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Can Patriotism Combat Islamophobia?


12:00 pm - March 4th 2010

by Paul Sagar    


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Last night the Muslim Council of Britain held a special closed-meeting of parliamentarians, journalists, police, public servants, community representatives, academics and, erm, me. The topic of discussion was Tackling Islamophobia: Reducing Street Violence Against British Muslims.

The event was timely. “Since 9/11 anti-Muslim hate crimes appear to have become more prevalent than racist hate crimes where black and Asian Londoners are the victims.” (PDF) Testimony from a range of academic experts and politicians substantiated the claim that street violence against Muslims is rising.

Speakers stressed that there are “tangible links between Islamophobia or anti-Muslim bigotry in both mainstream political and media discourse…extremist nationalist discourse, and anti-Muslim hate crimes”. Peter Oborne – a journalist on the Conservative right by his own admission – described how after 7/7 he became aware that journalists in mainstream newspapers got away with telling lies and distorting facts about Islam and Muslims on a regular basis. Indeed he collected his findings and took them to Channel 4, who turned them into a special episode of Dispatches. This sort of dishonesty – he said – would not be tolerated if it were directed at any other minority group. Yet the smearing of British Muslims, usually playing on fears of terrorism, is standard fare in the British media.

Oborne urged that opponents of Islamophobia should therefore mount a campaign based on patriotism; of stressing respect for diversity and difference as fundamental British values. MP Phyllis Starkey agreed with Oborne’s approach, but argued for “respect”, a stronger concept she claimed than mere toleration.

Maleiha Malik of King’s College School of Law cited the work of pathbreaking historian Quentin Skinner, who has shown that Britain has arguably never been a tranquil idyll of religious homogeneity. Divisions of faith and identity have characterised these Isles since at least the days of Henry VIII, and even before. But Britain also has a long tradition of coming to terms with religious differences, and turning them to its collective advantage.

Yet if Skinner’s work is being cited, it’s worth considering another idea associated with him: that patriotism need not necessarily be a bad thing. Through 21st Century eyes, patriotism looks inevitably wedded to racial nationalism and all the horrors that wrought. Yet it was not always so. Love of one’s self-governing free State was an essential component of the (largely lost) republican tradition Skinner has sought to revive. Before Hitler and Mussolini, or Britain’s own exploitative Empire, patriotism was frequently linked to civic activism and non-sinister motivations for aiding one’s countrymen via common endeavour to promote the collective good. The question is whether Oborne, Starkey and those who wish to fight Islamophobia by branding it un-British can harness the spirit of patriotism to this effect. Or whether ugly nationalism is the inevitable result of playing the patriot card.

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About the author
Paul Sagar is a post-graduate student at the University of London and blogs at Bad Conscience.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Crime ,Media ,Race relations ,Terrorism

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Reader comments


DISCLAIMER:

the work on patriotism is more associated with Skinner’s disciples than Skinner himself

oh, and there’s a longer version of this up at my place, which asks whether patriotism can be stronger than the fear the media exploits

(come on Don P, this one could have made it through without the savage edit!)

I think the truth is what is important here. calling upon motives such as patriotism are likely to backfire. Telling the truth will expose the extremists on all sides, their lies and their numbers.

Maleiha Malik is a very good thing.

I gathered from the news just a few days ago that Cameron had already conscripted our Patriotic sentiments to expel Gordon Brown from government:
http://www.inthenews.co.uk/news/uk/uk/cameron-my-patriotic-duty-is-to-sort-out-gordon-brown-s-mess-$1362720.htm

5. John Meredith

This would all be much happier if we could drop the silly word ‘Islamophobia’. The report acknowledges the problems with it and then just steams on. Why go on about ‘Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry’ when ‘anti-muslim bigotry’ is more concise and cannot be misunderstood or abused?

Is there evidence that ‘since 9/11 anti-Muslim hate crimes appear to have become more prevalent than racist hate crimes where black and Asian Londoners are the victim’? I couldn’t find it in the report. It must be hard to distinguish except where an attcker makes his intention iknown, which isn’t usuallybn the case, I wouldn’t have thought.

6. Michael Smith

All ways of mobilising opinion against the current wave of Islamophobic hysteria should be seized on.

There may well be some people for whom the ‘patriotic card’ is persuasive. However, such an approach has to directly confront those who also play the ‘patriotic card’ for the opposite reason, to whip up hostility against Muslims, because they see it as a means to justify the inhumanity of the current military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A useful analysis of the demonisation of Muslims can be found at:
http://www.socialistaction.net/The-demonisation-of-Muslims.html

7. John Meredith

“because they see it as a means to justify the inhumanity of the current military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq”

Don’t be silly. Supporters of the action in, say, Afghanistan, may be wrong or may be right, but they hardly use anti-muslim rehtoric as part of their argument. The war in Afgahnistan is being fought alongside muslims and with the support of a muslim population. It is those who believe that the Taliban are in some way the ‘true’ face of Islam or the true representatives of muslims who are the bigots in that debate, surely?

Love of one’s self-governing free State was an essential component of the (largely lost) republican tradition Skinner has sought to revive. Before Hitler and Mussolini, or Britain’s own exploitative Empire, patriotism was frequently linked to civic activism and non-sinister motivations for aiding one’s countrymen via common endeavour to promote the collective good.

I think that anyone trying to promote cultural diversity with this appeal with bump up against a problem: that people have strikingly different perceptions of who their “countrymen” are, and how their “self-governing free State” should be defined.

Bensix,

the idea us to show that in the past different uses have been given to modern conceptions.

In the 21st century we’d obviously worry about identifications of who qualifies as a countryman. The point however is that patriotism is separable from nationalist racism.

I think you’re on a losing wicket appealling to “patriotism” in order to foster greater tolerance towards a group many of whom feel greater loyalty to the Ummah than to the UK.

11. Just Visiting

Paul

Please, can we base our discussions here on evidence not hearsay.

You are trying to solve a problem for which there is little evidence that it exists!

You wrote:
> Since 9/11 anti-Muslim hate crimes appear to have become more prevalent than racist hate crimes where black and Asian Londoners are the victims.

But you have provided no evidence of that at all.

There are however other statistics that show the opposite , eg

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/372nmbdt.asp

Talking about the US situation, it says: “The myth of the anti-Muslim backlash – …the number of hate crimes against Muslim Americans increased in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. But it declined precipitously after that, and has remained low ever since. …Of 6,832 religion-based hate crimes reported between 2002 and 2006, 4,627, or 68 percent, were committed not against Muslims but against Jews, while 744, or 11 percent, were committed against Muslims. In 2007 there were 1,477 reported offenses motivated by religious bias. Again, 68 percent were committed against Jews, and only 9 percent against Muslims. Reported hate crimes against Catholics and Protestants accounted for 8.4 percent. …statistics for 2008 show that 65.7 percent of religion-motivated hate crimes were anti-Jewish, 8.4 percent anti-Christian and 7.7 percent anti-Islamic. That means there were 1,013 cases of hate crimes motivated by anti-Semitism in 2008, the highest number of hate crimes against Jews reported since 2001. There were just 105 reported cases of anti-Islamic hate crimes. ”

Lots of statistics in the reports mentioned there Paul, whereas the report PDF you linked to is problematic

Firstly it is not from an unbaised source: among several surprisingly opinionated outlines of theur stance, the EMRC state things like: “Our core value is that a growing European Muslim population makes significant and valuable contributions to the safety, prosperity and cohesion of European communities and countries and to the well being of Europe as a whole.”

They say ‘Moreover, EMRC does not accept that Islamically inspired political thought
or politics pose inherent threats to the West.’

Don’t they listen to the Islamists who say out of their own mouths that they are a threat to the West!

They say: “Both in this research project and our other ventures we intend to produce rigorous qualitative research”

Oh dear: ‘qualitative’ – that slippery slope when the hard work or inconcenient evidence of QUANTATIVE is not wanted.

The report itself even admits that it has no serious findings of it’s own…. saying it is “an introductory report that highlights the issues we will present and analyse in a ten year research project”:

Ie, it is not a report based on evidence, but a plan of what they plan to report on.

12. Just Visiting

Michael

the link you gave suggesting it was “a useful analysis of the demonisation of Muslims can be found at”

Is in fact just an anti ‘islamophobic’ rant obsessed also with ‘the imperialists’ , unsupported by evidence and repeating the trite untruths so often used by those who hate the ‘islamophobia’ they seem to see everywhere.

Untruths such as:

” the false accusations of violence and support for terrorism that are levelled at the Muslim community,”

I’m sorry, but it is the terrorists themselves who say they did it in the name of Islam.

It is mainstream Islamic teaching that the death penalty is correct for Apostasy, Adultery and Heresy – that is violence advocated by Islam.
That non-Muslims are 2nd class citizens.

That’s why in some Muslim countries, it is against the state law to give up being a Muslim (eg Malaysia)

Although maybe they were (unwittingly perhaps) in line with the statistics when they said “The real relationship between violence and Muslims is that the latter are overwhelmingly on its receiving end, not its prime perpetrators.”

I have read reports that “In the Palestinian communities of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel, and Jordan, …honor killings account for virtually all of the murders of Palestinian women”

“MP Phyllis Starkey agreed with Oborne’s approach, but argued for “respect”, a stronger concept she claimed than mere toleration.”

Once again calls to ‘respect’ a religion. WHY?

14. Just Visiting

Barbara

>Once again calls to ‘respect’ a religion. WHY?

Err, well if one religion supports things you agree with – you’d respect that.

And if any supports things you disagree with, you’d respect their right to do so (freedom of speech).

But of they advocate violence and intolerance – well that is harder to respect, you’re right.

I think it is pointless to have a blanket respecrt for all religions – as pointless as having a blanket respect for all political groups!

The grown-up position is to recognise that some religions are more compatible with democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech, vegetarianism or whatever Barbara you feel are important issues: and therefore to have a nuanced individual response to each religion.

15. Just Visiting

Can any women, let alone a feminist, ask for respect for a religion like this:

“Saudi woman gets 300 lashes, jail for filing harassment complaints without a male guardian present”

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-03/saudi-woman-gets-300-lashes-jail-for-complaints-group-says.html

” Saudi Arabia, which maintains a code of Islamic morals, said in June at a meeting of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council that it would end the male-guardianship rule, said Human Rights Watch.

“The system requires women to get permission from a male relative to go to classes, work, to travel, open a bank account or receive non-emergency medical care. It also requires a woman to be accompanied by a male guardian to conduct public business, HRW said.

16. just visiting

I`m a white Englishman that married a Hindu lady and embraced multi culturalism and even went along with the liberal brainwashing for a while.
In fourteen years of marriage i have only ever once had anything negative said to us by white people yet get hassle by a wide variety of ethnic minorities on a daily basis. When i first told my Indian work colleagues that i was dating a Hindu they all apart from a Sikh man completely blanked me form that day forth, the Sikh man later explained that he would of done the same if she had been Sikh.
So the Muslim council of Britain has fears and gets an audience with Politicians, police and anybody else that wants to be seen to be good by this crazy society we live in, did the Police etc tell the council that in fact actual figures show the complete opposite and put their fears to rest?.
So the Liberals are giving a voice to people who believe in exactly the opposite to what they believe and they wonder why people are turning to the right, they wonder why people of all colours and religions are sick of the way this country has gone, they wonder why people are despairing.
As a father of mix race children i fear the right but like most im beginning to hate the left.
Mr and Mrs pat yourself on the back liberal elite just carry on defending those will eventually destroy you.
By the way did any of you watch the Dispaches episode on Muslims extremist taking over our liberal councils? How do you get your head round the fact that a lot of these extremists are high level Muslim Council of Britain people. Just ignore it like the liberal councilors now losing their jobs.

17. Just Visiting

Sunny

That lost post by ‘just visiting’ was not by me.
(Do check the IP addresses – I wonder if it was another regular in disguise?)

It is maybe time that you implemented something on LC to stop such impersonation…??

18. Just Visiting

16 – sorry, didn’t mean to belittle what you wrote – just a shock that someone was using my LC name…

I wonder if your experience is a one off, or more common.

Is anybody use here in a mixed-marriage ?

19. Golden Gordon

Just visiting the idea of you being married to Hindu lady is about as credible as Gert Wilders having a relationship with Osama Bin Laden.
You are more likely to be an obese right wing geek with a body odour problem who blames blacks because you don’t have a girlfriend.
If you did marry a hindu women what does she keeps hidden when she marries ?.

“Last night the Muslim Council of Britain held a special closed-meeting of parliamentarians, journalists, police, public servants, community representatives, academics and, erm, me.”

Sounds like you got all the scaredy cats in one room. Who was the toughest, or was it a nil-nil draw?

Just Visiting – I’m assuming that the posts with capital letters at the start of each word are actually yours.

You say one thing I agree with, namely “I think it is pointless to have a blanket respecrt for all religions” I would have used a word other than “pointless” but I think I understand the sentiment and agree with it. The other word I would have changed would be “all.” I’d replace it with “any.” My respect for the religions I have encountered ranges from little (Buddhism) to none whatsoever (christianity, islam and judaism). That doesn’t mean that I have no respect for the right of people to hold whatever bizarre, superstition – based belief system they choose, provided that they don’t use it to harm others (although, unfortunately, many do just that). And it also doesn’t mean that I assume that people who subscribe to such belief systems deserve to be treated with suspicion, vilified or persecuted. From your posts, it seems that you do and that you’re keen to justify your prejudice. So, in order to do so, could you explain what you mean by “It is mainstream Islamic teaching ….”? What, exactly, does the word “mainstream” mean, in the context in which you are using it?

22. Tommy Atherton

So i`m not credible am i not. i live in Leicester and my name is Tommy Atherton. I`m sorry if i offended anyone for using the name Just visiting, it`s just that i was just visiting.
So im a ring wing fat man with an odour problem that can`t get a girlfriend.
To be honest i didn`t expect anything less than name calling form a bunch of people that see anybody that disagrees with them as big evil Hitler lovers.
I used to be one of you but reality kicked in for me when i tried to live the multi cultural dream.
Golden Brown, i`m a thirty eight year old man that is very fit that has done Karate, Kung fu and is now studying Thai boxing and i`m actually quite good looking.
What i am actually trying to say is this, “the day we judge people on what they do rather than what they are will be a good day, the day we stop pretending that only whites can be bad will be a good day.
Maybe every white person my wife and i came across didn`t like the fact that we were together but they wouldn`t dare show it, yet Ethnic minorities would openly show their disgust and lets just pretend for one second that i`m not a secret Nazi or a trouble causer and that i`m actually telling the truth, think about it.
I believe in justice and common sense, i would and have stood alongside Muslims that were being hassled by Whites but i would also stand by Whites that were being hassled by Muslims.
Au Revoir as they say in Japan and i look forward to hearing what names i am going to be called after this post.

23. Tommy Atherton

Golden Brown again.
She doesn`t really know what they are supposed to hide when Hindus get married, she said it could be the face. We only did the English marriage anyway cos her family disowned her for marrying a Gura, luckily her family eventually judged me on what i am and not the colour of my skin and they now think i`m great.
It`s ironic but her sister married a Hindu man and they prefer me to him.
Anyhow i`m guessing your a Hindu that is now seething with rage, good luck with that.
C ya, wouldn`t wanna be ya

24. Tommy Atherton

Golden Brown again. Just rang my mother in law (Jayaben) and asked her.
The wife’s sisters hide the mens shoes and then the men have to pay the women to get the shoes back, something like that anyway

Tommy Atherton/just visiting – you’re just totally awesome, mate.

I mainly come on this site to argue, which isn’t difficult given the rigid adherence to the prevailing orthodoxy which passes for thought on here and the willingness of people who consider themselves to be liberal minded and compassionate to start screaming hysterical abuse at anyone who disagrees with them. It’s usually pretty amusing but when some smartarse ends up looking as stupid as you’ve just made Golden Brown look, it’s priceless. Thank you.

26. Just Visiting

RWF

> Just Visiting – I’m assuming that the posts with capital letters at the start of each word are actually yours.

Correct. Tommy Atherton has made clear that he posted the lower case ‘just visiting’ article.

By the way, I assume you’re the Richard who has posted on LC many times on the theme that all religions are bad. And that neither Jesus or Mohammed was a historical figure.

> You say one thing I agree with, namely “I think it is pointless to have a blanket respecrt for all religions”

That’s a good strarting point for debate – work out where we agree and where we don’t.

> My respect for the religions I have encountered ranges from little (Buddhism) to none whatsoever (christianity, islam and judaism).

So again we’re 100% in agreement – we respect each religion a different amount, depending on how much we find what it does and what it promotes as in keeping with our own definition of what is good and bad.

> And it also doesn’t mean that I assume that people who subscribe to such belief systems deserve to be treated with suspicion, vilified or persecuted. From your posts, it seems that you do and that you’re keen to justify your prejudice.

I don’t recall saying anything like that – I’ve been talking about what Islam does and promotes.

For clarity – if I (or anyone) happens to mention an Islamic terrorist event, it doesn’t undermine my view that the vast majority of Mulsims are law abiding, good citizens.

So – point out which of my words you’re talking about.

> So, in order to do so, could you explain what you mean by “It is mainstream Islamic teaching ….”? What, exactly, does the word “mainstream” mean, in the context in which you are using it?

Ah,, OK, You really ARE the Richard of earlier threads.
You have raised this exact question ‘what does the word mainstream mean’ before in several LC threads. I’ve not used it in a controversial sense – so a dictionary should suffice.

Anyway, can you spell out what bits you disagree with in my statement:

“It is mainstream Islamic teaching that the death penalty is correct for Apostasy, Adultery and Heresy”

27. Just Visiting

RWF

Looking back in LC:
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/10/09/the-global-spread-of-christianity/

I see that a poster ‘Richard’ was taking exactly your line: (hence why I think RWF and Richard are the same.
Richard stated that he disagreed that ‘“Islam promotes the death penalty for apostasy and no christian group does”

But when asked for evidence to support that view – all responses conveniently ignored that.

I sense that you would really like to believe that christianity and islam can be put in one pigeon-hole and written off.

There’s probably quite a few folk on LC would agree with you.

The reason that I am not one of them, is that when I read the news and check on the reality out there: is that christianity and islam do different things, advocate different things: and their founders Jesus and Mohammed also did and advocated quite different things.

Christianity and Islam deserve a ‘compare and contrast’ exercise, before pigeonholing them together.

Else it’s as illogical as labelling all political parties as being ‘all the same’ !

28. Tommy Atherton

Thanks RFW for the comment, i honestly do appreciate it, thanks mate.
I agree with you about religion. The messages from Mohammed and Jesus might be different but the way the Catholic church acted in the past is no different. When you think of the Crusades you think of the conquest of Muslim lands but far more crusades were started against pagans in Europe.
Charles Martel and the Franks were only able to stop the Muslim conquest of Europe at the battle of Tours 732 because he and his men had gained so much experience from fighting pagans in Europe on behalf of the Catholic church.
The Cathars were Christian yet they were wiped off the face of the earth simply because they didn`t believe in priests and churches (reminds me of Jesus).
The Spanish inquisition is the most well known but there were inquisitions all over Europe and countless people were killed for not believing in a certain brand of Christianity or being a pagan or Jew.
RTW, i think your a bit like me, you treat everyone on an individual basis, what they are like as people determines what you think of them and whether or not you want to know them. You see the truth and if the truth hurts then so be it, you don`t have an agenda and your not bitter.
RTW give yourself a big pat on the back and be proud of yourself.
I was born a Catholic but i find it hard to fathom how anyone can believe in any Religion. I don`t care what anybody wants to believe in but don`t expect me to change my way of life to suit your beliefs. Muslims say their religion says Muslim women are not allowed to swim with non Muslims so we have everyone can swim times and times when only Muslim women can swim (honestly its true), your not allowed to take your top off in certain areas in the summer cos it offends Muslims, I don`t really drink but drinking a can of beer has been banned in public cos it offends Muslims. Ive never known a Muslim that wants all these things banned so again it seems like liberals are bowing down to extremists.
Good old Blighty

Try the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre of the Huguenots in France in August 1572:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bartholomew's_Day_massacre

By contemporary accounts, thousands of Huguenot asylum seekers came to seek refuge and settle in England through into the 17th century.

Btw the Moors invaded Spain in 711, whereas the first Crusade wasn’t until 1095. So much for Islam being a peaceful religion.

30. Tommy Atherton

At the end of the Roman empire the whole of north Africa was Christian and was invaded and completely ethnically cleansed by Muslims. Rome was sacked by Muslims in 846. The Crusades only happened because Muslim armies were banging on the door of Christian Byzantium and they had also banned Christian pilgrims from entering Jerusalem.
The Caliphs under the order of a certain prophet were on a mission to wipe out Christianity, i first read this particular fact in an article given to me by a Muslim nun (she was Muslim and was dressed like a nun), she was trying to convert me and thought i`d be impressed by it. lol.
In the city of Tours France there was Cathedral that was revered by Christians and the Franks knew the Muslims would want to destroy it and thats how the battle was won, Charles Martel positioned his troops on the road to Tours in a defensive position flanked by thick woods, the rest is history.
Muslims constantly attacked Christians for hundreds of years before Christians retaliated with the Crusades and thats a fact.

Personally I don’t believe in any religion. I live amongst Asian Muslims and they know I am not one of the faithful, some of them find it hard to imagine someone living without god but none of them have given me problems.

But if Christianity is so good, and is under siege from Muslims, why doesn’t the church just pray for it to stop? If a god can’t even do that he isn’t much use.

Just Visiting – I don’t see the need to justify what I call myself on here to you, so I wont. I also don’t see that what I call myself has anything to do with my arguments, address them rather than making assumptions about me.

In previous posts I did give examples of christian groups which advocate, and in some caes practice murder, look a bit harder, you’ll find them. Shouldn’t be too difficult since you responded to at least one.

I’ve seen a dictionary definition of mainstream, I was asking what you mean by it. Stop avoiding the question and give me an answer. Not too much to ask, is it?

33. Just Visiting

Bernard

> Personally I don’t believe in any religion.

We weren’t talking about ‘believing’ in religions – but about whether different religions deserve diferent levels of respect from us, depending on whether we approve of what they do+say.

> why doesn’t the church just pray for (persecution) to stop? If a god can’t even do that he isn’t much use.

That understanding is wrong on several levels.

a) It’s not a christian doctrine that the church gets whatever it prays for!

b) One of it’s themes is that of the Suffering Servant (= jesus).

Jesus himself told his disciples that they would suffer in his name – so Christianity has never been ‘surprised’ by persecution.

c) seperation of church + state was one of Jesus’s things (‘give unto caeser what is caesers’) – though of course various times in history, where the church of the day strayed a long way from that.

34. Just Visiting

RWF

> Just Visiting – I don’t see the need to justify what I call myself on here to you, so I wont.

Indeed, I guess you’re not obliged to explain why you post under different names.
(tho’ I’ve not checked the LC forum rules, so I may be wrong about that.)

> I’ve seen a dictionary definition of mainstream, I was asking what you mean by it. Stop avoiding the question and give me an answer. Not too much to ask, is it?

I can’t see why you want a debate in the abstract about the definition of one word.
To answer: I am using the word in the usual, (dare I say mainstream!) way.

My comment was pretty clear and unambiguous:
““It is mainstream Islamic teaching that the death penalty is correct for Apostasy, Adultery and Heresy”

Spit out what you don’t agree with about that, and then we can have a meaningful exchange about the difference between our views.

Just Visiting, you seem to be reluctant to give an explanation of your use of “mainstream.” That’s very convenient since it means that:

a. if an example of christian extremist doctrine is given, and there are many, you can use your “that’s not mainstream” argument which you seem to think is logically quite devastating. You’ve done so in the past and I think this is one reason you refuse to define your use of the word.

b. it allows you to imply that violence and suppression of human rights are intrinsic to islam in a way they aren’t to christianity.

So, explain what you mean by “mainstream.” Specifically:

a. What makes a doctrine mainstream, within a particular belief system?

b. What significance does being mainstream confer upon such a doctrine?

On the other hand, you could do what you usually do and avoid difficult questions.

36. Just Visiting

Paul

It would be courteous to your LC readers to let us know if you have any evidence right now, for your strong claims about rising islamophobia.

Because when asked to provide evidence of that – you’re silent: both here and on you own blog.

Though you have posted about _other_ stuff on your blog since then – so you are around and online.

Unless you chip in again, what other conclusion can we reach other than that your statement was not based on evidence…

37. Just Visiting

RWF

I can’t understand where your thinking is getting stuck.

An analogy.
If I said ‘ all mainstream political parties in the UK advocate the death penalty’ – you would not need to clarify what ‘mainstream’ means.

You would do the quick and easy thing, and quote a UK party were they say they don’t advocate the death penalty – and BINGO, my trite statememt is shot down!

So if my statement about the death penalty within Islam is wrong – the quickest, easiest thing for you to do is to quote some some Islamic sources that contradict it.

You just need one source -and BINGO, the statement is shot down!

The ball’s in your court.

You just need one source -and BINGO, the statement is shot down!

The ball’s in your court.

I think RWF has a point, Just Visiting: the lack of clarity in your words undermines your own case. If “one source” is really sufficient then, off the top of my head, I’ll cite Gomaa and Montazeri. That wouldn’t change the fact, however, that – as I think you’re trying to say, and as I agree – Islamic clerics/authorities who command wide respect advocate or have advocated capital punishment for apostasy.

Just Visiting, you’re still avoiding the question and you’re doing it for the reasons I outlined in my last post. I will now demonstrate by provoking you into providing an example:

Deutoronomy 13:7 – 11:

If your brother the son of your father or your mother, or your son or daughter or the spouse whom you embrace or your most intimate friend tries to secretly seduce you , saying “Let us go and serve other gods” …… you must kill him

That’s what the bible has to say about “apostasy.” It’s not meant to be taken anything other than literally, as Deutoronomy 13:1 makes clear. Now, your argument will be “that’s not a mainstream christian teaching.” I know this because you’ve deployed it previously and avoided any of the follow up questions. The thing is, the bible, upon which christianity is supposedly based, makes it crystal clear that this is the penalty for “apostasy.” Does this mean that most christians, today in Britain, would agree with this view? Of course not, although there are quite a few individuals and organisations around the world calling themselves christians who would. The point is, christians, in my experience, generally don’t espouse such views, despite the fact that this appears to mean that they are ignoring a clear injunction in the only authoritative text their religion has. This says quite a lot about christians.

Now, “It is mainstream Islamic teaching that the death penalty is correct for Apostasy, Adultery and Heresy” according to you. We now reach the point of why it’s necessary for you to give your definition of mainstream. Because the muslims I know (and obviously I don’t know every muslim in Britain, but I do know quite a few) don’t believe this any more than the christians I know. I know two imams, one who works in East London and one who works in Surrey and neither of them believe that death is an appropriate punishment for adultery, heresy etc. The fact that there’s a textual precedent for it doesn’t mean that the average muslim believes or the average muslim teacher teaches it any more than the fact that something’s in the bible means that the average christian believes it.

Your argument is largely an attempt to demonstrate the superiority of christianity over islam and it really doesn’t work.

I agree with you on one thing, as stated above, holding up respect for religion as a virtue is idiotic in the extreme. I respect people’s right to believe whatever they like, however idiotic, provided that they don’t harm anyone else as a result. I just happen to take issue with your attempts to promote christianity as superior to islam. It just looks like religious bigotry to me.

Just Visiting – I forgot to mention that, in addition to your religious bigotry, you have another unpleasant attribute, your inability to argue logically. This is not unpleasant in itself. It’s unpleasant because you clearly believe that that your arguments are logically consistent and you’re keen to emphasise this by throwing in the odd sarcastic comment here and there. Such devices only work if you’re not tying yourself up in knots or demonstrating the poverty of your own argument. If you are then they only serve to make you look stupid(er)

Here are my favourite examples (with comments to help you in future) from this thread:

@26 “So again we’re 100% in agreement” we pretty obviously weren’t in 100% agreement if you actually read what I wrote.

@34 “My comment was pretty clear and unambiguous:
““It is mainstream Islamic teaching that the death penalty is correct for Apostasy, Adultery and Heresy”” No it wasn’t since you have failed to give your definition of “mainstream”

@37 “I can’t understand where your thinking is getting stuck.” My thinking isn’t getting stuck. You’re repeatedly failing to answer a simple question. Do you understand now?

@37 “So if my statement about the death penalty within Islam is wrong ….. ” Well now, and this is the point of the argument which you’ve been studiously avoiding, it’s neither right nor wrong. It’s meaningless because you haven’t explained what you mean by “mainstream.” In doing this you allow yourself to do what I’ve described in 39 above ie counter any claim that christianity has the same doctrine by saying “that’s not mainstream christianity” and including anything in “mainstream islam” which supports your argument. Now do you understand? I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m not saying you’re right. I’m saying you’re a religious bigot who is deliberately using language which is so vague that it can’t be effectively challenged because there is effectively nothing of substance to challenge. I’m saying that what you’re saying doesn’t even deserve the description of “wrong.” It’s a statement that’s too stupid even to be wrong.

Oh, and here’s a good one:

@36 “Paul
It would be courteous to your LC readers to let us know if you have any evidence right now, for your strong claims about rising islamophobia.
Because when asked to provide evidence of that – you’re silent: both here and on you own blog.”
Firstly, there’s a bit of a pot and kettle situation here. I’ve repeatedly asked you to clearly define what you mean by “mainstream” and you’ve refused to do so and yet you’re having a go at someone for not providing evidence. More importantly, what constitutes evidence of “islamaphobia”? Like many people on this thread I don’t like the word but I understand the sentiment. If you’re seriously saying that distrust of and hostility towards muslims and islam has not risen in recent years then you’re even dimmer than I originally thought. You can’t produce definitive evidence that such hostility hasn’t risen (it’s a logical impossibility, so don’t waste your time trying) and common sense probably tells most people that it has. In the end, though, “islamaphobia” is not something for which there exists an objective measure or a reliable proxy variable, so your pseudo – rationalist call for evidence is pretty meaningless too isn’t it|? Anyway, why are you so keen to convince us that muslims aren’t subject to increased hostility and suspicion? It’s because you’re a rather unpleasant little religious bigot, isn’t it?

41. Just Visiting

BenSix

> as I think you’re trying to say, and as I agree – Islamic clerics/authorities who command wide respect advocate or have advocated capital punishment for apostasy.

Ok so we’re in agreement on the core issue.

>If ‘one source’ is really sufficient then, off the top of my head, I’ll cite Gomaa

But Gomaa has denied that he said Apostates should not be punished!

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/egypt/top-cleric-denies-freedom-to-choose-religion-comment-1.191048

He’s a guy I read up on – as he is frequently pitched as a moderate.

But when reading deeper, it’s possible that western sources are so keen to prove that moderates exist, that they over-interpret some of his warmer noises. Which mostly seem to be made in ‘east west’ dialogue kind of platforms that he makes when in front of a western media.

My questions started, that if he was genuinely against the death penalty for apostates – I would expect to see a concerted, ongoing campaign by him, in sources across the world.

After all, in several countries it is against the law to give up being a Muslim – eg Saudi, and the asian tiger Malysia.
And in several the death penalty is enshrined in law: Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan,

So there is certainly a need to ‘explain the error of their ways’ to such countries.

But where is Gomaa’s campaign to correct such ‘misunderstanding’?
Would there not be LOADS of quotes from him on the subject?

And where is his vocal ongoing campaign against sites like Islam Online which is by and for Muslims, which says things like “Most scholars are of the opinion that the apostate should be informed and asked to recant. If after clarification he insists on his position then he should be executed.” ( http://www.islamonline.net)

Here in the UK, this Muslim website takes the trouble for a long article to refute what Gomaa says, digging deep into the Qu’ran and they say: “the Ulama had a consensus in the execution of the male apostate”‘ http://www.salafimanhaj.com

Where was his public voice when the Afghani Abdul Rahman 2-3 years ago was given the death sentence for apostasy?

The conclusion is that, as per the Gulf News article above, he is in reality in favour of the death penalty for apostates.

Maybe the wrong conclusion, but that was what my research suggested.

Happy to explore Gomaa further with you Ben, if you’ve researched deeper than I have

PS if you follow some of his other death penalty issues, he has explicitly said he supports death for adulterers: (under certain conditions):
http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/1586.htm

42. Just Visiting

RWF

Ref the old testament; If you can find a christian or jewish group that advocate the death penalty on those grounds – fair enough, I’ll have to take note.

Regards Islamic death penalties you wrote:

> the muslims I know (and obviously I don’t know every muslim in Britain, but I do know quite a few) don’t believe this

Ok, what do they say is the correct punishment? What sources do they quote for that?

43. Just Visiting

RWF

In 40 you started off with “I forgot to mention that, in addition to your religious bigotry, you have another unpleasant attribute, your inability to argue logically”

If you recall a while back, when you were posting under your other name, I told you that I was no longer willing to respond to your points if you are not willing to make them with courtesy and avoid unhelpful ad hominen attacks.

Feel free to re-write 40 on that basis, and I’ll be happy to respond.

Just Visiting

You misunderstand me. My claim was not that Gomaa is a “moderate” – though I dislike the term – but that he opposes capital punishment in the case of apostasy.

So there is certainly a need to ‘explain the error of their ways’ to such countries…And where is his vocal ongoing campaign against sites like Islam Online…Where was his public voice when the Afghani Abdul Rahman 2-3 years ago was given the death sentence for apostasy?…The conclusion is that, as per the Gulf News article above, he is in reality in favour of the death penalty for apostates.

I don’t think your conclusion follows from your premises.

The Gulf News article doesn’t suggest that he supports capital punishment for apostasy, only that it’s a crime. (This is not, I should add, a position that I have any sympathy with.) Even that piece is ambiguous, as an article for Middle East Online later claimed that…

The Grand Mufti of Egypt said he stands by his comments on apostasy and the right to choose one’s religion in his On Faith article last Sunday despite reports in the Egyptian press to the contrary.

(http://www.middle-east-online.com/English/?id=21562)

Your argument that he should be pursuing his apparent belief with greater vigour is a moral judgement (and one I share) but doesn’t negate the belief. I’m not holding Gomaa up as a paragon – he clearly isn’t one – but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that he doesn’t hold the view that I attributed to him.

Ali Eteraz offers a seemingly fair analysis…

This direct turn-around, (or guarded qualification if one accepts Gomaa’s version of what he said), appeared curious to many. What happened? Does Dr Gomaa think that an apostate should be punished, or does he not?

A close read of Gomaa’s Newsweek opinion shows that the answer is “both”. The opinion is a serious bit of legal reasoning. On one hand Gomaa indeed eliminates the death penalty for apostasy in Islamic law (by citing Quranic verses dealing with freedom of conscience), which is a major event. However, on the other hand, he grants to the Egyptian “judicial system” the authority to prosecute certain apostates – those that leave Islam in “public” – for the “crime of undermining the foundations of society”. He ends up proposing a new criminal cause of action called “sedition against one’s society”.

(http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/jul/26/islamsorganicliberalism)

45. Just Visiting
46. Just Visiting

And how about this from Richard Dawkins website:

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/1270

“Sheik Ali Gomaa issued the urine fatwa, now notorious, in a book, “Religion and Life.” It was published six years ago and told the story of a woman who drank the prophet’s urine. He had his own book taken off the shelves, and said the controversial statement was not a fatwa but his opinion, which was offered in response to a question.

“The reality is that the mufti is now ‘burned’ and lost religious recognition and the trust of the Muslims and his fatwas will not gain anything but carelessness from all the Muslims; as some will hate it as they hate drinking urine,” wrote Hamdy Rizk in an opposition newspaper.

I dislike Shoebat – in fact, I’ve described him as “the Stupidest Person I’ve Ever Encountered“, which was, admittedly, rather shrill bloggish hyperbole. Anyway, it seems to me that he and has colleagues argue that a) contemporary Islam is more dangerous than Nazi Germany and b) we should, therefore, get on board with US militarism (http://www.shoebat.com/blog/archives/28). I won’t support anyone with that kind of agenda. Besides, his post doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know: his assertion that “the Arabic usually contradicts the English” is just that, a bare ol’ assertion.

48. Just Visiting

Bensix

I wonder if we can agree on some specifics, even if not the full picture regards Gomaa.

What would your line be on:
i) it’s not possible to say that he is a mainstream voice that has consistently and without confusion advocated against the death penalty.

ii) He has been criticised by other islamic figures for what he has said about apostasy.

Eg the NZ Herald reports:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10454948

“Anyone who [converts] should be punished by death,” said Sheikh Khaled Abdullah, of the Scientific Centre for Koran and Sunnah Research. “I don’t care what the mufti said about this matter, I only care about the actions of Rasool [Messenger] Muhammad and his companions: [They] would kill anyone that converted.”

“Shia Islam and all four schools of Sunni Islam agree that the punishment for apostasy is death, though in the case of women, the Shias and Hanafis prescribe imprisonment until the individual reverts to Islam.”

iii) It is debatable whether he is an ‘influential mainstream figure in Islam’ – eg comments about him I gave above:
““The reality is that the mufti is now ‘burned’ and lost religious recognition and the trust of the Muslims “

49. Just Visiting

“In 2004, Prince Charles called a meeting of leading Muslims to discuss the issue,” adds Dr Sookhdeo. “I was there. All the Muslim leaders at that meeting agreed that the penalty in sharia is death. The hope was that they would issue a public declaration repudiating that doctrine, but not one of them did.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1571970/Muslim-apostates-threatened-over-Christianity.html

it’s not possible to say that he is a mainstream voice that has consistently and without confusion advocated against the death penalty.

I don’t know what you mean. “Mainstream“‘s a dodgy word as it’s dependent on context – which are you referring to? To my knowledge, he hasn’t muddied the waters re: his opposition to the death penalty for apostates, but he may support it in other cases.

He has been criticised by other islamic figures for what he has said about apostasy.

Evidently – as your source demonstrates – he has. I’m not sure it proves him to have “lost…the truth of Muslims“, though: it only quotes two figures!

Not sure why you’re trying to portray Gomaa as a figure of revilement, though. I agree, entirely, that frightening numbers of Islamic authorities belief it just to kill somebody if they change their religion; all I’m saying is that it’s not consensus (http://apostasyandislam.blogspot.com/).

* believe

53. Just Visiting

Ben

>I agree, entirely, that frightening numbers of Islamic authorities belief it just to kill somebody if they change their religion; all I’m saying is that it’s not consensus

Ok, fair enough.

So would you say it’s a minority view…. or merely not a 100% view?

And how would one reach such a view – what evidence would you need?

By the way, I wasn’t ‘ trying to portray Gomaa as a figure of revilement’; just to see where he fits in and that he’s not a ‘safe + solid + uncontroversial islamic establishment source.

By the way, I wasn’t ‘ trying to portray Gomaa as a figure of revilement’; just to see where he fits in and that he’s not a ’safe + solid + uncontroversial islamic establishment source.

Fair enough.

So would you say it’s a minority view…. or merely not a 100% view?

I don’t know whether its advocates are in a minority (though I suspect that they represent a significant number). To know to any helpful extent one would have to produce some real mo’fuggin statistics: logging the opinions of each Cleric, factoring in their varying influence, crunching – as they say – the numbers and producing some nifty charts.

55. Just Visiting

I did a ‘Google experiment’. Highly unscientific….

Search for UK sites #mosque websites#

And then checked the top 10 UK mosques for the word ‘apostasy’.

These are all UK mosques, so would expect to be more moderate than ones in Muslim countries.

centralmosque.org.uk (birmingham) – no mention at all.
eastlondonmosque.org.uk – only mentioned in a speech by a Govt person.

cenrtal-mosque.com – not sure this is a UK one… (Google may be wrong!), but it says “The caliphs’ not following up such pronouncements by fighting and killing sectarians for apostasy shows that the ulema of their times agreed with Subki’s position that takfir of a group is legally insufficient to establish the kufr of its individual members, for otherwise, killing them would have been obligatory.”

yorkmosque.org

56. Just Visiting

yorkmosque.org – no mention

http://www.alrahma-mosque.com (liverpool) – no mention

ww.shahjahanmosque.org.uk – (woking) no mention

http://www.madinamasjid.org.uk – sheffield

57. Just Visiting

http://www.madinamasjid.org.uk – sheffield – no mention

http://www.iccuk.org london central mosque – no mention.

Conclusion: the top 10 google mosques in the UK – are silent on apostasy.

58. Just Visiting

98 % of over 50 polled Muslim leaders don’t sign Freedom Pledge asking them to repudiate the Islamic law that requires the execution of apostates who have left Islam. The pledge and cover letter have just been released to the public at the website of the new civil rights organization – Former Muslims United – http://www.formermuslimsunited.org. “

59. Just Visiting

OK, no has come back, so I guess there is no other good evidence easily at hand

To summarise our little research experiment:

i) many muslims round the world advocate the death penalty for apostasy – several countries enshrine that in state law.
ii) 10 out of10 UK mosque websiteschecked make no public statement that they disagree with that
iii) the only Islamic source (Gomaa) we all could come up with who has at one time said he opposes the death penalty is a very weak source because
a) he hasalso said the opposite publicly
b) he has no website where he has publicly and consistently opposed it
iv) 50 prominent muslims were asked to sign the Freedom Petition which underwrote the freedom of muslims to change their religion: only 1 person signed.
v) no one has been able to find the official website of a major Islamic body that opposes the death penaty, and explains the Islamic theology behind that view.

QED:
The death penalty for Apostasy in Islam IS mainstream.

many muslims round the world advocate the death penalty for apostasy – several countries enshrine that in state law.

True.

ii) 10 out of10 UK mosque websiteschecked make no public statement that they disagree with that

True; although absence of evidence isn’t necessarily significant.

iii) the only Islamic source (Gomaa) we all could come up with who has at one time said he opposes the death penalty is a very weak source because

False. See here: http://apostasyandislam.blogspot.com/

a) he hasalso said the opposite publicly

False. He appeared to say that apostasy, in certain circumstances, should be a criminal offence; he didn’t retract his statement regarding capital punishment. See my comment at 44.

50 prominent muslims were asked to sign the Freedom Petition which underwrote the freedom of muslims to change their religion: only 1 person signed.

Now that’s interesting. Do you have a link?

I still don’t know what you mean by “mainstream“. Are you just rephrasing the claim – which I wholly agree with – that “Islamic clerics/authorities who command wide respect advocate or have advocated capital punishment for apostasy“?

Just Visiting – Pretty much as expected, you are unable to respond with any kind of sensible argument to the points I made in 39.

a. You still haven’t given a definition of what you mean by mainstream. I think I’ve pretty much exposed the reasons for this.

b. You haven’t given any sensible response to the point that murder of so – called apostates is required by the only authoritative christian text, ie the bible.

c. This is a side issue, but you have also chosen to remain silent about the inconsistency of belief implied by the fact that mainstream (I’m now choosing to use this word to mean, in this context, anything required by the bible) christian doctrine requires the murder of “apostates”, adulterers etc but that this is not something practised by many christians. Not surprising, since inconsistency and lack of logic is something in evidence in most of what you write.

d. You persist in promoting the idea of the “mainstream” (still undefined by you) muslim belief in the death penalty for various offences as a means of implying that this is something that the average muslim believes. It’s a means of attempting to direct hostility towards a group of people who hold different beliefs to yours and it’s fairly obviously motivated by religious bigotry.

With regard to your 2 questions in post 42

1. I have previously made reference to the number of violent crimes (including several murders) committed by christian fundamentalists in the USA. These were usually against doctors who perform abortions but several have been against people supporting the teaching of evolution in state schools.

2. The two imams I know do not feel that there is an appropriate punishment. No punishment is necessary. It’s interesting that you assume that they would believe otherwise. That’s what is know as prejudice.

In failing to define what you mean by mainstream you are, as I have pointed out several times and in several ways, simply avoiding having to justify what you’re saying and allowing yourself to make various statements implying that average, ordinary muslim people want to introduce some medaeval system of justice into 21st century Britain. You also allow yourself to avoid answering points that indicate that the bronze age based system of superstition (yes, I mean christianity, now try to argue that that’s an inaccurate description) to which you subscribe is in any way qualitatively different.

It’s unfortunate that you regard what I said in post 40 as an ad hominem attack. It’s not. It’s simply a statement of fact. If you feel insulted by my description then you should make some attempt to modify your behaviour rather complain about being described accurately. You have demonstrated that you are a religious bigot and incapable of constructing a logical argument. There is ample evidence in most of your posts on this thread.

62. Just Visiting

Ben

>> 50 prominent muslims were asked to sign the Freedom Petition which
>> underwrote the freedom of muslims to change their religion: only 1 person signed.

> Now that’s interesting. Do you have a link?

http://formermuslimsunited.americancommunityexchange.org/the-pledge/

> Are you just rephrasing the claim – which I wholly agree with – that “Islamic
> clerics/authorities who command wide respect advocate or have advocated
> capital punishment for apostasy“?

I too fully agree with that.

I’d probably want to go further.
There just seems so few respected voices in Islam speaking out against capital punishment.

Back to Gomaa again, even his own english-language website does not have a page dedicated to this single issue !

If he felt strongly about the issue – surely there should be many pages about it – stating his views, providing support from the Qur’an and hadith.
Pages looking at the various objections people raise to it.

63. Just Visiting

RWF

> 2) The two imams I know do not feel that there is an appropriate
> punishment. No punishment is necessary

To clarify – these Imams told you that they believe that apostasy from Islam deserves no punishment?

Given that so many Islamic voices around the world seem to have taken a different view to your contacts – surely they feel the issue is important and worthy of publicity.
People round the world are being killed by Muslims because of this issue.

Can you ask them to put up a page on their mosque website – so that we and Muslims around the world can read in detail their view?

Just Visiting – I’d caution, again, that absence of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of absence. For example, I really doubt that Keith Ellison, who’s supported plenty of civil liberties bills, harbours a secret desire to lock up/kill apostates. On the other hand, I agree that such views are so widely held that Islamic clerics – as some have – should publicly oppose them.

65. rob tennant

Look, Just Visiting, if you think Muslims should be locked up, or given that would cost too much to the sacred white English taxpayer (not to mention all the white unemployed people he subsidises to be lazy), for Muslims to be chucked out of the country, just say it.

Stop all this bullshit about what this mosque man said, or what that mosque website hasn’t said.

You want a race war. This is all just chaff you’re throwing about in the wind. You hate Muslims, you hate it when you see them on the street, or on the bus. You want them to leave, you want them to suffer – like Martin Amis and Douglas Murray also want – stop wasting time by trying to pretend Muslims aren’t already under threat.

Are you Lord Pearson by any chance?

66. Just Visiting

BenSix 64

‘absence of evidence’

Not sure how this fits here.

We have evidence that in several Islamic countries, death penalty for apostates is enshrined in their legal system.
Evidence of Islamic websites supporting the death penalty.

Where there is absence of evidence, is the lack of Islamic voices campaigning to say that is wrong: absence of Islamic voices trying to help these countries out of supposed misunderstanding.

So overall the conclusion seems pretty clear – mainstream islam appears to support death for apostates?

Or is there another way to pull that data together?

67. Just Visiting

Rob Tennant

I guess you are aware that launching an ad hominen attack, is normally a sign that someone has no logic to support their views ….but wants to bully those who disagree with them….

> if you think Muslims should be locked up…be chucked out of the country

I don’t.
But this thread is not about me – it’s about what islam says about apostasy.

> Stop all this bullshit about what this mosque man said, or what that mosque website hasn’t said.

How do you suggest one understands islam without listening to what it says?

Calm down you lot. I thought it was a time war going on. Next you’ll all be telling me you were kept in 5 minutes late at work and now you want it back. Pathetic!

69. Just Visiting

what’s a ‘time war’ ?

Good question! The last one we had in Europe was when the Gregorian calender was adopted. The Orthodox Church has never quite matched the Catholic calender. Did you really think these things have been fixed once and for all, for all time? Beggars belief that people can be so naive.

Two types of change are possible. Simple phase shift, or nuclear shattering. Read this article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/8560398.stm

This seems at first to be a simple rent in the time/space continuum, but when you consider the fuller effects of the sudden death on many creatures that fly, you may realise this is about as big shift we have seen in 4 millennia.

71. Just Visiting

I guess you’re smoking something stronger than I am….

Asking a silly question always gets a silly answer. [Banned on LC of course, ‘cos they are afraid of Free Speech]

Just Visiting – Still no clear statement of your meaning of “mainstream” eh?

As stated above (several times) this tactic allows you to direct hostility towards muslims in general by implying, through your use of the undefined term “mainstream,” that the views you impute as “mainstream” are actually held by most muslims. At the same time, your failure to provide a definition also allows you to sidestep any criticism of christianity which employs the same form of argument you have deployed against islam by claiming that something isn’t “mainstream.”

In view of this, it’s a bit rich to state “I guess you are aware that launching an ad hominen attack, is normally a sign that someone has no logic to support their views ” since you have studiously avoided any foray into logic in pretty much everything you’ve written.

So, any chance of backing up your religious bigotry with a clear statement of what you mean by mainstream? I doubt it.

74. Just Visiting

RWF

Look back to what I wrote in 66:

“We have evidence that in several Islamic countries, death penalty for apostates is enshrined in their legal system.”

If it’s enshrined in the legal system of several countries – is that a definition of mainstream you’d be happy with?

The question isn’t, and has never been, what I’m happy with. The question was:

“Why don’t you give a clear statement of what you mean by mainstream?”

However, since you ask, your definition that something is “mainstream” to a particular belief system if several countries that espouse that belief system have it enshrined in law doesn’t really seem very sensible, does it? By that definition, there is virtually no “mainstream” christian doctrine since I don’t think you’ll be able to provide many examples of specific pieces of legislation relating to christian doctrine which exist in a number avowedly christian states. So maybe you should try again. Or maybe you should admit that it means anything you want it to mean provided that it supports your own religious bigotry. Your posts seem to indicate that this is the definition you’re using.

76. Just Visiting

If 5 muslim governments have enshrined it in law.
And there seems to be no vocal visible attempt by other muslim nations to correct that ‘misundersanding’.

Then that makes it hard to argue that its “only a tiny number of extremists that support the death penalty”.

.

Just Visiting – You seem to be having trouble with some of the concepts brought up in this thread, so let me summarise what I’m saying about you in a way that, hopefully, you will be able to comprehend:

This thread is about “islamaphobia” and whether or not patriotism can be an effective vehicle to oppose it. Now, “islamaphobia” can have various meanings but I understand it as:

fear and distrust of, and hostility towards, islam and muslims.

I think the majority of people who post on here (but, probably not you) would accept that this fear, distrust and hostility has risen over the last few years. To a large extent I think this is understandable in light of the terrorist attacks on New York, London etc but it’s unfortunate that a number of groups and individuals are being opportunistic in their use of the climate of “islamaphobia” to advance their own causes. It is pretty clear from the content of your posts that you are such an individual. You seek to promote an idea of islam as a religion which advocates violence and the suppression of human rights and, in doing so, to imply that most muslims support such actions. Your motivation appears to be your religious belief.

Now, I have no sympathy with islam and I don’t have any objection to someone who points out the fact that it is frequently used to justify violence and oppression. I do object when someone, in this case you, does so in such a way as to clearly imply that most muslims are supporters of a return to a medieval system of criminal justice, the systematic oppression of women and similar ideas. I don’t think this is true of most muslims in the UK and people who, like you, promote the idea that it is are, essentially, promoting prejuduce and bigotry. I object even more when the person promoting such ideas, in this case you, is doing so in order to support their own belief in a religious doctrine which contains the same inconsistency, bogotry and prejudice as the one they are criticsing. My final objection is to your method of “argument.” I don’t have any real issue with people who have no clear idea of formal logic, not everyone has the same education or interests but I do object to people who think that they do when, in fact, they really haven’t a clue. Once again, you.

Anyway, still no clear statement of what you mean by “mainstream” other than your abortive attempt at an explanation (if it could be called that) in post 74. Or were you hoping that we could skip over the fact that I pointed out in post 75 that what you wrote, once again, doesn’t answer the question in a meaningful way and is just a mask for your prejudice and bigotry?

78. Just Visiting

RWF

If you think I’m wrong to use the word ‘mainstream’ – then what word would in your view be right to describe the situation.

You’ve avoided the question over 77 posts and a period of more than a week.

This is a pretty clear confirmation of what I wrote in various posts above about your tactics.

It’s also pretty clear confirmation that you’re going to do anything you can to avoid giving a straight answer. I don’t see why. You’ve already been exposed as a religious bigot and someone who can’t construct a logical argument. Surely the embarassment you will experience when you give a straight answer to my simple question wont be any worse than the embarassment you should already be feeling?

80. Just Visiting

Here’s my definition of mainstream.
“When a bunch of Muslim countries enshrine death for aspostates in law and quote religious sources/Islam as the grounds.
And when there is no campaign by other muslim countries against that – then it is fair to define this as a mainstream Islam position”.

What word do you think better fits?

81. Just Visiting

By the way – did you ask your two imam friends if they could put up a page on their mosque websites outlining their view on apostatsy.

If they feel as you describe “No punishment is necessary” for apostates – then presumably they would feel it important to help overcome the misunderstanding about the issue.

Is there really any purpose to be served in pointing out to you that what you wrote just isn’t a definition of mainstream?

Is it actually possible that you don’t realise that you’ve just definitively proved that you’re using the word in the way I described above, ie:

a. To impute a particular viewpoint to all/most muslim people

and

b. To be able to avoid facing uncomfortable facts about christian doctrine and belief?

You’ve just written a statement about the legal systems of some muslim countries and the lack (apparently) of any condemnation of them by other muslim countries and you’re actually saying that this is your general definition of the word mainstream. Are you serious? Do you really not realise that what you’ve just written makes absolutely no sense at all? Read it again and think about whether what you’re looking at could possibly be construed as a general definition of the word mainstream. Does mainstream only apply to muslims and muslim countries? By your definition it does.

Here are a few mainstream (by whatever definition I choose, since we’re playing that game) christian beliefs:

a. The bible is the word of god

b. The earth is less than 10,000 years old

c. Evolution didn’t happen

d. Women are inferior to men and were created by god to serve men

e. DEATH IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE PUNISHMENT FOR APOSTASY

f. Sexual relationships between people of the same gender are wrong.

g. A big man in the sky created everything in a week (including time off).

Since statement a. is a mainstream (choose whatever definition you like) christian belief and since statement e is contained in the bible, e must also be a mainstream belief. Hence its inclusion in the list. Would you care to challenge that?

83. Just Visiting

RWF

I’m bowing out of this one – because we’re getting nowhere.

No doubt you’ll blame me, because you’re still unhappy with my use of the word mainstream.

But as to the facts of Apostasy in Islam I’ve raised, you’ve not denied them.

If you are genuinely interested in what the real situation is worldwide regards apostasy in Islam – one site you might like to read up is

http://formermuslimsunited.americancommunityexchange.org

And, if ever your Imam friends do put up a web page arguiing that death for apostates is wrong – do come on LC and let us know,

You’re a religious bigot and you’re “bowing out” because you are incapable of presenting a logical argument and, presumably, the embarassment generated by having to avoid/ignore every point raised which exposes the intellectual poverty of your position. Please don’t try to suggest otherwise.

85. Just Visiting

By the way, as a quick google would show, I’m not the first by a long shot to have said that mainstream Islam decrees the death penalty for Islam.

Just one of many you could find, but this is the BBC from 2006:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4850080.stm

So much for bowing out, eh?

You still haven’t given your definition of mainstream.

You still haven’t responded to my description of the reasons behind your use of that word and your failure to define it.

You haven’t made any comment on the list of mainstream christian beliefs in post 82.

You haven’t done any of these things because you aren’t capable of doing so.

87. Just Visiting

RWF

> You still haven’t given your definition of mainstream.

I already explained said I was bowing out of that debate.

> You still haven’t responded to my description of the reasons behind your use of that word and your failure to define it.

Good debating focuses on issues and what people actually say; not try to guess the hidden motivation of others.

> You haven’t made any comment on the list of mainstream christian beliefs in post 82.

Yes, I ignored that whatAboutery. The thread was about Islam not christianity.

Well if you’re bowing out, bow out.

As for your “good debating ……” statement, just how ridiculous do you want to make yourself look? You’ve demonstrated an inability to construct a logical argument, you have avoided a perfectly simple question repeatedly (over a period of about a week) and you have shown yourself to be prejudiced and bigoted. You’re hardly in a position to give advice on what constitutes good debating, now are you?

Anyway, is “bowing out” another example of you using words you obviously don’t understand? Rather like “mainstream”? Bowing out would suggest to me, in the context of an internet message board comments thread, that you aren’t going to post any more comments. You have obviously made up your own definition of this phrase as you’ve posted twice since your “bowing out” announcement.

So, now I’ve explained the meaning of “bow out”/”bowing out” (hopefully you’ll understand the explanation though, on recent form, I doubt it) either do so or answer the question and respond to the points you’ve been avoiding, rather than popping up to make inane, unsupported comments in the hope that they’ll be the last word.


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