "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -- Conan the Barbarian in "Tower of the Elephant" by Robert E. Howard

      "Moral outrage has little effect on a cat." -- Garrison Keillor

      "There aren't many problems than can't be fixed
      with $700 and a .30-06." -- Jeff Cooper. Or maybe it was his daughter Lindy. I can't remember.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A thorny question

        Originally posted by Valnorran

        What is the deal with Islam? I've heard it said that it preaches tolerence and love, yet doesn't the Koran also preach the doctrine of holy war?

        Why are Islamic fundamentalists so much more vicious than the fundies of other religions?
        *Snort* Apparently you havent had much contact with Christian fundementalists...there are many kinds of vicious, my friend.

        To expect the worst is to never have an unpleasant surprise.


        Men often mistake the strength of their emotion for the strength of their argument.

        The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic.

        I am... <a href="http://www.imood.com/users/Marchosias"><img src="http://moods.imood.com/display/uname=Marchosias/fg=FFFFFF/bg=330066/imood.gif" alt="The current mood of Marchosias" border="0"></a>

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        • #5
          heh..

          Marchosias...i just gotta say: indeed. in-freaking-deed.
          In our social problems class, we learned some pieces of the Koran...and a lot of it is very peaceful. thep roblem is that many people can take it to mean many different things..for example, someone with a twisted mind could take the bible one way, distort it, and think their ways are justified, whereas a completely passive person could see it as the book of all that is holy and good. *shrug* i'm not an expert at all, but that's basically what i learned from that class.
          Remember, people will forget what you said...people will forget what you did..but they'll never forget how you made them feel.

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          • #6
            Any religion can get violent when the holier than thou types step in and any religion can be twisted no matter how good it is. There will always be people who feel that it is their way or the highway which is really sad. You see it in pagans too.
            Yes people are talking about you behind your back. That is where all the laughter is coming from.
            Dear Lord, I pray for:
            Wisdom, To understand a man Love, To forgive him and Patience, For his moods Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength
            I'll just beat him to death. Amen!

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            • #7
              Re: A thorny question

              Originally posted by Valnorran
              Maybe I'm not paying enough attention, but whenever these fruitcakes commit an atrocity, I don't think I've ever heard "mainstream" Muslims denounce it. I should think they would simply for the sake of public relations.
              I am just curious as to why you would find it the responsibility of these non-fruitcakes to denounce the fruitcakes of their religion. I mean, what really is the point in doing so? To say.."Whoa wait a minute we are not all like that..we are a loving peaceful people.. yada yada.." Why not just let your own actions speak for themselves..and damn the opinions of others because you know within yourself that you are not wrong and not represented by the fruitcakes..as does Allah/God and after all isn't that what our spirituality is about...rather than public relations?


              BTW, I am going to move this to Theology and Philosophy since it fits a little better there. Remember it is great for us to attempt to understand other religions, but we have to try to keep the respect.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it's also important to point out that just because the American media isn't airing stories every night of Muslims who want to tell the world that these groups do not represent them, that doesn't mean they don't feel that way. I have several Muslim friends and they are just as devastated by all of this as anyone else and the first thing out of their mouths anytime the subject is brought up is "That is not Islam."

                "The Triple Goddess as Maiden, Mother and Crone, is a relatively new concept which was made popular during the 20th century. Hekate is today most often equated to the Crone aspect of this triplicate archetypal image, but this idea of Hekate as Crone Goddess is one which would have been completely alien to the people of ancient Greece. The only possible explanation for the continued association today is that somehow the darker, scarier aspects of Hekate has been equated to wisdom in old age, which is, when you think about it rather ludicrous." -- Sorita D'Este. Read more in the book: Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Perhaps its cyclical?

                  What I mean is that, if we look back in history, we see highly violent and terror-filled Christian regimes, the Crusades are a good example of that. At the same time there was a relatively tolerant society within Islam.

                  Now we see the positions reversed (though the increase in Christian fundamentalism may show the beginning of a new cycle) and (some) Muslims are now taking on the role of agressors.

                  Perhaps it will turn back again, or perhaps another religion will take its turn at the attacking of others of different faiths.
                  I think that in the coming time
                  The hearts and hopes of men
                  The mountain tops of life shall climb,
                  The Gods return again.

                  -George William Russell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There is a theory, commonly referred to as just "Atavism" that countries or societies need war in order to remain viable. Wars usually unite a people against a common enemy, they renew patriotism and they boost the economy. I read an article a few years ago during an American Foreign Policy course that charted American atavism. The author not only showed the pattern, he predicted what is happening now simply based on a cycle the timeline pointed to. It sounds like, Sgeir that that might be a little of what you are alluding too.

                    "The Triple Goddess as Maiden, Mother and Crone, is a relatively new concept which was made popular during the 20th century. Hekate is today most often equated to the Crone aspect of this triplicate archetypal image, but this idea of Hekate as Crone Goddess is one which would have been completely alien to the people of ancient Greece. The only possible explanation for the continued association today is that somehow the darker, scarier aspects of Hekate has been equated to wisdom in old age, which is, when you think about it rather ludicrous." -- Sorita D'Este. Read more in the book: Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I also have alot of Islamic friends who were absolutely devastated by the events of Sept 11th. And many of them went out of their way, in the weeks following, to show their support for America, and the "Positive" parts of their religion. If more Islamic people do not seem to denounce the actions of the militants, I would say that l agree with Semele. I don' t think they should HAVE to justify themselves in light of the less palatable parts of their religion. I also think that perhaps they show their differences by their actions, far more than by their words. And...to tell the truth...in the months directly following the WTC attacks, the Islamic Community in the US was under heavy fire from racists, and bigots, and ignorant people. Alot of them were probably just trying to keep their heads low to avoid getting them shot off. Just think of the horrible stories of Islamic people being attacked by people in the days following Sept 11th. With such volatile emotions running around, do you really think they were going to raise their hands and insert their opinions? Many ignorant people didn't WANT to hear the Islamic's defense. Many ignorant people didn't WANT to see that there is a difference between being Islamic, and being a fundamentalist radical. They just wanted blood. Period. I can hardly blame them for not speaking out. They realized that tension was high, emotions were running amuck, and that they were in danger because of the ignorance, and anger abounding in America in these times. They wanted to stay safe. Who can blame them?
                      Lucas Michael, you are with me still. Not a day will go by that I won't remember. Lucas Michael Demascena con. 5/15, dec. 6/29. Wait for me.

                      Forum Guide- History Forum

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sgeir
                        Perhaps its cyclical?

                        What I mean is that, if we look back in history, we see highly violent and terror-filled Christian regimes, the Crusades are a good example of that. At the same time there was a relatively tolerant society within Islam.

                        Now we see the positions reversed (though the increase in Christian fundamentalism may show the beginning of a new cycle) and (some) Muslims are now taking on the role of agressors.

                        Perhaps it will turn back again, or perhaps another religion will take its turn at the attacking of others of different faiths.
                        Interesting theory. It would explain much.
                        "I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgement." -- Cora Munroe in Last of the Mohicans

                        "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -- Conan the Barbarian in "Tower of the Elephant" by Robert E. Howard

                        "Moral outrage has little effect on a cat." -- Garrison Keillor

                        "There aren't many problems than can't be fixed
                        with $700 and a .30-06." -- Jeff Cooper. Or maybe it was his daughter Lindy. I can't remember.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Re: A thorny question

                          Originally posted by Marchosias
                          *Snort* Apparently you havent had much contact with Christian fundementalists...there are many kinds of vicious, my friend.
                          My point was that Christian fundies generally don't make it a habit to blow up planeloads of people. Islamic fundies will. Danus said earlier that such volatility was likely the result of the culture/surroundings in which these terrorists are raised, rather than their religion. I think she's right. Religion is just the vehicle with which they express their rage and hate.
                          "I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgement." -- Cora Munroe in Last of the Mohicans

                          "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -- Conan the Barbarian in "Tower of the Elephant" by Robert E. Howard

                          "Moral outrage has little effect on a cat." -- Garrison Keillor

                          "There aren't many problems than can't be fixed
                          with $700 and a .30-06." -- Jeff Cooper. Or maybe it was his daughter Lindy. I can't remember.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            an important thing to remember is this: fundies are fundies. Be them Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, Buddhist (though I havn't seen any of those *has to surpress a giggle at the mental image of a fundie buddhist monk*), or any religion out there. . . Fundies are the fanatics, the ones who have an agenda, and they use their religion as an excuse to accomplish this. Whether they truely belive it, or are simply using it to foster support or sympathy, they aren't being true to their own religion.

                            fundies are a whole 'nother class. They're like the Chaotic Evil of religion.
                            "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
                            We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

                            Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science

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                            • #15
                              Every religion has its fundies...and in todays's society, unfortuanely all you hear is the negative side of things....and not alot of positive things...hence why its hard to gather all the information on all sides of the spectrum of the religion...every religion throughout history has tried to force people to accept there religion as their own. History and I feel that a few fundies from the christian coalition have been trying to force "the will of god and instill His goodness" all over the world for way too long. Now I am not for all the chaos arising out the middle east...but christianity has done alot of things as well as other religions to bring this kind of negativity unto themselves...I wish if we had to go to war just once it wouldn't be about religion...God and Goddess have no business being forced and used when it comes to war. But that is my opinion. If you want to talk to the gods yourslef in a private moment, kewl...I am off my soapbox now I know this post was more venting than any viable info you were looking for I am still on a mindset from War with Iraq in one of the other little chat rooms on here!!!!
                              Just to verify...I was raised a Christian and had numerous problems with people and places that area ffiliated with it, but I have also met some really kewl people who are not only Christian but they aren't trying to convert you either. So, I hope thatI have not offended anyone because We all are entitled to opinions in here. SO I apologize in advance if I do offend anyone.
                              We now return our souls to the creator and as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness, Let our chant fill the air that others may know: In the land of the night, (in the depths of the eclipse - like age of iron) the Ship of the Sun is drawn by the Grateful Dead.

                              Conversation between hubby and I: "What are you doing?" I asked...he stated "In the words of the great prophet Sarah..
                              (me)..whatever I damn well please!"


                              The entire sum of existence is the magic of being needed by just 1 other person. Vi Putnam



                              Thank you CoS for the kewl sig!

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