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Why we can't get along
March 5, 2006 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Incredibly bold opinion offered on Al-Jazeera by Dr. Wafa Sultan, a Syrian expatriate, psychologist and woman giving her opinions on the root cause of the current Islam/Western conflict. (video with subtitles).
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 (138 comments total)

 
She seems like a heck of a speaker. I'm curious now to see what she was saying in context to its response on that show. How well did she go over?
posted by poseur at 1:20 PM on March 5, 2006


Transcript here.
posted by gubo at 1:22 PM on March 5, 2006


Wow. Very direct and very corageous position
posted by FeldBum at 1:26 PM on March 5, 2006


SwingingJohnson1968 is the guy who laid this delicious little nugget. Probably all you need to know about him, I'd say.
posted by Wolof at 1:31 PM on March 5, 2006


well my ignorant ass is ecstatic just to see an arab woman bark her way through accusations of heresy on network television. you mention she's a psychologist, im curious why she is speaking about these issues at this particular time... ?
posted by phaedon at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2006


"Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me."

That line is a keeper.
posted by grabbingsand at 1:35 PM on March 5, 2006


Well, objectively (with my infedel western mindset) I could not disagree with 1 word she said.

Her debate opponent could only say, "So you are a heretic and there is no use refuting you".

My only hope is that younger generations in the Islam culture can grow out of this closeminded hatred and do like she said, "Join the 21st century".

That is an enormous obstacle considering that so many Islam children are taught (by parents and religion) to hate and kill people whom they have never met from infancy thru adulthood. Similar to how "White Supremest" children in the USA are taught the beliefs of hate but on a multi-national scale rather than the USA's pockets of racist extremists.

But even the most hard-core racist groups in the USA don't condone suicide martyrism by their children and murder of their percieved enemies. They pretty much just want to be segregated.

I have seen shocking Islam religious TV programs that put toddlers on a stage with a microphone and praising them for proclaiming "DEATH TO ALL INFEDELS".

How can any child become enlightened and peacefull after this is all they have been taught and know to be right?
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2006


"Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me."

Someone needs to put that on a bumper sticker.
posted by puke & cry at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Everything she said was exactly what the problem is with these Arab Muslims.

WTF have they ever offered the world or humanity?

Nothing! No science, art or anything of substance yet they demand respect.

Just religion, war and death is all they offer.

I hope it doesn't take too many more generations of these ignorant people to end this BS and join the human race.

Over 5,000 daughters and sisters are killed each year for so-called "HONOR KILLINGS". It's so hard for me to have compassion or understanding for a culture that allows father's to kill their daughters and approves of this disgusting/evil behaviour. Suicidal bombings with innocent victims and destruction of churches because other people don't want to embrace their back-assward Muslim beliefs.

What has any prominent Muslim ever contributed to anything good in this world?



posted by MrJohnson at 07:04PM UTC on March 05, 2006
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:38 PM on March 5, 2006


I had seen this video posted at an Israeli site and note that we are pleasantly surprised ...why? Because of the zillions of Muslims One Woman living in America dares to utter her perspective....and she says what so many of us have thought and so many Muslims dare not say.
posted by Postroad at 1:40 PM on March 5, 2006


SwingingJohnson1968 is the guy who laid this delicious little nugget. Probably all you need to know about him, I'd say.
posted by Wolof at 1:31 PM PST on March 5 [!]


Yes I did, and I got imediatley banned from that website for speaking my mind on that.

I stand behind that delicious little nugget as I was just agreeing and reiterating what the Dr. said on Al Jazeera.

I assumed that website exists to debate the items posted on there.

So I posted the link in this forum with the hope to have some intelligent debate regarding the Al Jazeera broadcast. It's clear that intelligent debate does not exist on that other forum (that banned me).
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 1:41 PM on March 5, 2006


Very direct and very corageous position

direct, yes ... but considering she lives in los angeles, i'm not so sure it's that courageous ... after all, she's hardly going to be arrested for saying such things here
posted by pyramid termite at 1:42 PM on March 5, 2006


Bush and his minions are medieval in their mindset too, they just have 21st century weapons. They want unlimited power, and they're willing to rape, torture, lie, pillage, and steal to get it. They're Huns with smart bombs. To say nothing of the fact that George W. seems to be motivated in part by avenging his father (the part that's not motivated by the barbaric greed of the military-industrial complex).

I'd love to see an authentic showdown between medievalism and the 21st century. For now, it's called dissent against this war.
posted by digaman at 1:49 PM on March 5, 2006


I applaud Al Jazeera for even airing that segment.

I know they are out for ratings, but this segment on A J feels like if FOX News decided to air F-9/11 and then let Michael Moore fill in for O'Riely for a day.

It must have been LIVE and someone's head will roll at AJ for letting that segment slip by.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 1:50 PM on March 5, 2006


after all, she's hardly going to be arrested for saying such things here
but, isn't that just the point ?

it's damn courageous, erudite and passionate, but if that was being said by a white jewish lawyer, would we have been paying it attention ?
posted by oliyoung at 1:51 PM on March 5, 2006


nice
posted by rulethirty at 1:58 PM on March 5, 2006


Whoah........
posted by pjern at 1:58 PM on March 5, 2006


but if that was being said by a white jewish lawyer, would we have been paying it attention ?

these things are said by many kinds of people and those at lgf and other such places pay attention to it all the time

that doesn't discount her words and neither does my pointing out that it's a lot easier to say such things in l a than it is damascus

my opinion is that gross generalizations about a billion people aren't going to get us very far in this century ... i can point to people on both sides of this clash who are doing everything they can to get the other side going

most people just want to be left the hell alone ... pity that viewpoint isn't better represented
posted by pyramid termite at 2:02 PM on March 5, 2006


Did they add the raunchy stadium reverb to her voice or is she normally like that?
posted by fleacircus at 2:04 PM on March 5, 2006


"Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me."

This is even better if you say it in a Hulk Hogan voice. Brother~!
posted by AdamJ at 2:07 PM on March 5, 2006


wow
posted by bam at 2:08 PM on March 5, 2006


Message to the people here that are attacking me for my post on that other forum:

I was not trolling in that other forum and I think I made the error of using terms like "Back-asswards" and "WTF" because those type of words seem to be the general attitude and dynamics of debates in that group. (am I wrong)

I'm sorry I offended the mod over there.

But it is still a fact that people in the Islam cultures are forbidden to even read books and executed if they challenge the system. Women over there are living in Hell on Earth. So it's no wonder that Islam/Muslims can't contribute anything of worth to humanity when ignorance is all around them.

My perception is not that ALL Muslims are ignorant. I have the common sence to NOT label billions of people with 1 sentence.

But the Muslims that are at the center of the conflict are cursed with a dangerous ignorance. Muslim is obviously not a religion of HATE and MURDER, but that is what it has been warped into in that region.

Nations that condone death to other nations over religion will never get respect no matter how many people die.

Regardless of who hates Bush and who lied about war and oil, who is profiteering, etc., the Muslim religion in that area is the catylist and tool for most of todays conflict.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:08 PM on March 5, 2006


Its is not so much Islamic extremism in poor countries that disturbs me, people in Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Israel have some valid problems in their day-to-day to lives that they should be actively fighting against. The fact they view the "West" as their real enemy is a tragedy.

What disturbs me is my Islamic co-workers, free to speak their minds, and neither poor nor ignornant who on 7/7 when I was freaking out worried about girlfriend and trying to help my colleagues in the London office sort through things, were shrugging their shoulders going "well this is bad, but I kind of understand it".

The basis of the morality that allows for the killing of innocents is wrong. The Nazis were wrong to kill Jews, Palestinians are wrong to blow up buses, Jews have no business shooting rock throwers, Americans were wronged on 9/11, and the burning of the Danish embassies was a crime. I find the voices against these actions in the Muslim community to be scattered and isolated, and we need to examine the reasons why and make sure voices like Wafa Sulta aren't silenced.

Then again, given what has happened in South Dakota and this revival of creationism in the USA maybe the west should make sure our backyard is clean.
posted by Deep Dish at 2:09 PM on March 5, 2006


Wafa, meet Salman. You guys are going to be roomies soon.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:09 PM on March 5, 2006


Did they add the raunchy stadium reverb to her voice or is she normally like that?

She has the weirding way!
posted by homunculus at 2:13 PM on March 5, 2006


I want a bumper sticker that says: "I am a heretic, and there is no use in refuting me."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:14 PM on March 5, 2006


Note that the bearded man in the hat attempted to trivialize, categorize and dismiss her by calling her a name. Where have we seen this tactic?
posted by Cranberry at 2:15 PM on March 5, 2006


I want a bumper sticker that says: "I am a heretic, and there is no use in refuting me."

That'd make a great banner for everyone to put on blogs. Could be an interesting meme.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:16 PM on March 5, 2006


I am a heretic, and there is no use in refuting me.

He said rebuking, not refuting, Goddamit.

Great clip, Johnson. Keep it swinging.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:20 PM on March 5, 2006


Regarding the algebra comments...

An Arabian mathematician by the name of Mohammed ibn Musa Abu Djefar Al-Khwarizmi wrote a book entitled "Al-gebr we' l mukabala" from which the word algebra is derived (meaning "restoration", that is, equality of both sides of the equation) . This work is believed to be how the system of decimal numeration was introduced into the West.

Regarding the comment by SwingingJohnson1968 that It must have been LIVE and someone's head will roll at AJ for letting that segment slip by....
Actually, AJ airs this sort of stuff regularly. The stations staff and editorial position is decidely secular, within the Arab world the are hated by the repressive Islamist regimes. So this sort of thing is not uncommon.
posted by slickvaguely at 2:23 PM on March 5, 2006


He said rebuking, not refuting, Goddamit.

tomato, tomoto
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:24 PM on March 5, 2006


I nominate this Woman for President of the Whole Fucking World!

I found myself filling with greater and greater admiration for her force of clarity, for the power of her reasoning in the face of the idiocy of her opposer on the other side of the screen.

I'd bet she is also strongly opposed to the wars being fought ostensibly in the name of the same ideas she espouses.

The Arabic speaking world should consider itself blessed to have this courageous woman speak truth to power.

How long before the goons emit their despicable fatwas?
posted by reality at 2:27 PM on March 5, 2006


I'd maybe pay more attention to you if you learnt to spell and STOPPED SHOUTING.

Oh, and you stopped talking out of your ASS BACKWARDS.
posted by seanyboy at 2:29 PM on March 5, 2006


"Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi
Born: about 780 in Baghdad (now in Iraq)
Died: about 850"

OK, Abu contributed something good from that region.

Anything since the year 850 ?
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:29 PM on March 5, 2006


Then again, given what has happened in South Dakota and this revival of creationism in the USA maybe the west should make sure our backyard is clean.

Creationists are dimwits, and the banning of abortion in one particular state is a horrible retrograde act, but neither are in any way comparable with things like 9/11, the Madrid and London bombings.

Suggesting that the West needs to somehow 'clean house' before we can expect Muslims to put a stop to these outrageous actions is to imply that we are somehow responsible for, or deserving of them, which is arrant nonsense and is often used to justify this sort of actions.

The West does need to clean house, but it needs to do it because it's the right thing to do, not because a bunch of medieval zealots are blowing shit up.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:29 PM on March 5, 2006


tomato, tomoto

Nothing of the sort. The two words have completely different meanings.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:31 PM on March 5, 2006


You don't like Muslims do you Mr. Johnson?
posted by caddis at 2:32 PM on March 5, 2006


direct, yes ... but considering she lives in los angeles, i'm not so sure it's that courageous ... after all, she's hardly going to be arrested for saying such things here

Remember what happened to Theo van Gogh?
posted by Krrrlson at 2:42 PM on March 5, 2006


ok, a question for you SwingingJohnson1968...

is it radical Islam that you are referring to or "that region", which I might read as Arabs, when you ask ...
Anything since the year 850 ?

I would hate for this discussion to get derailed by mutual misunderstanding.
posted by slickvaguely at 2:45 PM on March 5, 2006


Because Amsterdam has the same racial mix as L.A?
posted by seanyboy at 2:45 PM on March 5, 2006


You don't like Muslims do you Mr. Johnson?
posted by caddis at 2:32 PM PST on March 5 [!]


I don't dislike Muslims. I've not yet had the opportunity to know any Muslims other than acquaintances and I have never not liked anyone based on their Muslim beliefs.

But I am sure that if any Muslim blew me up while I was having coffee in a cafe' in the name of Muslim, I would dislike that very much.

Like the Dr. said, I'm a secular human being.

I stated above that I don't label billions of Muslims as I do the dangerous ignorant ones in that region.

I do despise ignorance and murder in the name of any religion.

It guess it is hard to discuss this subject with an opinion and not be labeled a bigot.

The world needs to stop using the word "Muslim" to define the "Muslim-extremist".
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:47 PM on March 5, 2006


ok, a question for you SwingingJohnson1968...

is it radical Islam that you are referring to or "that region", which I might read as Arabs, when you ask ...
Anything since the year 850 ?

I would hate for this discussion to get derailed by mutual misunderstanding.
posted by slickvaguely at 2:45 PM PST on March 5 [!]


Specifically it is "radical Islams" in "that region" I am refering to, the same as Doctor Sultan.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I am referring to the Muslims that wish to murder everyone in the world who does not embrace their beliefs and feel that such murders are Allah's will.

Seriously, I wonder what percentage of Muslims truly feel that way and what percentage don't.

That would clear up alot of bigotry in the world.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 2:55 PM on March 5, 2006


I stand rebuked, but not refuted.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:04 PM on March 5, 2006


Hilarity is that you guys are all surprised by this. She's been on Al-Jazeera before. Along with many other people who come and try to argue/debate their points of view. It isn't some great breakthrough for the station or arab media.

Besides, her whole argument was the old black and white, no clue to complexities, clash of cultures chestnut that happens to be identical to that used by the extremists.

Abu Aardvark on this
posted by mulligan at 3:05 PM on March 5, 2006


Regardless of who hates Bush and who lied about war and oil, who is profiteering, etc., the Muslim religion in that area is the catylist and tool for most of todays conflict.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 5:08 PM EST on March 5 [!]


Sure, extremists rarely, if ever contribute to "humanity". With the exception of a select few members of this blog, most people know that.

But regardless isn't strong enough a term to cover certain groups of religious and otherwise persons in the West being just as responsible for today's conflict(s) as anyone else. Let's see, over the last 1000 or 850 years (which, I might add, still influences the shape and the events of the world today, including the current "war against terrorists that didn't exist in Iraq") they have decimated most of the native population of the Americas, raped Africa, bombed Laos, put millions of Jews to death, created and backed the IMF and it's pro-corporate policies, persued very selective globalization policies, raped the Middle East, produced and are still producing arms to the sky, started and supported the nuclear amrs race, funded and supported and armed South American, Middle Eastern, Asian, Arabic, and other dictatorial regimes, arbitrarily and carelessly cut up Europe, etc. and on and an on, and so forth.

Plus, a lot of really great things have happened to, and usually, when cultures mix and people are reasonable, that's what happens. Unfortunately we have a bunch of crazy buffoons on the world stage, and that includes extremists from the east, west, north, south, and of any relgion or government.

Seriously, I wonder what percentage of Muslims truly feel that way and what percentage don't.

That would clear up alot of bigotry in the world.


Hardly.
posted by juiceCake at 3:07 PM on March 5, 2006


re·buke, re·buked, re·buk·ing, re·bukes

1. To criticize or reprove sharply; reprimand. See Synonyms at admonish.
2. To check or repress.

re·fute, re·fut·ed, re·fut·ing, re·futes

1. To prove to be false or erroneous; overthrow by argument or proof: refute testimony.
2. To deny the accuracy or truth of: refuted the results of the poll.


Tomato, Tomoto
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 3:12 PM on March 5, 2006


So it's no wonder that Islam/Muslims can't contribute anything of worth to humanity when ignorance is all around them.

This is why you got banninated. Because you're overreacting to a geniune problem by taking the actions of a (arguably-sized) set of individuals and then applying it to the group as a whole.

Basically, you're just as guilty of the ignorance you claim to rally against.

And remember this, Mr. What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately: if it weren't for the Arab scholars, we wouldn't have any of that great Greek wisdom.

Familiar with the term The Dark Ages? Yeah, that was the West that was in the dark, bub. The "east" was doing just fine with our forgotten knowledge.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:21 PM on March 5, 2006


Someone needs to inform Mr. Johnson that it is extremely tacky to repost verbatim a post to monkeyfilter.

Also the interview was short and incredibly simplistic and uninteresting. I fail to understand the outcries of huzzah over what appears to be the normal masturbatory speechmaking routine.
posted by digitalis at 3:24 PM on March 5, 2006


An Arabian mathematician by the name of Mohammed ibn Musa Abu Djefar Al-Khwarizmi wrote a book entitled "Al-gebr we' l mukabala" from which the word algebra is derived (meaning "restoration", that is, equality of both sides of the equation) . This work is believed to be how the system of decimal numeration was introduced into the West.

Al-Khwarizmi was Persian, not Arab.
posted by ori at 3:27 PM on March 5, 2006


Remember what happened to Theo van Gogh?

she's a lot more likely to be knocked off by a crack or meth head in l a, than some pissed off fundie

but i guess a person's opinion doesn't count for that much any more unless it can somehow be presented as a courageous stand against enemies who will stop at nothing to shut them up ... there's a lot of that kind of dramatization going around by people all over the political spectrum these days

it's getting quite tiresome
posted by pyramid termite at 3:28 PM on March 5, 2006


[sarcasm]

Yeah, Metafilter. She's wrong.

It's all our fault. Us - being America.

We need to buy a new shiny bike or puppies for every Muslim in the world. Then we should all convert. And everything will be all right

[/sarcasm]
posted by tkchrist at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2006


tkchrist,

Actually, the collective metafilter mind never made a comment to that effect.

the actual comment made by the collective mind was "it is all your fault tkchrist, you personally, are responsible for all problems in this world."


of course i could be wrong, i'm not good at this complex thought and reading comprehension required to understand world affairs.
posted by mulligan at 3:37 PM on March 5, 2006


Abu Aardvark

That was then, this is now.

Can you really defend a culture that treats women with violence and total disrespect as the cultural norm? Where 8 year old girls get their clitoris sliced off as their mothers cheer so they wont grow up to be slutty.

The horrible things you blame on the Western culture are true, but those wrongs from history are no excuse for the radical mindset of this Jihad. The West commited their atrocities for a purpose. Wealth and power. The other Western sins you mentioned in the name of religion are centuries old history.

The Western world culture does not murder their daughters if they get knocked up or teach our babies that suicide bombing in the name of God would make Mommy and Daddy so proud.

What they have is a viscous cycle of generations causing abject poverty, ignorance and violence.

Abu, as soon as I get my time machine working I will go back and try to fix some of the wrongs you mentioned. Can't fix them all because some of them were just painfull growing pains of humanity.


At least Western culture has evolved and is evolving.
This internet debate is forbidden in the Islam regions.
You, me and our whole family could be killed today for this discussion if we dared to discuss this over there.

Just like that Doctors head would be sliced off if she were sitting in the Al Jazeer studio instead of a somewhere in LA.(soon after she left the AJ building)

That's much different from the Western sins you mentioned.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 3:45 PM on March 5, 2006


Someone needs to inform Mr. Johnson that it is extremely tacky to repost verbatim a post to monkeyfilter.

Also the interview was short and incredibly simplistic and uninteresting. I fail to understand the outcries of huzzah over what appears to be the normal masturbatory speechmaking routine.

posted by digitalis at 3:24 PM PST on Ma

Someone needs to inform you to read what your talking about before you reprimand someone.

I did not repost anything from Monkey Filter.

Someone from MF posted my material here.

Read the damn names of who posted what please.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 3:48 PM on March 5, 2006


i don't care at all about your dipshit views on muslim extremists, but i must take exception to your continued insistence, even after you supply your own evidence of your incorrectness, that "refute" and "rebuke" mean essentially the same thing.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:48 PM on March 5, 2006


OK..... I am getting hit left and right here for stating my opinion and sounding bigoted.

If anyone can concisely argue this situation in English and not sound bigoted, please do.

If you think that the whole situation is fine and dandy in the middle east and does not deserve anyone discussing, fine.

I will just mind my own business and next time thousands of people in the USA get killed, maybe we should all just ignore it so we don't sound like bigots.

When the news reported on 9-11 we should have all just changed the channel and watched South Park instead of forming an opinion.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 3:56 PM on March 5, 2006


i don't care at all about your dipshit views on muslim extremists, but i must take exception to your continued insistence, even after you supply your own evidence of your incorrectness, that "refute" and "rebuke" mean essentially the same thing.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:48 PM PST on March 5 [!]

That's a shame your stuck on that.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 4:00 PM on March 5, 2006


We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people.

*cough* Menachem Begin *cough*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:03 PM on March 5, 2006


SwingingJohnson,

I am astounded at how incredibly ignorant your are of what life is like in the Middle East. You state things unequivocally with such surety. It is mindboggling.

Your rhetoric sounds like the unresearched assumptions of a fool.
This "debate" you speak of is common and not some forbidden taboo that results in an immediate vigilante death sentence. Girls are not all subjected to genital mutilation. Where the hell do you get this stuff?
In some of these examples, you are confusing regions. For instance, genital mutilation is much more common on the African contintent, and is far far more rare in the mideast.

What on earth compels you to take what SOME PEOPLE do and pretend that every single person does and approves of those things?
Do you find the solace in reducing individuals throughout the world to some sort of ultra-simplistic blob?

People are raped, murdered, molested all over the world. Women drown their babies here in the US. But you are fully capable of recognizing these things are unacceptable EVEN IF THEY STILL OCCUR.

Why then is it so difficult to recognize this in non-westerners?
Honestly, your disgusting lack of ability to appreciate complex issues is IDENTICAL to that of the damn extremists who ruin so much with their simplemindedness.

go read a book.
posted by mulligan at 4:04 PM on March 5, 2006


That's a shame your stuck on that.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 7:00 PM EST on March 5 [!]


That should be "a shame you're stuck on that."
posted by unreason at 4:08 PM on March 5, 2006


I did not repost anything from Monkey Filter.
Someone from MF posted my material here.

posted by SwingingJohnson1968


Errr... I don't mean to add to the pile-on here, but I think they're talking about the actual link to the video, which oddly enough, is titled 'Incredibly bold opinion offered on Al-Jazeera' on MoFi too. (Although, the rest of the post isn' exactly verbatim, but still...)
posted by greatgefilte at 4:12 PM on March 5, 2006


mulliganWhat on earth compels you to take what SOME PEOPLE do and pretend that every single person does and approves of those things?
Do you find the solace in reducing individuals throughout the world to some sort of ultra-simplistic blob?


I have stated several times in this thread that I do not take what some people do and blame them all.

You say that "Girls are not all subjected to genital mutilation. Where the hell do you get this stuff?".

Are you serious? So only a few thousand is ok?

So is everything Doctor Sultan debated on Al Jazeera just total BS or what?

Please enlighten me mulligan

A discussion as complex as this is near impossible to debate clearly without some rhetoric unless we all wrote 20,000 word posts.

So stop nickel and diming me over symantics.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 4:15 PM on March 5, 2006


I give her a 6 out of 10. Most of that is because she managed to throw out a couple of catchy grablines. The basic tenets of her thesis, just as Mr Poster here, are flawed, generalized and bigoted. I would think that the segment will only serve to reinforce misunderstandings of people in the west by any Muslims in the Arab world who view it.

It is customary on this public noticeboard that whoever posts the content does not engage in debate in the thread. Thank you.
posted by peacay at 4:18 PM on March 5, 2006


se·man·tics - excuse the hell outta of me for that mispelling.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 4:19 PM on March 5, 2006


sj68 says: Are you serious? So only a few thousand is ok?

I addressed that already, again I suggest you consider a course in reading comprehension.

I repeat: People are raped, murdered, molested all over the world. Women drown their babies here in the US. But you are fully capable of recognizing these things are unacceptable EVEN IF THEY STILL OCCUR.


While I was in the mideast, I personally met imams who on an individual basis dealt with to correct their understanding of things like honor killings. They make it clear to their congregation that such things are unacceptable and the vast majority understand that.

How can I make it clearer, YOU ARE IGNORANT and are guilty of gross overgeneralizations You recognize awful things occurring in a society and quickly jump to assume this is the norm and is "cheered on". YOU ARE AN IDIOT IF YOU CANNOT RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR KIND OF THINKING.

Extremists in the mideast are using the same goddamn reasoning you are using. "The whole is responsible and represented by the worst a society has to offer. "
posted by mulligan at 4:26 PM on March 5, 2006


mulligan
I don't know how to say this any more clear.

Generalizing is a hard to avoid without writing thousands of words in a post.

If "I CAN NOT RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM" and you can, please start writing and posting.

I want to know what you think is the problem other than "SwingingJohnson" is just ignorant.

I am thrilled with anticipation of reading your wisdom and I hope you don't let me down.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 4:35 PM on March 5, 2006


Here's a condensed list of acts of terrorism from WIK.

mulligan I need someone to blame so I don't generalize anymore.

Can you help me with that question?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents#2000s
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 4:41 PM on March 5, 2006


Abu Aardvark sounds like he's got it right, to me. The increasing radicalization has more to do with power struggles among Muslim religious leaders than with any particular ideology.

They've realized that this "The West must Die" crap sells, so they're walking a fine line between keeping the issues hot so they can take a leadership role by calling for action, and radicalizing things so much that they lose control to the fringe.

He was just talking about the Danish cartoons, but it kinda applies to how things have become more radicalized all over, doesn't it?
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:42 PM on March 5, 2006


You . are . attributing . to . people . crimes . and . beliefs . of . which . they . are . innocent .

I did my part to address ignorance in the mideast while I was there. Your ignorance can only be solved by through your own effort.

You have and have had access to a (by comparison) high quality western education, so I have no intention of babysitting you through your inability to see why stereotyping, false accusations, selective pruning of world events and everything other foolish thought process you demonstrated in this thread are wrong.
posted by mulligan at 4:49 PM on March 5, 2006


Swinging, I really wish you'd let the commentator in the video do the speaking for you. She's much more eloquent. I say this only because I do believe in much of what she (and you) are trying to say, unfortunately you're having a really bad case of foot-in-mouth syndrome right now which does nothing to help your argument.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:51 PM on March 5, 2006


WOO INTERNET ARGUMENT

CHEEKY INTRODUCTION, USERNAME. STATEMENT TO THE EFFECT OF BEING IN DISBELIEF OF POLAR OPINION. PEDANTIC DISSECTION OF THROWAWAY SENTENCE UNRELATED TO CORE ARGUMENT.

RELIGIOUS FIGURE NAME EXCLAMATION.

SNIDE, FUNCTIONALLY USELESS COMMENT PAIRED WITH HEAVY-HANDED DEBATE OF DISAGREEING POINT. LINK TO EASILY REFUTED ON-LINE RESOURCE.

SNOTTY CORRECTION OF GRAMMATICAL ERROR OR TYPO. EMOTICON.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:54 PM on March 5, 2006


Civil_Disobedient - OK
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 4:55 PM on March 5, 2006


Maybe swingingjohnson is foaming at the mouth, and maybe Wafa isn't all she's cracked up to be, but the underlying message... Is it wrong to say mainstream thought in the Arab world is a mish-mash of conspiracy thinking? Who, who has been in the Arab world, is not frustrated with the depth of irrational thinking there?

Two cases: A guy in Sudan told me the first words Neil Armstrong spoke on the moon were "Assalaamu Alaikum," but not the way Muslims say it, the way Coptic Christians say it. He said this with a straight face. Neil Armstrong. Korean War fighter pilot.

Another guy, who should have known better, told me in front of his family that the CIA was behind everything!! Well, we know the CIA is about as competent as the post office. The country's in such a state that if a toilet breaks on a train they wire it shut with a coathanger, and it's because of the CIA? Give me a break.
posted by atchafalaya at 4:57 PM on March 5, 2006


atchafalaya,
Yeah, I would categorize a lot of what gets passed around in many discussions between arabs as crazy conspiracy stuff. It really pollutes attempts to discuss a number of issues with some people.

While urban legends are commonly spread, even here in the U.S., many of the conspiracy/urban legend things passed around in the Arab world are new oriented. One possible reason (out of many) for this is because the state media is not a reliable resource at all. Whereas a lot of the problems inherent in state owned arab media have been addressed by the independant satellite stations, local issues like education, crime, unemployment and the like are not regularly discussed on the independent media. So everyone just sort of gets that news from discussions with the falafel stand guy (or whoever) down the street, who often freely gives his little conspiracy theories as well.

one thing i recall from syria as to the failing of local media to address serious concerns is when some nutjob began pulling up to random people on his motocycle and stabbing them. there was nothing in any of the local papers about this. So each time you heard the story, the number of victims would increase, at one point I heard it was 38 people. Obviously, the number is highly exaggerated, but people are condition to believe these crazy things.
posted by mulligan at 5:14 PM on March 5, 2006


Message to the MONKEY FILTER because they still have me banned even tho they are still talking about me.

Well insane people don't know they are insane and bigots don't know they are bigots.

Maybe I am 1 of the 2.

I've always considered myself moderately liberal and not bigoted.

My choice of wording seems harsh looking back at my post, but it was very similar to what Dr Sultan said in the interview.

I will say again that I don't mean to label a billion people for the acts of a few. But the majority of the billion people in that region are living in an impovershed and violent place. Is that not at all their fault and the fault of the Western world that keeps this cycle going? Or both?

How can it change? Will it ever change?

Of course there are potential brilliant minds there that could offer great things to humanity and to themselves but they are stifled by a system that keeps them down.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 5:18 PM on March 5, 2006


SwingingJohnson1968, please don't say anything more. You can't post, direct traffic and try to change views all at the same time.
So just please....shhh!
posted by peacay at 5:23 PM on March 5, 2006


SwingingJohnson1968 writes "f you think that the whole situation is fine and dandy in the middle east and does not deserve anyone discussing, fine.

"I will just mind my own business and next time thousands of people in the USA get killed, maybe we should all just ignore it so we don't sound like bigots"


Is this how you react to criticism of your opinions? If so, why bother?
posted by krinklyfig at 5:37 PM on March 5, 2006


SwingingJohnson, can you leave MoFi out of this? What happened on MoFi can stay there. I emailed you, you have not responded. Metafilter is not MoFi's answering service.
posted by tracicle at 5:39 PM on March 5, 2006


tracicle I never got an email from you.

Forward to vicepresidentjohnson at hotmail please.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 5:50 PM on March 5, 2006


Metafilter is not MoFi's answering service.

Indeed, tracicle.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:01 PM on March 5, 2006


The war is between staying in the past and moving to where we want to be in the future. The clash between familiarity and unknown. The fight between medieval and modern.

The French Revolution really put us all on the path to modernity: the use of democracy to enable and enact the people's voice. Without democracy, you are subject to the rule of economic, military, or religious tyranny.

Many of our countries have progressed to realizing the people's true voice: one of compassionate care for ones' other citizens, such that a basic standard of living is assured to anyone who takes the opportunities given; and one of honest consensus in trade and exchange agreements between our countries; and to use our defensive military in times of internal peace, to help promote peace throughout the world.

And then there are countries that are still under family or military rule: N.Korea's dynasty, Pakistan's military dictatorship, Zimbabwe's family dictatorship, and... the USA's hereditary presidency?

I hope not. But I do find it oddly disturbing that your current President has such deep ties to the medieval governments and dictatorships. Which way are you guys heading?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:33 PM on March 5, 2006


SJ1968, maybe it might be worth reading up on the entwined stories of European and Muslim development over the past couple of thousand years. You might also want to dip into a book on the subject of Islam and the Muslim faith.
After that you can catch up the post war history of the Middle East and European and Western involvement. Then you might begin to understand why your loud and proud ignorance is not benefiting any debate there might be on the current Middle East situation.

'Many of the traits on which Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, alternative medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities. Mediaeval Islam was a religion of remarkable tolerance for its time, allowing Jews and Christians to practice their inherited beliefs, and setting an example which was not, unfortunately, copied for many centuries in the West.'
- Chuck

'The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.

He who travels in the search of knowledge, to him God shows the way of Paradise. ' - Muhammad

The radicalisation of the Middle East is mirrored to some extent in the West, in my experience. Science and critical thinking are being ignored in favour of ideology led decision making. Fear and ignorance are encouraged by irresponsible media in the thrall of power and money.

Opaque government encourages conspiracy theories. People spend their energies constructing elaborate stories to explain the facts they are aware of and we slide backwards toward ignorance and fundamentalism.

Plenty of people for whom I have respect have expressed views regarding the 'threat' of 'islamic terrorism' which consist of little more than memes promulgated by power-hungry fear-mongerers. Intelligent debate on the subject is difficult because of the way the debate is framed. Whether it is religious fanaticism or paranoid ideology that is restricting us, either way any solutions to the complex problems we face become unlikely when we succumb to the path of least resistance and most ignorance.
posted by asok at 7:42 PM on March 5, 2006


Consider, asok, that the mid-east now is what the USA will be four hundred years from now. It's not that they are so behind us, as that they're what happens if we're not damn certain to maintain our democracies with an eye toward freedoms.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:01 PM on March 5, 2006


Maybe this could've been an interesting thread if not for SwingingJohnson's comment diarrhea.

Anyway, I was with Dr. Sultan until the last rant claiming that Muslims were alone in committing violence in the name of their religion. I'm not very educated on middle-eastern history - but the name Baruch Goldstein popped into my head almost immediately. I love to see the moral superiority of secularism argued persuasively, as she tried, but it all goes to hell when you make such an obvious misstatement.
posted by mullacc at 8:12 PM on March 5, 2006


she's a lot more likely to be knocked off by a crack or meth head in l a, than some pissed off fundie

So was Theo van Gogh.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:15 PM on March 5, 2006


Wow. Was that aired internationally?! The only regret I have is that the person saying that doesn't consider herself a Muslim.

I really wonder how even a semi-sane Muslim can watch that and not feel collective shame/embarassment.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:28 PM on March 5, 2006


mullsec, Goldstein killed Rabin, not a Muslim. I'm sure other Israelis have, but the scale is so different as to be trivial in this debate.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:31 PM on March 5, 2006


Yigal Amir.
posted by stirfry at 9:46 PM on March 5, 2006


PP: Heh, you shoulda read my link. Yigal Amir killed Rabin (as stirfry said).
posted by mullacc at 9:50 PM on March 5, 2006


Anyway, PP makes my point - by isolating violence done by Muslims (as opposed violence done by people of any and all religions) she opens up the debate to evaluations and comparisons of atrocities committed by the various religions. She should've stuck to secularism versus religion as a whole with Muslim oppression of women serving as a particularly harsh example.
posted by mullacc at 9:55 PM on March 5, 2006


she's a lot more likely to be knocked off by a crack or meth head in l a, than some pissed off fundie

So was Theo van Gogh.

oh ... so that's why people in the netherlands go into hiding every time a plane arrives from l a

keep being afraid ... that's what the terrorists want ... and that's what the people who want to take away our freedom by talking up the fear of terrorists want

we all die ... but how many of us are willing to live?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:02 PM on March 5, 2006


My mistake. Re Goldstein. Should have read the whole thread.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:20 PM on March 5, 2006


al jazeera broadcast stuff like this all the time. there are a great number of muslims who speak out like this, but rarely get reported in the mainstream media.

we're at war, so we can't have the 'enemy' being portayed as reasonable because it is the real-life trolls, people like swingingjohnson, who initiated this pointless conflict.

i am looking forward to al jazeera international, hopefully starting in may. but i'm willing to wager it won't be allowed in the states - you can imagine any cable company who says it will carry it getting a phone call from karl rove...

* self link alert* I recently attended a conference in doha and have a couple of interviews online that people might find interesting:

Hugh Miles author of al jazeera: how arab mews challenged the world
Lieutenant Commander Steve Tatham author of losing hearts and minds: the coalition, al jazeera and muslim public opinion
posted by quarsan at 11:07 PM on March 5, 2006


al jazeera broadcast stuff like this all the time. there are a great number of muslims who speak out like this, but rarely get reported in the mainstream media.

Got any links? I'd be very interested in seeing some non-secular and non-USA types who "speak out like this".


we're at war, so we can't have the 'enemy' being portayed as reasonable because it is the real-life trolls, people like swingingjohnson, who initiated this pointless conflict.

Who is the "enemy" who can't be portrayed as reasonable? Which pointless conflict is that? The one in Iraq? The one against terror? The one about the cartoons?

And your remark about the poster is trollish in itself.
posted by stirfry at 11:33 PM on March 5, 2006


A troll comes to forums to instigate conflict.

This was never my intention so I am not a troll.

My opinions on politics and terrorists and fear are based on my life experiences like everyone else here.

I can admit that I am not as sophisticated or educated with the best methods to debate my opinion in this forum, but that is most likely due to my inexperience of the dynamics of MeFi.

I can also admit that my opinion has changed after reading the passionate disagreements I see here. I no longer generalize all the people in Islamic regions tonight as I did this morning.

But news media in the USA does not go a day without showing people in the mid-east jumping and screaming and burning US flags, topped off with the regular terrorist acts that occur on average once a week and kill innocent people.

What should I feel about this? If what I feel is wrong, then type me what you think is right so everyone who clicks on this thread can learn something instead of this nonsence about me being ignorant.

Don't talk unless you can back it up with something relevant. You people rebutting my comments sound like that old Muslim guy in the video waving his arms around calling the lady a heretic not worth rebuking, refuting or regurgitating when you respond like a rioter.

I won't challenge anyone's attack on my opinion when it includes a petty personal insult. I didn't start this for a battle of glib remarks with strangers.

I was actually moved by what the woman in the video said and her words seamed like a much more clear explanation of why these many people want to kill everyone in my country. The US media vaguely hammers this message every day but with no explanation as to why they hate us so much.


Having said that, it should be clear that my generalized opinions were based on years of media input and not trips to the mid-east sitting and relating to people that actually live there.

It should also be crystal clear to my opponents in this thread that billions of people in the Western culture base their beliefs of the percieved enemy the same way I do based on the US media and what we see and hear everyday.

So instead of rebutting my posts with words like "diharea" and "trollish", try saying something of substance that could change my perception.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 12:12 AM on March 6, 2006


SwingingJohnson1968 is a diharea-troll.
posted by Falconetti at 12:24 AM on March 6, 2006


stirfry: here's some

jjohnson, to be honest i found your comments to be wholly ignorant. the fact is that many muslims speak out and have done consistently. the question is why are these reports so under-reported, or go unheard by viewers/listeners?

the situation is far more nuanced that a us vs them scenario. one aspect that isn't covered much is the chash between wahabi islam and less conservative trends.
posted by quarsan at 12:29 AM on March 6, 2006


Most people are too stupid to understand what they are talking about.
posted by airguitar at 12:44 AM on March 6, 2006


I for one am glad that the destruction of the Western infidels is being actively debated in Muslim society, and look forward to good points being made on both sides.
posted by boaz at 12:56 AM on March 6, 2006


quarsan , If the many Muslims you speak of went out out and protested against the Muslim Extremists 1/2 as LOUD as the extremists do, it would be news that made the US media.

They just don't bother. There are no organized public protests by Muslims that condemn the actions of terrorists.

There's a few Muslim people here and there sitting in on a news interview once in awhile talking about the BILLION MUSLIMS who don't agree with extremists, but never a group over 100 people actually showing this opinion.

I remember a few reports on CNN after 9-11 that showed no more than 50 Muslim people protesting the terrorists attacks.

The BILLIONS of Muslims that detest the actions of the teeny tiny small factions of Violent Muslim extremists don't ever get together and make any bold public statements.

Why is that?

Now if I am ignorant to any grand organized protest that proves your point, there must be some proof of this event on the internet. Please post it. With pictures please.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 12:59 AM on March 6, 2006


shorter Krrrrrrrrrrrlson: THEO VAN GOGH WAS KILLED BY A CRAZY MUSLIM EXTREMIST! THEREFORE...

i got nuthin'.

shorter counterargument: what about dr. barnett slepian?
posted by Hat Maui at 1:35 AM on March 6, 2006


While we're at it, what the fuck have the Christians ever brought to society with their blasphemous, heretical religion that argues for the drinking of blood, sacrificing of children, and barbaric treatment of women?

What have they brought except pain, suffering, and oppression to millions?

Truth of the matter is, modern Western society with its science, medicine, and human rights for everyone is based on secular, not Christian beliefs. These rights have had to be pried painfully from the fingers of a wannabe theocracy. If it weren't for secularists, we'd still be living with inquisitions, witchhunts, and cross burnings.

What kind of dumbshits idolize a dead man and put words in his mouth when their own Bible told them that it would be wrong to alter or add to it anyway?

But it's not just the hateful Christian culture that's a problem. It's the Jews too. And who better to explain the problem than a Jewish person...

"I'm a Jew, but I don't expect Arabs to pay tribute to my people's suffering while Jews, in the form of Israel and its supporters -- and in this I include myself -- are causing much of theirs. Would Andrew [Sullivan] want to go to a service in honor of the suffering of gay bashing bigots?" -Eric Alterman

Personally, I blame *ALL* the Jewish people for their complicity in killing Palestinian kids and destroying cities like Sabra and Shatilla. It's just part of their violently xenophobic culture. That's why they have a history of keeping to themselves and forming ghettos, after all. One face to the world -- a business face -- but another face of violence, racism, and xenophobia in private. They love their own in a truely evil way, much like the Japanese, and, like the Japanese, their culture allows for the most evil and horiffic acts of dehumanization.

Now, before I start getting nastigrams from everyone, I just wanted to make clear that what I just wrote was not reflective of my beliefs, at all. I don't think it's fair to blame all people in predominantly Christian cultures for the excesses of their religion, anymore than I think it's right to blame all Jewish people for the the excesses of Israel. I merely wanted to give an example of exactly what is wrong with this FPP. All that Dr. Wafa Sultan did was throw violent extremists like SwingingJohnson1968 a bone.

We should ignore him, and write off her statement as the Islamic equivalent of an atheist laying into Christianity.

In any event, consider this comment as a means of establishing a bit of balance and perspective to this post. Just so all the relevant major religions have been thoroughly trashed in this thread. Seems only fair, really.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:46 AM on March 6, 2006


One apology. I called SwingingJohnson1968 a "violent extremist", when, infact, I don't know whether he's violent at all.

That said, he still comes off as xenophobic and racist.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:52 AM on March 6, 2006


Does any one have a full transcript?

The one there is from Memri. Memri is a PR organisation for Israel. Memri is quite an interesting organisation. It is dedicated to bringing out extreme news from the Middle East in order to portray Muslims and Arabs as violent crazies who we must oppose. It works very well in manipulating people like Mr Johnson into apoplexy.
posted by sien at 2:27 AM on March 6, 2006


MetaFilter: I didn't start this for a battle of glib remarks with strangers.

OK, settle down folks.

There are many people in this thread who know a lot more abou these topics than I do (as there are in all Metafilter threads), but let's all step back a moment and look at the gist of the discussion:

SwingingJohnson1968 originally opined that Islam is a religion that teaches its children:
to hate and kill people whom they have never met from infancy thru adulthood. Similar to how "White Supremest" children in the USA are taught the beliefs of hate but on a multi-national scale rather than the USA's pockets of racist extremists.

Later, after the exchange of much information and even more invective, he states:
I can also admit that my opinion has changed after reading the passionate disagreements I see here. I no longer generalize all the people in Islamic regions tonight as I did this morning. But news media in the USA does not go a day without showing people in the mid-east jumping and screaming and burning US flags, topped off with the regular terrorist acts that occur on average once a week and kill innocent people.

OK. I buy that. I live in the middle of the Brass Buckle of the Bible Belt, and the view of Muslims here is very similar to what Mr Johnson originally expressed. I have never been to the Middle East, but I would be astounded if the average Muslim didn't hold the same view of us, by which I mean U.S.A.

Here's where my rational analysis starts breaking down. I don't know why people would become suicide bombers. I just know that Christian bombers, like Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, or the Unibomber have a tendency to plant the bombs first, then boogie, which seems to me a step above blowing oneself up. Maybe its not as indicative of absolute commitment, but then, Mishima was an asshole, too.

I don't know where I'm going with this. /drunkFilter
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:42 AM on March 6, 2006


BOP, its not a step "above" ; in some way its more cowardly. But the point is that there aren't hundreds, thousands of McVeighs.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:01 AM on March 6, 2006


And there's no shortage of Americans, Christians, "locals" condemning McVeigh.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:03 AM on March 6, 2006


But the point is that there aren't hundreds, thousands of McVeighs.

The probably has more to do with the desparate economic straits that most Arab countries find themselves in than something to do with Islam. Poverty and desperation tend to breed hostility and extremism. If the USA were transformed into a teeming backwater with 30% unemployment, theoretically at least, you might actually see thousands of McVeighs and Eric Rudolphs.

Who knows, the way things are going here, we may also an increase in assholes like those in our lifetimes, but that's better left for another thread.
posted by psmealey at 4:32 AM on March 6, 2006


BitterOldPunk, you make more sense drunk than most here do sober.

Can everyone stop piling on the poster? Yeah, he came into this with some uninformed and bigoted attitudes, but he sounds like he's actually willing to learn:

My opinions on politics and terrorists and fear are based on my life experiences like everyone else here.
I can admit that I am not as sophisticated or educated with the best methods to debate my opinion in this forum, but that is most likely due to my inexperience of the dynamics of MeFi.
I can also admit that my opinion has changed after reading the passionate disagreements I see here. I no longer generalize all the people in Islamic regions tonight as I did this morning.


So maybe we can be adaptable too and provide information without the personal insults.

And like atchafalaya said, the underlying message of the post and video, however simplistically presented, is sound: for all sorts of historical/cultural reasons, intellectual and political life in most Muslim-majority countries, particularly the Arab ones, is stunted and distorted, and the growing acceptance of hatred and violence as the solution to perceived problems is deeply worrying. We may not be able to solve it here on MeFi, but at least we can refrain from bashing anyone who brings it up.
posted by languagehat at 5:36 AM on March 6, 2006


I can admit that I am not as sophisticated or educated with the best methods to debate my opinion in this forum, but that is most likely due to my inexperience of the dynamics of MeFi.

Yeah, that's what it is. Personally, I have a hard time taking someone seriously when they think "alot" is a word. Call it prejudice if you like.

SJ1968, your ignorance is your fault, not ours. It's not our job to educate you. As a westerner with all the priviledge in the world, it's up to you to educate your damn self.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:49 AM on March 6, 2006


johnson, you're asking the question the wrong way round. it should be: why do we throw venom at a billion muslims when only a handful are involved in terrorism?

every friday mosques throughout the world castigate those involved in terror, every week muslim scholars make extremely strong objections to bin laden etc

every day, billions of muslims don't go round burning flags, screaming and threatening.

so why are the tiny few shown over and over again?

put that to your media.
posted by quarsan at 6:10 AM on March 6, 2006


Yeah, that's what it is. Personally, I have a hard time taking someone seriously when they think "alot" is a word. Call it prejudice if you like.
SJ1968, your ignorance is your fault, not ours. It's not our job to educate you. As a westerner with all the priviledge in the world, it's up to you to educate your damn self.


Personally, I have a hard time taking someone seriously when they think "priviledge" is a word. Call it prejudice if you like.

See how easy that is? And I'll bet you see its unfairness a lot more clearly when it's directed at you. (I could also point out that you used "they" as a singular pronoun, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that; in the likely event that you do, you may commence self-flagellating.) Picking at people's misspellings or grammatical blunders as a sign of their alleged inferiority is one of the lowest forms of discourse, and it's the main reason I get so hot under the collar in the grammar threads around here. Following the rules in dictionaries and grammar books may get you a white collar, but it does not make you a better or smarter person, and those who think it does are not only fooling themselves, they're perpetrating elitism and bigotry. Just stop it.

And peacay, this is flat-out wrong:

It is customary on this public noticeboard that whoever posts the content does not engage in debate in the thread.


The poster has a perfect right to defend himself.
posted by languagehat at 6:17 AM on March 6, 2006


Mikey-San wins.
posted by effwerd at 6:18 AM on March 6, 2006


There's a few Muslim people here and there sitting in on a news interview once in awhile talking about the BILLION MUSLIMS who don't agree with extremists, but never a group over 100 people actually showing this opinion.

why are they obligated to? ... tell me, aren't there things in the world you dislike? ... do you attend public protests against them? ... if you don't, are we obligated to assume that you're for the things you don't like? ... if we shouldn't assume that, why do you assume that someone's silence on something means that they're for it?

average people are much more interested in doing their work, being with their families, etc etc, then they are hanging out somewhere with a picket sign ... isn't that true of the people around you? ... why would muslims be any different?

it's not just a matter of your believing whatever the media presents to you ... the fact is, the media prefers drama over content and people play up to it ... an inam talking quietly in a mosque about the need for his congregation to not participate in violence is not going to get the publicity that a few hotheads burning flags and embassies is going to ... for that matter, someone giving a reasoned analysis of what's going on in the middle east isn't going to get the attention of some person who dramatically says that "those people are all terrorists" and we'd better do something ...

the most extreme people get the most attention ... and because of the vacuum that exists in the average person's knowledge of the world, anyone who spews the most improbable bullshit is more likely to fill that vacuum than a dull person who goes on at length about the facts ... so, if you don't know what the billion muslims are doing with their daily lives, it's a lot easier to subsitute that lack of knowlegde with pictures of terrorists and flag burners ... if you don't know anything about arab civilization in the middle ages, it's a lot easier to subsitute the idea that they've never done anything worthwhile than read a couple of long books actually describing what they've done

and when people point out your lack of knowledge, it's a lot easier to ask for sound bites and pithy summations rather than find out for yourself by researching the matter

i'll help you out ... here's a wikipedia article outlining what islamic civilization accomplished ... after reading this, i hope you'll stop saying that "they" never did anything for us
posted by pyramid termite at 8:04 AM on March 6, 2006


SwingingJohnson - you, sir, are a racist.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:14 AM on March 6, 2006


SwingingJohnson1968, you don't happen to have a brother named Charles Johnson, do you? Cousin?
posted by Balisong at 8:33 AM on March 6, 2006


Before criticizing others it would be VERY beneficial to check our own internal errors, expecially these typical of modern secular society. If we don't, religious delusions could offer more promise and look better then a sane, balanced secularism !

Among few of our errors

* letting money become the number one priority and preoccupation, a meter of success and lack thereof

* not providing constant, battling protection from exploitation by private interest a.k.a leaving the citizen alone against the amassed capitals

* supporting and publicizing -conceptual abstract- concept of freedom as an absolute without enfatizing the -practical tangible- reponsability and limitations of freedom

*allowing privatization of basic-intermediate school, demotivation and destruction of the art of teaching how to think, incentivation of notion based scoring systems.

And that are just a few that come to mind. We must lead by example , oppose indoctrination by "public relation" firms centered of creating inexistant controversy and keeping people busy with political rethoric, glorified imbecility.
posted by elpapacito at 9:32 AM on March 6, 2006


quarsan: the fact is that many muslims speak out and have done consistently. the question is why are these reports so under-reported, or go unheard by viewers/listeners?

I blame the fact that there are not enough famous Muslims. I mean, how can we possibly know what they are thinking if they have no talking heads on CNN to deliver their message? Also, those scary beards are really really not very helpful at all.
I guess Salmon Rushdie is sorta famous, but he looks like he might be a little crazy and suddenly strangle the interviewer so they are probably too scared to invite him. Maybe they can do a remote interview with him.
posted by sour cream at 9:42 AM on March 6, 2006


Hmm, this thread might be dead already, but i want to say something about all of this.

Islam clearly needs to update its image if it wants to survive into the twenty second century. In a world with this many people the squeaky gear gets the grease, or in this case the tactical payload. If antics continue on their current trend muslims will find it increasingly hard to do business abroad, and damn near impossible to get funding for stuff at home. This will put them even further into poverty, while they constantly decry the evils of the west as the source of their descent into subhuman hell.

Sadly I think its probably almost impossible for a coup of rationality to occur in the middle east, it would by necessity be very violent and involve killing off lots of "religious" leaders. Rational people tend to not be violent, and in the middle east they tend to get blown up for sharing their views. Sadly this combination of forces makes it almost impossible for a rational leader to come to power in the middle east.

Perhaps what's most disgusting about all of this (cartoons etc...) to me is that the west seems ready to self censor in order to avoid provoking radical muslims. When did we lose our balls? Our country has long upheld freedom of press, why subject it to the rigors of a legal code that are not even ours.

This argument tends to provoke the response that freedom of press does not mean freedom from responsibility. I call bullshit on that, that's an argument which portrays publishers of the cartoons or other material questioning the fundamental core of islam as extremists, or worse negligent idiots.

While its true that newspapers should not print falsified stories purely to elicit responses, they should also not impose censorship of themselves on a subject that has so much global significance. Clearly there are many people in positions of power in some not all islamic nations that would rather use oppression and violence to achieve their goals than diplomacy or edumacation. That's something that is incredibly at odds with our global society, and MUST be addressed.
posted by sourbrew at 1:01 PM on March 6, 2006


i see your point sour cream, but doesn't media help create fame and celebrity? the Us has one of the most renowned muslim scholars,

i recently heard cat stevens/yusuf islam demounce terrorism and the cartoon protestors. he said this in a public forum, but nobody reported it. here's a video of hamza yusuf on the danish cartoons.

the sad thing is that mr johnson is not alone, a great many people get their news from highly biased and highly uninformed sources and never question it, because the 'news' is just reinforcing their prejudices.
posted by quarsan at 1:05 PM on March 6, 2006


"johnson, you're asking the question the wrong way round. it should be: why do we throw venom at a billion muslims when only a handful are involved in terrorism?"


Because there's no self-policing. Or, as Mark Steyn writes:

"However, I think we should do that as a conscious policy decision, rather than as reflex piecemeal oppositionism. What Democrats seem to be doing with Dubai Ports World, whether they realize it or not, is tapping in to a general public skepticism (to put it politely) about the entire Muslim world. In that sense, the ports deal is the American equivalent of the Danish cartoon jihad: increasing numbers of Europeans -- if not yet their political class -- are fed up with switching on the TV and seeing Muslim men jumping up and down and threatening death followed by commentators patiently explaining that the "vast majority" of Muslims are, of course, impeccably "moderate." So what? There were millions of "moderate" Germans in the 1930s, and a fat lot of good they did us or them."

Article
posted by ParisParamus at 1:11 PM on March 6, 2006


sourbrew, i didn't see your last comment before i posted.

i don't see the problem as being islam having to update it's image as the west, especially the US need to improve their understanding of islam.

secondly most of the world is waiting for a coup of rationality to take place in american politics and a rational leader would be a useful first step.

one final question: have you ever visited the middle east?
posted by quarsan at 1:12 PM on March 6, 2006


paris, i disagree with that analysis and the comparison with germany in the 30's is just plain ludicrous.
posted by quarsan at 1:15 PM on March 6, 2006


quarsan, how so?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:30 PM on March 6, 2006


How Many and Where?
Islam is a major world religion, with over 1 billion followers worldwide (1/5 of the world population). It is considered one of the Abrahamic, monotheistic faiths, along with Judaism and Christianity. Although usually associated with the Arabs of the Middle East, less than 10% of Muslims are in fact Arab. Muslims are found all over the world, of every nation, color and race. Muslim majorities are found throughout the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Large numbers are also found in Western Europe, the former Soviet Union, and North America."
http://islam.about.com/blintroa.htm

So I found this site to learn more so I don't generalize a billion people when I try to percieve the root cause of the oppression (especially towards women)and violence in the middle East.

I conclude that it is not in any way the Muslim religion that is evil.

It's those inolerant, stubborn, ignorant and violent masses that have hijacked Islam in their regions and warped it into a concept of hate, revenge, murder and oppression.

What is Islam?
The name of the religion is Islam, which comes from an Arabic root word meaning "peace" and "submission."

It is way more than a handfull of extremists that have warped the true meaning of Islam. It's in the millions.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 1:35 PM on March 6, 2006


quarsan,

no i haven't and i understand that there are some countries that are relatively stable. However by and large it would be unadvisable for me to visit the middle east. I'm relatively tall, exceedingly pale, and i have some very very blonde hair.

in fact a quick trip to the us department of state confirm to agree with my sentiments


To claim that the US needs to understand islam is a valid one, but what would that understanding do? Lead to our self imposed censorship to respect other religious ideology? no one else gets such a pass from our press why should we make exceptions, people fought and died for our freedoms surrendering them to avoid a fight seems like a crappy reversal of fortune.

As for the American coup of rationality, that's a good point, but its basically hyperbole. There are few if any countries that are calling off their investments in the US because they are worried that they won't get a return on them. Also i think you would be hard pressed to find many Europeans that are hesitant to visit the US because of fears of violence.

Finally, i think such a coup is shaping up for the midterm elections, but then again that's why its called democracy.
posted by sourbrew at 2:12 PM on March 6, 2006


I agree that it's in the millions. And it's up to the other hundreds of millions to speak up join non-muslims in hunting-down and killing the terrorist subset. and if they don't, the Good Muslims have no one to blame but themselves for their reputation. Or, perhaps, Islam is weak and flawed in that it doesn't accept such an responsiblity outlook.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:14 PM on March 6, 2006


Visiting the middle east isn't that bad for westerners. I've just come back from a month around the region with my American team-mates, no issues at all - it's by far safer to walk the streets in Saudi at night time than any major US city. Heck, I had subway for lunch and appleby's for dinner with a Starbuck's for tea in Riyadh.. Places like Dubai are even more like home.

I'd say the only real dangerous areas as an American currently are Iran and Iraq.

Re: the rest of the thread: meh.
posted by Mossy at 2:46 PM on March 6, 2006


As someone who has visited the Middle East extensively, I can say that in general, Americans are welcomed there for the most part. A typical exchange: "Hello, where are you from?" "America" "Ah! America Good! George Bush Bad! Ha ha ha".

You would be surprised to find that the average Cairene knows who the US secretaries of state, defence, energy, etc. back to the Carter administration. Yes, the political discussion will be peppered with references to Zionist manipulation of American politics, but people there are often very engaged and informed when it comes to politics.

Furthermore, debates about politics, religion, and government are every day things in the middle east. People can scream and yell at each other and in America they'd leave as enemies, but there it's just the style. In general, politics effects life, and thus is more discussed and held to be more important.
posted by cell divide at 2:52 PM on March 6, 2006


keep being afraid ... that's what the terrorists want ... and that's what the people who want to take away our freedom by talking up the fear of terrorists want

You started out by saying that there was nothing courageous about Sultan's words. When I cited Theo Van Gogh, you accused me of cowardice. What is your point, exactly?
posted by Krrrlson at 9:10 PM on March 6, 2006


What is your point, exactly?

people need to quit being so damn dramatic
posted by pyramid termite at 9:28 PM on March 6, 2006


it would be unadvisable for me to visit the middle east. I'm relatively tall, exceedingly pale, and i have some very very blonde hair.

i've travelled extensivly in the middle east, including iran, lebanon and syria. sorry, but that comment just shows you idea at all about the region. blonde hair indeed...

the sad thing is that the harshest critics of islam in this thread are those who know the least about the religion or the middle east.

the old proverb is true: empty vessels make the most noise.
posted by quarsan at 9:41 PM on March 6, 2006


and as far as vessels go, you're full of it.
posted by stirfry at 10:10 PM on March 6, 2006


So we've figured out:
1) she is way cool, and
2) SwingingJohnson1968 sux0rs.
Did I miss anything?
posted by jeffburdges at 7:34 AM on March 7, 2006


keep being afraid ... that's what the terrorists want ... and that's what the people who want to take away our freedom by talking up the fear of terrorists want

people need to quit being so damn dramatic

Something about those two comments doesn't quite go together. But what? WHAT???
posted by Krrrlson at 7:52 PM on March 8, 2006


I love Krrrison....
posted by ParisParamus at 7:56 PM on March 8, 2006


It is way more than a handfull of extremists that have warped the true meaning of Islam. It's in the millions.

And a number you just pulled out of your ass should have weight with anyone here ... why?

And it's up to the other hundreds of millions to speak up join non-muslims in hunting-down and killing the terrorist subset. and if they don't, the Good Muslims have no one to blame but themselves for their reputation.

Yes, yes, and jews should spend all their time telling everyone they meet that they don't secretly control banking and they don't drink the blood of Christian and Muslim babies, ad nauseam. It's really the fault of the Good Jews that they don't speak out enough when the Bad Jews shoot up a mosque or crush a peace activist under a bulldozer, and so on. Thanks for getting to the root of anti-semitism, there. Or wait ... could it be that this rule conveniently just applies to Muslims, because we all know Christians and Jews aren't really bad people, inspite of the shitty things some of them do?

Or, perhaps, Islam is weak and flawed in that it doesn't accept such an responsiblity outlook.

Why do I detect baited breath behind this rhetorical question?
posted by Amanojaku at 9:52 PM on March 11, 2006


"Or, perhaps, Islam is weak and flawed in that it doesn't accept such a responsiblity outlook."

Actually, it's all in that video; that's why it's one of the most talked about things on the Web these days.

By the way, if memory served, the NYT Article refers to the woman as a Muslim, whereas the video has her saying she is "secular." Maybe she renounce her faith because she saw it for what it was? Does anyone know?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:11 PM on March 11, 2006


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