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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 04, 2018 03:00PM

Of course, that assumes that the thousands of disagreeing/contradictory christian sects in the US are all one "group."

Which they aren't. :)

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 04, 2018 03:04PM

Which they aren't either. My grandpa was from Lebanon. Don't get my started on the fighting between shias and sunnis and ahmadiyyas and all the others.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 04, 2018 04:16PM

Good point :)

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 04, 2018 03:41PM

...and, so what?

Great fearmongering headline, sure to raise the hairs on the back of the neck of paranoid Islamaphobes near you.

Overtaking the Jewish 2% by 0.1%...ya, that’s definitely newsworthy. But given our outlandish times, the editor should have somehow thrown “Russia” or “Russians” in there, just in case.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 11:13AM

Human:

Your repeated defensive posts on behalf of Islam frankly baffle me. It is way beyond merely defending religious freedom. It's somehow personal to you.

This is simply a statistical study, with no malicious intent, express or implied. Yet, you read into it "fearmongering" and "paranoid Islamaphobes." One does not have to be paranoid, or a fearmonger, to note a social trend; even if one believes that such a trend has negative social implications. (Not stated in the OP linked article.)

Please enlighten me. What is it that recommends a religion--or any ideology--that institutionalizes the subjugation of women, is based upon stifling male authoritarianism, promotes the principle of jihad, and embraces a host of other offensive doctrines. How is it possible to steadfastly defend Islam while decrying Mormonism? Seriously, I am curious.

What is your personal stake here?

Respectfully,
HB

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Posted by: Elder Fartinson ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 12:05PM

Agreed...seems to be an over the top reaction by Human, since I also don't perceive any "fearmongering" - only a social trend observation. HB you do make a good point, how can you decry Mormonism on the one hand, and then defend a similar ideological institution on the other (i.e. both are homophobic). It would be interesting for Human to explain. Seems inconsistent to a casual observer.

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 03:11PM

Elder Fartinson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> HB you do make a good point, how can you decry
> Mormonism on the one hand, and then defend a
> similar ideological institution on the other (i.e.
> both are homophobic). It would be interesting for
> Human to explain. Seems inconsistent to a casual
> observer.

Inconsistent yet common. Brushing in broad strokes, I see 2 kinds of attitudes towards religion: those who see good in it, prefer the religion they know best. Those who have seen the evils of it, prefer the one they know the least.

For Americans that is often islam, while Europeans prefer buddhism because islam is too familiar. Here in northern Africa, atheists can be very fond of buddhism and hinduism, and argue about which one is best. Debates at the Marrakesh humanist society can be pure Monty Python to westerners!

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 01:01PM

Hey Henry,

On behalf of Islam or on behalf of Muslims? I think you’ll find the later is my preoccupation.

Why the preoccupation? For the same reason I would have been preoccupied with Jews (not Judaism) in the 1920s-and 1930s. A world-wide consensus has been formed to make Muslims the “other”, for which this headline and the many others like it go to serve.

Most of us were taught about Hitler’s Holocaust. But we were often taught it with a terrible flaw at the centre, which fetishized Jewish people. Jews are not a “special case”. There is nothing specific about Jewishness that brought the Holocaust. In fact, as far as Holocausts go, as gruesome as Hitler’s was, it wasn’t even the biggest or most dramatic.

Sometimes Hitler’s Holocaust is taught to the exclusion of the others in the 20th century, which further creates the impression of a Jewish special case. On the flip side of this, sometimes it is thought that there is something unique about Germans that brought about Hitler and his “final solution”. Again, this is wrong. Germans are no more a special case than Jews are.

There is some interesting work out there on the Big Five Trait Theory and Nazis, work that clearly shows that anyone could end up agreeing with a “final solution”, not just Germans, and that any group can become the “other”, not just Jews.

Right now, world-wide, Muslims are the other.

There’s more to say but no time to say it. The OP headline is part of a much larger, broader campaign to make Muslims the other, a “virus” or “cancer” or “menace”, a “special case” of evil, perniciousness, what you will. Denials of that are expressions of ignorance, an ignorance purposely created and cultivated.

What’s needed, Henry, is for you and I to hash out our political differences off-line, for they appear to be deep.

Human

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 02:24PM

Frankly, this whole post strikes me as pure fantasy. Moreover, your response begs my basic question; What is at stake for you personally? This is way beyond some general interest in Muslims.
____________________________________________

"On behalf of Islam or on behalf of Muslims? I think you’ll find the later is my preoccupation."

COMMENT: Muslims are members of Islam, and subscribe to the doctrines and dogmas of Islam. They perpetrate the religion just as Mormons perpetrate Mormonism. Sure, there are deceived adherents in both religions that are basically good, honest, and deserving of personal respect. However, they are not deserving of respect as Muslims or Mormons! Why, because *that* identification of itself is harmful to others and to society.
____________________________________________

"Why the preoccupation? For the same reason I would have been preoccupied with Jews (not Judaism) in the 1920s-and 1930s. A world-wide consensus has been formed to make Muslims the “other”, for which this headline and the many others like it go to serve."

COMMENT: Why do I doubt your first statement? After all, Muslims were not interested in the plight of the Jews when the Jews were being slaughtered! Moreover, Jews of the 20s, and 30s, and 40s, etc. did nothing "jihadist" or socially destructive to cast themselves as socially "the other." Muslims, on the other hand, have done the opposite, insisting that they are religiously, doctrinally, and socially superior, and refusing as a religion to discredit its violent elements who are merely taking its doctrines seriously in seeking Islamist jihad. Where is there such doctrine or practice in Judaism?
__________________________________________

"Most of us were taught about Hitler’s Holocaust. But we were often taught it with a terrible flaw at the centre, which fetishized Jewish people. Jews are not a “special case”. There is nothing specific about Jewishness that brought the Holocaust. In fact, as far as Holocausts go, as gruesome as Hitler’s was, it wasn’t even the biggest or most dramatic."

COMMENT: Are you serious? This is the kind of statement that is born from Islamic propaganda. Thank you for admitting that the Holocaust was "gruesome," quite the understatement. It was by all measures horrific. And please tell me what your justification is to excuse or minimize the Holocaust simply because such barbarity was done to others as well. (For example the Armenians.) This is an anti-Jewish statement and attitude, pure and simple; and it is ridiculous and offensive on multiple levels.
__________________________________________

"Sometimes Hitler’s Holocaust is taught to the exclusion of the others in the 20th century, which further creates the impression of a Jewish special case. On the flip side of this, sometimes it is thought that there is something unique about Germans that brought about Hitler and his “final solution”. Again, this is wrong. Germans are no more a special case than Jews are."

COMMENT: There is a reason why the Jewish Holocaust is emphasized, and why it *is* a special case. And, the fact that it could have been perpetrated by some other political power, or society, does not diminish it. Why on earth are you so committed to diminishing the Holocaust.
__________________________________________

There is some interesting work out there on the Big Five Trait Theory and Nazis, work that clearly shows that anyone could end up agreeing with a “final solution”, not just Germans, and that any group can become the “other”, not just Jews.

COMMENT: So what? Again, how does that justify your Islamic based diminishing of the Holocaust, obviously a position designed to promote your pro-Islamist agenda. It's ridiculous. You can't support Islam on its own merits, so you are forced to paint it and Muslims as victims?
___________________________________________

Right now, world-wide, Muslims are the other.

COMMENT: Excuse me while I will get out my violin. Unlike the Jews, Muslims are nowhere near a social stigma that warrants fear of mass extermination as "the other." American Muslims who integrate into American society generally do fine as American citizens and neighbors. I have numerous Muslim clients, done of whom view themselves as victims, or "the other." I doubt it is any different worldwide--unless a community has been the victim of a Muslim suicide bomber.
___________________________________________

"There’s more to say but no time to say it. The OP headline is part of a much larger, broader campaign to make Muslims the other, a “virus” or “cancer” or “menace”, a “special case” of evil, perniciousness, what you will. Denials of that are expressions of ignorance, an ignorance purposely created and cultivated."

COMMENT: Again, pure B.S. fantasy, and Islamic propaganda.
____________________________________________

What’s needed, Henry, is for you and I to hash out our political differences off-line, for they appear to be deep.

COMMENT: I do not think I could do it. I find this post not just wrong, but repulsive. I am extremely disappointed by its source; someone who is very intelligent, and who should know better.

Notwithstanding, thanks for the response.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 07, 2018 05:51PM

Henry Bemis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Notwithstanding, thanks for the response.


Anytime, Henry.

Cheers,

Human

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 07, 2018 04:26PM

Human Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Why the preoccupation? For the same reason I
> would have been preoccupied with Jews (not
> Judaism) in the 1920s-and 1930s. A world-wide
> consensus has been formed to make Muslims the
> “other”
(...)
> The OP headline is part of a much larger, broader
> campaign to make Muslims the other, a “virus”
> or “cancer” or “menace”, a “special
> case” of evil, perniciousness, what you will.
> Denials of that are expressions of ignorance, an
> ignorance purposely created and cultivated.

I know very few countries where muslims have to wear a yellow crescent, are barred from working for the state, or are locked up in concentration camps and sent to the gas chambers. I know a few countries that treat muzzies like shit, but a world-wide consensus it ain't.

I do, however know a lot of islamic countries that openly aim to expel all jews, wipe Israel off the map, keep girls uneducated and women oppressed, and kill all practicing homosexuals.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 12:40PM

I didn't see any "defending" of Islam in Human's post.
And I did agree that the hyperbolic headline catered to "fearmongering."

Human simply pointed out that statistically, this is a non-event. That despite the hyperbole in the headline, Muslims still only make up a teeny-tiny percentage of the US.

Kinda like I pointed out above, that to even consider this a "social trend observation" you have to do some mental gymnastics (and ignore statistical/theological realities in the first place) to even make the leap the article does. By lumping together all the varied/contradictory "christian" denominations (including mormons!) into one group, and doing the same with Muslim sects. Neither of which is very honest or useful.

I have no love of ANY religion, especially Islam. But I'm with Human on this one -- the headline was fearmongering hyperbole, and this is in reality a non-event.

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Posted by: Elyse ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 01:07PM

Hope not.

Militant Islam is what we do NOT need in our country.
It hasn't worked well in any other country either.

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Posted by: Devoted Exmo ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 01:11PM

Militant Christianity hasn't worked well in our country either.

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 03:14PM


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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 04:01PM

It is critical, however, to differentiate between Islam and militant Islam. As you have noted, there are dozens if not hundreds of groups that fall within the ambit of the word "Moslem," few of which are militant.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 06:00PM

"It is critical, however, to differentiate between Islam and militant Islam."

COMMENT: You can always "differentiate" the character of believers in any religion. Why don't we also differentiate between those who hold the offensive doctrinal beliefs of Islam and those who really don't. We can also differentiate between those who are politically and socially active and those who aren't. We can do this with any religion, until we have differentiated out all offensive beliefs and conduct, with only the bare affiliation showing. Same with Mormonism. Many active Mormons on the Board can be differentiated out of mainstream Mormonism.

My point is first that the number of affiliated members of Islam, or any other religion, is arguably harmful in and of itself, because, like fundamentalist Christians, they vote their religious beliefs, which potentially affects all of us. It is not Islamaphobic to prefer, within the context of religious freedom, that religious influence, whatever it's source, be reduced to insignificance, or at least kept at a minimum. The growth of Islam, as discussed in the linked article is relevant to that preference, regardless ultimate ratios.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 06:24PM

Henry Bemis Wrote:

>
> COMMENT: You can always "differentiate" the
> character of believers in any religion. Why don't
> we also differentiate between those who hold the
> offensive doctrinal beliefs of Islam and those who
> really don't. We can also differentiate between
> those who are politically and socially active and
> those who aren't. We can do this with any
> religion, until we have differentiated out all
> offensive beliefs and conduct, with only the bare
> affiliation showing. Same with Mormonism. Many
> active Mormons on the Board can be differentiated
> out of mainstream Mormonism.
>


Henry, that is precisely the point. Every individual should be considered on his own merits. It is people who prevent that from happening, both from within the group and from without, that foment inter-community strife.

And your conclusion is not correct: differentiating between people into militant or not, violent or not, etc., does not differentiate them into nonexistence. It does precisely the opposite. It enables us to know whom to watch, whom to educate, whom to imprison. Knowledge like that would aid the FBI and the CIA abroad immensely.

And frankly, I would do the same thing with Moslems and Mormons. The US guarantees freedom of worship as long as it doesn't harm others. So if we identify Mormons or Moslems or Green Party members who have offensive beliefs but do not act on those beliefs. The same applies to Moslems who are politically active or inactive: if they live by the rules, they should be able to think and way whatever they want.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 06:45PM

Correcting that final paragraph.

"And frankly, I would do the same thing with Moslems and Mormons. The US guarantees freedom of worship as long as it doesn't harm others. So if we identify Mormons or Moslems or Green Party members who have offensive beliefs but do not act on those beliefs, we should leave them alone. The same applies to Moslems who are politically active or inactive: if they live by the rules, they should be able to think and act whatever way they want."

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 06:10PM

I am a Belgian with an Arabic surname (from my Lebanese grandpa)
I am gay, with a partner of Turkish descent
We live in Morocco

With my experience of christianity, mormonism, islam and atheism; of muslim and non-muslim nations; and of devout muslims and atheist muslims, both in muslim and non-muslim countries; I have to admit that their is a grain of truth in the old joke about the difference between a radical muslim and a moderate muslim.

"A radical muslim wants to behead you.
A moderate muslim wants a radical muslim to behead you."

Again, don't take it literally, but to paraphrase MLK, the danger is not in the noise of the radicals, but in the silence of the moderates. A moderate who doesn't fight against radicalism is just a silent radical.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 06:43PM

Well, Moroccan Islam is not the most liberal in the world, as is also true of the strains of the religion that have become influential in Latin Europe in particular but also in Germany and elsewhere.

But the religion is not monolithic either geographically or temporally. In the 1960s and 1970s two of the most liberal, tolerant places in the world were Afghanistan and Pakistan. My friends who grew up their, generally the children of diplomats and members of the armed forces, have amazing stories of those places. The same is true of Southeast Asian Islam: it was very tolerant.

Starting in the late 1940s, when they became ultra-rich, the Wahhabi Saudis started financing extreme forms of the religion all around the world. There was simultaneously a radical movement, the Deobandi, which arose from parts of India and what would become Pakistan. The combination of those two forces transformed Islam in many places and created huge problems for the world. But negative trends can reverse, as they often do in human affairs.

Moreover there is a huge secular presence even in the nastier Moslem states. The Arab Spring was largely secular in orientation and toppled one or two governments, nearly even Syria. In Iran today probably 80% of the population is anti-government; they are moderate Moslems, Moslems in culture but not religion, or atheists. Middle class people drink there, have open affairs, and often engage in civil disobedience. So while Western governments should act assertively against the truly egregious Iranian government they should also recognize that the stuff of a moderate resistance already exists, ready to emerge (not without difficulty) after the theocracy falls. Any policy that would push the moderates towards the hardliners would be, all other things equal, a mistake.

The same complexity is obvious within the United States. It is simply false to treat American Islam as monolithic. Again looking at the generally materialistic and ambitious Iranians, the one million+ in the US today graduate from college at twice the rate of any other ethnic group, and a full 25% of them go on to obtain graduate degrees. There's a good chance that a family member has a Persian doctor or dentist. These are liberal people. The parental generation sometimes contemplate the glories of Islam as they drink their after-dinner wine, and the millennials are more secular and atheistic than the average American.

My point is that diversity should be recognized and encouraged. There is a very nasty form of Islam abroad, and it creates huge problems all around the world. The West has to act aggressively to protect its internal and external security from that threat. But one of the best ways to weaken extreme movements of any sort is to recognize and encourage diversification.

It's not really a policy of divide and conquer because the Islamic community in many countries, including the US, is already divided. It's more a question of encouraging that diversification domestically while confronting militancy wherever it arises.

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 01:15AM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, Moroccan Islam is not the most liberal in
> the world, as is also true of the strains of the
> religion that have become influential in Latin
> Europe in particular but also in Germany and
> elsewhere.

Moroccan islam is not the most liberal in the world? Politically, Turkey (for now) and Tunisia may be a tad more liberal but other than that? Where do you think is more liberal? Egypt? Pakistan? Iran? KSA? Your comment is like saying the Netherlands is not the most liberal western country in the world. Yes, maybe Norway is more liberal.

And in what parts of "Latin Europe" has islam become influential? Traditionally it's influential in the Balkans, where islam is the old religion, and nowadays it's quickly taking over neighbourhoods in small pockets of the UK, France, and Belgium. But in Spain and Portugal all jews and muslims were kicked out in the 15th century. The immigrants from muslim-majority countries who choose to move there, tend to do so precisely because they are quite secular. If they want a conservative environment, they'll choose Luton or Molenbeek, not Lisbon or Madrid.

You do not seem to know anything about Europeans of muslim descent, to be honest. Anything at all. I don't think you ever lived there.

The rest of your post, about the once-liberal-now-fundamentalist places, is entirely true, but just proves our point that religion ruins everything, and that therefore islam should be kept in a straitjacket as much as mormonism or christianity.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 02:16AM

To the contrary, Visitors Welcome. I have lived, studied and worked in Europe for many years and have a good sense of how different Moslem communities function there.

Having said that, I find some of your statements perplexing. You assert that Islam is "the old religion" in the Balkans, which may make sense for Bosnia and parts of Kosovo, but surely the Serbians, Romanians, Transylvanians, Bulgarians, Croatians, and Slovenians would retort that the vast majority of the Balkans were Christian long before whats was for most of them a long Islamic interlude. Your proposition that Islam is "the old religion" in the Balkans suggests a certain unfamiliarity with that region's history and current politics.

Moving to the question of Islamic liberalism, no I would not consider Turkey's Islam to be particularly liberal. It was up through the 1990s and perhaps the early 2000s, but as you must surely know, Erdogan and his party have gradually wrested power from the secularists in the army and the judiciary and are imposing a proto-police state under Islamic auspices. So no, Turkey is not more liberal than Morocco; it is not, in your simile, the Norway to Morocco's Netherlands.

It's easy to find good examples of more liberal Islam if you look a bit further afield. For example, if you ventured to Iran--have you done that?--you would see a society in which fashion rules (Google: Iranian women fashion), sexual mores are very western, and alcohol is readily available. Despite some marginal movement towards the religious right, meanwhile, Malaysia is more liberal than Morocco, and Singapore still more so. And, of course, Bosnia. Did you consider Southeast Asia or Southeastern Europe when postulating on degrees of tolerance and liberalism? It appears not.

As for "latin Europe," do you know what that term means? I'd assumed you did. I was referring to France and Italy, primarily, because those are countries in which large local communities have become politically, socially, and sometimes violently significant and require state attention both at the political level and through police and intelligence services. My reference to Germany was of course to the Turkish ghetto in Berlin (ever been there? It's just east of the old wall) and Hamburg (remember 9/11?) and a few other industrial areas. The clusters in Birmingham and London and Leicester and Glasgow haven't achieved that level of significance yet.

Regarding your other sweeping generalization that Islamic history in Pakistan and Afghanistan proves that "religion ruins everything," do you not think that perhaps a little simplistic? For if Pakistan and Afghanistan were Islamic since the Mongols invaded the subcontinent and established the Mogul Empire, they were liberal under Islam for hundreds of years. If the influx of Saudi money, Deobandi philosophy, and American weapons after WWII and particularly in the 1980s polarized and destabilized those societies, it would seem naive to suggest that it was religion that "ruined" those places. It was, to the contrary, geopolitics that did that.

And these things are not linear. Just as the Ottoman Empire reformed itself dramatically and permitted something approaching equality for the Christian and Jewish "People of the Book" for several centuries; just as Iranian culture has always treated Zoroastrians as an honored minority, was very tolerant of minority peoples until the middle 1970s, and having then moved through a more brutal stage is now again a remarkably secular society, so too can any religious move to the right or left depending on economics, politics and geopolitics. But the same is true of secular and atheistic societies as well.

So no, I don't think "religion ruins everything." Reality is both simpler and more complex than that. But that brings us back to your statement the other day, doesn't it, according to which all Islam is bad. Life isn't that simple.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 03:26AM

He might want to check out what the Soviet invasion did to Afghanistan and how it lead to the Taliban.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 04:03AM

Yes, though senior Bush administration people say that the US bears most of the blame there. The Soviet Union lined up with the secular government; the US (and our dear Pakistani friends) funneled huge amounts of cash and weaponry through the enemies of the secular government. That strengthened the fundamentalists considerably.

When the war was over, the US really should have rebuilt the country--something that could have been done at minimal cost since it was dirt poor. But once the Soviets were out, there was zero interest in Washington, so the aid dried up. That created the opening for the Taleban, which were the Deoband partisans that I mentioned above. Those guys took over the country, opened it up for bin Laden and Al Qaeda--and Saudi money--and led to 9/11.

None of that would have happened if the USSR had not invaded Afghanistan in the first place, to be sure, but it was the US and its allies that chose which opposition forces to back. And it was the US that decided to cut off all the money, opting for the predictable and vastly more expensive option of returning to Afghanistan for a 20-year war that would cost huge amounts in life and coin.

Penny wise and pound foolish, an error that has recently become strategic become doctrine.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 04:36AM

Exactly

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 08, 2018 09:36AM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> None of that would have happened if the USSR had
> not invaded Afghanistan in the first place, to be
> sure

Not so fast. There are other secular muslim countries where the fundies took over, none of whom were invaded by foreign empires.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 08, 2018 02:48PM

That is true. My discussion of Afghanistan (and frankly Pakistan) was not meant to be exclusive. There are lots of other countries that have evolved towards fundamentalism, as is implicit in my discussion of Turkey.

There is a rich literature on the movement of Islam, particularly Arabic Islam towards the religious extreme over the last two centuries. It has to do with economics, a sense of lost past glories, resentment against Western imperialism, etc. Most of those factors are transitory; extremism in Islam, like extremism in Christianity and many other religions and ideologies, has ebbed and flowed over the centuries.

In recent decades there have been additional factors, including the enrichment of some of the world's most backward Islamic states (read: SA), the rise of empowered Wahhabism, Deobandi Islam; the conflict between the USSR and the US, which engulfed the Islamic world; the US toppling of Mossadegh in 1953; etc., that contributed greatly to the radicalization of Islam. The influence of all these factors is likely to ebb over the coming decades, replaced by other historical developments that could push Islam in either a progressive or retrogressive direction.

I would never suggest there is a single path or direction for the evolution of such a complex political and sociological process as a world religion.

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 10:19AM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You assert that Islam is "the old
> religion" in the Balkans, which may make sense for
> Bosnia and parts of Kosovo, but surely the
> Serbians, Romanians, Transylvanians, Bulgarians,
> Croatians, and Slovenians would retort that the
> vast majority of the Balkans were Christian long
> before

Of course the Balkans isn't homogeneously muslim. But for muslims there it's the old religion as mormonism is for Utahns, while muslims in the UK or the Netherlands don't have that kind of tradition to fall back on.



> Moving to the question of Islamic liberalism, no I
> would not consider Turkey's Islam to be
> particularly liberal. It was up through the 1990s
> and perhaps the early 2000s, but as you must
> surely know, Erdogan and his party have gradually
> wrested power from the secularists in the army and
> the judiciary and are imposing a proto-police
> state under Islamic auspices.

Eastern Turkey was never really liberal, no matter how hard the Kemalists tried. But Western Turkey, where most of the population lives, hasn't become arch-conservative overnight either. The people there were oriented towards Europe in 1918 and they will remain so in 2018. And even Erdoğan has not yet managed to abolish all freedoms. Abortion is still legal, as is homosexuality.



> Despite some marginal movement towards
> the religious right, meanwhile, Malaysia is more
> liberal than Morocco, and Singapore still more so.

On what grounds do you consider Malaysia more liberal than Morocco? And since when is Singapore a muslim-majority state? As for South-East Europe, I'm the one who brought up Turkey. And yes, I am aware that Iran is a liberal country with a fundamentalist dictatorship.



> As for "latin Europe," do you know what that term
> means? I'd assumed you did. I was referring to
> France and Italy, primarily,

I had never heard the term "Latin Europe" before, and I doubt and French or Italians would use it.



> Regarding your other sweeping generalization that
> Islamic history in Pakistan and Afghanistan proves
> that "religion ruins everything," do you not think
> that perhaps a little simplistic?

Well yes, it was a little simplistic, that is what generalizations are for. But you yourself mentioned how advanced Afghanistan was before the devout took over.




> And these things are not linear. Just as the
> Ottoman Empire reformed itself dramatically and
> permitted something approaching equality for the
> Christian and Jewish "People of the Book" for
> several centuries; just as Iranian culture has
> always treated Zoroastrians as an honored
> minority, was very tolerant of minority peoples
> until the middle 1970s, and having then moved
> through a more brutal stage is now again a
> remarkably secular society, so too can any
> religious move to the right or left depending on
> economics, politics and geopolitics. But the same
> is true of secular and atheistic societies as
> well.

Did I claim otherwise? I merely believe it is easier without religious baggage than with it.



> So no, I don't think "religion ruins everything."
> Reality is both simpler and more complex than
> that. But that brings us back to your statement
> the other day, doesn't it, according to which all
> Islam is bad. Life isn't that simple.

Again, you always pick out the one-liners and throw out the nuance. Religion is bad because it claims to know everything while it doesn't. It is the greatest force of retrograde, as Churchill said, except he said it about islam, I say it about all of them.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 05:53PM

Visitors Welcome, I'm not hiding the ball here. You'll find that most of my points are backed up by either dictionary definitions or academic studies.

1) You state firmly that you "had never heard the term "Latin Europe" before." I suggest you look the word up. You'll find it in all the good dictionaries.

2) You questioned my claim that Morocco "is not the most liberal form of Islam in the world," asserting that perhaps Turkey was more liberal but only marginally so. On these questions you are wide of the mark. It's easy to find data on this point; the Economist does annual surveys of freedom, civil rights, etc., so too does Freedom House. And there are many others.

On the Freedom House scale of political and civil liberties, Morocco does not fare well for a "liberal" polity. It ranks 41 on a scale of 100. Malaysia, as I said, ranks a bit higher at 44; and Bosnia scores 55 and Indonesia scores 65. So yes, Southeast Asia and Southeast Europe are, as I wrote, considerably more liberal than Morocco.

3) Your description of Turkey deserves separate mention because it is especially uninformed. You claim that Turkey may be the exception, the country more liberal than Morocco. But while Morocco rates an uninspiring 41 in the Freedom House report, Turkey rates 38 and is on a downward trend. So it is substantially worse than Morocco and the gap is growing.

You also assert that Turkey was "oriented towards Europe in 1918 and they will remain so in 2018." Perhaps you can explain some things to me. When you say Turkey was pro-Europe in 1918, do you mean before the Axis was defeated--because Turkey fought for Germany--or after, when the Allies chopped it up for having been on the wrong side of the war? The Ottomans lost that war, lost most of their territory, and spent the next several years fighting against the European settlement. There was, after all, that little thing with the Kurds. . . and we shouldn't forget the Turkish genocide against the Armenians in the early 1920s. So no, I don't think one can say that Turkey was pro-Europe in 1918.

4) Turkey today. It is difficult to allege, as you do, that today's Turkey is "oriented towards Europe." Turkey is still part of NATO, but it has abandoned its old goal of membership in the EU and the EZ. If you would like to understand the status of human and political rights, by all means look it up. Google "Erdogan Civil Liberties" or "Erdogan dictatorship." Those will lead you to good articles in everything from the New Yorker to the Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal. Or look up Turkey and refugees to see how Turkey has sent millions of Syrian refugees into Europe as a sort of warfare. Again, anyone who says Turkey is oriented towards Europe as opposed to moving away from Europe has not been following politics.

5) Moving back to the sweeping generalizations of which you are so fond, you write that "religion is bad because it claims to know everything while it doesn't." That is true, but not profound. It is in fact a good description of almost all human organizations. You assert further that social progress is easier without religion. That may be true, although there are historical exceptions. Moreover totalitarian ideology is probably a more retrograde force than religion, at least in the 20th century. So again, social and political movements like religion/ideology can make things worse. But we knew that, didn't we?

6) Our disagreement first arose on the other thread, when you said that all Islam was alike; here you state much the same thing, that religion should be quarantined or put in a straitjacket. I find this proposition disturbing because it has been attempted many times in the past. Spain did it in 1492, gutting the source of its own strength. Turkey gave it a shot with the Armenian Christians, Germany had a go at the Jews, the Serbs did it to the Moslem Bosnians and the Hutus did it to the Tutsis. Indeed, the US did it on a smaller scale to the Buddhist Japanese in the camps and has done it with suspected terrorists at Guantanamo.

Very few people today would look back at those interludes and say, "gee, that worked out well." So I say this emphatically: if you want to overcome religious strife, you do so by encouraging religious groups to diversify and not by penning them up physically or intellectually. If we may return to Europe, which you say I do not understand, Frederick the Great had the right attitude: he capitalized on religious minorities to transform Prussia into a great power.

Diversity is a source of strength if it is nurtured properly. It is a source of enmity and violence if it is handled poorly. Your instincts, to the extent they are reflected in your generalizations, tend towards the reactionary rather than the progressive.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 01:26AM

Most Muslims arent militant and many who are are militant more because of politics

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 01:18PM

Well, each to his own. But, again, this was not a vitriolic article by any stretch; even if deemed a "non-event" or of no significant value as a "social trend."

After all, all of us on the Board take our shots at Mormonism (which is kind of the point here) without considering ourselves "Mormonaphobic." Is there not a position that is anti-Islam that falls short of being Islamaphobic? If someone here pointed to a similar questionable Mormon oriented "social study" no one here would accuse the authors of malefeasance, even if it was pointed out that the study was flawed or irrelevant. Most certainly, there would be no mention of Mormonaphobia. Shouldn't we be consistent in our assigning of religious phobias?

Finally, my main point was to Human personally, whom I consider an RfM friend. He always seems to come to the defense of Islam in particular from perceived attacks, however innocuous as I take this article to be. It just seems personal; particularly when a reference to Islam or the Palestinians somehow involves Jews or Zionism. For the life of me, I cannot see anything whatsoever to recommend it; on any level. (Which is basically how I feel about religion generally)

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 01:20PM

This was in response to Hie. I don't know why it did not appear beneath his post.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 01:56PM

I agree, the article wasn't "vitriolic."

But it did take what is actually a statistically insignificant set of numbers and make a big (and frankly inaccurate) headline out of them.

I can't speak for Human, but in my case if someone were to put up a headline article along the lines of, "Mormons are Now the Fourth Largest Denomination in the Philippines!"...I would put up the same criticism. Because while technically possible (the place is about 82% Roman Catholic, about 9% Muslim, and about 9% 'other christian.'). That 'other christian' category has one outlier (Iglesia ni Cristo), and the rest are all between 0.1 and 0.3 % of the population. Right now, mormons make up about 0.18%...if they rose to 0.3%, they'd probably be the 4th largest denomination, if you "sorted" things a certain way. But that would still be the tiniest fraction of the country, and wouldn't really indicate any "growth" -- it could be a one or few year statistical anomaly.

But that headline seems aimed at pointing out a "threat" of mormons "taking over." So even while possible accurate under a very specific and narrow set of circumstances, mormons aren't a threat to take over the Roman Catholic majority there. Not any time soon, not ever. The headline would be overblown hyperbole.

If I point out that it's overblown hyperbole, I'm not defending mormons. Or hoping more Filipinos convert. Or being "liberal." I'm just advocating for more facts and less hyperbole!

I hope that makes my point :)

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 04:31PM

Exactly.

I remember a year or so ago one of the posters here seriously opined that they weren't sure whether Spain could still be considered a Catholic nation, what with the influx of Middle Eastern refugees.

I actually checked at the time, and iirc, the Islamic proportion of the population was just over 2%, and a significant chunk of that was Moslems who had been in Spain for generations.

It is because of absurdly misleading headlines like the one on this thread that feed into Islamophobia, that anyone would even question whether Spain is still a majority RC country, or that Muslims are an almost statistically insignificant part of the American religions landscape.

BTW, Mormons are one of the larger denominations in the US, mostly because other denominations are fractured into smaller groups. For example, there are way more Lutherans than Mormons, but there are Missouri Synod Lutherans, ELCA, and various other flavors of Lutherans. Same with Baptists and other groups. There are Mormon factions too, but the SLC branch is far and away the largest.

However, just because LDS Inc is (I believe) in the top 5 largest denominations in the US, it is still nearly invisible in the US outside of Utah, Idaho and Arizona.

So, Islam is not going to take over the US. Neither is Mormonism. I predict that in 100 years, American Moslems will be as mainstream and un obtrusive as Methodists are now. They just need a few generations of kids growing up in America.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 05:47PM

"It is because of absurdly misleading headlines like the one on this thread that feed into Islamophobia, that anyone would even question whether Spain is still a majority RC country, or that Muslims are an almost statistically insignificant part of the American religions landscape."

COMMENT: First, the article's main headline is indeed misleading, but the subheading immediately clarifies this point, as does the body of the article. Some "Islamaphobic" person might cease upon the headline alone and run with it, but clearly it is an over-reaction to suggest that this article either was intended to generate such a response, or otherwise was dishonest, any more than any other headline is written to attract readers, sometimes a bit sensationally so. After all, it is of legitimate interest to know the growth rate of any religion in America or elsewhere.

This oversensitivity suggests to me a kind of Islamaphobic-phobia. This was my point with Human. What is the source of this over sensitivity to Islamic criticism, such that everything written about Islam is deemed to be some sort of attack, and which generates an over enthusiastic "Islamaphobic" style defense sometimes leading to the false impression that Islam is doctrinally and culturally harmless?

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 06:19PM

Henry Bemis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> This oversensitivity suggests to me a kind of
> Islamaphobic-phobia. This was my point with
> Human. What is the source of this over
> sensitivity to Islamic criticism, such that
> everything written about Islam is deemed to be
> some sort of attack, and which generates an over
> enthusiastic "Islamaphobic" style defense
> sometimes leading to the false impression that
> Islam is doctrinally and culturally harmless?

Islamophobophobia. That's the word I was looking for.
Just like Arab atheists are very critical of islam (behind closed doors) but dare not utter a bad word about christianity.
"Pedophile priests raping boys? Well at least they didn't circumcise them! So there"

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 08, 2018 04:53PM

Henry Bemis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This oversensitivity suggests to me a kind of
> Islamaphobic-phobia. This was my point with
> Human. What is the source of this over
> sensitivity to Islamic criticism, such that
> everything written about Islam is deemed to be
> some sort of attack, and which generates an over
> enthusiastic "Islamaphobic" style defense
> sometimes leading to the false impression that
> Islam is doctrinally and culturally harmless?

I would venture that the "oversensitivity" is on your side. Human, BoJerry, and I all pointed out that what were were interested in was not artificially creating a "threat," and in accuracy, and that we would say the same about any overblown, manufactured "statistics." THIS one was about Muslims. Just because it's about Muslims doesn't mean it's accurate and non-hyperbole. I'm an equal opportunity fact-checker.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: January 05, 2018 01:38PM

Just another way to get 'politics' on the board. Of course most things deal to some extent with politics.

Based on the comments it can only help one party --- which is ok with me!

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 03:45AM

But yes, the article's title was pure clickbait, typical of the left-wing and right-wing news sites.

It would be equally correct to write a story saying "ATHEISTS NOW SECOND-LARGEST RELIGIOUS GROUP IN AMERICA" because, also according to Pew, we are now at about 25%. Second only to christians, if we lump them all together just like others lump together all muslims.

It bothers me a bit, however, how Westerners count muslims: every immigrant from a muslim-majority country plus every citizen whose parents are immigrants from a muslim-majority country plus every citizen with one parent who was an immigrant from a muslim-majority country plus every citizen who once converted to islam. Westerners never count secular muslims, jackmuslims, atheist muslims or ex-muslims. Right-wingers call these groups "apostates". Left-wingers call them "islamophobes".

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Posted by: ipo ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 04:53AM

Something practical, that is. Or should we stop counting alltogheter?

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 08:03AM

ipo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Something practical, that is. Or should we stop
> counting alltogheter?

My suggestion is we only count those who count themselves. If there are census data, use those. But let's not buy the crap that there are 33.5 million muslims in Morocco because Morocco says it's muslim and has 33.8 million inhabitants of whom 0.3 million are registered as jews and christians.

Of course, for the media it's easier to parrot. There are 16 million mormons because the mormon church says so. There are 1.8 billion muslims because the OIC (Organization for Islamic Cooperation) says so. But I still expect journalists to investigate, check facts, and call impostors out on their bullshit.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2018 10:58PM

A dear friend was in Iran two months ago. One night she forgot to don her hijab when joining friends and family for dinner out. No one mentioned it.

While sitting at the restaurant, however, no less than four separate people approached and congratulated her her gesture of defiance against the government. She laughed uncomfortably and said, "I just forgot to put it on!"

Just think, if she were there now her absentmindedness might have transformed her into a symbol of the resistance--for better or worse!

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 07, 2018 04:07AM

8 March 1979 was not only the annual world women's day, as you all know, 1979 had also been proclaimed year of the women by the UN. But in revolutionary Iran, the headscarf became compulsory on 9 March 1979, which gives even more importance to these wonderful photos:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/sep/03/hengameh-golestans-best-photograph-iranian-women-rebel-against-the-1979-hijab-law

Enjoy!

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 07, 2018 04:15AM

That is cool stuff.

Somehow I doubt that the way Iranian women dress now is what the Mullahs had in mind. Hijabs as fashion statements, lots of color, tight slacks or actual slacks. It's pretty much a slap in the face to the authorities.

https://www.boredpanda.com/tehran-women-street-style/
https://no.pinterest.com/explore/iranian-women-fashion/

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: January 07, 2018 04:42PM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That is cool stuff.
>
> Somehow I doubt that the way Iranian women dress
> now is what the Mullahs had in mind.

And then there's the dogs. According to the mullahs, dogs are for guarding farms or doing work. It is very unislamic to cherish and love a dog. But most dogs in today's Iran are pets. So the islamic police have been confiscating dogs when they fear the animals could be loved. Oh, the horror ;)

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: January 07, 2018 07:31PM

Jewish Muslim interfaith support activities and dialogue are in the beginning stages in the United States, but what initially began as a synagogue-to-mosque, or a mosque-to-synagogue, local effort to help each other, is very quickly going national...

...especially with the creation of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom ["peace" in Arabic, and "peace" in Hebrew] who say:

"We grow relationships between Muslim and Jewish women to build bridges and fight hate, negative stereotyping and prejudice. We are changing the world, one Muslim and one Jewish woman at a time." https://sosspeace.org

Jewish and Muslim communities have been, and are now, reaching out to support each other and to create joint Muslim/Jewish community activities which are open to the public at large, to (hopefully) create understanding between everyone (of ANY religion, or no religion) throughout North America.

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: January 08, 2018 10:44AM

Well, the good news is that 23% are "nones." And that's the fastest growing group. And I'd sure love to see the Muslim population outnumber the Evangelicals.

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