Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who Gets to Define Islam?

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri? The salafi fundamentalists? Sufi Islam? Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam? Baha'ism? Sunni or Shi'a? The Ayatollahs who wish to bring about the end time and reign in the 2nd coming of the 12th Imam? Modern "reformers" like Sayyid Qutb and Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the inspiration for al Qaeda and modern Islamic fundamentalism? What gives them the religious authority to define a religion that does not have priests? Is CAIR really the voice of "moderates"? Is Islam inflexible and incapable of embracing modernity and a divorce from the violence and hatred of political Islam and 7th, 12th century backwardness? Or, can it be reformed by those devout Muslims like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser?




Personal photo of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser after a Q & A at a free Los Angeles screening of PBS's Islam vs. Islamists, June 13, 2007. My post.


Z had an opportunity to listen to Dr. Jasser speak. And I think came away from the talk, a better person for it, and a better advocate for fighting the war against Islamic terror and Islamism, without lashing out at at the hundreds of millions of Muslims who practice the faith, in peace.

I know this doesn't sit well with many right-wingers. Good. Sometimes, we need the stupid smacked out of us. We've become so educated on the dangers of the Islamist threat by immersing ourselves in Robert Spencerian research and anti-Jihad books, blog any and every news story on honor killings and Islamic cultural encroachments upon our western society, that we find validation in our dim view of Islam as a whole.

I'm not saying there aren't real dangers and a real threat from wahhabism and Islamist fundamentalism. But I am saying that some of us are becoming religious bigots, where our prejudice and hatred are based upon self-indoctrination of anti-Islam literature. Our views against Islam are shaped not by a lack of education, but by an overabundance and an overbalance of education, tilted in one direction. We are all-too willing to believe the worst about Islam, and zero-in only on repeating the negative stories. Positive stories about Muslims get ignored or dismissed as the exception; we seize upon the negative news, then cry out "where are the moderate voices?" We don't see them, because we're too busy looking for the worst.

We are under threat of becoming the stereotype that multicultural liberals wish to see us as: intolerant, warmongering, religious and ethnic bigots.

I have an anti-Islam troll living under the bridge of my blog; anytime I come out with a post that doesn't condemn the entire religion, he will crawl out of his hole to tell me how I am a dhimmi and defender of evil. Bigots like him are part of the problem and have their heads up their asses every bit as much as they rightfully accuse some of us as having our heads in the sand.

bin Laden and Zawahiri tried to convince the Muslim world that the West are at war with Islam. They have failed. That is, unless they've simultaneously convinced the West that Islam is at war with them.

Dr. Jasser represents the kind of modernity and reformation that Islam needs to undergo if it is to survive peacefully alongside the other great world religions in the 21st century. We should not fall into the trap of becoming what we hate.

Here's an excerpt from Islam vs. Islamists (apparently uploaded by Tarek Fatah):



Another clip:



This is the PBS episode from their program series that they had initially pulled, apparently influenced by the likes of CAIR, who they deem to be the "true" "moderates", because they are bearded. I got to see a free screening of this documentary in June of 2007 and highly recommend it to everyone. It is the irony of ironies that the multiculturalist liberals at PBS would suppress Islam vs. Islamists, when the four voices of those in the program are the very "moderates" people need to hear from.

When we lament, "where are the moderate voices in Islam?", "Why aren't they speaking out and denouncing Islamic terror?".....well, you can thank, in part, PBS.

Ok, readers: Let me have both barrels in the face, and tell me why I'm wrong.



An elderly man reads the Koran on the second day of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, at the Grand Mosque in Sanaa September 2, 2008.
REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

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7 Comments:

Blogger shoprat said...

There are good people who call themselves Muslims, no question about it. The big question is who decides what a "real Muslim" is.

Thursday, September 25, 2008 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I have met many moderate Muslims. Although I do not agree with all aspects of their faith they are devout, decent, law abiding people who abhor terrorism as much as the next person.
But there are much too many who are not that way at all.

Friday, September 26, 2008 4:37:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I have met many moderate Muslims. Although I do not agree with all aspects of their faith they are devout, decent, law abiding people who abhor terrorism as much as the next person.
But there are much too many who are not that way at all.

Friday, September 26, 2008 4:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who Gets to Define Islam?

To ask who gets to define Islam is nonsensical - the so-called "prophet" Mohammad already defined it. And what he did create wasn't pretty.

Is Islam inflexible and incapable of embracing modernity and a divorce from the violence and hatred of political [sic] Islam and 7th, 12th century backwardness?

YES! If it embraced modernity, it would necessarily cease to be Islam, as it would die.

Or, can it be reformed by those devout Muslims like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser?

If a "reform Muslim" is devout, he is either not a true Muslim, or he is a very devout taqiyya artist.

(...) without lashing out at at the hundreds of millions of Muslims who practice the faith, in peace.

That would be those who don't practice Islam to any significant extent. If they actually did practice their faith, there would not be peace, considering their religious duty to wage war on infidels until they either convert, submit and pay the jizya, or are killed.

Positive stories about Muslims get ignored or dismissed as the exception

Positive stories about Muslims are irrelevant to the actual nature of Islam, because Muslims do not define what Islam is - they are only Muslims to the extent that they adhere to Islam. So even if there may be "Muslims" who behave well or appear to be "moderate", this doesn't necessarily tell us anything about the nature of Islam, except perhaps that not even an evil ideology as Islam is able to entirely corrupt the humanity all of its adherents (or should I say slaves).

I have an anti-Islam troll living under the bridge of my blog; anytime I come out with a post that doesn't condemn the entire religion, he will crawl out of his hole to tell me how I am a dhimmi and defender of evil.

Wordsmith, as long as he even vaguely suggests that there exists an acceptable version of Islam or makes incorrect and misleading distinctions between "Islam" and e.g. "radical Islam", is being an Islam apologist and a fifth columnist who is actively working to advance the cause of the enemy which caused 9/11.

There are good people who call themselves Muslims, no question about it. The big question is who decides what a "real Muslim" is.

That people call themselves Muslims does not automatically make them Muslims. Who is a Muslim is a matter of fact, not authority. A Muslim is someone who adheres to (or should I say, submits to) Islam.

Friday, September 26, 2008 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Anon,

You're a waste of time at this point.

Religious bigots like yourself would expand this into a wider war.

The decision to invade Iraq was in part to avoid perpetual war; yet your ideas play right into Zawahiri and bin Laden's fevered dreams. They've failed to rally the Muslim world to their cause; if more people thought as you do, you'd only do al Qaeda a recruitment favor.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 6:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Religious bigots like yourself would expand this into a wider war.

First, I am not a religious bigot.

Second, Wordsmith's strategy to avoid a "wider" or "perpetual" war seems to be to reduce people's resistance to Islam by obscuring the identity of the enemy and the nature of the ideology of the enemy (e.g. by using misleading language in place of "Islam" and "jihad"). In effect, he is working to advance the Islamization of the West. With this strategy the West may indeed avoid a war in one sense, by establishing in the West what we know as "peace" in the Islamic definition of the word, ie. the domination of Islam.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Yup. Religious bigotry and conspiratorial paranoia.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 1:41:00 PM  

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