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Islam
July 16, 2006 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Colors of Islam. "Islam 1,400 years ago gave women the right to choose her own husband, have her own business and finances, the right to ask for divorce and control her own body."
posted by semmi (69 comments total)

 
Afghan lawyer Wazhma Mojaddidi, doesn't have a problem being segregated, as long as she can hear the imam.

"If I have men on either side of me or behind me, I'm obviously going to be self-conscious about the movements I make in prayer." "You're bending down and it is inappropriate for a man to stand behind you and watch you do that," Mojaddidi said. "And I don't want to see the backs of men praying in front of me, either."
posted by semmi at 8:46 AM on July 16, 2006


BugMeNot
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:52 AM on July 16, 2006


This link typifies my opinion of religion. I clicked on the link and it wants me to register. (thank you MM)

When the followers of Yahweh, Allah, and Jehovah realize they're arguing over the same guy, give me a call. Why make rules or determinants about how other people pray? Don't wanna see backs in front of you? Or have someone of a different gender in the same room? Lock yourself in a closet and pray there. God don't give a crap where you pray. There are men who use their god to convince themselves they are righteous and anyone who disagrees with them are infidels. It's how they press control on others, and that includes control of their own society's women. It's not about being humble before a diety. It's about being manipulative towards one's fellow man.. or woman. It increasingly sickens me.

Being an agnostic means one is noncommital to a belief in God. What's the word for a person who believes God is noncommital in his/her/its belief in us? aside from the obvious joke answers like "asshole."
posted by ZachsMind at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2006


Registration only.
posted by MrLint at 9:23 AM on July 16, 2006


ZachsMind, I think you are victim to a common misunderstanding. The "struggle" (for lack of a better word) between the West and the Islamic world is really not about which God is the right one or how to pray correctly. It's about how we organize our society and distribute our resources.

In essence, true believers of Islam are happy with the woman at home, hidden behind a veil. You see, if you don't hide the woman, men might not be able to control themselves; hence, women are a danger to society and should be segregated from the men. At least, they should be kept apart from the men in the mosque, lest they divert the men's attention.
In more extreme countries, like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, where Mojaddidi is from, they even burn down schools for girls, or even burn the girls rather than have them come outside without "proper attire". Other Islamic countries are more liberal, and women's rights in some Western countries are not up to standards in, say, Western Europe, but on average, I'd say Islamic countries are several hundred years behind the West in that department.

In any case, I guess that Mojaddidi must be grateful for living in the US and not in her home country Afghanistan, where she probably couldn't leave her home alone and her daughters likely wouldn't be able to go to school.
posted by sour cream at 9:30 AM on July 16, 2006


Prior to the Taliban fucking-up Afghanistan, girls had access to schools and women could leave the house. Prior to the USA fucking-up Iraq, girls were schooled, many women were university-educated, and religion generally did not dictate rights. Prior to Iran falling under extremist rule, the same sort of thing. And in the USA itself, women are subject to lower pay rates, decreasing access to healthcare, and everyone is subject to the intrusion of religion into their daily lives.

The problem is not with Islam per se, but with extremist religionists.

The quicker humanity gets off the religion kick and starts taking personal responsibility for the shit that is happening on this planet, the better. Religion is far too easily abused.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:57 AM on July 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Prior to the Taliban fucking-up Afghanistan, girls had access to schools and women could leave the house.

I saw some photos of a pre-Taliban Afghani family a while back. Might have been here, but I can't recall. At any rate, I was blown away by how Westernized they looked. Not a burqa in sight. They looked like your average, slightly tacky '70s family.
posted by brundlefly at 10:07 AM on July 16, 2006


These cultists no matter what their particular flavour of religion (christian, muslim, etc.) need psychological help. Especially the ones with families who abuse their own children through forced indoctrination.

Articles like this one are nothing more than feel good journalism for the masses. As in, "Oh look honey, aren't we lucky we have good cultists in Sacramento that let women and men pray together". It's pretty sickening.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 10:13 AM on July 16, 2006


ZachsMind - Agnostic means "without knowledge" or "not knowing." It does not mean "noncommittal". The word you a searching for is probably Diest, a rather impersonal relationship with a creator-God who has left His children to their own devices.

sour cream - you are making some pretty harsh generalizations.
"In essence, true believers of Islam are happy with the woman at home, hidden behind a veil."
I disagree with this - many of my Muslim friends consider themselves true believers, and I'm pretty sure their wives wouldn't stand to be at home, hidden behind a veil.
"You see, if you don't hide the woman, men might not be able to control themselves; hence, women are a danger to society and should be segregated from the men."
Aside from being totally non sequitur, this statement simply isn't correct.
In many societies (not just Islamic societies) women are kept separate in an effort to help determine paternal lineage. I'd like to see scripture supporting your position that - were women allowed out of the house - men would fall upon them like wolves.
If you don't keep your wife/wives segregated, then there exists a greater risk that your children (sons) may not be your own.
"but on average, I'd say Islamic countries are several hundred years behind the West in that department."
Indeed.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2006


The only difference between the major religions as a group and adults who follow the teachings of the Tooth Fairy is sheer numbers. I can't think about issues such as the subordination of women in religion for more than a few seconds without my mind protesting the complete waste of time and energy it's been asked to do. Even though there are billions on this planet who take this crap seriously, I really don't give a shit. The only down-side of my opinion is it might very well get me killed some day.
posted by sluglicker at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2006


"These cultists no matter what their particular flavour of religion (christian, muslim, etc.) need psychological help. Especially the ones with families who abuse their own children through forced indoctrination."

Do you guys have some sort of "evangelical atheist" bat-signal that you send up whenever someone posts anything of even remotely religious interest? I'd like to have an honest discussion about a post, just once, without the bitterness and self-righteousness that has come to dominate religious discussions here. I get it. You guys hate religion.
Fine. Go buy a t-shirt.
There were several highly-educated individuals who used to contribute in a very positive way to these posts, and, unfortunately, I think they've all been told to piss off so many times that the angry atheist brigade is all that's left.

Rant on, angry non-believers. I'm sure your internet posts will finally do away with the only element of culture that has been a constant since the development of language.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:21 AM on July 16, 2006 [3 favorites]


Rant on, angry non-believers.

Well you just made a counter-rant, so I guess you belong to the angry anti-non believers ? Try advancing some argument other then "you suck" and I bet you will find an audience...then of course if you want to be polemic for the shake of gaining attention, considering working for Fox.
posted by elpapacito at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2006


I'd say Islamic countries are several hundred years behind the West in that department.

Wow. That's a pretty moronic statement. I'd accept maybe 60 to 100 years, depending on the country. This is also accepting that many Islamic countries, due to a lot of recent culture shock, have been pretty retrogressive with respect to women's rights for the past while.

I love my fellow white people. Europe's the backwater of the entire world for most of its history, but then we begin to develop extremely quickly and then act like everyone's late to the party.
posted by Alex404 at 10:31 AM on July 16, 2006


elpapacito, I did make several points (valid, in my opinion) in the comment directly above the comment you are referring to. I know there's already, like, 15 comments in this post, but at least try to take a cursory glance and the preceeding dialogue.

And, for the record, my argument wasn't "you suck." And I would never work for Fox. I work for a church. The conservative media and Christianity are mutually exclusive employers.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2006


actually Baby_balrog, I will take you up on stating what my point was even though it was in my original comment. I guess your "OH NOES, he might be critical about religion" radar went off.

Nice try on the fed up victim angle. Here was my point regarding the FPP: (again)

Articles like this one are nothing more than feel good journalism for the masses. As in, "Oh look honey, aren't we lucky we have good cultists in Sacramento that let women and men pray together". It's pretty sickening.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2006


Wow. That's a pretty moronic statement. I'd accept maybe 60 to 100 years, depending on the country.

How many honour killings took place in Europe and America in the years 1906-1946.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:43 AM on July 16, 2006


"Do you guys have some sort of "evangelical atheist" bat-signal that you send up whenever someone posts anything of even remotely religious interest?"

Made me spit coffee, that one. I will say something relevant in a minute, really, just let me pull myself together here.
posted by Methylviolet at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2006


How many honour killings took place in Europe and America in the years 1906-1946.

Aren't we killing large numbers of Iraqi civilians in the name of their honor and right to freedom?

drum roll not necessary. nothing to see here, move along...
posted by Funmonkey1 at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2006


My problem with many religious beliefs is simply that they believe they have the truth and want to impose it up others, by force if need be. What those who believe in what they proffer is of no concern to me, but when they insist I must be converted, or they try to take over my laws, beliefs, or way of life by force, then I am fully opposed to them. And in passing, when huge numbers of those who believe remain silent and allows "just a few" to be total crazies, then I hold the silent ones equally culpable, as I do the good Germans who went along with Hitler but were not party members. In shortp; fuck with my way of life and I will be willing to fight you to the death.
posted by Postroad at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2006 [4 favorites]


"Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have blort everlasting." - Zorp 3:16
posted by quonsar at 10:51 AM on July 16, 2006


I am by no means an atheist, but I agree with fff. There is a massive distinction between the 99% of the world who practices their religion with common sense (for the sake of simplicity, I am lumping altheism as a 'religion'. I know it's not.), and understands that other ideas exist. It's pretty cool. We find that most of the religious teachings in modern times are focused on kindness to your brother (or sister, or transgendered fellow human), through ideals of heaven, karma , what have you. It just provides a (though probably hokey and outdated) motivation behind the moral code that is ingrained in our society. We donate our offerings toward decreasing poverty and hunger, our buildings of worship are open for use by non-religious programs when not being used for worship. We're pretty damn good neighbors. It may be just a giant opiate for the masses, but all in all, the masses are pretty laid back, as most opiate addicts are.

That other 1% of the world gets all the press. They ARE cutlists, leveraging the average human's need for something to believe in to indoctrinate society with hatred, all in the name of religion (or non-religion), picking and choosing their words to only promote what causes they want. It's decidedly not cool, and with global media eating it all up, it's the only form of belief that appears to exist. In the Middle East, they think America's all rabid christian crusaders. America thinks the Middle East is all savage godless anti-West warriors. The average joe in each place is the same human being- generally goodwilled. Anyone who is blasting atheism and its rabid "evangeilical atheists" is'nt referring to the 99% of atheist who just don't believe, for deeply personal reasons. Anyone who blasts Islam for putting their women in closets with blankets over their heads isn't referring to the 99% of Muslims that are peaceful worshippers of one God and his Prophet. Anyone who blasts ANY religion (or lack thereof), or for that matter, and particular preference in anything, (or lack thereof) is the truly intolerant one, and their kind is an increasingly loud dying breed. We shouldn't accept them on the blue, or anywhere. Intolerance isn't welcome anymore.

I realize this isn't clear where it refers to the article at hand, but my point is, the Average Muslim is as mild mannered as the average American, and it would do everyone some good just to acknowledge that. It's the extremist governments that perprtrate the hatred and bias, not the religions themselves.
posted by potch at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


I get it. You guys hate religion.

No, you don't get it. I hate the asswipes who force their religion on others.

I really don't give two shits what you, personally, believe; nor what your friends believe. But, goddamnit, I get really upset when religionists start forcing others to toe their line.

We have a rule of law, not a rule of religion. By and large our laws, when not fucked-over by a religionist, are working toward greater equality and opportunity for personal happiness without harm to others. The separation of state and religion has been a great advancement for freedom and peace.

It is becoming more likely on a daily basis that we're headed for World War III, and that it's going to be another stupid fucking religious war — but this time with nukes. The mid-east is primed to explode and an apocalypse-desiring Christian religionist President is about to get involved with a bunch of apcoalypse-desiring Jewish and Muslim religionists. The religious have become a dangerous threat to the survival of the human species.

Be as personally religious as you desire, but keep it the fuck out of politics and culture. We can't afford the risk.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2006 [5 favorites]


On Preview: I agree with part of what you're saying, Postroad. The silent masses can't be silent anymore. They need to denounce and drown out the voice of the "few", so they can be seen as the lunatic fringe, not the mainstream. I always thought, however, that part of atheism was a desire to distance oneself from all the violence done in the name of a (nonexistent) deity, as opposed to fighting to the death to kill an evangelist. I typically just let them know i'm happy where I'm at, and close the door in their face.
posted by potch at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2006


I read a terrific article somewhere about why people choose restrictive religions that I now cannot find (probably the M-F'ing LA Times). Basically, the idea was that whatever benefits one gets from religion -- a feeling of living properly, a comforting foreclosure of the bewildering array of life choices, a sense of community -- is heightened in a restrictive religion. Because everyone in such a religion is more committed to it than say, Sunday Christians, or Passover Jews, they are more likely to help a fellow believer in concrete ways as well -- jobs, housing, etc.

And maybe you can get some. Then again, in the particular case of fundamentalist Islamic countries, this. One wonders whether America really should be the model for a "successful" society, though. Are we, really?

Though I received the bat-signal like every other atheist, I think "religion is bullshit!1!!!" is pretty boring. Those of us who are oh so much more enlightened than most of the world should be able to do better than that.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:05 AM on July 16, 2006


I've got balrog's back on this one. I'm non-religious, agnostic at best (or as Colbert would say, an atheist without balls), but I'm seriously disgusted at the anti-religion elitist crap thrown about by many of my so-called progressive acquaintances. This idea that religion is for the stupid is not just counter-productive, it's so ignorant as to be irrelevant. Which, I suspect, is one of the main sources of the searing invective that practically burns my monitor. It must be really, really frustrating to have evolved so far beyond 99% of humanity; not to mention lonely atop that mountain, waiting for everyone else to catch up and realize that humanity's age-old quest for spiritual enlightenment and understanding has been solved by a select few brilliant minds.

Organized religion in all its forms has been used time and time again to justify and perpetrate all manner of horrible crimes. At the same time, it has just as often inspired some of the greatest beauty (in art, philosophy, and even science) and acts of kindness we've ever seen. It has served to guide the human race forward, slowly to be sure, and often backwards as well....but to dismiss the whole thing as bunk is to announce yourself as a fairly shallow thinker, IMHO.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2006


Those of us who are oh so much more enlightened than most of the world: doing better should involve getting off your high horse, Methylviolet. I'm a borderline agnostic, who comes to politics ans science as an atheist, and to humanity as a christian (Lutheran, in particular). I find the set of core values appealing enough, if not the heavenly reward.
posted by potch at 11:09 AM on July 16, 2006


Banky has it.
Potch does not.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:11 AM on July 16, 2006


I love my fellow white people. Europe's the backwater of the entire world for most of its history, but then we begin to develop extremely quickly and then act like everyone's late to the party. --Alex404

Truer words have ne'er been spoken.

How many honour killings took place in Europe and America in the years 1906-1946. -- Krrrlson

I can't find data for those years because nobody would have known how to classify it. "Honor Killing" would certainly not have been a term in common usage. But currently, it happens more than you might think. And while it's not called honor killing, of the 5328 women murdered in 1990, FBI data indicate that half or more of them were killed by a husband or boyfriend. I would venture a guess, although it's only a guess, that a goodly percent of those murdered by a partner were killed because of a perceived fidelity issue. How is that much different than a brother killing his sister because of perceived fidelity issues? In both cases, the women are considered property that can be "damaged".
posted by dejah420 at 11:11 AM on July 16, 2006


Why not, Methyl? I'm willing to be reasonable here, and discuss this without slinging arrows. Don't dismiss me. Meet me halfway.
posted by potch at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2006


How many honour killings took place in Europe and America in the years 1906-1946.

Aren't we killing large numbers of Iraqi civilians in the name of their honor and right to freedom?


Aren't puppies cute? (Hey, this avoiding the question business is fun!)


But currently, it happens more than you might think.

So to prove that honour killings are not exclusive to Islam, you link to an article about Islamic honour killings in Europe?

How is that much different than a brother killing his sister because of perceived fidelity issues?

Simple -- in the former case, the murder is not sanctioned and approved by religion and society.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:20 AM on July 16, 2006


No personal attack intended, Potch.

Only that you didn't get what I was trying to say. If you care -- and there is no particular reason why you should -- I think this about religion as a personal choice, and as a force in society Banky said it all way better than I could. As MC Eric Sermon would say, "whatever he said, then I'm that."

/derail

Islam, at the time of its prophet, was extremely progressive on women's rights -- please remember that Christianity at the time was quite oppressive to women, let alone what the people were doing in what would become Islamic countries.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:25 AM on July 16, 2006


And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to Three. No more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards this, thy MetaFilter thread, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.

—Book of Armaments, chapter 2, verses 18-21
posted by nlindstrom at 11:25 AM on July 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


potch-I'm not sure about atheists being a dying breed. I have failed for fifty tears to convert my wife to atheism.

But-TADAA- that final nudge she needed came from your leader.

Thank George.
posted by notreally at 11:28 AM on July 16, 2006


After reading your epiphany, Methyl, I think we have a lot we share in common. I call myself Christian, because I truly think most of what's being said is a good idea, and because Jesus had the knack for shooting down the crazies. But when it comes to science, I can't reconcile the big magic man in space. And I believe that religion has ZERO place in politics. So, agnostic.
posted by potch at 11:30 AM on July 16, 2006


notreally- I included atheists in my list of religions- for the sake of saying they're moderate most of the time. I wasn't referring to atheists as a dying breed, nor do I at ANY time think GWB is my leader- I didn't vote for him. They dying breed is the angry intolerance, not atheists. Most of my friends are atheists, and if you read my personal stance, i'm about 75% atheist myself.

"your leader"... shudder. That man is vile.
posted by potch at 11:33 AM on July 16, 2006


George Bush is bad. Islam is good.
posted by obeygiant at 11:34 AM on July 16, 2006


another derail
My daughter chose to play "Tyranny" in her historical pageant this year, with a sword and the holy hand-grenade as symbols of its instruments. Kids are so much more militant than adults.
/derail
posted by Methylviolet at 11:35 AM on July 16, 2006


obeygiant: troll much?
posted by potch at 11:35 AM on July 16, 2006


Prior to the Taliban fucking-up Afghanistan

That's probably not the best informed view of history. Afghanistan was plenty fucked up (thanks in part to the Soviets, and the other part the warring tribes of Afghans) by the time the Taliban acceded to power. As bad as the Taliban were, their strict law and order (albeit shari'a law and order) ethos was largely seen as an improvement over what came before, which was brutality and lawlessness.
posted by psmealey at 11:39 AM on July 16, 2006


And while it's not called honor killing, of the 5328 women murdered in 1990, FBI data indicate that half or more of them were killed by a husband or boyfriend. I would venture a guess, although it's only a guess, that a goodly percent of those murdered by a partner were killed because of a perceived fidelity issue. How is that much different than a brother killing his sister because of perceived fidelity issues? In both cases, the women are considered property that can be "damaged".

How is that different!? Are you fucking insane? Maybe the difference lies in the fact that in Europe and America these kind of things are considered crimes and people who perpetrated them are punished, and in places like Afganistan or Saudi Arabia they are considered acts of honor. You cite the statistics collected by the Federal Bureau of fucking Investigations, not the Census Bureau. Does that not ring a bell?


Oh, and what FFF said.
posted by c13 at 11:48 AM on July 16, 2006


"Islam, at the time of its prophet, was extremely progressive on women's rights..."

Unless you happened to be a Berber or one of the many other Northern African people groups that were systematically enslaved or slaughtered. Calling Islam (at any point in its history) progressive is just as dishonest as denying Christianity's numerous blood soaked misadventures.
posted by TetrisKid at 11:56 AM on July 16, 2006


"George Bush is bad. Islam is good."

Well, you're half-right.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:02 PM on July 16, 2006


Methylviolet : Basically, the idea was that whatever benefits one gets from religion ... is heightened in a restrictive religion.

This is one of the pillars of Rodney Stark's theory of religion: in place of earthly rewards, religions instead offer promises of future rewards, "compensators." And, as is to be expected in a view of religion as a type of economic exchange, the more that is required of individuals to attain compensators, the higher the value they will place on them. The model predicts that a person will view religious exchanges (salvation, for example) as more valuable if they require greater personal effort or sacrifice.

This is also naturally going to be heightened if the religious community is isolated from the mainstream, which reduces the tension inherent in "my religion tells me X is valuable but my heathen neighbor and my TV tell me it's Y." Therefore, the message associated with the compensators is not compromised by conflicting promises of either other compensators or actual (ie, material) rewards.

It's a rather cynical theory in some ways, but no more so than most schools of economics, which have self-interest as their primary engine.
posted by camcgee at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2006


The problem is not with Islam per se, but with extremist religionists.

Said like a good future dhimmi.
posted by HTuttle at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2006


Again and again in these threads we see a resounding confirmation of Sam Harris's thesis that religious moderates act as apologists and enablers for religious extremists.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:32 PM on July 16, 2006


You may as well say the same thing about political moderates acting as apologists and enablers for political extremists.

The Republican hoi polloi refuse to face the facts about their party of choice ("they wouldn't do thaaat...") but without their support, however lukewarm, the radicals would have no presence.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:53 PM on July 16, 2006


A wise friend of mine once observed that a religion is like a finger pointing at God. If you look at all the religions, they all point, more or less, at the same place.

And yet, we argue incessantly over the fingers. We will even kill one another. "You have hangnails, infidel! Die!"

There may be no greater sin than to commit a killing in the name of a loving God.
posted by Malor at 12:58 PM on July 16, 2006


You may as well say the same thing about political moderates acting as apologists and enablers for political extremists.

The Republican hoi polloi refuse to face the facts about their party of choice ("they wouldn't do thaaat...") but without their support, however lukewarm, the radicals would have no presence.


The interesting thing is that's almost a one to one mapping rather than an analogy.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:03 PM on July 16, 2006


Keep in mind that the point of Harris' thesis is that the only intellectually consistent version of religion is an extreme one, therefore religiosity itself is bogus. It's not a one-to-one mapping unless you're gonna say that 'political factions are teh evil!1' a la Madison.
posted by Firas at 1:15 PM on July 16, 2006


OK, there's been a lot of religion-bashing in this thread, some "Christianity is just as bad as Islam" and, courtesy of Malor, some "all religions are essentially the same, so why can't we all get along."

It is deceptive to refer to both Christianity and Islam as "religions" within the same sentence, because this implies that they are comparable sets of belief with comparable influence. They are not.

The influence of (organized) Christianity today in Europe is negligible, even though Christianity has shaped the continent and its culture. The influence of Christianity in the US is bigger, and the US is not better off because of this.

The influence of Islam in most predominantly Islamic countries, on the other hand, is pervasive. Islam is not merely a "religion" in a traditional sense that gives you a couple of moral prerogatives which you can honor or not as you see fit, as in the case of Christianity, but it is a full-fledged system of organizing society. Islam brings you a code of law and an entire justice system, Islam tells you want you can wear (e.g. hijab or burqa if you're unlucky enough to be a woman), what you can eat (no pork chops tonight), when you have to pray, how much money you have to give to the poor, how many houses you need to build for each wife, etc. etc.

All these are not merely moral prerogatives but at least in Islamic countries like Saudia Arabia, Iran etc. the rule of law, since there is no separation of church and state. That's why drinking alcohol in Saudi Arabia and not wearing a hijab in Iran can be a crime, even if you're not a Muslim.

So next time someone comes with "yeah, but hard-core Christians are just as bad" or "*all* religions suck", you are wrong. All religions are not alike. Christianity is a toothless tiger in most parts of the world (except the Vatican, maybe). Islam, unfortunately, is not.

To sum up, Islam is not about God. Islam is about a detailed set of rules for believers and non-believers to obey.
posted by sour cream at 1:29 PM on July 16, 2006


sour cream, you should watch out when you say things like "Islam is" or "Islam is not." Islam, like any set of beliefs, is more or less entirely up to those claiming to be Muslim. There is no such thing as "true Islam" any more than there is such a thing as "true Christianity." The beliefs and practices you are referring to are those of a certain segment of Muslims.

Moreover, do you really believe that "religion in a traditional sense" "gives you a couple of moral perogatives which you can honor or not as you see fit"? What about the Ten Commandments (or, for that matter, the 600+ commandments enumerated in the Torah)? What about "love thy neighbor" and "turn the other cheek"? All religions have laws.
posted by maxreax at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2006


To sum up, Islam is not about God. Islam is about a detailed set of rules for believers and non-believers to obey.

You are, no doubt, utterly qualified to assess it as such.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:42 PM on July 16, 2006


Firas, I worded that really badly. What I meant is that the republican extremists and the religious extremists appear to be one and the same set of people, at least in the US.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:45 PM on July 16, 2006


sour cream: I see you are very good indeed at arguing about fingers.
posted by Malor at 2:16 PM on July 16, 2006


Sorry potch-It's just that around here(SW Fl.)the religionists are still so supportive of GW that I tend to see most of them in a similar light.
In the last few years I have tended to just see people of religion as the bad guys. I have to realize I am painting with too broad a brush.
posted by notreally at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2006


What I meant is that the republican extremists and the religious extremists appear to be one and the same set of people, at least in the US.

Ooh, yeah. Related: here's something I've been chewing on for a few years.

Take the domestic politics of four countries:

USA (Christian majority)
India (Hindu majority)
Pakistan (Muslim majority)
Israel (Jewish majority)

Now, in all these countries, there's a sort of 'right wing' — nationalistic and religious (why do hypernationalists combine so well with religious fundies? Maybe it's because they're both 'conservative' sorts of ideals, in the old-school sense of conservatism as traditionalism, or maybe it's the tribalist instinct in both strains of thought. I'm sure I can come up with a better analysis of 'why', but let's just observe the link and move on.)

Now, in all these countries, the dynamics are the same.

For example—speaking just for India and the USA—the right attempts to make Indian history textbooks more pro-Hindu/anti-Muslim or American science textbooks more pro-Genesis/anti-Science. In both countries, this faction of the 'far Right' is a tiny minority of the population, not representative of the larger community of American Christians or Indian Hindus, but it viciously attacks the 'educated liberal effete secular media elites' who in turn roll their eyes at these chaps and wish they would just go away.

And, in India, the Hindus attack the minority of Christians, sometimes physically (mostly politically), and in the USA, the Protestants attack Hinduism, albeit not politically or physically but in like, denunciations of the paganism or whatnot of the religion from pulpits. Again, the people who side with attacked Christians in India or defend denounced Hindus in the USA are the 'educated liberal secularists'.

So—when it comes to domestic politics—the 'liberals' are the only ones who can actually live in peace with others (wasn't there some survey that said, secular Americans don't care much about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith as being a factor in their estimation of his possible presidential candidacy, but non-Mormon Christians sure have a problem with it.)

Anyway, the realization this leads me to is that, on the world stage, 'realist' and nationalistic foreign policy is inherently unstable, just as in the domestic stage, religious fundamentalism is inherently unstable. A hardliner in Pakistan and a hardliner in India will never reconcile themselves to the other nation. But a liberal internationalist in India and a liberal internationalist in Pakistan will just fit together like pieces in a Jigsaw puzzle—both see eg. poverty, hunger, disease etc. as problems to be dealt with rather than frenziedly obsessing over pieces of mountain territory. This goes beyond India/Pakistan of course. If all 200+ countries on the planet all have liberal internationalistic foreign policies, they'll all fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. If they all have 'realist'/Hobbesian foreign policies, it'll be a self-fulfilling prophesy where they "it's a dangerous world out there" sort of principle that leads to realist policy actually perpetuates the brinksmanship out there.

In sum, when people speak of 'democratic peace', I think they're somewhat mistaken. It's liberalism rather than democracy per se that leads nations to be less war-mongering. The EU of course is the test case.. let's see how things turn out there.

Whatcha think?
posted by Firas at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2006 [2 favorites]


maxreax: Moreover, do you really believe that "religion in a traditional sense" "gives you a couple of moral perogatives which you can honor or not as you see fit"? What about the Ten Commandments [etc.]

Yes, the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Abrahamic religions, although I'm not sure whether they are regarded as scripture by Muslims.

The difference is that even though our legal system is arguably rooted in the Ten Commandments, it has evolved and has been adapted to today's mores. Fortunately, today making a graven image is no longer a punishable offense and neither is working on sabbath. Indeed, a cursory glance at the Ten Commandments reveals that the only commandments corresonding to felonies in most justice systems in the West are C6 (murder), C8 (theft) and C9 (perjury), although I'm not sure about C7 (adultery) which might be an adjudicable offense in some of the more backwards parts of the US.

I realize that most predominantly Islamic countries have codes of law that are not identical with Sharia law, but the point is that whereas Christianity by and large views itself as merely giving spiritual guidance, take it or leave it, Islam is pervasive. And, unfortunately, stuck in the middle ages in many predominantly Islamic countries.

(Yes, I know that I'm generalizing, maxreax, but I'm posting on MeFi and not writing a thesis paper and my posts are long enough as they are.)
posted by sour cream at 2:39 PM on July 16, 2006


I'm sure your internet posts will finally do away with the only element of culture that has been a constant since the development of language.

Prostitution?

i'm about 75% atheist myself

I'm about that much pregnant.

"evangelical atheist" bat-signal

Innocent minds in danger of peer-induced stupidity! To the athemobile!
posted by Sparx at 3:23 PM on July 16, 2006


"Islam 1,400 years ago gave women the right to choose her own husband, have her own business and finances, the right to ask for divorce and control her own body."

Of course, Islam today does that as well, depending on what country you're in.
posted by delmoi at 4:17 PM on July 16, 2006


The difference is that even though our legal system is arguably rooted in the Ten Commandments, it has evolved and has been adapted to today's mores. Fortunately, today making a graven image is no longer a punishable offense and neither is working on sabbath. Indeed, a cursory glance at the Ten Commandments reveals that the only commandments corresonding to felonies in most justice systems in the West are C6 (murder), C8 (theft) and C9 (perjury), although I'm not sure about C7 (adultery) which might be an adjudicable offense in some of the more backwards parts of the US.

Our legal system is not rooted in the Ten Commandments mostly because of what you point out--only 3 of the 10 are actually laws in this country. But more importantly, we have freedom of religion--it would be antithetical to our country's founding documents to base our laws on the Ten Commandments. You're comparing apples to oranges here--we aren't a "Christian" country in the same sense that, say, Iran is an "Islamic" country.

I realize that most predominantly Islamic countries have codes of law that are not identical with Sharia law, but the point is that whereas Christianity by and large views itself as merely giving spiritual guidance, take it or leave it, Islam is pervasive. And, unfortunately, stuck in the middle ages in many predominantly Islamic countries.

Christianity no more "views itself as merely giving spiritual guidance" than Islam does.
posted by maxreax at 4:23 PM on July 16, 2006


Christianity is a toothless tiger in most parts of the world (except the Vatican, maybe).

And the USA. To those of us who live in cultures where religion is not the dominant political force — Canada, Britain, etc — it is downright scary how freakin' religious your political representatives are. Hell, you've got crazies who are succeeding in teaching creationism and putting commandments in courthouses!

Until you've actually been out of the US system, I doubt most of you Americans can really understand how odd your country is.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:47 PM on July 16, 2006


This thread is a pretty good demonstration of what the previous post is about.
posted by semmi at 11:45 PM on July 16, 2006


Just something I remembered after posting my previous comment—just as there's a religious+nationalist synergy in some countries, there's a communist+nationalist synergy in China, Russia, etc. Perhaps, therefore, religion and ideology are similar things as far as the human mind is concerned?
posted by Firas at 7:32 AM on July 17, 2006


Actually, it was my impression that the ultra-fundamentalist, anti-feminist brand of Islam that seems to pervade predominantly Muslim countries today has become popular fairly recently, in the past 50-75 years. It arose in opposition to the perceived invasion of Western culture after European countries started playing major political roles in the region around WWI, and replaced Arab nationalism as the main cultural identity of people in the region after Egypt's failure during the Six Day War.
posted by schroedinger at 7:51 AM on July 17, 2006


So actually, I would be pretty interested to see those numbers on honor killings and how they fluctuated throughout the 20th century.
posted by schroedinger at 7:51 AM on July 17, 2006


How many honour killings took place in Europe and America in the years 1906-1946.

Do lynchings count?
posted by Falconetti at 8:00 AM on July 17, 2006


Actually, it was my impression that the ultra-fundamentalist, anti-feminist brand of Islam that seems to pervade predominantly Muslim countries today has become popular fairly recently, in the past 50-75 years. It arose in opposition to the perceived invasion of Western culture after European countries started playing major political roles in the region around WWI, and replaced Arab nationalism as the main cultural identity of people in the region after Egypt's failure during the Six Day War.

Well, it depends on which "brand" of ultra-fundamentalist, anti-feminist Islam you're talking about (Wahabbism? Salafism? Qtubism?), but yes, with the exception of the 200-year-old Wahabbism, most "brands" of fundamentalist Islam are fairly recent, and moreover, created and activated mostly as a response to Western colonialism and encroachment.
posted by maxreax at 11:00 AM on July 17, 2006


Honour killings are largely a cultural thing, not a religious thing. They're more common in South Asian cultures, but you never really hear of a honour killing in, say, Malaysia.

There's a vast difference between Arabic Muslims and South Asian Muslims and South East Muslims and Western Muslims. Add the varying schools of thought, the Sunni/Shi'ite/Sufi split, and culture in general - and there's plenty of variables.
posted by divabat at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2006


LOL! I come back after a couple days to see if anyone had posted anything interesting and almost no one has written about the issue presented in semmi's post. Did anyone change their religious beliefs? Were you a believer but now know that God really doesn't exist? Or were an atheist...or perhaps not quite sure...and now you've see the true God? The real question, good people, is where should a woman be in relation to the space occupied by a man when praying. Focus, people! What a bunch of fucking maroons! (no offence intended).
posted by sluglicker at 12:56 PM on July 18, 2006


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