Islam and Islamists

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jimhabegger
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Re: Islam and Islamists

#181

Post by jimhabegger » Sun May 29, 2016 5:38 am

Sorry, I forgot to revise #4 above.

I'm agreeing now with banning Islam and deporting Muslims, leaving the meanings of "banning Islam" and "deporting Muslims" open to discussion and revision, as you have been doing.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#182

Post by jimhabegger » Sun May 29, 2016 3:03 pm

Steersman, I'm agreeing with banning some parts of Islam, and some Muslims, following your example of arbitrarily choosing which parts of Islam to ban, and which Muslims to deport, and changing my mind about that whenever I want to.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#183

Post by jimhabegger » Sun May 29, 2016 3:29 pm

Steersman, I'm agreeing with banning some parts of Islam, and some Muslims, following your example of ignoring or refusing to answer some questions about which parts of Islam to ban, and which Muslims to deport.

On a related topic, I don't think it's always wrong for the actions and policies of a government to impose undeserved hardships on some people, and I don't think that anyone could consistently argue that it is, other than by saying that it's wrong to have any government at all. I think that anyone who agrees to have any government at all would agree to some government actions and policies that they know would impose some undeserved hardships on some people. What do you think about that?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#184

Post by Steersman » Mon May 30, 2016 12:20 am

jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, I'm agreeing with banning some parts of Islam, and some Muslims, following your example of ignoring or refusing to answer some questions about which parts of Islam to ban, and which Muslims to deport. ....
Well, I'm certainly glad you agree with the idea of banning at least "some parts of Islam, and some Muslims", but I think you're again being egregiously evasive, at best, as I have rather clearly, and repeatedly, argued for closing the borders to Muslim immigration, and deporting every last Muslim - at least those who won't "piss on the Quran", either figuratively or literally. Although I might consider just starting with closing the madrasas and deporting the imams when Trump puts me in charge of his immigration department.

But, somewhat apropos of which, and to read something into the record, some quotes from a review of Ibn Warraq's Why I'm Not a Muslim by Anthony Flew which I ran across the other evening as a result of a "discussion" with an American Muslim:
Flew wrote:Turning away from Mecca Antony Flew

Why I am not a Muslim, Ibn Warraq, Prometheus Books ....

Although [Warraq] does make the crucial point that all true Muslims are as such fundamentalists, and that this term should not be applied only to the Ayatollah Khomeini and his like (p. 11) he does not either make it adequately or insist upon it consistently. ....

On this understanding a fully believing Christian does not have to be fundamentalist. Instead it is both necessary and sufficient to accept the Apostles and/or The Nicene Creed. In Islam, however, the situation is altogether different. For, whereas only a very small proportion of all the propositions contained in the Old and New Testaments are presented as statements made directly by God in any of the three persons of the Trinity, The Koran consists entirely and exclusively of what are alleged to be revelations from Allah (God). Therefore, with regard to The Koran, all Muslims must be as such fundamentalists; and anyone denying anything asserted in The Koran ceases, ipso facto, to be properly accounted a Muslim. Those whom the media call fundamentalists would therefore better be described as revivalists. ....

Why I am not a Muslim gives readers abundant excellent reasons for not becoming or remaining Muslims and also makes a compelling case for the conclusion that Islam is flatly incompatible with the establishment and maintenance of the equal individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state. It thus provides further support for Mervyn Hiskett's more particular contentions about the threat to British traditions and values arising from our rapidly growing Muslim minority. ....

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#185

Post by Kirbmarc » Mon May 30, 2016 1:57 am

Steersman wrote:
<snip>

But, somewhat apropos of which, and to read something into the record, some quotes from a review of Ibn Warraq's Why I'm Not a Muslim by Anthony Flew which I ran across the other evening as a result of a "discussion" with an American Muslim:
Flew wrote:Turning away from Mecca Antony Flew

Why I am not a Muslim, Ibn Warraq, Prometheus Books ....

Although [Warraq] does make the crucial point that all true Muslims are as such fundamentalists, and that this term should not be applied only to the Ayatollah Khomeini and his like (p. 11) he does not either make it adequately or insist upon it consistently. ....

On this understanding a fully believing Christian does not have to be fundamentalist. Instead it is both necessary and sufficient to accept the Apostles and/or The Nicene Creed. In Islam, however, the situation is altogether different. For, whereas only a very small proportion of all the propositions contained in the Old and New Testaments are presented as statements made directly by God in any of the three persons of the Trinity, The Koran consists entirely and exclusively of what are alleged to be revelations from Allah (God). Therefore, with regard to The Koran, all Muslims must be as such fundamentalists; and anyone denying anything asserted in The Koran ceases, ipso facto, to be properly accounted a Muslim. Those whom the media call fundamentalists would therefore better be described as revivalists. ....

Why I am not a Muslim gives readers abundant excellent reasons for not becoming or remaining Muslims and also makes a compelling case for the conclusion that Islam is flatly incompatible with the establishment and maintenance of the equal individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state. It thus provides further support for Mervyn Hiskett's more particular contentions about the threat to British traditions and values arising from our rapidly growing Muslim minority. ....
Here's where Flew, in my opinion, is a bit too eager to let Christianity off the hook, and to subscribe to a view of Islam which is too restrictive (and inspired by a definition which Wahabis and Salafis make, which isn't really useful). Flew had a bad habit of defending Christianity and Deism in spite of evidence even before he converted.

Christianity used to present the entire Bible as the word of God. The Galilei process, for example, was about the literal meaning of a prayer which a Jewish warlord made to Yawhe, where he asked to "stop the Sun". Even today the Religious Right in the US supports Biblical literalism, and that's why they have so many problems with the Theory of Evolution.

[Yes, I'm overly simplifying both the Galileo process and the Religious Right, but the basic gist of what I'm saying is true]

On the other hand the "Muslim revivalism" surely exists, but has a precise definition: Wahabism and Salafites. They're the ones who claim that all other Muslims aren't "real Muslims" and that you need to accept everything which is written in the Quran as the literal word of Allah.

They've been very successful in the West thanks to the massive amount of fundings they've gotten from our supposed "allies" Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Sunni Muslims in the West have been pretty much exposed only to Wahabi and Salafi imams, and they've followed their preaching.

Many Shia Muslims, on the other hand, often have ties to the theocratic revivalism of the Iranian regime, which is now locked into a struggle with the Gulf States over the supremacy over OPEC.

Both those groups don't represent the entirety of Islam. While all religious confessions have the potential of being authoritarian, as religious ideas are authoritarian to their core, many sects of Christianity and Islam have at lest left some wiggle room for "interpretation" of the Holy Books, which makes it easier for them to accept and come to terms with modernity (and to adapt to a secular state).

The Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council, or the Ismailis, the Sufis, the Ahmadi and the Ba'hai are still dogmatic, authoritarian groups, but they're not necessarily advocating violence or a subversion of liberal democracy to obtain their goals.

They should be criticized and mocked freely, and they shouldn't be let in a position of power, but as long as their practitioners don't directly promote violence or a subversion of the liberal democratic principles they should be free to practice their beliefs (and they should be protected by those who wish to harm them, which in the case of non-Wahabi/Salafis Muslims are often the Wahabi/Salafi themselves).

In general there is a very strong violent and subversive revivalist streak in Islam which comes mainly from authoritarian theocracies and their supporters and acolytes. In the case of Iran this is acknowledged by pretty much anyone in the "West": Iranian don't have lobbies and can't really send a lot of imams since they don't get a lot of visas easily. Saudi Arabia and their fellow Gulf States, however, get a free pass because they're our "friends" (read: they blackmail us with their control of the oil market).

Fighting this revivalist streak (which, as Flew writes, is a threat to liberal democracy, although he chooses to call it "British values" for some reason) is a moral imperative for anyone who cares about the values of liberal democracy. Your authoritarian solutions actually go against those values.

This of course doesn't mean that the less violent or subversive branches of Islam, or of Christianity, should be given special rights (like blasphemy laws) or social protection from criticism and satire (like the SJWs do). Or that Muslim apologists shouldn't be mocked by secularists just like Christian apologists. Or that free speech shouldn't always be protected, even in the face of those who want to say that mocking Islam is "racist" and an "incitement to hatred" (it isn't).

There are two enemies of liberal democracy which often go hand in hand: Muslim revivalists and the Regressive Left. Both must be fought in a cultural war which undermines their standing, exposes their lies and cognitive distortions, points out the damage they create and opposes laws inspired by their ideas. Those who systematically and deliberately advocate violence and subversion of liberal democratic principles must also be punished, and if they're foreign nationals expelling them and closing their groups isn't a bad idea.

But lumping together anyone who has a common belief with them and ask them to prove that they're not violent and subversive (this is what your "piss test" ultimately means) is highly illiberal. It's the subversion of the principle of innocent until proven guilty. We shouldn't ask people to prove that they're not terrorists or subversives, we should punish them if we find out evidence that they are terrorists or subversives (i.e. they help terrorists materially or by spreading their ideas or by accepting funds from sources which have clear ties with terrorism).

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#186

Post by jimhabegger » Mon May 30, 2016 3:02 am

Steersman wrote:But I think we have rather different definitions for consider:
con·sid·er
v. con·sid·ered, con·sid·er·ing, con·sid·ers
v.tr.
1. To think carefully about (something), especially before making a decision ....

That's the primary, the standard definition; yours seems to be see whether the statement comports with Islamic dogma
That intrigues me. Below are my responses again to your position as I currently understand it. What parts look like Islamic dogma to you?
1. I think that the Quran can influence people towards violence, or away from it, regardless of whether or not they think of it as the word of God. I think it depends entirely on how a person uses it, which depends on heredity, conditioning and environment.

2. I think that if a person is promoting ways of using the Quran that influence people towards violence, then obviously he's promoting violence, which he would be doing anyway, with or without the Quran. I think that if he's promoting ways of using the Quran that influence people away from violence, then he will do a lot more to help turn Muslims away from violence, especially those who think of the Quran as the word of God, than any non-Muslim can do.

3. In reports of what people have done in the name of Islam, all I see is evidence of how much people falsify their reasons for their harmful attitudes and behavior.

I haven't seen or heard of any well-founded reasons for believing the pictures that opinion polls paint of popular opinions, and I see some very good reasons not to believe them.

4. I think that trying to ban Islam entirely, and deport all Muslims, would increase the growth and spread of violence all over the world, rather than reducing it, but I would agree with banning some parts of Islam, and deporting some Muslims.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#187

Post by jimhabegger » Mon May 30, 2016 3:19 am

Steersman wrote:... I have rather clearly, and repeatedly, argued for closing the borders to Muslim immigration, and deporting every last Muslim - at least those who won't "piss on the Quran", either figuratively or literally.
I haven't seen any explanation of how you would sort out the people who piss figuratively on the Quran. If you would just ask them what they think of the Quran, and take them at their word, that means you're proposing to keep out the most harmless Muslims, and allow the most dangerous ones to enter and stay as much as they want to. Plus, how would you even know who to ask? Would you require all the people in the country, and all the people trying to enter, to fill out a form, saying that they piss figuratively on the Quran?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#188

Post by Steersman » Mon May 30, 2016 10:38 am

jimhabegger wrote:
Steersman wrote:... I have rather clearly, and repeatedly, argued for closing the borders to Muslim immigration, and deporting every last Muslim - at least those who won't "piss on the Quran", either figuratively or literally.
I haven't seen any explanation of how you would sort out the people who piss figuratively on the Quran. If you would just ask them what they think of the Quran, and take them at their word, that means you're proposing to keep out the most harmless Muslims, and allow the most dangerous ones to enter and stay as much as they want to. Plus, how would you even know who to ask? Would you require all the people in the country, and all the people trying to enter, to fill out a form, saying that they piss figuratively on the Quran?
Devil's in the details and all that. However, where there's a will, there's a way. I'd start by identifying all of the mosques and madrasas and mullahs - a 3M policy, so to speak - and closing the first two, and deporting the third - which you seem to be in agreement with. And any Muslims - those with known affiliations with either of those three would get deported too.

But I think you are, once again - and entirely in character, evading the fact that deportations have been a staple of government policy for a rather long time, including in recent Western history, a case in point being the deportations of some 500,000 Muslims from Greece in 1923. And if it's been done before - including by the US when it deported over a million Mexicans - then I wouldn't put a lot of money on the technique not being used again with those Muslims who have clearly outstayed their welcome. Rather than blathering, I would suggest you do some reading.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#189

Post by Steersman » Mon May 30, 2016 12:05 pm

jimhabegger wrote:
Steersman wrote:But I think we have rather different definitions for consider:
con·sid·er
v. con·sid·ered, con·sid·er·ing, con·sid·ers
v.tr.
1. To think carefully about (something), especially before making a decision ....

That's the primary, the standard definition; yours seems to be see whether the statement comports with Islamic dogma
That intrigues me. Below are my responses again to your position as I currently understand it. What parts look like Islamic dogma to you?
1. I think that the Quran can influence people towards violence, or away from it ....
4. I think that trying to ban Islam entirely, and deport all Muslims, would increase the growth and spread of violence all over the world, rather than reducing it, but I would agree with banning some parts of Islam, and deporting some Muslims.
Unmitigated horse shit. Disingenuous and evasive bafflegab - at best, being charitable. You bloody well know that what I'm referring as "Islamic dogma" has nothing at all to do with what you've regurgitated there. For starters, you might consider:

So, are you going to deny what the Quran (piss on it and on the Prophet) says in 5:51about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends"? Which, en passant, looks egregiously bigoted if not racist. Are you going to repudiate that or not? Or, once again, waffle?

And then there's this from The Religion of Peace (ha!): Is the Quran Hate Propaganda?:
The Quran plainly tells Muslims that they are a favored race, while those of other religions are “perverted transgressors”:
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:110)
Classy bunch, although a less charitable but more accurate term might be "bigoted psychotics". And that's what you're defending as the "words of Gawd Hisself"?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#190

Post by Steersman » Mon May 30, 2016 1:34 pm

Kirbmarc wrote:
Steersman wrote:
<snip>

But, somewhat apropos of which, and to read something into the record, some quotes from a review of Ibn Warraq's Why I'm Not a Muslim by Anthony Flew which I ran across the other evening as a result of a "discussion" with an American Muslim:
Flew wrote:Turning away from Mecca Antony Flew
<snip>
For, whereas only a very small proportion of all the propositions contained in the Old and New Testaments are presented as statements made directly by God in any of the three persons of the Trinity, The Koran consists entirely and exclusively of what are alleged to be revelations from Allah (God). Therefore, with regard to The Koran, all Muslims must be as such fundamentalists; and anyone denying anything asserted in The Koran ceases, ipso facto, to be properly accounted a Muslim. ....

Why I am not a Muslim gives readers abundant excellent reasons for not becoming or remaining Muslims and also makes a compelling case for the conclusion that Islam is flatly incompatible with the establishment and maintenance of the equal individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state. ....
Here's where Flew, in my opinion, is a bit too eager to let Christianity off the hook, and to subscribe to a view of Islam which is too restrictive (and inspired by a definition which Wahabis and Salafis make, which isn't really useful). Flew had a bad habit of defending Christianity and Deism in spite of evidence even before he converted.
That may well be the case, although I seem to recollect that, as with Hitchens, his supposed "conversion" was more apocryphal than accurate. In any case, I don't see how that seriously detracts from his credible and succinct rephrasing of Warraq's views about all Muslims being, essentially, fundamentalists, and that "Islam is flatly incompatible" with Western democracy and human rights. A point which you seem remarkably and notably reluctant to address.
Kirbmarc wrote:But lumping together anyone who has a common belief with them and ask them to prove that they're not violent and subversive (this is what your "piss test" ultimately means) is highly illiberal. It's the subversion of the principle of innocent until proven guilty. We shouldn't ask people to prove that they're not terrorists or subversives, we should punish them if we find out evidence that they are terrorists or subversives (i.e. they help terrorists materially or by spreading their ideas or by accepting funds from sources which have clear ties with terrorism).
You periodically make some "nice" analyses, as in your post about the political spectrum. However, you might consider that those "philosophies" are most abstractions and that what applies in one case might well not apply in another - and might even be contraindicated. So while you may think that I'm overly "authoritarian", I don't see that you've shown that that isn't the only reasonable solution in the face of Islamic aggression and Muslim "fifth columns". If, as Flew and Warraq and many others - including Nugent - have credibly argued, Islam is intrinsically antithetical to Western democracy then all of those "Muslim fundamentalists" - i.e., some 92% of American Muslims (Q38, pg 170) - are, to no small degree, culpable in the depredations of the "Islamists"; "accessories after the fact" at least - and not at all "innocent". Fuck 'em; they should all be getting the bum's rush.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#191

Post by jimhabegger » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:58 pm

Steersman wrote:So, are you going to deny what the Quran ... says in 5:51about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends"?
Yes, I deny that. I'm practicing and promoting fellowship, companionship and collaboration across the widest religious divides and other ideological divides, especially now between Muslims and other people.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#192

Post by jimhabegger » Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:41 pm

Steersman wrote:So, are you going to deny what the Quran ... says in 5:51about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends"? Which, en passant, looks egregiously bigoted if not racist. Are you going to repudiate that or not? Or, once again, waffle?
More precisely, I'm not practicing or promoting that, because I don't think it applies to our time. I'm not saying that it was wrong in the context in which it was given.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#193

Post by jimhabegger » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:30 pm

Steersman, as I understand it at this point, you think that banning Islam and Muslims will help prevent some of the worst kinds of violence, which you think are mostly caused by people believing that the Quran is infallible. Some of the reasons you give for thinking that are:
- Reports of acts of violence done in the name of Islam.
- Opinion polls about the opinions of Muslims.
- A premise that some of the worst kinds of violence are caused by people believing that the Quran is infallible.

As I understand it, you don't think that banning Islam and Muslims would do any injustice to anyone, because anyone who endorses the Quran as the Word of God is an accomplice in the worst kinds of violence, and therefore they deserve any hardships that might be imposed on them by banning Islam and Muslims.

Let me know if any of that is not what you think, or if I've missed any important points.

I want to point out that I don't need to think that banning Islam and Muslims wouldn't do any injustice to anyone, in order to agree with doing it. There might be just as much injustice, or even more, in not doing it. I think that sometimes, maybe most of the time, there isn't anything that the government can do that will be fair to everyone.

I don't see you saying to ban everything that anyone calls Islam, but if you are, I disagree with that. I don't think you really mean to ban every person who doesn't deny that God is the author of the Quran, but if you do, I disagree with that. What I can agree with is banning some parts of Islam, and some Muslims, and leaving it open for discussion which ones.

Another thing we might agree on, which I think is more important than any of that, is that it all needs to be open to discussion, without anyone being discouraged from saying what they honestly think. Specifically, for example, I don't agree with calling everyone who wants to ban Islam and Muslims a racist. I'm not saying that I don't think there's any race prejudice involved in campaigns to ban Islam and Muslims. I'll post about that in my closet thread. What I mean is that I disagree with using that to try to discredit the idea of banning Islam and Muslims.

Considering your view that the worst acts of violence in the name of Islam are mostly caused by people believing that the Quran is infallible, that doesn't seem very plausible to me, but even if it's true, I still think that banning Islam and Muslims in the ways that I've seen people promoting, would create worse problems than it could possibly solve, for all people all over the world.

Besides that, I see much better ways to reduce violence in the name of Islam, all over the world. I've said that I think that the ways some people use the Quran influences people away from violence. I think that applies even more to people who think of God as the author of the Quran. We know what kind of training and social environment will lead to people using the Quran that way, and the people who can do the most for that to happen are Muslims. One way I see to help reduce violence in the name of Islam, all over the world, is to encourage and support Muslims who are promoting the kinds of training and social environment that will lead to Muslims using the Quran, more and more, to turn people away from violence.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#194

Post by Steersman » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:12 am

jimhabegger wrote:
Steersman wrote:So, are you going to deny what the Quran ... says in 5:51about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends"? Which, en passant, looks egregiously bigoted if not racist. Are you going to repudiate that or not? Or, once again, waffle?
More precisely, I'm not practicing or promoting that, because I don't think it applies to our time. I'm not saying that it was wrong in the context in which it was given.
Ah, so! Maybe you'd care to provide a reference to the Quran that qualifies that? Something to the effect of "best before 2001"? Looks kind of presumptuous to be second-guessing that grand high Poobah of Islam, take it away!, Allah! What a bullshit artist you are, hardly redounding much to the credit of Islam.

I doubt you're able to read much that's actually critical of your "faith", but others might want to take a look at a recent post from Anjuli Pandavar over at FTB (one of the few sane and credible bloggers there) which is a reposting of an article by Ibn Warraq titled How To Argue With A Muslim: “Out Of Context”. A salient quote:
Warraq wrote:It is quite common to hear two arguments from Muslims and apologists of Islam, the language argument, and that old standby of crooked, lying politicians, “you have quoted out of context.”
If y'all insist on "interpreting" the Quran then it seems you're essentially accepting that it isn't really the "literal word of gawd hisself", and you might then just as well bite the bullet and accept that the Quran is largely if not entirely one mephitic steaming pile of barbaric horseshit. If not then you're essentially throwing your lot in with ISIS, and you can then take your lumps with them.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#195

Post by jimhabegger » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:37 am

Steersman wrote:So, are you going to deny what the Quran ... says in 5:51about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends"? Which, en passant, looks egregiously bigoted if not racist. Are you going to repudiate that or not? Or, once again, waffle?
jimhabegger wrote:... I'm not practicing or promoting that, because I don't think it applies to our time. I'm not saying that it was wrong in the context in which it was given.
Steersman wrote:Ah, so! Maybe you'd care to provide a reference to the Quran that qualifies that? Something to the effect of "best before 2001"?
I've responded to that in my closet thread.

I'm curious. Even if you don't think it would do any injustice to any Muslims, to ban their religion and deport them, what about their non-Muslim children, their parents, their brothers and sisters, and their employers and employees? You don't think that would be doing any injustice to any of them?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#196

Post by Steersman » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:07 pm

jimhabegger wrote:
Steersman wrote:So, are you going to deny what the Quran ... says in 5:51about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends"? Which, en passant, looks egregiously bigoted if not racist. Are you going to repudiate that or not? Or, once again, waffle?
jimhabegger wrote:... I'm not practicing or promoting that, because I don't think it applies to our time. I'm not saying that it was wrong in the context in which it was given.
Steersman wrote:Ah, so! Maybe you'd care to provide a reference to the Quran that qualifies that? Something to the effect of "best before 2001"?
I've responded to that in my closet thread.
Not much interested in following you into your "closet", particularly as your responses there seem entirely relevant to the topic here, i.e., Islam and Islamists. Consequently, your post there in all its "glory":
jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, I want to keep discussions about my personal understanding of religious scriptures here in my closet.
Steersman wrote:So, are you going to deny what the Quran ... says in 5:51about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends"? Which, en passant, looks egregiously bigoted if not racist. Are you going to repudiate that or not? Or, once again, waffle?
jimhabegger wrote:... I'm not practicing or promoting that, because I don't think it applies to our time. I'm not saying that it was wrong in the context in which it was given.
Steersman wrote:Ah, so! Maybe you'd care to provide a reference to the Quran that qualifies that? Something to the effect of "best before 2001"?
It isn't in the Quran. It was written some time between 1879 and 1891.
The second Glad-Tidings: It is permitted that the peoples and kindreds of the world associate with one another with joy and radiance. O people! Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 22)
Steersman wrote:Looks kind of presumptuous to be second-guessing that grand high Poobah of Islam, take it away!, Allah!
I'm not second-guessing Him. As you can see from the passage above, my God has explicitly told us to practice fellowship with the followers of all religions.
What unmitigated horseshit. Consider an earlier comment of yours:
jimhabegger wrote:They're followers of the Baha'i Faith, which is growing and spreading all over the world, including all over Europe and North America, promoting the view that Muhammad was an authentic prophet of God, and that the words of the Koran are the words of God Himself.
Can't very credibly insist that the Quran is "the words of gawd hisself", and then turn around and claim that "He" forgot to clarify things adequately which your "prophet" (aka raving lunatic) - mirabile dictu - just happens to have been the one to have been blessed with such. Crazier than shithouse rats, the lot of you.
jimhabegger wrote:I'm curious. Even if you don't think it would do any injustice to any Muslims, to ban their religion and deport them, what about their non-Muslim children, their parents, their brothers and sisters, and their employers and employees? You don't think that would be doing any injustice to any of them?
Collateral damage, the fortunes of war. Though I expect that we could find some nice Christian homes to take in any kids under 9 ....

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#197

Post by jimhabegger » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:21 pm

Steersman wrote:Not much interested in following you into your "closet" ...
That's okay. I'm just saying that my responses to questions about my theology will only be in my closet thread.
Steersman wrote:Can't very credibly insist that the Quran is "the words of gawd hisself", and then turn around and claim that "He" forgot to clarify things adequately which your "prophet" (aka raving lunatic) - mirabile dictu - just happens to have been the one to have been blessed with such.
I've responded to that in my closet thread.

Do you have anything else to say about what I said in Post 193?

You've said that you would agree for Muslims who deny that the Quran is the word of God, not to be deported. I'm wondering if you really think that Muslims with murderous and destructive intentions would not lie about their beliefs, or even literally spit on a Quran, to avoid being deported.

The same thing applies to banning Islam. I'm wondering if you really think that Muslims with murderous and destructive intentions would not find ways of spreading their views and recruiting people, under some other cover besides Islam.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#198

Post by jimhabegger » Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:34 pm

Steersman, I'm not saying that all we need to do is be nice to Muslims, and have picnics and parties with them, and the problems will go away. I think that the whole world is in terrible danger from violence of all kinds and at all levels of society, which I think will continue to grow and spread, for more than a few generations to come, until there's enough love in the world, and the kinds of training that make civilization possible, to start turning everything around. I don't think there's anything any of us can do, or anything any governments or organizations can do, to stop it any time in the near future, any more than we can stop earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires or floods. The best I see that any of us can do, is try to help reduce and counteract the damage to people's lives, and to help rebuild civilization from the ground up.

I'm also not saying that there's nothing in Muslim societies that encourages and facilitates the worst kinds of violence in some people. I don't have any direct experience with any Muslim societies, but I imagine that there's a lot in popular attitudes and behavior in Muslim societies that encourages and facilitates the worst kinds of violence in some people, just like there is in American society and every other society that I've lived in.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#199

Post by Steersman » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:28 pm

jimhabegger wrote: <snip>
You've said that you would agree for Muslims who deny that the Quran is the word of God, not to be deported. I'm wondering if you really think that Muslims with murderous and destructive intentions would not lie about their beliefs, or even literally spit on a Quran, to avoid being deported.

The same thing applies to banning Islam. I'm wondering if you really think that Muslims with murderous and destructive intentions would not find ways of spreading their views and recruiting people, under some other cover besides Islam.
Don't see that it would make a lot of difference. Closed madrasas and mosques, and a large percentage of Muslims who did repudiate the delusion would cut the legs out from under those "with murderous and destructive intentions" - make them more visible and easier to nail to the wall.

Lovely bunch - you don't repudiate Islam then that is essentially what you're condoning.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#200

Post by jimhabegger » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:04 pm

Steersman wrote:
jimhabegger wrote:You've said that you would agree for Muslims who deny that the Quran is the word of God, not to be deported. I'm wondering if you really think that Muslims with murderous and destructive intentions would not lie about their beliefs, or even literally spit on a Quran, to avoid being deported.

The same thing applies to banning Islam. I'm wondering if you really think that Muslims with murderous and destructive intentions would not find ways of spreading their views and recruiting people, under some other cover besides Islam.
Don't see that it would make a lot of difference. Closed madrasas and mosques, and a large percentage of Muslims who did repudiate the delusion would cut the legs out from under those "with murderous and destructive intentions" - make them more visible and easier to nail to the wall.
This may surprise you, or even traumatize you, but that actually makes sense to me, and I even think there might be some truth in it.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#201

Post by jimhabegger » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:21 pm

Steersman, if a person says that Muslims can take Christians and Jews as friends, would that count for you as denying that the Quran is the word of God?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#202

Post by jimhabegger » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:33 pm

Steersman, as I understand it, according to you:
- Anyone who disagrees with any part of the Quran is not really a Muslim.
- Anyone who says that Muslims can have Christians and Jews as friends, is contradicting the Quran.

Therefore, according to you, anyone who says that Muslims can have Christians and Jews as friends, is contradicting the Quran.

As I understand it now, according to you, the only true Islam is your interpretation of the Quran, and the only true Muslims are the ones who agree with your interpretation of the Quran. Using those definitions of "Islam" and "Muslims," I agree with banning Islam completely, and deporting all Muslims.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#203

Post by Steersman » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:37 pm

jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, if a person says that Muslims can take Christians and Jews as friends, would that count for you as denying that the Quran is the word of God?
Guess it would depend a lot on whether the people saying so had a history of talking out of both sides of their mouths. Like insisting that "Muhammad was an authentic prophet of God, and that the words of the Koran are the words of God Himself" ....

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#204

Post by jimhabegger » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:42 pm

Now that I think of it, I think that the view of Islam and of the Quran that you're promoting, is actually helping to promote violence in the name of Islam.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#205

Post by Steersman » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:48 pm

jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, as I understand it, according to you:
- Anyone who disagrees with any part of the Quran is not really a Muslim.
- Anyone who says that Muslims can have Christians and Jews as friends, is contradicting the Quran.

Therefore, according to you, anyone who says that Muslims can have Christians and Jews as friends, is contradicting the Quran.

As I understand it now, according to you, the only true Islam is your interpretation of the Quran, and the only true Muslims are the ones who agree with your interpretation of the Quran. Using those definitions of "Islam" and "Muslims," I agree with banning Islam completely, and deporting all Muslims.
Except it is not just me that is going with that definition. Like Anthony Flew for one in his review of Ibn Warraq's Why I'm Not a Muslim (which you should read but which I doubt you have the intellectual integrity to do so):
Flew wrote:Turning away from Mecca Antony Flew

Why I am not a Muslim, Ibn Warraq, Prometheus Books ....

Although [Warraq] does make the crucial point that all true Muslims are as such fundamentalists, and that this term should not be applied only to the Ayatollah Khomeini and his like (p. 11) he does not either make it adequately or insist upon it consistently. ....

On this understanding a fully believing Christian does not have to be fundamentalist. Instead it is both necessary and sufficient to accept the Apostles and/or The Nicene Creed. In Islam, however, the situation is altogether different. For, whereas only a very small proportion of all the propositions contained in the Old and New Testaments are presented as statements made directly by God in any of the three persons of the Trinity, The Koran consists entirely and exclusively of what are alleged to be revelations from Allah (God). Therefore, with regard to The Koran, all Muslims must be as such fundamentalists; and anyone denying anything asserted in The Koran ceases, ipso facto, to be properly accounted a Muslim. Those whom the media call fundamentalists would therefore better be described as revivalists. ....

Why I am not a Muslim gives readers abundant excellent reasons for not becoming or remaining Muslims and also makes a compelling case for the conclusion that Islam is flatly incompatible with the establishment and maintenance of the equal individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state. It thus provides further support for Mervyn Hiskett's more particular contentions about the threat to British traditions and values arising from our rapidly growing Muslim minority. ....
And many (ex)Muslims have said essentially the same thing - like both Warraq and Simi Rahman.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#206

Post by jimhabegger » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:51 pm

Steersman, if you can't believe that any honest, responsible person would call the Quran the Word of God, I can understand that very well. I just started reading it again, and most of what I've read so far looks alarming and indefensible to me.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#207

Post by Steersman » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:10 am

jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, if you can't believe that any honest, responsible person would call the Quran the Word of God, I can understand that very well. I just started reading it again, and most of what I've read so far looks alarming and indefensible to me.
Good for you - that's a start. You might consider taking a look at several of Anjuli Pandavar's posts (over at FTB, otherwise a slough of despond) on Islam, particularly her discussions on Ibn Warraq's Why I'm Not a Muslim. And you might try reading Warraq's book as well.

The thing though is that there certainly seems to be some few credible elements in the Quran, fer instance:

But that is counter-balanced by outright barbarisms and savagery - "alarming and indefensible" is the least of it:

Although one might argue that the perpetrators of that savagery took it upon themselves to be the "instruments" - so to speak - of "Allah's" displeasure:
SAHIH INTERNATIONAL 16:106
Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief... except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah , and for them is a great punishment.
But the point is that as long as "Muslims", and their fellow travelers, insist on arguing that the Quran is the literal word of Gawd, and not a compendium of the ravings of a mad man - who may have been reasonably sane at various points - so long will it be, as Huxley put it, a "stumbling block" and a pretext for "bigotry and cruelty". Delenda est, indeed.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#208

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:01 am

Steersman wrote:
Flew wrote:... anyone denying anything asserted in The Koran ceases, ipso facto, to be properly accounted a Muslim ...
If you agree with that, then I don't think there's anyone in the world that you would consider a true Muslim, so there's no one to deport.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#209

Post by Steersman » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:42 am

jimhabegger wrote:
Steersman wrote:
Flew wrote:... anyone denying anything asserted in The Koran ceases, ipso facto, to be properly accounted a Muslim ...
If you agree with that, then I don't think there's anyone in the world that you would consider a true Muslim, so there's no one to deport.
What horseshit; more talking out of both sides of your mouth. Or more trolling. You said:
They're followers of the Baha'i Faith, which is growing and spreading all over the world, including all over Europe and North America, promoting the view that Muhammad was an authentic prophet of God, and that the words of the Koran are the words of God Himself.
So, now you're no longer a member in good standing of "the Baha'i Faith"? You've now denied that the "words of the Koran are the words of God Himself"? Pray tell, you have a compendium of which ones were Allah's and which ones were those of his (deeply flawed) servants? And you have a gold standard to determine which are which? Nutcases, the lot of you.

But if all those followers of "the Baha'i Faith" (psychotics, all) think that about the Quran then how much more likely is it that a large percentage of actual Muslims (as opposed to you Johnny-come-latelies) do likewise? Looks like only a rather small percentage of the world's billion Muslims, nominal or otherwise, actually "deny anything asserted in the Quran" - so there should be no shortage of those the authorities can round up and deport.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#210

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:17 pm

Steersman wrote:So, now you're no longer a member in good standing of "the Baha'i Faith"? You've now denied that the "words of the Koran are the words of God Himself"? Pray tell, you have a compendium of which ones were Allah's and which ones were those of his (deeply flawed) servants? And you have a gold standard to determine which are which?
All of that is about my personal religious affiliations and theology, so I've responded to it in my closet thread.
Steersman wrote:But if all those followers of "the Baha'i Faith" ... think that about the Quran then how much more likely is it that a large percentage of actual Muslims ... do likewise? Looks like only a rather small percentage of the world's billion Muslims, nominal or otherwise, actually "deny anything asserted in the Quran" - so there should be no shortage of those the authorities can round up and deport.
In response to me saying that I don't think the verse about "not taking Jews and Christians as friends" applies to our time, you wrote:
Steersman wrote:Can't very credibly insist that the Quran is "the words of gawd hisself", and then turn around and claim that "He" forgot to clarify things adequately ..."
I took that to mean that a person can't truly disagree with "not taking Jews and Christians as friends," and truly believe that the Quran is the Word of God, at the same time. In other words, according to you, there can't possibly be any people who truly believe that the Quran is the Word of God, and who truly practice and promote friendship with Christians and Jews, at the same time. According to you, then, anyone who truly practices and promotes friendship with Christians and Muslims, does not really believe that the Quran is the Word of God, and is not really a Muslim. Have I misunderstood you?

It looks to me like you're defining "Muslim" in at least three different ways, and switching between meanings from one minute to the next, which makes it impossible for me to know precisely who you want to be deported. For example, one minute you seem to be counting as Muslims everyone that anyone calls a "Muslim." The next minute, you're excluding anyone that you think is contradicting anything in the Quran.

I need to know how you would decide who needs to be deported, to know if I agree with you or not.

For example, suppose these people are accused of the crime of being Muslims, but they deny it:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7371/2685 ... df618e.jpg

How would you decide whether to deport them or not?
- Would you just take them at their word?
- Would you just take their accusers at their word?
- Would you ask them if they believe that the Quran is the Word of God, and take their word for that?
- If you find out that they've been practicing and promoting some ways of doing things that you see as contrary to what the Quran says, would you decide that they are not Muslims, and don't need to be deported?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#211

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:39 pm

Actually, I'm quite sure that all the people in Canada and the US that you or anyone else might call "Muslims" are practicing and promoting some ways of doing things that you would think are contrary to what the Quran says, and therefore, according to you none of them are really Muslims, and there is no one to deport. In that case, I would agree with deporting all Muslims.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#212

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:53 pm

Steersman, here's what your position looks like to me now: You're concerned about attacks on civilians, in the name of Islam, in Europe and North America, and you think that banning Islam and Muslims would help prevent a lot of that. Everything you're saying about Islam and Muslims is to deflect objections about imposing hardships on all Muslims for the crimes of a few.

I've mostly just been trying to follow your logic to see where it goes, but now I want to say something about what really concerns me the most, in discussions about violence in the name of Islam.

I see it as part of a larger problem of folly, cruelty, treachery, corruption, violence, destruction and chaos, growing and spreading into and through every corner of society, in every corner of the world. I see all that as an inevitable part of the disintegration of civilization, and as natural disasters arising from human nature, like earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and floods arising from the nature of earth, air, fire and water. I think that the folly, cruelty, treachery, corruption, violence, destruction and chaos will continue to grow and spread for more than a few generations to come, possibly five or ten generations or even more, regardless of what any of us do, and regardless of what any governments do, until there's enough of the kinds of love and training around the world that make civilization possible, to start turning it all around.

Specifically, I don't think that banning Islam and Muslims would do much, if anything, to help prevent the worst kinds of violence. I think that actually it would make things worse for all of us, all around the world. There might be some things some governments could do, if they really wanted to, to help reduce the frequency and magnitude of the outbursts, but I don't think that banning Islam and Muslims is one of them, and I don't think that anything they could do, even with the best intentions, could keep those outbursts from getting worse and worse, for more than a few generations to come.

What I think we can do, anyone who wants to, is to help reduce and counteract the damage to people's lives, and to help rebuild civilization from the ground up. Here are some ways I'm practicing and promoting that:
- Learning ways to help brighten up people's lives all around me, and to encourage and support them in the challenges they're facing, and in what they're trying to do with their lives.
- Instead of selling my capacities to the highest bidders, trying to find ways of developing and using them to do as much good as I can all around me.
- Helping to practice and promote the most healthy kinds of personal development, and community development in neighborhoods and villages.
- Practicing and promoting better integrity in the institutions I'm part of.
= Practicing and promoting better attitudes and behavior in every community that I'm part of.
- Practicing and promoting fellowship across the widest ideological divides.
- Working to improve my own personality and character in ways that will serve all of those purposes.
- Trying to find other people in other places around the world who are working on all of that, to encourage and support them, and to exchange information, ideas and experiences in that work.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#213

Post by jimhabegger » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:08 pm

Steersman, I've been trying to sort this out a little more, and here's how it looks to me now:

You think that banning Islam and Muslims would help prevent some of the worst kinds of violence, and to deflect objections about that being unfair to non-violent Muslims, you're arguing that anyone who calls himself a Muslim deserves whatever hardships that might impose on him, because he is endorsing the Quran as the word of God, unless he explicitly says otherwise, and consequently endorsing the violence that's promoted in the Quran.

I don't think that arguing that all Muslims deserve all the hardships that would be imposed on them by banning Islam and Muslims, is either necessary or sufficient for arguing that Islam and Muslims should be banned. If banning Islam and Muslims really would save a lot of lives, it might be right to do it even if Muslims don't all deserve the hardships that would impose on them. On the other hand, if, as I think, banning Islam and Muslims would actually make things worse for all of us, I think it would be wrong to do it even if they all deserved it.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#214

Post by jimhabegger » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:23 pm

Steersman, I'm considering Muslim Guilt (That has a familiar ring to it), and banning Islam and Muslims, as two separate issues. Here's why:

1. Even if I agreed that all Muslims deserve any hardships that would be imposed on them by banning Islam and Muslims, that would not be enough to convince me to agree to it. I would still need to be convinced that it would actually do some good, and I'm a long way from being convinced of that.

2. Even if, as I think, very few Muslims, if any, deserve all the hardships that would be imposed on them by banning Islam and Muslims, that would not be a reason for me, by itself, to oppose it. If I thought it would help prevent a lot of death and destruction, I might agree to it.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#215

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:38 pm

I think that the history of Baha'i communities, over a period of 150 years, including more than 100 years in Europe and North America, refutes the view that communities promoting belief in Muhammad and the Quran will inevitably breed violence, or endanger the people and the society around them in any other way.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#216

Post by jimhabegger » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:50 am

Kirbmarc, I'll try to explain what I meant by "anti-Muslim propaganda." First I want to say that it was an emotional outburst, and I don't intend to try to convince anyone that anyone is promoting anti-Muslim propaganda here. I'll only try to help you understand what I meant by it, if you'd like to know.

I'll start with some examples. These are not actual quotes, just examples that I've made up, similar to some things I've seen, to illustrate what I mean by "anti-Muslim propaganda.
- Saying that x number or x percent of Muslims want to have Sharia law imposed on everyone.
- Saying that there are no moderate Muslims.
- Saying or insinuating that x number or x percent of Muslims approve of the worst kinds of violence against civilians.
- Saying that Muslims who don't approve of the worst kinds of violence aren't really Muslims.
- Quoting the most alarming verses from the Quran, in isolation from the rest of the Quran and from the stories that go with it.
- Saying or insinuating that interpreting the Quran in ways that do not endorse the worst kinds of violence is somehow disingenuous, or less faithful to its intended meaning than interpreting it as justification for those kinds of violence.

More generally, any sweeping, alarming statements about Muslims, "the Muslim world," or the influence of the Quran on its followers.

Some of those could possibly not be anti-Muslim propaganda in a context of genuine, honest and responsible criticism of Islam, but apart from your posts, I don't remember ever seeing that kind of criticism here. If you could find any examples of what you consider thoughtful, responsible criticism of Islam here in the Undead Thread, that would interest me. I'll try to find some myself.

As I said, it was just an emotional outburst. I was on a campaign for a while, trying to counteract the propaganda, but I'm not as concerned about it as I was before. I don't think it's having as much influence as I was afraid it was. I'm still practicing and promoting diversifying people's images of Muslims, and giving friendly attention to Muslim, when the opportunities present themselves, but I'm not campaigning for that like I was for a while.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#217

Post by Kirbmarc » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:54 am

jimhabegger wrote:- Saying that x number or x percent of Muslims want to have Sharia law imposed on everyone.
I don't think that this is propaganda. There are some studies which show that the idea of a Muslim world regulated by Sharia isn't a fringe, unpopular idea in Muslim communities. The exact numbers vary, and it's not really that skeptical that results of a poll show exactly how popular this idea is, but saying that the idea isn't limited to a minority fringe but rather widespread isn't propaganda, it's the truth.
- Saying that there are no moderate Muslims.
What does "moderate" mean? Everything and nothing. There are no "moderates" in religion. Religions aren't diets: you don't say "hey, let's cut off with the violence, scale it down by 70%". There are different interpretations, some of which are more compatible with modernity, some of which aren't, but it's not about "moderating" religion, it's about reforming it, changing it.

All too often by "moderate" many mean people who don't approve of violence (which is good) but who approve of some intolerant ideas (not so good). Or people who don't approve of the Islamic state (good) but approve of, say, Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood or the Iranian regime (bad).

So whether "There are no moderate Muslims" is propaganda or not depends on context. If you're saying it to mean "All Muslims are violent terrorist" or "It's impossible to be a Muslim and respect the laws and principles of a liberal democracy",then yes, that's propaganda. If you're saying it to mean "Islam doesn't need "moderation", it needs change" then it's not propaganda.
- Saying or insinuating that x number or x percent of Muslims approve of the worst kinds of violence against civilians.
See the above comment on Sharia law. There are probably much more people who think that Sharia law for everyone is a good thing than people who promote violence, but sadly both ideas don't belong to a fringe, ineffectual minority.
- Saying that Muslims who don't approve of the worst kinds of violence aren't really Muslims.
Yes, this is stupid, and propaganda. It's the same thing that the fundamentalists are doing. I think that we should move on from the "who's really a Muslim" false debate and focus on what people actually say, do and believe.
- Quoting the most alarming verses from the Quran, in isolation from the rest of the Quran and from the stories that go with it.
That's not propaganda if it's done to show the Islam HAS some problematic parts. Those verses exist, and many of them aren't much better in context. It COULD be propaganda if it's used to say that no one has interpreted those verses in a non-literal way, but I don't see many people doing that here.
- Saying or insinuating that interpreting the Quran in ways that do not endorse the worst kinds of violence is somehow disingenuous, or less faithful to its intended meaning than interpreting it as justification for those kinds of violence.
Interpreting something non-literally implies that at least the letter of what's written is wrong. The Quran isn't a work of satire, or a fiction book. It's book from which people get their ethics and morality. If I write "It is wise and productive to euthanize the elderly" in a book intended to be serious ethical you may quibble about interpreting my words, but I did write something which, if taken literally, is monstrous.

Mohammed fought wars. He lived in a society which encouraged fighting, killing the enemy and taking its stuff (including its women, who were considered things). We can argue for years about whether he transcended the main principles of his society or whether he simply refined them, but in the world of today he'd be a monster, out of place and out of touch, just like other people of his time or of the past in general, Muslim or not.

Hell, today the Byzantine emperors would be considered as bad as Hitler. After all one Byzantine emperor was called the Bulgaroctonos, the Exterminators of Bulgars, and he blinded an entire army of Bulgars just for the hell of it. To say nothing of Genghis Khan, who was considered a fair leader in his times for only threatening complete extermination if you obeyed him. Compared to those guys, Mohammed doesn't look so bad.

Does the violent nature of many Quran verses mean that all Muslims are doomed to be warmongers or hateful? I don't think so. The historical Jesus was probably far from the peaceful hippie who some Christians see him as, but Christians today have adapted to a secular, liberal society pretty well (though there are exceptions).

The "real meaning" or "real intent" of the Quran is ultimately irrelevant. Mohammed isn't around for us to ask him about his "real intent". What matters is that a literalist meaning of the Quran doesn't make it look good in today's society. It's certainly possible to find non-literalist meanings, but it's much harder than simply reading the book as it appears.
More generally, any sweeping, alarming statements about Muslims, "the Muslim world," or the influence of the Quran on its followers.
Generalizations can be used for propaganda means, but this doesn't mean that everyone that uses them is a propagandist.
Some of those could possibly not be anti-Muslim propaganda in a context of genuine, honest and responsible criticism of Islam, but apart from your posts, I don't remember ever seeing that kind of criticism here. If you could find any examples of what you consider thoughtful, responsible criticism of Islam here in the Undead Thread, that would interest me. I'll try to find some myself.
This isn't a place reserved only for philosophical, historical and sociological debate. People come here to vent and make jokes. They have emotional outbursts, they are irritated by propaganda and show it, they feel chafed by political correctness and fight against it.

If you want 100% pure nuanced philosophical debate you've come to the wrong place.
As I said, it was just an emotional outburst. I was on a campaign for a while, trying to counteract the propaganda, but I'm not as concerned about it as I was before. I don't think it's having as much influence as I was afraid it was. I'm still practicing and promoting diversifying people's images of Muslims, and giving friendly attention to Muslim, when the opportunities present themselves, but I'm not campaigning for that like I was for a while.
The really important thing is what people believe, not what they might say once (just like your emotional outburst). I don't think that anyone here (except Steersman) believes that violating the human rights of Muslims is a good idea. People here don't like Islam, but don't want to see Muslims killed, harassed (really harassed, not simply confronted with satire of their religion and religious leaders), robbed, unjustly sentenced to prison, or punished for their beliefs (again, with the exception of Steersman). They want to see Muslims obey secular laws and respect the principles of liberal democracy (freedom of speech, freedom of lifestyle choice) though, and don't like the idea of catering to the beliefs of those who don't respect those principles.

I don't think you'll have much success promoting the idea of friendliness towards the ideas of Islam here or anywhere else. You might be more successful if you want people to acknowledge the human rights of Muslims as humans, and to point out individuals who are fighting to reform Islam. You might want to check out Maajid Nawaz, he's a liberal Muslim who has written a lot on this argument.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#218

Post by jimhabegger » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:50 pm

Kirbmarc, I'm not sure you're interested in what I think about any of that. If so, let me know.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#219

Post by jimhabegger » Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:41 pm

Kirbmarc, what I mean by "propaganda" is ideas being spread far and wide for the purpose of influencing people to think and act in ways that will advance the self-serving interests of the people aiming to spread those ideas. What I mean by "anti-Muslim" is that the propaganda I'm talking about is designed to arouse and intensify antagonism towards Muslims in general, and/or to appeal to anti-Muslim prejudices, for the purpose of advancing some people's self-serving political and economic interests.

I don't mean that anyone here has any of those purposes in mind. I'm not sure that anyone does. Most of the people who help spread any kind of propaganda have no awareness of its original purpose.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#220

Post by jimhabegger » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:21 pm

d4m10n wrote:"Is there a better method for measuring the effects of Islam than asking a random sample of Muslims (reared in Muslim cultures) what they believe about how the world should work?
Seriously, Jim. Point me to a better method, and you will have my sincerest thanks.
I wasn't discussing how to measure the effects of Islam, and I haven't thought much about that. I would need to know more about what exactly you're trying to measure, and why, but I wouldn't want to go to all that trouble, if you don't have any friendly interest in what I think about it. Please be honest. Do you have any friendly interest in what I think about that?

If you do, then please tell me some more about what you're trying to measure and why. One thing I need to know in particular is, by "effects of Islam," do you mean "effects of believing in the Quran as the word of God?" If not, what do you mean by "the effects of Islam," and why do you think you need to know?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#221

Post by Steersman » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:27 pm

jimhabegger wrote:
d4m10n wrote:"Is there a better method for measuring the effects of Islam than asking a random sample of Muslims (reared in Muslim cultures) what they believe about how the world should work?
Seriously, Jim. Point me to a better method, and you will have my sincerest thanks.
I wasn't discussing how to measure the effects of Islam, and I haven't thought much about that. I would need to know more about what exactly you're trying to measure, and why, but I wouldn't want to go to all that trouble, if you don't have any friendly interest in what I think about it. Please be honest. Do you have any friendly interest in what I think about that?

If you do, then please tell me some more about what you're trying to measure and why. One thing I need to know in particular is, by "effects of Islam," do you mean "effects of believing in the Quran as the word of God?" If not, what do you mean by "the effects of Islam," and why do you think you need to know?
Maybe "we" "need to know" so we can make sound policy? Just a thought that seems too much for you to wrap your pointed head around.

Seems to me what we're "trying to measure" is the effects of Islam - Damion's post, which I doubt you read (head up your arse and all) - being a case in point. And since you seem to be a remarkably slow learner, or one whose dogma has clearly rotted his brain, here are a few other ones; while "one swallow doth not a spring make", when the sky is covered with them then most rational people - when tends to exclude most Muslims and their fellow travelers - are going to concede that it has likely arrived:








And, to round out this litany of the barbarism and savagery that is Islam, even if it's only the tip of an iceberg, something from Winston Churchill:
Churchill wrote:How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#222

Post by jimhabegger » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:28 pm

Damion, I will say one thing now, that I think is better than using Muslim opinion polls for any purpose whatsoever: facing up to not knowing what any Muslims think and want, other than, possibly, the ones we know personally.

If you have any friendly interest in how I think we might be able to do better than that, let me know.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#223

Post by Steersman » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:01 pm

jimhabegger wrote:Damion, I will say one thing now, that I think is better than using Muslim opinion polls for any purpose whatsoever: facing up to not knowing what any Muslims think and want, other than, possibly, the ones we know personally.

If you have any friendly interest in how I think we might be able to do better than that, let me know.
But heaven forfend that we actually consider the statements and actions of those many who - as indicated above - manifest outfight barbarism and savagery:













And, for the pièce de résistance:

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#224

Post by jimhabegger » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:57 am

Malky wrote:Kirbmarc while I agree with pretty much all you say it will be very difficult not to be seen to be "antislamic" while following your suggestions. Just targetting salafist Imams and Community Leaders will allow them to cry foul and bring the community behind them - probably on the basis it will be them next.
Kirbmarc wrote:True, but those reactions could be at least partly tamed by supporting liberal Muslims, Ahmadis, Sufis, Ismailis and in general imams who have a more progressive outlook. Sometimes this would be as simple as checking the background of someone who is invited to an official dinner, or as a representative of a community, and choosing people who have an extensive background of being open to progress instead of picking the loudest and richest people in a community.

I think that many Western leaders simply don't know enough about Islam to tell apart the progressive Muslims from people who are financed by the Saudis. It's especially naive to promote people who say that they're "moderate" just because they're against ISIS. We need to know more about the people who live among us, to pay attention to what they say and do, to check their backgrounds before we give them an official recognition. In the end many times it's a matter of being informed and not simply inviting the most well-known and best dressed imams.
I like all that.
Malky wrote:I can't see this being implemented without some milk being spilt but I think it needs to be done and salafism/wahabism being effectively either expellex or debatured in the West. At the least we should insist on our values being upheld and sharia councils etc being made ineffective from a legal view for any rulings that do not conform to Western values.
Kirbmarc wrote:Ontario prohibited religious arbitration in 2006: now all private arbitration in Ontario must follow the secular laws of Ontario, with no exceptions for "religious reasons". In the UK Maryam Namazie and other people are pushing for something along the same lines (the One Law For All movement).
I agree with that, but is it really true that the rules for private arbitration are not being fully applied to Muslims? If so, then it doesn't require any special measures to correct that. All that is needed is more consistent application of the rules.
Progressives should be the ones leading these movements, instead of bleating about how criticism of Islam is "racism"
I agree with that, also.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#225

Post by Steersman » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:10 am

Kirbmarc wrote:
jimhabegger wrote:Saying that there are no moderate Muslims.
<snip>

So whether "There are no moderate Muslims" is propaganda or not depends on context. If you're saying it to mean "All Muslims are violent terrorist" or "It's impossible to be a Muslim and respect the laws and principles of a liberal democracy",then yes, that's propaganda. If you're saying it to mean "Islam doesn't need "moderation", it needs change" then it's not propaganda.
I doubt I would argue there are no Muslims who "respect the laws and principles of a liberal democracy" - rather difficult to prove a categorical claim. But it seems there are more than a few - like Flew and Warraq and even, apparently, Hirsi Ali - who argue that Islam is intrinsically antithetical to those laws and principles. And I ran across this statement in The Atlantic by Erdogan who seems to underline the point:
Erdogan once declared that democracy was “a vehicle, not a goal,” implying that one could disembark at any point.
So it seems hard not to conclude that that that is largely the case; more likely to be true than not.
Kirbmarc wrote:The really important thing is what people believe, not what they might say once (just like your emotional outburst). I don't think that anyone here (except Steersman) believes that violating the human rights of Muslims is a good idea. People here don't like Islam, but don't want to see Muslims killed, harassed (really harassed, not simply confronted with satire of their religion and religious leaders), robbed, unjustly sentenced to prison, or punished for their beliefs (again, with the exception of Steersman). They want to see Muslims obey secular laws and respect the principles of liberal democracy (freedom of speech, freedom of lifestyle choice) though, and don't like the idea of catering to the beliefs of those who don't respect those principles.
Seems a moot point how many "human rights" a person has who is motivated by a foreign ideology, and who is actively denying the "laws and principles" of a host country, and whether that constitutes a state of war, implicit or explicit. And whether such things as the Geneva Convention might be more appropriate. Somewhat apropos of which, and your earlier suggestion about leaning on those Western mosques which are promoting a Salafi/Saudi Islam, you might not have seen this other Atlantic post:
France's Disappearing Mosques

Twenty of France’s 2,500 mosques and prayer halls have been shut down since December for allegedly preaching a radical interpretation of Islam.

French authorities shut down 20 mosques and prayer halls they found to be preaching radical Islamic ideology since December, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday.

“Fight against the #radicalization: since December 2015, twenty Muslim places of worship have been closed,” the Interior Ministry tweeted.

Of the country’s 2,500 mosques and prayer halls, approximately 120 of them have been suspected by French authorities of preaching radical Salafism, a fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam, according to France 24.

“There is no place ... in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques … About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others,” Cazeneuve said. ....
Bloody good show - about time. But considering that one might reasonably argue that "calling for and inciting hatred in prayer halls or in mosques" is intrinsic to Islam and to the Quran - piss on it and on the Prophet - then one might also reasonably argue that all of them should be closed.

Really haven't seen many reformist type Muslims - even Nawaz - making any effort whatsoever to promote the idea of compatibility between democracy and Islam. Don't see that it is much in the way of a "violation of the civil rights of Muslims" to respond accordingly - as the French are doing.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#226

Post by Kirbmarc » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:28 am

Steersman wrote:I doubt I would argue there are no Muslims who "respect the laws and principles of a liberal democracy" - rather difficult to prove a categorical claim. But it seems there are more than a few - like Flew and Warraq and even, apparently, Hirsi Ali - who argue that Islam is intrinsically antithetical to those laws and principles.
"Islam" is too much of a big, diverse thing to have "intrinsic" properties. You're confusing Muslim supremacist ideas (chiefly Salafism) with Islam as a Whole-
And I ran across this statement in The Atlantic by Erdogan who seems to underline the point:
Erdogan once declared that democracy was “a vehicle, not a goal,” implying that one could disembark at any point.
So it seems hard not to conclude that that that is largely the case; more likely to be true than not.
You're preaching to the choir there. Erdogan is a Muslim supremacist, or better yet uses Muslim supremacy as a tool to reshape Turkey into his personal absolute Kingdom. But Erdogan isn't the Pope of Islam.
Seems a moot point how many "human rights" a person has who is motivated by a foreign ideology, and who is actively denying the "laws and principles" of a host country, and whether that constitutes a state of war, implicit or explicit. And whether such things as the Geneva Convention might be more appropriate.


If you're talking about Salafism then you definetely have a point. They're a foreign-financed ideology actively against every principle of a liberal democracy and actually of any multi-ethnic and multi-confessional reality. Salafists actively preach hate and subversion. Talking generically about "Islam", however, is counterproductive.
Somewhat apropos of which, and your earlier suggestion about leaning on those Western mosques which are promoting a Salafi/Saudi Islam, you might not have seen this other Atlantic post:
France's Disappearing Mosques

Twenty of France’s 2,500 mosques and prayer halls have been shut down since December for allegedly preaching a radical interpretation of Islam.

French authorities shut down 20 mosques and prayer halls they found to be preaching radical Islamic ideology since December, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday.

“Fight against the #radicalization: since December 2015, twenty Muslim places of worship have been closed,” the Interior Ministry tweeted.

Of the country’s 2,500 mosques and prayer halls, approximately 120 of them have been suspected by French authorities of preaching radical Salafism, a fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam, according to France 24.

“There is no place ... in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques … About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others,” Cazeneuve said. ....
Bloody good show - about time. But considering that one might reasonably argue that "calling for and inciting hatred in prayer halls or in mosques" is intrinsic to Islam and to the Quran - piss on it and on the Prophet - then one might also reasonably argue that all of them should be closed.
I'm glad you're not in power. Well done to the French government, though, and probably a long overdue move.
Really haven't seen many reformist type Muslims - even Nawaz - making any effort whatsoever to promote the idea of compatibility between democracy and Islam. Don't see that it is much in the way of a "violation of the civil rights of Muslims" to respond accordingly - as the French are doing.
Get a "nuance" chip, Mr. Robot.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#227

Post by Steersman » Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:15 pm

Kirbmarc wrote:
Steersman wrote:I doubt I would argue there are no Muslims who "respect the laws and principles of a liberal democracy" - rather difficult to prove a categorical claim. But it seems there are more than a few - like Flew and Warraq and even, apparently, Hirsi Ali - who argue that Islam is intrinsically antithetical to those laws and principles.
"Islam" is too much of a big, diverse thing to have "intrinsic" properties. You're confusing Muslim supremacist ideas (chiefly Salafism) with Islam as a Whole.
As I argued in the Jim-the-godbot thread, lot of evidence to justify the argument that the "essence", the intrinsic property, of Islam is the belief that "the [Quran] is the literal word of God", a belief shared, probably, by some 90% or more or all nominal or so-called Muslims. To reprise my argument there (Post #453):
Kirbmarc wrote:
Steersman wrote:
jimhabegger wrote:Kirbmarc, I think that in discussions about outrageous things that people do in the name of Islam, generalities about Islam and Muslims, favorable or unfavorable, are irrelevant, create needless distractions, and help perpetuate animosities and hostilities, without doing anything to help solve the problems. Do you agree with that?
Horse shit. The "outrageous thing that people do in the name of Islam" is the crux of the matter. And, nothwithstanding Kirbmarc's prognostications on the matter, they constitute the essence of Islam.
If we were arguing a couple of decades ago you would have said that condemnation of homosexuality was the essence of Christianity, of Christians and of nations with a Christian majority. This is no longer so true today.

Religions can be tamed. It takes a lot of work, but it can happen. I don't believe in "essences". I think that literalism and coherent religious prescriptions are horrible when they become a matter of politics, and pretty bad when they lead to social issues, but literalism is only one part of religions.
You don't think that, for example, the "essence" of gun powder is "sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate"?

But maybe you're too close to the trees to see the forest. Or I was too hasty in eliding the logical step, as you sort of suggested in a later comment, from those "outrageous things" - speaking of which, been following the news lately? - to what more than a few ex-Muslims and others have more or less characterized as the essence of Islam, i.e, its literalism. Consider this first from a Guardian review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Heretic:
Having previously argued that Islam was beyond reform, in Heretic she says she wants to strike a more conciliatory note. She sets out to find common ground with the majority of Muslims who view their religion as peaceful and spiritual. While this may be a noble aim, one doubts that a meeting of minds is about to occur anytime soon. For one thing, Hirsi Ali calls for a wholesale Islamic reformation. It makes no sense, she says, to maintain, as so many politicians and religious leaders do, that the terrorism seen in Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere has no religious justification in Islamic texts. “We delude ourselves,” she writes, “that our deadliest foes are somehow not actuated by the ideology they openly affirm.”

She quotes chapter and verse of violent exhortations in the Qur’an, and argues that as long as Muslims hold to the notion that the book is the literal word of God then extremists will be able to lay confident claim to theological rationale for their acts. Put simply, her position is that “religious doctrines matter and are in need of reform”.

And then there's this from the Facebook page of Simi Rahman:
I went deep into the Midwest, wore a hijab for a year and lived there for 8 years. In that time, I attended ISNA gatherings, met w educated, professional people like myself who were also asking the same questions. They were looking to their faith for answers. And sure, there were efforts made to modernize Islam, but they were only superficial. We couldn't do it. We couldn't do it because there is a logical dilemma at the core of Islam. And that is, that the Quran is the last word of God, that it is perfect and unchangeable. And to even suggest such a thing is blasphemy and apostasy.
And then there is Anthony Flew's review of Ibn Warraq's Why I'm Not a Muslim - a book that both you and "jimhabegger", among others, should read, although I doubt Jim has the intellectual integrity to do so. In any case, Flew:
On this understanding a fully believing Christian does not have to be fundamentalist. Instead it is both necessary and sufficient to accept the Apostles' and/or The Nicene Creed. In Islam, however, the situation is altogether different. For, whereas only a very small proportion of all the propositions contained in the Old and New Testaments are presented as statements made directly by God in any of the three persons of the Trinity, The Koran consists entirely and exclusively of what are alleged to be revelations from Allah (God). Therefore, with regard to The Koran, all Muslims must be as such fundamentalists; and anyone denying anything asserted in The Koran ceases, ipso facto, to be properly accounted a Muslim. Those whom the media call fundamentalists would therefore better be described as revivalists.
A case in point being Jim, and others of his ilk, who desperately hangs onto his belief that the Quran is the "words of God Himself" which basically precludes him from ever admitting that it is rife with horseshit, with barbarisms and ignorance and savagery. Rots of ruck trying to have a rational conversation with him, although you're to be commended for trying; it at least shows his dogmatism, his "bona fides" as a paradigmatic godbot.
Kirbmarc wrote:Plenty of people actually don't know much about the religions they claim to profess. They follow the words of the people who tell them how to interpret their holy books. It's those people who have the real power in religion. Clerics have a huge amount of social, and potentially political, power. Those who finance them and train them are those who determine the social and political messages of religion.
Don't see how that lets them off the hook. As Rizvi argues, "moderates" still "revere" a "holy book" [ha! what a fucking joke - piss on it and on the Prophet] that "endorses misogyny, murder, [and] homophobia". Which I and many others see as making them culpable - to some degree - for the depredations of the "extremists". I doubt you've read the Quillette post - The Josiah Effect: How Moderate Religion Fuels Fundamentalism - on the topic, despite my repeated quotes of it, but it provides credible justification for the argument.
Kirbmarc wrote:That's why they're the real source of most issues within Islam, and why we should focus on curbing their messages instead of making people think that they represent "the real Islam".
That's whitewashing Islam, and ignoring the "logical dilemma" at the core of it, in the "essence" of it - i.e., that the "violent exhortations in the Quran" simply can't be repudiated by "moderate" Muslims because the Quran is seen as "perfect and unchangeable", as entirely the words of gawd. Something, as Flew notes, that is rather different from Christianity - even if some Christians are more like most if not all Muslims in that regard.

[End Post #453]
Kirbmarc wrote:
Steersman wrote:And I ran across this statement in The Atlantic by Erdogan who seems to underline the point:
Erdogan once declared that democracy was “a vehicle, not a goal,” implying that one could disembark at any point.
So it seems hard not to conclude that that that is largely the case; more likely to be true than not.
You're preaching to the choir there. Erdogan is a Muslim supremacist, or better yet uses Muslim supremacy as a tool to reshape Turkey into his personal absolute Kingdom. But Erdogan isn't the Pope of Islam.
Maybe not the Pope but hard to deny that he's, more or less, one of the leading contenders for the position of Caliph ("Make Turkey Great Again!") Particularly in light of the fact, as quoted in Warraq's Why I'm Not a Muslim, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia was equally dismissive of democracy, at least there but probably, by extension, elsewhere within Muslim "culture":
Warraq wrote:
Islam has never favoured democratic tendencies. Hurgronje

The Democratic system that is predominant in the world is not a suitable system for the peoples of our region. . . . The system of free elections is not suitable to our country. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia
At least King Fahd has had the honesty to admit the incompatibility of Islam and democracy. [pg 172]
Maybe the West should be giving more weight to those claims, and be responding accordingly?
Kirbmarc wrote:
Steersman wrote:Seems a moot point how many "human rights" a person has who is motivated by a foreign ideology, and who is actively denying the "laws and principles" of a host country, and whether that constitutes a state of war, implicit or explicit. And whether such things as the Geneva Convention might be more appropriate.

If you're talking about Salafism then you definitely have a point. They're a foreign-financed ideology actively against every principle of a liberal democracy and actually of any multi-ethnic and multi-confessional reality. Salafists actively preach hate and subversion. Talking generically about "Islam", however, is counterproductive.
Well, thanks for conceding that much anyway. But I'm curious, particularly given your apparently categorical rejection of any limitations on the rights to free speech, just what it is that you think those mosques are guilty of that justifies those sensible actions by the French government.
Kirbmarc wrote:
Steersman wrote:Somewhat apropos of which, and your earlier suggestion about leaning on those Western mosques which are promoting a Salafi/Saudi Islam, you might not have seen this other Atlantic post:
France's Disappearing Mosques

Twenty of France’s 2,500 mosques and prayer halls have been shut down since December for allegedly preaching a radical interpretation of Islam.

French authorities shut down 20 mosques and prayer halls they found to be preaching radical Islamic ideology since December, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday. ....

“There is no place ... in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques … About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others,” Cazeneuve said. ....
Bloody good show - about time. But considering that one might reasonably argue that "calling for and inciting hatred in prayer halls or in mosques" is intrinsic to Islam and to the Quran - piss on it and on the Prophet - then one might also reasonably argue that all of them should be closed.
I'm glad you're not in power. Well done to the French government, though, and probably a long overdue move.
See my previous comment. And if you concede it was "a long overdue move" - which I agree wholeheartedly with - and that the "essence" of Islam is that it "calls for and incites hatred", an essence shared by some 90% or more of all nominal or so-called Muslims, then it's hard to see why you wouldn't also agree to close all mosques.
Kirbmarc wrote:
Steersman wrote:Really haven't seen many reformist type Muslims - even Nawaz - making any effort whatsoever to promote the idea of compatibility between democracy and Islam. Don't see that it is much in the way of a "violation of the civil rights of Muslims" to respond accordingly - as the French are doing.
Get a "nuance" chip, Mr. Robot.
Think the one I have is working just fine - maybe you're too quick to whitewash away the essential element that is common to virtually all nominal or so-called Muslims. As I've argued many times, I think that "reformers" like Nawaz are to be, generally, commended. But he is still unable, despite my repeated challenges to him - several of which he's acknowledged, to deny that the Quran is the literal word of gawd. Which, as I noted above with my reference to the Quillette article on how moderate religion fuels fundamentalism, still makes him, and his ilk like Jim-the-godbot, culpable, to some degree, for the depredations and barbarisms of the "extremists".

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#228

Post by Steersman » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:59 pm

Copying a post or two from the main thread for ease of access, and to collect them under a relevant heading. And for posterity. This one is Post #48670 - with a correction or clarification of sorts:
d4m10n wrote:
Steersman wrote:You don't think that that apparently well-documented claim of Obama about Muhammad (piss be upon his name) doesn't betray a rather problematic level of sympathy for a particularly barbaric and odious form of totalitarianism?
Blatant quote mining.

Full context: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-of ... l-assembly
How so? Your source clearly quotes him as saying:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. (Applause.) ...
As another tweet I saw put it, How can you slander a guy that fucks goats and rapes barely pubescent girls who are little more than 9 years of age? Obviously some hyperbole there - maybe he himself didn't fuck goats, and such practices as child marriages may have been acceptable in that era; maybe not fair to judge the past by the standards of the present. But the protection against a charge of slander is the truth - and I expect you'd be hard pressed to refute every any imaginable crime Muhammad (piss be upon his name) could have been charged with:



Hard to see how it would ever be possible to slander Islam or its barbaric, psychotic, pedophile Prophet.

In addition, in a country that supposedly makes a principle of the separation of church and state, it seems rather incongruous and decidedly problematic for its leader to be apparently supporting anti-blasphemy laws.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#229

Post by Steersman » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:21 pm

And something that showed up in my twitter feed recently, even it's from a 2011 issue of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society:
Why the Islamic World Turned Away From Science
Hillel Ofek

Contemporary Islam is not known for its engagement in the modern scientific project. ....
Has to qualify as the understatement of the century. But it continues:
Ofek wrote:But it is heir to a legendary “Golden Age” of Arabic science frequently invoked by commentators hoping to make Muslims and Westerners more respectful and understanding of each other. President Obama, for instance, in his June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, praised Muslims for their historical scientific and intellectual contributions to civilization:
It was Islam that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed
.
Such tributes to the Arab world’s era of scientific achievement are generally made in service of a broader political point, as they usually precede discussion of the region’s contemporary problems. They serve as an implicit exhortation: the great age of Arab science demonstrates that there is no categorical or congenital barrier to tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and advancement in the Islamic Middle East. ....
He continues:
Ofek wrote:To anyone familiar with this Golden Age, roughly spanning the eighth through the thirteenth centuries a.d., the disparity between the intellectual achievements of the Middle East then and now — particularly relative to the rest of the world — is staggering indeed. ....

Today, however, the spirit of science in the Muslim world is as dry as the desert. Pakistani physicist Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy laid out the grim statistics in a 2007 Physics Today article: Muslim countries have nine scientists, engineers, and technicians per thousand people, compared with a world average of forty-one. ....

There are roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, but only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science (one for physics in 1979, the other for chemistry in 1999). Forty-six Muslim countries combined contribute just 1 percent of the world’s scientific literature; Spain and India each contribute more of the world’s scientific literature than those countries taken together. In fact, although Spain is hardly an intellectual superpower, it translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years. ....
The item about Spain includes a link to the Arab Human Development (?) Report 2002 from the UN that elaborates on that point and a number of related ones:
The figures for translated books are also discouraging. The Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one fifth of the number that Greece translates. The cumulative total of translated books since the Caliph Maa’moun’s time (the ninth century) is about 100,000, almost the average that Spain translates in one year (Galal, S., 1999) ... [pg 78]

GDP in all Arab countries combined stood at $531.2 billion in 1999—less than that of a single European country, Spain, ($595.5 billion). .... [pg 85]
Somewhat amusingly, if you have a taste for gallows-humour or of the "playfully grotesque style" of Gahan Wilson, Irshad Manji, in her The Trouble With Islam Today - highly recommended, argued that that was due, in part, to the fact that the brains of Saudi students remain "poached in religious studies". "Poached", absolutely fried.

Anyway, some further observations on why Islam went off the rails and into the weeds - where it's been for about the last 800 years or so:
Ofek wrote:Why the Golden Age Faded
As the Middle Ages progressed, Arabic civilization began to run out of steam. After the twelfth century, Europe had more significant scientific scholars than the Arabic world, as Harvard historian George Sarton noted in his Introduction to the History of Science (1927-48). ....

There was a modest rebirth of science in the Arabic world in the nineteenth century due largely to Napoleon’s 1798 expedition to Egypt, but it was soon followed by decline. .... The civilization that had produced cities, libraries, and observatories and opened itself to the world had now regressed and become closed, resentful, violent, and hostile to discourse and innovation.

What happened? To repeat an important point, scientific decline is hardly peculiar to Arabic-Islamic civilization. .... As Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, an influential figure in contemporary pan-Islamism, said in the late nineteenth century, “It is permissible ... to ask oneself why Arab civilization, after having thrown such a live light on the world, suddenly became extinguished; why this torch has not been relit since; and why the Arab world still remains buried in profound darkness.” ....
Complex issue, and quite detailed analysis. Some of its more salient and cogent conclusions:
Ofek wrote:A Gold Standard?
In trying to explain the Islamic world’s intellectual laggardness, it is tempting to point to the obvious factors: authoritarianism, bad education, and underfunding (Muslim states spend significantly less than developed states on research and development as a percentage of GDP). But these reasons are all broad and somewhat crude, and raise more questions than answers. At a deeper level, Islam lags because it failed to offer a way to institutionalize free inquiry. ....

The decline of Islam and the rise of Christianity was a development that was and remains deeply humiliating for Muslims. Since Islam tended to ascribe its political power to its theological superiority over other faiths, its fading as a worldly power raised profound questions about where a wrong turn was made. ....

But there are reasons why exhortation to emulate Muslim ancestors may also be misguided. One is that medieval Islam does not offer a decent political standard. When compared to modern Western standards, the Golden Age of Arabic science was decidedly not a Golden Age of equality. While Islam was comparatively tolerant at the time of members of other religions, the kind of tolerance we think of today was never a virtue for early Muslims (or early Christians, for that matter). ....

There is a more fundamental reason, however, why it may not make much sense to urge the Muslim world to restore those parts of its past that valued rational and open inquiry: namely, a return to the Mu’tazilites may not be enough. Even the most rationalist schools in Islam did not categorically argue for the primacy of reason. As Ali A. Allawi argues in The Crisis of Islamic Civilization (2009), “None of the free-thinking schools in classical Islam — such as the Mu’tazila — could ever entertain the idea of breaking the God-Man relationship and the validity of revelation, in spite of their espousal of a rationalist philosophy.” ....

But more importantly, merely popularizing previous rationalist schools would not go very far in persuading Muslims to reflect on the theological-political problem of Islam. ....

There is a final reason why it makes little sense to exhort Muslims to their own past: while there are many things that the Islamic world lacks, pride in heritage is not one of them. What is needed in Islam is less self-pride and more self-criticism. Today, self-criticism in Islam is valued only insofar as it is made as an appeal to be more pious and less spiritually corrupt. And yet most criticism in the Muslim world is directed outward, at the West. This prejudice — what Fouad Ajami has called (referring to the Arab world) “a political tradition of belligerent self-pity” — is undoubtedly one of Islam’s biggest obstacles. It makes information that contradicts orthodox belief irrelevant, and it closes off debate about the nature and history of Islam. ....
"the theological-political problem of Islam" and its "belligerent self-pity", indeed. As I tweeted, quoting Huxley, the crux of the matter seems to be the insistence that the Quran is "the words of God himself", and that it is infallible in every way:

Reminds me of nothing so much as the monkey in an absolute rage with its hand in a glass jar grasping onto a banana that it can't get out as long as it is holding onto the banana.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#230

Post by Kirbmarc » Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:09 pm

Thanks for the article, Steers.
What is needed in Islam is less self-pride and more self-criticism. Today, self-criticism in Islam is valued only insofar as it is made as an appeal to be more pious and less spiritually corrupt. And yet most criticism in the Muslim world is directed outward, at the West. This prejudice — what Fouad Ajami has called (referring to the Arab world) “a political tradition of belligerent self-pity” — is undoubtedly one of Islam’s biggest obstacles. It makes information that contradicts orthodox belief irrelevant, and it closes off debate about the nature and history of Islam
Absolutely correct. Islam definitely and desperately needs more self-criticism and more internal debate on its nature and history. And this is definitely not coming from the Muslim revivalists, the Regressive Left, which by justifying any flaw of Islam in the name of "fighting against racism" and "protecting different cultures", is helping to stifle any timid attempt to promote more self-criticism and debate due to the exposure to modernity.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#231

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:06 am

Steersman, I think that it's possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to grow and spread all over Europe and North America, without disrupting the surrounding society any more than Christian communities do. In fact I think they could possibly be even less disruptive than Christian communities. Do you disagree with that?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#232

Post by Steersman » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:52 am

jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, I think that it's possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to grow and spread all over Europe and North America, without disrupting the surrounding society any more than Christian communities do. In fact I think they could possibly be even less disruptive than Christian communities. Do you disagree with that?
Nope. Absolutely not.

Get back to me when you can point to all Western Muslim communities explicitly and categorically and publicly repudiating Sharia, halal, child-marriage, and madrasas - for starters. Bonus points for pictures of y'all pissing on the Quran.

As a guide for the perplexed, if not the terminally delusional who are probably beyond hope, y'all may wish to take a close look at a recent post from Anjuli Pandavar over at FTB titled Islamopologia on steroids wherein she rakes Shadi Hamid over the coals. A particularly cogent and relevant quote:
Pandavar wrote:In a recent post, I discuss an interview with Professor Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari. I was particularly struck by his explaining how a young child’s mind is prepared for later receptivity to terrorism through the inculcation on its young brain of hatred for non-Muslims. I drew a connection to the madrassas, where the Qur’an is drilled into children, a central purpose of that book being to instil in Muslims an unshakeable hatred of non-Muslims. ....
More bonus points for giving serious thought to Huxley's views on those "of a single book":
Huxley wrote:The truth is that the pretension to infallibility, by whomsoever made, has done endless mischief; with impartial malignity it has proved a curse, alike to those who have made it and those who have accepted it; and its most baneful shape is book infallibility. For sacerdotal corporations and schools of philosophy are able, under due compulsion of opinion, to retreat from positions that have become untenable; while the dead hand of a book sets and stiffens, amidst texts and formulæ, until it becomes a mere petrifaction, fit only for that function of stumbling block, which it so admirably performs. Wherever bibliolatry has prevailed, bigotry and cruelty have accompanied it. It lies at the root of the deep-seated, sometimes disguised, but never absent, antagonism of all the varieties of ecclesiasticism to the freedom of thought and to the [x] spirit of scientific investigation. For those who look upon ignorance as one of the chief sources of evil; and hold veracity, not merely in act, but in thought, to be the one condition of true progress, whether moral or intellectual, it is clear that the biblical idol must go the way of all other idols. Of infallibility, in all shapes, lay or clerical, it is needful to iterate with more than Catonic pertinacity, Delenda est.
Indeed.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#233

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:13 pm

Steersman wrote:
jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, I think that it's possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to grow and spread all over Europe and North America, without disrupting the surrounding society any more than Christian communities do. In fact I think they could possibly be even less disruptive than Christian communities. Do you disagree with that?
Nope. Absolutely not.

(snip)
Sorry, that confuses me a little. Are you saying, nope, you absolutely do not disagree with what I said? In other words, you agree with what I said? From the rest of your post, it looks like you might be disagreeing with what I said.

I'm saying that it would be possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to be less disruptive to societies in Europe and North America, than Christian communities are. Are you agreeing with that, or disagreeing with it?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#234

Post by Steersman » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:36 pm

jimhabegger wrote:
Steersman wrote:
jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, I think that it's possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to grow and spread all over Europe and North America, without disrupting the surrounding society any more than Christian communities do. In fact I think they could possibly be even less disruptive than Christian communities. Do you disagree with that?
Nope. Absolutely not.

(snip)
Sorry, that confuses me a little. Are you saying, nope, you absolutely do not disagree with what I said? In other words, you agree with what I said? From the rest of your post, it looks like you might be disagreeing with what I said.
Well, that was rather ambiguous or a muddle on my part - mea culpa and all that. I guess I must have been thinking you had said "Do you agree with that?"
jimhabegger wrote:I'm saying that it would be possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to be less disruptive to societies in Europe and North America, than Christian communities are. Are you agreeing with that, or disagreeing with it?
Disagree. As the rest of my post emphasized.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#235

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:54 pm

jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, I think that it's possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to grow and spread all over Europe and North America, without disrupting the surrounding society any more than Christian communities do. In fact I think they could possibly be even less disruptive than Christian communities. Do you disagree with that?
Steersman wrote:Nope. Absolutely not.
jimhabegger wrote:Sorry, that confuses me a little ... I'm saying that it would be possible for communities of people who believe in the Quran as the word of God to be less disruptive to societies in Europe and North America, than Christian communities are. Are you agreeing with that, or disagreeing with it?
Steersman wrote:Disagree. As the rest of my post emphasized.
Okay, thanks for clearing that up.

I'll go further and say that there already *are* hundreds of communities of people all over Europe and North America who believe in the Quran as the word of God, and which are less disruptive to the surrounding society, than many Christian communities are. Would you deny that?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#236

Post by Steersman » Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:30 pm

jimhabegger wrote: <snip>

I'll go further and say that there already *are* hundreds of communities of people all over Europe and North America who believe in the Quran as the word of God, and which are less disruptive to the surrounding society, than many Christian communities are. Would you deny that?
Say it all you want. But that doesn't make it true. And the evidence kind of suggests that you're talking through your hat - surprise, surprise. But do put your "extraordinary evidence" for your "extraordinary claims" on the table so we can all assess it.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#237

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Sep 10, 2016 4:58 pm

Steersman, which of these are you denying?
1. Are you denying that there are hundreds of Baha'i communities all over Europe and North America?
2. Are you denying that Baha'is believe in the Quran as the word of God?
3. Are you denying that Baha'i communities are less disruptive to the surrounding society than Christian communities?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#238

Post by Steersman » Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:11 pm

jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, which of these are you denying?
1. Are you denying that there are hundreds of Baha'i communities all over Europe and North America?
2. Are you denying that Baha'is believe in the Quran as the word of God?
3. Are you denying that Baha'i communities are less disruptive to the surrounding society than Christian communities?
Apart from the fact that you've moved the goal posts from Muslim communities to Baha'i ones, you're the one makiing the claim that they're "less disruptive" than Christian ones. So you're the one obliged to provide evidence to justify it - put up or shut up.

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#239

Post by jimhabegger » Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:35 pm

Steersman wrote:
jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, which of these are you denying?
1. Are you denying that there are hundreds of Baha'i communities all over Europe and North America?
2. Are you denying that Baha'is believe in the Quran as the word of God?
3. Are you denying that Baha'i communities are less disruptive to the surrounding society than Christian communities?
Apart from the fact that you've moved the goal posts from Muslim communities to Baha'i ones, you're the one makiing the claim that they're "less disruptive" than Christian ones. So you're the one obliged to provide evidence to justify it - put up or shut up.
I'm not interested in trying to convince anyone. I just want to know if you're denying it. Are you denying it? Are you saying that Baha'i communities in Europe and North America are *not* less disruptive to the surrounding society than Christian communities are?

If you're denying that Baha'i communities are less disruptive than Christian communities, is it because you haven't seen any examples of Christian communities being disruptive, or because you have seen examples of Baha'i communities being as disruptive as Christian ones?

Incidentally, some people posting here, not me, but some people, have said or insinuated that Baha'is are Muslims. Are you disagreeing with them about that?

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Re: Islam and Islamists

#240

Post by Steersman » Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:13 pm

jimhabegger wrote:
Steersman wrote:
jimhabegger wrote:Steersman, which of these are you denying?
1. Are you denying that there are hundreds of Baha'i communities all over Europe and North America?
2. Are you denying that Baha'is believe in the Quran as the word of God?
3. Are you denying that Baha'i communities are less disruptive to the surrounding society than Christian communities?
Apart from the fact that you've moved the goal posts from Muslim communities to Baha'i ones, you're the one makiing the claim that they're "less disruptive" than Christian ones. So you're the one obliged to provide evidence to justify it - put up or shut up.
I'm not interested in trying to convince anyone.
Good, although it kind of looks otherwise. And I doubt you've convinced anyone here of anything - except maybe that you're a dishonest godbot - goes with the territory, I guess.
jimhabegger wrote:I just want to know if you're denying it.
If and when you get around to putting up some credible evidence - I won't be holding my breath - then I'll maybe give some thought to trying to refute it.
jimhabegger wrote:Incidentally, some people posting here, not me, but some people, have said or insinuated that Baha'is are Muslims. Are you disagreeing with them about that?
Well, you did say something to the effect that your BabaYabaHabaDoola insists that the Quran is the "words of God Himself". So that kind of looks like it's tantamount to being Muslim - expect the difference is largely academic.

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