Posts tagged ‘Islam’

August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

“I don’t see Islam as our enemy. I see that motivation is occupation and those who hate us and would like to kill us, they are motivated by our invasion of their land, the support of their dictators that they hate,” –Ron Paul on how he sees America’s foreign policy, not Islam, as a threat to America.

August 28, 2011

The Oslo Massacre and Stereotyping Religious Groups

by Vince

This readers story from the Dish is eye opening:

I have a best friend who would take the shirt off his back to help (almost) anyone.  We’ve been friends since childhood (we’re now in our late 40s).  I’m a liberal atheist Democrat, he’s a conservative Christianist Republican.  Certainly if we had met as adults we would never have become friends. But because of our history we remain friends, despite our differences and our friendly, but increasingly, vehement arguments.

About a year-and-a-half into Obama’s presidency we had to agree to stop talking about politics and the world in order to preserve our long-standing friendship. He wasn’t quite a birther, but he suspected something quite wasn’t right there. Our final, incredible, blowout argument was over the “Ground Zero Mosque.” He had succumbed to the “Muslims are bad” theory and had become a bit zealous, even going as far as saying “Fox News is the only media outlet telling the truth.” Sigh. We screamed at each other, there was spittle, and HUGE anger; if we hadn’t known each other for so long it might have devolved into fisticuffs.  But, with incredible restraint, we remained friends; it was clear we were skirting around current topics and trying valiantly to stay the course without saying “you’re an idiot” to each other. We were hanging out a lot less frequently than we had previously. Sad, but necessary?

Finally, Norway was a breakthrough. I would not have broached the subject, to keep the peace, but his wife brought it up tonight at a backyard BBQ. I didn’t say a word for a long time; they talked it out. In essence, the conversation went like this:

Wife:  But he (Breivik) identified himself as a Christian.
My friend: Nope, he couldn’t be a Christian.
Wife:  I know, not any Christian we know or could identify with.
My friend:  Ridiculous how he says he’s Christian.
Wife: But it got me thinking about how a lot of Muslims say the terrorists aren’t true Muslims.
My friend (I was holding my breath at this point):  Yea, I’m starting to see that.  This crazy guy wants to represent Christians.  He’s fucking insane.  Maybe the 9/11 guys were insane too and didn’t represent Muslims?

He looked me in the eye at that point and … apologized. Ohmygod!  He said, “I never saw the other side.”  We both cried.  I’m trying not to be melodramatic here, but it was literally a life changing moment for my friend.  He had truly believed that Muslims were really bad and Christians were good, with some aberrations (he used the Tiller murder as an example of a bad Christian, but never would give that “aberration” description to any Muslim).  Anyway, tonight was unbelievable in my world.  One of my best friends, and a rabid Christianist, acknowledged that all Muslims weren’t bad.  Sounds simple?  But, really, a major breakthrough.

So maybe there is something positive to come out of the tragedy in Norway. Very sad to say that, but in my little world, it’s a positive thing.  Obviously this is incredibly anecdotal, but maybe there are other Christianists seeing that there are extremists who don’t represent all Christians just as there are Islamists who don’t represent all of Islam?

Know hope.

May 31, 2011

Equating Muslims With Nazis

by Vince

In case you were still considering Pat Robertson worth listening to. Keyword, Pat, is some.

May 26, 2011

“The Unintended Consequences of “Anti-Sharia” Laws”

by Vince

The foaming at the mouth pundits and politicians who try to propose draconian measures to prevent America being taken over by Islamofascists may actually be acting quite contradictory to their roots. Ironic? Always:

Jon Campbell considers himself a loyal member of the tea party. The Kingsport, Tenn., man is a conservative Christian who wants the government to keep its hands off his wallet and his personal life. And that’s why, he said, a bill that originally targeted supporters of Islamic law is a bad idea for Tennessee. State officials could have used the bill to punish unpopular groups, he said.

Today, that’s Muslims, he said. Tomorrow, that could be the tea party. He pointed to a 2009 report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center, funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security, that labeled Ron Paul supporters as potential terrorists. “If you don’t like the ideas that someone supports — how is that illegal?” he said.

This topic may remind many conservatives of their libertarian roots and the unintended consequences that not only it could have on them but will have on others.

May 10, 2011

For Those Who Agree With Torturing

by Vince

Whether or not torturing (or it’s euphemism “enhanced interagation techniques” (EIT) lead America Navy Seals to OBL, it strips humans of their dignity and God-given image.

Now that that is out of the way, I want to confront this ideology mix-up. When the Khmer Rouge (the architects of the Killing Field in Cambodia) tortured, we called it inhumane and torture. When the Nazi’s tortured Jews, we called it inhumane and torture. When America tortures terrorist suspects (while there are more effective legal alternatives out there), we call it “protecting our country”, “defending liberty”, “fighting terrorists”, or some other Americanized slogan that could go on a bumper sticker.

I want to know why we don’t see our torture as what it is: torture. It isn’t any nice, prettier, or better if we do it, too. We will go down in history as torturing and we have little room to condemn others (even radical Muslims who torture Americans and their own). An eye for an eye, even when doing it for “just” causes, leaves all blind.

This all reminds me of the death penalty and the war on terror. We kill people who kill people to show that killing people is bad. We torture people who torture people to try to attain some righteous outcome. That doesn’t sound like logical math to me.

March 16, 2011

A Neocon Said What!?

by Vince

“What really increases terrorist recruitment is invading Muslim countries, killing Muslims there, and staying to try to build Western democracies.”

So said Andy McCarthy over at the National Review. Is the hubris gig up?

March 16, 2011

Harmful Generalizations about Islam – Yay!

by Vince

Andy McCarthy serves up a sickening dish. This is an effort to paint all Muslims as hateful slayers of Jews. Great job painting with a wide brush, Andy.

March 3, 2011

Islamophobia Watch

by Vince
February 22, 2011

No Desire for an Islamic Revolution

by Vince

Matt Yglesias translates a French article for us:

This new generation isn’t interested in ideology, their slogans are all pragmatic and congrete; they don’t speak of Islam the way their predecessors did in Algeria in the late 1980s. Above all they reject corrupt dictators and demand democracy. That’s not to say that the demonstrators are secular, but simply that they don’t see Islam as a political ideology to be used to create a better order, they’re well inside a secular political space.

This is a continuation of Roy’s work over the past several years on “the failure of political Islam.” The basic idea here is that in part thanks to the example of Iran, you just don’t have a mass constituency that’s prepared to believe that Islam or Islamic rule offers answers to the concrete problems of poverty, corruption, and slow economic growth. People may be religiously observant or culturally conservative in ways that western liberals (or even western cultural conservatives) would find alarming, but the Egyptian people are asking “where are the jobs?” and don’t think the answer is going to be found in the Koran.

December 13, 2010

Unemployment Benefits

by Vince

Ezra Klein has a straightforward piece on unemployment benefits. Both of his charts/graphs are helpful, too.

It is helpful, if you talk about this, to be clear when addressing “the unemployed”. Beyond that terming resulting in an inhumane description, there are many Americans who go to job fairs or actively pursue jobs but to no avail. Remember: there are on average 5 applicants for every 1 job available.  Extending unemployment benefits, in many cases, keeps not only the recepient afloat but the businesses they shop at each week for their food, gas, and other necessities. Essentially, if you cut off the unemployment benefits in a draconian manner, you cut off the businesses. Please, let’s not lose reality and humanity in this discussion. How often does that happen with immigration, health care, and Islam?

Google has a great tool that allows you to look up each state, county, and region‘s unemployment rates.

December 5, 2010

Sunday Reads

by Vince
November 30, 2010

Myth Bust: “Muslims Don’t Get Patted Down by TSA”

by Vince

A funny cartoon but an even better article here; it includes an interview with the TSA director, which should carry more weight than your favorite pundit.

November 2, 2010

Revisiting Shari’ah

by Vince

Amina Wadud explores the misguided understanding of Islamic law and jurisprudence. Her piece is worth a full read:

From its root form, shari’ah means: a path that leads to water (the source of all life). This is really a lot like the Tao, or like Zen. It is the way, but not in a road-map-with-specific-details kind of way. It is not a long list of dos and don’ts. It is an idea that there is harmony in all of creation, including human creatures, our communities, and our relationships with each other, with the rest of creation, and with the Creator. It is also about doing that which will maintain that harmony. It is an ideal. The grounds for this idea are divine. In this respect and in this respect only, can we say shari’ah is divine.

These days people use the word shari’ah to mean Islamic law. The problem with that is it collapses the historical and intellectual process to what some one, in fact, many some ones at some place and time, tried to do in order to “understand” this divine order. That process is known as fiqh or jurisprudence. Fiqh is the human attempt to understand the divine order orshari’ah. It refers to the legal mechanisms developed and explained to get rules out of those divine sources. This is where positive law was developed. This is what each of the established schools (or madh-hab) of law were focused upon.

I wonder if those who throw around the term Shari’ah with malicious intent know any of this.

October 31, 2010

Fox News vs. CAIR

by Vince

They go hard. Even MJ raised her eye brows a few times as she overheard me watching this.

October 15, 2010

To the Religious: Learn Religion and 1 Corinthians 15:26-28

by Vince

Wendy Kaminer explains how the less we know about religions other than our own, and even our own, the more ignorant we can be:

It seems obvious that ignorance like this enhances bigotry. The less people know about Islam the more likely they’ll take on faith the ravings of Islamaphobes like Pam Geller. A little less obvious, and surely less noticed, is the corrosive effect of misinformation about unpopular or demonized religions on civil liberty. Muslims may be most directly effected by post 9/11 abuses, ranging from torture and summary detentions to secret blacklisting, but imbuing the government with unaccountable power to engage in these practices poses clear and present dangers to everyone’s liberty.

This helps explain why MJ and I own a copy of the Koran, why we read Marcus Borg, appreciate Judaism, have respected friends that are of other faith paths, and could never stump so low as to ignorantly attempt to proselytize them. Let me be clear: this isn’t a call to a “hey man, whatever works for you is ok” conversation. I thought about this in this way before today, but after MJ and I sat it on a seminary class on 1 Corinthians 15, it had me thinking: who/what belongs to Christ?

For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

This is a neat fork in the road courtesy of the Apostle Paul. This could mean that 1) all in Christ will be made alive or 2) all things will be made alive. In the end, there is not weeping or gnashing of teeth. For:

When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

All will be subject to God except God. All that will be left will be God. Lets chew on that exegesis on this Friday night.

October 6, 2010

Smear Campaigns

by Vince

Our minds continue to fascinate me. So many aspects factor in to how it operates, processes information (and disinformation), and sees the world and everything in it.

Enter Shankar Vedantam. He sees our minds as more powerful than the misinformation we take in. So in the end, if your mind is able to sift through the information that comes your way, you may then not count yourself as part of the 1 in 5 group of Americans thinking Barack Obama is a Muslim (or the antichrist). Unfortunately, this process of misinformation intertwined with smear campaigns has a history:

Abraham Lincoln was called a Negro. John Adams was referred to as a hermaphrodite. James Madison was accused of being French.

You can show your friend who doubts Obama’s citizenship his birth certificate. You can talk through the idiocy of the antichrist theory or how it is not our job or in our ability to know G-D’s way. You could really do this for both sides when vitriolic comments arise. But our minds have the capability to jettison information that doesn’t suit us or line up with our general thinking. So, that friend could just say the copy of Obama’s certificate is fake.

One of the studies Vedantam noted is worth sharing:

In a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers tested volunteers to see under what conditions they believed two slurs—that McCain was senile and that Obama was a Muslim. (As with the “Frenchman” smear aimed at John Madison, being called a Muslim would not be a smear in much of the world, but it was a smear in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Smears are contextual.)

The researchers found that when they subliminally flashed the name Obama before volunteers—the flashes were so brief that the volunteers did not notice the flash—this unconsciously activated words such as Arabturban, and mosque in the minds of McCain supporters. Likewise, subliminally flashing the word McCain unconsciously activated words such as seniledementia, and Alzheimer’s in the minds of Obama supporters. The same thing did not happen when volunteers were flashed the name of the candidate they supported. The slur-related words were activated only by unconsciously reminding them about the candidate they opposed.

This is our first clue to the process by which we buy smears: Reminding partisans about their political loyalties made their minds hospitable to smears aimed at their opponents.

Vedantam notes the grave danger of forming life into “us” versus “them”:

Our willingness to believe in smears is intricately tied to our internal concepts of “us” and “them.” It does not matter how the “us” is defined—it could be everyone belonging to a political party, everyone of a certain age, race, or nationality, everyone wearing blue shirts on a particular day. The moment you prompt people to see the world in terms of us and them, you instantly make their minds hospitable to slurs about people belonging to the other group.

This is found in religiously tainted politics, religious fringes, and general aspects within life. Politically, this can be heard by Sarah Palin and other hard line Republicans. Could this be because of their frustration out of not being in power and control? Could the Democrats not want or need to comply because of their presidential, House, and Senate control? Maybe. But I appreciate this quote from Barack Obama, along with his record of looking to work with the other side, that shows me not only where he wants to go but where his mind is:

“What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon — that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize.”– Barack Obama, June 3, 2008

October 1, 2010

Pinpointing The Strands of Islam

by Vince

Claire Berlinski on NROtv wonders what a moderate Muslim looks like (not physically).

Is moderate Islam philosophically possible?  Of course it is–it’s a dominant strain of Islam.  And yes, there are moderate Muslims.  Whether there are many of them is the question we should be asking ourselves.

I really really really don’t know why we as humans – white Christians many times fall for this- try to wrap our heads around answering these unanswerable questions. More so, who cares!? Why do we even entertain these hypothetical questions: do you think your neighbor is a terrorist? is it truly possible to be a moderate Muslim? does Islam allow for moderation? We do not know these cultures, we can never fully grasp their inner workings from a full lifestyle perspective, and trying to engage in these fruitless topics leads us into conversations that have really very little to do with our day to day lives.

September 28, 2010

Hard Journalism

by Vince

Anderson Cooper is the man in the above interview with Renee Ellmers. He follows up with each assertion and gives the Ground Zero mosque debate proper and mature treatment.

September 26, 2010

“Our Silence Sends Our Voices To The World”

by Vince

Once you get past Iran and its progressing nuclear program, its missiles, its connections to Hezbollah, its ambiguous and dangerous leadership, and its connection some see to the Rapture, you have the above video. I watched it at first and didn’t know what it meant. Its translation is here:

Tomorrow is Saturday. Tomorrow is a day of destiny.
Tonight, the cries of Allah-o Akbar are heard louder and louder than the nights before.
Where is this place? Where is this place where every door is closed? Where is this place where people are simply calling God? Where is this place where the sound of Allah-o Akbar gets louder and louder?
I wait every night to see if the sounds will get louder and whether the number increases. It shakes me. I wonder if God is shaken.
Where is this place that where so many innocent people are entrapped? Where is this place where no one comes to our aid? Where is this place that only with our silence we are sending our voices to the world? Where is this place that the young shed blood and then people go and pray — standing on that same blood and pray. Where is this place where the citizens are called vagrants?
Where is this place? You want me to tell you? This place is Iran. The homeland of you and me.
This place is Iran.

Watching a video like this will send you in one direction. Reading these tweets or viewing these pictures with captions sends you in another completely opposite direction.

We can’t continue to see and view others in broad brush strokes. More so, this surpasses Islam and pervades every other religion, ethnicity, and aspect of life. It would be ignorant of me to think of my friend who is Jewish as a cookie cut identical to the last Jew I met, in his thinking, his religious views, and his politics. This world is too complex, our thoughts are so vast and deep (everyone is included here, not just the educated), and our issues are so deep that we can’t settle for cutting ourselves short in discourse with others and our own thinking. This all goes beyond mid term voting, 2012 general elections, and politics. This is life. And the one manning the camera above, speaking in private, has no voice but to speak into a camera. Their voice is against the tyranny of their Islamic Republic. And we think all of those crying out Allah Akbar are about to kill themselves and others. Let’s get real.

September 19, 2010

Religious Search Engines

by Vince

Here are three for three different religions. NPR reports:

Some Jews, Muslims and Christians are abandoning Yahoo and Google and turning to search engines with results that meet their religious standards.

Shea Houdmann runs SeekFind, a Colorado Springs-based Christian search engine that only returns results from websites that are consistent with the Bible. He says SeekFind is designed “to promote what we believe to be biblical truth” and excludes sites that don’t meet that standard.

Houdmann says a search on his site would not turn up pornography. If you search “gay marriage,” you would get results that argue against gay marriage. And if you type in “Democratic Party,” your first search result is a site on Marxism.

This sounds good, in some ways, for kids. But unless you want to be a fundamentalist, I wouldn’t suggest the Christian one.